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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

"'The best couturiers, hairdressers, home designers and cooks are men. I suspect that, were it biologically possible, men would make better mothers.’" - Ida Alexa Ross Wylie, ‘The Little Woman’ 1945.

***

Someone on my hair angsting: "maybe your hair is in good condition then:D
maybe it's just like the supermodels who think they are too fat
and pretty actresses who think they are too ugly"

Someone else on a snide remark I made about a quote on someone's file: "close reading is getting many creative interpretations from u"

Information from a source on [at least the old] SAJC: "the only good thing about Chapel was having cute councillors up on stage. Speaking of councillors, do you know that all SAJC councillors have to be "confirmed" at St. Andrew's cathedral, and so I guess that rules out having non-christian councillors. Head of the student council had to be an Anglician, though there was this year the Head was a SJI (hence catholic) boy."
Isn't that illegal? Religious discrimination...

***

Apparently we now have Halal hairdye. Oh well, I suppose after Halal ice I shouldn't be surprised anymore.

***

"Perhaps we can avoid the absurd if we devote ourselves to providing only for the basic needs of everyone. There is a great deal of misery in the world, and many of us could easily spend our lives trying to eradicate it - wiping out starvation, disease and torture.

Such aims do indeed seem to give life a meaning that is hard to question. But while they are certainly worthy and perhaps imperative goals, they cannot eliminate the problem. Granted, one advantage of living in a world as bad as this one is that it offers the opportunity for many activities whose importance can't be questioned. But how could the main point of human life be the elimination of evil? Misery, deprivation, and injustice prevent people from pursuing the positive goods which life is assumed to make possible. If all such goods were pointless and the only thing that really mattered was the elimination of misery, that really would be absurd. The same could be said of the idea that helping others is the only thing that really gives meaning to life. If no one's life has any meaning in itself, how can it acquire meaning through devotion to the meaningless lives of others?"

- The View From Nowhere, Thomas Nagel

***

I went down to what is known (affectionately or otherwise) to many of its students as Boon Lay Polytechnic for a focus group. Interestingly, from the small sample size I obtained, the SACSALs there seem less hiao than in The Premier Institution of Social Engineering, though they are equally annoying. Also the most normal-seeming (ie the most abnormal-seeming, since now it is normal to be abnormal - take the dying of hair, for instance. If you have black hair, you are abnormal) University students I've seen are from the NTU School of Communication and Information (aka Mass Comm). Perhaps, in the isolated environment that is NTU, cut off from the rest of the world, a sub-culture has evolved. Or maybe I need to visit the University of Gymnastics one day to reduce my sampling error so I can apply the Central Limit Theorem (you know I'm becoming loopy when I start making nonsensical statistical references in my writing - blame it on my USP 'Writing' module).

It was also very interesting because I was the only non-NTU Mass Comm student at the table. So since the $10 incentive for going for a focus group apparently comes from the students themselves, it seems that the money just gets recirculated in their closed economy (until outsiders like me come in to siphon some out).

***

Apparently the banner the Muslim society put up at their bazaar, according to someone, said: "TOWARDS A MORE GOD-CONSCIOUS SOCIETY". Bah.

My sister always complains that she sees a lot of ass cracks when she comes to NUS, but somehow I never see them. Maybe it's because I'm not looking out for them.

We saw a video which included a clip of a tiger eating a peacock. Other people seemed quite agitated but I was one of the few who was laughing. Ah well.


Quotes:

[On price fixing] The CEO who proposed it was fined, and promised not to do it again *laughs from audience*

[Me: Question: What do you learn in 'Biodiversity'? He can't answer the question.] Neither can I.

The bad thing is when I talk about sexual selection it's not a very interesting or erotic topic... but we have some videos of animals doing it, to wake you up.

[On the tiffin girl of the day coming in with food for many people] It's like food supply here. I'm also hungry.

[On the Prisoners' Dilemma] If it's only for prison people then it's not that interesting.

[On Vampire Bats overfeeding] Basically they pee out all the serum, and once they have reached critical size or critical weight - [To someone eating salad with faux bacon bits made of soy protein] how's lunch coming along over there? Nothing red [inside], I hope.

Tit for tit (tat)

[On a journal article] When you read the paper, what's the hidden message? To endlessly confuse everybody?

Billy Gates. What has he been doing lately? Besides writing a lot of crappy code.

[Professor: Would you want to call something altruistic that's harmful to you but helps others?] That's just stupid.

[On teaching altruism] No one wants to sit down and talk to a eight year old child and say that you should be good to your neighbor because the benefits outweight the costs... you don't want to start explaining the dictator game and the ultimatum game to young kids.

The more attractive the peacock, the more it gets to pro- [Other student: Mate. Mate. Mate.]

[Student on differences between males and females: Size] Size of what? *laughs from audience*

[On differences between males and females] Hair loss.

Everytime you walk around campus you can see a lot of differences between males and females.

We don't have the time to see the vidoes now. *sounds of dismay* If you can come up with the 2 main factors [affecting sexual selection] within 5 minutes, I'll show you the videos.

Many a times you read the textbook. (time)

You're probably born around this time - 1973. [Student: You're 10 years early] You're born in 1983? I'm a bit dated... I'm ancient.

Singaporeans abrought (abroad)

per chases (purchases)

he sole it to the wholesaler (sold)

My niece works till 11 or 12 [pm] and she gets 6 months' bonus. *gasps* Is that a measure of welfare?

[On family] The Italians - very close knit. The Italian Mafia - very close knit.

[On the CPI] The MTI economies are trying to come up with it, but my colleagues are complaining that their methodology is flawed.

If you are transisting to a knowledge-based economy (transiting)

This is particularly [important] in the United States, which is a welfare state (?! - a welfare state?)

Socrates always frames his questions so they don't have answers.

The reading only do this: spoil my eyes (did)

[On the writing module] This module can kill my 3 other modules

moral lerty (morality)

These are the killers, all the other readings are child's play compared to these... This will get your mind in a taffy, which is not my intention. I know now you think it is: he just wants to mess with our minds.

[On balance] I don't want you to say: therefore everything is equal and there's nothing to say. If you have nothing to say, don't write the essay.

When you write your essays you get lost in abstractions supported by abstractions supported by more abstractions.

[Some guy to some girl] Fuck you. No, I won't fuck you, you're a prude.

[On science girls] Science is full of 'floaters'... They float from place to place. They like to wear extremely baggy clothes. They look as if they are floating around.

[On my not-so-secret hair fantasy] Why don't you just shave your hair and wear a wig?

[Me: Shrill, Anorexic, Chinese-Speaking Ah Lians] Arts is full of them. *gets frosty looks from the 2 Arts girls beside him* Non-USP arts girls.

[Me on science floaters: Their primary prerogative is not to look good] Did you just use the word 'prerogative' when talking to me?... Never mind. I should talk more to you, then I'll become smarter. [Me: I've been told that before. Oh but you may also become more annoying.] You're annoying. [Me: Thank you.]

There's a huge difference between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. At 9 o'clock, the Faculty of Science is bustling. At 9 o'clock, the Faculty of Arts is sleepy. [Student: No one's awake].

[Counting students] 3, 6, 9. Looks like I've to get better video clips to get you to attend.

[On sexual selection] There's selection in humans too, but we better not go into that.

Today's going to be a lot of [video] clips [Students: Yay! *laughs*] (Today there's)

[On moorhens] They're scratching like girls

[On paternity testing] 10 to 35 percent of the offspring are not sired by the father. That's in all socities. Not just decadent Western Societies... highest [rate was] in England.

Females tend to fantasise about other males at the time of ovulation... At the time of ovulation they prefer males with more angular features. When they are not ovulating, they prefer males with more feminine features.

Lung term partnership (long)

[On diopsids - flies, which he likes] I have to show at least some fly videos

[On mate choice in humans] Male terns: Instead of fish you give diamonds. [Professor: Not very healthy to eat] (Male terns give fish, humans)

[On female and male mate choice in humans] I personally think it's genetically determined... but most of you think it's a social construct.

Males with symmetrical ears run faster than males with asymmetrical ears. No, it's not because of aerodynamics.

[On beauty vs wealth in determining male attractiveness] Ugly but fabulously wealthy - can work. Just look at Donald Trump.

[On babies liking symmetrical female faces] Horny baby.

[Someone with only one earring in one ear on symmetrical faces] Now I know why babies like me. [Me: Then you should put one earring in each ear - symmetrical]

When you're invited to a party you only talk to certain people. You don't talk to the others. [Student: Like him - {he's} laughing.] Let's be realistic here.

Copulation in many animals is not a very big affiar. Swallows - they fly around. *claps hands* That was it.

It's a weird discman. It works better when spoilt.

The British are very statistical people... They have statistics in their blood.

[On Karl Pearson] He wrote so much that people during his time dind't know what he wrote.

I'll read you a short grandfather story... Listen, listen: this is the only time I'm gonna read a grandfather story in this course.

Have you been to the sixth storey of the Economics department? It is the only department in this faculty with photos of economists... after the lecture please make a beeline there (Why would the sociology department have photos of economists?!)

This is like throwing a dard at a board (dart)

[On an unbiased estimator] This could be a dart thrower who is really cock-eyed, or something like that.

Friday, March 18, 2005

"I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." - Sir Winston Churchill

***

From what I read, there is a concerted campaign to spread FUD about homosexuals and AIDS in Singapore.

No doubt, this is to acquire political capital to ram the casino through.

***





***

The administration of The Premier Institution of Social Engineering starts screwing people even before matriculation:

"OMG! NUS are such bloody pricks.

i received a letter from them yesterday night [Ed: Saturday night], opened it just now- they want a scholarship app by tues, complete with a principal's report!

HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?

when this is all over i am going to make a voodoo doll and label it 'NUS' and stick millions of pins in it.

seriously. if they screw over someone who hasn't even started freshman year, you've got something coming."

My suggestion: Go to SMU, and send NUS a letter telling them that

Reply: [A letter] like, "SCREW YOU!"


Perhaps this is so, so that in the future we won't complain so much about governmental inefficiency and indeed may appreciate its efficiency compared to NUS.

Then again my favourite year 4 Law Girl says that compared to Bristol, NUS is relatively efficient: "the sunday before sch term opened, exchange supervisor told me tat i cldnt take 4 outta the 5 moduels i had pre-selected

so which ones COULD i take? she also dunno
hv to wait and see... attend ALL the lessons i were interested in, see if they'll take me...

no such thing as add/drop some more
they dive right into syllabus so i had to miss lessons basically
in the end nothing was relaly "my choice"
did a mix of modules tat were left with available slots/ kind convenors"

And Maid Marian in Nottingham concurs: "if u think the nus admin sux, u hafta see notts. then u'll realise what a dream the nus ppl are
they lost my £2k cheque for hall fees then called me a university debtor"

Must be a UK University affliction.

Meanwhile my NTU friend says they blackmail you: if you owe NTU money, they won't tell you but they'll threaten you when exam results are out, refusing to give you your results unless you pay up.

***

Essay grumbling from someone else: "if only people could be graded according to blog content and style of writing"
If only

And on close reading: "i gotta admit, it does over-complicate matters sometimes, life would be easier without all these, but the whole point abt writing modules is to get you to write well about something even if u dont like it"
Good point. If you can write well about uninteresting rubbish you can write well about anything: "the true test of ability and fortitude is to do something u dont like professionally and well". But then this module is not actually about writing and critical thinking, but rather about close reading

Someone on my description of close reading: "it sounds like practical crit on crack"
Someone should go and close read Rorschach inkblots. Would be very interesting to see the results.

I think if there were genuinely something interesting, useful or significant to write about, I wouldn't mind it so much (if at all if there was a genuine problem or complication to analyse), but the thing is that we have nothing real to write about, and so have to come up with what 'problems' which are, at least to normal people, contrived and nonsensical, to dissect and analyse. Jerry Seinfeld might have come up with an excellent sitcom on "nothing", but writing an essay on nothing is much harder.

Perhaps "homework assignments" (ie essays written on specific, often trite questions) are usually uninteresting (especially when they are the umpteenth esaay you've read on the dangers of Science and Technology, all of which sound the same since the writers just mug the points and vomit them out come essay time), but almost all close reading essays are even worse, since they are about nothing (nothing that normal readers care about anyway).


"it's always in FASS or USP classes that i hear so many fako accents!
dun really get them in bizad much
esp Lit/Eng/Philo/Pol Sci haha"

Hmm. I don't notice that.


Module tips: "To those who cannot afford to do another exposure and have not done any SS module, you can do the SSA module Singapore Society. Sociology of Singapore, cynic's style. Very enjoyable, might I say."

SSA1201

"Module Title: SINGAPORE SOCIETY
Module Description: This module introduces students to critical developments in the development of Singapore as a society and nation-state. It enables students to develop skills in understanding and making sense of Singapore society. It also encourages them to develop alternative interpretations of the development of Singapore society. The topics include: the origins of Singapore, ideology and identity, ethnic relations, industrialization, family, gender, religion, the state and civil society. This is a Singapore Studies module and open to students from all faculties."

Sounds interesting indeed. Then again:

"EXPECTATIONS

3. Preparatory Work

a. For each lecture (readings on average 4 hours per week)

b. For each discussion group (additional 2 hours per week over and above the readings)

4. Assignment (1 major term essay assignment - 6 weeks to complete)"

Hmm.

I'm doing my compulsory propaganda module right now (it is probably the best of the 4 available this semester), but I might do this as an unrestricted elective one day. Unfortunately I only have 5 of them (UEs) to play around with. Ah well.

***

Saw this M$N nick:

"The most amazing healing service ever! Muslims converted, aids patients healed, and my hamster is healed!. Glory to GOD!"

Right.


The one with (the) crab(s) suggests

"why not start a [NUS] community for Wo-Hen? I bet you'll have all the girls and the gay men clamouring to join it!"

That would be the *possibly* gay men, not the gay men per se. But maybe I could find someone like Gavin or Carrot Top.


"apropos" sends along this "humorous article I read which reminds me of you":

You may be a fundamentalist atheist if...

I found parts of it humorous too (for one thing, by definition an atheist cannot be a fundamentalist), but I'm not sure if it was for the same reasons that he did.

***

OB markers for Singapore film-makers

Follow the tale of Martyn See Tong Ming who, on submitting a 26 minute documentary on Chee Soon Juan to the Singapore Film Festival, was told that it was a political film and thus illegal. He was then threatened with legal action unless he withdrew the film from the festival.

Various articles on 'political' films in Singapore and related topics (eg Royston Tan's being interrogated by police) are attached.


You break the rules, we break your heads, says MM Lee

"I can assure you that in Singapore, when we decide that they are breaking the rules of the game, the unspoken rules as to how we survive, how we have prospered, then either their head is broken or our bones are broken."

- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew issuing warning to SIA pilots at the World Brand Forum, CNA, Dec 2, 2003

***

Anal Sex According to the Word of God, Oral Sex According to the Word of God

"The Benefits of Swallowing - Drink of the Living Water

Aside from swallowing semen as a measure to prevent the waste and spillage of seed, ingesting ejaculate can have spiritual benefits, as we will see. Although the Old Testament makes reference to the bitterness of semen (And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water. [Numbers 5:24]), the New Testament casts the act of consuming ejaculate in a much more affirming light, as in the following passage, where Jesus speaks to the woman of Samaria about the gift of “living water”:

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." 11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?...15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back." (John 4:10-16)


“Living water” in this context refers to semen, which literally is the liquid of life. As Christ indicates, drinking of the “living water” provides a spiritual replenishment for the soul. When the woman asks Jesus where she can get this “water”, he tells her to fetch her husband, clearly with the intention of instructing her on how to fellate him and swallow his semen."


This is both hilarious and instructive, since anyone looking at the text with an open mind would see that their interpretations are at least as correct as commonly accepted ones (if not more so, in some places).

***

Stupid Vending Machine Flash - KPMG interns are too free...

I have found the NUS Temasek Hall Online Social Club - Lut's Haloscan comments thread!

TimeCopy 1.4 - "Timecopy will copy the time, date, timezone, and daylight saving information from your desktop PC to you PalmOS device at each hotsync. Palm clocks are known to drift a little (about 1 second per day), and this way, you don't need to worry about that anymore."
Better than SyncTime, and free too!

Ban Steven Lim from appearing on Singapore Television Petition - "This petition is to be send to Mediacorp to ban Steven Lim from appearing on tv. In case you do not know who he is, check out his site at stevenlim.net . (but warned: just make a brief short visit) What is the intention of banning him? Simple. He is a shame of all Singaporean, and an attention whore."

tower of babel in singapore - "city harvest church, the giant mother of a building in jurong, cost a whopping 47.6 MILLION DOLLARS to build. as they proudly proclaim on their website, the money took the church 4 years to raise, with only 45% of their congregation working. the rest are basically housewives, retirees and kids. WHAT THE FUCK?!!! to add insult to injury, they're bragging about the type of titanium cladding that frames the outside of the building, as its being the first and only in southeast asia. the other building with this sort of titanium facade in the world, is the Guggenheim. yes. the fucking Guggenheim museum. they're also going on about their having the first Broquard fountain in SEA as well. of course Jaques Broquard is the best fountainmaker in the world. and you'll see this fountain, in their impressive opening flash intro at their website, fondly termed 'The Gates of Heaven'. right. so we should go drown ourselves there after having donated all our money to them so they can pay off their Phillip Starck bathrooms huh? yup. you heard me. a church having toilets by phillip starck."
Ah well. If people want to buy Magic Stones, they should be allowed to do so (if there is freedom of information, of course).

Rape as a Capital Crime - "But, if rape was punishable as a capital crime, then you have the unique situation where a rapist realizes that is in his best interest to murder the victim. What are the benefits of leaving the victim alive? Nothing that I can think of, except for whatever utility the rapist gets from withholding murder (which since he just raped the victim, I'm assuming that the rapist is not altruistic, and therefore this won't apply). But the costs of not murdering are high - there is a witness to his crime. So murdering actually becomes the better strategy if rape is punished as a capital crime, since in so doing, it increases the rapist's chances of survival."


Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?

"Several influential commentators have suggested recently that democratization in developing countries produces political instability, ethnic conflict, and poor economic outcomes... These authors buttress their claims with examples of democratic reforms that led to economic chaos and eventually a collapse back into autocracy. Such anecdotal evidence can be problematic from two perspectives. First, it is not clear how universal the pattern is. Perhaps the vast majority of other countries have had more successful transitions. For example, we rarely hear in these accounts about Mauritius and Botswana, two long term African success stories that also happen to be democratic countries. Second, these anecdotal accounts leave the counterfactual unspecified. Perhaps countries would have been even worse off in the absence of democratic transitions.

Does social science back up the pundits’ claims? We show in this paper that the data do not support the view that democratization is bad for economic performance. Our analysis reveals that major democratic transitions have, if anything, a positive effect on economic growth in the short run. Contrary to the claims of Kaplan, Zakaria, and Chau, this is especially true for the poorest countries of the world and those that are marked by sharp ethnic divisions. Democratization tends to follow periods of low growth rather than precede them. Moreover, democratic transitions are associated with a decline in growth volatility. Systematic analysis therefore uncovers a picture that is considerably more favorable to democratization."

***


Quotes:

The level 200 [modules] noticeboard (2000)

I majored in Philosophy in my undergraduate days. Philosophy and Economics. They offered me honours in Philosophy and Economics. I chose Economics, which I think is a mistake, in retrospect (or)

[On picking random people from the phonebook not being a random sample of the population of Singapore] Some people don't have phones, you know. Either because they are too poor or because they have 10 handphones already. Can you imagine, 10 phones ringing at the same time?

This is where we move from Philosophy to Statistics. Philosophy is about how to move from the specific to the general... [Philosophy is] Very fun at night with the beer and such, but this is 2 o'clock.

The Moe'zart of mathematics (Mozart)

X bar will converse to μ (converge)

[On talking about convergence in probability] Textbooks don't put this in because then no one would want to buy them. But you must take this course as a pre-requisite, so I can afford to put this in.

[On the chi-square distribution] I have a Greek friend who did a PhD in mathematics. He said it's supposed to be pronounced as 'kee'. But I can't get used to it, so I'm pronouncing it as 'kai'. Most people, even in the US, pronounce it as 'kai'.

[From the person setting the exam] I don't know how much of what I teach you will come out in the exam.

We all wonder why NTUC got the 42,000 square foot compound in Marine Parade, which we all know is a PAP heartground. (stronghold)

[On provision shop owners being crowded out by NTUC] Another option you might not agree with is to turn their outlet into a Cheers. (outlets, Cheers)

[On Sheng Shiong surviving] Mr No Frills... he lives in a warehouse in Marsling. He stays upstairs. He says it saves money because at night he can watch over his stocks... he still drives his lorry.

[On NTUC] If they get out, who will get in? Cold Storage is owned by a Hong Kong group. They have a social mission. *laughs of derision from audience*

The Japanese never let you earn their money. They arrive - Nippon Airways, ANA. A Japanese bus will take them to the hotel - ANA or Daichi. They eat at Japanese restaurants, shop at Japanese outlets. They shop at duty free, then they go home... the Japanese are very insular.

NTUC... they are into everything. Even funerals.

We can talk until the cow comes home (cows come)

Have you been to a hypermarket? Err, I refuse to go in. I'm lost inside. Don't know what to buy.

[Student: I heard there are families that hangs out in Carrefour.] Singapore - we are so pathetic. We have no place to go... Go and shop, let your children frolic. Then you go home - tuition for the next day.

Statistics are like bikinis, what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is even more fascinating (written)

Tool park (toolpak)

Data anna'lie'sis (analysis)

The standard deviation should be calculated for the means of means. Just watch out for my grammar. (mean of the)

[On dragging in Excel] Ok. A little more... Ok, you made it.

I used the ver'rai'ance (variance)

[On the computer] Hopefully it is not hanged (has, hung)

[On dexterity in Excel] I do that a lot, but you can do it at home, to practise.

Let me just briefly summarise what we have did (done)

Lighter'rary digest (Literary)

The variance will shrunk (shrink)

[To me] Maybe I should do a photojournal. The pleasures of your body.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Until I have the time and energy for regular posts:



Part of the completely evil breakfast!


My current M$N Avatar


Kermit discovers the shocking truth!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dear Mdms,


NUS has always supported religious diversity. On the OSA website, one reads that NUS has many religious student societies: 1 Buddhist, 2 Catholic, 2 3 Christian, 1 Hindu, 1 Muslim, and 1 Sathya Sai. The various religions of Singapore are thus very well represented. However, according to the 2000 Singapore Census, 14.8% of the population of Singapore has no religion, making freethought the largest religious affiliation in Singapore after Buddhism and Islam.

We felt that it wasn't right that freethinkers, though being the third largest religious group (so to speak) in Singapore, were without a place in NUS to meet and talk to fellow freethinkers. And so we set up, on the IVLE the Freethinkers Community in NUS.

However, though we have managed to contact some fellow freethinkers via word of mouth, we have so far had no means of spreading the word to the NUS population at large. Most of the religious societies in NUS conduct publicity for their activities, so we have come up with some posters advertising our IVLE Community, and are seeking permission to put them up around campus this week.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you.


Yours faithfully,

*** *** ***
Seah Shuqi Gabriel
*** *** ***
*** *** ***

Freethinkers Community in NUS

***

Freethinkers' Community in NUS - We now have a spartan website, with screenshots showing how to join!
Look look look! i'm on the net!!

http://www.flaredance.com/productions_rhythmicity.html

Check under "primeval savagery", "sirens" (jane's piece yay!) and "metamorphosis".

***

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Nick Diamos

***

"young lesbians can't be trusted. they all turn straight in JC"


"I hate being the one to have to compile projects because I'm the only one in there who has a competant grasp of english."

Most competant (sic) indeed.

"u dunno pain till u've to compile a grp report with 2 or 3 viet gals in ur team
i actually gave up editting, submitted their rubbish, and got a B- <S
but it was either that or my sanity"

***

One of the two wretched texts I'm cracking my head trying to close read and do an essay on:

Where brain, body, and world collide (Daedalus, Spring 1998 by Clark, Andy)


On Close Reading:

Me: yeah comparative essay sucks

Someone: hahah i know
ive been there

Me: they should just scrap the writing module
or rework it so it's really about writing and critical thinking
rather than [what] it is currently

Someone: hahaha
well one can always hope

Me: yeah right
that'll mean they lose their job

close reading is useful
but to make it the focus of the whole module?!

... it shows you the current state of the humanities in academia
attacking windmills like Don Quixote - blowing up easily resolvable problems and contriving problems
having your head in the clouds while the world moves on below you

Someone: oh yes
sounds too familiar


Someone else: if by close reading, you mean analyzing the arguments of two different people and seeing where they break down, there's nothing wrong with that at all

Me: texts are only so long. no one will bother to insert in countless qualifications and elaborations
if you want to find problems you'll be able to find them if you dig deep enough, and blow them up when normal people would happily resolve, harmonise or rationalise them

Someone else: 'The complication for the motive can simply be that applying the theory to a particular ad unlocks the hidden meaning of the ad, or else demonstrates the sleeper effect, or whatever.'

Me: hidden meaning!
ooh. have you seen any black helicopters?

Analyse arguments - I do that all the time
so it's not that I don't like doing that

if you have to do close reading to find hidden meaning to an ad, then there's something wrong
ad makers don't insert hidden meanings for close readers to find
they insert explicit meanings for target audiences to absorb

I doubt ad makers are so free as to insert hidden meanings for people like you to dissect

Someone else: too bad. i feel sorry for you.
back to my paper.

Me: back to essay

***

ABC - Learn the alphabet in a very unique way.
I first linked this in May 2003, then it was down for a long time. Miraculously, it has now reappeared!
"I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark." - Dick Gregory

***

FCINUS (Freethought Community in NUS)

"Event Title: Is a relationship with God ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY??

Organizer: NUS Campus Crusade for Christ (NUSCCC)

Description: Nowadays, it seems to be fashionable to be "God-less". Why do I need God? After all, isn't God just something NICE TO HAVE?? Life is fine without one for all these years anyway....But is "Free-thinking" really a logically acceptable way to live? Come and find out for yourself, and decide after the meeting - IS IT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR MANKIND TO KNOW GOD??"

The time is now, the day is here!

To no one's surprise, this event is organised by the CCC. I notice that they used the words "logically acceptable". Well, the last time the had the temerity to claim that they would show "scientifically why god exists and why jesus loves you", and it turned out to be a bait-and-switch (what's new?).

(Those interested in finding out more or in aiding the war effort should contact me on ICQ/M$N, drop me a mail or leave a comment below)

***

Mathematics - Counting

Question: If one rolls a 10 sided die twice and multiplies the results of the rolls, how many unique results can one potentially get?

Apparently the answer is 42 - one person coded a program to get this result; 2 others used brute force method (listing everything out).



***

Overheard

"The trick is not in blindly following every management fad that surfaces whenever some enterprising guru invents a new set of principles to enrich himself - yet another variation of some seven pillars of wisdom."

"Retirement is being able to say what your former colleagues would love to utter themselves but are too shy to."

- Former Singapore Airlines CEO Cheong Choong Kong


"The discovery that tendencies to altruism are shaped by benefits to genes is one of the most disturbing in the history of science. When I first grasped it, I slept badly for many nights, trying to find some alternative that did not so roughly challenge my sense of good and evil. Understanding this discovery can undermine commitment to morality - it seems silly to restrain oneself if moral behavior is just another strategy for advancing the interests of one's genes. Some students, I am embarrassed to say, have left my courses with a naïve notion of the selfish-gene theory that seemed to them to justify selfish behavior, despite my best efforts to explain the naturalistic fallacy." - Professor Randolph Nesse


On home 'ownership' in Singapore:

"It is not ownership. It is a 99-year lease with a myriad of conditions." - Singapore Serf in LiveJournal

***

Conversations

Friend: hey the [writing] conference timetable has a "kimberly" on it
that's not u right

why is your msn nick 'kimberly'?
isn't ur name gabriel

Me: haha you don't know?
look at my msn pic

Friend: who is that guy
power rangers

Me: it's a girl lah

Friend: oh i see... u know after seeing your favourite long haired prince and descartes pictures, as well as ur own long hair, no wonder i thought this power rangers girl is a guy too :P

so her name is kimberly... ok
so that kimberly in our timetable is a girl?
hahaha... i thought she's a guy too

Someone else on reading that: amy jo johnson does NOT look like descartes or wohen nankan


Me quoting a review of NUS modules to a Chemical Engineering student: This module is really very 'free'. Basically you can skip all the lectures and still won't be at a disadvantage.
can skip USP mods meh

Someone: yah i skip all the *** [lectures and tutorials]
free topic mah

Me: do they notice you skipping?

Someone: yes of course. the prof knows

Me: he doesn't mind ah

Someone: i don't know! i haven't seen him in 2 months.
he hasn't sent me any threatening mails

Me: no wonder you're always so free

Maybe I should set up a page reviewing the NUS modules I've done. Then again I already have enough incriminating things online, heh.

***

Frilly skirts

I asked Screwed Up Girl why so many girls wore frilly skirts. Her answer: "They make girls feel like princesses".

Now, even if I didn't know her to be the Purveyor of Inaccurate Information, I would be suspicious at this kind of cock - there is no other adjective in English, Hokkien or all the other tongues of men for this - answer, especially since I think it makes them look more like curtains. And so I took this question before a distinguished panel:

Critic 1 did not know and thought it made them look like "cupcake dolls". Now, for all that I call her "my No. 1 fan: She with dyed past-shoulder length hair that used to be rebonded, a serious attitude problem, curses freely and loves to wear dominatrix-style pumps, but who disavows the title of "ah lian" (tamade to you too)", at least she doesn't wear frilly skirts, so there's a point in her favour.

Critic 2 said she and her friend were discussing this, and said they didn't know. She also said frilly skirts were "stupid and unflattering"; "those skirts are damn ugly".

Critic 3 postulated that "celebrities wear and look good and they hope by wearing it they'll look, especially good or something".

Then again maybe I asked the wrong crowd. Critics 1-3 would never wear frilly skirts. Maybe I need to talk to some SACSALs (Shrill, Anorexic, Chinese-Speaking Ah Lians) (purely for research purposes, of course).

***

The Muslim Exception

heathcliff24 gets acquainted with the Muslim Exception:

"The father: YOUR DOGS ARE DISTURBING US. WE ARE MUSLIMS, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, YOU STUPID? WHY DON'T YOU GO INSIDE?

I: The dogs ARE ON THEIR LEASH! Besides, we came here first, there are so many empty seats elsewhere. Why did you choose the one beside us?

The father: So what?"

***

Handsome Boy Steven Lim

Steven Lim updates:

It seems he now offers 5 services (up from 3). The new ones:

- Express Courier/ Delivery Services
- Webpage Conceptualization, Design and Creation Services (Seeing his site, err... No thanks)

New products:

- Steven Lim's autographed http://www.stevenlim.net T-shirts!!!! (One has a picture of him in a 'snow hat')
- Couple T-shirts - T-shirts with the couple's picture on them ($60 a pair?! Wth. I can get them much cheaper elsewhere. And the samples look like they have him and his 16 year old girlfriend on them)

The prize for the "Find Steven Lim" Digital Photo Contest is $500. Wah, maybe I should try to take part.

***

Technology

I was observing my brother in law browsing through his collection of 459 mostly blur ('artistic') pictures in iShit (or whatever it's called), and noticed that, more than the lack of a scroll whell, more so than that of a right mouse button, was greatly hindering his progress.

How many Mac users are acquainted with the joys of scroll wheels, I wonder.


LangaList Std Edition 2005-03-07: Cheap Shot?

"
In the story about using an install program to uninstall you remarked "Using a 'setup' program to *UN*install software might seem strange, Roy, but it makes perfect sense when you remember that Office is from Microsoft, the company that makes you use the 'Start' menu to stop your PC.

Raymond Chen (a Microsoft engineer) has a Microsoft blog ( http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2003/07/22/54559.aspx ) where he talks about many things and this is one he has mentioned in the past. This action is not by chance or perversion, but the result of a lot of user testing. Users would go to the Start button when they want to shut down. It is like a home base.

Microsoft is not perfect, but when it comes to responding to customers and users, I believe they have no peer.


When I was back in the world of corporate publishing, and tracking the minutia of PC companies, Microsoft was spending more on user testing than any other software company--- bar none. I have no reason to believe that that's changed.

Small example: A decade ago, Microsoft found that users were intimidated by long streams of startup messages from the PC as different components woke up and came on line; and so Microsoft hid them behind a startup graphic. (You really only need to see the startup messages when something's going wrong.) For many years, the Windows startup screen was derided by the Linux community as a sign of Windows' wimpishness. Most distros of Linux continued to proudly flash a text message from every tiny subsystem or software component as they woke up or shut down. ("Probing SCSI..." "Found CPU..." "Init: entering runlevel 5"... etc.) But now--- surprise!--- more and more Linuxes are hiding this complexity from the end user; finally recognizing that most of the time, for most of the users, those messages are just so much screen clutter. In short: Microsoft was right.

Microsoft also was right about the location and function of the Start button; in fact, it's been copied on almost all the non-Windows graphical interfaces, too, including most Linux GUIs."

***

String theory

Escape from the universe

"The universe is destined to end. Before it does, could an advanced civilisation escape via a "wormhole" into a parallel universe? The idea seems like science fiction, but it is consistent with the laws of physics and biology. Here's how to do it:

Create a baby universe

According to inflation, just a few ounces of matter might suffice to create a baby universe. This is because the positive energy of matter cancels out the negative energy of gravity. If the universe is closed, then they cancel out exactly. In some sense, the universe may be a free lunch, as Guth has emphasised. Strange as it may seem, it requires no net energy to create an entire universe. Baby universes are in principle created naturally when a certain region of space-time becomes unstable and enters a state called the "false vacuum," which destabilises the fabric of space-time. An advanced civilisation might do this deliberately by concentrating energy in a single region. This would require either compressing matter to a density of 1080g/cm3, or heating it to 1029 degrees kelvin.

Send a nanobot to recreate civilisation

An advanced civilisation might want to send enough information through the wormhole to create a "nanobot," a self-replicating atomic-sized machine, built with nanotechnology. It would be able to travel at near the speed of light because it would be only the size of a molecule. It would land on a barren moon, and then use the raw materials to create a chemical factory which could create millions of copies of itself.... these robot probes would create huge biotechnology laboratories. The DNA sequences of the probes' creators would have been carefully recorded, and the robots would have been designed to inject this information into incubators, which would then clone the entire species. An advanced civilisation may also code the personalities and memories of its inhabitants and inject this into the clones, enabling the entire race to be reincarnated."

***

Links

Sleeping Beauty - "In 19th-century England, Victorian publishers further sanitized fairy tales, toning down the violence yet again and simplifying the narratives. Victorian readers wanted these stories to be charming, to reflect the gender roles of the time, and above all to instruct proper upper- and middle-class children in appropriate morality. Innuendo replaced the overt and troubling activity of carnal sex and violence . . . but as modern writers from Angela Carter to Marina Warner have pointed out, these underlying themes are tenacious. Looking at the original German language version of the Grimms' "Little Briar Rose," Heinz pulled out a staccato list of suggestive language: the hedge is "penetrated," Briar Rose is "pricked," and she sleeps not in a shrine or a wooded cottage but enclosed within a phallic tower."

The USB Auditor - "With the USB Auditor you can immediately begin capturing critical data that gives you instant answers to the who and what regarding all USB ports in your organization
The USB Auditor is a non-intrusive clientless software solution that captures the critical data that you need from each USB port. The USB Auditor creates a report displaying the USB devices currently connected to your network and those that were recently connected. For even more convenience, the USB Auditor can export this report to an MS Excel file pre configured with the most commonly used queries."
I'm sure the SAF's MSD would like to get its hands on this software to stop the bothersome dongles (ie Thumbdrives) (heh heh) almost essential for daily work in many SAF offices that pose a grave security threat.

'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits' - "A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year."

Angelina's Lesbian Sex Confessions - "Hollywood beauty Angelina Jolie has boasted that she is an expert in lesbian sex. Tomb Raider star Angelina, who is bisexual, says she knows what women like."
For some reason I was amused by this

It’s Not Dangerous - "Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career"

Calvin and Hobbes archive from Nov 1985 to Dec 1995

***

NUS stuff

"Event Title: Social Services Sector: The Next Pillar of Growth- An NKF Perspective
Description: There are myths and there are myths about the social services sector.

These are perennially poor organisations that survive on the vagaries of human compassion. There are no structures or business models in the sector.

No good salaries, no career growth, and no scope for specialists. In fact, philanthropy and career just does not go together. It is the place to be if you are an industry reject, or if you are benevolent and compassionate, but not interested in success.

In his talk, NKF Chief Executive Officer Mr TT Durai will shred all these myths and discuss a lot more – on the business of charity, about career prospects in the sector, volunteerism, and regarding the importance of growth of the sector. He will discuss how you can earn a good living and, at the same time, do your bit in supporting humanity." [Ed: Emphases mine]

All is made clear.


I have a classmate who, every half a minute or so, makes a half-humming sort of sound in his throat, or seems to half-mutter a syllable. Quite disturbing.


Quotes:

Morning class. [The] mid-term is over. Some of you don't want to come to class. It's alright.

They ban smoking on the campus. It is very costly to you. You go all over the campus looking for secluded places to smoke.

You want a break? Ok, come back in 2 minutes.

[On a level 2000 module] I'm doing a lot of things in this lecture that cover things in level 3000.

[On monogamy (?)] Gibbons. They have these really interesting songs to tell each other about what happened last night.

This is an instable situation (unstable)

[Student: There's almost no cost to siring a child] At the age of 80? You just drop dead... get a heart attack [while in the act of congress]... Risk of death during childbirth or conception is low... unless it's a very timid male. He dies from the horror [of witnessing childbirth]. 2 chances to get a heart attack.

Pushing off all the little deers (deer)

One male can usually fertilise many males (females)

Males are more likely [than females] to die. [Student: Why?] There's a whole lot of arguments about that. Because they act like idiots, mostly. [Someone: {They} work harder... women: relax at home the whole day]

I have lots of stupid things to do. Careers 2005 fair: People asking me what's the difference between chemistry and applied chemistry. At the back of my head [I'm thinking]: I have absolutely no idea. Fortunately I had a book there.

[On a journal article] Unfortunately I'm not allowed to send it to you due to copyright reasons. You can download it yourself for private use, which I'm sure you're all dying to do.

You cannot mist it (miss)

It is envy'saged that in the future everything will be competitive (envisaged)

[On naked molerats at the Singapore Zoo] You can use the queen molerat lying on the poor, oppressed males.

A cheating male... can lay his own eggs [Professor: Males don't lay eggs.] Oh.

The female isn't the oppressed one. It's the males. They all want to be queens. [Student 2: Huh?] Oops. [Student 3: Freud's heart would've been broken] (???)

[On the naked mole rats] They're the world's most beautiful animals. Ugly in video and ugly in reality too.

[Video narrator: The Queen prevents female workers from reproducing by producing a hormone in her urine, which the females get exposed to when they use the colony latrine.] So be wary of public bathrooms.

[On worker ants being female] You can astonish your family by saying: 'That's a female ant.' When they ask how you know: 'I look at the private parts.'

[On the fallaciousness of the common naive moralistic tales of hardworking and subservient ants living in harmony and working for the common good, and the implication of this being a laudable model for human societies] So it's a war out there. You think they're all working for the common good, but it's a war.

[On the secret war in ant colonies between workers and the Queen to skew the sex ratio either way] I always have to put this in. From an Evolutionary point of view it makes perfect sense. Intelligent design cannot explain this. This is what good science can do [- explain and predict]... Yes, natural selection rules. *Throws a punch into the air*

They might be es'strange'd brothers (estranged)

If your mother comes up to you and wants to borrow a hundred dollars, you will lend it to her quite easily. If a stranger in the street comes up, you won't borrow him a hundred dollars. [Student: That's because you can track down {your mother}... [Students from] business administration... (lend)

[Me on genetic altruism in the Great Apes: How do you know it's genetically based?] Because they don't have 'Our Shared Values' on the back of their notebooks.

[On R. Nesse being disturbed that altruism was shaped by Evolution] I don't believe he slept badly. When I first found out about it I thought it was very interesting... knowing the future of altruism is assured, I sleep better at night.

Snapper / Snaypearl (Snapple)

You can read as many modules as you want to, to make your fees worth... to make your money's worth (get)

There was a year when the President of the Economics Society was not an Economics major. He was a Political Science major.
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