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

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Friday, November 27, 2009

"The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." - Ronald Reagan


The Beerbelly - "Sneak your choice of beverage into: the movies, concerts, ballgames, just about anywhere"
I prefer the Wine Rack

Addicted To Being Good? The Psychopathology of Heroism - "People whom we consider to be heroes (or X-altruists, as I am referring to them here), while among some of the most admired individuals, they possess many of the same traits as the sociopath... the X-altruistic person is anything but passive or meek. They are often feisty, argumentative, independent, idealistic risk-takers and convention-breakers. Sound sort of like the sociopathic personality?"

Smart PC Utilities - Vista Services Optimizer - "Vista Services Optimizer is an open source Windows tweaking utility that can improve your Windows Vista and Windows 7 performance and security with a simple mouse click, by tweaking Windows services in an automatic and very safe way according to the way you use your computer and which software and hardware you use"

Singapore refuses to renew foreign journalist’s visa - "“The refusal to renew freelance journalist Benjamin Bland’s press credentials again shows the Singapore government’s intolerance of independent and critical reporting,” said Shawn W. Crispin, CPJ’s Southeast Asia representative"

SpecGram—Letter to the Editor - "In 1922, on the occasion of their 10th wedding anniversary, my mother attempted to recreate the famous Rôti Sans Pareil (“roast without equal”) of an early 19th century French royal feast. It consisted of seventeen nested birds: a bustard, a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an Ortolan Bunting, and a Garden Warbler, the last stuffed with a single olive. By all accounts, her recreation was a success, and my grandfather declared it the greatest meal of his life... Leftovers from the casserole were injected into sausage casing for use as part of the usual sausage stuffing of the next turducken... Careful analysis, including detailed modeling of the Nearly Catastrophic Thanksgiving, when Hungry Uncle Hank almost ate the last slice of the turducken, has lead to the conclusion that that there are at least 6.0221415 x 1022 molecules (one tenth of a mole) of the original Turducken"

Depressed woman loses benefits over Facebook photos - "She said her insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on the popular social networking site, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday — evidence that she is no longer depressed, Manulife said... Blanchard said that on her doctor's advice, she tried to have fun"

Schoolgirl arrested for refusing to study with non-English pupils - "The five - four boys and a girl - then began talking in a language she didn't understand, thought to be Urdu, so she went to speak to the teacher. "I said 'I'm not being funny, but can I change groups because I can't understand them?' But she started shouting and screaming, saying 'It's racist, you're going to get done by the police'... a ten-year-old boy was hauled before a court for allegedly calling an 11-year-old mixed race pupil a 'Paki' and 'Bin Laden' in a playground argument at a primary school in Irlam. When the case came before District Judge Jonathan Finestein he said the decision to prosecute showed "how stupid the whole system is getting"... "A lot of these arrests don't result in prosecutions - they aim is to frighten us into self-censorship until we watch everything we say""

Climate Emails Stoke Debate - "The scientific community is buzzing over thousands of emails and documents -- posted on the Internet last week after being hacked from a prominent climate-change research center... A partial review of the hacked material suggests there was an effort at East Anglia, which houses an important center of global climate research, to shut out dissenters and their points of view"

American Airlines worker fired for replying to web user complaint - "Mr Curtis, an American web designer, was unimpressed by his experience using the the AA.com website, and made that clear in a lengthy open letter to the company on his blog... Mr X, a web designer, responded to the letter... after bosses at American Airlines became aware of Mr X's response, they searched through their email database, found his identity and fired him for a breach of the NDA... "AA fired Mr X because he cared. They fired him because he cared enough to reach out to a dissatisfied customer and help clear the company's name in the best way he could""

Stupid Travel Arguments (And Why We Should Stop Having Them) - "'People say that travel broadens the mind, so you might expect to find a tad more tolerance between fellow travellers. Instead, I find myself constantly up against different types of travel snob, people who consider themselves superior for a wealth of bizarre reasons'...
i) Backpack vs. Roller Bag
ii) Guided Tour vs. Independent Travel
iii) High-Tech Travel vs. Low-Tech Travel
iv) Tourist vs. Traveler
It’s just as easy to bury your head in a good old-fashioned book or lose hours writing in your journal as it is to go cross-eyed sending constant text updates to Twitter from your mobile phone... all the arguing over semantics and ignoring commonalities does little to promote travel to anyone who’s on the fringes, either. If we as travelers want this to be some kind of exclusive club where only the people who agree with us get to join, we’ll keep having these arguments"

How To Quickly Fix A Phone or MP3 Player With Water Damage - "From my own experience and those of my family, you stand a pretty good chance of fixing your phone this way. I’d say there is a success rate of around 75%."

Obsessed with 'ugly' women - ""Unattractive" women use their sexual wiles to take advantage of lonely or desperate men... men, especially if they are middle aged, drop their guard when they encounter younger women "who are not beautiful." In contrast, an attractive woman who shows interest in such a man automatically sends up a red flag in his mind: This woman must be up to something... Women, whose beauty, he says, is "transient." Ugliness, however, is "eternal," as illustrated by the old Japanese saying, "In three days you get tired of a beautiful woman while in the same period of time you get used to an ugly one""

Disney Princesses, Deconstructed » Sociological Images - "The evolution of the Disney princess:
Snow White (1937): Her burgeoning sexuality is a threat to another woman, so she's killed. Her only asset, physical beauty, is what saves her in the end
Sleeping Beauty (1959): Betrothed at birth to solidify a political position, she is killed by another woman out of spite. Her owner...ahem...fiance, saves her with a kiss. Again, sex is her only salvation.
Belle (1991): Saves a prince's life. With her only asset, her sexuality.
What Disney princes teach men about attracting women:
Prince Charming (x4): Be rich, charming, famous and good looking.
Aladdin: Be charming, good looking and appear to be rich and famous."

Don't Judge My Hair: Epic Hairstyles

YouTube - Disney templates fail! - "Ressemblance dans les films Disney"
I wonder if the Nine Old Men realised what they were doing

Japanese Doggy Style Reloaded - "This particular challenge was called ‘Tamanade Matsuri’ (玉なで祭り), or ‘touching the testicles festival’ (for a loose translation), where men seemingly let themselves be violated by the Japanese fighting dog, the tosa dog."
Damn Japs.

The UN and corruption: Extracting teeth, and other things | The Economist - "In many ways, says Robert Palmer of Global Witness, an NGO, a toothless treaty is worse than none. Politicians can point to their signatures as evidence of virtue, and continue to steal unimpeded"

A child does not fail, but defers success - "Failure, says Liz Beattie, a retired primary school teacher, is a word that should be deleted from the classroom dictionary, because it can put children off learning... At the conference of the Professional Association of Teachers. The motion reads: "Conference believes it is time to delete the word 'fail' from the educational vocabulary, to be replaced with the concept of 'deferred success'."... "Everyone fails at some time in their lives and it is often in those circumstances that we learn the most""
Elsewhere - "God forbid that children should receive an honest evaluation of their work; building up their fragile self-image is FAR more important than preparing them to be thinking, employable adults one day."

City sorry for Miss Universe snub - "Natalie Glebova, 23, who won the global beauty competition in May, was told she would be allowed in [Toronto] only if she removed her Miss Universe sash and crown. City officials cited a by-law which prohibits activities encouraging sexual stereotyping and degradation... a 1990 by-law forbids any events on the square that "exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purposes of attracting attention," the Globe and Mail reported. The law adds, "specifically, beauty pageants will be prohibited""

Security Fix - PC Invader Costs Ky. County $415,000 - "The criminals stole the money using a custom variant of a keystroke logging Trojan known as "Zeus" (a.k.a. "Zbot") that included two new features. The first is that stolen credentials are sent immediately via instant message to the attackers. But the second, more interesting feature of this malware, the investigator said, is that it creates a direct connection between the infected Microsoft Windows system and the attackers, allowing the bad guys to log in to the victim's bank account using the victim's own Internet connection"

Apple’s Snow Leopard Is Less Secure Than Windows, But Safer - "Like previous versions of the Mac OS, Snow Leopard lacks security features that are built in to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, such as full Address Space Layout Randomization to thwart attacks from malicious code. That makes Macs more vulnerable to attack, explained Charlie Miller, a security researcher and author of the book The Mac Hacker’s Handbook. But despite its weaknesses, Mac users have no reason to panic — yet. Apple’s PC market share is still roughly only about 10 percent, giving hackers and malicious software coders very little economic incentive to target the Mac. In short, Mac users are ducking behind a short wall — but as long as the enemy is firing in another direction, they’re not in grave danger... Two years ago there were zero pieces of malware targeting the Mac platform, and in the past year, there were a few hundred"

'Cats and dogs use more energy than cars' - "In their book Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, New Zealand-based architects Robert and Brenda Vale say keeping a medium-sized dog has the same ecological impact as driving 10,000 km a year in a 4.6 liter Land Cruiser... they recommend keeping "greener", smaller, and more sustainable pets, such as goldfish, chickens or rabbits"

Qian Xuesen - "[He] was the father of China's missile and space programmes, transforming the country from a primitive technological backwater to a nuclear power. Qian made his contribution to China's development, however, only after being arrested and then deported from the United States at the height of the McCarthy anti-communist witch hunt. "It was the stupidest thing this country ever did," said the former US Navy secretary Dan Kimball. "He was no more a communist than I was, and we forced him to go""

Ice-skating bear kills circus head
One comment: "When Ice-skating bears are outlawed, only outlaws will have ice-skating bears."

Double-check Your Antivirus Program - "I found two sites that will take your file and scan it very (and I mean very) thoroughly. Virustotal runs the file by 29 antivirus programs, all in about two minutes"

Co-ed college housing ups sex - "more than 41 per cent of students in co-ed housing said they binged on a weekly basis compared to less than 18 per cent of those in single-sex dorms. While 63 per cent of students in single-sex housing said they'd had no sexual partners in the past year, this was true of only 44 per cent of students in co-ed dorms. Among students in co-ed housing, almost 13 per cent said they had had three or more sexual partners in the past year, compared with 5 per cent of students in single-sex dorms"
I'm surprised it's so low.

Bay Area faces holidays without little silver balls on baked goods - "Store shelves are almost bare of the beloved, tooth-crunching decorations called dragees -- better known as "those little silver balls.'' Because of a Napa lawyer's lawsuit alleging that the shimmery mini-orbs are toxic... "He's the Grinch that stole Christmas this year"... Once again, California is on the cutting edge, the only place on the planet where using dragees could land you in court... Pollock says his motivation wasn't that someone had been hurt by eating dragees -- he doesn't know that anyone has. But he says dragees have the potential to put consumers, especially children, at risk... State health and toxic waste authorities said dragees weren't a concern as long as they were labeled properly. "We are not aware of any health problems associated with this product"... Distributors and retailers said they've settled with Pollock not because they believe their dragees are toxic but because a trial would cost far more than settling. But, like Beryl Loveland of Beryl's Cake Decorating and Pastry Supplies of Virginia, they're angry and think a trial would have proven that there's nothing wrong with a few dragees now and then."
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