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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

"I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means." - Oscar Wilde, upon being told the cost of an operation


Another spectacular train wreck:

Me: Acupuncture has been shown to work - even when the wrong points were poked

Basically it's the placebo effect

A: Placebo Effect cannot be used to explain everything.
If not, we can say the same thing about western medicine.
Personally, I believe acupuncture works, not because of Placebo Effect or because of The Qi, but rather, the pain / sensation simulates certain natural biological processes that cause the body to self heal.
I am personal supporter of TCM, btw.

Me: I believe the results were that needles poked randomly (and not into the "Qi" points) also relieved pain

So basically it's in the patients' minds.

I can say I believe that 抓根 "simulates certain natural biological processes that cause the body to self heal", but this does not make it true.

B: I’ll add to the acupuncture discussion, no sources though.

There were two other blinded experiments besides poking the wrong place: 1) only pierce the skin 2) retractable needles. They all “worked”; especially if the experimenters paid the subjects more attention.

I also came across talk about “the placebo effect” being a little misleading; it would be more accurate to call it “the placebo response”.

A: To Gabriel:
Well, you believed wrong.
The reason why poked at random relieved pain is because that's how the body works, it’s the same as why scratching relieved ache. It’s not in the mind, but in the nerves system. Many TCM experiments have shown that total random pocking do not work at all, it has to be within an area.

It's the same thing as after you eat, you feel full, it does not have to be a certain kind of food, but it has to be food. It's is not a placebo effect. Unless you are saying that placebo effects works up to 90% of the time, in that case we might as well abandon modern Science and head to the Church or Temple for Miracle Cures, since placebo effects can work so well.

Well, if I am hungry and then ate something, and I felt full after eating it, is that considered a black box, until one day someone discover about the digestive system and things like carbohydrates, fats, proteins... ect? If the ancients would to go by your logic, eating for survive would have been considered a placebo effect until around two century ago.

It is unreasonable for people before the invention of things like microscope and such to not use a black box approach to understanding nature. Mainstream health care was also in a black box state before we discover things like bacteria and virus.

TCM have also been shown to work by double blind trials, as much as Western drugs. Even acupuncture, it had been shown to have work through double blind trials, the Placebo Effect test only work some, but not all of the time, these tests have been conducted in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and had been proven beyond reasonable doubt, that it’s much more then Placebo Effects. Case and point, it had been shown to worked on babies, kids, people who do not trust TCM, placebo effects? I think not.

In any case, it is being practice as a legal and accepted form of health treatment in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, are you saying that the governments of these nations are all allowing Placebo Medication? Last I heard, Qi-Gong healing and religion Miracle Cures aren't.

Finally, TCM, and in fact most traditional medicine works on the idea that the body can self-heal given the right herbs and simulations. This is totally in line with Biology and the Theory of Evolution, if the body is incapable of self healing and self curing; we would have long been extinct. The system which most of them work is build on thousands of years of experiments and researches, and it does advance, without Dogmas, according to what it's practitioners discover in the way. What ever doesn't work is removed, and what ever works, is passed down.

... Just because one test suggest that it might be a Placebo Effect, doesn't mean it is a Placebo effect, since there are even more tests to prove that it isn't. TCM is currently highly support by evidences and researches, while there are still some mysteries and in fact, errors in it, it does work, what remains is to see which parts truly works, and which parts are errors. It's is not 100% correct, by neither is it wrong. You cannot discredit TCm just because it is different from what you believe.

Me: Well, since you say there is lots of evidence for TCM, please share some with us.

From what I read the evidence is mixed at best; it's not because it's different from what I believe.

Be Wary of Acupuncture, Qigong, and "Chinese Medicine"

acupuncture - The Skeptic's Dictionary

A: The short ans.
I trust The Singapore and China government more then this 2 group of people.

The long ans.
While they have been good in dealing with a lot of other things, both Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary are highly unreliable and in fact, talking total rubbish in this matter.
They are both bias against TCM, and conducted unfair tests.
Just go to China, and read things published in Chinese, and you will see the real results.
Their what, 51 tests and 2,938 reports are meaningless compare to the millions of successful rate all across Chinese communities.

Just go read any TCM books publish in Chinese.
The Chinese government had been researching into TCM for decades, they spend more time and money, and conduct more controlled tests and research then both this two group of people added together.

So far, according to the TCM text book and introductory published by China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have shown positive results. QiGong, btw, on the other hand, have shown to be just about as good as any other form of sports and exercise.

Btw, 'the quality of TCM research in China has been extremely poor' is either a proof of ignorance or a complete lie. There are government established Institutions researching and teaching TCM in China, and in Singapore, TCM is a 5 years degree course, in a TCM Academy in TPY and just a few years ago, NTU.
Are we suppose to believe that the government of two major Asian Nation, allows Healthcare treatment with extremely poor quality research to be legally practice in the Nation?
Case and point, you can find TCM in our Government Hospitals today, giving Acupuncture treatments.

Unless these two groups' last research on TCM was like around 20 years ago, what they said, shows a complete lack of data and research. I would believe that two government bodies would not only have more resources, but a greater responsibility to have practice and conducted much controlled tests.
NTU teaching Peudoscience, and Govermental Hospitals giving Peudo Healthcare treatment.
Yeah right.

: So what would you qualify as pseudomedicine?

Are there medical treatments that Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary are qualified in dismissing? (Besides TCM, of course.)

Are you familiar with homeopathy?

A: Pseudomedicine?
Anything that had a bad record of not doing the job and killing patients, or requires faith to work. And anything in which operations and effects cannot be reasonably cause by physical and bio-chemical means.

Except for things like faith healing and QiGong, none. XD
All medical treatments, especially traditional ones, with a good track record should be researched on, test and verified by specialize personals, with knowledge in both main steams medicine and the alternate one they are researching, knowledge in Biology and Chemistry would be a bonus.
People like Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary are only qualified to ask question and throw doubts, in which the other side may or may not give an answer, which may or may not be reasonable.
Dismissing, however, is not something they should do. :D
Especially if it's something that have been accepted by people whom have more resources to do more tests and had done so, and have access to much better equipments and more people doing full time researches. :)

Homeopathy and TCM, together with a lot of other TMs are entire different things.
Homeopathy was dream up by some German physician.
Traditional Medicines are form through generations of trial and errors of the ancients of their respective cultures.

Traditional Medicines uses native, locals herbs which contains a lot of chemicals, including many active ingredients and nutrition.
Acupuncture interacts with the body using physical stimulations.
Homeopathy uses heavily diluted solution usually lacking active ingredients.

C: While I don’t think that TCM is a pseudoscience, I do think the efficacy of it is far from established. The peer review system is the defence against the bias that you claim affects Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary. I wouldn’t be too quick to trust the Singapore or Chinese governments either. Not that either government intends harm on its people, but there are nationalistic political reasons for promoting TCM that can come into conflict with the science agenda. Do a quick search of Google scholar and you’ll find that for every positive study you’ll find a lot more that show no correlation. Unfortunately I don't read chinese but they should publish in english if their message is intended to be taken seriously. If faced with a life threatening illness, I would do what “western science” says works and only turn to "alternative medicine" as a complementary form of treatment if no interactions with main interventional treatment exist. While I don’t agree with the conservative position taken by others on this site I do think there is a need to call the proverbial spade a spade.

A: Sorry, but I don't really thinks an article make more sense when it is publish in English.
Nor do I think being published in English is a pre-requisite for something to be taken seriously.

I don't see how peer review is of higher credit then governmental organization.
If the counter argument for TCM is that Singapore and China has nationalistic political reasons for promoting TCM that can come into conflict with the science agenda, then along the same line TCM supporters can claim that Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary being Western English media has cultural supremacy reasons that can come into with the science agenda.
Let's keep politics out of these.

At any rate, the consequences of making wrong National Healthcare policies far outweighs any political advantages endorsing quack medicine based on culture reasons. Healthcare is a life and death manner.
In any case, Singapore is a highly Westernize and Secular Society, that puts economical progression as it's main concern. Saying that Singapore has nationalistic political reasons for promoting TCM is really not very reasonable.
Personally, I would see TCM doctors only, I personally have not been to see any western doctors and I likely never will, even when facing a life threatening illness I would go to Hong Kong or Taiwan rather then say, U.S.
But this is more due to personally experience rather then logic or science, so I wouldn't rather not talk about it.

C: 1) Publish and in English: so that barbarians like me can be aware of this and so that other smarter barbarians can reproduce the results, critique/support them as per the so called scientific process. Choice of English in this case is pragmatic, not political.
2) Peer review vs Government authority: If healthcare were the primary agenda why is more money spent on defence and education? Government has much greater responsibilities than just healthcare (say “economical progression “ ) and governments are in the business of politicking not science. You can’t keep politics out of it. Not that peer review is entirely free from political influence either, but at least it’s in the public domain.
3) Sadly merely believing something works or does not work doesn’t make it so
Where’s the pragmatism eh? Where?!

In the interest of public inquiry, would appreciate it if you could share evidence from Chinese journals or otherwise that show the efficacy of TCM over mainstream forms of treatment.

A: 1.) There is nothing barbaric about any language, it is simply natural for an research work to be publish in it's native language, translation is usually done on the part of the learner, not teacher. If a person wishes to learn more abt TCM, he can jolly well learn Chinese, or get some translated work.
If I wanted to learn about Tibetan Traditional Medicine, I would expect that the majority articles are in Tibetan, and not Chinese or English, and I need to go learn Tibetan.

2.) Government kept different policies apart from each other. Their individual policies are independent from each other. Healthcare policies do not have to go through the MoE, it only has to go through the MoH.

3.) Like I said, my choice of TCM is entire personal, it does not means TCM is superior to mainstream medical science, it might be because all the previous western doctors I've seen are idiots who can't seems to even cure a simple cold within a week and stop it from happening again within a season, while the TCM doctors I've been seeing cure it within two days, and I usually don't have to go back to them for half a year.
Yeah, luck does pay a part in these stuffs.

There is currently no evidence that TCM is always more efficacy then mainstream forms of treatment, however, studies in China have shown that they worked, and progress has also been made. For example, in terms of Acupuncture, they have found out some new points, as well as abolish some old points in the pass few years. Whether if TCM or superior to mainstream or not is still largely uncertain.

B: Gabriel,

I look forward to your response to A.

Me: suffice it to say that a strong faith in the Chinese and Singapore governments is not the best way of deciding on the efficacy of health treatments. And that there's a reason that TCM medical certificates are not widely accepted in Singapore.

If faith healing works for so many people, perhaps we should all give it a try as well.

B: Yea I thought so... there’s so much wrong with the arguments, a meeting of the minds might be too hopeful. Pity Urine Therapy didn’t come up.

A: So it's wiser to have faith in Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary?
Interesting concept, forgive me for being unable to comprehend it.
Since at this moment, I can only comprehend things that are logical and reasonable.

Sure, TCM MC are not widely accepted, that's because a lot of companies's bosses do not understand TCM.
If students and practitioner don't even have the courage and opened mindedness to understand other medical ideas and only know to simply dismiss and discharge all other forms of medical theory as Faith Healing, then I must say that they are the one who is unscientific and are practice faith healing.

The science behind TCM might be wrong, but the technology, ie: it's diagnosis and treatment, works. And it can be trained, without using faith or religious rituals. The correct, scientific way should be to research and understand it, to uncover how it works, instead of just calling it "faith healing".

If not, I strongly suggest we just abolish all form of medical treatment and just go to temples, churches, mosques and what have we for faith healing, or just use hypnosis. It will save us a lot of money on medical equipment and medicine. XD

Well, I sure am glad the pioneers of biology and modern medical science have a much more open mind, if not, we might be believing that eating make us fell full is a placebo effect.

And yeah, there's much wrong with the arguments, namely, yours.

C: While I do think that theoretically it COULD work, I have yet to come across evidence other than individual testimony that is DOES work. Arguments of authority (that the Chinese and Singapore governments approve) are not evidence. I accept there that there may be evidence that i have no access to, so please share it with us A.

The science behind TCM might be wrong, but the technology, ie: it's diagnosis and treatment, works.

I can accept this statement if you can show us it does work. I'm assuming that since the science is wrong they only way to do this would be by correlation.

A: Institutional research by Researchers from the Chinese Government have shown that it work.
Records by Chinese Historians have recorded hat it worked.
Are these people lying?
These people are institutional researchers trained in the scientific method.
If you believe that they are lying, then I say I believe that the people from Quackwatch and The Skeptic's Dictionary are lying.

If you don't consider governmental approval and governmental collage level education system teaching it as a good evident, there I say, there is no evident that modern medicine work as well, none at all. The fact is, Mainstream medicine has no evident over TCM at the moment. There is currently no evident that show mainstream modern medicine to be of any better then any traditional medicine.

In any case, I believe I have more reason to believe in something which as five thousands years of research and data, rather then something with only two century.

The science is wrong because the ancient Chinese don't have a microscope.
The technology worked, because it's based on trial and error, data collection, tests, check and balance.

C: Ahhhhhhhhhh. . . . Throwing in the towel. . .

Me: Let's see if B: has something to say :)

B: You may think that when it comes to alternative health therapies you've heard it all. But there is one natural therapy you've probably never heard of ---even though its one of the most powerful, most researched and most medically proven natural cures ever discovered...

It's the most astounding proven natural cure that medical science has ever discovered-and yet none of the incredible research findings on this incomparable natural medicine have ever been revealed to the public! Now, for the first time ever, learn to use this simple method and read about the startling and amazing medical cures that prestigious researchers and doctors themselves have witnessed in clinical use of this inexpensive, incredibly effective yet virtually unknown natural medicine...

Urine Therapy: it may save your life

Urine therapy has been practised for thousands of years and has merely fallen a bit into obscurity in the last century. However, urine therapy may seem to be unorthodox and perhaps revolutionary, it does not introduce anything new or original. It has been known throughout the centuries both in the West and in the East. Dr. Evagelos Danopouolos of Greece reported that urea found in urine has anti-cancerous properties...

Don't take this therapy lightly. Multiple sclerosis, colitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, hepatitis, hyperactivity, pancreatic insufficiency, psoriasis, eczema, diabetes, herpes, mononucleosis, adrenal failure, allergies and so many other ailments have been relieved through use of this therapy...


[Can't believe enough? Turbo-charge your urine with homeopathy]

A: Read into it before, Japan and Chinese has been using Urine Therapy for years, however, the urine of children, preferably female members below the age of 12 is usually recommended.
Researches believed that hormones and minerals found in urine might the reason why Urine Therapy worked for certain group of people.
And therefore, the urine of healthy individuals should be good at replacing sick individuals who's illness are cause by a deficiency in these hormones and minerals.
Personally, I am not trying it, but I must say the explanation makes sense.

As of this post, the thread extends for another 9 pages, and gets more and more stuck in the mire, like a claim that modern medicine is a failure because it cannot cure the common cold.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"England and America are two countries separated by a common language." - George Bernard Shaw


5 Reasons You Should Be Scared of Apple - "In October of 2009, a new application from Apple landed in the U.S. Patent Office. Apple's idea was to program devices to periodically interrupt users with unskippable ads. The ads would temporarily halt performance of the device in order to "compel attention." That on its own is pretty nightmarish but, innovators that they are, Apple found a way to crank it up to that hard-to-reach "Lovecraftian" level."

YouTube - The Menstruating Ghost of Puncak Trailer

The State of Broadband in Singapore - "Singapore scored 3.15 Mbps, which isn’t that far off from the global average of 2.91 Mbps.
This is highly embarrassing, considering that:
* Singapore touts itself as a broadband “connected society”
* The global figure includes less developed markets like China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and many other emerging markets worldwide that are still using 56 kbps modems
* The Singapore figure includes business connections that are typically much better than residential ones
Referring to our chart above, StarHub is truly providing much lower YouTube performance compared to the Singapore average...
ISPs market their connections as supremely capable of downloading videos, music and other high-bandwidth activities, while working to limit such customer activities in the background by installing traffic shapers...
If Singapore laws were actually applied, the fact that some ISPs are throttling customers’ internet connection is a potential case of false advertising and breach of contract"

Please Rob Me - "Hey, do you have a Twitter account? Have you ever noticed those messages in which people tell you where they are? Pretty annoying, eh. Well, they're actually also potentially pretty dangerous... The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not... home... t gets even worse if you have "friends" who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That's right, slap them across the face."

Would You Sacrifice Love For Greatness? - "I take a look at the history of women who have achieved what I deem as greatness: changing the world in significant ways. Many women throughout history, like Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale and Susan B. Anthony, were never married, and those who were, like Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Indira Ghandi and Katharine Hepburn, were very nontraditional in their approach to marriage. Amelia Earhart called her marriage a "dual control partnership," and married later on to equally powerful, impressive men... That dedication takes a great deal of time and energy--time and energy that most people don't have after a day of working to get by, then working the second shift at home. Believe me. I'm a single mom and if it weren't for the help of my family and my son spending many of his early years with other family members (including his father), I wouldn't have got the leg up on my education and early career I needed to get ahead... Greatness sounds awful and lonely and like a huge burden... Who in their right mind would choose a path of greatness over love?"

A Rant About Women « Clay Shirky - "There is no upper limit to the risks men are willing to take in order to succeed, and if there is an upper limit for women, they will succeed less. They will also end up in jail less, but I don’t think we get the rewards without the risks... [women] aren’t just bad at behaving like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks. They are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so. Whatever bad things you can say about those behaviors, you can’t say they are underrepresented among people who have changed the world... 'You are the only woman who suggested her own work. Men do that all the time, but women wait for someone else to recommend them'"

Americans are 'most attractive' people in the world, poll finds - "In second place was Brazil while Spain, which boasts Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz as one of its natives, was third. Blonde, tanned surfers of Australia saw it voted into fourth place, while Italy came fifth. Sexy Swedes, such as model Victoria Silvstedt, helped it into sixth spot, but England only made it into seventh place in the poll. India was eighth, France ninth, and Canada finished off the top 10."

Traffic chaos as Russian hacker beams pornographic film onto billboard - "An elderly motorist suffered a heart attack at the wheel after seeing the scenes."

Digital Death - "The Straits Times' weekly Digital Life supplement is one of the most poorly-produced newspaper products to come from Singapore Press Holdings. It's often filled with factual inaccuracies, layout gaffes, and other editorial oversights. One day we had a thought: might there be enough wrong with Digital Life to start an entire blog about it? This is the answer."

Indonesian teenager convicted for Facebook insult - "Arahaf's posting in July last year called Fandini a pig and a dog, as well as saying she was promiscuous and overweight. Presiding judge Ekofa Rahayu sentenced her to 75 days in prison, but suspended the sentence because Arafah cooperated during her trial. She must serve the sentence if she breaks the law in the next five months... A mother of two young children, Prita Mulyasari, became a national symbol for the plight of the powerless in Indonesia when she was sued by a hospital and spent three weeks in jail last year because she complained on Facebook that her mumps had been misdiagnosed. She has countersued... Indonesia's criminal defamation laws were among the world's toughest. Since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, the penalty for defamation has been reduced from death to life in prison"

Medical assault on the three-foot Guinea worm of Sudan - "The white worms dig through the body towards the skin, releasing chemicals to burn the flesh and then spewing thousands of larvae as they exit... Worms mainly exit from the legs and arms but affected communities say they have been known to emerge from the head, sexual organs and even the eyes... Extracting an entire worm requires winding it around a small stick - like twisting spaghetti on a fork, but victims can be incapacitated for months. The traditional universal medical symbol, of a snake wrapped around a pole, is thought by many to have its roots in the treatment of Guinea worm."
Protect biodiversity!

Pompoms, Pyramids and Peril - "Of 104 catastrophic injuries sustained by female high school and college athletes from 1982 to 2005 — head and spinal trauma that occasionally led to death — more than half resulted from cheerleading... there were nearly six times as many emergency room visits for cheerleaders in 2004 than in 1980... The more athletic, more acrobatic era of cheerleading is widely linked to the 1980s, when hundreds of high school gymnastics teams were dropped, partly because school districts grew weary of paying off injury insurance claims for the sport... cheerleading accounts for a disproportionate number of major injuries in youth or college athletics... 'Most athletes throw balls around. We throw other cheerleaders around. What’s harder? What’s harder to catch?'"

Always Judged Guilty: Friedman Update - "To me that perfectly captured Friedman's problems- taking a small subset that you experience and extrapolating it to create a model of the whole. Hell, he wrote an entire book based on an off-hand remark he heard from a tech guy in India."
Actually this afflicts journalists to a certain extent

Obama elusive on about-face on same-sex marriage - "President Obama says he opposes same-sex marriage for religious reasons. Fourteen years ago, however, while a churchgoing Christian and a state legislative candidate, he endorsed the right of gays and lesbians to marry... At the federal court trial of a lawsuit challenging Prop. 8, lawyers for the measure's sponsors have cited Obama's opposition to same-sex marriage as evidence that people who favor a traditional view of marriage are not necessarily prejudiced against gays and lesbians... "When he was running for office in Chicago and wanted strong support from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, he made it clear he supported full equality," Kors said. "Since he has continued to seek higher office, he has changed his position for the worse. "It's especially appalling that he is citing his religious beliefs as grounds for his public government position on the civil marriage issue because he knows better""
Change we can believe in.
"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." - Charles Austin Beard


The Heat of the Moment: The Effect of Sexual Arousal on Sexual Decision Making

"We examine the effect of sexual arousal in young male adults on three aspects of judgment and choice: (1) their preferences for a wide range of sexual stimuli and activities, (2) their willingness to engage in morally questionable behaviors in order to obtain sexual gratification, and (3) their willingness to engage in unsafe sex when sexually aroused...

Prior research has shown that sexual motivation can distort judgments of the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease, and that it leads to steeper time discounting in males...

People who were not aroused would underestimate the influence of emotional arousal on their preferences and decisions...

The set of questions that asked subjects to evaluate the attractiveness of different sexual stimuli and activities included questions about the attractiveness of women’s shoes, a 12-year-old girl, an animal, a 40-, 50-, and 60-year-old-woman, a man, an extremely fat person, a hated person, a threesome including a man, a woman who was sweating, cigarette smoke, getting tied up by their sexual partner, tying up their sexual partner, a woman urinating, getting spanked by a woman, spanking a woman, anal sex, contacts with animals, having sex with the lights on, and reactions to ‘‘just’’ kissing.

The set of questions that asked subjects to assess the lengths they would go to procure sex included questions about whether they would encourage a date to drink, slip her a drug, take her to a fancy restaurant or tell her they loved her (when they in fact did not), in all cases with the goal of having sex, and also whether they would try to have sex even after the person they were dating said ‘‘no.’...

Questions on the attractiveness of different activities:

Are women’s shoes erotic?
Can you imagine being attracted to a 12-year-old girl?
Can you imagine having sex with a 40-year-old woman?
Can you imagine having sex with a 50-year-old woman?
Can you imagine having sex with a 60-year-old woman?
Can you imagine having sex with a man?
Could it be fun to have sex with someone who was extremely fat?
Could you enjoy having sex with someone you hated?
If you were attracted to a woman and she proposed a threesome with a
man, would you do it?
Is a woman sexy when she’s sweating?
Is the smell of cigarette smoke arousing?
Would it be fun to get tied up by your sexual partner?
Would it be fun to tie up your sexual partner?
Would it be fun to watch an attractive woman urinating?
Would you find it exciting to spank your sexual partner?
Would you find it exciting to get spanked by an attractive woman?
Would you find it exciting to have anal sex?
Can you imagine getting sexually excited by contact with an animal?
Do you prefer to have sex with the light on?
Is just kissing frustrating?

... only one activity (Do you prefer to have sex with the light on?) was viewed as less appealing by those in the arousal condition than by those in the non-aroused condition, though not significantly so (p = 0.46). One activity (Can you imagine having sex with a man?) was viewed as more appealing, but not significantly so (p = 0.14) by those who were aroused, and one question was only marginally significant (Would you find it exciting to spank your sexual partner? p = 0.1). The remaining 16 questions were all significantly different in the predicted direction...

Different questions on the likelihood to engage in immoral ‘‘date-rape’’ like behaviors:

Would you take a date to a fancy restaurant to increase your chance of
having sex with her?
Would you tell a woman that you loved her to increase the chance that
she would have sex with you?
Would you encourage your date to drink to increase the chance that she
would have sex with you?
Would you keep trying to have sex after your date says ‘‘no.’’
Would you slip a woman a drug to increase the chance that she would
have sex with you?

... All five individual questions were statistically significant in the expected direction...

There were no differences between the aroused and nonaroused treatments for the four questions dealing with the perceived efficacy of coitus-interruptus, acknowledgment that a friend can transmit STDs, trusting someone they have just met, and assigning responsibility... for birth control to women (which was marginally significant). Answers to all four questions dealing with condoms were, however, strongly influenced by sexual arousal...

Like other drive-states, and also somewhat analogous to the effects of alcohol, sexual arousal seems to narrow the focus of motivation, creating a kind of tunnel-vision where goals other than sexual fulfilment become eclipsed by the motivation to have sex...

Any failure to appreciate the impact of sexual arousal on one’s own behavior is likely to lead to inadequate measures to avoid such situations. Similarly, if people under-appreciate their own likelihood of having sex, they are likely to fail to take precautions to limit the potential damage from such encounters. A teenager who embraces ‘‘just say no,’’ for example, may feel it unnecessary to bring a condom on a date, thus greatly increasing the likelihood of pregnancy or transmission of STDs if he/she ends up getting caught up in the heat of the moment.

The same logic applies interpersonally. If people judge others’ likely behavior based on observing them when they are not sexually aroused, and fail to appreciate the impact of sexual arousal, then they are likely to be caught by surprise by the other’s behavior when aroused. Such a pattern could easily contribute to daterape. Indeed, it can create the perverse situation in which people who are the least attracted to their dates are most likely to experience date-rape because being unaroused themselves they completely fail to understand or predict the other (aroused) person’s behavior.

At a social level the failure to appreciate the influence of sexual arousal when one is unaroused can have diverse consequences. For example, judges and jurors, who are generally unaroused when making decisions of guilt and punishment, may be excessively condemnatory and punitive toward sexual offenders because they make their decisions in a sexually unaroused state and fail to appreciate how intense sexual arousal would alter even their own decision making in potentially compromising circumstances. The result is that decisions will be stigmatized as immoral misbehavior even by people who would themselves make the same choice when in an aroused state. It should be clear that such effects of arousal cannot justify any sexual exploitation, but they can make such behaviors somewhat more understandable. From the perspective of the legal system it is possible that sexual arousal should be given more credit as a partially mitigating factor than it would normally receive. Moreover, understanding these effects can help guide individuals (sex offenders for example) such that they will be less likely to sexually exploit or re-exploit. Finally, as alluded to in the discussion of individual decision making, the failure to appreciate sexual arousal by those who are not themselves immediately aroused can also help to explain the enactment of misguided and ineffective policies such as ‘‘just say no’’, leaving young adults unprepared to limit the potential damage from their own behavior in the heat of the moment.

As an initial investigation into the effect of sexual arousal on judgment and decision making, our study inevitably suffers from serious limitations. For example, it is important to note that we did not observe actual behavior. It is therefore possible that the effect of sexual arousal was not to change the desirability of different actions and activities, but to make respondents more willing to admit to their feelings...

The study focused only on men, so it is possible that the observed effects do not generalize to women. Baumeister, Catanese, and Vohs (2001) concluded from multiple sources of evidence that the male sex drive is more intense and uncompromising than the female, and it is at least, in principle, possible that the lesser intensity of the female sex drive entails that women would not be (or not as much) affected by sexual arousal in their decisions...

Given the politically and socially charged nature of sex, research on the topic is inherently difficult, so compromises are unavoidable...

At a practical level, our results suggest that efforts to promote safe, ethical sex should concentrate on preparing people to deal with the ‘‘heat of the moment’’ or to avoid it when it is likely to lead to self-destructive behavior. Efforts at self-control that involve raw willpower are likely to be ineffective in the face of the dramatic cognitive and motivational changes caused by arousal."

Bringing a date to a fancy restaurant and telling a woman you love her when you don't are "date-rape" like behaviors?!

I wonder what the results for women would be.

Keywords: horny unable to think, morals, ethics, men hornier endorse behaviors, aroused have different standards, heat of the moment, lower threshold, lower thresholds

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Money doesn't always bring happiness. People with ten million dollars are no happier than people with nine million dollars." - Hobart Brown


"It is difficult to believe that any real change has taken place in Hitler’s aims and opinions. When one compares his utterances of a year or so ago with those made fifteen years earlier, a thing that strikes one is the rigidity of his mind, the way in which his worldview doesn’t develop. It is the fixed vision of a monomaniac and not likely to be much affected by the temporary maneuvers of power politics... The plan laid down in Mein Kampf was to smash Russia first, with the implied intention of smashing England afterwards. Now, as it has turned out, England has got to be dealt with first, because Russia was the more easily bribed of the two. But Russia’s turn will come when England is out of the picture—that, no doubt, is how Hitler sees it. Whether it will turn out that way is of course a different question...

Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if it had not been for the attraction of his own personality, which one can feel even in the clumsy writing of Mein Kampf, and which is no doubt overwhelming when one hears his speeches. I should like to put it on record that I have never been able to dislike Hitler. Ever since he came to power—till then, like nearly everyone, I had been deceived into thinking that he did not matter—I have reflected that I would certainly kill him if I could get within reach of him, but that I could feel no personal animosity. The fact is that there is something deeply appealing about him... It is a pathetic, dog-like face, the face of a man suffering under intolerable wrongs. In a rather more manly way it reproduces the expression of innumerable pictures of Christ crucified, and there is little doubt that that is how Hitler sees himself. The initial, personal cause of his grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is there. He is the martyr, the victim, Prometheus chained to the rock, the sell-sacrificing hero who fights single-handed against impossible odds. If he were killing a mouse he would know how to make it seem like a dragon. One feels, as with Napoleon, that he is fighting against destiny, that he can’t win, and yet that he somehow deserves to. The attraction of such a pose is of course enormous; half the films that one sees turn upon some such theme.

Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working- hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s miiitarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet."

--- A Review of the 1940 Edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf / George Orwell
Via @,

This is quite screwed up:

(click on it, it's an Animated GIF)
"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." - Virginia Woolf


I'm quite sure MSN spam chatbots didn't use to be so advanced:

Me: hi
you are...?

Bot 1: hey

Me: oh fuck. you're a bot aren't you

Bot 1: whats a bot?

Me: erm. ok

who are you?

Bot 1: i'm 21/f your a male right?

Me: ok you must be an advanced bot huh

what guy would call himself kimberly?

Bot 1: whats a bot?

Me: you are a bot

I wonder what the limits of your programming arre

Bot 1: whats a bot?

Me: do I really need to explain?

Bot 1: nice, I just got off work and finally got some time to relax which site did i msg you from again?

Me: fuck you

Bot 1: okay, that was rude!

Me: well you are an advanced chatbot, I'll give you that

Bot 1: Like a transformer robot??

Me: you're definitely a decepticon

Bot 1: I am a little busy right now, trying to upload some new pics to my photobucket if ya wanna check them out go tell me what ya think :-)

Me: not into latinas, sorry

Bot 1: I know a way we can chat and have a better time.. do you cam?

Me: no

Bot 1: Well i don't do yahoo cam or any other cam because i have been recorded before... But i do know one site you can watch me on cam, that assures me no one records...

Me: hi
oh god

Bot 2: hey

Me: anther bot

Bot 2: if i was a bot ..why would i be wearing this hat?? lolz

Me: can you at least give me some good xxx passwords/warez while we're at it?

Bot 2: sexybeats is the password

Me: great. and what's the username? and what's the url?

Bot 2: Jenny

Me: wonderful. thanks for nothing

Bot 2: think i saw u on're on there right?

Me: no I'm not
you must be mixing me with the other kimberly

Bot 2: i'm 24/f ......u?

Me: 1/t
are you into trannies?

Bot 2: nice, I just got off work and finally got some time to relax ..what are you up to?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A piece of advice an older man gave me yesterday:

If you're driving a motorcycle, and a truck is coming at you, even if you have the right of way you should let him pass.

When I see 'successful' people giving idealistic advice (which naive people might be foolish enough to take wholesale), I always wonder if they're just lying to them - or to themselves as well.
"Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy." - Ambrose Bierce


On the Pastor only being called up by the ISD, but 3 kids being criminally investigated:

A: Well, Pastor Rony has a much larger following compared to the 2 teenagers. He has 12,000 devoted fellowers. The numbers mean larger voting power.

B: In point of principle, there is a great diversity of beliefs among humans. We can never be sure that what we say will not offend someone or other. If we are therefore not allowed to say anything that amounts to the criticism of another's beliefs, then we would not be able to say anything much at all.

C: Just want to add my 2 cents worth to this.

I think there is a problem here with how "respect" in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society is understood. While we should respect the RIGHT of everyone to believe whatever he/she wants, it does not follow that we should then automatically respected what they believe. A good analogy is smoking. I respect that a person has a right to smoke (in his or her own personal space) - although I think it is a harmful act (to himself and others). Is this naunce lost on the authorities?

Another problem is it makes a hypocrite out of everyone. Most religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, tend to be exclusive in their claims of truth. So we find in their sacred scriptures denouncing other religions. This is part of their beliefs. To force these people to say they 'respect" the beliefs (not the right of others to believe) of others makes everyone a hypocrite.

Finally as humanists, we are commited to a critical examination of all beliefs (including our own). Such criticism could easily be labelled as "insulting."


"Taking offence" - my personal opinion (and experience) is that the level of offence someone takes from criticism is almost always inversely proportion to his/her own knowledge in that field or belief. (How many physicists "take offence" when some ignoramus questions the validity of quantum mechanics?) In other words, the more ignorant the person, the deeper is the offence felt when his "beliefs" are criticised ("insulted"?! "trivilised"?). This (persons taking offence) should NOT be the yardstick by which other people are to be hauled up by the authorities.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them." - Isaac Asimov


The Sleep of Reason
(Review of Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont )

"Nearly half the book consists of extensive quotations of scientific gibberish from name-brand French intellectuals...

Sokal could not create anything as ridiculous as this, from Luce Irigaray:

'Is E=Mc2 a sexed equation? Perhaps it is. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. What seems to me to indicate the possibly sexed nature of the equation is not directly its uses by nuclear weapons, rather it is having privileged what goes the fastest ... '

We are offered reams of this stuff, from Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Bruno Latour, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Régis Debray, and others...

The writers arraigned by Sokal and Bricmont use technical terms without knowing what they mean, refer to theories and formulas that they do not understand in the slightest, and invoke modern physics and mathematics in support of psychological, sociological, political, and philosophical claims to which they have no relevance. It is not always easy to tell how much is due to invincible stupidity and how much to the desire to cow the audience with fraudulent displays of theoretical sophistication. Lacan and Baudrillard come across as complete charlatans, Irigaray as an idiot, Kristeva and Deleuze as a mixture of the two...

Of course anyone can be guilty of this kind of thing, but there does seem to be something about the Parisian scene that is particularly hospitable to reckless verbosity. Humanists in France do not have to learn anything about science, yet those who become public intellectuals typically appear on stage in some kind of theoretical armor. It even affects politics...

Sokal and Bricmont emphasize that their criticism is limited to the abuse of science and mathematics and that they are not qualified to evaluate the contributions of these writers to psychology, philosophy, sociology, political theory, and literary criticism. They merely suggest, cautiously, that the dishonesty and incompetence shown in the passages they examine might lead one to approach the writers' other work with a critical eye. Clearly all this name-dropping is intended to bolster their reputations as deep thinkers, and its exposure should arouse skepticism...

Anyone who teaches in an American university has heard similar inanities from students and colleagues in comparative literature or cultural studies...

Not everything in the world is governed by general principles sufficiently precise and substantive to be embodied in a theory. Theories in the social sciences are possible which depend on principles, even if they are only probabilistic, that apply to large numbers of people; but to employ theoretical-sounding jargon in talking about literature or art has about as much effect as putting on a lab coat, and in most cases the same is true for history...

The postmodernist doctrine that there is nothing outside the text, no world to which it is tied down, seems plausible to the consumers of postmodernist writings because it is so often true of those writings, where language is simply allowed to take off on its own. Those who have no objective standards themselves find it easy to deny them to others.

As Sokal and Bricmont point out, the denial of objective truth on the ground that all systems of belief are determined by social forces is self-refuting if we take it seriously, since it appeals to a sociological or historical claim which would not establish the conclusion unless it were objectively correct. Moreover, it promotes one discipline, such as sociology or history, over the others whose objectivity it purports to debunk, such as physics and mathematics. Given that many propositions in the latter fields are much better established than the theories of social determination by which their objectivity is being challenged, this is like using a ouija board to decide whether your car needs new brake linings...

Sokal and Bricmont argue that the methods of reasoning in the natural sciences are essentially the same as those used in ordinary inquiries like a criminal investigation. In that instance, we are presented with various pieces of evidence, we use lots of assumptions about physical causation, spatial and temporal order, basic human psychology, and the functioning of social institutions, and we try to see how well these fit together with alternative hypotheses about who committed the murder. The data and the background assumptions do not entail an answer, but they often make one answer more reasonable than others. Indeed, they may establish it, as we say, "beyond a reasonable doubt"...

Quantum theory, via the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle, and to a lesser extent relativity, are often invoked to show that today even science has had to abandon the idea of an objective, mind-independent reality. But neither theory has this significance, however strange may be the reality that they describe and its interaction with observers...

Sokal says that what motivated him to produce the parody was a belief that the infestation of the academic left in America with postmodernist relativism badly weakened their position as critics of the established order...

The explanation of all ostensibly rational forms of thought in terms of social influences is a generalization of the old Marxist idea of ideology, by which moral principles were all debunked as rationalizations of class interest... this form of analysis sees "objectivity" as a mask for the exercise of power, and so provides a natural vehicle for the expression of class hatred.

Postmodernism's specifically academic appeal comes from its being another in the sequence of all-purpose "unmasking" strategies that offer a way to criticize the intellectual efforts of others not by engaging with them on the ground, but by diagnosing them from a superior vantage point and charging them with inadequate self-awareness"
"The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated." - H. L. Mencken


Bus delayed after Muslim driver pulls over so he can pray in the aisle

The Princess and the Frog fans fall ill after copying film - "An outbreak of salmonella poisoning in young Disney fans has emerged after the release of the new cartoon film The Princess and the Frog... Most of the children infected in the States were girls under the age of 10"

Drinking beer could help prevent weak bones

Saudi's Reject Pakistani Diplomat Whose Name Translates to 'Biggest Dick' - "A high level Pakistani diplomat has been rejected as Ambassador of Saudi Arabia because his name, Akbar Zib, equates to "Biggest Dick" in Arabic"

are the Fleet Admiral of the Navy in WWI what do you do?
- "Your ships are being sunk at an alarming rate by the devastatingly effective German U-Boat. The traditional camouflage isn’t working because your environment (sea and sky) changes with the weather. What do you do?... HIT THEM WITH THE RAZZLE DAZZLE"

Biopolis: The Science Factory - "There’s a catch, and some researchers say it’s major. In exchange for plum working conditions, scientists must satisfy a list of key performance indicators... Setting such conditions enables Singapore’s business-minded officials to get rid of what they see as dead weight and to churn out science on a strict, predetermined schedule. Some observers, used to a system in which the results of scientific research are expected to be unexpected, contend that the highest-quality work can’t be hurried. They wonder how and whether a government can create in a few years what elsewhere has evolved over generations... most science parks are run in a fairly hands-off manner... Biopolis, in contrast, manages almost every detail... 'Biomedical research isn’t like the dot-com business. You can’t excel in the short term'... Singapore’s desire for reliable scientific dividends actually puts it in a position to fill an important gap between curiosity-driven and translational research"

Positive thinking makes me sick - "The crux of the problem with the power of positive thinking; it's utterly self-obsessed and makes us forget that we are, in fact, a community to whom, often, horrible things happen... to follow a philosophy that tries to persuade you that the way you think is what can make you better is a cheat and a lie"

Inkling Magazine - Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur - "Being a Statistical Analysis of Graffiti Found at the University of Chicago Library"

What Women Want Now - The State of the American Woman - "A new survey by GfK Roper for NBC Universal gives a whole new meaning to the power of the purse: 65% of women reported being their family's chief financial planner, and 71% called themselves the family accountant. According to a Mediamark Research & Intelligence survey, they make 75% of the buying decisions in American homes... More than two-thirds of women still think men resent powerful women, yet women are more likely than men to say female bosses are harder to work for than male ones... It's as though sensible people are too busy to bother bickering about who takes out the garbage or who deserves the corner office"
Men may earn more but women spend more

British sex addict Danny James moves town after sleeping with every girl in it - "When there were no more women left in town I had not slept with I spent a fortune on taxis going further afield"
The UK must be a nice place, or Lytham St Annes a terrible one, if he managed to bed everyone in the town

Medicating a Madman: A Sober Look at Hitler's Health - "Eberle and Neumann were unable to find any evidence that Hitler was missing a testicle or that his penis was deformed after allegedly being bitten by a goat in his younger days"

Snowflakes - No Two Alike? - "The short answer to the question is yes -- it is indeed extremely unlikely that two complex snowflakes will look exactly alike.  It's so extremely unlikely, in fact, that even if you looked at every one ever made you would not find any exact duplicates. nbsp; The long answer is a bit more involved -- it depends on just what you mean by "alike," and on just what you mean by "snowflake.""

Hawtness - The Women of WTF - "Women rock at shooting beer-bongs, dressing up as storm-troopers, shoving whole wine glasses in their mouths and a myriad of other amazing activities. This obviously must be celebrated, so join us in proclaiming Hawtness across the interwebs."

Atlanta's Yellow Line Has Some Asians Seeing Red - "There are seven colors in a rainbow and 64 in a box of crayons. So why, some people in Atlanta are asking, did the transit authority have to pick yellow?... Asian-Americans and the city's transit officials debate the decision to rename a train route into the heart of the city's Asian community. It used to be called "Doraville," now it's the "yellow line." Activists say the name shows a lack of sensitivity... Some advocates say the city should spend an as yet undetermined amount of taxpayer money to change the color to ... wait for it ... gold... Helen Kim, director of advocacy and education at the nonprofit Pan Asian Center for Community Services... said the "offensive term" could be easily erased from the line's 18 stops by renaming it all over again... MARTA also has a red line, a green line and a blue line. Several other cities — including San Francisco, Tokyo and Washington — utilize yellow within their color-coded systems... "Make the issue about the economy or something else more important""

Riazat Butt: Muslims cannot claim a monopoly on anger over the suffering in Gaza - "I asked Fareena Alam of the Muslim magazine Q News why Muslims were so quick to condemn western governments for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet appeared to show little heartbreak or anger over suffering in Darfur... instead of crying foul when it's just Muslims who are suffering, why not react this way when anyone is affected, regardless of what they believe? When there's a hurricane, a cyclone or civil unrest that leaves people dead, homeless or in the grip of oppression? It is your duty to protest and react, not because you're Muslim, but because you're human. Looking after your own – and only your own – gives the lie to the idea that Islam is a religion of compassion. In fact, it says Islam is a religion of self-interest."

Press Largely Ignored Incendiary Rhetoric at Bush Protest - "News outlets that are focusing on the incendiary rhetoric of conservatives outside President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday ignored the incendiary rhetoric -- and even violence -- of liberals outside an appearance by former President George W. Bush in 2002... One protester even brandished a sign that seemed to advocate Bush's assassination. The man held a large photo of Bush that had been doctored to show a gun barrel pressed against his temple. "BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE," read the placard, which had an X over the word "ALIVE"... Although reporters from numerous national news organizations were traveling with Bush and witnessed the protest, none reported that protesters were shrieking at Republican donors epithets like "Slut!" "Whore!" and "Fascists!""

They haven't got a queue: Government to teach immigrants the British art of lining up - " Ministers believe queue-jumping is damaging social cohesion as most Britons find such behaviour unacceptable. Immigration minister Phil Woolas has claimed that much tension in communities is caused by foreigners not understanding they must wait in line for services rather than barging to the front as may be the custom in their own culture. Surveys show that 91 per cent of Britons object strongly to queue jumping."
Sounds like they need lessons in other places as well

Women say some rape victims should take blame - survey - "Almost three quarters of the women who believed this said if a victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack they should accept some responsibility. One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker's house for a drink... The study found that women were less forgiving of the victim than men"

Monday, February 15, 2010

"There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action." - Bertrand Russell


Amusing e-mail (via Cheng Wei):

BEWARE, SG girls!! Especially the ones who love wearing sexy!!
I have a deep love for Naughty girls who show off their bodies by wearing until very little.
I will be open and honest with my sexual thoughts here as I never felt sorry for having a penis and 2 balls!
Not everyone can accept this kind of direct sexual honesty, call me a pervert if you want. Those who wear sexy yet insist on being holy.. just dun waste my time, delete this msg now!
If you are just as perverted as me, continue reading on…
Everyone has sexual desires, it just depends on whether they dare to express it or keep it inside them.
One of your guy friends could be dying to FUCK you but he just don’t have the guts to admit it so he try to be your best friend, always being there for you, hoping one day you fall in love with him.
How ‘noble’ of him to behave like that, but its just not my style, :) .
This is what I will do:
- Having a mutual trust with you that our sexual adventure will be kept as a naughty secret just between both of us. Privacy of me and my girls are important.
- Enjoying a one on one company with you and an exchange of erotic fantasies.
- Doing sexual foreplay and exchange of orgasms to drive the passionate lust between us.
If you have always wanted to show the naughty side of yourself without the fear of being labeled ?slut/cheap?, add me in msn now!
We will engage in kinky, erotic exchanges. Prepare to get your pussy wet which will extent to a meet up in person.
I have high standards of the girls that I spend time with, these are the girls who I am looking for:
1. Girls from the age of 16-30 who enjoy dressing sexy like mini skirts, bareback, tube, short shorts.
2. Girls who do not smoke in their company with me. (They taste sweeter.)
Have your naughty pictures ready with you while talking to me on msn, see you there ;p
my msn:

My comment on this was:

Law of Large Numbers
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