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

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

"I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure." - John D. Rockefeller


Why University Students Do Not Drive Social Change in Singapore - "I believe that the presence of the academic elite on the political scene, as a countervailing force to the establishments, is a relatively recent phenomenon in Asian countries. It is recent because mass education at the tertiary level was limited to a small elite segment of society in the past. These elites also sought to use education as a means to join the establishment, and not to fight against it, such as in the mandarin system in China. However, the dictatorships in Thailand and Korea drew their support from the military, and alienated the academic elite base. In turn, academia sought the overthrowing of the system, and became co-opted in a new system. In Korea and Singapore, top students engage in an intense competition for places in government ministries."
Comment: But then again how do you explain the social activism of university students back in the 60s, 70s and even right up to the 80s? I am pretty sure back in the day, those students lived with their parents much like today and parents were even stricter and more controlling over their lives.

Phineas Gage Information - "Phineas Gage was the foreman of a railway construction gang working for the contractors preparing the bed for the Rutland and Burlington Rail Road near Cavendish, Vermont. On 13th. September 1848, an accidental explosion of a charge he had set blew his tamping iron through his head... Some months after the accident, probably in about the middle of 1849, Phineas felt strong enough to resume work. But because his personality had changed so much, the contractors who had employed him would not give him his place again. Before the accident he had been their most capable and efficient foreman, one with a well-balanced mind, and who was looked on as a shrewd smart business man. He was now fitful, irreverent, and grossly profane, showing little deference for his fellows. He was also impatient and obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, unable to settle on any of the plans he devised for future action. His friends said he was "No longer Gage.""
Obviously, the shock of the explosion was so powerful it affected his ethereal spirit. Hallelujah, this is proof of the existence of the immortal soul! And this miraculous survival is also proof of the power of God!

Shopping and philosophy | Post-modernism is the new black - "Modern marketing has consciously co-opted the tools of post-modern “discourse” to sell more stuff. Brands such as Nike explicitly adopt rebellious attitudes in their advertising campaigns. Thus capitalism employs the critique that was designed to destroy it. It is what one American critic, Thomas Frank, has called “liberation marketing”: in the words of a cosmetic company's appeal to potential customers, “because you're worth it”. Mr Frank sees it as a woeful bastardisation of the American counterculture and post-modernism; others might enjoy the irony... So should every businessman have a Lyotard by his bed? Only if he wants to send himself to sleep. Pomos made a point of writing impenetrable prose: it was necessary, Foucault argued, if they were to be taken seriously."

Apple's Copy Protection Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Business - "Apple's copy-protection technology makes media companies into its servants. Other copy-protection technologies, like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, are just as bad, says Internet activist Cory Doctorow. "

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection - "Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content", typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost. These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry."

Journalists and media groups file civil suit vs. Mike Arroyo - "Since 2003, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has been filing numerous libel cases against members of the press. The libel suits, now numbering 10, have implicated 45 journalists, a number unprecedented in any administration. “(Arroyo) is not out to defend his honor; he is out to chill the media in their exercise of the freedom of the press,” said Harry Roque, international law professor of the University of the Philippines, who drafted the complaint in behalf of the press."
But public figures have important reputations which must be protected...

Open letter to Apple: The killer App is not voice nor music - "There is only one killer application in current (2.5G/3G) mobile phones. It is not voice calls. It is not music. It is not the camera function. The only killer app is SMS text messaging. Ever since Nokia first released its global messaging survey in 2001, to operator studies from the UK and France in 2002, to customer surveys in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in 2003, onto South Korea and Japan; to the university study of phone addiction by the Catholic University of Leuwen in Belgium; and even now proven by the first American survey of SMS usage by ComScore Media Metrix - every scientific survey on the topic verifies that SMS text messaging is addictive. And that heavy users of SMS prefer text messaging to voice calls. Already more than half of British total population prefer communicating via SMS than voice on their mobile phones."

Facebook | Stop Microscopic Animal Abuse - "We always worry about our visible furry friends, but what about the trillions of microscopic creatures whose suffering goes unnoticed on a daily basis? It's time to stand up and fight for the voiceless (and limbless)... Here are a few suggestions to get you started: 1. Stop breathing- billions of microbes are killed in your lungs every second. Don't walk on solid surfaces- you crush countless innocent animals with every step you take (not a Police reference). 3. Run free, naked, and veto showers- Soap kills. 4. For the love of all that is holy do not eat!"

Exploring the Mind-Body Orgasm - "We recognize four different nerve pathways that carry sensory signals from the vagina, cervix, clitoris and uterus, and they all can contribute to orgasms. That's a new recognition... We have documented in our laboratory that women can have orgasms from imagery alone without touching their body. The point is that women can experience orgasms and sexual pleasure from many forms of stimuli. It does have not have to be through genital stimulation."

Early embryos can yield stem cells... and survive - Could extraction technique resolve ethical problems? - "A single cell can be teased from a human embryo and used to produce stem cells while leaving the embryo intact. The process, published online in Nature this week, could enable stem-cell lines to be generated without the controversial destruction of human embryos — but some ethical objections remain."
Nothing can ever solve the problem of 'we don't like it' - apologetics can only convince those who are already amenable to persuasion.

Conservative Christian says God has predicted US slaughter - "Pat Robertson, an American Conservative Christian broadcaster says God told him a terrorist attack will result in "mass killing" in the United States in the second half of 2007... The broadcaster's 2006 forecast of heavy storm damage in coastal areas was followed by the second-lightest hurricane season since 1995."
Obviously his faith and prayer averted the catastrophe.

Harun Yahya - The Disasters Darwinism Brought to Humanity - introduction - "Fascism and Communism come at the head of the ideologies that caused mankind to suffer those dark days. These are seen as enemies, as ideas that tried to destroy each other. In actual fact, there is a most interesting truth here: for these ideologies were nourished by a single ideological source, drew strength and support from that source, and, thanks to that source, were able to draw societies to their side. At first sight, this source has never drawn any attention, has always remained behind the scenes up until now, and has always shown people its innocent-looking face. That source is the materialist philosophy, and DARWINISM, the state of that philosophy as adapted to nature... Once the idea of Darwinism, the root of harmful ideologies, is finally overturned, only one truth will remain. That is the truth that all human beings and the universe itself were created by Allah (God)."
This is even more far out than Islamic 'Science'.

Research examines toys' pain and (mental) gain - "Recent research at McMaster revealed that players who spent four hours a week on "first-person shooter" games such as "Quake" and "Halo" showed an 8 percent improvement in spatial reasoning and short-term memory -- which could have tantalizing possibilities for producing games targeted at senior citizens, he says."
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