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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

"The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting." - Charles Bukowski


"Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons"

"Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25"

"County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds"

"Get 50% off or half price, whichever is less."

"One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers"

"What constitutes a millionaire?"
"A millionaire is someone who has $1 million"

"Caskets found as workers demolish mausoleum"

"A deputy responded to a report of a vehicle stopping at mail boxes. It was the mailman."

"Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison"

"Police: Crack Found in Man's Buttocks"

"A caller reported... someone was on a porch yelling "help"... the person was calling a cat that is named "Help.""

"Police were called... about a "suspicious coin." Investigating officer reported it was a quarter."

"A woman... reported that someone must have stolen her mail, because she did not receive birthday cards from some of her friends."

"Police receive a report of a newborn infant found in a tash can. Upon investigation, officers discover it was only a burrito."

"1995 NISSAN Maxima, green, leather, loaded, CD, auto start, sunroof, 4-door, good condition, $4500. Not for sale."

"Police checked the area and found an open door in the back of the building. An officer went inside and called out, "Marco."
The man's name was not Marco... "the officer was trying to inject some humor into the situation."
Police found the suspect after he responded, "Polo.""

"TOMBSTONE: Standard gray. A good buy for someone named Grady"
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." - Erica Jong


Feedback I got on Improve Your English (wow, people actually read it!):

"You have a lot of great phrases to help others in catching mistakes. However, one phrase in the "Misspelled/Odd/Funny/Erroneous Signs" section is actually correct, but marked wrong:

- There are also news and traffic updates to make that drive home even smoother. (is)

To say, "There is also news and traffic updates" is a common MISTAKE that many native English speakers make. However, since the goal of your page is to help people speak English correctly, the subject and verb should agree. To see if they do, use this rule: simplify the sentence.

If the word "updates" is the subject you can simplify to "There are updates."
"Are" goes with the plural noun "updates".

If the words "news and traffic" are the subject of the sentence simplify to "There are news and traffic". You still use the verb "are" because the two things "news" and "traffic" combine to form a plural subject.

If you say "is" it sounds okay, unless you restructure the sentence. "Updates is there." is clearly wrong, just like "There is updates."

Enjoy the English language!"

Gosh, that entry is very old.

I'd like to think my kungfu has improved since then.
From Mr Wet:

Free Image Hosting at
In this photo: Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Some random dude

"Editor's note: This photo is an actual exhibit in the Proclamation of the Independence Memorial (museum), Malacca, the subject matter for my Honours Thesis"
"America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up." - Oscar Wilde


For sale: nagging wife, very high maintenance - "A British man fed up with his wife's complaints advertised her for sale -- and got a number of offers... Bates said his 40-year-old wife -- whom he advertised in the magazine's Free to Collect section, along with some of his fishing tackle -- initially gave him "a bit of an ear-bashing." But he said: "She's seen the funny side of it now though!""

KFC willing to fill potholes if company can brand its work - "Why did the fried-chicken maker cross the road? To fill the potholes, of course. The folks at KFC recently cooked up an appetizing offer for cash-strapped cities: The restaurant chain will fix crater-ridden streets for free if they're allowed to brand repairs with a chalked-on message saying that the road has been "Re-Freshed by KFC.""

YouTube - Mario: Game Over

American expat in S'pore in top 16 for "best job in the world" - ""(The caller) went, 'Hi Greg, this is Minister from Queensland Tourism Board. Congratulations!' I said yes! Whoo!"... Fulfilling an earlier promise should he make it to the final stage of the contest, he will he shaving his head and painting the colours of the Singapore flag on it on Friday. He will then run down Orchard Road in his flippers and snorkel."
I'm not surprised it's not a local.

Facebook | Famous Bishan Gay! - "Affiliation: Gay
Location: Bishan KFC, Singapore"

Five Geek Social Fallacies - "Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive... GSF4 is the belief that any two of your friends ought to be friends with each other, and if they're not, something is Very Wrong... GSF4 can also lead carriers to make inappropriate requests of people they barely know -- asking a friend's roommate's ex if they can crash on their couch, asking a college acquaintance from eight years ago for a letter of recommendation at their workplace, and so on. If something is appropriate to ask of a friend, it's appropriate to ask of a friend of a friend. Arguably, Friendster was designed by a GSF4 carrier."

Facebook, YouTube at work make better employees: study - "The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not. Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped to sharpened workers' concentration. "People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration"... "Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity," said Coker. "That's not always the case." However, Coker said the study looked at people who browsed in moderation, or were on the Internet for less than 20 percent of their total time in the office."

Men spend more time gossiping than women, poll finds - "Men spend an average 76 minutes a day tittle-tattling with their friends or work colleagues, compared to just 52 minutes for women... Women also love to talk about news, but rather than focusing on politics or government issues, news about soap operas and celebrities are more likely to cause a debate.
1. Drunken friends
2. News
3. Old school friends
4. Female colleagues at work
5. The sexiest girl at work
6. Spreading rumours
7. Promotions
8. Sexual relationships
9. Salaries
10. The boss
1. Other women
2. News
3. Relationship problems
4. Other people's relationships
5. Sexual relationships
6. Friend's weight gain
7. Soap operas
8. Other women's boyfriends / husbands
9. The mother-in-law
10. Celebrities"

Product Fail - "Love bacon and all its goodness? Want to spice things up in the bedroom? Well, you’re sure to love this new product, baconlube™ . baconlube is a delicious personal lubricant designed to “keep it sizzlin’”. Now you can have your cake and eat it too."

Facebook | The Final Solution - "What if Science discovered a genetic cure for the moral defects of mankind? Sin would no longer be an option.
The world would be a better place. Or so it seems.
Will this be the "Final Solution" to all the problems in society?
In this Easter drama, view your world through the eyes of the new "Messiah" as faith, science, love and choice collide ...
You're invited to join us as we discover the true meaning of Easter. See you there!"
Why am I not surprised that this FAIL event name was from City Harvest?

Professor Sues Students for "Anti-intellectualism" - "Venkatesan is the author of a book called Molecular biology in Narrative form., which is also the title of her Ph.D. thesis. At least one reviewer thought the book was a joke... Professor Venkatesan taught a freshman course on "Science, Technology and Society" at Dartmouth where she expounded at length on various post-modern ideas and the concept that, "scientific facts do not correspond to a natural reality but conform to a social construct." During one of those lectures some of her students challenged her and attempted to refute her post-modernist views. Some students applauded the dissidents. The result was traumatic for Professor Venkatesan and she ended up quitting her job at Dartmouth. She also launched a lawsuit against her students for violating her civil rights... There are too many universities these days whose faculties subscribe to the gibberish of these post-modernist pseudo-intellectuals. This may be a bigger threat to university students than creationism."

Squeez Bacon® - "A fully cooked 100% bacon paste that could be squeezed from a tube... Vilhelm Lillefläsk's Squeez Bacon® is fully cooked 100% bacon... If it's edible, it's better with Squeez Bacon®. In the immortal words of Vilhelm Lillefläsk, "Aldrig kommer att ge dig upp!" Once you get a taste of Squeez Bacon®, you'll know exactly what he meant."

Does Having Children Make You Unhappy? - "Children do not bring happiness. In fact more often they seem to bring unhappiness. That is the conclusion of one academic study after the next — and there are so many that it makes one wonder if researchers kept trying, hoping for a different result."

Viagra reduces hamster 'jet lag'

Facebook discipline may be illegal: expert - "Firms who discipline or sack staff for comments made on Facebook and Twitter could be acting illegally, says a veteran lawyer... She said she wrote something along the lines of "he's such an anally retentive asshole", without naming any individuals or the company. A manager at the company thought the comments were referring to him and refused to back down on giving her an official warning, so she quit her job... Penning said most employment contracts and policies had rules against speaking to media, but these were different from posting comments on social networking sites... A reader responding to yesterday's story about the NSW prison officers said he was fired from his job at a "large corporate bank" for using the word "recession" in his Facebook profile. "Ended up being reprimanded by both my boss and the head of our division, despite not using the company name or having either of them on my friends list. I lost my job shortly after," the reader wrote."

5 Things That Didn’t Kill Gaming As We Know It, Just Like Wii Fit Won’t - "Yanking a gamer from the fantasy adventure worlds of our imaginations back into the mundane, cyclical day-to-day rituals of reality is like getting punched in the face in the middle of a wet dream. The Sims managed to take everything we had built as the visionary standard of our beloved art-form and brutally ravage it. Casual gamers came out in droves to purchase the title, which momentarily gave them a break from things like going to the bathroom and ignoring their nagging mother in the real world so they could replicate similar acts of boredom in the game. The push for reality based games has always baffled my inner connection with video games as a trip through escapism. Mimicking the daily boredom of the average American suburbanite should never, ever be confused with ingenious game design, and a world taken over by Sims games would’ve done nothing but constantly echo the banality of our own lives. Plus the graphics sucked."

Friday, April 03, 2009

On the utility of labels:

"The nice thing about labels is that they allow you to have a discussion about something where everyone involved knows what's being discussed. Like, when you ask someone if they want a cookie, obviously you're not fully describing the infinite variety of cookies in the universe, but at least they know you're not offering a ham...

I completely agree that labels can cause a lot of problems. That's the problem with everything: it's not perfect."
"Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right." - Arthur Schopenhauer


Pinker on some reasons why people think violence has increased in recent decades and years, though it has instead fallen precipitiously (and that "we are living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence"):

"There are dynamics in the opinion and advocacy markets. No one ever attracted advocates and donors by saying 'things just seems to be getting better and better'.

There's guilt about our treatment of native peoples in modern intellectual life. An unwillingness to acknowledge there could be anything good about Western culture."

More from him about Pax Modernitatis:

"In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, "[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized." Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world. This change in sensibilities is just one example of perhaps the most important and most underappreciated trend in the human saga: Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species' time on earth.

... The doctrine of the noble savage—the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset ("War is not an instinct but an invention"), Stephen Jay Gould ("Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species"), and Ashley Montagu ("Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood"). But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler...

The leading edge has been in Western societies, especially England and Holland, and there seems to have been a tipping point at the onset of the Age of Reason in the early seventeenth century...

According to political scientist Barbara Harff, between 1989 and 2005 the number of campaigns of mass killing of civilians decreased by 90 percent."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

"None are so busy as the fool and knave." - John Dryden



Pyramus was the most beautiful youth in the East and lived in Babylon. He fell in love with his neighbor Thisbe, but their parents refused consent to their marriage. They planned to escape together; first, they would meet at King Ninus's tomb, near which grew a mulberry tree. Thisbe arrived first but, frightened by a lioness, she fled into the tomb, leaving her cloak behind. The lioness tore the cloak with her bloody jaws, then went off. When Pyramus arrived and saw the bloody cloak, he presumed that Thisbe had been slain. He drew his sword and killed himself, and as his blood spurted upwards, it changed the white fruit of the mulberry tree to deep purple. Arriving soon afterwards, Thisbe found Pyramus dead and slew herself with his sword (Met IV.55-166; OM IV.229-1169). The story is also told in an Anglo-Norman poem of the twelfth or thirteenth century, Pyrame et Tisbé, in an Old French poem, Piramus et Tisbé (c. 1170), and in Machaut's Jugement dou roy de Navarre, 3171-3212.

Sounds familiar?

"I was the kid next door's imaginary friend." - Emo Phillips


A dozen a gross and a score,
Plus three times the square root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven,
Is nine squared and not a bit more!

(12 + 144 + 20 + (3 x (4^.5)))/7 + 5 x 11 = (9 ^2) + 0

Credit: Sunflower

The integral of zee-squared dee zee,
From 1 to the cube root of 3,
Times the cosine,
Of 3 pi by 9,
Is the log of the cube root of e.

(I haven't done integration in almost a decade, so I don't know if this is right)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Here's something to think about: How come you never see a headline like 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?" - Jay Leno


On women in Cambodia:

"An employee of local NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia commented in 2002 that ‘20 people can rape a woman at the same time, and consider this a fun, bonding experience between males’ (PPP 2002: 14). Perhaps the most bizarre commentary on the role of women in post-revolutionary Cambodia is to he found on the Cambodian People’s Party list of important events in Cambodia’s history: ‘20 June 1999 — Royal palace denies rumour of evil god demanding thousands of long-haired virgin girls’ (CPP 2000)"

--- Women's Political Participation and Representation in Asia: Obstacles and Challenges / Kazuki Iwanaga

And, from Lost goddesses: the denial of female power in Cambodian history / Trudy Jacobsen:

"The presence of a pervasive sex industry was also perceived as being a result of female immorality, vanity, and lack of willingness to engage in 'real work'...

It continues to be the prerogative of elite men to demonstrate their potency and superiority over other men through sexual access to large numbers of women. If these women are virgins, the higher the prowess of the man involved, because virginity is an expensive commodity. High-level business agreements are ‘ratified by deflowering virgins procured for the purpose, in order to demonstrate mutual high regard. A Western parallel might be the decanting of a 30-year-old single malt in order to toast the business agreement. Virginity carries with it the assurance that there will he no ill-effects from the encounter (for the man, at least) and some believe that taking the virginity of a girl will remove bad luck, rejuvenate a flagging libido, or cure HIV/AIDS. This is why so many sex workers are young teenagers. Their value is diminished once their virginity has been sold, but they will not physically show the toll that the sex industry takes on their bodies for some years. Another attractive characteristic in young sex workers is that they are socially constrained to be obedient. Most Cambodian men expect their sexual partners, including sex workers, to be submissive and are disconcerted when their expectations are not met. It was extremely difficult to convince any Cambodian man to speak openly about why Cambodian women should not enjoy sex. Many seemed to think that it was an inherent aspect of Cambodian femininity. One moto driver said 'If wanted a srei rijoh rilenh [wriggly woman) I would go to a Vietnamese.’ Ly Ly, a sex worker, told me that she had been surprised at first when her Western clients 'told me to make noise, to move around, to sit on top ... . If I did this with a Cambodian man, he would be shocked and afraid'.

The majority of Cambodian men believe that Cambodian women are naturally timid, docile, and less capable than they are...

I have seen women agreeing to have sex with men in exchange for the price of the moto ride to her own home afterwards (around 50 US cents).

Foreign men come to Cambodia and find their every fantasy can be easily facilitated while not earning any disapproval from society at large because it is acceptable for Cambodian men to do the same. A popular ‘gentleman’s bar’ in Phnom Penh offers a particular service combining the exoticism of the east with the pleasures of the local pub. As soon as they walk in, men are given a complimentary beer. Shortly afterward, a hostess will appear and fellate them against the wall while they wait their turn at the pool table. Disapproval of this and other exploitative practices is portrayed as jealousy on the part of Western women who secretly desire the attention lavished upon their ostensibly more attractive counterparts. A cartoon in a locally. produced English-language magazine showed a Western man dancing with four young, slim, sexily dressed Cambodian women while at a nearby table four overweight older Western ladies voiced their disapproval over their colleague’s contribution to the exploitation of women. In the next frame, each woman had a thought-bubble over her head expressing sentiments such as ‘I wonder how much liposuction costs’ and ‘Can I get out to Bangkok for a facelift before New Year” Criticism is dismissed as jealousy."

Perhaps all this is due to Cambodian history:

"Sexual autonomy seems to have been exercised by women to a high degree, at least amongst women who were not born into the royal family. Zhou Daguan was told that Cambodian women were not likely to remain faithful in the absence of their husbands:

Everyone with whom I talked said that the Cambodian women are highly sexed. One or two days after giving birth to a child they are ready for intercourse: if a husband is not responsive he will be discarded. When a husband is called away on matters of business, they endure his absence for a while; but if he is gone as much as ten days, the wife is apt to say, ‘I am no ghost; how can I be expected to sleep alone?’ Though their sexual impulses are very strong,, it is said some of them remain faithful.’

This is at odds with the inscriptions, which stress the importance of fidelity of women after marriage. Virginity is also the subject of conflicting views. One inscription speaks of a king’s infatuation with a woman ‘of perfect body, of irreproachable face’ waning when he realised that she was ‘already deflowered.' Jayavarman VII was pleasurably aroused by ‘a virginal and enchanting wife, awkward in revealing her charms: According to Zhou Daguan, however, brides and grooms often had pre-nuptial intercourse without social reprisal.” There was one rule for the elite and another for the rest of society."

Or maybe the Cambodians Zhou Daguan talked to pulled a Margaret Mead on him.

And finally, on sex workers in Southeast Asia:

"As highlighted throughout this book. women in the sex industry do not identify with representations that place them as victims of political economy, sex tourists or HIV/AIDS. Indeed. they perceive a negotiated tension between their free will to enter prostitution and the constraints that make this particular type of employment an opportunity for them. Moreover, sex workers do not conceive their encounters with foreign men in strictly oppressive terms. Dichotomous models of power—whether based on the colonizer/colonized or oppressor/subordinate binaries of nationalist and feminist discourse—are necessarily more complex, situated and strategic. Furthermore, the subjects of these models are capable of power and resistance in complex and unanticipated ways. In go-go bars throughout Southeast Asia the differences between white, Western men and Southeast Asian women are worked out, but this negotiation is not based on a clear relation of domination...

This approach to understanding the relationship between sex workers and their customers has much affinity with postcolonial perspectives which seek to disrupt the nationalist ideologies that set up a binary relation between Third World/First World... While the relationship between sex workers and their customers is the most detailed example given here, a similar argument is made about the relationship between Australian NGOs and their Filipino NGO ‘partners’. To define peer education as a purely colonizing discourse, for example, would be at the expense of understanding the Filipino translation and use of the concept.

As this study shows, organizations with specific political agendas utilize dichotomous notions of power which are incommensurable with the lives of women employed in the sex industry. Due to the global concern with HIV/ AIDS, these organizations include an increasingly complex web of international agencies (i.e. the United Nations, aid organizations from the West, etc.), national and local governments, and NOOs carrying out community—based WV/AIDS education projects. Furthermore, the advent of WV/AIDS has brought new voices to these debates, including those from the Western—based prostitutes’ rights movement. Through examining the perspectives of local, national and foreign organizations—as well as the uneasy processes of social and cultural identification between them—it becomes clear that representations of prostitute victims/sex worker agents are also articulations of organizational identity. Because the images the produced by government and non-government organizations are as much about their own positions within debates about sex work and AIDS. it could be argued these images are politically strategic stereotypes—and are therefore fragile and ambivalent. While they might deny the lived experience of sex work, they can also be considered the foundation upon which new identities might be constituted."

--- Sex work in Southeast Asia: the place of desire in a time of AIDS / Lisa Law
"So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work." - Peter Drucker


From the Jain University,

6.5 Important Features of Jain Food

"At night any insect may fall in a food-dish, without one's knowledge. Thus at night food might be infested with minor invisible insects. Even by mistake, swallowing the insects cause several diseases. At night the cook might not notice the poisonous organisms mixed with cooking material or boiled, and there are chances the poison might have effect on ones’ health.

Food consumed before sunset mostly gets digested though bodily movement and activities. Indian Science of health has formulated a rule that after having taken food, one should drink little-little water may times taking food before sunset allows this practice naturally.

Obviously night time eating causes more violence then day time eating. Likewise from health point of view day five eating is more advantageous than night time eating as a gate-way to hell...

Jainism, being a scientific religion, it has dealt with [other culinary proscriptions]...

Jainism believes in non-violence any food which involves wholes some violence should be avoided non vegetarian food (eggs, fish) involve such wholes one violence on large scale and therefore should always he abandoned by all. Even from Health point of view such food are considered unhealthy, poisonous and healthful. Such food should be totally abandoned.

Yes, even vegetable plans have subtle life but it is hard that we cannot but depend are then for our food. Besides they are natural substance and the do not contain filthy things...

Among vegetables also, root vegetable (Potatoes, Onion, Carrot, Multi etc. etc.) We also totally forbidden. They contain a lot of bacteria one can see with microscope and find the living insects in them. That is why consumption of root vegetable is strictly forbidden.

Likewise Sadharm plant beings have one common plant body. These plant bodies exist together with infinite other in a common plant body they are called 'Anantkay'. Use of such 'Anantkay' is also. prohibited in Jainism There are 32 such 'Anantkay'"

If all this were true, non-Jains would've died out long ago.

This is almost as bad as the nonsense on the health risks of having blood present in your food someone inserted into the Halal article Wikipedia.

Someone: actually most jains eat potatoes, onions, garlic and such. Trust me, I used to reside in the jain community.

Yes they do eat at night, especially in India where people keep very very late hours like dinner at 9-10pm. In Singapore however, just because its the done thing, people do eat slightly earlier.These are all things which are "preferable". Hence there is one week in the year dedicated to not eating green leafy veggies, tuber roots, fasting, eating before sunset.. etc. because there is a realisation of the impossibility of this sort of stricture.

See the thing about that is, its total theory. No one follows that unless they are "shamanji's or shamaniji's" who are people who have committed to that lifestyle, which generally are like 1-2% of the population (with that number i might even be over-restimating. In the 500 strong singaporean community there isn't even one.)

PS: Btw, even in religious school no one preaches the renunciation of honey.

Oh don't worry, alot of the sources are terribly ill-informed. I had to read the scriptures though, straight from the horses mouth ;)
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson


Japanese Government Banning Used School Girl Pantie Vending Machines - "The Japanese Government is trying to outlaw the sale of Japanese used school girl panties"
I'd be surprised if even half were genuine.

Religion, medicine and evading death | But not yet, Lord - "Religious people seem curiously reluctant to meet their maker"

rearranging words - "I guess it is not rare to come across those "rearranging words" exercises during language lesson... The so-called correct answer should be: Kucing saya suka minum susu (my cat likes to drink milk). [Try] Saya suka minum susu kucing (I like to drink cat milk) or Kucing suka minum susu saya (Cat likes to drink my milk)"

Pandemonium breaks out at Taipei Zoo - "Taiwan-China relations were dealt a severe setback yesterday when it was found that Taipei Zoo’s “pandas” are not what they seem. Zookeepers discovered at feeding time yesterday that the two pandas are in fact Wenzhou brown forest bears that had been dyed... “Let’s just say Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan would tuan yuan at every chance,” said Liu, referring to the combination of the panda’s names, which means “to reunite” in Mandarin. “They would do it doggy-style and every armchair zoologist knows that pandas favor the missionary position — when they do it at all. Their behavior caused chaos. Children screamed and parents became irate.”... “Whenever the moaning from the panda enclosure gets too loud we gotta go in there and hose ’em down with cold water,” he said. “After a while, parts of the animals’ black-and-white patches started to turn brown.”... “They told me pandas at the zoo in Washington, DC, get lethargic and sometimes lie in their own feces because they can’t tolerate hot weather, so it didn’t surprise them at all that their fur was turning brown since Taipei’s hotter on average than Washington,” he said... critics continue to decry what they see as an attempt by Beijing to bribe Taiwanese with cute, cuddly furballs in lieu of a more meaningful gesture of goodwill such as removing some of the 1,500 missiles China has pointed at Taiwan"
I like this one

Top 10 Worst Space Foods - "1. Brussels Sprouts. Children and future astronauts, have hope: If there's one food that's not worth the trouble of flying into space, it's Brussels sprouts. "To be perfectly honest, I don't think we'll ever fly them," Kloeris said. "We try to pick products that have high demand, and Brussels sprouts aren't the most popular vegetable in the world.""

"The Little Nyonya" stars charm international photographers - Notice it didn't charm the critics.

Easy economics through the eyes of nurse Helga - ""Sister Helga. You maximise my happiness" is German author Thomas Hoenscheid's latest novel and an eccentric attempt at teaching struggling students the basics of supply and demand... the surgeon of her dreams is not the moral and humane doctor he appears to be. Instead he is a money-driven businessman, only interested in maximizing his profits and minimizing costs. Devastated, Helga plunges into the world of microeconomics in a desperate attempt to learn what goes on inside his head... Abandoning her former bubble-headed self, the nurse becomes a die-hard fan of the free market. A family outing turns into an "afternoon of Pareto optimality," sending her into a simplified state of perfect well-being... despite the kitschy style, the theories are indeed all rather complex, consisting of difficult mathematical explanations and technical passages."

Women's shopping habits linked to periods - "In the ten days before their periods begin women are more likely to make extravagant impulse buys, according to researchers. Psychologists believe that shopping sprees could be a way for premenstrual women to deal with the negative emotions created by their hormonal changes... "If women are worried about their spending behaviour then they should avoid going shopping at the end of their menstrual cycle.""

Eco-friendly bra doubles as shopping bag - "Lingerie manufacturer Triumph International Japan has unveiled a new type of brassiere that can be converted into a shopping bag. Called the “No! Shopping Bag Bra” (NO! reji-bukuro bra), the environmentally-friendly lingerie is designed to promote the reduction of plastic bag consumption, a key objective of the revised Containers and Packaging Recycling Law hammered out by Japanese lawmakers in June."
Damn Japs. Who also have a bra you can slot chopsticks in - “the chopsticks on the sides help add a little extra volume to your bust.”

Lingerie firm offers women "liberating" loincloths - "Loincloths, called "fundoshi" in Japanese, were worn by adult men in the past, but they are now a rarity. Kyoto-based lingerie firm Wacoal, however, has brought them back into fashion, this time for women seeking "emancipation" from the tightness of conventional underwear."
"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J.  Paul Getty


Fromage frais volume scoops odd book prize

""The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais" was chosen as 2008 champion from a shortlist which pitted it notably against "Baboon Metaphysics" and "The Large Sieve and its Applications."

Contest organiser Horace Bent of the Bookseller magazine welcomed the choice as a smut-free relief, after victory in recent years for titles including "High Performance Stiffened Structures" and "Living With Crazy Buttocks."

"Given that three times in the 21st century the public have crowned somewhat vulgar titles ... I assumed that either 'Strip And Knit With Style' or 'Curbside Consultation Of The Colon' would" win, he said, citing other shortlisted books...

"What does the future hold for these items? Well, given that fromage frais normally comes in 60-gram containers, not 60-milligram, one would assume that the world outlook for 0.06-gram containers of fromage frais is pretty bleak.

"But I'm not willing to pay 795 pounds to find out," he said.

Previous winners of the Oddest Book Title of the Year award include:

- 1997: "The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition."

- 1998: "Development in Dairy Cow Breeding and Management: and New Opportunities to Widen the Uses of Straw."

- 1999: "Weeds in a Changing World."

- 2000: "High Performance Stiffened Structures."

- 2001: "Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service."

- 2002: "Living with Crazy Buttocks."

- 2003: "The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories."

- 2004: "Bombproof Your Horse."

- 2005: "People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It."

- 2006: "The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification."

- 2007: "If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.""

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"The fun I had experienced in making things as a boy was magnified a hundred fold when I began making things as a man. There is in manufacturing a creative joy that only poets are supposed to know. Some day I'd like to show a poet how it feels to design and build a railroad locomotive." - Quoted in: Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius / Vincent Curcio
"For most men life is a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed." - Clifton Fadiman


More logic FAIL:

All people are the same

From Third World to First, there are both courteous and impolite

Letter from Rejesh Seth

"I refer to "Efficiency's a drag" (March 30). I believe "we see what we want to see" and our minds are mostly biased when we make observations.

Mr Joseph Wong compared an incident at a five-star hotel in Tokyo with one at a public event which drew a record crowd in Singapore.

I am sure if the comparison was made between a Tokyo train station during peak hour and one in a lift at a five-star hotel here, the result would have been the opposite.

I have travelled extensively all over the world and I have found that humans are similar in their behaviour regardless of their backgrounds.

Circumstances or the existing way of life are what makes people behave the way they do.

To take this discussion a little forward, in Third World countries, where a majority of the population do not have a decent lifestyle, you may perhaps find a lot of pushing and jostling.

But this in no way changes human behaviour, as you will still find most of the people there eager to be polite in the way they know best.

On the other hand, recent cases of natural disasters in first world countries brought out shocking cases of inhuman behaviour in normally orderly people.

Behaviour is very complex and cannot be generalised.

In any case, I strongly consider Singaporeans as one of the most polite people compared to their counterparts elsewhere.

(Emphases mine)

Well, he is right about one thing, at least, in this letter ripe with (self-)contradiction and paradox: most people "'
see what [they] want to see' and [their] minds are mostly biased when we make observations".

Monday, March 30, 2009

"A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down." - Robert Benchley


"It is commonly thought that exploitation is unjust; some think it is part of the very meaning of the word ‘exploitation’ that it is unjust. Those who think this will suppose that the just society has to be one in which people do not exploit one another, at least on a large scale. I will argue that exploitation is not unjust by definition, and that a society (such as our own) might be fundamentally just while nevertheless being pervasively exploitative. I do think that exploitation is nearly always a bad thing... its badness does not always consist in its being unjust...

Moral and nonmoral concepts. Most philosophers of exploitation tend to follow the practice of dictionaries, distinguishing a “nonmoral” sense of ‘exploitation’ from a “moral” sense, and taking the latter sense to involve the idea of making use of someone or something unjustly or unethically. Since they suppose that it is only the latter, “pejorative” meaning of the term which interests social critics, they provide what I will call a “moralized” account of exploitation. That is, they suppose that the term ‘exploitation’ (in the “pejorative” sense) already has wrongfulness or moral badness built into its very meaning...

Innocent and noninnocent exploitation. There clearly do seem to be cases of exploitation which we regard as innocent or even admirable. Nobody thinks it is wrong or unethical for a chess player to exploit her opponent’s inattention in order to win the game. We may even compliment a lawyer for exploiting the weaknesses in her adversary’s case in order to win a just verdict, or congratulate a resourceful person for exploiting her opportunities to the full. Realizing this, philosophers think that in such cases ‘exploit’ is being used in a neutral, innocent, or positive sense, quite distinct from the pejorative sense which interests us in cases of “wrongful exploitation.”

But why should we suppose that ‘exploitation’ has a special meaning when applied to cases of injustice or wrongdoing? Terms like ‘appropriation’, ‘transaction’, ‘seizure’, or ‘agreement’ apply sometimes to acts which are wrongful and sometimes to acts which are not, but we do not suppose that the word ‘transaction’ has a different meaning in the case of wrongful or unethical transactions from the one it has in the case of rightful and proper transactions...

Wrong because exploitative. Another problem with moralized accounts of exploitation is that they make it more difficult to understand many arguments in which the concept of exploitation is used. Some people argue that commodified surrogacy is wrongful or bad because it is exploitative... The statement cannot be understood as providing a substantive argument for considering the act wrongful, which might convince someone not antecedently persuaded of its wrongfulness — just as saying that an act is “wrong because it is murder” (where ‘murder’ is understood to mean ‘wrongful homicide’) cannot provide anyone with a new reason for thinking the act is wrong, but can at most serve to categorize the wrong (as a case of ‘murder’, i.e., ‘wrongful homicide’) or rhetorically drive home its wrongfulness through the use of the vivid term of condemnation (whose appropriateness would be accepted only by someone already persuaded that the act is wrong)...

Expoitation as use... The exploiter must do something, involving a degree of planning and manipulation, to take advantage of the fortunate circumstance, bringing it into the exploiter’s control or within the purview of the exploiter’s plans or machinations. When some unpredictable event suddenly drops success into my lap, I make use of the good luck, but I do not exploit it...

Exploiting things about people: advantage-exploitation and benefit-exploitation. There are many things about human beings that can be exploited: their talents, traits, habits, capacities, activities, desires, and circumstances. We exploit people’s strengths and their weaknesses, but usually not in quite the same sense. We exploit some attribute of the person from which we derive benefit or use to achieve our end. Let us call this “benefit- exploitation” or, for short, “b-exploitation.” It is in a different sense that we exploit someone’s weakness or vulnerability, which gives us a hold or advantage over the person and puts at our disposal the attribute which we b-exploit. I shall call our exploitative relation to this weakness or vulnerability “advantage-exploitation” or “a-exploitation.” The charming spy enchants a governmental official, playing on the victim’s need for affection in order to obtain a state secret. Here the spy a-exploits the victim’s need for affection (regarded as a vulnerability) and b-exploits the victim’s official position or access to state secrets (regarded as an attribute from which the spy may reap some benefit).

As their names are meant to imply, a-exploitation and b-exploitation. constitute a complementary pair, and a-exploitation is the foundation of b-exploitation... People and their abilities, activities, and so on may be non-exploitatively at our disposal, as through generosity or a mutual exchange of services where neither side is taking advantage of the other. The use of another through generosity or exchange may also be exploitative, but only when there is some element of vulnerability...

Clearly needs and desires can sometimes constitute vulnerabilities. An addict’s need or desire for drugs, for example, is clearly a vulnerability which pushers may a-exploit. The emotional needs of lovers obviously make them vulnerable to those they love, and hence create opportunities for a-exploitation by the latter. Many human needs and desires can be viewed as vulnerabilities, and accordingly many dealings between human beings can be put in an exploitative light. As we become more sensitive to this unattractive side of human social life generally, we may very well begin to perceive a great deal more exploitation in it than we thought there was. I think that such a change in sensitivity might very well be a positive result of becoming clearer about what exploitation is and about its importance in human life...

Surely it would be implausible to the point of absurdity if someone were to suggest that any need or desire constitutes a vulnerability. To suppose this would be to make exploitation virtually ubiquitous in human social life and as much a factor in quite a number of innocent human relations as it is in many very nasty ones... if someone claimed that every market exchange is exploitative simply on the ground that in such exchanges people use the needs of others to achieve their ends, then I think that claim would have exactly as much plausibility as the claim that every need or desire motivating market behavior is a vulnerability open to exploitation...

Exploiting people themselves... If in the course of a casual conversation I ask you for a couple of small favors, slyly insinuating that if you refuse I may divulge some nasty secrets about your sexual or financial indiscretions, then I am a-exploiting your indiscretions and b-exploiting your ability to do the favors, but I do not seem to be exploiting you yourself. On the other hand, if I begin to use the same information to blackmail you out of considerable sums of money, then we might very well say that I am exploiting you; but this could depend on how regular and how large the payments turned out to be.

It seems to me there is no sharp dividing line here...

What is wrong with exploitation?

Not the distribution of benefits and harms. Many people seem to think that exploitation (at least in the “pejorative” sense) has to be unfair or unjust, and that the injustice consists in a redistribution of harms and benefits; with benefits flowing from the exploited to the exploiter...

The drift of these remarks, however, seems to me in an important sense exactly wrong. Moreover, some of the writers on this topic appear to be aware of this. Gorr is struck by the fact that an exploitative offer typically expands the offeree’s freedom of choice and that accepting it will normally net the offeree an increase in utility.

Nor involuntariness, since exploitation is often voluntary. Feinberg too... realizes that exploitation may benefit the exploited, and may occur “with the exploitee’s fully voluntary consent”; exploitation may also be mutual, with each party acting in turn as exploiter and exploited, both benefiting from the arrangement.’ Wertheimer, showing that he knows better as well, even realizes that exploited parties typically benefit more from an exploitative arrangement than exploiters do, and rightly points out that this should not surprise us. “It is precisely because the exploitee stands to gain so much from the transaction (relative to the exploiter) that his bargaining position is comparatively weak.” This also explains why exploitation should often be voluntary on the part of the exploitee, since it is only to be expected that you will voluntarily consent to an arrangement by which you benefit...

People may often be in dire need of the benefits in question, they can often be eager to be exploited... Someone who is propertyless and starving has a lot to gain by striking a deal with an employer who is willing to offer bare subsistence in exchange for long, hard labor under dangerous conditions — and a lot to lose (namely, life itself) if no such exploitative bargain is in the offing. We can make the same point with a less controversial example. A gambler who owes a large amount of money to ruthless and violent characters will be in desperate need of the loan shark who offers the needed funds at a usurious rate of interest; such a person wifi be more than wffling under these conditions. to consent to virtually any terms of payment.

Not coercion either. Perhaps it will be said that people in such desperate straits are forced or coerced into making such deals. Certainly it is often said by Marxists that exploited workers are forced or coerced. This is often true in the sense that the exploited have no acceptable alternative to the arrangement under which they are exploited. But it does not follow that the exploiters themselves are coercing the exploited. (This is true only if the exploiters themselves are the ones who put the exploited in their vulnerable situation; Marx portrays things in this light when he represents the capitalist class as a whole as dispossessing the working class as a whole.)

Yet even if an exploitee has other acceptable alternatives to a given exploitative arrangement, and thus is not forced to accept the arrangement even in that sense, these alternatives may be either equally exploitative or far less desirable...

The real reason. I suggest that the moral belief that makes exploitation objectionable is the following: Proper respect for others is violated when we treat their vulnerabiities as opportunities to advance our own interests or projects. It is degrading to have your weaknesses taken advantage of, and dishonorable to use the weaknesses of others for your ends. This moral belief, I submit, is widely shared, and it is why the term ‘exploitation’ seems to us to refer to something bad, unfair, or unethical. This has nothing to do with the meaning of the word itself, but reflects a positive moral conviction which most of us hold...

Some instances of exploitation (exploiting the weaknesses of one’s opponent in a game) can be regarded as innocent. One would not enter into the game with good sportsmanship if one did not expect (or even want) one’s opponent to use one’s weaknesses wherever possible, and competitive play remains morally innocent only as long as this sort of exploitation does not take a form which degrades the competitors. Sometimes (e.g., the lawyer exploiting weaknesses in her opponent’s case) we think people’s vulnerabiities ought to be taken advantage of (for the sake of a just outcome)...

Some disputed cases... We may think that exploitation is good (or morally acceptable, or at, least satisfying on the whole), as when a person receives poetic justice through the a-exploitation of some morally bad quality — especially, as Feinberg points out, when the exploitee is “hoist with his own petard” — that is, a-exploited on the basis of a quality associated with a propensity to be an exploiter...

Another kind of case mentioned by Feinberg is that in which someone “cashes in” on the weaknesses of others precisely by helping them — as a business does when it supplies householders with protective devices during a crime wave, or as doctors do when they treat patients. Because Feinberg holds that exploitation requires that there be some sort of wrongness, unfairness, or unethical conduct on the part of the exploiter, he thinks that we cannot speak of exploitation at all in these cases unless those who help charge unfair prices for their services or gain disproportionately in comparison to those they help. I disagree. Those who help people in a position of weakness typically exploit them as well, and they do so whether they make just profits, unjust profits, or even no profits at all, as long as they also use the vulnerabffity of the recipients to further some end of their own other than the helping itself. This they typically do, even if the end is an entirely innocent and noble one, such as developing or exercising their own moral virtues. No doubt in such a case we are disclined to dwell on the exploitative aspect of the situation, not least because the helpers’ further end may be in itself perfectly legitimate or even laudable, and because they are, after all, providing help to those who need it.

It is essential to keep in mind here, however, that when people are vulnerable and in need of help, it is not only the helping itself which they need. If one accepts the moral belief I have ascribed to most of us, then they are also beings with dignity, with whom not all is well as long as they lack the conditions under which a human being can be respected. Those who fulfifi all their “obligations to help,” or even display supererogatory virtue in helping, may (just by helping, and thereby exhibiting the terrible vulnerability of those they help) bring mercilessly to light the absence of these conditions.

Helping those in need therefore often has a profound moral ambivalence about it, making solidarity with them a far more vital achievement than any positive contribution to their welfare... For this reason, it seems to me extremely important for would- be benefactors of the weak and vulnerable to be fully (and even painfully) aware of the inevitably exploitative side of their beneficence. This is needed both to preserve the dignity of those they help and to protect the helpers themselves from a certain blind arrogance which sometimes afflicts those who have been fortunate enough to parlay the doing of good into a successful career or life-defining activity.

Exploitation and Justice

Can exploitation be just? It is often thought that exploitation is bad because the exploiter takes unfair advantage of the exploitee. But if I am right about the source of our objection to exploitation, then we have reason to consider exploitation bad even when it involves no unfairness or injustice. For if the badness of exploitation lies in the fact that it is base and dishonorable of the exploiter, and insulting and degrading to the exploited, for the former to make use of the latter’s vulnerability, then this badness seems to be present even where the exploitation involves no unfairness, injustice, or violation of rights...

[In] protecting people against exploitation. Either society could make it more difficult for the powerful to use their power to exploit the vulnerable, or it could redistribute power so that people are less vulnerable to use by others, and hence less susceptible to exploitation. Let us call the first way of protecting people “interference” and the second way “redistribution.” Exploitation is unjust, then, whenever the weakness exploited is one which society should either prevent others from taking advantage of (by means of interference) or else prevent from occurring altogether (by means of redistribution)...

Capitalist exploitation... Marx was right: capital virtually always exploits wage labor. At least this is self-evident if it is granted that those who own the means of production enjoy a decisive bargaining advantage over those who own little besides their capacity to labor, and that this fundamental vulnerability on the part of labor decisively influences the terms of wage contracts...

It is another question whether capital’s pervasive exploitation of labor is just or unjust. Using his own highly reductive account of justice (according to which the justice of a transaction is no defense of it), Marx thought that capitalist exploitation was generally just...

Surrogacy and exploitation... The economic vulnerability typical of surrogate mothers is not generally regarded as avoidable within a modern market economy, and the psychological vulnerabiities involved here do not seem preventable by any means within society’s power. But there is always a dilemma when we must consider interference alone as a remedy for exploitation. As we have noted, an exploitative arrangement may benefit both parties, and is even likely to benefit the exploitee more than it benefits the exploiter. By interfering with exploitative arrangements, we may prevent one person from taking advantage of another’s weakness, but we thereby also risk consigning the vulnerable person to an even worse fate than being exploited. If we decide that interference is too cruel to those in a position of weakness, we may decide that the exploitation, however bad it may be in various respects, violates no one’s rights and has to be considered just. Radical remedies for exploitation, where they exist, are therefore always redistributive.

Can exploitation be abolished? People are encumbered with weaknesses or vulnerabilities of many kinds—physical, psychological, emotional, economic, political. They are also mutually dependent and competitively motivated, so that they have strong incentives to exploit the weaknesses of others. Exploitation is therefore a pervasive fact of the social life of human beings, and yet (for those who share the moral belief I have ascribed to most of us) it is also a profound evil which tends to infect nearly all their relationships with one another. Those who see the extent of exploitation cannot realistically hope that it will ever be wholly abolished, yet they ought to hope (as Marx did) that the largest and most systematic forms of it can someday be abolished.

Radical remedies for exploitation are always redistributive... inevitably difficult, costly, and potentially explosive in their social effects, and they always face prospects of success which are uncertain at best. This entails that there will always be strong arguments in favor of saying that society either cannot or should not be expected to do what is necessary to protect people against exploitation...

Exploitation is something we must learn to live with... capitalism is the freest, most just, and most productive economic order the world has ever known, that it is the social order which best accords with what we know of human nature, that no one has found a better or more workable system, or that every attempt to refound society on a radically less exploitative basis has not only been unsuccessful but had an utterly disastrous outcome...

[Yet] since under capitalism there are vast differences in economic power and ample opportunity in the market system for the strong to use these differences to their advantage, capitalism is also a highly exploitative social order, perhaps the most exploitative the world has ever known...

You should be ready to acknowledge that despite capitalism’s long list of alleged virtues, we have strong grounds not to show any great loyalty to it. You should be willing to admit that even if we have yet to find a social system better than capitalism, we nevertheless have good and sufficient reasons to keep on looking for one, and reason too to put some of the cherished advantages of capitalism at risk in trying to achieve a better form of society."

--- Exploitation / Allen Wood
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." - Thomas Mann


A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water’d it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.

William Blake

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading." - G. M. Trevelyan


PPBI: the tchs/acs/ri boys joke is

if a girl and a guy walk into an LT and there is only one seat left
the tchs guy will snatch the seat
the ri guy will offer the seat
the acs guy will ask her to sit on his lap
or something


PPBI: sorry
it should be the other way around

the ri guy will snatch the seat
the tchs guy will offer the seat
the acs guy will ask her to sit on his lap

Me: gah

Someone else: you have so many blog posts tagged "sedition"
that i won't know which one to blame
the day u disappear.

Someone: nah he's terribly bust

Me: cheh I thought busty


no gabriel, no one can rival you

Someone else: gabriel
i need advice

give me 3 good reasons why you don't have a religion

Me: you don't need 3, just 2

1) there's no evidence that gods exist
2) even if gods exist, there's no reason to worship them

is a girl trying to convert you? hurr hurr

Someone else: indeed, you are quite prescient

i have less problems with reason (1.), but plenty of problems with reason (2.)

but i wonder if the problem arises due to my understanding of the word "worship". perhaps it means less of "throwing yourself at the feet of someone", but rather "to adoringly respect and honour"?

sigh, gabriel. girls.

Me: "the only folly of man is women"

Someone else: haha
what do you think of my point about "worship"?

Me: well why would mere existence require respect and honour?
and worship in the divine sense includes obedience as well

Someone else: maybe it's because God's a role model?

if we use the classic Christian framing of this as a father-son relationship?
so we respect and honour our father, and obey him because he is wise

Me: that depends on the attributes of these gods

I wouldn't respect an abusive, drunkard father
whose sole contribution to my life was spawning me

Someone else: and as a splendid legerdemain, if the message we're getting is perverse, then it's not the "true" message?

Me: that's begging the question
in more ways than one:

- assuming the existence of beings
- assuming they are good

Someone else: why not hold both to be true? from a personal perspective, they can both be valid

Me: they are theoretically possible
but we do not have reasons to believe that they are the case

it's also theoretically possible that an omnipotent but totally evil god exists
(in fact that would fit the facts a lot better)

Someone else: sigh, Gabriel. i've walked into the worst possible outcome. non-Christian boy meets hardcore Christian girl.

i'm wondering, from a practical perspective, whether the church is the best bet for long term stability

it offers you a doctrine, philosophical pondering within its parameters, a social life and support within its community, fairly sensible aspects of decency, etc

Me: well communism brought stability to the USSR
except that there was stagnation as well

almost everyone would want to know if their spouse was cheating on them
even if it is not good for long term stability

"it offers you a doctrine, philosophical pondering within its parameters, a social life and support within its community, fairly sensible aspects of decency, etc"

so does Singapore :P

Someone else: and most importantly, it offers you a girl you like

Me: also I'm not sure that one can choose to believe something
without causing cognitive dissonance
and attendant schizophrenia

this is one big reason why religion continues on
female mate choice

if she's really worth going for, she'll be able to accept you as a non-christian

Someone else: precisely
i'm trying to reframe the problem

i think that i've come across a solution
i think i believe in God

therefore, i can posit myself as a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy doubtful Christian
but a Christian nonetheless

Me: err
are you framing this just to get the girl?

muslims believe in 'god' also
but it'd be a stretch to call them christians

you could say the same (disingenously) about hindus and other polytheists, in fact

Someone else: to be very honest, it is very very tempting to collapse into religion

Me: it is very tempting to get hooked on heroin or to become a drunkard too

Someone else: personally, i think islam and christianity perfectly compatible, but that is for another day

Me: religions aren't even compatible with themselves
and certainly not reality

Someone else: how gabriel how

Me: well, if you think you can lie to yourself, you can try
but I don't think it's good for your mental health
and it's very dishonest. like taking from the church collection tray and justifying it as not theft by saying you need the money

Someone else: i know what you mena

religion does have a remarkable effect on its believers though
i'm talking about moderate, sensible believers

incredible amounts of faith and conviction, while maintaining a moderate (i.e. non-proselytising) outlook

Me: err
actually proselytisation is part of the christian's responsibility

as for faith
"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."

HWMNBN: apparently they kissed and made up (ie XXX and her guy)

and going from the night before of: “i feel so stupid for loving that asshole who doesn’t care of rme”
to: “i love him so much i can give up everything except him” the next afternoon

at this we can both solemnly utter in unison: “...women”
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." - Martin Luther King Jr.


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This picture was taken at a themed costume party.

The name of this set is "The Dictators"

(faces are hidden to prevent people disappearing in the middle of the night and spirited off in black vans)
"Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born." - Ronald Reagan


Another great update from Gothere:

Smartest Way, Fastest Route, or Cheapest Fare? You decide.

"Many of our users have been requesting for the inclusion of alternative routes in our directions. Well starting today, in addition to our original directions, you will be able to choose between the "Fastest" route or "Cheapest" options for our public transport directions!

If you are one of those who believe in the old adage - time equals to money, "Fastest" will give you a route that we think takes the least amount of time. On the other hand, if you have some time to spare and would want to try save some cents or dollars, try "Cheapest" and see if the tradeoff is worth it. We still think that our original directions make a lot of sense (because it thinks like a commuter), therefore we're keeping it as the default and naming it as "Smartest" =]."


Though personally I'm still holding out for the best directions to one of my favourite eating spots:

Lot G 17, AEON Bukit Indah Shopping Centre,
No 8, Jalan Indah 15/2

Links - 29th March 2009

"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell


World prepares for big switch-off - "Millions of people worldwide are being urged to switch off lights for an hour, in what is described as the biggest climate change protest ever attempted... Critics describe the event as a symbolic and meaningless gesture."
I think it has negative value, really: crowding out. Like Sunday Morning Christians.

City spends $3,000 to shut off lights for Earth Hour - "Some of the darkened city buildings were false, not just flawed, symbols. That’s because city staffers drew the blinds on a number of windows to mask the security lighting that had to remain on... Even volunteers have to eat, drive around and otherwise make use of energy derived from fossil fuels to put on Earth Hour. If you could total up all the energy it took to put on Earth Hour, it probably exceeded the savings in power, if this area’s experience is any guide. Meaning Earth Hour hurt the Earth, not helped it."

yax-1003 Why arrested persons shouldn't have lawyers - "Singaporeans are not good at making the distinction between guilt and fair sentencing either... We seem not to care whether the sentence is excessive... If lawyers are allowed to be present, police work will be shackled, and the public will not enjoy the benefits of law and order. Oh no! That will not do. Throwing a few criminals (of course we are sure they guilty as charged, right?) into the dungeon is a small price to pay for continuing to sleep peacefully at night, courtesy of the big chief... Sometimes, the saddest thing about Singapore is not that we have an authoritarian government, but that the people think it's the best thing that's ever happened to them."

The Army's Remote-Controlled Beetle - "A giant flower beetle with implanted electrodes and a radio receiver on its back can be wirelessly controlled, according to research presented this week"

Police Priorities - "*** was pushed to the ground and pummeled by a commuter who failed to obtain a seat. But the woman police officer at the station said a report would not help to catch the assailant. Madam Tan’s husband received a telephone threat, promising to inflict bodily harm on him and his family. In this instance, a report was made at Bedok North station, but the police seemed to let the matter rest at that. Rag-and-bone man Ng Kim Ngweng... air[ed] his grouses, but ended up in court to face a battery of hostile witnesses"
Ed: Name has been redacted on request

A response to MM Lee’s private secretary on dialects - "The Chinese dialects which he refers to are rightfully languages. Spoken Chinese is distinguished by a high level of internal diversity. There are between six and twelve main regional groups of Chinese... These Chinese languages are mostly mutually unintelligible tongues. They are roughly parallel to English, Dutch, Swedish, and so on among the Germanic group of the Indo-European language family... The Beijing form of Mandarin was only chosen to be the standard form of spoken Chinese through a ballot in China in 1913, during which the Cantonese language lost only by three votes... The deliberate classification of the southern Chinese languages as dialects is a socio-political attempt to degrade them as second-class. The attempt to eradicate them is narrow-minded and short-sighted."

U.N. body adopts resolution on religious defamation - "A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries. The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states"
Of course, the most deserving targets of this resolution... are the large number of Muslims who demonise Jews.

officially longest lived celebrity romance.

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries - "A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama... the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved."

U2 song crashes Acer Aspire One netbook hard drives - "“We’re not entirely sure how serious to take this, but apparently Acer’s hugely popular 8.9-inch Aspire One netbook will trash the hard drive if you play music through it too loudly according to some users on HardwareCult. One of the tracks it has taken a particular dislike to is U2’s Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, which several users have been able to replicate the problem with."

The 25 Most Disturbing Sex Toys - "Sometimes you get to the point where the standard human dong just doesn't do it for you, no matter how unrealistic the proportions. For those people, the caring deviants in the fake dong industry put their skills to work in making a dildo modeled after the junk of an orca whale... Mr. Jack With Mustache: this was designed for people who wanted a blowjob from an incognito Guy Smiley using Burt's eyebrows as a mustache without the rest of his Muppet head getting in the way."

Manhunt winner to strip for hens parties and other events.
Someone: My word how the mighty have fallen, lol
"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say." - Marshall McLuhan


Channelnewsasia journalists are psychic!

S'pore observes Earth Hour, many buildings switch off lights for an hour
By Timothy Ouyang, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 28 March 2009 2047 hrs

"SINGAPORE : Thousands of people across Singapore observed Earth Hour on Saturday, as individuals at home and organisations switched off their lights for an hour.

Many parts of Singapore were plunged into darkness, as the lights went off at 8.30pm Singapore time, and remained switched off until 9.30pm."

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