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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Straits Times - Insight (14 March 2008)
Being better informed makes for better citizens
Li Xueying

MAS Selamat has died.

He was tortured to death by the Singapore authorities, and the latter are now covering it up by saying that he escaped from custody.

Oh wait, the chap is neither dead nor escaped.

He's actually still in the Whitley Road Detention Centre. The Internal Security Department is pretending that he escaped in order to lure other Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operatives out into the open.

Ah, not really. He was deliberately released, have you not heard?

A Cabinet minister's child was kidnapped by the JI. The Government made a secret pact with the terrorist network to let Mas Selamat go in exchange. But since hostage swopping is not the done thing in Singapore, the next best thing was to let him 'escape', assisted.

These are some of the conspiracy theories swirling around out there about the escape of the JI leader two weeks ago.

Crackpot? Quite.

But who knows what kind of traction they may gain, the longer Mas Selamat stays missing, and the longer questions stay unanswered.

As a friend ruminated last week: 'There are so many questions about this incident. How did he escape? Why hasn't he been found? There must be some unknown story that we don't know about.'

An information vacuum is fertile breeding ground for speculation and conjecture.

Before Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew shed more light on the matter - from, of all places, Bahrain - late last week, all that Singaporeans knew was there had been a 'physical breach' at the detention centre.

From the evening the news broke, my colleagues at the Newsdesk have been trying hard to get more information from the authorities about the escape, but to little avail. What has been released thus far pertains more to his physical appearance than to the escape per se.

This is not the first time that the Government has demonstrated such cool reserve when releasing information to the public.

For the longest time, it had refused to make public more precise data on the number of jobs that go to citizens and foreigners.

This led to a furore in 2003, when senior economists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - using data from the Manpower Ministry's website - published a study saying that three out of four new jobs in the past five years had gone to foreigners.

Drawing on classified information, the ministry produced a different set of figures in rebuttal. The NTU economists were declared 'irresponsible' and 'unprofessional'.

But as more recent releases from the Manpower Ministry show, the latter has apparently had a change of heart.

Two weeks ago, to combat MPs' and citizens' unease that more jobs are going to foreigners, it made history by finally giving the breakdown between citizens, permanent residents and foreigners in the job data it released.

The dangers are clear: When information is not available, rumours and criticisms spread - some of which are certainly unfair to the Government.

For when the Government is secretive, it gives people cause to wonder, what does it have to hide? Can't be anything good, they speculate.

When the University of New South Wales pulled out of Singapore suddenly last year, the Economic Development Board's reluctance to say how much taxpayers' money had been invested in the failed venture led to more brickbats for it.

Last month, when announcing the new annuities scheme that would come into effect in 2013, the Manpower Ministry refused to release reports by its independent actuarial consultant Trowbridge Deloitte on Singaporeans' lifespans. People wondered, why?

And of course, not forgetting that old chestnut: the lack of transparency on how electoral boundaries are drawn - and redrawn - leading to accusations of gerrymandering.

Naturally, not all information that the public would like to have can be made public.

For the sake of national security, some should - and must be - kept secret.

But beyond that, the default mode should be to make available information to Singaporeans, the people of this country. It should be a natural right.

As Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong argued in Parliament last week: 'Any official data that does not invoke national security or similar concerns should be made available.

'Indeed, I urge the Government to enact a Freedom of Information Act to set the rules under which government information is made available to the public as of right.'

Beyond nipping erroneous rumours in the bud, making freer the information flow will allow various segments of civic society - whether academics, activists or just the man in the street - to better contribute to an understanding of the issues Singapore faces.

Ultimately, it boils down to the relationship between the State and its people.

Do you trust your people to be judicious with the information?

Or do you treat them like kids, who cannot be trusted to handle the truth?

One gripe about Singaporeans is that they always expect the Government to do everything for them.

But if we want Singaporeans to be active citizens, to care, to be involved, they need to be empowered too, to know what is going on in their own country.

It is a two-way street.

xueying@sph.com.sg
There're a surprising number of theses in the library dedicated to 'God'.

It would be interesting to run a regression to find out what affects whether a thesis gets into the library.
Ridzwan.Com: Halal Food: Unites or Divides?

"A principal of a primary school in Singapore incited enmity in the online world not too long ago. His felony: dictating that non-Halal food should not be allowed in his school canteen. Several netizens responded in anger at the news and vowed to boycott all eating outlets with a Halal sign on it...

Muslims are often reluctant to sit at the same table or eat at premises where non-Halal food like pork and alcohol is served. This often arises due to concerns over odor and cross-contamination of utensils.

However non-Muslims are not prohibited by their religion to eat Halal food.

What prevents us from using Halal food as the common denominator so that all faiths alike can sit at the same table and enjoy a meal together? Could not this growing trend of Halal eating premises be adopted to unite our races like we have never done before? All it takes is the shedding of some non-Halal items from the menu and lunch takes on a whole new social meaning.

What better way than to start it off from our school-going youngsters?"

By the same author:

"Frankly, I am sick of these vegetarians imposing their beliefs upon others. It used to be that vegetarians were very mild, nice folks typical of a meek herbivore. But lately they seem to have grown very aggressive. I used to have a friend who refused to attend any of our barbeque gatherings even though we have promised him vegetarian meals. His excuse was that he does not want to come anywhere near the “grill of death”. Not a week goes by without him preaching about the virtues of being a vegetarian. And no, he does not do it for religious reasons."


Lots of seditious comments follow (many of which, as usual, conflate multiple issues), but I will just add, about "It is terribly disappointing to see segregations by races, religions and what not. Do we really believe that one day we will have Halal fuel, Halal airplane, Halal bed, Halal water and everything?", that we already have Halal ice ("Have ice will revel").

There's also a reappearance of the Coke and worms urban legend. Gosh (Xephyris tried that out and was disappointed). Too bad that the only ones who are utterly convinced are never going to be in a position to try it out.

Someone in there also pointed to an interesting article:

Pigs' feet: the new superfood

"The latest anti-ageing food? Pigs' trotters. That's right, you heard it here first. In New York, the most talked-about new opening of the past couple of months has been a Japanese restaurant called Hakata Tonton, where 33 out of the 39 dishes contain pigs' feet.

The reason for this, according to its owner, Himi Okajima, is that they are rich in collagen, the protein responsible for skin and muscle tone, more recognisable to beauty addicts in the form of face creams and fillers.

"Collagen helps your body retain moisture," says Okajima, who has introduced a chain of restaurants specialising in collagen cuisine in Japan. "Your hair and skin will look better, but it's not just for looking beautiful now. If you begin eating collagen in your thirties, you will look younger in your forties."

Maybe this sounds a little improbable ("It's news to me," sniffs Lisa Miles of the British Nutrition Foundation. "I've certainly never heard of eating collagen") but Okajima believes he is on to something. Figures published last month show that British spending on cosmetic surgery is the highest in Europe, hitting nearly £500 million in 2006, four times more than in 2001.

Isn't there a cheaper solution? Couldn't eating the right foods, in the right way, be a simpler, and ultimately more long-term way to stay looking and feeling younger? "You are what you eat," says nutritional therapist Ian Marber, aka The Food Doctor."
"Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night." - Philip K. Dick

***

Quotes:

[On Callicott's Land Ethic] What if there's a conflict between a species of virus and a species of human being? Bird flu virus. H5N1 virus.

A good theory should be able to defend itself against Murphy's Law.

[On ecocentrism] I'm sacrificing myself to protect that tree?

[On financial planning] Diversification... Don't put all your money in the stock market... Put some in the stock market, put some in property, put some under your pillow and so forth and so forth.

[On Arne Naess] Strictly speaking, we in the English speaking world would say he's not much of a philosopher, because he's not systematic.

The reason why we have to know about Deep Ecology is that it's very influential. I think it's a stupid theory, but nevermind... It's a hotch-potch collection.

This is where it gets stupid. We have to be 'deep'... Deep Ecology requires us to ask 'deep' questions, he says.

[On Arne Naess and 'egotist'] Actually it should be 'egoist', but he's not much of a philosopher. He uses terms in a very confusing way.

He calls it the big Self, with an 'S'. It's getting sillier and sillier... And then, of course, he doesn't stop there. He brings in Indian philosophy. He brings in Buddhist philosophy. He brings in all the mystical things.

[On Deep Ecology] I am identifying myself with this bigger Self. How this works is not entirely clear.

[On more vital interests having priority over less vital ones] When confronted with this issue, Naess pulls out another rule from thin air, in addition to all these other rules... It doesn't seem to be so environment-friendly after all... Deep Ecology borrowing from here and there in order to plug up all these gaps.

We just have to exert wisdom. How exactly, I'm not sure... I'm reminded of this series of advertisements... Chevron... 'The world needs more energy. We do it wisely, respectfully'.

Bookchin reserves his harshest criticisms for Deep Ecology. He says it is 'vague' and 'formless'. It's a “bizarre mix of Hollywood and Disneyland. It's 'spiced with homilies from Taoism, Buddhism, spiritualism'. It's a form of 'reborn Christianity' and 'eco-fascism', 'a ‘black hole’ of half digested and ill-formed ideas. Being a nice person I wouldn't use such strong terms, but I think they're mostly justified... He calls it 'eco-la-la', 'eco-babble'. Not a philosophy at all... As a philosophy you cannot get away with name-calling... That's not good enough. You gotta have arguments... so okay, apart from the name-calling... What are the arguments against Deep Ecology? Well, of course there are a lot of them.

[On the alleged deindividualism of capitalism] No one cares about you... Mass production... They make clothes that don't fit anybody. You have to get them altered.

David Foreman is an eco-fascist, according to Bookchin... According to Bookchin, Foreman said, and I'm sure Foreman said this: 'the best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let the people there', that is the Ethiopians, 'just starve'... [Bookchin] doesn't want to comment on it... Nevermind about Ethiopians, but there are lots of examples of this kind of thinking... If you've been watching TV, you must be aware of this example. There was a polar bear... the mother decided to reject the baby. The zoo officials decided to raise the bear themselves... Many ecologists said this was bad... In Nature, sometimes, the mother will abandon the bear. Sometimes the mother will eat a cub... Foreman says the best thing in this case is to let the Ethiopians die... They call themselves ecologists. They think they are the deep thinkers.

There are even worse people, according to Foreman, than eco-fascists, and these are eco-anarchists... And so we shouldn't really do anything. After all, H5N1 strain of bird flu virus - that's part of Nature. Smallpox, polio, that's part of Nature. We human beings should not try to wipe them out. Of course, we try not to get infected, but we don't try to wipe them out.

What is Social Ecology? It is neither deep nor tall nor fat nor thick. It is just social.

[On Ian Wilson's 'Jesus: The Evidence'] I wouldn't use it as a primary source for an essay. But then, if it was a primary source for an essay, I wouldn't read it.

I used to eat the BK burger, even though I didn't eat the beef noodles, but ever since Kevin Cheng said he doesn't eat beef, I don't want to eat beef already

To mystify this further, he says 'This is a philosophy'. He calls it 'ecosophy'. To complicate things further, he calls it 'Ecosophy T'. At this point, many people just give up... Why T? T is just a letter. Wisdom takes many forms. Why not U?

It's so loose and so diverse that anything can be part of Deep Ecology if you think deeply enough.

'Other philosophers have been influenced by what I said.' And lo and behold, he named me as one of them... The following week I'll get two of you to do presentations on my writings to see how wrong he is.

[On Kegel exercises for guys] You lie. It doesn't train the middle abs. I've been trying.

[Female student:] If I had a lesbian friend I'd keep laughing. Then I'd ask her, 'How do you have sex?'

Sex and religion. I prefer sex. [Me: Why not both...] Not in mine. [Student 3: Not in mine either]

In India if you say 'Tea without milk' they'll shoot you for blasphemy or something.

[On the Middle East] You can't say 'Shisha', you'll get arrested. 'Shisha' means drugs... [Student 2: When did you find out?] [Student 3: After he got arrested.]

[On Student 2's T-shurt] Same brand. [Student 2: No, mine's Threadless.] Mine's Threadless too... What's that offensive tone? Not everything I wear is from Bangkok, okay?

Triple 9 helped us remember that the phone number is 999 and not 911... I thought it was 911.

Romantism (Romanticism)

Copper'nice'shyers (Copernicus)

Angels and wild bee'sers in the desert (beasts)

This view was also supported by Cannes (Kant)

He believed that the best antidote of an overly civilised modern life was regression to a simpler, primitive life. Like the Flintstones (to)

He said that Civilisation leads to a loss of masculinity. Now you'd say a reshaping of Manhood. More political correctness.

[On Kant's answer to what to tell a madman looking for your friend to kill him] You can stamp your foot and say 'he's not here'... Kant will say: 'Where's the conflict? Where's the problem? Obviously, people are not happy with this... I have actually defended poor Immanuel Kant from this... In Australia it is advised that if you go out at night, you turn on the light and leave the TV on... You're deceiving the robber. Are you doing anything wrong? Of course not. A lady will, before going out, put on lipstick... She is deceiving us. Her lips are not red. Or she can get breast implants, to make her breasts look like this. She is deceiving you. People are not happy.

Nobody has heard about Albert Schweitzer. That is not good. He's as big as they come. Today, he'd get the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the Nobel Prize in Literature, everything else.

[Instructor: Another environmental hero.] Captain Planet

haha I just told my friends about you
and that girls have it easier

[Me: Girls have it easier.] Girls have it easier. Are you jealous? [Me: I have a packet of chocolate and a packet of jellybeans with me now. Are you jealous?] No. [Me: Good for you.] The quality of being male and the quality of being female are mutually exclusive. The quality of having a packet of jelly beans... is not mutually exclusive.

[On me] One day if he gets married to a Malaysian, I'll laugh at him. Or if he gets married to a feminist.
I was trying to find out how much 1 cup is in metric (ml):

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"1 cup - Google Search"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." - Geert Hofstede

***

Female friend on a report: hey
send u the girl

file i mean

hahaha
typo


Someone: singapore army doesnt allow for boys to jerk off though
right

REALLY

i mean
*** told me you could be sent to db if u were caught masturbating in tekong


HWMNBN before the Bolehland elections: the elections fare interestingly
i hope there's looting tomorrow

Me: why didnt you fly back to vote

HWMNBN: i don't fight battles i can't win

Me: so why dont you kill yourself

HWMNBN: *grins* the outcome of tha tbattle remains in question

...

i hope nothing too bad goes on tonight
my folks plan to barricade themselves at home tonight

...

i wish i would be back for the looting

Me: what if you got looted
considering your lack of physical fitness

HWMNBN: i don't plan to carry valuables to the looting
and i'll hang at the back fo the mob

may not get all the choice stuff i want but should be able to grab some good pieces


Someone: how many % of students in NUS get a first?

in cambridge
first is top 25%

so much easier than NUS
-_-"

Me: haha
yeah NUS sucks lah

other unis got grade inflation

Someone: yar wads wrong with NUS AH?!

sian man
if go cambridge so easy to get first
hais

Me: haha
the hard part is getting in


JB: i like girly games. like sims. or zoo tycoon
or red alert


Someone: oh new entry for your raunchy tshirt 'research'

i wanted to compliment e girl it was damn funny

it was this cheena girl with a bob in a tight tee
and splayed proudly in large font across the front

"community chest"
on top of a monopoly board

Me: hahahahahahah
so what di you say

Someone: nothing lah
im not a pervert

but frankly a girl who wears a tshirt like that is inviting comment right

Me: YAH LOR
inviting patriarchal repression

Someone: some girls are sensitive later say i verbally molest her

everyone shld welcome a little sexual harassment from time to time
why be so uptight

actually i can empathise
i've been sexually harassed by a girl before in a way that was unwelcome

Me: ooh
what happened

it's cos she wasn't hot right

Someone: she made unwelcome advances in front of a bunch of ppl and was rather persistent lol

yeah exactly

Me: but you weren't wearing a shirt saying "fuck me now" right

maybe your body hair too sexy
girls see that as a turnon

Someone: i dunno but i was prob less hairier at that point

the jury's out on whether girls like hair
usually i find hairy girls like hair

"after this i think i can never go back to hairless men"
from an ex. my proudest moment hahaha


Someone else on homemade chocolates: about as close to belgian chocs as a camel is to a pimped vacuum cleaner

but they were nice.
"Subject: HELLO,

Message: I am khalid mahmoud from Bahrain,I have been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer.It has defiled all forms of medical treatment,I have few months to live. I have decided to give alms to charity organizations.I cannot do this myself because of my health.I have Eighteen Million dollars ($18,000,000,00) with a finance House abroad. Can you help me collect this deposit and dispatch it to charity organizations?.You will take 20% for your assistance.CONTACT ME VIA: khalidmahmouds@yahoo.com.hk TO ASSIST ME."


419 scammers are getting sloppy.

No paragraphing, hideous punctuation, horrible typos ("defiled"?!) and a Hong Kong address for a Middle East account.

Haven't they learnt that you get out what you put in? Tsk.
"Anybody caught selling macrame in public should be dyed a natural color and hung out to dry." - Calvin Trillin

***

Facebook | Stop the rising tuition fee hike for college students ! - "Rising tuition fees are sucking the life out of college students around the world, both literally and indirectly. Its much sexier lowering tuition fees, don't you agree. Invite all your college friends ! Lets grow this group to 1,000,000 !"
They should go to Europe and see what happens when you have no tuition fees.

NEURODIVERSITY: JUST SAY NO - "A number of high functioning autistics claim that there is a consensus among all autistic persons that finding a cure for autism would be a horrible thing. Autism is a part of who they are and to take away the autism is to take away the person. They go further to claim that autism is not really a disorder but just a different form of brain wiring--some call this philosophy "neurodiversity"... One young, angry autistic female even goes as far as claiming that persons desiring a cure for autism are responsible for the murder of Katie McCarron, a 3-year-old autistic girl who was brutally murdered by her mother when her mother could not deal with her autism and other autistic toddlers who were senselessly murdered by their parents. I do find this reasoning insulting, insinuating that I am even in an indirect manner responsible for a small autistic child's murder."

Carlos the Jackal sneers at Al-Qaeda’s ‘amateur’ killers - "He condemned Al-Qaeda followers without specific targets, saying: “They are not professionals. They’re not organised. They don’t even know how to make proper explosives or proper detonators.”"

Women power: how to market to 51% of Americans - "By 2010, women are expected to control $1 trillion, or 60% of the country's wealth, according to research conducted by BusinessWeek and Gallup. Women purchase or influence the purchase of 80% of all consumer goods, including stocks, computers and automobiles. Women earn more than half of all accounting degrees, four out of every 10 law degrees and almost that many medical degrees."
It doesn't matter! They're still being repressed!

Fewer confessions and new sins - "The Vatican has brought up to date the traditional seven deadly sins by adding seven modern mortal sins it claims are becoming prevalent in what it calls an era of "unstoppable globalisation"... According to a survey carried out here 10 years ago by the Catholic University, 60% of Italians have stopped going to confession altogether. The situation has certainly not improved during the past decade... Archbishop Girotti said he thought the most dangerous areas for committing new types of sins lay in the fields of bio-ethics and ecology. He also named abortion and paedophilia as two of the greatest sins of our times. The archbishop brushed off cases of sexual violence against minors committed by priests as "exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church"."
Naturally, there're no exaggerations by the Church aimed at...

Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican - "Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times... Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins."
They're so much snappier in headlines than the BBC. But at least they gave us the list of 7. Too bad they didn't point out what's wrong with the Catholic Church condemning the 'obscenely wealthy'. Also interesting: causing poverty is a mortal sin, so opposing free trade agreements sends you to hell. And since Benedict XVI opposes short-term job contracts, he's going to hell.

Reverse Engineering Malicious Javascript - How to find out what stuff like "<script>document.write(unescape(%3c %73 %63 %72 %69 %70 %74 %3e %64 %6f %63 %75 %6d %65 %6e %74 %2e %77 %72 %69 %74 %65 %28 %53 %74 %72 %69 %6e %67 %2e %66 %72 %6f %6d %43 %68 %61 %72 %43 %6f %64 %65 %28 %36 %30 %2c %31 %30 %35 %2c %31 %30 %32 %2c %31 %31 %34 %2c %39 %37 %2c %31 %30 %39 %2c... %31 %30 %31 %2c %36 %32 %29 %29 %3b %3c %2f %73 %63 %72 %69 %70 %74 %3e'))</script>" means. Also, an easier way.

China warns US against practising double standards - "Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has hit out against the US for politicising the Olympics in the name of human rights... Replying to allegations that China had politicised the Beijing Olympics and violated human rights, Mr Yang noted that these criticisms did not come from the international community, but from a group of biased individuals who are "attacking China"."
What's sauce for the goose... I love how he begged the question about 'double standards' and "Patriotism and politicising the Olympic Games are two different things" is an absolute gem

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Life is a zoo in a jungle." - Peter De Vries

***

Couple who want deaf child angry at IVF ban

"A deaf father who wishes to have a deaf child has spoken of his anger that a clause in new fertility legislation will make it illegal to use embryos with a genetic abnormality in IVF treatment, when ones without the same defect are available.

Tomato Lichy, an artist and designer, and his deaf partner Paula Garfield, a theatre director, argue that to prefer a hearing embryo over a deaf one is tantamount to discrimination and suggests they do not have the same right to life.

The couple have one child, Molly, 3, and say they want the chance to have another, a desire that has brought them into conflict with Parliament.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill permits the selection of a hearing child through IVF, but embryos with deafness genes will be discarded, provided at least one other is found to be "perfect".

Because Miss Garfield is in her 40s, the couple may have to opt for IVF and are angry that their chance to have a deaf child may be eradicated.

Mr Lichy said: "Being deaf is not about being disabled, or medically incomplete - it's about being part of a linguistic minority. We're proud, not of the medical aspect of deafness, but of the language we use and the community we live in.""


Someone: glorious, isn't it

Me: yes indeed
but is anyone supporting them

Someone: I wouldn't be surprised if associations for the deaf support them

some people promote Down's syndrome as neurodiversity
its warped

there's a lot of that crap floating around
its disturbing

Me: suddenly "subsidising AIDS treatment/prevention is cultural imperialism, because the liberal state should not privilege any conceptions of the good life by subsidising then, and that they should let AIDS patients die of AIDS because, hey, claiming that having AIDS is a bad thing is presumptuously ethnocentric" doesn't sound quite so ridiculous anymore

Someone: it sounds very possible for a post modern kind of liberal though

Me: nah
they'd have to work "white men are evil" into it somehow

Someone: doesn't the ethnocentric part fit the bill?
The Man made the cure

Me: ah
so by making a cure for AIDS white men are being racist
because AIDS is an african disease and curing AIDS is like saying Africa is a bad place

Someone: indeed

although if they didn't make a cure, White Man would be selfish
heeheehee

***

Do I want my sight back?

"Rebecca Atkinson is going blind. An experimental therapy could offer her the chance to see again - but would she take it?

There are issues of identity and culture at stake too. "As the blind-from-birth son of blind parents, I am, in part of my soul, defined by my blindness," he explains. "It directly equates to ethnic or racial origin. If you give a black person the choice to be white there may well be significant advantages in such a deal: more access to better jobs; freedom from the shackles of ignorant prejudice; in short, a step closer to equality. But I'd bet most would turn the offer down flat...

There came a point when impending blindness was no longer my alien but my friend. I had had my time as a sighted person. I had seen the world through my eyes. Now it was time to touch it and smell it and hear it."
"Seeing a murder on television... can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some." - Alfred Hitchcock

***

YC:

"honeyed baited trap

So i was going to school this morning when i noticed a big unopened bag of chips and bottle of coke lying innocently on the side of the rocky path i take to the busstop.
Yes, i live in Kranji, ulu as shit (Quasibolehland), so rocky paths, large lalang fields and abandoned rubber plantations are the norm.

Thinking it must be some foreign worker's early breakfast, i walked over to inspect it.

Out of the bushes nearby a red beret, clashing with the green vegetation popped out of nowhere, examined me and then popped back in. When i hit the road, there were red SOC (special ops command) vans all around the area, and red berets patrolling.

think about it. Theyre baiting our dear friend with junk food. The order must have come from higher up, coz the would be professional troopers were giggling at the entire charade too.

hilarious. I've just added Mas selamat as a friend on FB as per gabe's suggestion. Maybe he'll read this and have a good laugh. Who knows.

The mata better catch him fast, or, as in the words of talkingcock, they'll find out why DPM Wong Kan Seng's middle name is "KAN", and its selamat datang to a world of pain."

Monday, March 10, 2008

"The good psychic would pick up the phone before it rang. Of course it is possible there was noone on the other line. Once she said "God Bless you" I said, "I didn't sneeze" She looked deep into my eyes and said, "You will, eventually." And damn it if she wasn't right. Two days later I sneezed." - Ellen DeGeneres

***

Various sources on what to do when you have more than one endogenous variable:


"When more than one endogenous variable appears on the right-hand side of the equation, the linear combination for each is adjusted so that it will be orthogonal to the first stage residuals for all of the endogenous variables in order to insure consistency."

"The method of estimation used for equations containing more than one endogenous variable is limited information maximum likelihood... The constant reiteration of the word biased when referring to least squares is, however, irritating. Since when has limited information been unbiased ?"

"Whatever omitted variables are excluded from the equations are presumed to affect more than one endogenous variable in the system; this is the seemingly unrelated regressions model"

"Several cross-industry studies model the determination of more than one endogenous variable using a simultaneous equations approach. Schmalensee argues that even these models are unlikely to provide consistent estimates of structural parameters."

"In the case of more than one endogenous variable, Staiger and Stock (1997) show that while it is not possible to evaluate the relative bias of IV directly, it is possible to place an upper bound on it. Their “worst case” relative bias measure... is equal to the inverse of the minimum squared sample correlation between the endogenous variables and the instruments after the exogenous covariates have been partialled out, multiplied by the ratio of instruments to observations"

"Where there is more than one endogenous variable, seemingly unrelated regression equations (SUR) or structural equations modeling, described in Section 3, are more appropriate."

"Although one right-hand side endogenous variable is the most commonly occurring situation (cf. Hanh and Hausman, 2003), applications may suffer from two or more endogenous regressors. For instance, marketing managers not only set prices based on unobserved information, but also other marketing mix variables like advertising or shelf-space location (Chintagunta, Kadiyali, and Vilcassim, 2003, Manchanda, Rossi, and Chintagunta, 2004). Furthermore, in estimating the return to schooling it is common to include measures for experience and squared experience that are constructed from ‘years of schooling’, and hence also endogenous (Verbeek, 2000). The nonparametric Bayes approach in chapter 7 is applicable to problems with more than one endogenous variable."
"A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left." - Marilyn Monroe

***

u r wt u wr:

- 'I'd settle for being a soap star'
- 'Single all the way'
- 'I'm famous on Friday night'
- 'Beautiful vegetables'
- 'Boys want me. Girls want to be me'
- 'Have a good time'
- 'No matter who you are with you will always be under my spell'
- 'I ♥ med students'
- 'I ♥ military men' (This came a few minutes later, further down the same walkway)
- 'Boyfriends make good pets *silhouette of a squirrel*'
- 'I ♥ boy scouting'
- 'F!#k the milk. Where's the whiskey tits?' (worn by a portly woman)
- 'Natural women 100%' (She looked very natural)
- 'Pretty naughty'
- 'I'm soo... CUTE!' (Contributed)

- [Pink font] 'You'll never guess who I was!' (guy)
"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." - Albert Einstein, (attributed)

***

ST online forum: 14 months to learn churchs decision on donation refund

"I WAS a member of City Harvest Church and left the church in December 2006. By the time I left, I had donated $5,500 to the church for its building fund project. After I left, I suffered financial difficulties. I was in between jobs and there were hefty, unforeseen medical bills. I was told by my friends and church members that I could seek a refund for my donation because there were similar precedents.

I asked two church leaders in my group, that is, the cell group leader and the zone leader, whether such a refund was possible, and they replied that the refund would not be a problem. The next month, I was told to send an official request via e-mail to the zone leader after I asked my cell group leader regarding the status of my request. Despite constant reminders, I received no response for months.

That was when I told my zone leader about my financial situation and the medical bills. He promised to expedite my request. Still, nothing happened. Finally, after 14 months since I first made my request for a refund with my two leaders, I received an official e-mail which said: 'We are unable to comply due to our policy on donations.' If it was merely a case of policy rules, why did it take so long to tell me I couldn't get a refund? This, on top of the fact that I was told at the onset that I could obtain a refund. I understand that my donation was freely given, but why the false hope?

Jeffrey Lim Yin Cheong"


There're also a few seditious comments below that. I wonder if they'll still be there in a few hours.

Interestingly, the ST online comments thread for this letter is missing, and the link to it is broken. Hoho.
"She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon." - Groucho Marx

***

Genes blamed for fickle female orgasm - "According to a study published this week, up to 45% of the differences between women in their ability to reach orgasm can be explained by their genes. Despite decades of surveys and conjecture about the role of culture, upbringing and biology in female sexual function, from Freud in 1905 to the Hite report in 1976, this is the first study of the role of a woman’s genes... The discovery of a genetic basis for the ability of women to orgasm raises questions about its evolution... But even if orgasm does play this role, it cannot be crucial in humans. The finding that many women cannot achieve orgasm because they do not have the genes for it shows that the ability to orgasm is not a trait for which there has been strong evolutionary selection, says Elisabeth Lloyd of Indiana University in Bloomington, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm. This supports her theory that as far as orgasms are concerned, women have been riding on the genetic coat-tails of male evolution, and that the female orgasm is merely an accidental echo of the male one, the equivalent of male nipples. Lloyd says the findings also challenge the notion that the failure to achieve orgasm represents “female sexual dysfunction”, an idea popular with companies keen to sell remedies for this so-called disorder. “What definition of ‘normal’ could possibly justify labelling a third of women as ‘abnormal’?” she asks."

The Orgasm Wars - "When a woman climaxes any time between a minute before to 45 minutes after her lover ejaculates, she retains significantly more sperm than she does after nonorgasmic sex... the team's results indicated that muscular contractions associated with orgasm pull sperm from the vagina to the cervix, where it's in better position to reach an egg... It's important to note what did not correlate with female orgasm during sex. Degree of women s romantic attachment did not increase the frequency of orgasm! Nor did the sexual experience of either partner... Male symmetry correlated with a high frequency of female orgasm only during copulation. The findings support evolutionary psychologists' "good genes" hypothesis: Women have orgasm more often with their most symmetrical lovers, increasing the likelihood of conceiving these men's children... Here's the cruelest part of Thornhill and Gangestad's findings: The males who most inspire high-sperm-retention orgasmic responses from their sexual partners don't invest more in their relationships than do other men. Studies show that symmetrical men have the shortest courtships before having sexual intercourse with the women they date. They invest the least money and time in them. And they cheat on their mates more often than guys with less well-balanced bodies. So much for the beleaguered bonding hypothesis, which wants us to believe that women with investing, caring mates will have the most orgasms... Faking, however, was more common among women who reported flirting with other men... Faking orgasms might be the easiest way for the woman with many lovers to avoid the suspicions of her main partner."

Pigs Are Worth It - The Pig industry is losing £6 every second - "Pig farmers are asking for your support in getting a fair deal. Your support could help save the British industry, which operates to very high standards of quality and welfare."
Funny how consumers don't translate their support to freely buying more expensive goods.

Regina Lynn's Sex Drive: Unexpected Sources Drive Progress of Sex Tech - "What do the Marines, NASA, SWAT and aerospace have in common? Each has inspired at least one engineer to provide a new perspective -- and a quality contribution -- in the business of sexual pleasure. Many influential sex-tech products emerge from professions outside the adult industry, developed by people with personal needs and desires the establishment wasn't filling. Those people risk their day jobs and reputations because they feel strongly enough about sexual pleasure that they enter the adult marketplace almost by accident."

Laser light therapy for hair rejuvenation - "RadiantLife HRx uses Low Level Laser Technology for hair rejuvenation by supplying pulsed 655 nm laser light energy to the scalp. The energy is absorbed on a cellular level and photo-biostimulation takes place, Blood circulation to the follicle area is also increased."
Maybe they confused it with IPL and it actually kills your hair follicles.

Lo Mein Street, U.S.A.: Americans love Chinese food. The problem is, most of what we're eating doesn't really come from China - "In the United States, there are more Chinese restaurants than McDonald's, Burger Kings and KFCs combined... Chinese food is at once regional and universal, foreign and familiar. It has been a way for Americans to safely dabble in exoticism while holding on to their own cultural traditions. "In the 1950s," she says, "if you ate Chinese food, China itself seemed a lot less threatening."... Authentic Chinese food often involves bones, shells and eyeballs, "more vegetables, less meat, less oil," she writes—and, one presumes, no fluorescent sauces. But Lee hesitates to label restaurants authentic or inauthentic. "Authenticity is a function of time and place," she says. "I prefer traditional Chinese food. But that wasn't always the case. My taste evolved after I went to China."... In the three years Lee spent researching her book, the number of Chinese restaurants in the United States rose from 40,000 to 43,000."

Man Puts Out Girlfriend's Cigarette with Fire Extinguisher - "Angered by his girlfriend's smoking, a German man used a fire extinguisher to put out her cigarette. The apartment now looks like it snowed inside -- and boyfriend was hauled downtown."

We the People - Weird News Story Archive - "A survey by American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies finds that there is wide acceptance of the Internet by Washington politicians. Most representatives have a public e-mail address so constituents can voice their opinions to their elected officials, but few use it to respond. Instead, they expect constituents to include their postal addresses for a paper response. Why? The survey found that Congressional staffers think people would be dissatisfied with e-mail responses, and instead surely prefer replies printed on Congressional letterhead."

School Bans Hugs Over 2 Seconds - "Branham joined her classmates on Friday for a 20-minute, public hug-a-thon... The "no-hugging" rule had previously been in the student handbook. After many students began expressing concern about public hugging and kissing in the hallways, the school began reinforcing the guideline by punishing huggers, which led to Friday's protest."

PM Lee says JI fugitive Mas Selamat's escape a setback - "Asked if it has affected the country's reputation, Mr Lee said, "It's not done (any) good for our reputation, but I don't think people believe that we are just like any other place where you can have television sets and other things in jail these days...we are different, this was a lapse. What to do, it has happened.""
I don't mind them having 'television sets and other things in jail' as long as they don't run off.

NEJM -- The Health Care Costs of Smoking - "Although smoking cessation is desirable from a public health perspective, its consequences with respect to health care costs are still debated. Smokers have more disease than nonsmokers, but nonsmokers live longer and can incur more health costs at advanced ages. We analyzed health care costs for smokers and nonsmokers and estimated the economic consequences of smoking cessation... Health care costs for smokers at a given age are as much as 40 percent higher than those for nonsmokers, but in a population in which no one smoked the costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and nonsmokers. If all smokers quit, health care costs would be lower at first, but after 15 years they would become higher than at present. In the long term, complete smoking cessation would produce a net increase in health care costs, but it could still be seen as economically favorable under reasonable assumptions of discount rate and evaluation period. Conclusions If people stopped smoking, there would be a savings in health care costs, but only in the short term. Eventually, smoking cessation would lead to increased health care costs."

10 Things Your Dad Never Told You About Sex | Just A Guy Thing - "A combination of porn and ‘true story’ articles in Maxim and FHM had me growing up thinking that a threesome was a natural part of everyday life and would happen regularly. After losing a couple of girlfriends through requests for their big-bosomed friend to join us for a session, I began to lose faith. Some people claim that “Ménage á trois” is actually French for “In your dreams”. While I’m sure many people have had threesomes (or more) with other women, the sad reality is that the threesomes we could have would most often involve not another woman, but another man."


Troika creates (mostly) harmless "Newton" Mac OSX virus - "How would you like a virus that doesn’t delete files? Doesn’t mail itself to your friends and only strikes once at random? If that sounds like something you’re into, here is the Newton virus for Mac OSX. The virus comes on a plug and play USB stick and automatically downloads itself to a MacBook (or any Mac, I suppose) when inserted."
Someone: sure its pretty nifty and cute but. give it some time heh. maliciousness always comes later

The (mostly) virus free nature of Mac OSX explained - "Mac OSX, a completely new redesigned operating system based on Unix. Having left every classic application in the dust the problems from those operating systems and programs could not be brought over to OSX, this is something Microsoft has not been able to do (but had the chance to do so back in the late 90s). Windows maintains backwards compatibility in one form or another in every single version... Apple has a relatively small user base and it was more feasible for them to make that move and that at least in part is responsible for the almost completely spyware and virus free Mac OSX. I don’t expect that to stop the debates which will continue until the end of time or until Apple or Microsoft are no longer in existence, whichever comes first."
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