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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

"The creationists have this creator who is evil, who is small-minded, who is malevolent, and who is not very bright and can't even get his science right. Creationists have made their creator in their own image, in my view." - Ian Plimer

Random Playlist Song: Bartok - Romanian Folk Dances 4 - Song Of The Mountain Horn

There's only so much even Bartok can do to ruin a folk tune.

***

I fear that when I return from New York there will be no more jobs left, so I will have to resort to sweeping the streets.

***

Someone: anyway, i think the fact that fairy tales ruin girls may be largely due to bowdlerization and Disneyfication... ever since I was a kid I was already wondering why the Disney versions avoided all the sad endings...when in fact it was the sad endings I like...I was a really morbid kid...I used my stuffed toys to hold candlelight vigils for the Little Match Girl...

Said person was also surprised that I'd read Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince", "The Birthday of the Infanta" and "The Nightingale and the Rose" (though I didn't realise it was Wilde who wrote them, or recognise the titles either, it having been a long time since I'd read them).

Just because I don't look for meaning where none exists doesn't mean I don't or can't enjoy literary works!


Someone else: i love the quiz

Me: which one?
there're so many

Someone else: er
the moral thingie

Me: cheh
I thought it was the "what brand of sanitary pad are you"

Someone else: lol got that one meh? where where? i wanna take!

Me: haha
don't have
but there's a tampon one

o.b.
You're quite the popular one aren't ya? You're
o.b.! INDEED.

<<What Brand of Tampon Are You?{w/ pics}>>
brought to you by Quizilla

***

Enche Marketing Sdn Bhd

"In line with our expansion to foreign countries, we seek for individuals who are very original, innovative, resourceful in finding solutions, and able to work creatively within the areas that they are assigned to:

Blogger
(Selangor - Shah Alam)

Requirements:

We are on the hunt for someone to blog about current affairs and sensational issues, whether in relation to politics, social issues, economic affairs etc. You must have at least 6 months experience blogging. You must have IT or technology interest, know-how and experience with fantastic research capabilities and ability to source for issues to blog about."

***

More cryptic messages:


Sender's email: ***@***.***

Subject: Not for you..

Message: One screwed up fool
finds many friends.
seeks to impress those
already with the bends.


Huh?!

***

mollymeek: An Educational Entry

"Molly had previously praised the idea of using The Straits Times for educational purposes. Indeed, Molly learns a lot from the paper and Molly believes that she should not be as selfish as to keep her knowledge to herself.

Not long ago, Molly was appealing to the CNA to use simpler English and Molly is glad that the ST’s Chua Mui Hoong is setting a good example for the CNA to follow (refer to the article, “Want political change? Go beyond words”), especially with the Speak Good English Campaign around...

What is a reasonable position? Look at Chua’s well-crafted remark: “We remain in our cosy corners—in the media, in academia, in the arts—and grumble.” Notice the hint that academics “grumble”—see how a boring word like “discourse” is avoided. More importantly, notice the term “cosy corners.” The word “corners” effectively conveys the meaning of the word “marginalization” (for Molly knows that corners occur only at the margins) without taking up the radical and unreasonable connotation the word “marginalization” has. The word “cosy” is equally well chosen and very insightful at the same time. There are radical people who claim that people who grumble in the media or in the arts often do so in fear. There are also people who claim that local artists are often too poor and lack funding. However, the word “cosy” debunks these radical ideas. Hence, the statement is reasonable.

Students, when you begin writing with the finesse and subtlety of Chua, you will get a distinction for this course.

Remember: it is important to be reasonable because we live in a conservative society."

Heh heh. I almost miss reading the ST.

***

Public Service Announcement from Charlotte:

"Anyone remember the little Indian woman at the corner traffic light at Mandrin Hotel, opposite Hereen? The one which comes up to you and tries to sell you little packets of tissue paper so that she can pay for her cancer operation? Yeps. Her.

Charlotte noticed her at Bukit Merah Central today, at the staircase behind Brinda's (we provide greased Indian cuisine!). Looks like the Little Tissue Paper Woman was a regular at that area. In about an hour, she had gone through about half a pack of cigarettes. Now you know where the money she earns from selling those tissue paper goes to. To fund the cancer operation which she will sooner, or later, have to take, whether or not she has cancer now."

***

"I do think that it's so much better to be a guy than a gal, at least when it comes to shopping for working attire.

It's just so easy for guys, just a standard shirt and pants. That's it. Ok, and probably a need to ensure that the colours don't clash.

For ladies, we've to decide whether we want to wear skirt, pants or dress. As for the top, should it be just a simple top, a blouse, or a shirt. Then, we have to decide if we need to throw in a blazers or a cardigan to look smarter. After that, we have to make sure that the top and the bottom matches, and whether we need to throw in an accessory here and a belt there. Next, it will be the shoes. How high the heels should be, should the shoes be platform shoes or court shoes etc."

Pity.

***

Dance, White Boy, Dance - "Just about everyday... I walk into this room and catch my roommate dancing to some retarded song. So I thought I'd try to catch him on camera... If you get to see it, it's gonna be hilarious."
I am informed that the songs he dances to are "everybody dance now by c&c music factory" and "in da club by 50 cent"

First Annual National Brain Conference - Does the College Experience Damage Your Brain? - "poor diet, binge drinking, sleep deprivation, and substance abuse are facts of life at nearly all of America’s colleges and universities. Recent brain research documents how the college experience can take a terrible toll on a student’s brain—and what can be done to reverse this damage and develop the total potential of the brain."
Ah, thankfully we are immune from such Western Decadence in the Premier Institution of Social Engineering!

Friday, May 13, 2005

"[Abstract art is] a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered." - Al Capp

Random Playlist Song: Psychic Lover - Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger

***



"A brassiere of elemental summoning. Yes, that's real blue flames, the sort you get from complete combustion on a bunsen burner."

(from Patch)

***

There's finally a YourSay focus group I can go for (all individuals aged 18-40) and it has to be when I'm in the States. Gah.

***

Moralistic objections to evolution

"Evolution is a hugely controversial theory in some circles. In part this is because it seems to go against certain interpretations of some religious doctrines. However, people also object to the Theory of Evolution or find it distasteful because of the implications they feel it has for morality. There are 5 objections that are most often heard: If humans evolved from animals, and aren’t radically different from them qualitatively, why do we need morality? If selfishness is good for you, as evolution seems to imply, why should we be altruistic towards others? If the concept of memes, which follows from evolution, proposes that morality too, evolves, does that not cheapen morality? Since evolution is based on the theory of the survival of the fittest, why should we help those who lose out? And finally, doesn’t accepting evolution also endorse Social Darwinism? In reality, these concerns are misplaced and arise either from a misunderstanding of evolution or an idealisation of morality...

If humans were descended from animals and aren’t significantly qualitatively different from them, why then do we need morals? After all, animals lack knowledge of what is right and wrong - if we aren’t very different from them, why should we behave morally? That animals do not have complex moral systems is not in doubt, but then they do not have complex culture or brains as well, so it would be hard for complex morals to take root or persist. However, simple rules analogous to morals are observable in our primate relatives, especially in chimpanzees, the closest living relatives of humans. When chimpanzees are aware that they are related to each other, they do not mate – this is a chimpanzee version of the incest taboo in humans.

Similar rules of right and wrong can be found in other primates. Dominant macaque monkeys were found to have some respect for the property rights of subordinate ones, and Rhesus monkeys on Gayo Santiago who did not alert the rest of their troupe to the discovery of food stashes were attacked by other members of the troupe. Of course, many counter examples to these could be found, but then the same applies in human cultures – most morals are not universal, and vary from society to society and time period to time period. It might also be asked if these animals really are following notions of right and wrong; could they just be following their natural instincts? We cannot peer into animal minds to find the true answer, but then the same question might be asked of humans: from whence comes our morality? Is our sense of what is right and what is wrong just an instinct, like in animals? Whatever the answer might be, it is clear that one cannot blandly state that animals are amoral while humans have morals."

***

Questions & Answers: From whence

"From Marty Robinson: “Last week you quoted Sir Christopher Wren as referring to ‘The Ailes, from whence arise Bows or Flying Buttresses to the Walls of the Navis.’ I’m sorry to learn that Sir Christopher used the redundancy from whence.”

This is another of those grammatical shibboleths, like avoiding a plural verb with none or not splitting one’s infinitives, that are open to linguistic debate, to put it mildly. The argument against this form is that whence already includes the idea of coming from some place, so that including from makes it tautological...

And even a brief look at historical sources shows that from whence has been common since the thirteenth century. It has been used by Shakespeare, Defoe (in the opening of Robinson Crusoe: “He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York; from whence he had married my mother”), Smollett, Dickens (in A Christmas Carol: “He began to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the adjoining room, from whence, on further tracing it, it seemed to shine”), Dryden, Gibbon, Twain (in Innocents Abroad: “He traveled all around, till at last he came to the place from whence he started”), and Trollope, and it appears 27 times in the King James Bible (including Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help”).

Though Dr Johnson objected to it in his Dictionary of 1755, calling it “A vicious mode of speech” (he meant it was reprehensible, not depraved or savage), most objections to it are no earlier than the twentieth century. One reason may be that its critics are unaware of its long pedigree."

***

Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics - "International surveys reveal wide differences between the views held in different countries concerning the causes of wealth or poverty and the extent to which people are responsible for their own fate. At the same time, social ethnographies and experiments by psychologists demonstrate individuals' recurrent struggle with cognitive dissonance as they seek to maintain, and pass on to their children, a view of the world where effort ultimately pays off and everyone gets their just deserts. This paper offers a model that helps explain: i) why most people feel such a need to believe in a "just world"; ii) why this need, and therefore the prevalence of the belief, varies considerably across countries; iii) the implications of this phenomenon for international differences in political ideology, levels of redistribution, labor supply, aggregate income, and popular perceptions of the poor. The model shows in particular how complementarities arise endogenously between individuals' desired beliefs or ideological choices, resulting in two equilibria. A first, "American" equilibrium is characterized by a high prevalence of just-world beliefs among the population and relatively laissez-faire policies. The other, "European" equilibrium is characterized by more pessimism about the role of effort in economic outcomes and a more extensive welfare state. More generally, the paper develops a theory of collective beliefs and motivated cognitions, including those concerning "money" (consumption) and happiness, as well as religion."
Apparently this can be downloaded free of charge by people with IPs from 'Developing Nations'. So Singapore is considered a 'Developing Nation', it seems :)

Altruistic Punishment May Explain Political Behavior - "A new UC Davis study about the origin of cooperation may shed light on why nations punish other countries for human rights violations or why people sanction those who do not vote. Political scientist James Fowler has created a mathematical model of human behavior that suggests that "moralists" who voluntarily pay a cost to punish "misbehavers" can come to dominate a population and ensure cooperation among its members."

The Right's Bitter Pill - "The surreal situation then, at the 40th anniversary of the Griswold decision, is that a potent force in American politics wishes to deny women basic contraception. Such egregious policies give the embattled reproductive freedom movement an excellent political opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of the contemporary anti-abortion movement. As is becoming clearer and clearer, the reproductive freedom movement—while believing in legal abortion—works to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The anti-abortion movement—while opposing abortion—promotes anti-contraceptive policies that virtually assure there will be more unwanted pregnancies and therefore, more abortions."

SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator - "SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence. One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to conferences that you suspect might have very low submission standards. A prime example, which you may recognize from spam in your inbox, is SCI/IIIS and its dozens of co-located conferences (check out the very broad conference description on the WMSCI 2005 website). Using SCIgen to generate submissions for conferences like this gives us pleasure to no end. In fact, one of our papers was accepted to SCI 2005! See Examples for more details."

Fairy tales may end in horror - "Young girls who enjoy classic romantic fairy tales like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are at greater risk of becoming victims of violent relationships in later life, a British researcher says. A study of both parents of primary school children and women who have been involved in domestic abuse claims than those who grew up reading fairy tales are likely to be more submissive as adults."

God names next 'Chosen People'; It's Jews Again. 'Oh shit,' say Jews - ""According to the Bible, God promised to bless Abraham and those who came after him," said Contreau. "Who knows, maybe that sounded good at the time, or maybe 'blessed' meant something different back then, like 'Short periods of prosperity interrupted by insufferable friggin' chaos.' Whatever, I think it's safe to say that people didn't know what they were agreeing to."... In Jerusalem, Jewish leaders said they will propose an amendment to God's Law prohibiting a people from having to serve more than two consecutive terms. "Hopefully, G-d will hear our prayer," said Meyerson. "No, wait, that's what got us into this.""

Misfortune Cookie: Philip Yeo is a fucking lanjiao - "Hey, don't blame me for the title of this post. Philip Yeo say himself one. Philip wants to allow ad hominem attacks but not allow criticism of his work."

Download the Internet

***

Number of variations on "Descartes" I've heard this last semester:

1) Day'car
2) Days'cart
3) Discuss
4) Dee cart

Hmm. I thought it was more.
"There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers." - William James

***

The Mystic Pig


I asked the mystic pig: Are you haram?
and the mystic pig said: Naahh

Ask the Mystic Pig another question
created by ixwin


***

Someone on someone else: "he just throws big names and i dont understand wtf he's saying

i hate ppl like ***
if you really understand something you should be able to explain it simply and clearly without resorting to using big words and big names to support your argument
ppl like him just wanna act smart and show off"

***

New MSN Hotmail Terms of Use:

"You also may not use it in a way that harms us or our affiliates, resellers, distributors, service providers and/or suppliers (collectively, the "Microsoft Parties"), or any customer of a Microsoft Party."

Does complaining about Microsoft or Hotmail and how they suck count?

***

Sex in car man loses licence - "The Romanian man who crashed his car while his girlfriend gave him oral sex has lost his licence for 90 days... Police say Filip, 19, and his girlfriend Andrea Popescu, 18, were so carried away that they even continued in front of spectators after the crash."

Hilary Hahn fanart - OMG

Hobbits Are Very Very Gay: The Evidence - "These pages are very photo intensive and may take awhile to load. I don't own the rights to any of the characters because my last name isn't Tolkien and I don't own any of the people because this year is later than 1863. These pages are meant to be funny and point out that it isn't just Elijah. All the hobbits are very very gay!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it." - H. L. Mencken

Random Playlist Song: Richter - Haydn Sonata Hob. XVI 32, I

***

I was asked to go to KL this weekend, but declined, since there'd be nothing interesting to do but eat and make fun of Malaysia and Malaysians.

There is a "Windsor convalescent home" near NUS. I find its name quite disturbing.

I've actually found a Singaporean MMPR fan a year older than me; he has a worn MMPR: TM poster in his room.


The July 2002 posts have been restored.

Excerpts:

"People like to refer to psychiatric cases as "P" cases. This might be due to laziness, but I suspect that it is actually an unconscious effort to distance themselves from the ugly reality - that people do go crazy while in indenture. No one cares, or chooses not to. It is never in the press, it is chucked aside and the only way you might ever see the victims is by visiting the SAF ward in Alexandria. And the ever useful US Army Policy on Gays is applied - "Don't ask, don't tell"."

"Through the drudgery of it all, however, there was one bright light. None other than Private Lun Yaodong, Clarence! Yes, this irrepressible personage showed up on Monday complaining of chest pains - evidently doing light fatigue work for National Day stresses him so, but he still has time, through all the strain, to spike his hair - so he was strapped to the ECG machine. What should I have done? Used the rectal thermometer on him? Shot him with a 16 gauge venula?"

"I'm thinking of getting new nametags for my No 4 shirts. "S Q Seah" is just a touch impersonal. I'm looking for something with a bit more character. Maybe I'll even get one saying "Agagooga"."

***

Someone: oh... what char do u play anyway

Me: PBEM or real life [Ed: Meaning real life D&D] or exalted

Someone: real life, u're a Level 14 Cynic?

Me: GAH

Someone: real life, i'm a lvl 20 Hedonist :P

***

Catherine Lim - Utopia or dystopia?

"A nation of politically naive citizens can threaten Singapore's survival. It is time the Government teaches politics and independent thinking to its people.

THE interested observer of the Singapore political scene cannot but notice the emergence of a new model of People's Action Party governance. After 40 years of PAP rule, through the leadership of two prime ministers and in the first year of the third, the emerging model carries the strong endorsement of the past prime ministers and is shaping into a blueprint for future governance."

[more]

Democratic centralism can only take us so far.

***

Vatican announces new communion wafer designs

"In an attempt to broaden the appeal of the Catholic Church and encourage more people to partake of Holy Communion, the Vatican has released details of several new Communion Wafers, to be used alongside the traditional Host.

- Classic - the traditional Host wafer remains unchanged (apart from the addition of essential vitamins and minerals, which are believed to smooth the transition to human flesh)
- Raisin-filled - taking note of the success of various breakfast cereals, this wafer has a plump, juicy raisin inserted into it during the manufacturing stage, to appeal to the health-conscious communee.
- Choc-chip - sprinkled with delicious chips of yummy dark chocolate, this Host is a great introduction wafer for beginners.
- Teddy - same as the Classic wafer, but pre-cut into a cute teddy-bear shape, for the younger members of the congregation. An excellent way to entice recalcitrant kiddies to Church on a cold Sunday.
- Piccante - flavoured with black pepper and chili, this gives the miracle more of a gastronomic kick.
- Inspirational - embossed with short Bible verses, and Holy or humourous messages such as "I died for you", "Don't bite me" and "I am LORD"."

***

According to Nationmaster, Singapore ranks:

- Last in the world for "Agriculture - Root and tuber production (per capita)", "Labor - Regulation" and "Labor - Regulation - Firing"

- 3rd last for "Economy - Industrial production growth rate" (we're shrinking by 9.8%) and "Health - Infant mortality rate"

- 4th last for "Labor - Regulation - Employment Conditions" and "People - Total fertility rate" (maybe the 2 are linked)

- 6th last for "Disasters - Tsunami - Funds pledged (per $ GDP)" and "Health - Plastic surgery procedures" (I guess slimming and bust enhancement doesn't count)

Meanwhile, we're:

- top in "Economy - Net government saving" (I wonder why we're not using our hefty surplus), "Health - Tobacco - Cigarrete imports (per $ GDP)" and "Health - Tobacco - Cigarrete imports (per capita)"

- 2nd in "Crime - Executions (per capita)" (I thought we were top, but the Bahamas has that dubious honour), "Military - Expenditures - dollar figure (per capita)" (Israel's first)

- 3rd in "Democracy - Presidential elections - Registered voter turnout" (Eh? Well, not for non-Presidential ones), "Education - Library members" (This is *not* in per-capita terms, which makes it even more surprising) and "Health - Tobacco - Cigarrete imports" (This is in absolute terms so - ahem)

- 4th in "Democracy - Parliamentary elections - Registered voter turnout" (They've got to be kidding. As defined by "the proportion of registered voters who actually voted", they claim we had a 94.6% turnout in 2001)

- 5th in "Food - McDonalds restaurants (per $ GDP)" (Defined as "Number of McDonalds restaurants. Per $100 million of GDP) and "Government - Suffrage" (We tie for highest age of enfranchisement in the world)

***

A Men's Room Monologue

The smoking scalp? - "Last year, I noticed a presidential trend, that seemed unpresidentially fetishistic, and began collecting images."
Someone: my my, you have a fetish similar to George Bush... at least you two can now overcome your political differences with this common fetish

This chilli is so hot, you'd have to drink 250,000 gallons of water just to put out the fire - ""We live in an extreme world," explains Blair Lazar, a hot sauce creator. "And I make extreme foods.' In his hands is the hottest spice in the world, an ultra-refined version of chilli powder so fiery that customers must sign a waiver absolving him of any liability if they are foolish enough to try it."

Town celebrates Orgasm Day - "The small town of Esperantina marked the day with lectures about sex, impotence and the importance of orgasm... Town mayor Felipe Santolia told Terra Noticias Populares: "I think that the orgasm issue is a very important and modern one.""

***

"South Asian modules are basically out to gain sympathy votes, making the papers easy as hell, while putting in as much (depressing, really!) video clips of the atrocities done against the untouchables, the myraid gender and caste inequalities, the lamentations of the women displaced by civil war, the men weeping for their fates within the karmic wheel, all in an effort to mask the fact that the lectures are really, desperately boring, and worthless in any case. I attended not one full lecture, and the readings are still alien to me. Tip: Wiki and google are your best friends. Especially when it comes to essays. Grin."

Heh.

Monday, May 09, 2005

"Devotees of grammatical studies have not been distinguished for any very remarkable felicities of expression." - Amos Bronson Alcott

***

The bell tolls:

APOLOGY

I recognize and accept that a number of statements that I made on my on-line journal “Caustic Soda”, in particular the blog post of 3 March 2005, were defamatory of A*STAR, its Chairman, Mr. Philip Yeo and its executive officers.

I admit and acknowledge that these statements are false and completely without any foundation.

I unreservedly apologize to A*STAR, its Chairman Mr. Philip Yeo, and its executive officers for the distress and embarrassment caused to them by these statements.

I undertake not to repeat the statements, or make further statements of the same or similar effect in this or any other forum or media. I further undertake to remove any such posting anywhere that has not been deleted.


“Caustic Soda”? I thought the name of the site was “caustic.soda”. Hmm.

kimochi d'aemii has a picture showing how to upgrade the apology from an "A" to an "A*".

Has nothing changed since 1997? Or is this but an aberration, a momentary blip in our progression to a more open/creative/tolerant/blah blah society?

Young Republic:

">Thanks. If that is indeed the case, A*STAR's grouse sounds weak and petty.
>The developments in the controversy are really picking up. It is all over
>the blogs. My guess is that A*STAR is perhaps trying to wear our everybody
>and make AcidFlask's supporters lose interest and steam eventually.

So what if it's all over the blogs? How does one more complaint online saying how you also don't like A*STAR now help AcidFlask?

What the man needs is money. And a good lawyer. How are any of the bloggers helping in that respect?

Because if Blogosphere doesn't take concerted action against A*STAR to fight them in the real world, the government agencies will henceforth proceed to pick off every other blog one at a time simply because they are assured that the community is too fragmented and selfish to extend anything more than a note of complaint to some other friend's blog.

As for my position; I'm not a lawyer yet, and I don't know the man personally, but if requested I would be more than willing to assist in whatever legal defences that might be needed.

They do not believe in mercy and they shall grant no quarter, save that of total subservience and submission. Remember that."


***

Tim sent me some songs from the Ocean's Twelve soundtrack besides the one that sounds like retards banging in a room, and many of them sound quite sleazy. Which must be why he likes them.

I saw a balding man who'd shaved his head (if a pedant out there asks how I knew he was balding if he'd shaved his head, I could see that some of his follicles were not producing hair anymore) and had a sudden urge to rub it. Maybe I should add this to my list of fetishes.

***

Roofinex (unconsciousafil) tablets - It's only illegal if she remembers

"Guy: I used to have a problem. I couldn't even get girls to notice me. But then, my uncle told me about Roofinex.

Now, girls don't have to notice me. Roofinex changed my life. I have confidence and my performance rate is nearly a 100% - except for a few close calls.

Girl: Where am I?

Guy: Have some more punch.
No one's perfect.

Voiceover: Men everywhere are getting some with Roofinex. Now, your night doesn't have to stop with: 'Eugh, get away' and 'Leave me alone, you creep.'

Girl: Roofinex attacks my brain, knocking me out for a full 8 hours. With no memory, there's no guilt. Roofinex changed my life."

***

Teacher fired for making students vomit loses appeal - "A teacher who encouraged students to drink milk until they vomited as a classroom experiment has lost another attempt to win back his job... Ferguson carried out the experiment in November 2003 with 38 students from two honors chemistry classes. He has said that it was designed to let students test the body's ability to neutralize the acids in milk. Thirteen students threw up."

GUESS - Red Jacket!!!

Chinese Watermelon Art/Sculpture

***

Apparently Science and Law students get their readings zapped for them, unlike us poor Arts students, who have to scurry to the Central Library to zap them, which is why the photocopying room on Level 4 is always teeming with activity, and you can smell what is probably ozone in the air there. Oh, and the latter get them for free, so they get even more value for their school fees than the good student:staff ratio would imply. Wah.


Quotes:

Why don't you make a pack of poker cards with Wo-hen Nankan? Then you can play.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

"For humans, honesty is a matter of degree. Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth." - Scott Adams

Random Playlist Song: Bob Rivers - Cane 'Em Good (Lyrics)

"When a vandal comes to town
You must cane him
You know the crime rate sure goes down
When you cane him
He’ll not forget the day
When they caned him
I say cane him
Cane him good"

Bob Rivers actually bothered to parody, in 1994, Michael Fay's caning in Singapore. Funny, though they have someone (presumably the guy administering the caning) talking to Mr Fay in a very faux cheena accent.

***

Less than a week ago, Brose had a post lamenting the aesthetic standard of the female population Science Faculty in the Premier Institution of Social Engineering.

Today I go there, and find that he has taken the site down after being cyber-lynched, just like Singapore's favourite PSC scholar CZ was not so long ago. Although, as far as I know, no one wrote in to the media and/or NUS asking for him to be expelled, the assaults on him were apparently serious enough to justify pulling the site. From what I remember, besides torrents of flames, someone also dug up his full name and posted it there. And from his farewell message, I understand that there have also been real-life recriminations.

And so, apart from a few tantalizing lines on tomorrow.sg, his most excellent post is lost to us for eternity. It may turn up on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine in a few months, but that's improbably given that it was up for barely more than a week (if someone has it, please mail it to me. Thank you).

It's not as if the flames aimed at him had any ground. Although I do not have access to the comments or the original article, from what I remember there were 2 main logical fallacies evident in the flames:

1) You can only comment on those worse than you

This line of argument went something like: "You are fugly yourself. Therefore you can't say anything about NUS Science Girls. Post a picture of yourself to prove that you look good!... You must think you look very good huh?"

Now, if this line of logic were applied to all criticism, movie, book and food critics would all be out of business. Furthermore, arguments' validity are not determined by the identity of those who issue them.

And, as a friend observed: "There's no correlation between being a good literature student and writing good literature. Music critics are often not musicians, film critics are usually not film directors, and art critics are often never artists. The same principle applies here. I believe that if you're a professional critic of any kind then you are by definition honed in the skill of dissembling, but are most probably very very bad in the art of creating."

2) Not all Science girls look bad. In fact some of them look good. Therefore you are an idiot.

In the English language, there is a certain degree of imprecision which we automatically correct for in linguistic processing. When someone says: "The sun will rise tomorrow", we take his words for what they are, and do not pedantically counter that the sun will not rise for us if our planet is suddenly demolished to make way for a new inter-galactic expressway, if all the particles in the sun suddenly switched quantum states, thus ending its existence, or if a cataclysmic volcanic eruption suddenly throws enough ash into the air to block out all sunlight.

As it is with the example above, so is it with many other cases. Though the same mistake is made both by those issuing statements or making pronouncements and those reacting to them. Just because stereotypes are often true does not mean that they are always true; perversely, some lines of thought seem to run like so: just because stereotypes are not always true means that they are never true.

All this is too reminiscent of the CZ affair, even though he was not guilty of the crime which Singaporeans are so perversely proud of lambasting (ie Alleged racism), even while they live in a racist society, surrounded by racist people, are likely racist themselves and hold many other prejudices.

Singaporeans, and probably people in general, really need a good dose of salt in their lives, as well as to be able to treat criticism (often of those other than themselves, too) as if it isn't a personal attack, directed at the cores of their being. Not everyone has skin as thick as me, and if people are afraid of being served with lawsuits, verbally lynched and/or having their identities dug up and disseminated, the resulting impoverishment of ideas will make us all the poorer for it.

It is only a matter of time before the next politically incorrect victim of the pogrom is lynched, or a well-placed sniper shot fells another soul, and we progress further along the road to dreary banality and uncontroversial sterility.


Coupled with the flak that Donaq and I have gotten for not hewing to the politically correct line on racism due, once again, to the presentation of false dichotomies, I find that for once, I am on the same side as a conservative (ooh, fancy that):

"If the Trent Lott fiasco proved anything, it is that one can be a racist without uttering a single word about race or ethnicity. It also demonstrated that even the slightest, most minute impression of the possibility of racial intolerance is considered an unpardonable crime against humanity.

Naturally, a topic like this cannot be discussed without addressing anti-Semitism, racism's ugly sister. Anti-Semitism is another one of those charges that are bandied about with little forethought or debate. In fact, most of those employing the term are unable to explain what it actually means. By today's standards, anti-Semitism includes everything from jokes about ham to the horrible genocide carried out by the Nazis in the '30s and '40s. Talk about a huge disparity!

... I cannot help but wonder how we ended up as a nation of hypersensitive, maladjusted, intellectual weaklings. Is it because we have grown so completely bored that we actually have to create problems where they don’t exist just to keep life interesting? Are we so dissatisfied with our own lives that we feel we must destroy the lives of others?

Indeed, when it comes to volatile issues like racism and anti-Semitism, there are real dragons we need to slay. But how can we do that while focusing all of our energy on those areas where none exist?

In an ironic twist, our unhealthy obsession with "tolerance" has only made us more intolerant, and the wedges we claim to be removing from between diverse groups are only being driven deeper. We are even lectured by public service announcements on television and radio that telling a joke referencing someone's race or sexual orientation is tantamount to committing an act of violence.

What kind of future can we hope to have if this continues? How long will it be before we begin to criminalize thought? With as much attention as we pay to the color of our skin, one would think we might notice how thin it has become."

(Old Right Pundits)


"Don't express your own opinions but those of your boss; Don't endeavour to realise ends which you yourself think good, but pursue rather those aimed at by some organisation supported by millionaires; In your private friendships select influential men if you can, or and failing that, men whom you judge likely to become influential. Do this, and you will win the good opinion of all the best elements in the community. This is sound advice, but for my part, I would sooner die than follow it." - The Advantage of Cowardice, Bertrand Russell

At the same time one must choose one's battles; "He that fights and runs away, May turn and fight another day; But he that is in battle slain, Will never rise to fight again." - Cornelius Tacitus

Someone: "increasingly, im really thinking about not coming home. i dont want to move back to singapore. i cant be bothered with it anymore. i dont care about it the way i used to. and it [Ed: Singapore] sickens me.

im quite proud of my apathy actually. that ive actually managed to make myself not care"

Sometimes, apathy looks like an increasingly attractive proposition.
Someone: i'm having 2nd thoughts abotu Cartwheel School.

Me: haha why why
I never liked Gymnastics School :P

Someone: cos their latest gimmick, the leekongchian scholars programme counts among its inaugural batch - 2 NUS dropouts.

Me: haha
wth

as in transfered from NUS
or dropped, then went to SMU

Someone: decided NUS wasn't the place, quit, hung ard for awhile, went smu

Me: hahahaha
too funky what


My No 1 fan blah blah: i hate to tell u this
but u pose for pictures like a girl....
u really do... the hugging the knees thing
the wee smile at the camera
if i didn't know u, i'd swear u were trying to look demure =x

Me: *choke* [Ed: at the demure bit]

My No 1 fan: pls dun take pictures like that again =p
it's kinda freaky
fiesty non-conformist Gabriel poses like a girly

***

Apple - Jobs - International

"Apple's offices circle the globe, with the largest in Cupertino, CA; Cork, Ireland; Singapore; Les Ulis, France; and London, England. Regional headquarters for business operations, such as Sales and Marketing, for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), are located in Les Ulis and London. Our main European operations are located in Cork. Singapore houses the headquarters for the Asia Pacific region.

While the regions differ from location to location, they all share beautiful campuses located in or near major cities. The Les Ulis office is just outside the historic city of Paris, minutes from gorgeous wooded areas and central Paris alike. Cork, Ireland's second largest city, was recently nominated Europe's Capital of Culture. And the Singapore office lives in the hub of the Silicon Valley of Singapore — the Ang Mo Kio neighborhood." (Emphasis mine)

You learn something new everyday.

***

Offshoring Conflicts with National Interests

"The benefits of offshoring, are justified on a dated 19th century economic concept: "comparative advantage." The benefits often largely accrue to investors and management elites; the costs are increasingly borne by workers and middle class professionals. In the geopolitical realm, a world power that loses it manufacturing capacity no longer is a world power...

Key to the use of the Ricardian theory is the creation of "new and better jobs" to fill the outsourcing void (which isn't clearly happening). This often leads defenders of outsourcing to hit the "R&D Button," or to call for more government funding of research and development. Or it can also lead them to hitting the "Education Button" to encourage more U.S. college students, skeptical about employment prospects, to major in science and engineering in spite the outsourcing risk. Craig Roberts points out, it has been years since the U.S. economy has created any "net new" jobs in export/import-competitive industries. The projected job growth over the next decade, per February 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for seven of the top 10 occupations, lies largely in menial areas that can be learned without a college degree. So the government's own projections suggest the creation of largely low-tech rather than high-tech jobs over the next decade...

The McKinsey Global Institute finds that "Every dollar a U.S. company spends on offshoring to India, the U.S. economy gains $1.12 to $1.14." Really?... The study itself is drawn from case studies done by McKinsey consultants; the data are unavailable for review. Most importantly the study assumes that workers, displaced by offshore outsourcing, will be "redeployed" soon at substantially the same wages. Such redeployment (Exhibit 6 of the MGI study) accounts for about $0.45 of the $1.12 to $1.14. Without re-employment in "new" industries, much of $1.12 to 1.14 benefit for $1.00 cost goes away!"

***

Scissors, paper, stone - a strategic game

"The Maspro Denkoh electronics corporation was selling its $20 million collection of Picassos and Van Goghs, but the director could not decide whether Sotheby's or Christie's should have the privilege of auctioning them.

So he announced that the deal would go to the winner of a single round of scissors, paper, stone - the children's game that relies on quick fire hand gestures, where stone beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats stone.

Sotheby's reluctantly accepted this as a 50/50 game of chance, but Christie's asked the experts, Flora and Alice, 11-year-old daughters of the company's director of Impressionist and modern art, and aficionados of the game...

Neil Thomson has studied Monopoly mathematically, using probability matrices. It turns out the best properties are the orange ones - Vine Street, Marlborough Street, Bow Street in the London version... Scrabble meanwhile is a matter of fierce international championships, though it hasn't attracted so much interest from computers. Top players agree that one of the keys is learning all those two-letter words that seem to exist solely for the sake of Scrabble - like "aa" (a kind of lava) and "xu" (a monetary unit in Vietnam)."

(via xue, who has finally been agagooga-ed)

***

A graduate school survival guide: "So long, and thanks for the Ph.D!" - "Computer Science majors are not, in general, known for their interpersonal skills. Some of us got into this field because it is easier to understand machines than people. As frustrating as computers can be, they at least behave in a logical manner, while human beings often do not"

Why don't you [Ed: Ben and Jerry's] use oreos any more? - "Well, back in 1990 we switched to a cookie that wasn't made with lard (a kosher no-no) and wasn't connected with the tobacco industry."
Wah. Get me some US Oreos!

Global Gene Project to Trace Humanity's Migrations - "New DNA studies suggest that all humans descended from a single African ancestor who lived some 60,000 years ago. To uncover the paths that lead from him to every living human, the National Geographic Society today launched the Genographic Project at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. The project is a five-year endeavor undertaken as a partnership between IBM and National Geographic. It will combine population genetics and molecular biology to trace the migration of humans from the time we first left Africa, 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, to the places where we live today."

Steve Jobs's Review Of His Biography: Ban It - "No one can accuse Steve Jobs of indifference. In an image-obsessed fit of pique, Apple Computer has banished books published by John Wiley & Sons from the shelves of Apple's 105 retail stores--all because of Wiley's plans to publish an unauthorized biography of Jobs, Apple's chief executive."

Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills - "A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency's legitimacy and called police."
"A magician pulls rabbits out of hats. An experimental psychologist pulls habits out of rats." - Anonymous

***



8 guys, a girl (not in picture) and a bachelor's pad - the third Young Republic gathering

No, we don't just sit around discussing Derrida, Foucault and other French idiots!


People complained about the gender ratio, but I pointed out that it was infinitely better than the first two gatherings. In any case, such is hardly surprising given both that the list and topics draw males predominantly, and that females either are overseas or probably have better things to do than, in the abode of He Who Must Not Be Named until 3 AM, offer (or alternately accept or spurn) false dichotomies offered about being oppressed by The System or rising above it, and doing/talking about other silly things males are fond of doing in their free time.

Perhaps we now have a chance of breaking the vicious circle, especially for the upcoming Summer Jamboree, when most people will be back from overseas, so the grumbles will be lower in intensity then. Maybe we can adapt the marketing strategies of clubs (but then limited amounts of booze were free for everyone in the first place, courtesy of our kind and generous host, so maybe not).

Ah, heck it. I'm not the one complaining anyway.

***

The public outpouring of grief at Wee Kim Wee's death seems much more profuse, extended and well-covered in the media than that at Ong Teng Cheong's death; apparently when the latter died, the news was only reported in page 2 or 3 of the Straits Times' Home section, and only after a few days too. Moral of the story: make sure everyone likes you, so you don't get a low key funeral.

***

In a LJ post:

Xeno Boy: Xenoboy is puzzled. when Molly writes "ref Xenoboy" is it XenoBoy who is the transgressor?

If so, XenoBoy has to figure out the following :

What is the insult?
Where is the insult?

Subsequently, XenoBoy has to figure out what is an "unreserved" apology and what is a "reserved" apology? And if you pre-fix or post-fix a nice quote to the apology, does it disqualify it as a unreserved apology and relegates it to the reserved category? Xenoboy likes to quote very much because he does not like to invent phrases.

XenoBoy pouts forth a proposal. If I lie in my apology but make it poetic, will I be invited to the birthday party? I do very much wish to have a dialogist session with Molly.

ahbohling: it must be genius when i don't understand what this comment is about (particularly if i understood what the post was all about) or at least someone more genius than me.

Xeno Boy: This is the reason why I have been blasted as failing in profundity and being ineligible to qualify for the kindergarten CNA and the primary level ST.

Me: Profundity for the sake of profundity is meaningless. Eschew obfuscation.

Empty jargon and bombast does nothing except give a faux reification of the content of discourse.

Cui bono?


Molly’s Faminist Manifesto

"The Don’ts
1. Men, do not expect women to cook for you, do the laundry or stay at home.
2. Do not boss women around.
3. Do not be naïve! Be mature and behave like a real MAN!
4. Do not bring a dainty, sophisticated and elegant woman like Molly to the hawker center when there is a nice hotel somewhere.
5. Men must not behave as though they are superior to women.
6. Never treat women as sex objects.
7. Never think that women cannot take up male tasks!
8. Never think that assertive women are less feminine! (Look, Xiaxue is no less feminine than Molly.)
9. Men must never treat women as intellectual inferiors.
10. Do not fall in love with another man.

The Do’s
1. Do open doors for women, pull out chairs for them—behave like a knight even if you do not wear any armor.
2. Take charge! Behave like a man! Do not be wishy-washy!
3. Be practical; succeed in your career.
4. Be romantic; don’t be so practical.
5. Men must ALWAYS maintain their masculinity!
6. Be open to women’s debate about the best bod in Hollywood. It’s not right for men to talk about Pamela Anderson’s breast, but it is every woman’s right to compare the butts of Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
7. Do carry heavy things for women; carry the lighter loads such as the nightgown that you have just bought her.
8. You must know how to make a woman feel like a woman!
9. Women are emotional and you must be sensitive to their emotions and avoid imposing an overdose of rationality on them!
10. Do not fall in love with another woman."

***

Gah.


On May 7th, 2005 at 1:46 am cakira said:
Sorry, but what is this MSN bug that everyone’s complaining about? I’m using the build of Jan 18 (0.4 alpha) and in very very few cases I’ve ever seem it (and I think it was my contact’s fault then). I was thinking about upgrading straight to this test build (the changelog is awesome!), but now I’m afraid. Is this problem new or not? (A wasn’t able to find it in the bugs system) Can I upgrade to this test build, should I upgrade to release 0.4 ou must I stay as I am, since I’m having no problems? Thank you!

On May 7th, 2005 at 9:09 am w1ckedsick! said:
I believe the problem started from 0.4 and still hasn’t been fixed.

On May 7th, 2005 at 10:09 am pixador said:
@cakira: it’s safe to upgrade. This problem only affects very few people (and they keep complaining instead of providing network logs and details about their configuration).
If you haven’t experienced this problem before, you won’t have it now.

On May 7th, 2005 at 10:57 am w1ckedsick! said:
Don’t take his word for it, his only having ago at us because the dev team are frustrated they can’t fix it :p

On May 7th, 2005 at 11:04 am rainwater said:
Personally, I am not frustrated. I don’t see any good reports in the bug tracker on this topic, so it’s frankly not a big deal.

On May 7th, 2005 at 4:41 pm chaosblade said:
You sound like the frustrated ones, because a bug only a few select people have and wont properly report isnt getting fixed. You’re looking like a little kid, crying to his parents about a new toy they wont get him.


I've posted a network log before, but haven't been doing so recently because there's no option to cap the size of network logs, and since I got that 2GB network log some time back when I forgot to turn off network logging, running out of hard disk space to boot, I've been extremely traumatised.

But I finally got down to getting a network log with the latest MSN.dll, and lo and behold, in 14 minutes and trying to resend a short message twice (and only trying to resend a message twice), the network log ballooned to 15.1MB. I tried uploading the 15.1MB network log to the bug tracker but twice Firefox crashed and once IE claimed I didn't give them a bug id. The RAR (25kb) and ZIP (78kb) versions of the network log could not be uploaded because the file type wasn't allowed.

***

Emma Stuffs... | yes she does; we have proof - "A perfect side view of Ms. Watson... she is clearly lacking something from #1..."
This is hilarious. As is:

Trying Too Hard :: an Anti Emma Watson site - "where did those come from?! WHAT THE HELL?! And I think they look really wierd. like lumpy. REAL BOOBS DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT!... OH BLOODY HELL! SHE'S GONE PAMELA ANDERSON ON US! dude the shirt is way too fucking tight... now to times in 2003! ..................... OH hey em! WHERE DID THE PAMELA ANDERSON'S GO?! O.K. you cannot say that her boobs look smaller because of her shirt being looser. Admittedly this shirt would probably make them look a little bit smaller because its black and not as tight,but probably just a size smaller, if anything, but she went from a C cup to like a AAA (yes they make triple A's. They're basicaly training bra's for flat people.)"

A plan to offshore . . . just 3 miles out - "Roger Green is a software entrepreneur. David Cook was once a supertanker skipper who spent 15 years hauling crude oil through the world's sea lanes. Now the two men have announced a remarkable venture called SeaCode, a company that plans to hire 600 superb software designers from every corner of the world and house them in a luxury cruise ship just out of reach of US immigration law -- but close enough to bid on multimillion-dollar US software contracts."

The death of privacy - "Why is it a criminal offence for a man to spy on his wife in his own home and not show what he is seeing to anyone else, but perfectly acceptable for the media to spy on celebrities, politicians and anyone else they take against and reveal their findings to millions?"

As many wars as nations - "We can already see that a common European version of the Second World War is not exactly probable. Each nation had a different experience, each one has fostered and exposed its own war myths, as recorded in photographs, memoirs, novels or films, changing with the passage of time and often internally contradictory. First of all, the versions told by the two main victors dominated. It was they who imposed their view on the war. The superpowers not only won the war and dictated the terms of peace, they also had the mass media to disseminate their triumph. Only against this background could the individual European countries start to establish their own myths, as a nation united in its resistance to the Nazi invader, even if, as in the case of Finland, Slovakia or Bulgaria, that invader was for some time an ally, patron or friendly ruler."

***

People were telling me tales of the Law Library Gestapo. Someone left a tube of Mentos (unopened) on the table, and his name got taken down. He was also told that if he was caught with food in his possession once more, he would be suspended from school (though we doubt that the Library Gestapo is so empowered).

Apparently in the past, bag searches for contraband (read: food) were carried out. And when the place is crowded, the Gestapo will chase non-Law students out because it is "their library". To which we rage, since we pay school fees as well (and indeed, since they have nicer facilities and a better staff:student ratio, their hidden subsidy is probably much greater than ours). If they want to be so closed and exclusive, maybe we should ban Law students from other libraries in NUS. Hell, we can ban them from the Arts and Business canteens also, then they can hide in their little faculty, having it exclusively to themselves.


I was in MPSH1 (one of our exam halls), and had no handphone reception. Maybe they have some secret jamming device to disrupt reception.


Quotes:

They call us SNAILS [Ed: Students Not Actually In Law School], we call them SLUGS - Stupid Law UnderGraduateS

Please leave the statistical tables on the table. Do not take them back with you, not even as a souvenir.
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