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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

"Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy." - George Carlin

***

My brother in law and I were walking out of Paragon after lunch at Ding Tai Feng (at which he ordered way too much because he was "hungry", though we didn't manage to beat the record of $80 at California Pizza Kitchen that we'd set in a previous week), when we were beset by a sombre-looking ponytailed Nanyang schoolgirl, one of a flock of ravenous birds of prey seeking donations.

As I am wont to do nowadays, I asked what the donations would be used for, and got a vague reply: "helping children with chronic diseases". I asked what sort of chronic diseases, and she said cancer. Sensing her dearth of knowledge regarding the charity, I failed her on my "flag day worthiness test", in which I ask the people accosting me some basic questions about the charity so I know my money won't be used to fund MILF efforts. So in the end my brother in law donated some coins to her.

I think that in the future, when ponytailed schoolgirls ask me for donations, I shall tell them that I'll give them a buck if they let me tug their hair!


Panelist 1: Schoolgirls will take you for some molester. I think you are developing into a psycho... It starts small, and by the time you know it, you're gone too far.
I thought I was already psycho.

Panelist 2: You'll be surprised at their desperation, You'll go broke in no time.

Panelist 3: You.. are evil to e core. Hey what if they ask to see yr moobs?
Then they'd have to pay *me*.

Panelist 4: Don't be accused of harassment!
It's a quid pro quo!

Panelist 5: u got sthg against schgirls w ponytails?:)

Panelist 6: Ha ha... A buck for a tug? That's trying to stretch your buck!

Panelist 7: That's prostitution dude, just on a smaller scale.

Panelist 8: I think that's perverse.
When have I not been perverse? Heh heh.

Friday, March 11, 2005



50MB trailers rock (download link).

[Ed: The post below this was actually published after the current post, but I've backdated it so people will be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the screencap. Heh heh.]
"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure." - Mark Twain

***

Sheena complains that my posts are too cheem (and others that they are too long). Yet I get 400+ hits a day. There must be a helluva lotta masochists out there.

***



I am a d100


Take the quiz at dicepool.com



"There's two ways to end up with this result. Either you picked the silliest possible answer to each question, or you answered honestly, and happen to be hyperactive, manic, loon. Assuming you answered honestly, your profile is as follows: You are the 100-sided dice, also known as the legendary Zocchihedron. You are the bit of data that registers so far off the chart that the average person doesn't even know you exist. You are desperate for attention and will get it any way you can. Your jokes have the lowest laugh ratio, but you go for quantity, not quality. Once you get started on a pointless tangent, it takes a group effort to bring you back to reality and make you shut up. You are a distraction who is permanently distracted. You consider yourself silly and entertaining, but everyone else complains about how lame and annoying you are. The one secret they aren't telling you, is how they sometimes actually miss the noise when you're gone."

***

The Body: AIDS Survival Project: Survival News -- Cruising With Lazarus: The Fourth Annual 'Just Shut Up' Awards By David Salyer

"Every year, people all over the world say stridently stupid, misinformed or absurd things about HIV and AIDS. Here's a list of some folks who make you wonder what, if anything, they were thinking before they opened their mouths in 2004. Their comments are best met with three little words: Just shut up.

Balaji Sadasivan

The Southeast Asian country of Singapore is one of the world's most prosperous nations. Home to a little more than four million people, figures from the World Health Organization tell us that about 4,000 Singaporeans are living with HIV. Speaking publicly last November, Senior Minister of State for Health Balaji Sadasivan reported that HIV/AIDS cases were doubling every three to four years. Sadasivan blames gay men for the spread of HIV and claims nongovernmental agencies like Action for AIDS (AfA) are not doing enough to promote safer sexual practices. Naturally, he fails to acknowledge that gay sex is still illegal in many parts of Singapore (as are oral and anal sex) and that agencies like AfA are routinely prohibited from distributing brochures or condom packs that would lead to education and prevention. "We must recognize there are conservative people in Singapore and there's no need to say the only way to educate people is to try to do it in an in-your-face approach," Sadasivan protests. "To educate people, you don't have to be offensive," he rambled further until finally warning, "If we do not act, by 2010 we may have more than 15,000 HIV persons in Singapore." Does he have a plan, a strategy? Nope. His job would seem to be pointing fingers and declaring, "Sexual behavior is a private thing, it's something people don't want to talk about. It's not discussed in polite society.""

He's going to get sued, then the "AIDS Survival Project" will not be able to carry out its mission properly.

***

Got sent the following:

NoMarriage.com - Rachel's "Perfect Guy" Qualities List

"Rachel is a real girl. The list was taken from her website. Rachel is a typical young American woman. Keep in mind that she expects everything on the list simply because she has vagina.

*135 mostly trivial qualities, almost all described in 5 words or under*"

This is followed by:

"Here is a typical 28yo American woman's personals ad. Interestingly, the only things she says about herself is that she is lazy, bitchy, ugly, and does not like giving blowjobs.

This is my ideal guy:

*19 less trivial qualities in full sentences with elaboration*"

Apparently the site is selling a book:

"NoMarriage.com - honest marriage and relationship advice for men.
"Order noMarriage.com book - only $9.95
- You will understand how and why American women (American woman = modern western woman from any country) always change for the worse after marriage.
- It will help you determine if your girlfriend will make a good wife.
- If you are already married, the e-book will help you decide if you should stay with your wife (the book purchase will appear on your CC statement as IIS).
- Much more to help you decide if you want to get married and have children in the near future."
http://www.nomarriage.com/"

Ho ho ho. Good stuff (assuming you intend to marry)!

There's lots of other interesting stuff on the site.

***

The NUS Political Association Special Projects Committee will be organizing a forum which intends to raise issues and questions with regards to the sustainability of opposition parties in Singapore.

There is no doubt that the one party dominance system has been persistent in Singapore since independence. While Singaporeans enjoy economic success and a comfortable standard of living owing to the efficient government running the country, will there be alternative voices that could be heard? Are Singaporeans willing to raise issues that contradict current government policies for the betterment of the society?

>From the last elections, only two candidates from the opposition parties managed to secure seats in the parliament. Could that be a worrying sign that there could be no future for opposition parties in Singapore? Could the merging of opposition parties to form a larger entity work out like in the case of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA)?

With the aggressive move by PAP to recruit the younger generation to pump up its parties' strength, will the opposition do likewise? What will be the opposition parties' move to keep check of the new government under the leadership of the new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong?

With all these in mind, our guest speaker, Miss Sylvia Lim, current Chairman of the Workers' Party will first speak about these pertinent issues in her viewpoint which will then proceed on with a question and answer session between the NUS students and the guest speaker relating to these concerns.

Profile of Speaker

Miss Sylvia Lim holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the National University of Singapore and obtained a Master of Laws degree in 1989 from the University of London. She was called to the Bar in 1991.

In 1991 she joined the Singapore Police Force as a Police Inspector where she served for 3 years; she was active in investigation work (including supervision) at the Central Police Div HQ and thereafter was staff officer to the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department.

In 1994 she returned to practise law in the private sector, with M/s Lim & Lim. From 1994 to 1998, she was active in both civil and criminal litigation and handled a variety of cases in the High Court, Subordinate Courts and Juvenile Court.

She is currently a lecturer in Temasek Polytechnic and a manager at the Continuing Education & Training at the Polytechnic's Business School.

Her political life began when she was being co-opted in as a council member of the Workers' Party's Executive Council in May 2001. She has then risen to the post of Chairman during the Executive Council election in June 2003.

More about Sylvia Lim and the Workers' Party can be found at http://www.wp.org.sg

Details of Event

Title: "Towards A More Democratic Singapore – The future of opposition parties"

Date: 29th March 2005

Time: 6.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Venue: LT 18 (Located at NUS Business School)

Speaker: Miss Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (Chairman, Workers' Party)

Admission is Free.

To register for this event, please send an email to oppositionforum2005@yahoo.com

This event is strictly for NUS students only.

Please include your name, matriculation number, faculty/year of study, contact number(s) and email address, by 20th March 2005 (Sunday).

Hope to see you there!


Lai Hoe Keat
Special Projects Director
30th Management Committee
NUS Students' Political Association

***

Weird blog feedback:

Subject: Are elistist Rafflesians taking over Singapore?

Message: Eh white boy, how come your white school got condo in Bishan "Directly opposite Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College" want huh? They want to take over Bishan issit? Is it their new elitist hostel for the students? I want to buy need raffles membership or not?

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/singapore-property-pictures/condo/rafflesia.htm


"Rafflesia is a distinctive twin tower landmark located directly opposite the Raffles Institution. It is only 5 minutes walk to the Junction 8 Shopping Centre, Bishan MRT and the HDB neighbourhood retail shops and clinics.

It is also near the CTE and PIE, and is considered as the central part of district 20."


I recall that they were building it when I was still in RI. Guess they overshot the deadline. You'd have guessed it would be to reconsider the project name, but noooooooo...

***

Thread: are christian evolutionists closet supporters of ID?

A: Yes xxx, precisely, "what exactly do Christian Evolutionists profess?" (quote xxx) Like I mentioned before, I feel that there is no room in the Christian paradigm to fit Evolution in. Its either you subscribe to Intelligent design, or Evolution, not both. Some may say that Evolution may fit into Creationism if we don't take a literal reading of the Bible, this meaning that the 6 days that God created the Earth and all living creatures may have occured over a span of thousands or millions of years, and not the 24 hour-day we know of today. However, if this is so, then can we also say that Jesus did not rise after 3 days, but after hundreds or thousands of years? My point is that the Bible has to be taken literally at all times, thus Evolution must exist as a paradigm on its own and cannot stand with Christianity and Creationsm.

Me: But what about when the Bible contradicts facts of objective reality (eg the world being round or the earth being 4.5 billion years old) or itself?

"I’ve followed every part of the Bible! Even the parts that contradict the other parts!" - Ned Flanders

B: Which bible would like to take literal? A version in Aramaic that is thousands of years old or the greatly modified versions in today's English or maybe one from the 19th century in German...


loupgarou26 has plugged 'Christianity and its Discontents' in, all of places, the Sammyboy Forum (no, not the sex one. The conspiracy theory one where everything under the sun is blamed on the PAP).

Some of the less incoherent posts:

A: "<<Have you ever seen a monkey evolved into a man or woman???>>

No i have not despite the fact that chimps n u share 98% the same genetic DNA structure.

But i have seen lots of rational man evolved to bcome spiritual irrational idiots when the believed the most ridiculous n illogical fairy tale ...that a god can die for your sins which your ancestors is guilty off."

B: "LMAO! Wahahahah! Aiyah..you shouldnt reveal such secrets mah..else less fools on this planet, more competitive leh.

But I can bet he doesnt know what the hell you are talking about. Mostly, they will use the 'But you also cannot see the radio waves leh, how come you can listen to radios ah? argument.' So Don't worry."

C [to person lambasting Evolution]: "going by your logic...aliens exists cos nobody has seen an alien before."

D: "<<Peace of God is what Jesus is offering to all who are burdened needing rest.>>

Yet the slave race 'God' owns is the cause of my burdens. Sounds like COE + ERP right? One creates the market, the other controls the market."

Heh heh.

***

Dead: Man at foot of block
Dead: Wife, 2 kids in flat - March 8, 2005
- "He said he 'played shares' and owed a loan company a lot of money and that the interest was due, but he had no money to pay it.'"
Clear evidence, if any was needed, of the social ills that the stock market causes. We should therefore form an organisation to lobby for the closure of the Stock Exchange of Singapore. We call call it FASMT - Families Against the Stock Market Threat.

Forget university and get a trade, says PM - "John Howard has urged young people to consider quitting school in Year 10 to pursue careers in traditional trades in response to the nation's growing shortage of skilled workers... The Prime Minister said yesterday school leavers who learnt a trade often ended up much better off than if they had continued on with a university education."

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution - Prediction 5.3: Functional change - "Bacteria have also evolved the ability to synthesize new amino acids and DNA bases (Futuyma 1998, p. 274). Unicellular organisms have evolved the ability to use nylon and pentachlorophenol (which are both unnatural manmade chemicals) as their sole carbon sources (Okada et al. 1983; Orser and Lange 1994). The acquisition of this latter ability entailed the evolution of an entirely novel multienzyme metabolic pathway (Lee et al. 1998). Bacteria have evolved to grow at previously unviable temperatures (Bennett et al. 1992). In E. coli, we have seen the evolution (by artificial selection) of an entirely novel metabolic system including the ability to metabolize a new carbon source, the regulation of this ability by new regulatory genes, and the evolution of the ability to transport this new carbon source across the cell membrane (Hall 1982)."

The Rise of Illiberal Democracy - "Around the world, democratically elected regimes are routinely ignoring limits on their power and depriving citizens of basic freedoms. From Peru to the Philippines, we see the rise of a disturbing phenomenon: illiberal democracy. It has been difficult to recognize because for the last century in the West, democracy -- free and fair elections -- has gone hand in hand with constitutional liberalism -- the rule of law and basic human rights. But in the rest of the world, these two concepts are coming apart. Democracy without constitutional liberalism is producing centralized regimes, the erosion of liberty, ethnic competition, conflict, and war. The international community and the United States must end their obsession with balloting and promote the gradual liberalization of societies."

Reto Schneider :: Verrückte Experimente - "1928 The living dog’s head: In the photographs it looks like a circus side show. In the middle sits a bowl containing a severed dog’s head and two tubes leading to a stand holding a pump, a bottle, and a basin filled to the brim with blood. A group of onlookers clusters tightly round about, witnesses to a scientific miracle: the dog’s head lives."

ScienceDirect - Journal of Voice : Effect of Hydration and Vocal Rest on the Vocal Fatigue in Amateur Karaoke Singers - "Karaoke singing is a very popular entertainment among young people in Asia. It is a leisure singing activity with the singer's voice amplified with special acoustic effects in the backdrop of music. Music video and song captions are shown on television screen to remind the singers during singing. It is not uncommon to find participants singing continuously for four to five hours each time. As most of the karaoke singers have no formal training in singing, these amateur singers are more vulnerable to developing voice problems under these intensive singing activities. This study reports the performance of 20 young amateur singers (10 males and 10 females, aged between 20–25 years) on a series of phonatory function tasks carried out during continuous karaoke singing"

ThinkGeek :: Albert Einstein Action Figure - "Dressed for intense classroom action, this Albert Einstein Action Figure stands with a piece of chalk in his hand, poised to explain relativity or do battle with the forces of entropy. Fits in nicely with any office, cube or dorm decor and features realistic disheveled hair! Very few people on this planet have ever had the ability to go as far as Einstein has in comprehending the fundamental principles of the Universe. So we here at ThinkGeek think of that as sort of a super power worthy of the title 'Superhero Action Figure'. Sure he might not have been able to fly, breathe underwater or emit spider webs from his wrist - but he could melt your mind in a heartbeat with just a single attempt at explaining the Universe to you. Now that's power!"
The Soul of the Mark III Beast

(Excerpt from The Soul of Anna Klane, Terrel Miedaner, 1977)


“Anatol’s attitude is straightforward enough,” Hunt said. “He considers biological life as a complex form of machinery.”

She shrugged, but not indifferently. “I admit being fascinated by the man, but I can’t accept that philosophy.”

“Think about it,” Hunt suggested. “You know that according to neoevolution theory, animal bodies are formed by a completely mechanistic process. Each cell is a microscopic machine, a tiny component part integrated into a larger, more complex device.”

Dirksen shook her head. “But animal and human bodies are more than machines. The reproductive act itself makes them different.”

“Why,” Hunt asked, “is it so wonderful that a biological machine should beget another biological machine? It requires no more creative thought for a female mammal to conceive and give birth than for an automatic mill to spew forth engine blocks.”

Dirksen’s eyes flashed, “Do you think the automatic mill feels anything when it gives birth?” she challenged.

“Its metal is severely stressed, and eventually the mill wears out.”

“I don’t think that’s what I mean by ‘feeling.’”

“Nor I,” Hunt agreed. “But it isn’t always easy to know who or what has feelings. On the farm where I was raised, we had a brood sow with an unfortunate tendency to crush most of her offspring to death — accidentally, I imagine. Then she ate her children’s corpses. Would you say she had maternal feelings?”

“I’m not talking about pigs!”

“We could talk about humans in the same breath. Would you care to estimate how many newborn babies drown in toilets?”

Dirksen was too appalled to speak.

After some silence Hunt continued, “What you see in Klane as preoccupation with machinery is just a different perspective. Machines are another life form to him, a form he himself can create from plastic and metal. And he is honest enough to regard himself as a machine.”

“A machine begetting machines,” Dirksen quipped. “Next thing, you’ll be calling him a mother!”

“No,” Hunt said. “He’s an engineer. And however crude an engineered machine is in comparison with the human body, it represents a higher act than simple biological reproduction, for it is at least the result of a thought process.”

“I ought to know better than to argue with a lawyer,” she conceded, still upset. “But I just do not relate to machines! Emotionally speaking, there is a difference between the way we treat animals and the way we treat machines that defies logical explanation. I mean, I can break a machine and it really doesn’t bother me, but I cannot kill an animal.”

“Have you ever tried?”

“Sort of,” Dirkseri recalled. “The apartment I shared at college was infested with mice, so I set a trap. But when I finally caught one, I couldn’t empty the trap — the poor dead thing looked so hurt and harmless. So I buried it in the backyard, trap and all, and decided that living with mice was far more pleasant than killing them.”

“Yet you do eat meat,” Hunt pointed out. “So your aversion isn’t so much to killing per se as it is to doing it yourself.”

“Look,” she said, irritated. “That argument misses a point about basic respect for life. We have something in common with animals. You do see that, don’t you?”

“Klane has a theory that you might find interesting,” Hunt persisted. “He would say that real or imagined biological kinship has nothing to do with your ‘respect for life,’ In actual fact, you don’t like to kill simply because the animal resists death. It cries, struggles, or looks sad — it pleads with you not to destroy it. And it is your mind, by the way, not your biological body, that hears an animal’s plea.”

She looked at him, unconvinced.

Hunt laid some money on the table, pushed back his chair. “Come with me.”

A half hour later Dirksen found herself entering Klane’s house in the company of his attorney, for whose car the entrance gate had automatically moved aside, and at whose touch the keyless front door had servoed immediately open.

She followed him to the basement laboratory, where Hunt opened one of several dozen cabinets and brought out something that looked like a large aluminum beetle with small, colored indicator lamps and a few mechanical protrusions about its smooth surface. He turned it over, showing Dirksen three rubber wheels on its underside. Stenciled on the flat metal base plate were the words MARK III BEAST.

Hunt set the device on the tiled floor, simultaneously toggling a tiny switch on its underbelly. With a quiet humming sound the toy began to move in a searching pattern back and forth across the floor. It stopped momentarily, then headed for an electrical outlet near the base of one large chassis. It paused before the socket, extended a pair of prongs from an opening in its metallic body, probed and entered the energy source. Some of the lights on its body began to glow green, and a noise almost like the purring of a cat emanated from within,

Dirksen regarded the contrivance with interest. “A mechanical animal. It’s cute — but what’s the point of it?”

Hunt reached over to a nearby bench for a hammer and held it out to her. “I’d like you to kill it.”

“What are you talking about?” Dirksen said in mild alarm. “Why should I kill. . . break that. . . that machine?” She backed away, refusing to take the weapon.

“Just as an experiment,” Hunt replied. “I tried it myself some years ago at Klane’s behest and found it instructive.”

“What did you learn?”

“Something about the meaning of life and death.”

Dirksen stood looking at Hunt suspiciously.

“The ‘beast’ has no defenses that can hurt you,” he assured her. “Just don’t crash into anything while you’re chasing it.” He held out the hammer.

She stepped tentatively forward, took the weapon, looked sidelong at the peculiar machine purring deeply as it sucked away at the electrical current. She walked toward it, stooped down and raised the hammer. “But . . . it’s eating,” she said, turning to Hunt.

He laughed. Angrily she took the hammer in both hands, raised it, and brought it down hard.

But with a shrill noise like a cry of fright the beast had pulled its mandibles from the socket and moved suddenly backwards, The hammer cracked solidly into the floor, on a section of tile that had been obscured from view by the body of the machine. The tile was pockmarked with indentations.

Dirksen looked up. Hunt was laughing. The machine had moved two meters away and stopped, eyeing her. No, she decided, it was not eyeing her. Irritated with herself, Dirksen grasped her weapon and stalked cautiously forward. The machine backed away, a pair of red lights on the front of it glowing alternately brighter and dimmer at the approximate alphawave frequency of the human brain. Dirksen lunged, swung the hammer, and missed —

Ten minutes later she returned, flushed and gasping, to Hunt. Her body hurt in several places where she had bruised it on jutting machinery, and her head ached where she had cracked it under a workbench. “It’s like trying to catch a big rat! When do its stupid batteries run down anyway?”

Hunt checked his watch. “I’d guess it. has another half hour, provided you keep it busy.” He pointed beneath a workbench, where the beast had found another electrical outlet. “But there is an easier way to get it.”

“I’ll take it.”

“Put the hammer down and pick it up.”

“Just . . . pick it up?”

“Yes. It only recognizes danger from its own kind — in this case the steel hammer head. It’s programmed to trust unarmed protoplasm.”

She laid the hammer on a bench, walked slowly over to the machine. It didn’t move. The purring had stopped; pale amber lights glowed softly. Dirksen reached down and touched it tentatively, felt a gentle vibration. She gingerly picked it up with both hands. Its lights changed to a clear green color, and through the comfortable warmth of its metal skin she could feel the smooth purr of motors.

“So now what do I do with the stupid thing?” she asked irritably,

‘Oh, lay him on his back on the workbench. He’ll be quite helpless, in that position, and you can bash him at your leisure.”

“I can do without the anthropomorphisms,” Dirksen muttered as she followed Hunt’s suggestion, determined to see this thing through.

As she inverted the machine and set it down, its lights changed back to red. Wheels spun briefly, stopped. Dirksen picked up the hammer again, quickly raised it and brought it down in a smooth arc which struck the helpless machine off-center, damaging one of its wheels and flipping it right side up again. There was a metallic scraping sound from the damaged wheel, and the beast began spinning in a fitful circle, A snapping sound came from its underbelly; the machine stopped, lights glowing dolefully.

Dirksen pressed her lips together tightly, raised the hammer for a final blow, But as she started to bring it down there came from within the beast a sound, a soft crying wail that rose and fell like a baby whimpering. Dirksen dropped the hammer and stepped back, her eyes on the blood-red pool of lubricating fluid forming on the table beneath the creature. She looked at Hunt, horrified. “It’s . . . it’s—”

“Just a machine,” Hunt said, seriously now. “Like these, its evolutionary predecessors.” His gesturing hands took in the array of machinery in the workshop around them, mute and menacing watchers. “But unlike them it can sense its own doom and cry out for succor.”

“Turn it off,” she said flatly.

Hunt walked to the table, tried to move its tiny power switch. “You’ve jammed it, I’m afraid.” He picked up the hammer from the floor where it had fallen, “Care to administer the death blow?”

She stepped back, shaking her head as Hunt raised the hammer. “Couldn’t you fix—” There was a brief metallic crunch. She winced, turned her head. The wailing had stopped, and they returned upstairs in silence.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Saw the following floating around:

--------------

Hey Everyone!

I just thought I would pass the word along about a great opportunity for everybody who wishes to take part. As announced on many fan lists, I'm heading up a major birthday project for Amy Jo Johnson (Original Pink Ranger). You guys are more than welcome to send me anything you would like to give to Amy.

There will be 3 main components to the present going to Amy. The first is a fan video that will be produced by a friend of mine. The formats we are currently able to accept are as follows: VHS, CD (mpeg or avi), miniDV, High8, or email. Please do not send wmv they are horrible quality and will not look good in the overall video.. also, we suggest you do not send VHS, but if you must you can. Unfortunately, we can't accept greetings via DVD. You cannot copy video from a DVD and we would really rather not deal with it. If you have any questions regarding the video greetings, please contact Amy Cartas. schmacky_kicks_ass@hotmail.com I am not at all technical, so she is the one taking care of it.


The second component being put together is a fan scrap book that another friend of mine will be putting together. Anything we receive toward that, will be used, so feel free to contribute anything and everything that your heart may desire. These contributions may include anything ranging from pictures or Amy Jo, pictures of you and Amy Jo if you've met her, poems, artwork creations, quotes, scrapbook pages that you have created for other reasons, etc. Be as creative as you would like.


The third component, for Amy Jo, is one that I consider to be the biggest, and will personally be heading up. As a friend and long time fan of Amy's, many other fans all over the world have been begging me to get them something from her, or pass a message and/or gift along. In an effort accomodate everyone, I will be accepting fan gifts. You can send me any presents you wish to give to Amy, or if you can't think of anything, you are always more than welcome to send cash, money orders, checks, gift certificates, etc. I will be purchasing a large gift from all of us with any money received, and I will let you all know what that is, as well as take suggestions as to what you might like the gift(s) to be.

All birthday contributions for Amy Jo can be sent to me at the following address.

Kimberly Tyler
C/O Morey Holzman
P.O. Box 300326
Escondido, CA 92030

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to let me know. I can be reached 24/7 at PrincessKimberly@Juno.com

Due to time restraint, there is a deadline for ALL contributions.

THE DEADLINE IS JULY 4TH!!!

You MUST have ALL the contributions to me by that date as we need time to get everything together before October. If you need an extension of any kind, you are more than welcome to request one, but depending on the contribution I may not be able to grant it, so please, send everything early. I hope you all will contribute anything you would like, and we will be getting it to Amy Jo on her birthday. Thanks!


Kimberly

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth." - Umberto Eco


Random Trivia bit: When the one and only referendum in Singapore's history was held in 1962, over the merger with Malaysia, there were 3 choices on the ballot: yes, yes and yes.

Of course this is not something you'll learn in Propaganda class.

"This first and only National Referendum held in Singapore to date was to decide on the island's position within the Federation of Malaysia after merging with the Peninsular. Main political parties campaigned for different alternatives. PAP stood for Alternative A - a full merger of Singapore, Peninsular Malaya and the Borneo states, with Singapore retaining powers over certain areas. SPA represented Alternative C, with Singapore's status no different from other states." (National Referendum 1962)

***



!!!

(No, not the guy on the left with the suspicious soup with eyeballs and kidneys floating in it and the bad perm. The tubs on the right!)

!!!

***

StudioTraffic.com

Vincent introduced this site to me like so:

"u interested in making $ from home ma
juz need to surf the net to make $.."

Of course I was deeply skeptical, despite his claiming that his friend had already gotten a payout (due to his pumping in $100 from the start).

I was not entirely sure how it worked, but guessed it was something like this:

By viewing 200 sites a day (there's a script which automates the moving from site to site, so in theory you can leave it on for a few hours and come back later), you get awarded 1% of your "account level" (which starts off at $10 when you sign up, so at first you only earn $0.10 a day).

When you accumulate a minimum of $5, you can withdraw the money (speaking of which, Google AdSense's cheque is supposed to be coming along soon, but something seems to have choked at their side). However, you can also reinvest it to raise your account level (or pump in money yourself to raise your account level, which also has the benefit of needing you to view only 100 sites a day instead of 200). At the maximum account level of $15,000 (which can be reached solely by reinvestment, without pumping any of your own money in at all, you can be earning $4,650 a month within 2 years and 8 months of signing up.

Considering that the vast majority of sites served seem to be of a similar nature (ie Make money by surfing the web), I'm inclined to think that this is just a giant Multi-Level Marketing scheme of sorts (though there are only two levels here). After all, there is no free lunch in this world (unless, it might be said by some, you are a PRC scholar who comes to Singapore on a scholarship and then breaks his bond and disappears).

Looking at their FAQ, I found a few catches:

"When you signed up with us, we credited your account with a $10 bonus to show our appreciation. This is our welcome gift to you, which is good for an entire year. All membership upgrades will last one year from the time they are applied to the account."

In other words, you need to pump in money on a yearly basis.

"When can I get cash? - You can make cash withdrawals as long as your account level is above $100."

You don't actually see any money until a year has passed (assuming you surf the requisite number of sites everyday and reinvest all your profits). Inevitably, people are going to pump in at least $90 from the start.


However, the most damning piece of evidence against the site is that the day after I first visited the site, Norton AntiVirus detected a virus in one of my temporary directories. I found some Russian exes inside and my suspicions were aroused.

I summoned Task Manager and found many funny processes running ("mah.exe", "MediaPass", "sixtypopsix", "eliteigm32", "istsvc.exe" and the like, some of which refused to shut down [or shut down and immediately sprung back up]). And when I tried to run msconfig, it got shut down. Furthermore, there was an invisible IExplore window opened, which presumably would prevent the IE BHOs (Browser Helper Objects) from being fully removed. So it took a few attempts to deworm my (newly formatted) system, including 1 or 2 boots in Safe Mode (and I think some registry keys remain still, unremovable for some reason).

How all this rubbish got past Firefox is anyone's guess. Maybe it has something to do with the alert windows the site popped up ('Press ok to continue'). Or, more likely, the fact that since formatting my laptop I hadn't installed the 21 pending Windows Security Updates!

Vincent says he hasn't been hit by spyware. I've told him to report on his progress after a year.

***

Guest article:


NOTES FROM A SURVIVOR:
THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL OF CASH HARVEST CULT

Not so long ago, I was a member of one of the largest churches in Singapore, it appeared big, trendy, relaxing and a good place to socialize. Besides, it taught a Gospel that was all about self-improvement and prosperity, what’s not to like. I mean the Pastor has a wife who is a recording artiste, lives in a condo and drives a BMW 7-Series, what’s not to like? Hey, even if I didn’t like Christianity all that much, anywhere that taught me how good it was to be rich can’t be all bad.

Until I heard their explanations.

City Harvest Church, aka Cash Harvest Cult, preaches a Gospel of Prosperity that probably explains the fact that many of my cell group members did not live in tremendous wealth. The thing is that if you have a brain for economic theory and basic common sense, you would not for a minute believe this Gospel of Prosperity.

This Gospel of Prosperity basically uses Biblical figures to argue that many Biblical figures were in fact, the most prosperous of their time, and that the Bible is in fact the most pro-prosperity tome of its day.

For example, would you believe that ADAM was rich? Yes, Adam was rich. That sounds believable if you ask me. I mean, the concept of rich and poor is built on ownership, isn’t it, if you follow Marx? The owners and the owned, between the producers and those who own the means of production, isn’t it? If I was the only man on the planet, I would be the owner of everything, and therefore I would be the richest person on the Planet. And since there was no woman, there would be no pre-nuptials to sign, and I would not have to divide my property with anyone else. Therefore clearly if I was Adam, I would be rich, heck even if I didn’t have clothes to wear and walked around buck naked in the Garden of Eden all day. In fact, I would be so rich that I did not even know what poverty was, because there was no other man on earth that could be considered less “wealthy” than me. Cash Harvest Cult proves how rich Adam was, by saying that he owned GOLD.

Genesis 2:10-12 (New International Version)

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin [a] and onyx are also there.)

And of course, the gold of that land is GOOD, since the Bible tells us so. But what is it good for? If there was only one man on Earth, he could not sustain himself on the Gold for food, neither could he want to waste his time mining, panning and beating the gold into ornaments for himself, even if he found it attractive. Besides, what could he exchange the gold for? There was no one else on the Planet, so there was no one to trade with. Didn’t gold gain its use as a medium of exchange only when more prople were around? My brain was on the verge of exploding from the all the facts that flew in the face of economic theory and good common sense.
No wonder all my friends weren’t too wealthy, and those that were wealthy, had parents that were not Christian. How could anyone that believed in this be rich?
Take it from me, why tithe to an institution that cannot even guide you on the basics of economic theory?


Seen and heard:

"A relationship like a shepard with his sheep...give me a break. You don't have "relationships" with sheep. You have lunch or your have business opportunities."

***

Seems there's a new M$N Virus spreading, I got the following messages from someone:

"hot pic!!
http://www.mxt-networkz.com/parishilton.pif"

Meanwhile other people have been sending me PIFs, and I accidentally opened one (and had to go through another round of deworming !@#$^%&*() )

Ah well. This is what you get when, for once, you don't look at file names before opening them.


Bash.org quote from Techno Prince:

robT> Name ONE thing that your windows comp can do that my MAC cant
bawss> Right click.

Heh heh heh.


"Okay, so I wasn't hallucinating about Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills. All this time I thought it was some bad LSD I took back in 94."

Ditto.

***

Paley's New Clothes

"Superficially, irreducible complexity seems to resist Darwinian explanation, which requires that each adaptation or structure begets a distinct, independent fitness advantage in order to be selected.

To combat Behe, Shanks brings self-organization and complexity to the fore once again, referencing a basic chemistry experiment he had conducted (Shanks and Joplin, 1999). The well-known Belousov-Zhaobtinski reaction occurs when several chemicals are added to a beaker and spontaneously self-organize, producing a chemical oscillator whose occurrence requires the continued presence of all ingredients. Behe (2000) responded that the example fails to adhere to his "well-matched" criterion since one of the chemicals is a general-purpose oxidizing agent. However, if this is so, then Behe's chief challenge to Darwinists that biochemical pathways are irreducibly complex does not hold water either. Examples of such "low substrate specificity" are legion in the biochemical literature.

Shanks next outlines how irreducible complexity may be produced by naturalistic, Darwinian mechanisms. First, it is obvious that Behe simply overstates his case: biochemical systems often exhibit what the author terms "redundant complexity." That is, the functionality of many processes is not contingent on the faithful execution of a specific linear sequence. Rather, functionality owes itself to a surplus of related - and hence "redundant" - components. Such complexity is also manifest in the ability of compensatory systems to come to the rescue if a primary system fails to serve its function.

Moreover, whereas they may seem diametrically opposed, Shanks points out that irreducibly complex systems "can simply be viewed as limiting cases of redundantly complex systems" (p.187). Ontogenetic processes, such as gene duplication, ultimately make for redundant genes in a system. In turn, redundant genes may be deleted by mutations rendering some of them nonfunctional, or "pseudogenes." This is important for two reasons: 1) Since pseudogenes no longer contribute to the overall function of a system, it gives selection free reign to discover evolutionarily novel functions with such genes; and 2) Elimination of functional genes shows how biological systems can ultimately become irreducibly complex. That is, irreducible complexity represents a threshold by which further elimination of genes leads to non-functionality. At this point, evolution may apply selection pressure to ensure that this threshold is not crossed.

... the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics precludes the existence of complete nothingness. The ontological implications of such a basic fact are monumental, yet he remains mute: 1) The Christian doctrine of "creation ex nihilo" is rendered an impossibility; and 2) The very need for a Creator becomes superfluous. Indeed, several authors have argued (Barrow, 2002; Genz, 2001; Guth, 1998; Halliwell and Hawking, 1985) that the Big Bang quite plausibly could have sprung from an ever-present quantum vacuum of seething potentiality. In eminent theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking's (1988) famous words, "What place, then, for a creator"?"

***

A Very Pokemon Guy Fawkes - What happens when you strap 250 sparklers to a Pokemon and light them?

Revenge of the Right Brain - "Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age - ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion... The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind. Today - amid the uncertainties of an economy that has gone from boom to bust to blah - there's a metaphor that explains what's going on. And it's right inside our heads."

Mithgol's Soviet Firefox - "The above extension was first published 5 Mar 2005 (exactly 52 years after Stalin's death). The extension is a sign of my true gratitude: notwithstanding that the great Leader is dead (and all his achievements are ruined in Russia), there is now a new browser which brings ideals of Freedom and Communism to the masses of wired people."


The Possibilities of FTL: Or Fermi's Paradox Reconsidered - "The drive to place humanity at the center of the universe has led to a stream of assumptions that, as facts have been collected, are shown to be ill founded. The Ptolemaic Earth centered view was replaced by Copernican Sun centered view which in its time was also replaced. The assumption that we are alone in the universe is also under threat of replacement. One of the more interesting aspects of our apparent aloneness was pointed out by Enrico Fermi and is know as Fermi's Paradox "

"If everyone believes in the superiority of their race, must we respect and accept their beliefs? Respecting people's freedom of expression, belief and religion or atheism is one thing; that doesn't mean that we must respect any belief, however heinous. Of course human beings must be respected, but that doesn't mean that all beliefs must also be respected. Should we respect fascism, racism, nationalism, and ethnocentrism - they are all beliefs after all... Criticising beliefs is not racism. Is it racist to condemn fascism, nationalism, capitalism, sexism, religion? Does a critique of fascism, nationalism or racism promote abuse against fascists, nationalists, and racists? If we criticise child labour, does it mean we are promoting abuse against children who are forced to work? This is the pathetic whining of reactionaries who want to silence defenders of women's rights and frighten them into inactivity and submission." - hmm


Einstein's relatives' theories

"Albert Einstein has a signature equation, e=mc2, which predicts how energy relates to mass. ME Einstein of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, has a whole set of equations that predict the composition of a pork carcass.

Einstein and several collaborators have published a series of studies - seven of them so far - in the Journal of Animal Science. Their "Evaluation of Alternative Measures of Pork Carcass Composition" appeared in 2001. It is a minor classic in the history of pork-production prediction literature.

ME Einstein also co-authored the doubly seminal "Utilisation of a Sperm Quality Analyser to Evaluate Sperm Quantity and Quality of Turkey Breeders". It was published in 2002 in the journal British Poultry Science."

***

Interesting sounding NUS events:

"Event Title: Serumpun Padi... R.O.C. (Relax One Corner) With Us!
Organizer: NUS Malay Language Society (PBMUKS)
Description: A Nite Full of Fun & Bonding among Undergrads in a Casual Gathering; at the same time, Be in The Loop of What's Happenin' inside the Malay Language Society!"

If anyone else had used the term, they'd have been slammed as racist.

"Event Title: Sociology Field Trip to CK Tangs
Organizer: NUS Sociology Society
Description: Learn all about the Sociology of Popular Culture, Consumption and Work from the expert who designed the new Tangs concept! An exciting first hand look into the workings of businesses and the modern consumer. Simply sign up for a one hour slot on any of the listed dates!"

Find out how evil corporations manipulate hapless consumers!

Unfortunately the time slots are all at times when I've lessons. Except for one on my free day. Hmm. Actually I don't mind going but no one's interested. Ah well.


"Event Title: Recruitment for Cheer Leaders
Organizer: Cheer Group of YDG (Youth Developer Group)
Description: Have you heard about CHEER DANCE AND CHEER LEADING before? This is a good opportunity for the GUYS AND GIRLS of NUS to participate in cheer where you can experience the excitement and joyfulness to become a cheerful cheer leader/dancer !! The good news is there are no requirements needed to join our cheer group; as we are all together here to learn and to have fun!"

Right.

"Event Title: Enigma - Le Masquerade
Organizer: NUS Students' Computing Club
Description: NUS Students' Computing Club hereby invites you to our very first social night affair of the season!

Be entertained by the night of games, socialising and glorious food being served to you by our humble butlers. Be there to meet "The One". Be there to not miss the fun and mystery."

I wonder who "The One" is. Maybe it's Jack the Ripper.

Monday, March 07, 2005

anybody needs gmail invites? i've got 50. email me or leave a comment.

Andrew gan

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Christianity and its discontents (Also see: Christianity and its Adherents)

Excepting what are commonly termed as doomsday cults, the Abrahamic religions seem unique in their ability to induce discontent in others, which is exceeded only by their ability to induce discontent between each other and within themselves. Or as someone puts it more eloquently than me: "these religions either 3 corner fight amongst themselves..or go kacau others."

Adherents of said religions sometimes wonder why non-adherents can get so upset with them or their faiths. Meanwhile some non-adherents wonder how and why the Abrahamic religions can get non-believers so agitated and worked up, and why some people can crusade for freethought. This phenomenon is especially curious, since often the discontents share a similar or the same socio-economic background, race, educational level and upbringing with the adherents, which by right should result in a low likelihood of said discontent occuring. This article shall list and explore (not in any order of importance) some of the reasons why some are so discontented with Christianity, from a secular humanistic/skeptical point of view.

It might be said by some that it is Christians who induce the discontent, and not the religion itself. That is true to some extent, but if religion cannot be blamed for anything, so too can it not be praised for anything. Besides which, some of the points below are about the religion itself, rather than its practitioners.

************************************************


1. Loathsome nature of fundamentalism

Much, or perhaps a majority, of the discontent with Christianity is a reaction to the fervor and distasteful, often sanctimonious nature of Christian fundamentalism, which often turns a religion supposedly based on love into one seemingly based more on hate.


2. Intellectual Suicide in justifying their beliefs

To attempt to find intellectual justification for their beliefs, Christians follow one of two routes. The more popular is that of patently bad logic. Ridiculous and disingenuous arguments, which in any other arena would not be accepted and indeed would be laughed down as the puerile thoughts of a schoolboy, are taken as convincing and veracious, often by otherwise bright people. Prime examples of such logic include using the bible to justify Christianity or itself, and of assuming that since 1/10,0000 radiometric datings gives an erroneous result, radiometric dating always gives erroneous results.

The other, rarer route climbs into heights of intellectual reification. Sometimes reason is denigrated or demolished (ironically using reason itself, making the demolition suspect). At other times, theodicy or other arguments (eg Positing the Christian god as the source of Reason, which otherwise supposedly cannot be taken a priori) are used to prove that it is not impossible for the Christian god to exist, or that deities or higher powers of some kind must exist. However, even if one accepts the truth of such arguments, it does not follow that the Christian god *must* exist - one is committed, at the most, to Deism.

Of course, when Christians are shown the flaws in their logic and the incoherence and unintelligibility of their arguments, cognitive dissonance sets in and they either turn their eyes upwards and talk in a dreamy voice of the power of "faith" (the former group, usually), aim to drag everyone into epistemological nihilism (usually by attacking reason) and offer their religion as the only way out or alternately blandly restate their points as if they have not just been soundly demolished.


3. Refusal to accept reality

Some Christians refuse to accept essentially proven scientific facts such as Evolution, the Age of the Earth and that the expedition to Mount Ararat never did find any remains of an ark.


4. Personal trauma caused by Christianity

Most of the most vocal and outspoken of Christianity's discontents are apostates (ie Ex-Christians). Perhaps all are saddened and disgusted by the years of their life wasted in pursuit of falsehood and false promises: the bible contains a lot of claims that people will be healed or changed or that life will be abundant or Christians will be able to accomplish great things and that God will be responsive to prayers.

Some, usually those previously from fundamentalist denominations, are especially vituperative, trapped as they were for many years in a cage of their own making, ridden with guilt, doubt and shame.

Similar principles lie behind why Holocaust Survivors are so anti-Nazi.


5. Relentless evangelism

Christianity is probably the only major world religion which is like the Borg - it actively seeks to grow, expand and assimilate. That in and of itself is not really a problem, but the problem lies in how the expansion is sought.

Evangelical Christians tend to come at their prey relentlessly. Even if they are told to cease and desist, many persist in annoying, despite strong resistance. Telling them to stop, or that you are not interested does not always work.

Furthermore, evangelists often prey on the helpless - people on the streets, people in disaster zones (eg The December 2004 tsunami), people in remote or backward areas, young people who don't know any better et al. It is true that they are doing some degree of good, but too often the help is not given with no strings attached.


6. Demeaning of the individual

Christianity belittles and demeans individuals, exulting instead its god. It is claimed that life is useless, meaningless and ultimately empty without the Christian god. In a way, this is an affront to humanity itself.


7. Eagerness to show others the error of their ways, while being unwilling to question their own beliefs


8. Slamming of others' religions

Monotheism is inherently more intolerant than polytheism, and fundies like to denounce other religions as false, involving devil worship, and gloat those of other religions are going to hell.


9. Claimed monopoly on truth

Christians like to claim a monopoly on truth, and that everyone else is mistaken. In truth, even within their religion they differ greatly in their interpretations.

A leaf should be taken from the book of Christian mythology: "What is truth?". Indeed.


10. Evil done by Christians

Many Christians do bad things. Some say that a few bad sheep should not reflect upon the flock. This is true enough, but on the other hand, if Christianity cannot be judged by the actions of its evil adherents, so too can it not be used to judge the actions of its good adherents. It is also dishonest to magically label all who do evil as "un-true" Christians while those who do good, happily enough, are "true" Christians.

Besides which, Christians sometimes say that we should judge religions by the fruits they bear. Why should Christianity itself not be so judged? (We judge communism/neo-Marxism, after all, by what happened when people tried to put it into practice)


11. Imposition of beliefs or consequences thereof on others

In the name of their morality, some Christians seem fond of imposing their beliefs on others who do not share it; discrimination against homosexuals and attempts to outlaw or impede abortion, for example.

In addition, to fulfill their misguided interpretations of biblical prophecy, fundies seem willing to send the rest of the earth to hell.

See: Supporting Israel's oppression of the Palestinians and ruining the environment to bring on the Rapture and the Apocalypse.


12. Acclamation of evil and the immorality of theodicy

Christians almost always condone, accept and even inflict evil inflicted (or allowed to happen) by their omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent god. Yet, they are somehow able to claim that this is good, proper and just, and proclaim that their god is good and worthy of respect and worship, even when he goes against morals and strictures he purportedly set down himself.

Respect must be earned, it cannot be demanded, and from his actions, this god patently does not deserve any respect. And to passively accept, even condone and encourage the occurence of a crime is in itself a crime, albeit a lesser one.

Furthermore, there is the immorality of theodicy. If all evil and suffering can be justified, does this not invalidate the concept and meaning of evil? If nothing is evil, the concept of good becomes meaningless.


13. Repulsiveness of the Christian god

People are repelled by the anthropomorphic, egomaniacal, abusive, capricious and bloodthirsty Christian god who, though supposedly perfect, makes imperfect beings and blames his creations for their mistakes.


14. Self-justifying nature of faith

Faith is recursive, and supports itself, and Christians often trust in faith to the exclusion of reason, common sense or even morality.

For example, if a Christian is involved in an accident, no matter what happens, their god can always be praised. To wit:

If they come out uninjured - "Praise be to God! I am uninjured! It's a miracle!"

If they are slightly injured - "Praise be to God! I am barely scratched! He's watching over me!"

If they are injured - "Praise be to God! I am injured, yet since I have faith in him, I have come out stronger. Hallelujah!"

If they are badly injured - "Praise be to God! This is a warning to me, to tell me not to be so careless next time. Thank you God for protecting me from death this time. I will take better care of myself next time."

If they are crippled for life - "Praise be to God! Though I am crippled in body, I am whole in spirit. I will strive to extol him and glorify his name further. I will serve as a testament to his mercy and grace."

If they die - [Said by others] "Praise be to God! He has taken xxx to his side, and saved him the torments of his life. His time was up, so he was taken according to God's plan. Amen."

Basically, there is no falsifier to faith. Heads the christian wins, tails logic loses.

In fact, it is a good bet that even if their god came down and told them that they'd gotten some or even most parts of their religion wrong, they wouldn't believe him - thanks to their faith.

As a matter of fact, this has happened before - to the Jews (if one assumes, for the sake of argument, that Christian mythology is true). As Ingersoll observed:

"Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell them that whenever a man preached a heresy, or proposed to worship any other God that they should kill him; and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that thereupon the Jews crucified him; I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had sown? What right would this god have to complain of a crucifixion suffered in accordance with his own command?"

************************************************


Of course, not all these problems are unique to Christianity, or even theists (ie everyone can be guilty or some of the above), but in Christianity the factors above manifest in a potent combination.

The important thing is to adopt the "hate the sin, love the sinner" mentality that many Christians claim to have but which some do not seem to follow, instead hating both sinner and sin, in the battle for reason and knowledge - candles in the dark in our demon-haunted world.

Christianity's appeal, most especially to the young, will receive consideration in the sequel, which shall follow at an indeterminate date.

(Update! Christianity and its Adherents is now up.)

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." - Albert Einstein

***

Oops, I did it again.

In this case, formatting my hard drive without backing up everything. At least this time I've a 5 month old backup which has most of my data, and some leads on data recovery software.

Say hello again to driving the night car!

I should just backup the entire contents of my hard drive next time.

***

Retailers welcome tighter controls on pre-paid phonecards to fight terrorism

"But now registration may be necessary to prevent terrorists from using such cards."

Come, now. Does anyone above the age of 10 (or not inundated by "Security is paramount! Let us implant ID chips in your heads to monitor your thoughts so we can protect you" spiel) believe that this could possibly counter terrorism?

First CCTVs in school lecture theatres, and now this?!

***

The last I saw, there were some interesting comments in a comments thread on mrbrown.com about PRC students in Singapore.

Recently, I was directed there again and now the thread has exploded to 68 comments (at last count), even though it is no longer on the front page.

Some choice bits:

"I resent the argument that Singapore's population is too small [and so we need to import foreign students by the truckload]. Take a look at the truckload of Nobel Prize winners from Denmark. Check out their population. Take a look at the population size of New Zealand. Do "I do I do" or "Avatar" remotely resemble Lord of the Rings trilogy? These are rich angmo countries? How about Jamaica? On top of super sportsmen, they have Nobel Prize winners too. Jamaica has a population of about 2.7 million only, mostly of African descent.

If 3 million Singaporeans are too few to accomplish anything significant, one can only conclude our ruling politicans believe there is some truth in what PRC people say of Singaporeans: we are of inferior stock, of Southern peasants whose ancestors are so pathetic we "cannot make it" in China."


"I have some statistics I culled from sgchinese.com

Of the 3 local universities, 22% are foreigners. Half of those foreign students are from PRC, so we are talking about tens of thousands of PRC students in the 3 local universities alone. Imagine this: with the money we spend on PRC students, we can offer half of all undergrads free education, or sending thousands of Singaporeans overseas to study.

A larger proportion of PRC students in tertiary education are in the polys. In recent years, some 50% of the PRC poly grads cannot find a job. Of those who do find a job, most of them are doing nothing relevant to what they studied, and do menial jobs like selling bak kwa or sales assistants. (I didnt make the bak kwa part up. Read the article, if you can read Chinese)

http://sgchinese.com/Article/immi/jobs/200503/579.html

I am so sure they will have fond memories of Singapore when you ask "Einstein potentials" to sell bak kwa."


"First off, how much does a PRC student cost the taxpayer? If you believe that the government subsidizes 75% of our education, their cost PER YEAR is $20k, just on uni fees alone. And then there is the living expenses. I believe $800 per month is pretty close, if not spot on. In other words, a single PRC student cost Singapore taxpayer, disregarding any other subsidies I am not aware of

20000 + 12 x 800 = $29600 PER YEAR

This number is pretty close to the annual income of an average Singaporean.

For a 3 year course, the sum adds up to nearly $90k. For a 4 year cost, it adds up to $120k.

In terms of opportunity cost, we can offer nearly 6 poorest Singapore students free education in local unis for every 1 PRC student. Two PRC students cost us about one talented Singaporean studying overseas.

Now multiply that by a few thousand. You are talking about a few hundred millions here.

And when they decide to leave, you think they will even bother to write in to inform the authorities that they are not coming back? They just quietly drift away. It is money down the drain."


"What I cannot stand for, is the country devoting so much of taxpayers' money, bending over backwards to attract foreign students, while telling Singaporeans there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well, there is no such thing as a free lunch for PRC student either. They get paid having lunch here.

And dont tell me about boiling blood. Boiling blood is when you lose the best two and a half years of your life doing mind numbing menial tasks and get paid two hundred bucks a month, and then realising that after all the sacrifice, the country still treat you like a second class citizen."


"No country in the first or third world so blatantly discrimnates against it's own citizens like Singapore does. And we are not even allowed to be upset without being labelled racist.

I'm sure 100% of the Asians studying in Australia are on scholarship (that includes all their living expenses and accomodation), and that they sign bonds to serve in Australia, except nobody will say a thing when they vanish off. And for those who get stuck there, Aussie govt agencies will seek jobs for them. And failing that, Australian unis will start research institutes that are staffed 99% by Asians. Yah right."

***

Heard on Newsradio 93.8:

Ayatollah Co'me'nee (Khomeini - exact pronunciation here)

Westminister Abbey (Westminster)

care'fain (caffeine)


And they boast that their E-newsletter helps you to speak better. Oh well.
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