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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

"We learn something every day, and lots of times it's that what we learned the day before was wrong." - Bill Vaughan

***

People are often shocked at my search referrals (though nothing can beat "fetish wheelchair girls stuck in mud"), but frequently doing a reverse search referral lookup unearths even more strange and disturbing shit, confirming the assertion that "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine".

While seeing what else ""nygh uniform" sexy" (sans first set of quotes) brought up, I stumbled across Make Girls Wet in MSN MESSENGER & IRC FAST!

Site description (and excerpts):

"Many Guys keep thinking Making GIrls WET online is difficult. and also complain they don't know how to Make GIRLS WET. Alot of guys think I'm Bullshitting that I have tons of girls coming for me in MSN MESSENGER. Here is the Prove and also FREE Lessons & Samples how GIrls chat with me in MSN MESSENGER. SO GUYS, Wake up and Learn...

GIRLS, What are you waiting for?
ADD ME Now!

Why let other girls have all the FUN , while you are rubbing own PUSSY & moaning alone?

MSN MESSENGER:
nottiboy134@hotmail.com...

When you notice I am looking at you Zaogeng (Upskirt), you know I am aiming at your Panty and Pussy area, You feel very horny and want to open wider for me to see. I know inside your heart, you wish I come up to you and ask you for SEX.

When I just finish licking your pussy down there, You Moan to me "Dear, I want one more round. Do me please.我还要.. 我要你天天FUCK我,我天天给你FUCK".

You want SEX but cannot reveal the truth. (Our Asian Culture force you to behave like a Holy Idiot)

I'm born to please you, rub your pussy and make you Cum like no tomorrow."


Chat log excerpts:

Her: kor kor arlow

Him: hello

Her: kor kor u put geraldine's pic there
makin me wet le lor

it is like i can somehw think tt tt gal is me and u are gg to munch on me lor

Him: shiok hor

Her: hehe

kor kor y am i actin like tt lei

Him: horny mah

Her: i noe horny
but until like tt
everyday come hme have the urge

Him: rub lor

Her: hehe
i rubbin nw le
brb kor kor

Him: shiok hor

Her: back le
hehe

ya
cummed quite a bit

dunno y i can cum so fast wif u lor kor
when i think of u
i cum quite fast de

Him: dun stop lor
keep rubbing

Him: dun wan la kor
y mummy comin hme soon

Him: ok lor

Her: wayt u think lei kor

shld i cum once more
hehe

Him: dun 1 lah.. wait hor mummy saw

Her: for kor kor i dun mind
i luv kor kor

Him: ok lor

Her: kor if we meet and i wear bareback and neck bra and a mini skirt
u will fuck fuck me ar

Him: yes


I've been trying to decide whether this site is a hoax.

Most people would think that it is, since the chat logs read like most guys' wet dreams. But then, he himself says that his method involves spending enormous amounts of time tawling the internet and looking for girls. Maybe there's a massive self-selection effect here in the sort of girls who would be responsive to him (or even add him proactively). It helps that the site has the sort of hideous layout that brainless Singaporean girls (the sort it sounds like he's talking to) adore.

We also don't know how many failures he has - presumably he doesn't post the logs where he's told to bugger off; he might also not post the early conversations where he butters the girls up. It is also telling that, at least from my limited reading since I didn't want to dig my eyes out with a spoon, he chats the girls up and teases them, but never talks about what happened at their their meetings (he only references meetings with other girls). Lastly, it helps that there are always stupid, gullible and/or deprived girls out there (which explains why we have so many underaged sex cases).

Either way this guy is very free, to have the time to chat up (or fake chatlogs as evidence that he chatted up) JC, Secondary and Primary (!) school kids.

Even if the site is just a massive link farm, I'm not sure it's worth faking so many chat logs (especially with ad money being what is is nowadays).


A: it's this same pervert called sylvester
who is like 30+ and has this fetish for netball girls thights/knickers whatever

Me: OMG YOU KNOW
what can you tell me about him

A: not much

just that he's a pretty good predator
and that yeah my fetishes are similar to his

but the way he goes about it i feel will leave irreversible stains on your soul

so yea.
he's scum.
The sort I'd seize and snap his neck without hesistation.

...

[the girls] aren't [gullible]
trust me lar he targets maybe the minority 5%

he fakes most of it

or 3/4 of the time is guys pretend to be girl to tease his secret out of him

like me
LOL

Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
it all makes sense now!

A: BEHOLD AND I AM LEGION.


B: this is the weirdest thing ever
they all sound like sec school lians to me

and i dont think sec school lians will go on okcupid
wait they might..but somehow i have an idea that they dont

Me: ok
so sec sch lians are horny huh

oh trust me there're brainless spore girlso n okcupid also
I want to slap them

B: maybe
but wahlao
they call him korkor???

"it is like somehw think tt tt gal is me and u r gng to munch on me lor"
nothing like lousy singlish + bad spelling to ruin a potentially sexy conversation

"i rubbn nw le"

Me: well it works for them
mabe not you

B: haha
you add him and see what he does la

Me: make me wet ah

B: then you steal all his little girl contacts

i think theyre all faking
the guysthe girls

Me: yeah prob
they pretend to be horny online
it's like the jap schoolgirls who run around the room and do situps while having phone sex

B: haha and they they pretend to be from sexy ccas
half of them are like netballers or cheerleaders ?!?!

"we go find charlet"
wtf

ok its damn retarded

can you pls go be a girl
and then tellm him abo0ut your reverse bukake dead dolphin fantasy and then see what he says?
and invent an uber kinky boyfriend who ties you up and then screws a dead squirrel while you watch or something

Me: why don't you try :P

B: because i not so free i have 3 essays more while you on the other hand are done with your thesis

besides, you're probably better at it ;) just throw him 2 girls 1 cup and see what he thinks

Me: I think I'm too hot for him to handle :)
no one can resist kimberly!


C: he could simply be very
very misguided.

pretty much all I'm getting from this site is "this man needs help."

...

rule 4!

uh
at least I THINK it's rule 4

eh
basically there's a rule that says "when in doubt, it's a guy."


D: i think its a ruse to get free videos of girls touching themselves (for either personal satisfaction, or more likely, financial gain)

if he can get them to send it to him, he can then submit then to other sites for money
or better still, host them himself and charge people for it

(ie operating his own porn site)
wouldnt put it past people

think there was this whole thing about people pretending to be attractive looking women on craigslist, to get guys to submit videos of them masturbating so that they could sell these videos (to gay porn sites i suppose)

[there are always] gullible and stupid guys
and people who want to make a quick buck off them

what a cheerful thought! : /


E: i have no idea what that guy is doing

and his message sounds familiar
seems like the guy who goes around IRC asking for netballers and the like about some secrets

but i admit the pics displayed are quite attractive

ya he makes them think he got their secrets
seen him spam this kinda message around girls channels
and sg pics like that can get easily meh

clicking different post links are chat logs in the middle...

http://make-girls-wet.blogspot.com/2008/03/girl-from-christ-church-get-her-1st.html -- >> see the chat log.. he seems to know a schoolmate of that girl

from there can chat her up
"The love of truth lies at the root of much humor." - Robertson Davies

***

"One of the major things AIDS has done to gay men is to bring our insecurities to the fore. At the mere mention of a ban on gay blood donors, a few of us are already crying victimisation. There is no difference between the measures the Donor Centres are talking about, and those which would be adopted if there was an outbreak of AIDS among football fans. The fans might wonder, 'Why us?' but I doubt they would feel persecuted. They would expect medicine to find out what, why and how to tackle it quickly, and so must we." - Ian Dewar, Capital Gay, 1983
"A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people." - Peter McArthur

***

Quotes:

[Indian girl] I'm just terrified of Indians... I always feel like they're judging me... I walk into a room: 'Look at what she's wearing'

[On James Sterba] He's the only guy I've ever wikipediaed and not found anything on

He kept smiling to himself, I thought he was weird... At the time I thought it was abnormal behavior. [Me: So now you think it's normal behavior] Now I do it myself. Too stressed, too stressed. [Student 2: I'm in a room with weird people.] [Me: You're in USP, get used to it.]

What are you doing? [Female student: Whoring] Cam-whoring. There's a big difference.

I thought Jiekai is like some Kevin Cheng, or Ryan Seacrest. But he looks like some Cock.

I love USP. Multidisciplinary... People tell me 'Chua Beng Huat'. Next time you want to know Engin information, just ask me. [Me: But nobody wants to know about Engin stuff.] You might want to know how to fix your aircon. I can tell you. [Me: Paper Engineer]... I can tell you the theory.

I'm very stressed... I wish I had a girlfriend to talk to. [Me: Then you'd spend a lot of time talking to her and you'd have even less time and you'd be even more stressed.]

[On speaking his mother tongue] Whenever you're not sure about how to pronounce an English word in Malay, just change the Cs to Ks and add a minah accent

I took this picture in the bathroom. The only photoshop was my eyelashes. [Student 2: You photoshop your eyelashes?] Shut up... It's not photoshopped. It's just my eyes [that] are photoshopped. And my teeth.

[Me: No one remembers NMPs, except the ones from AWARE] Because they talk the most? Because they make the most noise?

[Student 2: I heard she's a bit sexist] She's nice to boys, but not to girls... She's nice to those who prove they are worthy of respect [Me: So girls don't prove they are worthy of respect?]

I hate these modules with ironic titles. 'Why History?' I asked myself that the whole semester... 'Simplicity'. It was anything but simple.

How come you came so late? [Student: I was elsewhere.] That doesn't tell me anything. 'It is raining because it is not not-raining'

They look like they spend 2 hours a day doing makeup... I don't even know how to do full makeup.

Looking at the Arts girls in my group I can see how and why they put on makeup. They don't seem to do much else... This is why a woman will never be the President of the United States. When they announce that she's the winner she'll be in the toilet doing her makeup... Well she looks and acts like a man, so maybe not.

There was this page on Bonobos, and there was a link: 'Click here to see how monkeys make themselves happier through sex'. There was a woman squirting.... The monkeys were below. [Someone else: She was squirting on the monkeys?]... I didn't know people could do that. [Me: You don't squirt? *Pats her boyfriend* You need to try harder.]... It was like a fountain. [Me: So she's like a fountain, you're like a water cooler]

[Me on someone: He became better after he ***] You see that's what sex does for you [Me: Maybe it's reverse causation: he got better, then he got sex] No, that's what sex does for you.

[On me] His Google power is very amazing... I'm a mini Google goddess [Me: And you don't even know how to use google cache?]

Your Internet Explorer is Firefox (browser)

They asked me what novels I read. I said 'Sorry I don't read novels, I don't live in fantasies.'

My boyfriend is not super rich. [Me: So he's just normal rich]

He asked me if I'll ever consider dating a girl. I said I'm as straight as a metal ruler. You know what he said? [Me: 'You're as flat as a metal ruler']

Is that Nanyang? [Me: They're not at urinals but they're pretending to urinate.] That's Nanyang lor. Only Nanyang girls will do such dumb things.

[Me on peeing standing up: Go and try lah. It's very empowering] I liberate myself in other ways.

I have tons and tons of white hair. Just not as much as Gabriel

Do you want to perm it? [Me: No. Why does everyone ask me if I want to perm it? [Student 2: Because that's what everyone does. They rebond and then they perm and they rebond and they perm.] [Me: And then all their hair falls off.

[Me: Under the age of consent.] [Student 2: For what?]... What do you need to be of a certain age to do? [Me: Many things. Sign a legal contract]

[Me: He also says there're a lot of cute girls in 2101 class] There are? It's econs

[Me: What's her nickname?] Ooh shit

[Me: Did you dry your hands on yourself?] No [Me: *Points at her top*] [Someone else: Can you stop making people miserable?]

[Me: Singaporean students are weird... Not all of them have someone to bang. So if you have no one to bang, and you live relatively near school, why would you want to live in school?] To find someone to bang [Someone else: So I assume that's why you live in school] [Me: He already found someone to bang. But not through living in school.]
"Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window, except that the birds might eat them." - Dr. Martin Henry Fischer

***

"Click here and see more stupid ebay custommer! ALL IS COMPLETED LISTING!

http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/redir?clickedItemURN=http://3740019831:82/eBayISAPI.dll/index.php"

Maybe this is a meta-reference.


"SEARCHING FOR SPIRITUAL HELP OR POWERS THIS IS A BREAK
THROUGH FOR YOU.

MY NAME IS CHIKA ONYEOKWENI AND THE NAME OF MY SHIRIANE IS CALLED
MAN-GOD MY SHIRAINE IS BASED ON THREE PURPOSE WHICH ARE
• SPIRITUAL PRAYER
• SPIRITUAL ITEMS
• SPIRITUAL POWERS

I LIVE IN THE NORTHERN PART IN AFRICA I HAVE MADE UP MY MIND TO SOLVE
PEOPLES PROBLEMS WITH THE POWERS GIVEN TO BY SAUSALOO THE GOD OF THE
SEA, WHATEVER IT IS YOUR PROBLEM ARE YOU SEEKING FOR GOOD HEATH, SUCCESS IN LIFE, PROGRESS IN ANY BUSINESS YOU DO, WANT A CHILD, WANT TO KNOW HOW
YOUR ENIMEN ARE, WANT TO BE RICH WHATEVER JUST NAME IT TAKE A BOTH
STEP TODAY LET ME KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEMS ARE AND I GUARANTEE YOU ITS NO
MORE A PROBLEM ONCE YOU CONSULT ME.
I HAVE MY CLIENTS ALL OVER THE CON TENET WHICH I HAVE GIVEN THOSE
SOLUTIONS TO THEIR PROBLEMS AND FOR YOU TAKING A BOTH STEP TODAY’ WILL ADD
YOU TO CAMP OF MY SUCCESSFUL CLIENTS.
IT HAS ALWAYS BEING A GREAT NEWS ONCE PEOPLE COME TO ME FOR SPIRITUAL
HELP OR ITEMS.
AND I HAVE PROMISE TO HELP PEOPLE AS LONG AS I LIVE, YOU CAN WRITE ME
TODAY AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOUR PROBLEMS ARE AND I ASSURE YOU THAT MY
HUMBLE SERVANTS WILL LET ME KNOW ABOUT IT AND WILL ALSO TELL YOU WHAT TO
DO.
IF YOU THINK YOU WANT TO TALK TO ME DIRECTLY SO BE IT.

FOR FURTHER REQUIREMENT:
SPIRITUAL PRAYER OR ITEMS

CONTACT DETAILS:
EMAIL: man-god@webmail.co.za, man-god@mighty.co.za
PHONE: +2347084937041"

And this is just bizarre.
"The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down." - Flip Wilson

***

TV gang rape documentary angers blacks groups - "The protest in central London has been called by the National Assembly Against Racism, which is accusing the programme of demonising young black men and feeding stereotypes that associate them with sexual violence. But the documentary, to be broadcast tomorrow night as part of Channel 4's Dispatches series, was applauded by some black commentators for highlighting a disturbing phenomenon. They said it was time for a rational debate about an unpalatable subject... The programme-makers, Laurel Productions, identified 14 cases of juvenile gang rape tried by the courts since 1996. Of these, nine were carried out by all-black gangs, it says, and all but one of the rest by mixed groups that included Afro-Caribbean youths. Eighty-six per cent of the 79 youths charged with rape or indecent assault in the 14 cases were black, researchers found."

A Look at White Racism - "The Sharptons and the Jacksons have cuckolded two generations of blacks (Blacks?) into white racism. The accepted party line on race is, anything that goes wrong is whitey's fault. Everyone is racist (if you can't see that its because its silent 'institutional' racism). And the only way to be an authentic black is to join the grievance community and make victimhood the defining characteristic of one's being... The end result is a monologue, not a conversation. Whites are not allowed to mention race unless their views accord with the sensitivities of the reigning, media anointed, 'spokesman.'... Inconvenient facts are not allowed. The rules stipulate that only blacks can be oppressed, because they have no power. This flies in the face of reality. When the black community has the power to destroy businesses, organizations, and politicians by threatening to brand them racist, I'd call that power. I'd also call it a misuse of power... The rules stipulate that blacks are not to be held accountable for their own actions. Whatever they do wrong is either because of the oppression of their great-grandparents, or whitey's fault... Martin Luther King's dream has turned into a nightmare. Instead of being judged by the content of one's character, Americans are now judged, in large part, based on their skin color. (At least, white Americans are.)"

Man Shooting Hole Through Wall Kills Wife - "Officials are trying to decide whether to file charges against a Missouri man who fatally shot his wife while trying to install a satellite TV system in the bedroom of their home. Patsy Long, 34, of Deepwater, died after being shot in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun on Saturday. Her husband, Ronald Long, fired the shot from the inside of their home after several unsuccessful efforts to punch a hole through the exterior wall using other means."

Hazardous disaster aid?: The crowding-out effect of international charity - "An area faded out in literature, so far, is the role of foreign aid that frequently flows in great extents after catastrophes occur. In general, one would expect that foreign aid should be able to overcome some problems by financing part of the preventive measures and making people less dependent on the within-nation distribution of income. On the other hand, based on the conclusions from the Samaritan‘s Dilemma, the anticipation of charity in case of a disaster event might induce individuals to diminish ex-ante protection activities... The results of the estimates suggest that foreign aid in previous disaster years implies future ex-post charity and therefore does crowd-out riskmanagement activities as well as decreases the ability to cope with the immediate effects after a catastrophe."

Disable Snap.com Previews Permanently - "Now there’s an even better way to get rid of Snap.com preview pop-ups: a simple rule added to Firefox’s AdBlock Plus Add-on banishes them for good. We previously covered disabling Snap.com’s annoying pop-ups, but the solution required you to visit the Snap.com website and click on a link that sets a cookie."
Snap is almost as bad an idea as the <blink> tag.

Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism - "We study gender differences in altruism by examining a modified dictator game with varying incomes and prices. Our results indicate that the question "which is the fair sex?" has a complicated answer - when altruism is expensive, women are kinder, but when it is cheap, men are more altruistic. That is, we find that the male and female "demand curves for altruism" cross, and that men are more responsive to price changes. Furthermore, men are more likely to be either perfectly selfish or perfectly selfless, whereas women tend to be "equalitarians" who prefer to share evenly."

Are Women Less Selfish Than Men?: Evidence From Dictator Experiments - "Research in social sciences other than economics indicates substantial differences in behaviour between men and women. The general conclusion drawn from this work is that women will be more socially-orientated (selfless), and men more individually-orientated (selfish). This paper reports the results of a double-anonymous dictator experiment designed to permit the emergence of basic gender differences in economic behaviour. Our results are intended to provide a baseline for further research. We find that women, on average, donate twice as much as men to their anonymous partners when any factors that might confound cooperation are eliminated... "Woman seems to differ from man in mental disposition, chiefly in her greater tenderness and less selfishness... Man... delights in competition, and this leads to ambition which passes too easily into selfishness" - Charles Darwin"
Of course, we all know that being kind is the way to get ahead in the ratrace, so this is even more evidence for the discrimination that women endure in the workplace.

OhMiBod - "A pulsing, music-responsive vibrator that feeds right into your iPod (or other music players) provides orgasm after orgasm-in stereo and on repeat. The hard, slim plastic transmits vibrations amazingly, so the throb of a slow song turns into foreplay and the thrum of a fast song will send you over the edge. A 44-inch cord plugs your toy into the iPod, iPod Shuffle, Nano and mini, or standard MP3 and CD players-or use it alone like a regular vibrator."

'Ruthlessness gene' discovered - "Selfish dictators may owe their behaviour partly to their genes, according to a study that claims to have found a genetic link to ruthlessness. The study might help to explain the money-grabbing tendencies of those with a Machiavellian streak — from national dictators down to 'little Hitlers' found in workplaces the world over. Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem found a link between a gene called AVPR1a and ruthless behaviour in an economic exercise called the 'Dictator Game'."

'Six-way' kidney transplant first - "US doctors have carried out what is believed to be the world's first simultaneous six-way kidney transplant... The procedure was made possible after an altruistic donor - neither a friend nor relative of any of the six patients - was found to match one of them. Five patients had a willing donor whose kidney was incompatible with theirs, but it did match another in the group... The operations were carried out simultaneously to make sure no-one backed out after their loved one had received a kidney."
Gah.

Simpsons ditched by Venezuelan TV - "The Simpsons has been dropped from morning TV in Venezuela after being deemed unsuitable for children - and has been replaced by Baywatch."

Life and death exams in South Korea - "Numerous school-related suicides occur throughout the year, with this past April being especially tragic. A father in Gongju drove to his son's high school and torched his wife, daughter and himself with gasoline because his honor roll son disgraced the family with bad grades. All three died. Statistics are unclear as to how many students end their lives because of education-related stress. Numbers from the National Statistical Office indicate that more than 1,000 students between the ages of 10 and 19 killed themselves from 2000 to 2003. In another report supplied to the education committee of the National Assembly by the Ministry of Education, 462 students (both primary and secondary) committed suicide in the last five years. Two surveys, one by the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union, the other by the Korea Youth Counseling Institute, found that 43% to 48% of students have contemplated suicide... 'She said that after she cried she felt empty because she realized that she had dedicated the best years of her young life to the exam and that much of her identity as a person hinged on the exam. Upon completing the exam, the force that had given her life structure and purpose was suddenly gone.'"

Cannabis found sprouting at Matthaei Gardens - "The University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens is known for its collection of diverse and exotic plants... "(The biology students') assignment was to grow various herbs, vegetables, annuals and perennials, but not marijuana," Neumann said. "I've never heard of this happening before and it's definitely unusual, and gutsy.""

John Denver karaoke sparks Thai killing spree - "A gunman in Thailand shot-dead eight neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their karaoke versions of popular songs, including John Denver’s Country Roads... "When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk," he said after his arrest. He said he was so furious with their awful singing that he did not notice he had murdered his own brother-in-law. "I warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties. I said if they carried on I would go down and shoot them. I had told them if I couldn’t talk sense into them I would come back and finish them off," he added."

Save the Dollars - Weird News Story Archive - "An investigation by the Chicago Tribune has found that several U.S.-based charities formed to “sponsor” and help feed poor children in third-world countries are “rife with scams.” Organizations such as Save the Children and Childreach, the newspaper says, do not always send donations directly to needy children as they claim. The paper anonymously sponsored several children for two years, then made surprise visits to their villages. In one village they found a 44-year-old teacher who was hired to write the letters local children were supposed to send to their sponsors. In some cases, they found the sponsored children had been dead for years, but the sponsors had no idea, apparently because the letters were still arriving regularly."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Easy come, easy go.

Why Smart People Believe Weird Things

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." - Albert Einstein

***

Why Smart People Believe Weird Things
Michael Shermer

" When men wish to construct or support a theory, how they torture facts into their service! - John Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds , 1852

... Most theologians, for example, recognize that God's existence cannot be proven in any scientific sense, and thus I consider William Dembski's Intelligent Design Theory, Hugh Ross's “Reasons to Believe,” and Frank Tipler's Omega Point Theory—all of which purportedly use science to prove God—as not only unacceptable to most members of their knowledge community but as uncorroborated because such proof is logically impossible...

It is a given assumption in the skeptical movement—elevated to a maxim really—that intelligence and education serve as an impenetrable prophylactic against the flim flam that we assume the unintelligent and uneducated masses swallow with credulity. Indeed, at the Skeptics Society we invest considerable resources in educational materials distributed to schools and the media under the assumption that this will make a difference in our struggle against pseudoscience and superstition. These efforts do make a difference, particularly for those who are aware of the phenomena we study but have not heard a scientific explanation for them. But are the cognitive elite protected against the nonsense that passes for sense in our culture? Is flapdoodle the fodder for only fools? The answer is no. The question is why?

For those of us in the business of debunking bunk and explaining the unexplained, this is what I call the Hard Question: why do smart people believe weird things? My Easy Answer will seem somewhat paradoxical at first:

Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

That is to say, most of us most of the time come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning... Rather, such variables as genetic predispositions, parental predilections, sibling influences, peer pressures, educational experiences, and life impressions all shape the personality preferences and emotional inclinations that, in conjunction with numerous social and cultural influences, lead us to make certain belief choices... We then sort through the body of data and select those most confirming what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that are disconfirming...

1. Intelligence and Belief

In his review of the literature in one of the best books on this subject ( Believing in Magic ), psychologist Stuart Vyse concludes that while the relationship between intelligence and belief holds for some populations, it can be just the opposite in others. He notes that the New Age movement in particular “has led to the increased popularity of these ideas among groups previously thought to be immune to superstition: those with higher intelligence, higher socioeconomic status, and higher educational levels. As a result, the time-honored view of believers as less intelligent than nonbelievers may only hold for certain ideas or particular social groups.”

For the most part intelligence is orthogonal to and independent of belief... once you are at a certain level among the population of practitioners (and that level appears to be an I.Q. score of about 125), there is no difference in intelligence between the most successful and the average in that profession. At that point other variables take over, such as creativity, or achievement motivation and the drive to succeed, which are independent of intelligence...

Almost a fifth of all classical music performed in modern times was written by just three composers: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.”...

Another problem is that smart people might be smart in only one field. We say that their intelligence is domain specific...

What happens when smart people are smart in one field (domain specificity) but are not smart in an entirely different field, especially if the new field is a fertile breeding ground for weird beliefs? When Harvard marine biologist Barry Fell jumped fields into archaeology and wrote a best-selling book about all the people who discovered America before Columbus ( America B.C. ), he was woefully unprepared and obviously unaware that archaeologists had already considered his hypotheses of who first discovered America (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, etc.) but rejected them for lack of credible evidence. This is a splendid example of the social aspects of science, and why being smart in one field does not make one smart in another...

2. Gender and Belief

In many ways the orthogonal relationship of intelligence and beliefs is not unlike that of gender and beliefs. With the surge of popularity of psychic mediums like John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Sylvia Browne, it has become obvious to observers, particularly among journalists assigned to cover them, that at any given gathering (usually at large hotel conference rooms holding several hundred people, each of whom paid several hundred dollars to be there), that the vast majority (at least 75%) are women. Understandably, journalists inquire whether women, therefore, are more superstitious or less rational than men, who typically disdain such mediums and scoff at the notion of talking to the dead. Indeed, a number of studies have found that women hold more superstitious beliefs and accept more paranormal phenomena as real than men. In one study of 132 men and women in New York City, for example, scientists found that more women than men believed in knocking on wood or that walking under a ladder brought bad luck. Another study showed that more college women than men professed belief in precognition.

Although the general conclusion from such studies seems compelling, it is wrong. The problem here is with limited sampling. If you attend any meeting of creationists, Holocaust “revisionists,” or UFOlogists, for instance, you will find almost no women at all (the few that I see at such conferences are the spouses of attending members and, for the most part, they look bored out of their skulls). For a variety of reasons related to the subject matter and style of reasoning, creationism, revisionism, and UFOlogy are guy beliefs. So, while gender is related to the target of one’s beliefs, it appears to be unrelated to the process of believing. In fact, in the same study that found more women than men believed in precognition, it turns out that more men than women believe in Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Seeing into the future is a woman’s thing, tracking down chimerical monsters is a man’s thing. There are no differences between men and women in the power of belief, only in what they choose to believe...

4. Education and Belief

Psychologist Chris Brand, for example, discovered a powerful inverse correlation of -.50 between I.Q. and authoritarianism (as I.Q. increases authoritarianism decreases). Brand concluded that authoritarians are characterized not by affection for authority, but by some simple-minded way in which the world has been divided up for them. In this case, authoritarianism was being expressed through prejudice by dividing the world up by race, gender, and age...

Psychologists S. H. and L. H. Blum found a negative correlation between education and superstition (as education increased, superstitious beliefs decreased). Laura Otis and James Alcock showed that college professors are more skeptical than either college students or the general public (with the latter two groups showing no difference in belief), but that within college professors there was variation in the types of beliefs held, with English professors more likely to believe in ghosts, ESP, and fortune telling. Another study found, not surprisingly, that natural and social scientists were more skeptical than their colleagues in the arts and humanities; most appropriately, in this context, psychologists were the most skeptical of all (perhaps because they best understand the psychology of belief and how easy it is to be fooled).

Finally, Richard Walker, Steven Hoekstra, and Rodney Vogl discovered that there was no relationship between science education and belief in the paranormal among three groups of science students at three different colleges. That is, having a strong scientific knowledge base is not enough to insulate a person against irrational beliefs. Students who scored well on these tests were no more or less skeptical of pseudoscientific claims than students who scored very poorly. Apparently, the students were not able to apply their scientific knowledge to evaluate these pseudoscientific claims. We suggest that this inability stems in part from the way that science is traditionally presented to students: Students are taught what to think but not how to think.

6. Locus of Control and Belief

The environment also mitigates the effect of locus of control on belief, where there is a relationship between the uncertainty of an environment and the level of superstitious belief (as uncertainty goes up so too do superstitions). The anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, for example, discovered that among the Trobriand Islanders (off the coast of New Guinea), the further out to sea they went to fish the more they developed superstitious rituals. In the calm waters of the inner lagoon, there were very few rituals. By the time they reached the dangerous waters of deep-sea fishing, the Trobrianders were also deep into magic. Malinowski concluded that magical thinking derived from environmental conditions, not inherent stupidities: We find magic wherever the elements of chance and accident, and the emotional play between hope and fear have a wide and extensive range. We do not find magic wherever the pursuit is certain, reliable, and well under the control of rational methods and technological processes. Further, we find magic where the element of danger is conspicuous. Think of the superstitions of baseball players. Hitting a baseball is exceedingly difficult, with the best succeeding barely more than three out of every ten times at bat. And hitters are known for their extensive reliance on rituals and superstitions that they believe will bring them good luck. These same superstitious players, however, drop the superstitions when they take the field, since most of them succeed in fielding the ball over 90 percent of the time. Thus, as with the other variables that go into shaping belief that are themselves orthogonal to intelligence, the context of the person and the belief system are important."
"In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk." - Rita Rudner

***

Why People Believe Conspiracies

"There is not a shred of evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, but that is entirely irrelevant to those who choose to believe that there was one. The lack of evidence only reinforces their belief that a conspiracy has been hidden...

Why, then, do people believe in these and other conspiracies? (Of course, there are known conspiracies -- Osama bin Laden and others conspired in the 9/11 plot -- but there are no successful hidden conspiracies. I cannot think of one in my lifetime.) There are at least six major reasons:

1. Many people find it impossible to believe that a few utterly unimpressive individuals can do so much damage. Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who can best be described as simply a loser, could change history all by himself? It doesn't seem to make sense.

2. Many people want to blame those they loathe for as much of what they do not like as possible. Just about everyone who believes in hidden conspiracies attributes those conspiracies to those they hate. People who hate President George W. Bush blame him and his administration for 9/11. Egyptians who hate Israel have blamed AIDS on Israeli prostitutes. Indeed, attributing to Jews hidden conspiracies -- the "world Jewish conspiracy," the Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- is the oldest and most common belief in a hidden conspiracy.

3. One should never underestimate the power of boredom -- and the subsequent yearning for excitement -- to affect people's thinking and behavior. Belief in a hidden conspiracy is far more exciting than accepting prosaic truths. Figuring out the "mystery" of who killed JFK is a much bigger thrill than accepting that one jerk was responsible. Deciphering who was "really" responsible for 9/11 is a lot more interesting than accepting that 19 Arabs with box cutters did it.

4. People who feel powerless over their own lives are far more likely to believe that some invisible force controls their fate than people who believe that they are the masters of their lives.

5. There is, apparently, a great yearning among many people to believe that there is hidden knowledge and that they have access to it. It makes them feel special, perhaps even superior to the rest of us who do not have access to this hidden knowledge.

6. In Western societies, it appears that secular people are more likely to believe in hidden conspiracies than the more religious. It may be that the religious already believe in an invisible power that governs the universe -- God -- and therefore seem to have much less of a psychological or emotional need to believe in invisible powers on earth."
"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." - Alfred Hitchcock

***

Dude, Where’s My Gender? or, Is There Life on Uranus?
Judith Halberstam
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies - Volume 10, Number 4, 2004

"We have not heard such a preponderance of anus jokes since Wayne’s World... but in a comedy where the bumbling male buddies share many a nude moment, and even engage each other in a little openmouth kissing, the Uranus jokes register a new casualness about the homosocial-homoerotic divide. At a time of deep and continuing crisis, when George W. Bush can rally new support with every shit-eating grin, let us take comfort where we can find it, and Dude, Where’s My Car? (hereafter referred to as Dude) is as good a place as any to start.

What can a film about two idiot stoners who lose their car and then have to reconstruct the events of the previous night to find it, repay money they owe, and win back the love of the twins they are dating while saving the universe from certain destruction and in the process kicking the ass of moronic jocks, pissing off male supermodel Fabio, escaping from a fifty-foot hot space alien woman, receiving as presents from the other space aliens some necklaces that make their girlfriends develop huge hoo-hoos (to use the film’s own vernacular), and receiving in return not sex but only some dumb berets with their names embroidered on them—what can such a film tell us about the relationships among sexuality, gender, nation, and race today? More precisely, is this going to be another ridiculous essay about queering a fourth-rate adolescent comedy with a few laugh lines, lots of butt jokes, a weak heterosexual resolution, and no political consciousness whatsoever?...

Jesse and Chester return home, only to awake the next morning as befuddled as they were, wondering why they remember nothing of the night before and why their fridge is packed with chocolate pudding. The exchange that began their picaresque journey across the landscape of mini malls and miniature golf courses—“Dude, where’s my car?” “I don’t know, dude, where’s your car?” “I don’t know, dude, where’s my car?”—begins again, and the lessons that the pair learned the night before are lost and remain to be relearned. This Nietzschean act or nonact of forgetting on which the loopy narrative depends arrests the developmental and progress narratives of heteronormativity and strands our feckless heroes in the no man’s land of lost knowledge and scatological humor...

While each dude lacks self-knowledge, each finds himself reflected in and completed by the other. Jesse and Chester face threatening obstacles—castration and humiliation at the hands (and beaks) of some mean ostriches, for instance—as a team, a unit, a collective, and each functions as the other’s phallus or weenie. Their doubleness is mirrored all around them in the twins they date, the gay Swedish aliens, and the tranny couple, and in the first two cases, at least, the doubling is homo- rather than heteroerotic. When Jesse and Chester pull up in their new car alongside the coiffed and buffed Fabio and his girl, they enact a queer mirror scene that could have been scripted by Jacques Lacan and edited by Judith Butler. In a Toronto weekly, the Eye, the gay alternative filmmaker and reviewer Bruce LaBruce describes this infamous scene by way of explaining Dude’s appearance on his top-ten movie list:

Fabio looks over contemptuously and revs his engine; [Ashton] Kutcher [i.e., Jesse], behind the wheel, does the same. Fabio responds by putting his arm around his vixen; Kutcher rises to the challenge by placing his arm emphatically around [Seann William] Scott [i.e., Chester]. Fabio then leans over and gives his girl a long, deep tongue kiss.
The movie could have gone in infinite directions at this point, but amazingly Kutcher leans over and, gently yet convincingly, delivers the lingering tongue to Scott. The actors neither overplay nor underplay the moment and show no visible trace of disgust or regret afterward. I was almost in tears. This one scene does more to advance the cause of homosexuality than 25 years of gay activism


... While Jesse and Chester find themselves mirroring white queerness, otherness, in this film, is reserved for people of color: the black pizza shop owner who berates the dudes for their shoddy work ethic; the Chinese take-out lady who responds to each order by saying, “And then . . . and then . . . and then . . . ”; the Asian American tailor who sews the boys some Adidas suits; the racially ambiguous group of jocks. Yet, as it turns out, in the land of bland blonds and dumb jocks, otherness is not such a bad place to be. In fact, the Chinese take-out lady’s “And then . . . and then . . . and then . . .” becomes the defining principle for the narrative form of Dude, a long shaggy-dog tale with a supplemental, or simply mental, rather than developmental logic. The Asian American tailor provides the way out of one of the film’s most enduring and maddening loops...

The tailor sees the whole picture, while each dude can see only his buddy’s back. Suture, we could say, is in the position of the tailor, literally; he sews meaning into the narrative and stands in for the patriarchal voice of reason and sense that the film seems to resist and that the stupid white man is unable to supply. For a moment, everything makes sense, the dudes embrace, the tailor smiles knowingly, the dudes are marked by their gender, their whiteness, their stupidity, but as quickly as knowledge comes, it disappears, like the car (dude, where’s my car?), like a Freudian lost object (dude, where’s my mother’s breast?), like the thread of this argument (dude, what’s my point?)...

Dude offers a potent allegory of memory, forgetting, remembering, and forgetting again. We can use this allegory to invent and describe the present moment in queer studies, poised as it is and as we are between offering a distinct “negative” strand of critical consciousness to a public that would rather not know and using more common idioms to engage those who do not know why they should care."




[Ed: Updated with working copy on 27/01/2009]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Virtue is its own punishment." - Aneurin Bevan

***

Reviews of Penetrating Wagner's "Ring" by John L. DiGaetani:

A: When I initially came across Wagner's Ring it was like a revelation. I couldn't quite put my finger on it - but I wanted to. Within minutes of dimming my lights and burying my head into it I became enveloped in its cavernous depths. Now having withdrawn, I feel that by entering the ring myself, a little hole in me has been filled. I thoroughly recommend everyone to take the plunge into Wagner's wonderful piece.

B: Before reading this book, the thought of penetrating Wagner's "Ring" left me cold. Why would I go near Wagner's musty old "Ring", I thought, when there were so many younger, more supple pieces available to me? Surely Wagner's "Ring" would seem worn and battered from nearly two centuries of over-use?

How wrong I was! What this book shows, and what many other reviewers have clearly experienced, is that Wagner's "Ring", despite its great age, is still full of life, freshness and verve, and that there are still great rewards to be had from treading this well-trodden path. Full of insightful comments from the many men and women who have played in Wagner's "Ring", often dressed as Valkyries, this book is an invaluable guide to extracting pleasure from Wagner's much-abused piece.

C: What you get out of Wagner's Ring depends on what you put into it. When first approached, it can seem dry and unyielding, but if you persevere and work your way into it, like millions before you you may find it spectacularly productive. This book is a thrusting, forceful aid to gaining full knowledge of Wagner's all-encompassing Ring. Dive between the covers and feel the Ring open up to allow you complete access.

D: Wagners Ring will be huge!!!!
Can I be Frank?
Experiencing Wagner's "Ring" during the long winter nights was brilliant...I have never enjoyed myself so much in my whole life. His Ring kept me up for hours during the night and into the small hours of the morning. I recommend that everybody at least dips into Wagner's Ring now and again. If like me, you are a hardened reader, why not give Wagners Ring a good going over. It is very apparent that Wagner's Ring is expansive. I got lost in it for days. Many people have studied his Ring, few have mastered it.
Penetrating Wagner's Ring isn't just a book - It's a hobby, and for some people a career.

E: I have read the excellent scholarly contributions by Messrs Redhart, Schwartz and Reaney, amongst others, and just had to get involved. What a subject, and what a book! The expansiveness of Wagner's Ring often leaves one panting for breath, and anyone lucky enough to have even half-probed its depths deserves full recognition. Even without the messy bits, this sixteen-hour musical epic leaves one with no alternative but to reacharound for academic help. And this book provides it, and more. Stimulating, it cannot fail to tickle the imagination as it enters the Ring from every conceivable angle--musical/practical, theoretical, historical and cultural. For fans of all things Ring-like, this is a must.

F: Penetrating Wagner's Ring is a wonderful way to spend many a lazy afternoon, or even the odd fun-filled weekend!
At first I found it difficult - Wagner's ring is not the most accessible piece - but as time passed, and I became more comfortable with the hole idea, I found myself sinking into Wagner's ring more and more, and now, it is one of my favourite things to do.
For those who have never experienced Wagner's Ring, I highly recommend it - it is a life changing experience, and once you encounter the joy and pleasure of the ring piece you will most definitely never go back!
Penetrating Wagner's Ring made me the man I am today - everyone should try it, and don't worry if you find it difficult, it gets easier with practice.
My one issue with penetrating Wagner's ring is the cost - I know penetrating wagner's ring is popular, but I think gaining a deeper insight into Wagner's ring is beyond most people at this price.

G: Having read the previous reviews on this book, and having asked first, I quickly dived head-first into 'Wagners Ring'. I have to say, although difficult at first, I quickly got up to speed and enjoyed it immensely. In fact, at the end the experience was so moving, I shed a single tear although it also left me completely drained!

I found 'Penetrating Wagners Ring' welcoming, warm and an experience I should hope to return to again and again.

H: Like many, I first experimented with exploring the Ring in my college years; back then, even with my professor regularly driving home his point, I failed to find much enjoyment in its depths. (Perhaps the prospect of embarrassment in front of a classroom full of peers was the turn-off!) But now, coming to it alone and at my own slow but steady pace, I've found that this sort of deep exploration can be supremely satisfying. Penetrating Wagner's Ring, to me, has provided a way in to something that I previously thought was just a big, dark void in my schooling. And I admit, it was daunting at first... but I bit my lip, rolled up my sleeves, knuckled down, and groped around until I found something exciting and inviting in that Ring.

Though Wagner has been dead for more than a century, his Ring is still worth exploring. Dig deep, sweep away the cobwebs, and crack the spine of this book, and you may find that something others consider cold and lifeless will open up to you in ways you never expected. I certainly did, and now I can finally appreciate the education my old professor was trying to pound into me.

I: An excellent piece of work on Wagner's Ring, getting right to the bottom of this seminal work. To my mind, his writing is absolutely cock-on, and a great roadmap to anyone exploring the Ring for the first time.

Wagner's Ring, whilst large and expansive, exerts tight control over all who are prepared to delve in there, and this book really does give it that final polish.

Girls at Urinals

As a testament to the hypocritical double standards of society (and also so I get to label something 'penis envy'), I have a small collection of pictures of Singaporean girls at urinals (if you're a guy, just try going into a girls' toilet and see what happens to you), which I am currently seeking to expand.


Example picture

If you have, or know where to get, more pictures of Singaporean girls at urinals, do leave a comment, e-mail me etc.

(At first it was not limited to Singaporean girls, but there're too many pictures of Ang Moh girls at urinals, so I decided to be more specific)
"You wake me up early in the morning to tell me I am right? Please wait until I am wrong." - Johann von Neumann, on being phoned at 10:00 AM

***

Female friend: i got frustrated that i was annoyed
which got me even more frustrated


Someone else on my exciting life: we are all risk takers when we fren u man

Me: AHAHAHAHAH


Sociologist: tell her im in soci then she complains econs is tough
i say soci ppl are happier then she has the gall to say "because soci is easy what!"
ROAR

Me: it is what :P

Sociologist: come to soci n ace it then u can talk

simply put
if soci was easy
the smart ppl wld come to it to score
and if the smart ppl came it wldnt be easy

your dogma crumbles before superior logic

Me: uhh
and this shows me how stupid soci is haha

Sociologist: soci is probably more intuitive than econs
but just as academically rigorous
so i dont see a basis for differentiating

Me: [go to] CNM lah haha

Sociologist: fluff!

Me: haha that's rich


Someone on someone else wanting to get a girlfriend to talk to to relieve stress: women like to yak yak yak
not listen to your problems

you got problems
be a man and solve it yourself

yeah
that's the attitude of my gf

so please smash his illusion or disillusion k
thanks


Someone else: women are indeed a source of stress relief; as long as u do everything else but talk with them.haha. ur fren wld have to tear his hair out much more talking to a girl.


Someone on "is it tough being a girl in engin? im asking this cos NUS seemed to take PAINS to tell girls that it was not": in my entire cpe cohort, i only knew 2 gals who enjoyed e course

the rest literally clinged to the guys for survival
for projects, labs assigments

Me: haha
and the guys let them leech?

Someone: yah
haiz

but well they do all the documentation

Me: it's okay
feminarchy says that they were discriminated against anyway
so they're justified in clutching coattails

cpe stands for what ah

Someone: computer engineering

Me: why not CE

Someone: why not COME

CE can mean chem engineering

Me: gah

Someone: tt's why chem engin is CHE
and we r CPE


Someone else: i learn this when i was interning

even if uare a small fry
u need to learn this

u need to know how to manage ur boss


Someone: i heard a hilarious analogy the other day
i think it was attributed to noelle

noelle loh, from ac who now writes for urban?

time is like cleavage, if you squeeze it it'll appear.
or as it was more precisely related to me "squeeze abit then got"


Someone else: i don't fill out dresses.
unless they're very tight, which is then unforgiving on bulges.

Me: the joys of being female haha

Someone else: thanks...

Me: there're other joyslah

Someone else: yes, like being able to spout illogical nonsense, wear stupid cliched t-shirts and still have the opposite sex desire us


Someone (Female friend): pity i dont have any feminist friends to play mind games with

Me: haha
all too busy doing real work? ;)

Someone: no idea

maybe feminist are the product of all-girls schools
i always attended mixed schools, and dont have any close friends from girls schools

... hard [to accuse Singapore education of encouraging women to be ornamental] also if you knew lpm from vjc
empress dowager she was

supposedly nearly brought down HCJC when she took about half the teaching staff to vjc
could break the balls of the male PE teachers just by frowning

actually we have quite a few awesome role models for feminists. just have to look for the legendary principals in singapore. the amazing thing is, some of them started reign in the 80s

Me: they'll still claim there's patriarchy blah blah
if you assume patriarchy you'll never find it doesn't exist

Someone: yah and that education is slightly different, not so in other industries etc

i dunno
it's a waste of time :p

Me: yeah well
women aren't as prominent as men in most industries

women dont occupy the top posts because they’re less competitive, more risk averse etc
women earn less because they work less, and because they may get pregnant and drop out of the workforce (and even when they return they will earn less)

Someone: it's sad. but true

i think we take for granted the sacrifices men make to reach the top

i bet most of my bosses neglect their families
just that it has never been an issue to talk about, for men
cos they arent really supposed to be the ones dealing with the family on a daily basis. the wives traditionally do that

a woman can do it too if she wants. the thing is, can she sacrifice the same things?

maybe more, because nature has gifted her with things which become a hindrance whenshe wants to follow the path a man traditionally takes

Me: alternately
women do better at housework and raising kids then men
so better to let them do it so the men dont screw up

Someone: there are some men who do housework and raise kids better than women
those are skills i think anyone can give up

pick up
typo

Me: haha
give it up

Someone: yeah haha

and i think some woman suck at housework and raising kids

on the other hand, woman apparently have biological clocks

Me: that's like saying some men are weaker than women
some women are stronger than men
therefore women aren't weaker than men


Someone else: i thought feminism was about treating women equally
not effacing the distinction between male and female sexes

like racism
i can treat all races equally but it's stupid to pretend race doesn't exist

Me: social scientists claim it doesn't

Someone else: they can go and lay eggs la

Me: haha
you go and argue with them lah

Someone else: don't want
no use banging my head against the wall

Me: haha
I do it less than I used to

they like to pull out mumbo jumbo in response

Someone else: and i don't have the same knack of picking people's brains like you do

Me: oh I piss people off better than you ah

Someone else: yes haha

haha eh it's a compliment ok

i can almost imagine a panel
made up of me, [Cunning Linguist] and you

i will give kind comments
[Cunning Linguist] will then give happy fluffy comments
then you...

Me: you think american idol ah


Me: one day a whore will give you AIDS

Someone: i'll be sure to come at you with a bloody syring when that happens

Me: it's okay
the only known case of such didn't work

do you tell all the women you sleep with your sexual history if they ask

Someone: yes

hm

actually no
it depends

some girls can handle candour, some can't

Me: ie if you tell them and they'll still sleep with you, you will
if you tell them and they won't still sleep with you, you won't

Someone: i see you understand the algorithm

Me: bah
moral of the story: it pays to be a bastard

Someone: only becuas they are bitches
*shrugs* fight fire with fire

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." - Orson Welles

***

Conservative Protestants' Religious Beliefs Contribute to Their Low Wealth, Duke Study Shows - "In the study, Keister examines the wealth of members of conservative Protestant churches, defined as members of churches with relatively traditional religious beliefs who accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, value personal conversion experiences and emphasize the importance of the Christian faith to social issues. Some of the larger denominations are Assemblies of God, Baptist, Churches of Christ, Church of God in Christ, Nazarene and Pentecostal. Wealth is defined as net worth, or total household assets minus total liabilities. Conservative Protestants have very low overall wealth: In 2000, median net worth for conservative Protestants was $26,000 compared to $66,200 for the entire National Longitudinal Study of Youth, the data used in the study."

1/97 Noncompliance Negates Treatment Advances - "While many advances have been made in treating schizophrenia, much of the improvement has been rendered virtually meaningless in actual practice because of the persistently large percentage of patients who fail to take their medication, a researcher says... It has been shown that persons with schizophrenia have the type of brain disorder that makes it difficult for them to learn from experience. "One of the symptoms of their illness is they don't know they're sick," according to Weiden."

'Praying' dog at Japanese temple - "Attendance at a Buddhist temple in Japan has increased since the temple's pet, a two-year-old dog, has joined in the daily prayers."

The Straight Dope: Who gets the most pleasure from sex, the man or the woman? - "We're going to confine this discussion to the physiological experience of orgasm. The more subjective aspects of sex, important though they may be, are too difficult for us scientists to quantify... Not only can't you have the ultimate O, if she doesn't have one, it's your damn fault. You want to give up and join the monastery, Cecil will understand."
Tiresias was indeed right. As for the more subjective aspects, when you dig your nose, what feels good? Your finger or the nose?

Health Sciences Authority - Is It Safe? - " Blood donations do not cause any weight gain. Our bodies only replace the blood donated - they do not overcompensate and produce excess blood or fat. We need more ladies to come forward as blood donors - currently, only 30% of donors are women."
Yeah, maybe only 30% of Singaporean women weigh 50kg or more. I love the part about weight gain - why not claim, like some more dodgy countries, that it promotes good health (one site claims that you lose 650 calories per pint, but I am informed that "an extensive search yielded no evidence to independently verify the accuracy of that statement")? Hurr hurr

Education and Development - "For example, we constantly find developing nations with numerous physicians specializing in heart diseases while preventive tropical medicine is considered a second-rate specialty. Architects are concerned with the design of national monuments and modern public buildings, while low-cost housing, schools, and clinics remain an area of remote concern. Engineers and scientists concentrate on the newest and most modern electronic equipment while simple machine tools, hand- or animal-operated farm equipment, basic sanitation and waterpurifying systems, and labor-intensive mechanical processes are relegated to the attention of "foreign experts." Finally, some academic economists teach and research totally irrelevant, sophisticated mathematical models of nonexistent competitive economies, while problems of poverty, unemployment, rural development, and education are considered less intellectually interesting. In all these diverse professional activities, performance criteria are based not on contributions to national development but rather on praise from the international community (professional mentors in the developed nations). The publication of an LDC scholar's paper in an international professional journal or the receipt of an invitation to attend a professional meeting in London, Paris, New York, or Moscow is often deemed more important than finding a solution to a local technological, agricultural, medical, or economic problem."

IWMF Courage Award Winners - "Marielos Monzon, a columnist for the daily Prensa Libre in Guatemala City, Guatemala, is known for her commitment to reporting on human rights violations in her country... She began receiving threats in 1998 when four gunmen came to her home and smashed the windows of her car. In June 2002, intruders again entered her house. This time they took her dog. At the same time, anonymous callers told her to stop reporting on human rights abuses or risk harm to her children"
Of course, this would not have happened if she hadn't reported on the human rights violations.

Women-only gym hours stir debate at Harvard - "Harvard University has banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week, a move to accommodate Muslim women who, for religious and cultural reasons, cannot exercise comfortably in their presence. The policy is already unpopular with many on campus, however, including some women who consider it sexist."
Next, they should set aside white-only gym hours for whites who feel uncomfortable exercising with people of other races, and straight-men-only gym hours for straight men who feel uncomfortable exercising with gays and bisexuals.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
And I'm done!
"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?" - Charles De Gaulle

***

The joys of unions:


"Fittingly, the 62-year-old Hartung is no stranger to the idea of rebellion. However glamorous Leonardo DiCaprio may have made it look in Catch Me If You Can, few conductors can lay claim (or would admit) to having seen the inside of a French jail cell. Hartung can, though he hardly looks like your garden-variety felon. Back in 2005, after a long concert in Strasbourg with the travelling Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra, he was hauled off-stage by the police, arrested and interrogated for two days. His crime? Paying his orchestra less than the minimum wage stipulated by the French musicians’ union.

As bad as that sounds, his orchestra was made up of freelancers who were happy to play for him at lower rates than usual, since it helped them sell cheaper tickets and thus attract bigger audiences. Union members retaliated, worried about compromising their livelihood. ‘It could only happen in Europe,’ says Hartung, who notes that he then went to court for his nonconformity – and won. ‘Musicians should have the liberty to choose to play and be paid at whichever rate they want, with whoever they want.’"


If you are against monopolies, I don't see why you wouldn't be against (conventional conceptions of) unions as well.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

***

Search Referrals:

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Postmodernists do not lament the idea of fragmentation or incoherence but instead celebrate it. It provides the opportunity to play with language and meaning, as well as affording the audience with deeper critical skills in that questioning everything becomes the central idea.

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"Reality is something you rise above." - Liza Minnelli

***

Bizarre thesis formatting guidelines:


"The page number for the first page of each chapter, as well as preliminaries, should appear at the bottom of the page.

For the rest of the pages, the page number should sppear at the top right hand corner"


Instead of going crazy inserting section breaks in Word, I'm just going to write the page numbers manually.
"Anyone nit-picking enough to write a letter of correction to an editor doubtless deserves the error that provoked it." - Alvin Toffler

***

Shocking racism and ethnocentrism:

A CULTURAL APPROACH TO HIV/AIDS PREVENTION AND CARE UNESCO/UNAIDS RESEARCH PROJECT
ANGOLA’S EXPERIENCE


"2.5 Traditional Practices which could eventually contribute to the AIDS spread

We list some other practices mentioned:

• Learning about sex with or without rites of initiation: the traditional way to learn about sex also contributes to the spread of the disease since the “adult teachers” (men and women) could be infected without knowing it.
• Scars: Special attention was paid to the practice of scar-tattooing that in certain ethno-linguistic groups is similar to beauty marking. According to the participants,
this practice could transmit the disease due to the use of infected cutting instruments;
• The practices of blood brotherhood in which two people exchange and drink each other’s blood as a symbol of mutual faithfulness. In general, it is a pact that two
individuals or representatives from two groups consummate through a rite in which they exchange blood. The pact creates a brotherhood and a sacred and sound
friendship that when betrayed demands punishment. In our country, kikongo young people change their blood during the rite of circumcision. Altuna (p. 122) highlights
that “after soaking a piece of manioc in the blood of their foreskins, they eat ‘the bread of the Brotherhood’”.
• The circumcision (individual or collective): when it occurs as part of rites of initiation involves a young population. If the blade is infected, everybody runs the risk of infection.
• When the umbilical cord is cut out: the midwife might use infected cutting objects. However, and according to a participant (a kikongo girl), the traditional way to do it does not involve the use of cutting objects. “They tie a not, then, stretch the cord from this not and it snaps straight away.
• Polygamy: some participants think that polygamy, practised in the traditional way, protects the man and his wives from STDs and AIDS. Others disagree with it,
because man does not have a relation with all his women at the same time. He has “acquired” them a long the time and, in some cases, he becomes polygamous through the practice of a surrogate. The modern patterns of polygamy and, consequently, promiscuity, above all among couples that do not share the same
house, contribute to the transmission of STDs, particularly, AIDS.
• For many girls the first sexual contact is with their fathers: it is a practice observed in few groups, but which could facilitate the transmission of AIDS.
• Traditional marriage within the same tribe: it is a way to protect the group.
• Traditional healing when cutting or sharp objects are used.
• The practice of surrogate and similar ones."

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Although interaction terms are used widely in applied econometrics, and the correct way to interpret them is known by many econometricians and statisticians, most applied researchers misinterpret the coefficient of the interaction term in nonlinear models. A review of the 13 economics journals listed on JSTOR found 72 articles published between 1980 and 1999 that used interaction terms in nonlinear models. None of the studies interpreted the coefficient on the interaction term correctly."

Aww.
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