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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Making Life Interesting

Links - 7th April 2012

Forging Stronger Social Connections for a Longer Life - NYTimes.com - "Those with close social ties and unhealthful lifestyles actually lived longer than those with poor social ties but more health-promoting habits. Of course, those who lived healthfully and had strong social ties lived the longest."

Miss Universe Disqualifies Transgender Contestant - "Denis Davila, the national director of Miss Universe Canada, told CTV, “she was dishonest.” Talackova was disqualified after she admitted her birth gender last week. “We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all,” Davila said. “You can look at it the way she wants to look at it, but we all have to follow the same rules”... A petition has been started on Change.org asking Miss Universe Canada to “reverse the unfair disqualification of Jenna Talackova.” The petition currently has more than 20,000 signatures... “@JennaTalackova should NOT have been disqualified from @MissUniverse! Beautiful is beautiful. Down with discrimination,” one fan tweeted"
They discriminate against women who've been married or pregnant before, and those who are not of "good health and moral character" but no one seems to kick up a fuss about that

Popcorn Packs Antioxidants, Study Finds

Passport to Dreams Old & New: All the Lights of the Kingdom: Part One - "One of my favorite things about the Magic Kingdom is her - wait for it - lighting fixtures"

How to Rob a Bank: Thousands of Internal Bank Thefts Go Unprosecuted Each Year - "FBI agents and fraud analysts say law enforcement does not have the resources to prosecute what they consider "small time" thefts. Many FBI field offices and U.S. judicial districts consider cases of $100,000 or less to be generally unworthy of prosecution"

Copyright Monopoly Lobby Sues Reputable Professor For Saying They’re A Monopoly

Too much, too little sleep linked to heart woes: Study - "People who sleep less than six hours per night or more than eight are more likely to suffer heart problems than people who sleep between six and eight hours"

Pachyrhizus erosus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Just as Chinese Barley isn't Barley, Chinese Turnip (bangkwang) isn't Turnip

» LOOK AT THIS HIPSTER! » "THE ORIGINAL" (' - '<) (>' -') (LATFH)

Worst Album Covers of All Time

‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt - NYTimes.com - "All the fools, foils and villains of intellectual history are recast as heroes... E. O. Wilson, the ecologist who was branded a fascist for stressing the biological origins of human behavior, has been vindicated by the study of moral emotions. Even Glaucon, the cynic in Plato’s “Republic” who told Socrates that people would behave ethically only if they thought they were being watched, was “the guy who got it right”... Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? How about with your sister? Is it O.K. to defecate in a urinal? If your dog dies, why not eat it? Under interrogation, most subjects in psychology experiments agree these things are wrong. But none can explain why... if you want to change people’s minds, Haidt concludes, don’t appeal to their reason. Appeal to reason’s boss: the underlying moral intuitions whose conclusions reason defends... This is Haidt’s startling message to the left: When it comes to morality, conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals. They serve a more varied diet... if voters like Republican messages, there’s something in Republican messages worth liking. He chides psychologists who try to “explain away” conservatism, treating it as a pathology. Conservatism thrives because it fits how people think, and that’s what validates it. Workers who vote Republican aren’t fools. In Haidt’s words, they’re “voting for their moral interests.”"

The Splintered Mind: The Phenomenology of Being a Jerk - "First: an implicit or explicit sense that you are an "important" person... Second: an implicit or explicit sense that you are surrounded by idiots... Thinking of other people as idiots plays into jerkhood in two ways: The devaluing of others' perspectives is partly constitutive of jerkhood. And perhaps less obviously, it provides a handy rationalization of why others aren't participating in your jerkish behavior"

Official: Islamist radicals detained in French sweep planned to kidnap Jewish magistrate - "Preliminary charges are being filed against the members of the banned group, Forsane Alizza, on Tuesday for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise"
BBC: "Shortly after [Forsane Alizza] was banned by the government, Mr Achamlane said that if Islamophobia continued to intensify it might be necessary to respond with violence."

10 Reasons Naked Mole Rats Will Inherit the Earth - "Cancer has never been observed in a naked mole rat, a fact that researchers think may have something to do with a tumor suppressor gene that codes for a protein named p16Ink4a... it would be a pretty handy biological asset in a (potentially nuclear-induced) post-apocalyptic scenario... The skin of a naked mole rat cannot detect pain — even from an acid burn"

World's quietest room absorbs all sound - "Reports claim a person can soon experience hallucinations due to the 'disturbing' silence. Also, 45 minutes is the LONGEST anyone's been able to sit in the room... This room has been measured at -9 decibels"

Korean man killed girlfriend with octopus for insurance claim - YouTube

Paul Ryan’s Radical Budget : The New Yorker - "There’s very little the federal government has done over the past hundred and fifty years, apart from fighting wars, that the House Republicans approve of. In that sense, the Ryan plan is not about fiscal responsibility. It’s about pushing a very particular, and very ideological, view of the proper relationship between government and society"

Chocolate & Red Meat Can Be Bad for Your Science: Why Many Nutrition Studies Are All Wrong - "When I first wrote about the questionable nature of observational epidemiology in Science back in 1995, “Epidemiology Faces Its Limits”, I noted that very few epidemiologists would ever take seriously an association smaller than a 3- or 4-fold increase in risk. (Not that they believed it was a causal relationship; only that they thought it was worth studying.) These Harvard people are discussing and getting an extraordinary amount of media attention over a 0.2-fold increased risk. So how can we explain this tiny association between the risk of eating a lot of red and processed meat—the 1/100th-the-size-of-the-lung-cancer-cigarette effect—compared to eating virtually none?... The answer ultimately is that we do experiments... we must rack our brains to figure out if there are other causal explanations for this association beside the meat-eating one... as we move from the bottom quintile of meat-eaters (those who are effectively vegetarians) to the top quintile of meat-eaters, we see an increase in virtually every accepted unhealthy behavior (smoking, drinking, sedentary behavior), and we also see an increase in markers for unhealthy behaviors (high BMI, high blood pressure, etc)... “So faithfully taking the placebo cuts the death rate by a factor of two”"

Temasek Polytechnic to Adorn New School Uniforms - "The male TP school uniform is made up of a short-sleeved shirt and three-quarter shorts bearing the iconic red and white colours of Temasek Polytechnic, balancing the formality of academic and skillful pursuit with the energy of youthful disposition. The female TP school uniform is a one piece pinafore also bearing the red & white colours of TP, designed to show elegance and drive, 2 key characteristics of our female students. While the implementation for this is still in its early stages, we will have an announcement coming in early April to explain to students how they will receive the uniform"
So they will dictate to the students how they will receive it

Do We Need Yale? | the kent ridge common - "Yale faculty members critiquing the venture also default upon essentialized representations of Singapore and tend to obsess about the legality of homosexuality in this country"
But so do gay activists...

Government should stand up for Singaporeans - "Foreigners belittling us, calling us names, making snide, rude and derogatory remarks about us. And never once has any government official stood up for us and chastised these people. The chastisement which PM Lee referred to
above, with regards to Sun Xu, was done by Singaporeans themselves. No government MP or for that matter, neither any opposition MP, stood up for us. All kept quiet."

The (Totally) Phantom Menace - YouTube - "Some say there is a fight scene at the end of "The Phantom Menace"..."
"I can laugh as much as anyone at how busted the lightsaber battles of The Phantom Menace were."

Bootstrapped Startup Saves Over $100K By Dropping IE - "Supporting variants of IE can easily increase design work by 30% to 100%, but complex features can easily double (or even triple) development time"

Some couples get married after short courtship - "Having had a bad experience of a cheating boyfriend, she was won over by Mr Chan's honesty... Marriage has made her a better person, she adds. 'I used to be impatient and wanted to win every argument. That would push my husband to become very angry too. I have since learnt to back down when he is angry and he does not flare up that much anymore'"
If not cheating is the bar, I'm sure a lot of people can cross it

Dis-moi pour qui tu votes, je connaîtrai ta vie sexuelle – Metro - "Les sympathisants de l'UMP déclarent avoir eu 7 partenaires en moyenne dans leur vie, contre 9 chez les sympathisants de gauche et 10 chez ceux d'extrême droite (8 pour l'ensemble des Français). Ces derniers prendraient donc très au sérieux leur désir patriotique de repeupler la France... les valeurs de partage de la gauche ne sont pas seulement une légende : Ils sont en effet plus nombreux (6% et même 9% au Front de gauche) à déclarer avoir vécu une "expérience échangiste" que ceux de droite (4%)"

Terrafugia Transition gets 35 mpg highway, 20 mpg flyway [w/video] - "Yes, it looks like the dream of the practical flying car is finally coming true"

Friday, April 06, 2012

"How many tarantulas do you have to have to run a Norman army out of their camp?"

"During one Norman assault on Palermo, Robert's army suddenly was attacked by tarantula spiders, whose bites caused great pain, swelling, and chronic flatulence. The experience so shook the Normans that they retreated. Curiously, the "true" tarantula spider, named for Taranto, Italy, does not bite, is not poisonous, and flees for cover if disturbed. However, the name came to apply to other spiders that are very poisonous indeed. Historians conclude that Robert's troops must have disturbed the habitat of some other, less friendly spider than the amiable Italian tarantula"

--- The Quest for the City : A.D. 740 to 1100 : Pursuing the Next World, They Founded this One / Ted Byfield, Christian History Project, Paul Stanway

(original tidbit via History According to Bob)

Secular Religions

"His critique of those universal philosophies of history (Marx, Toynbee, Spengler) that have made a lasting mark on our century: philosophies which all claim to have discovered the ultimate meaning of history, both the basic principle of historical structures and the causal force behind historical development). To him, these philosophies show themselves to be a ‘secularization of theologies’. In the act of the ‘idolization of history’,’ such theologies obey the personal philosophical possibilities of their creators in a secularized civilization. By contrast to other political ideologies, the secular religions absorb metaphysical, spiritual components; in Aron’s view, they are nourished by the substantive core of the universal philosophy of history, for they adapt to the above-cited elements in order to establish a historical truth.

In its character of promising inner-worldly salvation, the secularized religion, eschatological promise and proclamation of an absolute, dogmatic truth instrumentalize history as an instance of legitimation of their respective world-views - world-views that are fixed in stone as true. Accompanying the substitution of Christian belief in a secularized mass society, one finds here both a simplification and a banalization of transcendent belief — even a caricature of it. The secular religions, which therefore have pejorative connotations, transpose the individual human being’s formerly transcendent expectation of benefit and salvation into collective, inner-worldly promises of liberation. These are supposed to provide an ‘equivalent of the lost eternity’ in the form of new kinds of homogeneous social structures."

--- Totalitarianism and political religions / Hans Maier


This was originally conceived as applying to totalitarian ideologies, but one can see how it also applies to others like Environmentalism and Feminism.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Conversations - 3rd April 2012

Me: but she's a bit two faced

Someone else: Two faced? How so
Am I two faced too?

Me: for one, she's a lawyer ;)

Someone else: Why r u so wary of her

Me: didnt I tell you wat happened

Someone else: Yes
But benefit of doubt?
Nevermind :)

Me: would you rather be stupid or evil?

Someone else: Evil

Me: so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she's evil ;)


Someone: amazing... after I checked the box for "Casual Sex" under the Looking
for section, I was inundated with messages on OK Cupid
hahahahahaha...

[Ed: the gender of the speaker should be clear]


Someone else: just went for another single depserate and notwanted event
it was very badly organised

we stayed at each table for about 10 minutes or so

its hard to get to know someone tt well
so i guess is primarily based on 1st impression

anyway most of the ladies r the type that most guys wouldnt even take a 2nd look at

the really "eligible" ones...1 or 2...would be swarmed after the event
as in
after the event offically ends

Me: 10 mins is quite long liao

aiyah dont be so shallow :P

Someone else: even though i had "managed expectations", there were only 2-3 tt really caught my attention

Me: hurr
is it just looks?

Someone else: when u have such a short attention given to each lady
what could u assess on
besides looks

likewise the most pressing qn the girls wanted to ask e guys to form an impression is "what do u work as?"

Me: actually they want to know how much you earn :P

Someone else: i noe
but they cannot ask this qn as a first qn

based on occupation, they can filter off those tt arent eligible

Me: sad.

try telling them you're a phd student
the ones who are still interested will be keepers =D


Me: aiyah most people's response when challenged is to insult

Someone: Yes, it seems to be the norm. He seems threatened easily.

Me: heh singaporeans are easily offended
then when they're offended, call police

Someone: hahahahaah
Self-importance,
self-righteous
and more.

Me: singaporeans think they have a right to be protected from offence

Someone: I remember once hanging up on a person who promptly called back
and asked do you know who I am?
I replied, no i don't and I hung up.

he called back again
asking if i knew who he was
and I said no and hung up

he continued calling for the next 3 hours.
I didn't know who the caller is. I hung up on him many more times.
I never did find out who that caller was incidentally.

He was peddling direct blind mass-emailing
and I said there are going to be laws on it in a few years time and I
find this to be a rather pointless exercise in pissing off potential
customers.

Speaking of offence,
two weeks ago
I said I find Siglap to be an urban sprawl and thus a suburban hell

I got flamed by a number in the *** group
who deemed that what I described as suburban hell is insensitive

they proceeded to call me low IQ and EQ in no uncertain terms
andm ore

Yes, you are right about them on offence.
Quite a funny thing to be offended about too.

Me: you disagree with me = you're dumb
you tell me that you disagree with me = you're insensitive

Someone: They would not agree to a contrary point of view.
or even allow it
which seems to be rather common.


Someone else: at the risk of betraying my own gender on international women's day, i think men tend to get ahead at work cos they dun take things so personally/ sweat the small stuff as much


Someone on Zhang Yimou's 'Flowers of War': it belongs to the old PRC genres of national humliation, foreign peril, foreign devil,

Monday, April 02, 2012

"without women, life simply wouldn't be as interesting"

"There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey." - John Ruskin (attr)

***

A few days ago, I saw an interesting sign at the bus stop by the MRT station. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry so I wasn't able to take a picture.

Yesterday, on the way back from Savour, I made an extra stop specially to take a picture (it's a time-sensitive ad):

"without women, life simply wouldn't be as interest... on Twitpic
"*Graphic showing a woman wearing 7 pairs of shoes in one week while a man wears 2 pairs*

If variety is the Spice of Life isn't it great to be a WOMAN?

Join MediaCorp as we celebrate the month of March with women from all walks of life. Because without women, life simply wouldn't be as interesting."

@lynnylchan's objection was that "I guess it's expecting too much for Mediacorp to be aware of how they're perpetuating gender stereotypes."

My comment was more pedestrian, and was agnostic to the question of whether the media should reflect the world as it is or the world as it should

Rather, it was that "May you live in interesting times" is a well-known curse.

Tonight, while I was eating dinner, I witnessed the 9pm Channel 8 drama, where a woman was trying to get her (seemingly on-off) boyfriend to propose to her. She schemed to have him believe that another guy was interested in her, and got her brother to give her flowers so her boyfriend would be jealous. She climaxed by delivering an ultimatum: marry her or they break up.

Naturally, with this show probably receiving MCYS money, at the end of the episode the guy was running offscreen - presumably to propose to his scheming and deceitful girlfriend.

Truly, women do make life interesting.


In a related observation, the antics that go on on the mornings of Chinese wedding banquets are truly a good metaphor for such marriages: the woman holds back to get the guy to humiliate himself and pay for the privilege of her company, before finally allowing him access to her inner sanctum.


Addendum: Here is another in the series, taken in March 2013

Haidt on Moral Pluralism

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." - Charles De Gaulle

***

‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt - NYTimes.com

"You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong...

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal. In “The ­Righteous Mind,” Haidt seeks to enrich liberalism, and political discourse generally, with a deeper awareness of human nature... people are fundamentally intuitive, not rational. If you want to persuade others, you have to appeal to their sentiments. But Haidt is looking for more than victory. He’s looking for wisdom. That’s what makes “The Righteous Mind” well worth reading. Politics isn’t just about ­manipulating people who disagree with you. It’s about learning from them...

All the fools, foils and villains of intellectual history are recast as heroes... E. O. Wilson, the ecologist who was branded a fascist for stressing the biological origins of human behavior, has been vindicated by the study of moral emotions. Even Glaucon, the cynic in Plato’s “Republic” who told Socrates that people would behave ethically only if they thought they were being watched, was “the guy who got it right”...

When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided. The funniest and most painful illustrations are Haidt’s transcripts of interviews about bizarre scenarios. Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? How about with your sister? Is it O.K. to defecate in a urinal? If your dog dies, why not eat it? Under interrogation, most subjects in psychology experiments agree these things are wrong. But none can explain why... subjects relentlessly marshal arguments for the incest taboo, no matter how thoroughly an interrogator demolishes these arguments...

If you want to change people’s minds, Haidt concludes, don’t appeal to their reason. Appeal to reason’s boss: the underlying moral intuitions whose conclusions reason defends...

He and his colleagues have compiled a catalog of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Alongside these principles, he has found related themes that carry moral weight: divinity, community, hierarchy, tradition, sin and degradation...

You don’t have to go abroad to see these ideas. You can find them in the Republican Party. Social conservatives see welfare and feminism as threats to responsibility and family stability. The Tea Party hates redistribution because it interferes with letting people reap what they earn. Faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order — these Republican themes touch all six moral foundations, whereas Democrats, in Haidt’s analysis, focus almost entirely on care and fighting oppression. This is Haidt’s startling message to the left: When it comes to morality, conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals. They serve a more varied diet.

This is where Haidt diverges from other psychologists who have analyzed the left’s electoral failures. The usual argument of these psycho-­pundits is that conservative politicians manipulate voters’ neural roots — playing on our craving for authority, for example — to trick people into voting against their interests. But Haidt treats electoral success as a kind of evolutionary fitness test. He figures that if voters like Republican messages, there’s something in Republican messages worth liking. He chides psychologists who try to “explain away” conservatism, treating it as a pathology. Conservatism thrives because it fits how people think, and that’s what validates it. Workers who vote Republican aren’t fools. In Haidt’s words, they’re “voting for their moral interests.”

Liberals dissolve moral capital too recklessly. Welfare programs that substitute public aid for spousal and parental support undermine the ecology of the family. Education policies that let students sue teachers erode classroom authority. Multicultural education weakens the cultural glue of assimilation. Haidt agrees that old ways must sometimes be re-examined and changed. He just wants liberals to proceed with caution and protect the social pillars sustained by tradition...

He highlights broad areas of culture and politics — family and assimilation, for example — on which liberals should consider compromise. He urges conservatives to entertain liberal ideas in the same way. The purpose of such compromises isn’t just to win elections. It’s to make society and government fit human nature.

The hardest part, Haidt finds, is getting liberals to open their minds. Anecdotally, he reports that when he talks about authority, loyalty and sanctity, many people in the audience spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia. And in a survey of 2,000 Americans, Haidt found that self-described liberals, especially those who called themselves “very liberal,” were worse at predicting the moral judgments of moderates and conservatives than moderates and conservatives were at predicting the moral judgments of liberals. Liberals don’t understand conservative values. And they can’t recognize this failing, because they’re so convinced of their rationality, open-mindedness and enlightenment...

Haidt believes in the power of reason, but the reasoning has to be interactive. It has to be other people’s reason engaging yours. We’re lousy at challenging our own beliefs, but we’re good at challenging each other’s. Haidt compares us to neurons in a giant brain, capable of “producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.”

Our task, then, is to organize society so that reason and intuition interact in healthy ways. Haidt’s research suggests several broad guidelines. First, we need to help citizens develop sympathetic relationships so that they seek to understand one another instead of using reason to parry opposing views. Second, we need to create time for contemplation. Research shows that two minutes of reflection on a good argument can change a person’s mind. Third, we need to break up our ideological segregation. From 1976 to 2008, the proportion of Americans living in highly partisan counties increased from 27 percent to 48 percent. The Internet exacerbates this problem by helping each user find evidence that supports his views."


Other comments on this book:

"Liberals who are usually quick to discount scientific (especially biological) explanations for phenomena inconvenient to their ideology are much more flexible in trotting out “studies” to paint the right as racist neanderthals" (hotair.com)


The Guardian:

"Are you deeply offended by works of art such as Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, which depicts Jesus as seen through a jar of urine, or Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary, which shows Mary smeared with elephant dung? So offended that you think they ought to be banned and the galleries that display them prosecuted? No? OK, then try replacing the religious figures in these pictures with the sacred icons of progressive politics, people such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. How would you feel if you walked into an art gallery and saw an image of King submerged in urine or Mandela smeared with excrement?...

People with high IQs are no better than anyone else at understanding the other side in a moral dispute. What they are better at is coming up with what he calls "side-arguments" for their own instinctive position. Intelligent people make good lawyers. They do not make more sensitive moralists...

Our moral instincts are inherently judgmental: being moral makes us moralistic... often moral judgment is a case of us v them rather than right v wrong...

Religion, Haidt says, is a "team sport". In one of the many striking images in this book, he suggests that "trying to understand the persistence and passion of religion by studying beliefs about God is like trying to understand the persistence and passion of football by studying the movement of the ball.""


NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF:

"“Moral psychology can help to explain why the Democratic Party has had so much difficulty connecting with voters,” writes Haidt, a former liberal who says he became a centrist while writing the book.

In recent years, there has been growing research into the roots of political ideologies, and they seem to go deep. Adults who consider themselves liberals were said decades earlier by their nursery-school teachers to be curious, verbal novelty seekers but not very neat or obedient.

Some research suggests that conservatives are particularly attuned to threats, with a greater startle reflex when they hear loud noises. Conservatives also secrete more skin moisture when they see disgusting images, such as a person eating worms. Liberals feel disgust, too, but a bit less.

Anything that prods us to think of disgust or cleanliness also seems to have at least a temporary effect on our politics. It pushes our sanctity buttons and makes us more conservative... interviewees on Stanford’s campus offered harsher, more moralistic views after “fart spray” had been released in the area...

Liberals prefer dogs who are gentle but not subservient, while conservatives seek dogs who are loyal and obedient...

Do you know what kind of books are disproportionately stolen from libraries? Books on ethics"


Addendum - Interview with the author:

"The happiest people in America are Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians. The least happy group in America is secular liberals...

There’s some scholarship I cite in the book, an anthropologist by the name of Richard Sosis. He studied communes in the nineteenth century. These were groups of people that left the corruptions of the city and tried to create their own moral community off in the countryside. He studied about a hundred religious communes, Christians communes. And he studied about a hundred more left-wing communes, usually socialist. And what he found was that the socialist communes basically broke apart within a few years. The religious communes lasted three or four times longer. And the magic ingredient turns out to be rules that require self-sacrifice. Cutting off all your hair, wearing strange clothing, worshipping in certain ways, getting up early in the morning—all these things that are irrational and uncomfortable. But when people do them—and this is where I get evolutionary—it’s like there’s a switch in our head that says: “If I’m worshipping with other people and doing rituals with other people, I can trust them”...

Even when you look at non-church-related giving, religious people simply give more. They are locked into moral communities that are always talking about helping others—and they do it...

Since the Enlightenment, since the eighteenth century, I think liberals have been too quick to knock down institutions, to want change, and to try to tinker and maximize—and when you do that, you often end up with anomie, or normlessness. People should read about the French Revolution. Growing up as a liberal, I always thought the French Revolution was this wonderful thing. It was an absolute nightmare. Of course, the king was a nightmare too. But the French Revolution shows the excesses of liberalism. And it ended with genocide, it ended with mass slaughter in Paris with the guillotine. It was an abomination, because they destroyed all their moral capital and they had chaos. And that excess is actually the founding event of modern conservatism. It’s people like Edmund Burke, who said we need to preserve institutions even if we don’t always understand them. We have to proceed carefully...

The natural tendency of our righteous, tribal minds is to say: “Well, I’m in my tribe, and we’re right and we’re obviously right. And the people who disagree with us are wrong and obviously wrong. So wrong that the only way they could believe what they believe is if they’re truly evil or motivated by greed, or racism, or the devil, or whatever.” Because we don’t understand each other, we tend to demonize. And when you demonize the other side, then you cannot compromise.

Republicans and Democrats during the post-war years—the 1950s, 1960s—didn’t demonize each other as much...

In terms of liberal/conservative, I think you need both. And I can’t say that liberals have a better plan for society than do conservatives"

u r wt u wr - 2nd April 2012

"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed." - Samuel Johnson

***

u r wt u wr:

- 'Truly absorbed by you -pic of Spongebob-'
- 'I ♥ boys'
- 'Top model'
- 'I loved you yesterday I love you still. I always have I always will ♥'
- 'Educated.' (Canteen Auntie)
- 'Hello! -lots of Smiley faces -'
- 'Romance love relationship *many words in word cloud*'
- 'Love in the airs' (Bad English, smart pun or double entendre?)
- 'Wild hearts can't be broken -picture of broken heart-'
- 'On kiffe le vélo'
- 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll'
- 'I'll pour my sweetness over you'
- 'Your dream' (at least she won't appear in my nightmares)
- 'Beer. So much more than a breakfast beverage' (worn by a maid)
- 'Let's have a good time. Fun -many other words-'
- 'I ♥ your smile'
- 'Sunday sweethearts *Rear view of Mickey and Minnie in a car speeding into the background*' (I saw this on Friday. Does she need someone for Mon-Sat?)
- 'Love made me do it ♥♥♥' ("Do" was in a heart)
- 'want your kiss' (the words were in a heart)
- 'befriend get chummy'
- 'Tender love & care makes a life worth living'
- 'Love is blonde' ('Is' was in a heart. She wasn't blonde so I guess she had no love)

Guys:

- 'You'll never f*ck alone'
- 'What women want'
- 'Not for sale' (I wouldn't want to buy him)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Links - 1st April 2012

"Hollywood is a place where they place you under contract instead of under observation." - Walter Winchell

***

George W. Bush: What is George W. Bush really like in one-on-one conversation? - Quora - "He is extraordinarily intelligent. Forget what you've read in the press. The man is smart and has an incredible memory. He'll remember things that you said months ago or he'd remember some minute detail of some obscure policy issue. He studied the issues and took it as a challenge to know as much about a topic as his experts knew... Anybody who says the man is dumb has never met him... Second, he's extremely personable--not in a fake DC kind of folksy way--he comes across as actually caring... [my hardcore liberal-democrat wife] had to tell her liberal friends that the guy actually wasn't the devil--the President actually gave her a hug"

Transformation of an Asian Girl (32 pics)
People always ignore the difference a smile and hair make

Gender 'not a big issue' - "'Don't make every issue out to be about gender,' says Ms Teo Lay Lim, Accenture's country managing director for Singapore and managing director for Asean. Being a female leader in a male-dominated world, for instance, is not a gender issue to her... Women who moan about the glass ceiling might be better off taking charge and defining their own destinies. That view got an airing at a conference on Thursday last week to mark International Women's Day. Ms Tan Gek Khim, senior director at the Management Development Institute of Singapore, said glass ceilings, if they exist at all, should have been shattered long ago. 'Women should not stifle themselves by harbouring negative perceptions. They should not let the proverbial 'glass ceiling' hamper them in their aspirations for higher positions,' she says. 'Such perceived constraints serve only to perpetuate the weaknesses of women.' Ms Monica Sun, president of Henkel Singapore and Malaysia and its vice-president for the adhesive technologies unit in South-east Asia, adds: 'I believe the glass ceiling can be only oneself... Ultimately, it is the leader's capabilities that matter, regardless of gender"
There're reasons why they're in Business doing things, not AWARE complaining about things.
Addendum: Also this is a great example of the idea of a glass ceiling being a "Self-fulfilling prophecy"


Prostitution: What is it like to buy or sell sex? - Quora - "Looking back on it I feel like it made me a better person. I learned that men who pay for sex aren't always or even usually bad people. They can be nice guys who are just lonely or sad or don't have time for a relationship and don't want to lie to a woman that they do, but they want the benefits of a relationship. I did the girlfriend experience which means you kiss and talk and stuff if that's what the guy wants. You have to do the girlfriend experience if you want to get a lot of money. Sometimes the people who hire you just think it's sexier and sometimes they are paying for an hour of feeling loved and sometimes they are paying for an hour of having a therapist who won't try to suggest changes they could make in their lives, who will just go "Poor baby", you know? Every once in a while a guy would pay me just to spend time with him... I learned that everyone has something interesting to say and that they will tell you very very private things when they sleep with you even if they don't know you at all. They will tell you painful things from their childhood or details of their divorce (they love talking about how much their ex wives hurt them) or how painful it is for them to recognize they are getting old"

snopes.com: Toolooz - "The image displayed above (click on the graphic to enlarge it) is purportedly a screen capture of a Fox News report on the March 2012 killings of three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. The image includes added text supposedly revealing a plethora of geographic, political, and spelling errors (e.g., incorrectly locating France on a map of Europe, misspelling the city of Toulouse as "Toolooz," misidentifying the French Minister of the Interior as the country's president, referring to Arabs and Jews as the "Asian community," labeling the shooter a Buddhist rather than a Muslim) in this Fox News report"
I saw this being circulated by some people as a sad indictment of Fox. They were as willing to pass on misinformation about Fox News as they accuse Fox News of doing about other things. Ahh... cognitive biases

In Toulouse, Muslims Fear Diversity Is at Risk - NYTimes.com - "Mamadou Daffé, the Malian-born imam at the mosque, said he had never been the target of so much as a racist remark in Toulouse. “None, none at all,” Mr. Daffé said. “Maybe this is surprising, but so be it”... “We are responsible for the image that’s been given to Islam, this beautiful religion,” he said. With the murders, which Mr. Merah said he committed in the name of Islam, “God has tested us,” Mr. Daffé said. His fellow cleric, Mr. Tataï, has led a project to build a grand mosque in Toulouse... (Uncharacteristically, the mosque will be open to the non-Muslim public, outside hours of prayer)"

Racist posts: Culprits 'tend to be young', say observers - "Professor Ang Peng Hwa, director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre, said: 'Racist speech is an insult. The police should not have to respond to insults. Otherwise, we will need an insult detection and enforcement army.'"

Chinese students at NUS upset over compatriot's blog - "Some students said they understood why Mr Sun may have made the comments, saying it is not uncommon for people to make racially offensive remarks casually in China. 'Back home, we are quite racially homogeneous, so people do sometimes label others from a particular region dogs'"

A brief history of breast enlargements - "The filmmaker Billy Wilder described Monroe's bosom as, 'a miracle of shape, density and an apparent lack of gravity'"

Pass the port: Why do you pass to the left - "If the decanter should ever stall it is considered very bad form to ask for it. Instead, you ask the person hogging the decanter: "Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?". If they are au fait with port etiquette they will immediately realise their faux pas and pass along the decanter with an apology. If not, and they answer in the negative, you should say: "He's a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.""

The Afghan girls who live as boys - "If my parents force me to get married, I will compensate for the sorrows of Afghan women and beat my husband so badly that he will take me to court every day."

Mohamed Merah: Toulouse gunman's father 'to sue France' - "Algiers-based lawyer Zahia Mokhtari told French media Mohamed Benalal Merah considered his son had been murdered... His half-brother in Algeria, Rachid Merah, said Mohamed had been manipulated by the French intelligence services and did not have any ties to al-Qaeda"

Spain's high-class hookers ban sex with bankers 'until they provide more credit for cash-strapped economy' - "Madrid's top-end prostitutes say their indefinite strike will continue until bank employees 'fulfil their responsibility to society' and start offering bigger loans for struggling Spaniards... Sneaky bankers were trying to circumvent the protest by claiming to be architects or engineers, the sex-workers said. But this was 'not fooling anyone' because, as one escort revealed: 'It has been many years since these professionals could afford rates that start from €300 per hour.' The capital's largest luxury prostitute trade association, which is reportedly initiating the strike, said: 'We are the only ones with a real ability to pressure the sector. 'We have been on strike for three days now and we don't think they can withstand much more,' added the woman, known as Ana MG... the bankers became so desperate they called in the government for mediation."

''Rendez-vous en France'' : des pros à l'affût des nouveautés made in France - "La France est le seul pays d'Europe avec l'Italie où les Américains retournent plusieurs fois. Je trouve d’ailleurs que les produits français sont plus chers que leurs homologues italiens. Pour une même qualité les tarifs sont 20 à 30% moins chers de l'autre coté des Alpes. Cette différence de prix est flagrante sur les établissements 4 et 5 étoiles, forts prisés de la part des Américains. Mais ils savent que la France est un pays de luxe et ils sont prêts à y mettre le prix, jusqu'à un certain niveau... Je m'occupe de location de villas de luxe pour les Australiens... Pour eux, un bâtiment qui a 500 ans d'histoire est une chose exceptionnelle"

Data Dealer. Legal, illegal, whatever. | English - "Data Dealer is a satirical browser game on collecting, processing and selling personal data"

45 McDonald's Items Not Available In The U.S. That Should Be
10/45 are from Japan

The Absurd Myths Porn Teaches Us About Sex - "Alan McKee, an Australian university professor and pornography researcher, tells AlterNet, “Pornography is good at teaching lifelong learning, open communication, that sexual development should not be aggressive, coercive, or joyless, self-acceptance, awareness and acceptance that sex is pleasurable, and competence in mediated sexuality.” In short, he claims that pornography can be the foundation to a healthy sex life—not to mention leading to many solo orgasms. The problem is, learning about sex from porn is like learning about firearms from action movies... A generation of teenagers grew up under Bush’s record-breaking funding for abstinence-only sex education... both Santorum and Romney, the frontrunners for the GOP nomination, favor abstinence-only sex education—despite the evidence that it delays loss of virginity only eight months... trans activist Ami Angelwings says. “Asian trans women porn gave a former boyfriend of mine the idea that trans women were prettier and passed better than white ones which led him to remark ‘Asian guys make the best women’ (and yes that’s when I broke up with him)”"

New study: Weight-loss surgery may cure diabetes - "The study showed that weight-loss surgery is dramatically more effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes than a conventional treatment of diet changes and medication. Patients in the study suffered from severe type 2 diabetes, and most went into remission after undergoing one of two bariatric surgeries. "It's an unprecedented effect that we've never seen in diabetes before," says surgeon Dr. Francesco Rubino, senior author of the NEJM study and director of The Diabetes Surgery Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Remission hasn't even been a word in the textbooks about diabetes"... the diabetics' remission is independent of the weight loss from their surgeries"

The 5 Saddest Attempts to Take Over a Country | Cracked.com

Avalanche Research Could Make Your Ice Cream Taste Better
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