"I love your "Malaysian Accent", can you say it again?"

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Monday, December 12, 2005

"My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me." - Benjamin Disraeli


I donated half a Euro via Paypal to the Downthemall Firefox Extension team and they sent me an iCard (from Apple, hah!). Now I feel ashamed.


Crank Dot Net - "Devoted to presenting Web sites by and about cranks, crankism, crankishness, and crankosity. All cranks, all the time."

Switch. Off. - "Why Switch Off? You can do things that Mac & PC users only dream about, like meeting other people, breathing fresh air, going for walks in the country and seeing daylight with your own eyes."

The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations - "Specifically, we can rank civilizations by their energy consumption, using the following principles: 1) The laws of thermodynamics. 2) The laws of stable matter. 3) The laws of planetary evolution."


The Right Price for Digital Music - Why 99 cents per song is too much, and too little.

"In the early 1900s, jazz musicians refused to record phonograph records because they feared rivals would cop their best licks. We can laugh at their shortsightedness, but it's reminiscent of today's music industry, which is so afraid of piracy it still hasn't figured out how to incorporate digital downloads into a sustainable business model...

What we need is a system that will continue to pack the corporate coffers yet be fair to music lovers. The solution: a real-time commodities market that combines aspects of Apple's iTunes, Nasdaq, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Priceline, and eBay.

Here's how it would work: Songs would be priced strictly on demand. The more people who download the latest Eminem single, the higher the price will go. The same is true in reverse—the fewer people who buy a song, the lower the price goes. Music prices would oscillate like stocks on Nasdaq, with the current cost pegged to up-to-the-second changes in the number of downloads. In essence, this is a pure free-market solution—the market alone would determine price...

The big wild card here is the impact of illegal file sharing. David Blackburn, a doctoral student at Harvard, has argued that peer-to-peer systems increase demand for less popular recordings but dampen sales of hits."

The economic analyses may be off, but the idea seems sound.


one step into the past?

"In the early 20th century, Singapore was described as the "most colourful city in the world". In 1939, an English visitor, Carveth Wells, compared his pre-war (World War I) and post-war experiences in Singapore. The greatest change after the war, he wrote, was the "exciting night life of the city" (adding, "if you do not include the less respectful attitude of the Asiatics to white men").

Street after street was "devoted entirely to brothels of different nationalities. Malays, Indians, Africans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese and Europeans were all on view…with girls on view behind iron bars, like caged animals…". Does it remind one of the plight of foreign domestic workers and foreign brides today?"


USAS4001: Understanding Contemporary Science Wars

"In the last two decades we have seen the emergence of increased awareness of the role that premodern traditions of science can play in advancing scientific knowledge in the future. This has engendered intense debates concerning the distinction between science and pseudoscience often described in terms a contestation between the defenders of Enlightenment science and its post-Enlightenment critics. Many multicultural critics have criticized the tradition of Enlightenment science - its historical self-understanding, its metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions, its structures of theory and experience - as a body of knowledge that has distorted not only our understanding of natural phenomena but also the relationships we establish with nature. These criticisms have often been buttressed by postmodern, social constructivist, environmental and feminist standpoints which appeal to multicultural traditions of natural knowledge in order to buttress claims concerning the limits of Enlightenment science. These charges have evoked an equally vehement defense of the Enlightenment tradition by philosophers and scientists who see modern science as a dependable body of knowledge now being attacked by superstition. Nevertheless it is possible to perceive these science wars - as they have been dubbed - as really the latest stage of continuing concerns that have always been a part of science about how we can best draw the line between science and superstition. In this course we will examine the arguments from both sides in an attempt to make sense of the attempts to reorient science in a multicultural direction and the claim that the future growth of science can be promoted through a wider dialogue among civilizations."

Wow, this sounds very funky. I wonder when it was last offered.
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