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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Estimated amount of glucose used by an adult human brain each day, expressed in M&Ms: 250" - Harper's Index


A resolution for this semester is to care less about my vital statistic, especially since First Class isn't very important unless you want to go into the Civil Service or Grad School; I was in the Economics Honours room and 90% of the time they were talking about either grades or research (more the former).

Someone else: ah well, you can't every get away from that can you
its a human thing to compare
pit our own stuff against someone elses

girls compare their boob sizes, guys size up each other's dongs in the toilet
i don't know, lots of other things

Me: hahahahahaha
some girls deny they do that :P
but I never compared dongs ><

Someone else: well i've had first hand evidence from a girl who told me they do compare their boob sizes and it matters, adds to a girl's confidence

Me: or subtracts.


"Class, If you didnt havent read *** DONT worry. I will post a ppt presentation tonight summarizing the reading." Wah, welfare.

One module has as many readings per session as normal modules have a week. Gah.

When people tell me they like to study, I tell them: When you study, you pay to suffer. When you work, you're paid to suffer. But most people don't pay to study, so they like to do it.

Someone told me he didn't know what he learned in one module, but got A+ for it.

I saw a PRC eating fries by holding the packet in his hands and shoving it into his mouth. Wth. Later when his mouth couldn't penetrate any further, he tore the box apart.

Someone I know is not doing a thesis because she's sick of ISMs (independent study). And to think they're supposed to enthuse us.

There was a doorway which was blocked by 2 doors - one big (on the right) and one small (on the left). The big door was closed and the small one was open. To enter or exit the room to which the doorway granted entry, what most people did was to press the door release switch inside the room and then open the big door, but one girl managed to squeeze through the area formerly blocked by the small door and entered and exited the room that way. A friend of hers later tried to do the same thing but couldn't, and went to cry mock tears on the shoulder of the first (who had reentered the room the same way).

u r wt u wr:

- "Trance erotic mode"
- "I will if you will"
- "Can I?" (Below, 2 hands are outstretched ready to grasp, and the short lines indicating movement are drawn beside them) - this is one of the most explicit I've seen
- "I want you to want me" (I know the person who wore this)

IVLE posts:

"After interning at SPH for three months last year it didn't take me long to observe that the editors are in charge of making sure the content of the various sections of the newspapers (Life!, Home, Political, Business, etc.) are "safe" and "within limits". If you get my meaning."

"One thing I do find hypocritical about Singapore is that prostitution is legal, but pornography is illegal. Especially Playboy, which is not a pornographic magazine and can be said to be more artistic and educational. Singapore seems to actual apply the LAPS test to its material, which the US has never really used if though it came from the Supreme Court. Furthermore, Singapore wishes to push for more domestic artistic and cultural works while applying strict censorships laws which hinder the governments goals. Though after watching "I Not Stupid," I do not have much hope for Singapore's entertainment industry." (from an exchange student)

A: The Speaker's Corner doesn't constitute real freedom if nobody goes down to listen anyway.

Me: If a tree falls in the forest when no one is there, does it make a sound?

B: Thing is, there ARE people listening whenever someone makes a speech at the Speaker's Corner: The policemen. Maybe Dr *** would like to spend one day giving a speech on Singaporean democracy at the Speaker's Corner in lieu of normal classes. That would be interesting. Sir, what say you? ;)

C: Actually, *** from last year's class suggested that I arrange a day (at the end of semester) for *** students to make speeches at Speakers' Corner. What say you?

Single Parent Families and Social Policy

The equality debate's gone to hell and I'm not keen to continue dead horse flogging in the face of persistent intransigence (I must be getting old), but YR on single mothers still has some life left in it:

Cock: Apparently single mothers are now eligible for maternity leave so long as they marry within 3 months. Should government policy continue to discriminate against single mothers?

A: Isn't there empirical evidence that dual parent households are better for the children? (Before you guys jump on me, notice I said "dual," not "one parent of each gender")

B: Surely you don't mean "dual regardless of how the dual status comes about, including marriage for reasons largely unrelated to a good human relationship between the persons marrying but instead related entirely to societal sexual priggishness"? Anyway I'm curious as to how there can be "empirical evidence" on the relative quality of the experience of a child -- explain "better", please, for one.

C: How about on almost every single criterion that one may think of ranging from family income, educational opportunities to educational achievement to likely criminal activity to level of occupation etc.?

But I should stress that this partially appears to be a proxy for poverty (or simply low income) such that single parents in countries with strong social support from the state do somewhat better as do well educated single parents.

B: I wasn't aware parents had as their primary function the breeding of academic-economic digits. Empirical evidence for "every single criterion"? Love? Trust? Happiness? Values? Emotional security? Is there any particular reason why marriage changes the ability of a person to provide these to a child? Why would 2 people be any better necessarily than 1? And if you had to have 2 people, what does marriage have to do with it? Why do the two people have to even be having a sexual relationship? Or living together? And given children born to single mothers, children who like it or not already exist, why should they be deprived (through the maternity leave policy) of more access to the one parent they do have? Boggle.

C: And I wasn’t aware that these were not important characteristics at all. Unless you believe oh say poverty is a better state to be in as compared to being relatively well-off? Sure I don’t like the policy anymore than presumably you do but don’t conflate the issues here.

I personally think this has more to do with economics more than anything else e.g. ability to afford daycare or to work from home or to afford tuition or simply not having to have to work multiple shifts in order to afford the above. But here’s your original question to Jon in full:

Surely you don't mean "dual regardless of how the dual status comes about, including marriage for reasons largely unrelated to a good human relationship between the persons marrying but instead related entirely to societal sexual priggishness"? Anyway I'm curious as to how there can be "empirical evidence" on the relative quality of the experience of a child -- explain "better", please, for one.

So we could spend all this time and electronic letters nitpicking at every single criterion in the determination of any one single law and not get to the heart of the issue i.e. is it a reasonable presumption that dual parent families are likelier than not to be able to provide better for their child or children ceteris peribus. Of course we can throw around confounding characteristics such as the number of children, educational level, income level but if we accept that a single parent can provide x level of whatever criterion you want to think of, is that any plausible reason on YOUR SIDE why this is not necessarily the case in the case of a married couple?

B: Ok, 2 questions here. (1) Relative merits of dual parent households as they exist (regardless of whether the merit arises from the existence of 2 people or other correlative factors); and (2) Policy in question. One can concede (1) to the nth power while still thinking (2) sucks donkey balls. Re (1) my initial response was scepticism about the coherence of the suggestion Jon made (with its implicit suggestion of causality); my subsequent response was mostly disbelief at your reference to "every single criterion" and then listing primarily material criteria without so much as a nod to anything else.

C: Sure, I don’t think we’re in disagreement here. I accept (1) but think (2) is fundamentally flawed not least because such encourage/coercion of “marriage” is more likely to do harm than good. And also because I hate the judicial methodology our court uses for equal protection analysis.

Well, to rephrase my second question, is there any empirical or logical reason why a dual parent household would love (or cherish or whatever non physical factors you might choose to use) their children less than a single parent would on the basis of a reasonable assumption that whatever one parent may do, two would probably be better in general and assuming all things are equal. Conversely, without substantial economic support from either the state or some third party, it just simply isn’t as easy raising a child alone and there will be trade-offs in those circumstances.

On a separate criticism, I might also make the argument that generally, formal marriages (as opposed to cohabitation etc.) tend to stabilize family relations and tends to be good for the long term longevity of the relationship. I don’t think this effect can entirely be attributed to the social significance marriage has in terms of a formal binding commitment and I think it might well be because of the various property interest that one has in marriage (tax breaks, medical benefits and decisions, wills, joint ownership of real property and personal property). If so my further critique of this policy is that it is misguided because it doesn’t take into account various marriage-type relationships with children (small in numbers as they might well be) and extending these benefits to them would have the effect of strengthening those relationships while extending equal protection to one and all.


>I wasn't aware parents had as their primary function the breeding of
>academic-economic digits. Empirical evidence for "every single
>criterion"? Love? Trust? Happiness? Values? Emotional security? Is
>there any particular reason why marriage changes the ability of a
>person to provide these to a child? Why would 2 people be any better
>necessarily than 1? And if you had to have 2 people, what does
>marriage have to do with it? Why do the two people have to even be
>having a sexual relationship? Or living together?

Just because a particular single parent may bring a child up better than a particular couple with respect to love, trust, happiness etc
does not mean that in the aggregate, a single parent will do as good a job as two. Just because you can find women stronger than me does not mean that in general men are not stronger than women.

Let me turn the question on its head. Is there any particular reason why a single parent is more able to provide for a child than two?
Assuming single parents are equally capable of providing the non-academic-economic bit for a child as couples, does not the added
income benefit the child? Money may not buy happiness, but neither does poverty (unless you've some ascetic philosophy, but starving people do not have such luxuries and anyhow you shouldn't impose your ideals on others).

Just to give some examples, single parents have only one source of income, so they will be less able to devote time, care, attention and love to their children; single parents have no one to share the burden of childcare with; single parents are less able to take leave when their children are sick so either their work or the child suffers; financial pressures result in greater stress which are passed on to children - the list of reasons are endless.

I'm not sure if you read the paper, but some reasons listed there why two parents would be better able to provide love, trust, happiness, values (wth?! whose values?!) and emotional security than one:

- Two parents are usually better than one... because they can share responsibilities for child care
- Marriage often leads to higher levels of paternal involvement than divorce, non-marriage, or cohabitation
- Marriage facilitates the income pooling and task sharing that allows parents to accommodate family needs
- Many low-income families consider marriage the ideal arrangement for child rearing
- Teens in two-parent families are, on average, much less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than teens in one-parent ones

Just because you can measure something does not mean that you know everything, but it is even more preposterous to throw what you can measure out of the window and conjure up vague notions like psychic income as an ad hoc argument to support your point.

>And given children born to single mothers, children who like it or
>not already exist, why should they be deprived (through the maternity
>leave policy) of more access to the one parent they do have? Boggle.

Policy is another matter, and in this case I do agree with you, especially since the paper shows that children brought up in shotgun
marriages do worse than those in normal single parent households

B: Your claims are all centered around a kind of 'ceteris paribus' analysis. Given one parent of this kind, why not two etc. I suppose I am deeply sceptical about the application of such claims to issues like whether someone is a better or worse parent. Yes, I personally would prefer to have some money than to be poor, ceteris paribus. But I am woolly enough to believe that there are personal experiences that go all the way down, that transform everything about an experience for the people concerned so that what I would theoretically want has nothing to do with it -- that many children with good relationships with their parent(s) would never think for an instant that they would trade any of it for more money, because it goes to the heart of their conceptions of who they are and what their goals and values are. And if you cannot make that trade-off to any extent, what use is the ceteris paribus analysis? (Since other things are almost never actually equal.) You have to at least envisage the possibility of a trade-off for it to make sense in any given child's case. I'm not imposing anything or any ideals on anyone, Gabriel; I'm suggesting precisely that given such possibilities (of transformative human relationships) we should not be quick to introduce the kind of analysis that takes little or no account of it, and is based largely on our own values.

A: Isn't the entire point about practical policy? Its utilitarian of me, I know, but shouldn't policy be a balance of what is true (more attention and honest caring for the child = good) and what can be readily assessed (marital status)? It's impractical for the law to be a morass of special cases. Look at the law and ask first if, in general, it will be helpful rather than pointing out the cases where it won't.

B: You both assume the cases where the quality of someone's relationship with their child may go "all the way down" regardless of wealth, or their socioeconomic status when they leave home, to be in the minority. But that is an assumption which is not actually borne out by any of the kind of evidence to which you refer (nor do I think it even can be), but rather a product of your expectations of how people perceive their familial relationships. Many people would agree in theory that all things being equal they would rather be a little richer. But do most people begrudge their parents for a lack of wealth, or feel attachment to their parents because they were well-off? The morass of statistics surely says nothing about that or certainly very little once you move past the point where an absolute level of poverty that is deeply disruptive to any semblance of stability required for any kind of meaningful family life is concerned. For the vast majority of history, the vast majority of people have struggled with subsistence farming or hard labour while raising their children -- were they all necessarily, or even in general more likely, to have had worse relationships with their children than many of today's developed world working class parents, who unlike so many of their historical forbears have meat on the table almost every day, take regular baths, don't wear rags, and own televisions? I find it inconceivable; I think you have to have virtually no appreciation of historicity to accept that proposition.


To the extent that you seem to think the policy is not stupid (and this extent, I grant you, is murky): if you assume single mothers are already going to bring up children poorly by comparison to married ones, why make the upbringing any worse by also reducing their access to maternity leave? Or are you of the opinion that the resulting incentive to marry will be so great that this is purely prophylactic? Do you really think there are especial benefits to trying to steamroll unwilling adults into an intense, one would hope typically personal, bond, which they would not enter but for the additional maternity leave? Sounds like the creation of a pretty piss-poor environment for raising children to me.

I confess, I concede some scepticism that people who do not hold down stable interpersonal adult relationships will be especially good at raising children. However, it is very mild scepticism due to my ignorance of the circumstances of many such adult people, having moved all my life in a very staid middle class millieu; and in any case even granting my scepticism some solid foundation, that would be a case of the same factors that make them bad at adult relationships causing them also to be bad at relationships with their children, not causality from the lack of a good adult relationship (and specifically a good adult sexual relationship, since a reasonable number of single people live in close association with a sibling or friends who could replicate any "dual parent" effect without the need for marriage). That being so, even granting the further (and to my mind highly doubtful) assumption that a marriage causes a sexual relationship to be better than it otherwise would be, the policy is not beneficial.

And it's quite a leap, Gabriel, even if one accepts your view of what the majority of child-parent relationships are like, to go from minorities to phantoms. A leap that even if made is completely irrelevant if one is sufficiently sceptical about the mechanism being employed to ostensibly improve the welfare of anyone (see the above paragraph).


> You both assume the cases where the quality of someone's relationship
> with their child may go "all the way down"... I think you have to have
> virtually no appreciation of historicity to accept that proposition.

Err... I haven't a clue what you're getting at.or, more specifically, what it has to do with what I said.


>You both assume the cases where the quality of someone's relationship
>with their child may go "all the way down"... a product of your expectations of how
>people perceive their familial relationships.

It's not borne out by the evidence? Did you even read what I wrote?

"single parents have only one source of income... Teens in two-parent families are, on average, much less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than teens in one-parent ones"

Are you honestly telling me that those who abuse drugs or alcohol are not necessarily less happy than those who do?

>Many people would agree in theory that all things being equal
>they would rather be a little richer. But do most people begrudge
>their parents for a lack of wealth, or feel attachment to their
>parents because they were well-off?

No, but they begrudge their parents for working 3 jobs to earn enough money to take care of them. They feel a lack of attachment to their parent because they never see him/her. Their parent gets irritated because he/she has no one to share parenting responsibilities with.

Your assumption that any one single parent family is not necessarily worse off than any one dual parent family is not actually borne out either by evidence or even simple common sense, but rather a product of your fear of essentialising.

Someone with AIDS may be happier than someone without AIDS, but this does not mean that getting AIDS is not an un-good thing.

>For the vast majority of history... I think you have to have virtually no
>appreciation of historicity to accept that proposition.

For the vast majority of history, children were treated as inferiors, chattel, miniature adults without special needs, kitchen/farm hands, seen and not heard etc. I find it inconceivable; I think you have to have virtually no knowledge of historicity to accept your proposition.

Furthermore, even in reference to your vaunted historicity, single parents have been at a huge disadvantage compared to dual parents. So I have no idea what you're talking about.

>Do you really think there are especial benefits to trying to
>steamroll unwilling adults into an intense, one would hope typically
>personal, bond, which they would not enter but for the additional
>maternity leave? Sounds like the creation of a pretty piss-poor
>environment for raising children to me.

As a matter of fact the paper C posted showed that single parents bring up children better than dual parents forced to marry because of illegitimacy concerns.

>a reasonable number of single people live in close association with a
>sibling or friends who could replicate any "dual parent" effect
>without the need for marriage).

I know it takes a village to raise a child, but saying a villager can replace a parent?!

>even granting the further (and to my mind highly doubtful) assumption
>that a marriage causes a sexual relationship to be better than it
> otherwise would be,

Eh? I thought marriage causes a sexual relationship to become worse than it otherwise would be =D

>And it's quite a leap, Gabriel, even if one accepts your view of what
>the majority of child-parent relationships are like, to go from
>minorities to phantoms. A leap that even if made is completely
>irrelevant if one is sufficiently sceptical about the mechanism being
>employed to ostensibly improve the welfare of anyone (see the above

If one is sufficiently sceptical about anything, anything else is irrelevant.

And that, I suspect, is the problem here.

[Addendum: link updated since Civitas has changed their website paths]
Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family

(Ed: extracts of my extract follow)

Children living without their biological fathers:

Are more likely to live in poverty and deprivation

* After controlling for other demographic factors, children in lone-parent households are still 2.8 times as likely to forego family outings.

Are more likely to have emotional or mental problems

* After controlling for other demographic factors, children in lone-parent households are 2.5 times as likely to be sometimes or often unhappy. They are 3.3 times as likely to score poorly on measures of self-esteem.

* Among children aged five to fifteen years in Great Britain, those from lone-parent families were twice as likely to have a mental health problem as those from intact two-parent families (16% versus 8%).

* A major longitudinal study of 1,400 American families found that 20%–25% of children of divorce showed lasting signs of depression, impulsivity (risk-taking), irresponsibility, or antisocial behaviour compared with 10% of children in intact two-parent families.

Tend to have more trouble getting along with others

* After controlling for other demographic factors, children from lone-parent households are three times as likely to report problems with friendships.

* Children from lone-parent households are more likely to have behaviour problems or engage in antisocial behaviour.

* Boys from lone-parent households are more likely to show hostility to adults and other children, and be destructive of belongings.

Teenagers living without their biological fathers

Are more likely to experience problems with sexual health

* Girls from lone-parent households were 1.6 times as likely to become mothers before the age of 18 (11% versus 6.8%). Controlling for other factors did not reduce the comparative odds.

Are more likely to smoke

* In a sample of teenagers living in the West of Scotland, 15-year-olds from lone-parent households were twice as likely to be smokers as those from two-birth-parent homes (29% compared to 15%). After controlling for poverty, they were still 50% more likely to smoke.

* In a sample of British 16-year-olds, those living in lone-parent households were 1.5 times as likely to smoke. Controlling for sex, household income, time spent with family, and relationship with parents actually increased the odds that a teenager from a lone-parent family would smoke (to 1.8 times as likely).

Are more likely to drink alcohol

* In the West of Scotland, 18-year-old girls from lone-parent households were twice as likely to drink heavily as those from intact two-birthparent homes (17.6% compared to 9.2%). This finding holds even after controlling for poverty.

* British 16-year-olds from lone-parent households are no more likely to drink than those from intact households. This is mainly because higher levels of teenage drinking actually are associated with higher family incomes. After controlling for household income and sex, teenagers from lone-parent families were 40% more likely to drink.

Are more likely to take drugs

* At age 15, boys from lone-parent households were twice as likely as those from intact two-birthparent households to have taken any drugs (22.4% compared with 10.8%). Girls from lone-parent homes were 25% more likely to have taken drugs by the age of 15 (8.2% compared with 6.5%) and 70% more likely to have taken drugs by age 18 (33.3% compared with 19.6%). After controlling for poverty, teenagers from lone-parent homes were still 50% more likely to take drugs.
Some jokes Law Girl sent me:

One day, a man came home and was greeted by his wife dressed in a very Sexy nightie. "Tie me up," she purred, "and you can do anything you want." So he tied her up and went golfing.

A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house. She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!"

The husband said, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?" "Doesn't matter," she said. "Just get out."

A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters:

'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.'

"Can you read this?" the optician asked.

"Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

"Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful . CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!"

The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

Fifty-one years ago, Herman James, a North Carolina mountain man, was drafted by the Army.

On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair.

On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth.

On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap.

The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.

Angela Carter quotes

More Angela Carter quotes from Brainy Quote:

Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.

I think it's one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.

I think the adjective "post-modernist" really means "mannerist." Books about books is fun but frivolous.

I was sitting in the looping studio late one night, and I had this epiphany that they weren't paying me for my acting, for God's sake, but to own me. And from then on, it became clear and an awful lot easier to deal with.

Just because we're sisters under the skin doesn't mean we've got much in common.

Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.

The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.

The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.

Women's sexy underwear is a minor but significant growth industry of late-twentieth-century Britain in the twilight of capitalism.

Addendum: If women allow themselves to be consoled for their culturally determined lack of access to the modes of intellectual debate by the invocation of hypothetical great goddesses, they are simply flattering themselves into submission (a technique often used on them by men). All the mythic versions of women, from the myth of the redeeming purity of the virgin to that of the healing, reconciliatory mother, are consolatory nonsenses; and consolatory nonsense seems to me a fair definition of myth, anyway. Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths gives women emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.

Myth deals in false universals, to dull the pain of particular circumstances. In no area is this more true than in that of relations between the sexes.
"The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living. In an area of human relations where fraud is regular practice between the sexes, her honesty is regarded with a mocking wonder." - Angela Carter

Elia Diodati: "In these days of plastic surgery, even that cannot be guaranteed."


More hilarity:

The Insider's Secret on How to Become a Man Magnet and Make a Man Love You!

"101Tips: The Insider's Secret on How to Become a Man Magnet!

The Insider's Secret on how to catch a man, make a man fall in love with you, and keep a man faithful

Tired of Being Lonely?
Tired of Getting Dumped or Cheated on?
Tired of Men that Won't Make a Commitment?
Can't Stand Another Saturday Night Alone?
Fed up with the Pretty Girls Getting All the Attention?
Is Your Relationship Stale?
Do You Want to Keep Your Man Faithful?
Want to Bring Back that Guy You Fell in Love With?

My book,
101Tips: The Insider's Secret on How to Become a Man Magnet!
will show you how!
!!! NO PHONY 'GAMES' !!!
Ladies, forget the Rules books, forget the sex manuals,
forget the games, forget the breast implants, forget all that crap and read
101Tips: The Insider's Secret on How to Become a Man Magnet!

* Want to know how to make a man fall in love with you - without using tricks ... no matter what you look like?
* Want to know how to truly keep him faithful?
* Want to walk away with a date this week-end? A date that will lead to more dates - even marriage?
* Want to save your relationship, and make him love you like he's never loved anyone before?
* Want to know how to make him think you are the most exquisite creature that ever walked the Earth?
* Want to truly understand Men?
* Want to know how to get him to gladly do what you want?
* Want to have him eating out of the palm of your hand?
* Want to know how to be the only woman on his mind - even when he is away from you?"

Among other things,

!!! NO PHONY 'GAMES' !!! <-- Corollary: there're usually phony games
!!! NO DECEITFUL 'MANIPULATION' !!!! <-- Corollary: there're usually deceitful manipulation

Incidentally, how do you get the outcomes listed (Want to know...) without phony games and deceitful manipulation? Real games and honest manipulation?

Friday, January 26, 2007

"With Epcot Center the Disney corporation has accomplished something I didn't think possible in today's world. They have created a land of make-believe that's worse than regular life." - P. J. O'Rourke


Someone in NTU Mass Comms: 2% of the mass comm cohort is even vaguely interested in current affairs

unless you're talking about latest fashion
that's current

Frigid Girl: you very bored
advise me on this
*sends file*

Me: wah lao
due today

Frigid Girl: yesyes
enough already

*** said the same thing

Me: as I told my friend:
at this stage hugging buddha's leg isn't enough
you must suck his cock

Frigid Girl: he starved himself for 7 years according to legend
i do'nt think he has anything left on him except skin

Me: bah
I'veno idea leh

Frigid Girl: haha
give some random comments
it's just a reaction paper, so i don't know why i'm doing it so nicely
it's like... 2.5%

Me: reaction: "wtf"

Frigid Girl: hhahahaha

Me: I've always wanted to submit that for a response paper

Frigid Girl: well do that and i'll pay you 10 bucks
do that for your mod

Me: haha

Someone: my medic friend saw it [my status message] and messaged this back
"sigh...don't you think that medicine needs a large harddisk but not a very fast processor?"

its sad really, doctors are just guideline and algorithm churning people nowadays
nothing really needed up there

i'm drowning in information now

Me: weren't they always?

Someone: at one point in time doctors actually ahd to think
now everything is streamlined

MOH dishes out clinical practice guidelines
so we're supposed to adhere to it

Me: if it's streamlined why do you need to know so much

Someone: well the archiac examination system is still in place
despite modern advances in clinical medicine
amazing huh

Me: anyway the archaic examination system is a way of controlling entry
hurr hurr

Someone: yeah, well

Me: maybe your views will change once you pass the exams :P
just like how ex-slaves keep wanting tougher training for current and future slaves

Someone else: but im telling u
it's a major change in my life

and no
im not pregnant

I was about to say that


Someone else: i think my nick ("girls don't even understand themselves and they expect guys to read their minds.") sums up how weird girls are

my gf wants me to get her pressie
then she wants a surprise
i don't like surprises

then she said, 'u should know me well enough to get me something i like'
i am like wtf

then i asked her, 'what u like'
then she said i don't know

Frigid Girl: she wants him to guess
and not for her to tell him

guessing involves effort
if the guy doesn't want to put in emotional effort, she feels ticked

Someone: poor gal
dunn o how to manipulate bf fully

haha reverse psychology say dun need lor then someitmes if lucky guy will get the surprise in the end

Someone else: it's not only emotional effort

it's the whole sinking feeling u get
when u didn't get the right pressie

"I got this idea for a school I would like to start, something called the Five Minute University. The idea is that in five minutes you learn what the average college graduate remembers five years after he or she is out of school...

You know, like in college you have to take a foreign language. Well, at the Five Minute University you can have your choice, any language you want you can take it. Say if you want to take Spanish, what I teach you is "¿Como está usted?" that means, "how are you", and the answer is "muy bien," means "very well." And believe me, if you took two years of college Spanish, five years after you are out of school "¿Como está usted?" and "muy bien" about all you're gonna remember.

So in my school that's all you learn. You see, you don't have to waste your time with conjugations and vocabulary, all that junk. You'll just forget it anyway, what's the difference."
"Thus in prospect theory choice is a two-phase process, with prospects ''edited'' in the first phase using different decision heuristics, and choices then made in the second phase from a restricted or reformulated class of prospects...

The two-phase analysis makes it possible to look at gains and losses relative to reference points and ultimately introduce well-observed phenomena at odds with standard framework predictions such as diminishing sensitivity and loss aversion (Tverysky and Kahneman 1991). More generally, prospect theory opens the door to the investigation of a variety of descriptive and procedure invariance failures that cast doubt on the traditional idea that individuals possess stable and coherent preferences. Taken as a whole, then, the ''one feature common'' to all nonconventional theories that distinguishes them from those approaches meant to preserve a revised standard expected utility framework is that ''none of them can be reduced to, or expressed purely in terms of, a single preference function V(.)'' (Starmer 2000: 339)...

Researchers refer less to exprimental results as violations and anomalies, and now consider the possibility that standard expected utility theory is more likely a special case within a more general alternative theory rather than a general theory itself."

--- John B. Davis, Behavioral economics and identity

Thursday, January 25, 2007

MTI Dialogue Session (all posts)

Question: With the drive to life sciences, there are more people coming into the industry. The quota for doctors has been increased also. Do we need so many doctors in Singapore? More doctors will lower healthcare costs [Ed: Isn't that a good thing?]. For every doctor who goes into research, there'll be 4 GPs, and there're so many GPs in Singapore. Many of my peers have no interest in research since there's no money in it and they have no interest in academia.

What is your vision for the life science industry?

Answer: In terms of doctors per population we are far behind developed countries. The increase shouldn't be in GPs. Our medical professionals are organised the wrong way - in 1 and 2 man clinics. This is a traditional and old fashioned style. They need to go into group practice and reap economies of scale, with clinics in several locations, and add more value. Australia and the US have few 1 and 2 man clinics.

Geriatric medicine is a growing market in Singapore with an aging population but few specialise in it. People travel here for medical services. They don't travel to India even though dental filling is 95% cheaper there than in the US.

In Singapore, cataract surgery costs $3,000. In Bolehland it costs $1,500 - $2,000. In India it costs $400-500 and in Bangkok it's a similar price. People remove cataracts, go for a holiday and then return home.

So doctors should go for specialization, but Singapore is very restricted - very few are allowed to specialize. Specialization allows differentiation.

Our vision? Vision's an elusive word, but we want to generate buzz, a hive of activity. eg Clinical trials and the discovery of new therapies. Phase I testing is for toxicity and involves 50-100 people. Phase II is for efficiency and Phase III involves thousands of people. We're in a good position for Phases I and II. Asia has 3 billion people and genetic diversity so carrying out Phase III testing there is a good idea.

(My) Question: Much foreign talent uses Singapore as a stepping stone to move onto other countries, and after using us they screw us. In NUS, their depressing of the bell curve causes resentment in Science, Engineering and Computing.

Answer: In the university context, are opportunities curtailed? If you're a local student who meets the cutoff, you can go to university. If you have financial restrictions, we can help. Is the University better or worse off with diversity? I studied in Harvard and learned more since in a class of 40 people there were people from 30 different countries.

Interjection: Diversity is good, but people say 25% of engineering is composed of PRCs. In a class of 40 people we may have people from 3 countries - Singapore, China and Vietnam.

Answer: Vibrance and diversity is brought in by foreign talent, and the context that people from other countries bring is good. Today they depress the bell curve but tomorrow they can be useful contacts.

You can't be naive in university grading. When we compete it's global competition, especially if you join a global company. [Ed: It is a false dichotomy between sponsoring PRCs for 25% of engineering and having no competition. Oddly too, this is at odds with the stated philosophy of streaming.] You need a sense of realism. If a company wants to employ foreign talent when setting up in Singapore but we say they must only hire locals, they may not invest here. The challenge is to find balance.

I've heard feedback before that PRCs are not interested in the others. The point is cross-fertilisation. It's less of a problem if there's interaction.

Private banking likes to come to Singapore not only because we speak English, are numerate and learn well, but because we can deal with different cultures easily. Singaporeans have multicultural instincts, as opposed to Shanghai which is monocultural.

Question: To give Singaporeans exposure, why not just send more overseas on scholarships. eg A*Star gives them only to the top few people and the Chairman, before his depature, wanted to attract PRCs. Why not give Singaporeans the opportunities to go overseas?

Answer: If you have the ability, nothing is holding you back.

Interjection: My first choice was medicine and I was offered a place at Johns Hopkins, but NUS medicine rejected me twice.

Answer: A*Star aims to groom a pool of PhD level people to develop a research ecosystem. "Like everything in Singapore we're trying to do it fast, but PhDs take 6 years to cook" They must be Singaporean because of the investment of public funds, so we make them commit.

There's a limit to what government can do because it uses public funds and there're competing uses for the money.

Local tertiary institutions are now increasing overseas experience (SEP, NOC) and this is good. The private sector has to pick up.
MTI Dialogue Session (all posts)

Question: The government needs to support startups, by providing lnks and support and by faciliating efforts to tap regional markets. Local SMEs can be supported and turned into a pillar of the economy to create jobs for locals.

Answer: In the first ten years the government [can support startups? my notes weren't clear], in the next ten years the private sector.

"The business of government is not about being in business"

The government should only intervene if there's market failure. The government should not get too involved since it will complicate life.

In the area of facilitation he agreed. Startups have special needs - seed money, hooking up with VCs and acquiring A*Star technology for use. SMEs meanwhile need financing and expansion into other markets, which is where IE Singapore comes into the picture.

Manpower is a common problem. Most people want to work for big companies, since smaller companies have no capacity to pay, and they stand the chance of ruin, and people are risk averse.

The only relationship big companies have with the government is lobbying: "I've yet to meet a businessman who is satisfied, so I guess we're doing the right thing."

Question: To what extent is government support a liability? It identifies engineering and bio-science and people rush into those fields and there's a brain drain from others. Now, it's targeting tourism and high end properties (the IRs). If it works, everyone will go into these fields, and there's a cottage industry of polytechnic courses. It's only a matter of time before NUS comes up with a tourism degree. If it doesn't work, it's even worse - Macau has >12 casinos.

Answer: Macau has a different product and appeals to a different sector of the market. People only go there to gamble. Gambling revenue in Macau exceeds Las Vegas. When people go to Las Vegas they want to see a show or visit the Grand Canyon, but for Macau they fly there on a low cost carrier on Friday night, gamble, then go to sleep. The next they gamble the whole day and go to sleep again, and they fly home on Sunday night. Our objective is to offer all-round entertainment and recreation. Sentosa is for families and Sands for business travellers, meetings and conventions. Singapore is to be a "World Class Premier Destination", a city with many things to do.

Brain drain is not a problem because people move to where opportunities are. There are few vocations where you start and finish in the same career. Medicine is one. Law is another but it's changing. In other areas there're big variations, so what's important is getting good training. SMU offers one management track with international trading.

Question: In Singapore there's governmental initiation of opportunity, but in Hong Kong banking and finance are strong because they take a hands-off approach, and we're second to Hong Kong in financial freedom. We point to growth sectors when we should deregulate and let people go in.

Answer: Pointing to an area is not the same as regulating, but rather creating the environment.

The IRs can be a flop, but the government got private investors to come and there was strong interest from credible international investors. Some people say Hong Kong is governed by a small group of businessmen.

Hong Kong's advantage is its hinterland. If you put us near China we can compete, and our regulatory framework for financial services is comparable. Shanghai is fighting with Hong Kong and the centre of gravity may shift.

Instead of being a centre for China like HK and Shanghai we're aiming to be a centre for Asia. If you want to reach India you can use an Indian city but Singapore's the only choice for the whole of Asia. This is because we speak good English - we're the only feasible city in Asia with English as a working language (Sydney's too far south and Manilla is not a business hub).
Gamebook philosophy from the gamebooks Yahoo Group


1: I don't quite understand how "rank" is being defined in this discussion - clearly there isn't a single command hierarchy including Kekataag, Ixiataaga and Sejanoz, and their various positions are separated by gaps between different periods. The Darklord army had a definite rank structure, but a lot of the other figures were unaffiliated and did not appear to answer to anyone. For example: the leadership of the Darklord army switched with the deaths of leaders; Vashna, Zagarna, Haakon and Gnaag were all of the "same rank" but at different times. Ixiataaga for instance was supreme ruler of a very particular terrestrial area, but not apparently answerable to the Darklords prior to their defeat; similarly Sejanoz (and Shasarak) were supreme lords of earthly realms independent of the Darklord command hierarchy but owing some kind of fealty to Naar or his servants. I'm not sure what kind of situation would have entailed Sejanoz, Kekataag and Ixiataaga being required to take orders from one another as they were members of different command hierarchies (similarly there didn't seem to be a "rank" relationship between the Darklords and Zakhan Kimah, even though they fought together at Tahou, nor would I like to say whether Vonotar "outranked", say, Haakon). That the Darklords were unable to call on the Bhanarian, Ixian and Shadakine forces during the conquest of northern Magnamund, and that the Bhanarians did not intervene to support either the Darklords of Shasarak, suggests to me that the different groupings were completely independent, perhaps even hostile.

These kinds of "Naarist" creatures seem to be classic "chaotic evil" types, recognising no authority from others of their own except on the basis of might, and forming unstable balance-of-power groupings rather than fixed hierarchies. Given the way the Darklord leadership contests were portrayed in the "Legends of Lone Wolf" series, I would imagine that if a situation emerged where there would be a contest of position between these individuals, their relative ranking would come down to the strongest in combat or which could win the fealty of a greater or more powerful following. Kekataag (cs60-ep58) would seem to edge out Ixiataaga (cs60-ep39) in direct combat, but Ixiataaga's undead following (cs 45-47) are tougher than the average Agarashi demonspawn which Kekataag could maybe muster (cs in the lower 40s in LW and as low as 17-18 in Grey Star). As for Sejanoz, I've not been able to obtain statistics for him, and I've no idea why (perhaps he was to be the major villain in LW29/30?).

A: So by "rank" you're meaning a kind of "unholiness ranking", something like an Honour score for bad guys? Again I'd wonder if it isn't a dynamic thing - one would earn honour with Naar by killing his enemies and causing maximum possible mayhem, so at any given time those who have "failed" him will be looking to redeem themselves whereas those who are active will be higher in esteem - I would also expect there to be a difference in status between those (such as Kekataag) who are Naar's servants on his own plane (equivalent to house staff) and those (such as the Darklords and Ixiataaga) who are active in Magnamund (equivalent to generals), and again between either of these and the various human and free-willed beings who do deals with or services for Naar in return for personal gain (which would include Sejanoz, Shasarak, the Cener Druids, Vonotar etc).

There also seems to be a split between those beings (the Darklords, Shasarak, Vashna) who seek world domination, others (Ixiataaga, the Cener Druids, Lord Zahda of Kazan-Oud) who are quite happy to run their own mini-realm of evil, and still others (such as Agarash) which are pure forces of destruction. These would seem to reflect different philosophies of evil so to speak - all serving the purposes of Naar but by very different means. Again it depends how Naar's (anti-)ethical code is reconstructed - it's quite possible that autonomy and hostility among his followers is encouraged by Naar as a "survival of the fittest" strategy, that Naar would deliberately cultivate competition or bestow/withhold favours arbitrarily to encourage jealousies which would in turn make each follower more desperate to prove itself, that maybe favour is withdrawn disproportionately due to failure... After all, there must be some reason the likes of Vashna and Agarash don't rest on their laurels in hell, but keep trying to be resurrected over and over. I would imagine human followers "blessed" by Naar are viewed by him as tools and suffer eternal torment at his hands after death, though this is partly guesswork (we know "good guys" who fall into Naar's hands are tormented in a typically nasty way).

The levels difference between books is certainly very remarkable - an obvious response to the growing strength of the hero (notice similarly how a task which logically should only require basic Tracking of Hunting gets upped to requiring the Magnakai or Grand Master equivalent); though if I remember rightly, most of the later enemies are typified as "groups" of Giaks, Kraan, Agarashi etc to justify upping their level (actually the last Giaks are in Captives of Kaag, book 14, and appear as a "patrol" - single enemy - headed by a Vordak; similarly most of those in book 12 are groups). Agarashi can also be anything from a piddling little Burrowcrawler to a massive demon because they're basically mutants...

B: You do have a point. Somehow I've always thought of as Ixiataaga as a mini-villain, or a sidekick to someone (though in a way, all the badguys are, besides Naar of course). I also really liked the way Demonlord Tagazin seemed like a mini-boss. By the way, has anyone thought about how stupid and ridiculous Ixiataaga would seem before he died (unless he was kind of created undead, which is a bit weird, but still kinda works out)? I mean, the whole goat skull looks really cool, but how would Deathlord Ixiataaga look when he still had flesh on his face? But then again, he could have had one of those devil-worshipper guys, with those goat masks like in House of Hell, but that still wouldn't make proper sense. Never mind, my head is spinning!


A: Hi everyone. I'd just like to know who's the best gamebook villain in their opinion (I'm expecting a lot of Zharradan Marr, even though he's a bit of a wimp). Too bad no gamebook author has ever written a good Star Wars gamebook with Darth Vader, but Balthus Dire is the closest we get (we all know a lot of his cool lines are ripped off from Darth Vader).


Seriously, what lines were ripped off Vader? i guess their was the join
me.... thing and the die with your people thing, but those are kind of cheesy.

C: Zharradan Marr is kind of devious, but does have a tendency
to 'monologue' too much.

D: The Zagor-Demon in Legend of Zagor was girly, so he has to be crossed
off the list.

E: One thing that always bothered me was how the ponytails of Balthus and the Black Elf are kind of floating. Maybe Balthus Dire cast some sort of permanent Levitation Spell on his ponytail so that it would look stylish, and maybe the Black Elf had a wine that made his float up because he happened to be a big copycat of his master. Who knows?


And on running your own RPG:

"In general I prefer traps with a little flavour but rarely kill with them.

Interesting trap:

Large, glass ball hanging from a ceiling (contains water). The glass ball is attached to a chain, then end of the chain is held by an animated skeleton at the far side of the room. There is a large pool of acid below the container.(containing a spike to break the glass ball should it hit the acid) The skeletons orders are to release the chain if attacked. The resulting explosion should be devistating. (smallish amount of water added to largish amount of acid = nasty stuff) The adventurers can avoid the trap by not attacking the skeleton...clues could be left in treasure map, riddle, etc."
MTI Dialogue Session (all posts)

Question: That our GDP had been rising by a phenomenal 7.7% per year since 1960 was mentioned but how much of this was real was questioned, especially with GST, inflation, transport costs rising and stagnant wages.

Answer: 'We don't cook the numbers. One of the attributes - trust, disappears immediately'. The difference between real and nominal GDP was explained.

It was admitted that this was a difficult question. Those of us in the room would have no problem due to our degree which would grant us flexibility in the labour market since we would have the skill sets to switch jobs and we could pursue anything.

The problem was with the bottom 20-30% of Singapore, who hadn't even completed secondary school. They were in their late 40s and early 50s and had a lack of training, rendering them vulnerable to competition from low cost labour from India and China.

The cost of living in Singapore was rising by only 1-2% annually thanks to currency appreciation and this was reasonable by global standards, especially since we're totally urbanised (in urban areas the cost of living rises more quickly than in rural ones, so we actually do very well compared to other countries).

The question was whether there was a trickle down effect. Retraining was encouraged but the reality was that it was hard to adjust, and he'd met many such affected people during Meet the People sessions.

Question: How can we contribute back to Singapore? I went to the US for the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) program and worked and got exposure there. If I leave Singapore how can I contribute? If I stay here I will lose out.

Answer: Even in teaching there was a chance to go global. He'd gone to Cambodia and there were Singaporean teachers there teaching under a private company.

It was up to us to work overseas but we were urged to take this opportunity. Even Singaporean companies, if able, would send us overseas to gain global exposure, let alone MNCs.

We were told to take the offers because it wasn't unpatriotic to do so but "please come back" to contribute with what we'd learnt. The temptation to leave would be great but there'd always be a part of Singapore inside us and we'd feel pangs after a while: 'I don't want to reduce it to char kway teow... It's more than that'. For example some emigres return to Singapore after a few years abroad.

The example of Vietnam was raised. They have 80 million people or so, yet 3 million in the diaspora: 0.5 million in the US [Ed: Wo-hen!], 0.5 million in France etc. The constraint that Vietnam faced was of not having enough good people, thanks to their bieng under communism for too long, and in its time of need, Vietnamese overseas returned to it.

Venture capital in Singapore was good - $20 billion worth.

Question: Singapore lacks talents. Not just money but people. In the US you can rub shoulders with Jeff Bezos, but you can't do that here. It makes more sense to go to the US since it's hard to found startups in Singapore.

Answer: The US was huge and it had a grand tradition of entrepreneurship. If you ask VCs who the important investors are, it's those with experience who can guide startups. Rockstars of industries lack the bandwith - they don't have the time to help everyone unless they take a personal interest in you.

Singapore might've been a bad place for startups 10-15 years ago, but now we have home grown people - Olivia Lum, Sim Wong Hoo (and one more whose name I forgot). People come here from China and India to help, and we have Singaporeans with experience.

Finally, compared to the US, all countries are far behind in this respect.

Question: People in Singapore are too risk averse.

Answer: This is a reason why the early entrepreneurs were from polytechniques [Ed: Pardon my French] - university graduates were too comfortable. The more education you have the more risk averse you have - those with PhDs are totally risk averse. But this is changing.

Question: Are we changing fast enough to compete on a worldwide field?

Answer: We can't beat China and India, but many are prepared to come to Singapore.

Question: What is the future of the humanities in Singapore? We study what we're interested in but we can't find corresponding jobs.

Answer: He did economics as his first degree and public administration later. Since he was bonded, he didn't get to choose his first job, which was as Deputy Director of Police and Security in MHA. His world was shattered. The moral of the story is that it's not to do with your training but your state of mind.

Those from the humanities have a different (qualitative) way of looking at things. Those in the social sciences occupy the middle ground between humanities and hard sciences. If you're a good Humanities student you can get a good management post anywhere. Many companies want balance and an environment for good decision making.

For hard political analysis, the marke tis not big, being mostly in academia and institutes. Business political analysis is a bigger market and Singapore is the best place in the region for this, together with Hong Kong.

There are opportunities, but they are not as obvious. You need to differentiate yourself and not shut the door.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MTI Dialogue Session (all posts)

I was at a dialogue session with the Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr S Iswaran today about the Singapore economy and our views on where we're going, and the notes are too long to finish in one post, so I'll do it in spurts, and tag each one "mti dialogue".

The session opened with a presentation on where the Singapore economy was going.

Right now 77.3% of our GDP is composed of external demand, and only 3.4% government spending.

I was expecting a list of challenges but the only one we got was the rise of China and India - others are getting cheaper and better.

The strategies laid out for us to compete were:

Speed - We can move quickly as a small, united country, capitalising on our efficiency and infrastructure.

Trust - We have a good reputation, good in areas like financial services, aerospace precision engineering and intellectual property.

Innovation - We can move into new markets and do things different, eg Environment and Water Technology (Hyflux), Interactive and digital media and Life sciences

Breadth - We offer a spectrum of related products and services. If we only had a single offering we would have to compete on price, but we offer complementary services. For example Bio-tech <-> Pharmaceuticals <-> Health care <-> Medical technology

Buzz - We have talent and ideas. The IRs, new Botanical gardens and rejuvenation of the Singapore river are part of the plan to generate Buzz.

Our growth prospects are 4-6% for 2007 (MTI estimate - the other organisations didn't give such a large range).

The dialogue bit then began.

Question: It was asked whether there would be enough jobs for people in the life sciences.

Answer: Life sciences is a broad area. In the Singapore context we're going for bio-technology and pharmaceuticals, because we can capitalise on our strengths; they require a high knowledge content (education plays a role here) and their taking 12 years from identifying a molecule to bringing it to market as a drug requires a rigorous intellectual property regime so the research costs can be recouped. Drugs need quality control and consistency for safety reasons.

Those with basic life science degrees were advised to go for pharmaceutical companies or biotechnology where they could support research. The rest were told to go for PhDs.

The life science degree was feted as offering mind training: 'The world is your oyster', and this applied to other disciplines as well, eg Engineers diversify into other fields.

Here in Singapore, rural development and agricultural development are not sexy matters.

We're all transitioning. Except for Singapore, everyone is transitioning, always.

There's a secret to that... Professors would give us so many readings... If I was given a book, I'd read the first page, get an idea, and skip.

[On Locke] Happiness is a euphemism for property.

The Minister of Home Affairs recommends, and the President says: *light voice* Okay!

You make that representation ot the advisory board: 'I'm not a terrorist, I'm a freedom fighter'... The most dangerous thing he has is a water balloon in his flat.

[On Powerpoint] I asked you, for presentations - you can send me your preferences by email. Like zis, like zis, like zis, or like zis? *advances text on a slide with 4 types of animated transitions*

[On dynamic games with complete information] I know everything. He knows that I know everything. I know that he knows that I know everything. And - you get the idea.

You are rational. I know that you are rational. I stop here. But smart people will go to infinity... This is my project, I should know.

First mover ard'vahn'targe [Ed: French pronounciation of 'ge']

[On a one shot game where 2 firms decide on OSes] If they install Macintosh, they gain less, because Windows [is] more open.

[Written] Mackintosh (Macintosh)

[On the payoff table where one party has the first mover advantage] It's ok if you didn't understand it. I also didn't understand it when I saw it [for the] first time... I was completely lost.

I will illustrate how to get the first term... Look how kind I am.

[On killing students] No maths. Logic. Work it out graphically... You'll find it very enlightening. 'An instructive experience'

[Me on Honey-Lemon: It looks like pee] Is it good? [Me: Yeah, it's good pee.] *Tch*

In Minford and Peel, there is no lag term, but I like to be original, so I included the lag term. Which makes it much more complicated... much more interesting.

[On a hard model] Walsh reformulates the model with inter-temporal optimization but the results don't change very much.

How come there're a lot of CAP 5s in Business? [Student 2: Business easy mah]

[On being hit on by gays] I've gotten used to it... So for 3 guys have tried to pick me up... [Me: How many girls have tried to pick you up?] 0. The statistics don't work in my favour.

[On reforming the ISA] I argued that if you don't torture, how do you get the guy to confess?... [Student 2: You meet all sorts of scary people in class]... [Instructor: Before we go on, note that torture is not part of the law... We are Singapore, but still.]

[On the ISA] A law like this scares innocent people... Sometimes rightly, because they're guilty.

Che Guevara is a gay icon... You don't have to be gay to be a gay icon.

[On wrongful conviction and 30 year declassification] You send a bunch of flowers to the family and say 'sorry'

[On the presumption of guilt and preventive detention] One of my honours student... he was in the MRT station. 'How to make a bomb' Books on extremism. He was writing an essay... Muslim guy. (students)

Say I'm a Chemistry teacher... I love the language. I have lots of books on anarchism. I'm on my way to buy materials for a class experiment.

'Oh my god. The second half of the semester is all about Marxism. He's indoctrinating students... He's a threat.'... You can also view porn and say it's for education.

We're going to start by showing you clips from a film I don't consider to be great, from a filmmaker I also don't consider to be great, but it resonates with Singaporeans... I'll show you some clips from the film 'I Not Stupid'.

Democracy: people have the idea that this place will turn into Singapore.

I'm interested in your expectations. Do you want me to wear a tie every day? [Someone: Jacket] Jacket.

From time to time I will call on you... just to keep you awake.

My expectation from you is that I can easily get an A from you.

My grouse with most of the modules in this school is that they are all Economics based. Whine whine whine.

You want to specialise as a generalist?

In the 1950s, the argument was 'People are poor because they are poor'. It's a tautology.

The Solow growth model is interesting in paper (on)

[On trust] If you leave your umbrella on the subway in Japan there's a high chance that it will return to you.

Singapore has a different model of accountability... Accountability is internal, within the government, within the party... In the US... Separation of powers. Ambition counters ambition. In communist countries like China, Vietname - internal norms.

Africa got the most aid per capita, but had the least growth. East Asia got the least aid per capita, but had the most growth.

In a centralised government like Vietnam, I don't think one-party government is the best choice for development... There is ideology.

The President needs 5 years of education, but the clerk needs a College Degree. It's perverse... Democracy corrupts and too much democracy corrupts absolutely.

I'm a year 3. I should be hiding in a hole somewhere.
"Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation." - Kin Hubbard



[On icebreakers] The purpose of this was partly to annoy you on a Monday morning

[On apathy] The natural thing to do is to fold your arms and smile a lot, as at the beginning of the semester.

Why dowe need the PAP in power?... If not everyone will kill everyone [else]. Singapore will sink into the sea, like Atlantis.

You look puzzled. There are readings. It's a common thing for a module to have readings.

mutching pennies game (matching)

head or tail (heads or tails)

We both choose hair'ds (heads)

Let's see the fry'mores Prisoner's Dilemma (famous)

I meet youand say 'let's do zees' (this)

bah'let (ballet)

[On a guy going for ballet with someone] I will enjoy [it] because she will be there.

Mr Column. He is also [a] smart guy. In the market everyone is smart.

[On game theory] Players in the market, they are very smart. Not often they are economists. They are engineers. (are they)

[On a repeated game] You will see me every week. We will play [the] game 13 times.

hunting a stug (stag)

final game (finite)

Cournot game, is it a finite game?... 2 is a very finite number.

Nash equilibrium, invented 1950. Just recently.

[On the Honours class] The smarter they get, the uglier they get. [Me: How about us?] Present company excluded, as usual... [Student 2: I'm not smart. So I'm pretty] [Me: Would you rather be smart or pretty?] [Student 2: Pretty, because I can diao jing kui. {Translation: Catch a rich tortoise}]

The best thing about game theory is that you can go to the end without mathematics. Just differentiation.

Now I will show you [how to solve this] in a very very complicated way. Because I had an exam in Toulouse and I almost failed to solve this in time. So now it is a matter of my honour that I show it to you.

How to solve zis poem (this point)

My philosophy of philosophy is that philosophy is crap.

You know the girls in maths are really pretty? Serious serious serious.

[On diversity in groupings] There's diversity of gender. If you look deeper, diversity of class. If you really deep, diversity of sexuality.

Future direction from an imaginary past. Some glorious past... Asian Values.

A person of this kind, a person of this pedigree, family name, is always obeyed because that's the way it's always been.

[On Plato] What kind of skills are required for expertise in the Nation State? Law. Economics. Mathematics. Thus you have the Triumvirate of ***, ***, ***.

Kinda Keen'zeer'n (Keynesian)

[On the reserves] The moment we are compassionate, it will bleed to zero and Singapore will collapse and sink into the sea... 'We cannot have welfare'

Socrates was, not just according to Plato, a really annoying person. He would walk up to people - people he wouldn't know - and ask: 'So, what is justice?' I'm sure you've met people like this at parties.

Those who can see through the conventional wisdom of the age are often regarded as mad.

Stair'ter scoh (status quo)

A very familiar sounding myth... Gold has to marry gold... how does it begin to degenerate? Sex.

Scholarships. Let's go through this very quickly. So you can discuss this later. You can put *** on trial... You come back, you're bonded. The word is 'bond', can you imagine?

Half the nation are made to do some form of National Service. Reinforce their masculinity... The other half sit there and admire them... Instead, in the prime of their lives, of being student activists, put them in uniform. A place ruled by regimentation, by brutality.

*Puts hagiography on table* What we want to do is to set you up for a trial, of this man... I'm gonna ask for 10 volunteers to prosecute this man. Whatever is said stays within this room.

I realise that USP classes, people bo hia (?) accent. I buay jalan.

All the books I got from closed stacks, all the books are Marxist books.

This course, ***, is a very interesting course. Believe me.

We'll have a break, but hold on for a while. We're only at page 2.

If there are only 3 of you who choose this course, you will have a very large share of my time.

Sociological arse'pecks (aspects)

In the workplace. Not in academia. In the workplace.

It gives you a lot of insight for relatively little mathematics. There're a lot of books with very rigorous mathematics, but the insight you get about the real world is not a lot.

Something like evaluation and exams - is that what anyone here cares about? Or are you here purely for learning and wisdom?

[On analysing economic development] The point of your paper is not 'we are good performers compared to Singapore'

I was in a taxi driver this morning (taxi)

30% of the labour force in Singapore is basically ex'pay'tree'ates (expatriates)

[On Singapore having favorable initial conditions on independence: strategic location, small city state, few environmental disasters, entrepot history, colonial legacy] The government will say 'That is not the case'

[On explaining Singapore's economic development] Upfront in the book I wrote all the negatives about Singapore that I had ever heard.

[On pragmatic socialism vs authoritarian capitalism] Singapore defies easy classification because it has lots of paradoxes.

[On Singapore] 93% of Singaporeans own their houses... More than 80% of the land is owned by the state. That's like North Korea, Cuba.

Thank you, if you don't intend to take this course and have lots 1 hour of your valuable lives.

[On shopping week] I can understand you're really tired of shopping. Shop till you drop.

People call me Ed, Eddie, Your Highness... just call me Ed. If you're not used to that, practise.

We can negotiate whether it is an easy exam or a hard exam. Closed book or open book.

Have you heard of the Undergraduate University? Everything you learn in a 4 year University Course you can learn in 5 minutes.

[On transplanting institutions] Why don't we just adopt the constitution of Singapore? Then we can develop... One party state, GRCs, high minister's salaries.

The third week, and this is the only thing I learnt from a public policy degree, market failure and government failures... Everything you learn in a Masters Course you can learn in 5 minutes.

Some people prefer to gumbo (gamble)

Government failures. Unfortunately the literature is concerned with Western democracies... There is not much on government failure in a one-party state.

Would you put Donald Trump in jail? Economics would say 'give him a light term. He's productive'

[On marriage vows] These are unwritten. These are rules in use. Or unsed.

Regression models. Don't worry, if you have not taken Econometrics before I can explain it to you in 5 minutes.

Midterm. 3 hour exam, closed book. We can talk about it. Depends on the preferences of the market.

un use'swirl (unusual)
"Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success - yours or his." - Franklin P. Jones


Derringer not good for lighting cigarettes - "An Anderson woman suffered a self-inflicted wound earlier this week from a pistol she confused with a cigarette lighter, according to law enforcement officials."

CANOE LIVE - CNEWS FORUM - "Stephanie Templeton, 8, arrived on two separate occasions with a bag full of canned goods for her North York school's food drive. On Tuesday when Stephanie arrived with her second load of six cans, her teacher at Derrydown Public School in the Keele St. and Finch Ave. W. area sent them back home with her because she was making other students feel bad, Stephanie's dad, Frank Templeton, said yesterday. "

Woman Accidentally Shoots Self At Gun Range - "Police said Anna Herrera-Gomez was practicing with a 9 mm gun at the H&H Gun Range in Oklahoma City when a hot shell casing fell down the front of her shirt. She jumped as the hot metal touched her skin and reached for her chest. Police said that's when she accidentally shot herself in the leg."

Political Scientist Seymour Lipset, 84; Studied Democracy and U.S. Culture - "Dr. Lipset first explained the connection between economic development and democracy, an insight that earned him immediate attention and made him one of the most-cited political scientists... "More than any other figure, with the possible exception of John Kenneth Galbraith, he plausibly explains to us baffled aliens why you Americans are so very odd," Walker wrote in a review of Dr. Lipset's book "American Exceptionalism" (1996). "He tackles the really interesting questions that seldom seem to occur to the rest of you; why America never developed a serious socialist movement; why you exhibit almost Iranian levels of religiosity; why Canada is so different; and why you so hate turning out to vote but so enjoy joining voluntary organizations.""

Democracy Matters: A Conversation with Seymour Martin Lipset - "There have to be institutionalized mechanisms which make the elections fair and honest. It's important to have groups criticizing each other. The job of a political opposition is to expose things that are bad. In authoritarian systems, evils and inefficiencies aren't exposed... Schumpeter, in his book on imperialism, which was done in the twenties, argued that the foreign imperialist actually loses money. When the business cycle goes down, the foreign investments get wiped out. One of his examples was in North America, where the railroads and big utilities were financed by foreign investments - by the British or the Germans. Those investments were wiped out by various 19th century depressions. The money was lost but the railroads remained in Canada and the United States. Schumpeter concluded that foreign investments are not profitable. There have been studies of French investments in Indochina concluding that Schumpeter was right. The French put more money into Indochina then they got out. It doesn't mean that individual capitalists don't make money, but investments by countries do not pan out to be profitable because of the business cycle. A study of Italian investments in Libya concluded that Italy lost money."

Waves of democracy often get reversed, Lipset reminds social scientists - "A nation's historical political culture is important also, he said, because institutionalizing democracy involves beliefs. Members of a civil society must develop tolerance for those who disagree with them, and political winners must allow losers to continue to compete for power. "Almost all the heads of new democracies, from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to Indira Gandhi . . . attempted to repress their opponents," Lipset said... A recent statistical analysis published by Lipset and two Stanford graduate students in sociology, Kyoung-Ryung Seong and John Charles Torres, found that "having been a British colony shows a higher relationship" to democracy than any other variable studied."

How Christmas Brings Out The Grinch in Economists - "In one study, economists John List and Jason Shogren created an auction in which they offered students money for their Christmas presents, asking them to split their price into material and sentimental value. The result: On average, sentimental value accounted for about half the total. That more than offsets Mr. Waldfogel's estimate of deadweight loss, suggesting that Christmas gift-giving might not be such a bad thing when all factors are taken into account."

Stinky flower mystery solved - "Scientists have used genetic analysis to solve the long-standing mystery of the lineage of the rafflesia flower, known for its blood-red bloom measuring three feet wide and its nauseating stench of rotting flesh."

Mr Wang Says So: No Cause for Celebration - "Singapore is the easiest place in the world to pay a worker peanuts; make him work overtime; and then sack him without compensation."
"It is interesting how the right has appropriated the term 'labour freedom', whereas the arguably more academically conventional term is 'labour mobility', and the more precise and intellectually honest term, 'dispensibility'."

What is wrong with gay sex? - "Having said all that, let’s get on with the judging." God reached forward and pressed a small red button on his armrest. Immediately, the hall was bathed in an eerie red light and the air filled with the deafening "Parp! Parp! Parp!" of a claxon... "I have been testing you. I have pretended to be a bleeding-heart liberal in order to establish your commitment to The Bible. I do tests. Don’t you remember Isaac and Abraham – Genesis 23?"
"You will also be delighted to find real bacon in our burgers. For bacon lovers, we even have a bacon burger, called Bacon Lovers(TM), created just for you."

- Superdog Advertisement.

A*** A**!

Superdog is available at VivoCity. The food's good, though a bit expensive. I agree with my brother-in-law that it's better to pay a bit more and go for Carl's Junior. Though I think Superdog's somewhat fresher than the latter.
Killer Litter - Letter to SFD 3 August 2000

Modern judicial systems have four main objectives - retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. In the practical operation of a system of sentencing, these objectives often come into conflict; since criminology seems unlikely to ever provide the information on which to base a scientific choice between the different objectives of punishment, the giving of priority to each objective rests on the moral principles of the society.

The laws of Singapore are often criticised for being overly harsh and draconian. The death sentence is barbaric; caning is torture, cruel and unusual punishment; the ban on chewing gum is absurd beyond words; and so on. But insofar as these punishments are applied to the individual who commits the offence, there is a case to be made for them that Singapore places great importance on the deterrence and incapacitation values of a punishment and the resulting reduced crime rates. Our sentencing system draws some flak, but it also has its fair share of praise and admirers.

The eviction of tenants from their flats as a punishment for having a convicted killer-litter offender in their midst is touted as a decisive solution to the anti-social menace and a natural extension of the deterrence principle that Singapore favours so much. However, it is necessary to point out that this collective punishment violates a fundamental, invisible (because it is often assumed and just as often forgotten) principle of law: justice, the moral imposition of penalty or recompense upon those, and only upon those, who have caused unwarranted or significant injury to others.

Let not undue sympathy be lavished upon the killer-litter offender, nor due sympathy be with-held from the victims, an oft-made criticism of the American legal system and media circus. It is, however, a well-established axiom of law, of justice, and of humanity that as far as possible the innocent should not be punished, either wittingly or unwittingly, for the crimes of the guilty. This principle is enshrined in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the protection of civillian persons in times of war. The existence of the article is, at least, an acknowledgement of the ideal of adherence to the principle of protecting the innocent even under the stresses and brutality of war; how much greater the requisite protection of the innocent in peace-time!

Yet here we have our elected government and our main English-language broad-sheet deliberately enacting, and promoting, the use of a brutal, ruthless form of collective punishment to ensure conformance to safety standards. Yes, the objective is noble: the protection of the innocent from unwarranted injury. But doing so by trampling over the rights of other innocents makes a mockery of the objective. The maxim that "the ends justify the means" has been the key to countless houses of unspeakable horror.

On the issue of collective responsibility for killer litter, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said that "the onus was on the family to educate its members not to throw things out of the window." Ms Leong Ching, in "Eviction a must for killer-litter bugs" (18 July 2000), notes that "it is unrealistic to expect town councils and the HDB to patrol each and every block." Allow me to paraphrase her by noting that it is equally unrealistic to expect the tenants of any particular flat to stay at home all day long and keep an eye on the other tenants.

The logic of repossessing the flats of convicted killer-litter offenders suggests that we extend the system of collective punishment to other areas of the law, to avoid a jarring inconsistency in a country that prides itself on its orderliness and efficiency. How about granting the death sentence to the family members of convicted murderers and drug smuggling, and caning plus lengthy imprisonments to family members of convicted rapists? After all, is not the onus on the family to educate its members on the value of life, the harm caused by the drug trade and the immorality of selfishly and violently satiating one's lusts?

Better still, appoint for each citizen a permanent "buddy", and have each pair of "buddies" be collectively culpable for any offence commited by either of them. The logic holds if and only if collective responsibilty was an untegrated, ubiquitous feature of our judicial system, and we might very well have a drastically reduced crime rate. Singapore would then be a fine place to live, certainly, if your concept of a fine place to live involves a populace of nervous, fearful, obsessive-compulsive vigilantes.

The eviction of tenants from a flat because of the crime of one member repudiates a vital legal principle, violates humanitarian principles, ignores compassion, and baffles the reason. There are many weapons in the government's arsenal to combat terrorism. Collective punishment and the fear and resentment it breeds in the hearts of the citizens is the most reprehensible.

Joseph Wong
Subject: Where have you been??!!!


Gab darling!!!

I've found you!! and talk about the most uncanny place...via the NTS travelblog competition! I knew it was you instantly!! YOu never told me you had a blog! Humph! How have you been? When are you coming home? And what can you get for me from France?!!

Miss ya!


This is bizarre.

This person has obviously got the wrong Gab (since I'm not in France, am 'home' and have no one who calls me 'darling'), but she didn't leave a return address so I can't inform her of her error.

In other news, bizarre spam I get:

"Meet Big Beautiful Singles in Your Area
A Place for Big Beautiful Women And Their Admirers to Find Romance!
find more date-website,find more Beautiful Singles"

as well as an email titled "Is Bush already a lame duck?" from someone I don't know with an exe that's obviously a virus attached.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

White paper on the Jemaah Islamiah arrests:

"The psychologists concluded that many JI members turned to leaders like Ibrahim Maidin as they wanted a ''no fuss'' path to heaven. They wanted to be convinced that in JI they had found ''true Islam'' and free (sic) themselves from endless searching as they found it stressful to be critical, evaluative and rational. They believed they could not go wrong, as the JI leaders had quoted from holy texts. The psychological profile of the JI members (e.g. high compliance, low assertiveness, low in the questioning of religious values, and high levels of guilt and loneliness) suggested that the group of JI members was psychologically predisposed to indoctrination and control by the JI leaders and needed a sense of belonging."

Err, this applies to more people than JI lor.


"Independent teams of psychologists have interviewed the 31 detainees. All except two were assessed to have average or above average intelligence. About one-third had intelligence above the population norm, including two with superior level intelligence... These men were not ignorant, destitute or disenfranchised outcasts. All 31 had received secular education"

Picoeconomics and microeconomics (and macroeconomics)

"Ross (2005) argues that picoeconomics relates to microeconomics in the same way that post-war neoclassical microeconomics is related to macroeconomics - given the right construal of the latter relation, which is not the one found in standard histories of economic thought. Ever since macroeconomics was invented by Keynes and Hicks, economists have generally assumed that, at least in principle, it ought to reduce to microeconomics. It is not always obvious what they have in mind by this, or that they have in mind something clearly defined. Philosophers of science decompose the idea of reduction into several species... Sometimes reduction is mereological and explanatory: we seek to explain both the existence and the nature of composite (or ''higher-level'') kinds of things by showing how they are composed out of ''lower-level'' things whose existence and nature are taken for granted for the purposes of the explanation...

Almost all economists believe that macroeconomic objects and processes reduce to microeconomic ones in the first sense. Note that this is a meta-physical assumption, not something that economics shows. Nor is it something economists aim to show; if demonstrating the cogency of this sort of reductionism is anyone's job, it is one for philosophers. Many economists do, however, hope to reduce macroeconomic theory to microeconomic theory and some - rational expectations theorists - sometimes say they have pulled it off. This claim is misleading, however. Rational expectations macroeconomics borrows microeconomic modeling techniques, to be sure; but it does so by constructing theoretical fictions - infinitely lived agents and atomless measure spaces - that do not occur in any microeconomic generalizations (Ross 1999). This is not reduction as any philosopher of science would understand it. More to the point, it clearly has nothing to do with any sort of explanatory reduction. (In any case, few economists now expect rational expectations macroeconomics to be the whole or final account of macroeconomic phenomena, and many think it applies only to very special circumstances)...

Macroeconomics is explanatively basic relative to microeconomics, thus reversing the traditional picture of the relationship. Macroeconomic dynamics create microeconomic agents - roughly, whole people during the stretches of their biographies in which their behavior is consistent enough to satisfy the weak axioms of revealed preference, plus Houthakker's axiom. The interactions of these agents - their games - then feed back recursively into macroeconomic patterns...

This picture is apt to seem incredible to an economist trained in graduate school, like most, to think that any macroeconomic generalization is suspicious unless we can see at least in principle how it might have solid ''microfoundations.'' However, this combines a legitimate concern for unity of science - for concern with avoiding commitment to types of objects and processes, and to theoretical generalizations, that are ontologically ''stranded,'' and which thus must seem to be posited merely as ad hoc devices for writing down predictions - with a particular philosophical view about how unity must be achieved that does a poor, and increasingly poor, job of describing ontological and intertheoretic relationships found across the network of sciences."

--- The economics of the sub-personal, Don Ross
"If you desire to use your rage at our excessive crime rates to keep you in office, here is what you should do: Stress the need for more police, bewail the legalistic technicalities that set the guilty free, deplore the judicial tendency to impose sentimentally lenient sentences, frequently declare war on drugs or family violence or sex offenders, and promise that by larger doses of mandatory punishment you will send a powerful message to many varieties of criminals. Also, of course, in voting and in oratory, miss no occasion to favor capital punishment. You will not, as I am sure you appreciate, have any effect on crime rates, but your tenure in office will be more secure...

The coexistence of a guideline system and mandatory punishments, or mandatory minimum punishments, is a jurisprudential contradiction. If the sentencing commission is to be trusted, it must be trusted throughout. Mandatory sentences are a sin against the light; they deny the diversity of human behavior...

Press for the sentencing commission... to develop guidelines for the imposition of ''intermediate punishments,'' that is, punishments other than incarceration or ordinary probation [Ed: Singapore does this]"

--- Norval Morris, Guideline to sentencing reform
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