When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd." - Edith Sitwell


So far a few people (one from SMU, strangely enough) have discovered my dirty little secret. I wonder how many more will (wah, die liao).


The things you learn (on nature vs nurture, and Larry Summers):

"Moreover, the well-documented phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity suggests that even when there are genetically-based differences among organisms, appropriate changes in the environment can balance things out, or at least improve the response (in this case, math abilities) for most people.

The problem with the comments that have circulated lately is that they assume much more than it has actually been shown to be the case, and discourage any kind of environmental intervention. As an example, remember that we know of genetic diseases (such as phenylketonuria) that can be completely offset by a simple change in diet (in that case, no eating of the amino acid phenylalanine), i.e. by a change in the environment."

Fascinating. The things you learn from experts in the field.

The things you learn:

"I think that cleaning one's ears is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world!... the ear is sometimes supplied by the vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) haha (besides the great auricular nerve and CN V and VII, too) - the same nerve which sends parasympathetic nerves to your lungs and stomach etc - that is, your involuntary nervous system - so cleaning your ears induces a feeling of well-being and aids your digestion too (I'm not kidding)!!! :) The things one learns in medical school..."


Insecurity as a national trait

"A old joke in Singapore tells of how Singaporeans (particularly men) in general, have four fears. In Hokkien, (one of Singapore’s main Chinese dialects) these are “Kiasu”, Kiasi”, “Kia-bor”, and “Kia cheng hu”, which translate into “fear of losing”, “fear of death”, “fear of wife” and “fear of government” respectively.

But of these four fears, it is “Kiasi-ism” and its consequent “Kiasu-ism”, that has shaped Singapore today. We shall examine how this insecurity has played, and continues to play in the city state’s national character.

... the first opposition member of parliament in 13 years had been elected.

This was ‘softness’, in the eyes of the conservative PAP government- signs that this new generation was taking Singapore’s prosperity for granted.

... The anachronistic arrests of alleged Marxists in 1987 was played up to great effect; it seemed that the motherland was still under threat from internal enemies even in at a time when Glastnost in the Soviet Union and economic liberalization in China was discrediting Marxism-Leninism everywhere. Finally, in 1988, the government came up with the Five Shared Values that Singaporeans were supposed to share, namely;

Nation before community and society before self
Family as the basic unit of society
Community support and respect for the individual
Consensus, not conflict
Racial and religious harmony

If nothing else, this could be interpreted as a declaration of offensive intent against other values that were supposed to weaken the Singaporean will to survive. For what a tragedy it would be were Singaporeans to assume that additional help for the poor was a non-antagonistic value that would not compromise our economic competitiveness!

... While the fundamental goals of National Education are laudable, its dogmatic conclusions and an emphasis on making these pre-concluded messages more ‘appealing’ as opposed to leading youths to think for themselves about Singapore’s real problems may have served to undermine the very cause it seeks to promote. Many youths, particularly the more academically able, are inclined to see the whole package as mere propaganda. And rather than refute certain claims made by the government, they would rather throw out the baby with the bathwater... The government’s current efforts to get youths to be more involved with public affairs is perceived as an exercise in hot air simply because suggestions on reform are often dismissed as being too “sensitive”. Hence not a single legal gay rights group exists; Muslims continue to be excluded from certain vocations in the armed forces for their implicitly questionable loyalties; never mind the repeal of laws in Singapore that would have thrown a putative local Michael Moore in jail for making a Fahrenheit 9/11. Instead, we are treated to a moralising sideshow on the consequences of having a casino in Singapore.

This situation is a pity because a significant number of the best and brightest young Singaporeans have concluded that they are no longer comfortable with living in a country that seems to be irrationally paranoid. Others, having concluded that any argument put forward for the country’s insecurity must be a lie concocted by a sinister PAP government, seem to be willing to introduce loony public policy should they be placed in positions of responsibility. The author has personally listened, with some dismay, to seriously posited arguments put forth by otherwise highly intelligent peers, about the viability of replacing our entire armed forces with a few dozen nuclear tipped missiles- never mind that such a plan would never be endorsed by our military partners, let alone any of our neighbours."

Originally posted on the Young Republic mailing list.


Randy from This Is True on Political Correctness:

"Last week I had a story about how hundreds of celebrities were on the defense witness list for the Michael Jackson trial. The tag: "...Stevie Wonder is particularly upset at being named. 'Yeah I was there,' he admits. 'But I didn't see anything!'"

Yes, provocative. I got two types of responses to it. Peter in Japan: "Stevie Wonder, whether you like his music or not (I happen not to), is not deserving of such a comment. It is a poor, reused, overused punch line. It does not stand up to your usual standards of wittiness, and more importantly, it does not stand up to your usual standards of decency and fairness. You have poke and jabbed many deserving victims of their own stupidity, but Stevie Wonder is being made fun of because of his fame and his disability."

The other side is represented by Glenn in Alabama: "I'm sure you'll get some negative comments about this; my sister is blind and my parents said early on that they wouldn't treat her any differently. As a result, she told Helen Keller jokes, and we saw that moving the furniture was indeed a punishment (she'd come running up the hall and flip over the couch which wasn't there before -- even after being told not to run, and that the couch had been moved). When I met my [now] bride, I made some offhanded comment that made her think I was absolutely horrible towards my sister. Thankfully, she met the family anyway. Now, she makes as many jokes as the rest of us. It amazes me how many people talk louder to a blind person, or talk to you instead of them. So many people see any disability and think the person is incapacitated -- they rush to do everything for them (almost to the point of blowing their nose!) So, keep your skin thick."

Yes, I have several blind friends, and a lot of blind readers. (How many of my blind readers wrote to complain? You guessed it: none.) Blind people are fully capable of writing to complain if they're offended, and don't need patronizing sighted folks to "watch out" for them when it comes to jokes. If you really can't handle that I treat everyone the same (which many would define as "fair"), then you're not reading the right publication.

I ran the above in the Premium edition on Monday. Premium reader Jennifer in California replies: "I appreciate the comments made by Glenn in Alabama and by you concerning blind people and blindness-related jokes. Few 'sightlings' are capable of seeing the humor in blindness, and it was refreshing to read your jokes and comments. Thank you for pointing out, by the way, that we blind folk are perfectly capable of writing and complaining ourselves if we're offended.""

Many people just take things too seriously.


Serial meal thief sentenced to 90 days - "Elias I. Elias had his restaurant routine perfected: Order dinner and drinks, eat and enjoy, then fake chest pains when the bill arrived in order to skip out on paying it. The 13th time Elias did that since 2003, the restaurateur in Calais didn't buy it. When he called for an ambulance, he also called the police."

How can I avoid a holiday hangover? - "Take your vitamins. This is recommended mostly by guys selling vitamins. The experts are pretty scornful. Then again, it's not like anybody really has a better idea."

Institute for High Energy Physics - Interestingly, the URL is http://www.ihep.su/ - .su is the country code for the Soviet Union.
"The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it." - Joan Rivers

Random Playlist Song: Albinoni - Oboe Concerti Op 9 - #3 In F Maj - Allegro (The Academy of Ancient Music)


Someone: dude, your blogs are too damn long

Me: ah well. so how

Someone: how similan
write LESS

important things are usually simple
if you have alot to say about something, chances are most of it is hogwash
occam's electric shaver


Christie was playing the Spirited Away theme and once again it struck me that it was the perfect music to eat shrooms to and start seeing funny things. I'll bet my hat that Howl's Moving Castle will be exactly the same sort of nonsense:

"Howl's Moving Castle follows the story of young Sophie Hatter, a bookworm, the eldest of three daughters, a girl doomed to an uninteresting life as a hat maker. Sophie resigns herself to her boring fate, but fate has other plans for her. Cursed by the Witch of the Waste with the body of a 90-year-old woman, she finds her way to the moving castle inhabited by the wizard Howl, said by all to eat the souls of young girls.

Howl has been cursed by the Witch as well, and is seeking the love of young girl to help him break the curse."

Now, don't that sound familiar?

Jiekai was saying that after ORD he wanted to grow a mullet. Then I took out my Asian Prince card, and showed him what a mullet looked like (at least on Asian Prince). I think he now has second thoughts.

For some reason, women in general either don't iron their clothes or iron them much less than men do. In part this is because their clothes require less ironing (bah). However, when it comes to something for which a lack of ironing is patently obvious (ie An office blouse of the same material as men's office shirts), they are not as fortunate.


Emergent Behaviour

"What is Emergent Behaviour?

Economies - beehives - financial markets - animal markings - team building - consciousness - locust swarms - mass hysteria - geese flocking - road networks and traffic jams - bacterial infection - town planning - evolution - the Web ... these are all examples of emergent phenomena where a collection of individuals interact without central control to produce results which are not explicitly "programmed"

Qualities of Emergent Behaviour

What can emergent systems do that other systems can’t?

1. They are robust and resilient. There is no single-point of failure, so if a single unit fails, becomes lost or is stolen, the system still works.
2. They are well-suited to the messy real world. Human-engineered systems may be “optimal” but often require a lot of effort to design and are fragile in the face of changing conditions. Importantly, they don’t need to have complete knowledge/understanding to achieve a goal (e.g. social systems in warehousing).
3. They find a reasonable solution quickly and then optimise. In the real world, time matters - decisions need to be taken while they are still relevant. Traditional computer algorithms tend to not produce a useful result until they are complete (which may be too late, e.g. if you're trying to avoid an oncoming obstacle) .

How it works

The individuals interact with each other directly or indirectly (via their environment). Interacting via an effect on, and response to, their common environment is called stigmergy. For example, termites work together to build termite mounds without any "queen" to co-ordinate activity and without any pre-existing plan of what to build. They change the environment and the changed environment modifies their behaviour.

Interestingly, through emergent behaviour "selfish genes" can cause apparently social behaviour By forming into schools (using simple emergent “flocking” rules), animals like fish and zebras reduce their individual chances of predation."

I wonder what the fundies say about this (with regard, of course, to their favoured assault on objective reality).

Another interesting observation is that there are no non-religiously motivated opponents to Ev*l*t**n [Ed: I don't want to trigger Cr**t**n*st Google Ads again], and no non-religiously motivated advocates of Int*ll*g*nt D*s*gn

Perhaps we should fund research on Int*ll*g*nt D*s*gn to find out more about the nature and character of the Int*ll*g*nt D*s*gn*r (see Organisms That Look Designed - The Argument from Irreducible Grotesqueness, the imperfection of organisms' biology and such, which all point to a sadistic, lazy, imperfect and not-so-intelligent designer)

Meanwhile, the fact that behavior can be coded for in genetic material (animals which never meet their parents all behave in a certain way, for example) should counter the constant declarations of intellectual heresy by the Politically Correct brigade.

Ditto for studies (Kanner 1943, Ehlers and Gillberg 1993) showing that boys are 3-4 times more likely to develop autism than girls, and 15 times as likely to develop high-functioning autism (aka Asperger syndrome) (Wing 1981). Since autism and Asperger's involve a propensity to systemise, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that males do better in the maths and sciences, which require strong systemising tendencies.

But then, just like fundies, they never did listen to reason. After all, their reasoning seems to go like so: "Nature and nurture are both involved in shaping human behavior. Since it is very hard to separate the effects of the two, we shall not even bother to try and can then magically ascribe EVERYTHING to nurture, lynching anyone who suggests that nature might in the least be involved."


New item on Anti-Halal Manifesto:

"Any printed or published materials, posters and advertisements that may offend the Muslim public are not allowed. Successful applicants are required to obtain Muis’ prior clearance for any advertisements in any form of mass media."
I hardly see how and why advertisements affect the ritual purity of the food.

7. Common ancestry of Pigs and other mammals, including humans

Pigs belong to the family Suidae and are related to peccaries and hippopotamuses. Are these then haram as well?

More broadly, all mammals are descended from a common ancestor. If pigs are impure and haram, what does this mean for chickens, cows, sheep and indeed humans?

In other halal related news, the last time I was at Long John Silver's Tiong Bahru branch, I saw a few images of the Chinese God of Fortune pasted on the wall above the cashier.

This means that they have violated the requirements for Halal Certification, since, according to the Application for Halal Certification (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura), "figures of deities, if any, in the applicants' premises should be hidden from the public's view". Gasp. Shock. Horror.

I wonder if there's a hotline I can call to report breaches in Halal protocol.


Someone on her officer boyfriend: "i accompanied him to his General's home for a gathering and his Colonels, Generals and all were there. And they all seemed totally unsoldierly.. like they were employees of General Electric. they're all.. old and speak perfect English..and they sound like... *groan executives"

Thus is the reality of the SAF revealed.

AcidFlask on National Slavery:

"in fact, singapore is one of the few countries that mandates conscription of its citizens, yet provides absolutely no form of "alternative service" to conscientious objectors. that to me is the weak link in defending the standpoint that ns is not part of some giant social engineering mechanism."

Indeed, The Powers That Be claim that conscientious objection to National Slavery cannot be allowed since everyone would choose it, but funnily, that’s not what we see in countries which allow conscientious objection


Asked of Steven Pinker:

"Q: Your long curly hair has been compared to such 1970s rock stars as Peter Frampton, Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant, but you might look more like the 17th century philosopher Spinoza. Whom do you think you look like?

A: Then there's T. Rex singer Marc Bolan, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, and most often, conductor Simon Rattle. I, personally, would have to answer Bruno, the piano player in the TV show "Fame.""


Singapore's GIC secrets: Inching toward transparency - "Step aside, Sage of Omaha. You've got big-time competition in Singapore. Not even the legendary Warren Buffett has made the calls claimed by Singapore's Government Investment Corp. Indeed, the state- owned fund seems to have anticipated every major event of the past 20 years, including the 1987 stock market crash, the Gulf War oil shock of 1990, and the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. The fund's managers even claim to have gotten in early on Cisco Systems' amazing rise. That's quite a record. Problem is, unlike shareholders in Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, Singaporeans can't verify the GIC's boasts. Its portfolio, said to be worth more than $100 billion, is a state secret."

Mighty Dwarfing Super Ninjas - "Dug out of the video archives, a parody of a famous kids T.V. show. Its old and cheesy."
On a previous page, it's called as 'Mighty Dwarfin Super Ninjas'. Hmm.

Plush Microbes - So cute! Now you can sleep at night cuddling flesh eating bacteria to your bosom. I like Ebola, it's so worm like.


I was discussing with Screwed Up Girl why guys' hair is generally lousier than girls' hair (drier, more tangly, less shiny etc). Some possible reasons:

- guys don't use conditioner
- guys use [often a lot of] hair wax, gel and putty to style their hair, and this dries and damages it, since their aim is to make thier hair hard, stiff and spiky. OTOH females use expensive hair products (like my idol Wo-hen Nankan) which go in the other direction and aim to make hair soft, smooth and easy to style
- 'guys eat a lot of junk' (she claims that just as You Are What You Eat, Your Hair Is What You Eat, but I disagree)

I asked a classmate and she claimed that she didn't use conditioner, and that girls had nicer hair "because we wash our hair and comb our hair" (like guys don't!).


An anonymous contributor nominates the following for the "NUS bash names that reveals how sex-deprived NUS students are" series: NUSSU BizCom Bash 2003 Envy: Sin or Sense

The marketing's a hoot:

"Let your senses come alive with bash highlights such as:

Sizzling Hot Fashion Shows
Feast your eyes on our luscious models dressed in the trendiest clothes of the season. Guaranteed to blow your mind away!

SMS Crush Breaker Game (by SingaporeCupid)
Want to get to know that hunk or babe at the bash that night? Now you can with the SMS Crush Breaker Game proudly brought to you by SingaporeCupid! Register at the door and who knows what the night will have in store for you!

Indulge in our 'sinful' games to win other attractive prizes too!"

My No.1 fan adds: "In keeping with the theme Envy gave out goodie bags that were in red-black paper bags that were sponsored by Sins chocolates"

At one point in recent history, we had 3 bazaars going on in NUS. Wonderful. Maybe OSA should ask the ECAs to do something else to 'encourage entrepreneurial spirit'. I'm sure everyone is suffering from bazaar fatigue.

And now we are working on yet another essay for a "real reader", not a "homework assignment". Yet, normal people (ie real readers) are not interested in this sort of thing (most especially, close reading). Hell, if even I am not interested in this, I doubt normal people are.


It's a very clever class, because sometimes he offers it and calls it 'Simplicity', and sometimes he offers it and calls it 'Complexity'.

The probability that sears will exceed 1000 (sales)

Fortunately, what is shown in your textbook is the whole area under the sun (curve)

Jeero poin nine (Zero point)

[On the projector] 'No signal'. That means no class. Very good.

If you want to know what topics are available, you can go to IVLE *clicks link in Powerpoint slide and keeps getting 'A security problem has occured'* If we can overcome the horrible security problem that we seems to be having this afternoon (seem)

Any more questions regarding the essay? [Student: How many percent {of our final grade} is it?] Ask me something more interesting.

[On a 5 page final essay] 25%. Each page 5% [of your final grade]

[On promulgating discussion of the peppered moth on the online forum] It's another desperate attempt to get IVLE acting and booming.

[On Richard Dawkins on Natural Selection] We'll listen to him again. [Student: In English.] That was in English. He's an Oxford Scholar.

If you reproduce you automatically make replication arrows (errors)

Sell'mern used to be very expensive (salmon)

How would you catch bigger fish? [Student: Use bigger bait]

[On stalk-eyed flies] The girls like it when the guys have very long eyestalks.

[On a photo of a chihuahua and wolves morphing into dogs] Obviously the stone age people were not interested in this sort of thing.

I used to have a link to my lovely pigeon website. They replaced it with one only slightly less bizzare. Pigeon breeders - I will never understand them. They're so bizarre... [Student: Like the botanists?] Botanists are just weird. Pigeon breeders...

[On pigeon breeding] You can breed them for any bizarre fantasy you may have

[On the German Beauty Homer] One of them was called 'beautiful', but I didn't see anything beautiful about it

These people are really weird. You can kind of figure out by looking at them... Owners have hair like their pigeons.

If you think that pigeons are weird you should look at the goldfish.

Dog owners at dog kernels (kennels)

Some of the traits which they sim to prefer (seem)

[On the curve of the normal distribution] I know curves are usually not very popular at USP

[Student on defining 'survival of the fittest': If we take what we learn from the class {presumably as opposed to what actually happens}...] Think of all the nonsense you learn here, then.

Survival of the Foetus (fittest)

[On a NUS Shuttle Bus] No eating and drinking within bus premises (interior)

I can't go back to PGP. I'll get wet. [Me: You don't have an umbrella] I bet you do. You're the only guy who carries an umbrella around.

Arts is so different from Engin. There're colours [on the wall], there're plants growing. In Engin, there're no plants. The only plant we saw was on the ceiling - a creeper.

[On the Writing Module] This is graduate school level stuff.

Old absolute hammers (obsolete)

'He absorbs rap and hiphop naturally as if by Osmosis'. Who's the biologist in this room? No one? Ok, then we'll let Gabriel explain it. *I sputter*

*My handphone SMS ring tone of Krusty the Klown's laugh sounds* For a moment, I thought the teddy bear was talking to me.

[On rapidly flashing answers on Powerpoint] Please scream if you want to ask questions.

Let's have the toe'sers (toasts)

Spirited Away is: I take drugs, I go into a haunted house. [Correction,] I take much drugs - sorry.

I think if I have a wife who's bi[sexual], that would be so sexy... Watch them make out. Cigarette and cigar in each hand.

Depending on what sort of woman you want. [Someone: The non-possessive sort.] Are you sure that's a woman?

[On living opposite Nee Soon Camp] I live up north. They have really bad air pollution.

The problem is your blog is too intelligent. You should dumb it down, then you can advertise T-shirts and jeans.

I don't wear female footwear. I've decided that when I get married I'll wear boots.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"I think the world is run by 'C' students." - Al McGuire

Random Playlist Song: Bach - French Suite No. 1 in D minor, BWV 812 - 03 Sarabande

Noooooo... Gould's humming is driving me mad.


A hairband snapped on me. !@#$%^&*() Maybe my head's too big (and girls' heads are too small - draw your own conclusions).

Meanwhile my friend's flip-flops snapped on her when someone stepped on them.

Moral of the story: female stuff is poor quality since the girls will get sick of it before it spoils anyway


As a Happy Tree Friends fanclub member, I got a special link to view: "Out on a Limb - It's trouble in the trees for dimwitted Lumpy!"


Tim after I sent him Ode to Nature (Princess Shayla & Merrick): what kind of song is this :(

Someone on the bullshit that is marketing (and indeed all of Business except maybe Finance): marketing, heh
it's a crock of shit, that one

i thought it'd be fun. boy was I wrong.

Me: so what do you learn! what do you learn!

like how companies like challenger superstore put things in a pile so people will dig through it
or the rumours about coca cola's insidious subconcious signal marketing campaign

it's just putting words to common sense stuff that we already know
it's rubbish

they have stupid SWAT analysis techniques
Strengths, Weaknesses, Advantages, Threats
Yah, yah, so easy to identify all 4 ah

if your stupid analysis technique worked we wouldn't need psychoanalysts already ah
hell who needs doctors
jsut use teh SWAT
according to my tutor it can be applied to everything what

i'm so annoyed i'm typing in singlish
this is what marketing does to a man
don't take it


donaq: I think Business is pure crap too. Took a management module once and it gave me the eerie sensation of being a fried rice hawker. You know, you take the same stuff and keep flipping it in your wok. Around and around and around . . .


Singapore, HK diverging fiscal fortunes

"“Singapore...may benefit from a re-examination of some of its fiscal principles, especially in light of its strong performance during the difficult past 6 years,” [ said analyst Ping Chew.] “In particular, it may be useful for the government to examine whether its already ample resources are sufficient for further rainy days, and whether funds could be more efficiently managed if they are released into the private sector.”...

... [O]ver the past 6 years...Singapore managed to stay in the black with an average general government surplus of 5.8 percent. S&P figure contrast with that of the government which said in its last budget it was running a small budget deficit of 0.45 percent of GDP.

“Most governments around the world go to some trouble to re-jig their numbers to present deficits as surplus. Singapore tends to disguise surplus as deficit. If you look at the numbers in an international standardize way, Singapore is actually delivering a very large surplus once again,” Paul Coughlin told reporters. “This leaves open the question of whether the government could have done more to cushion its economy from the shocks,” he added."

(By way of The Singapore Commentator)


Jack and Jill in single mother shock

"Britain's most popular nursery rhymes, recited by generations of parents to their children, are teeming with references to bed-hopping royals and teenage sex, according to a book on the origins of 24 playground ditties.

While Jack and Jill may seem innocuous enough in their attempt to fetch water, they are in fact preoccupied with losing their virginity, says Chris Roberts, a social historian who has traced the adult stories behind the nursery rhymes. Jill possibly becomes pregnant and there are regrets later.

"The interesting bit is that, having successfully 'lost his crown', it's Jack who runs off rapidly - probably to tell his mates what happened," said Mr Roberts, 37, author of Heavy Words Lightly Thrown.

In an alternative second verse, the sexual association of the rhyme becomes more blatant. Instead of his head, Jack has a different part of his anatomy patched up with vinegar and brown paper.

The rhyme "Goosey, goosey gander, where do you wander? Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber" can be read as alluding to the spread of venereal disease - known as "goose bumps" because of the swelling."


Someone was trying to explain to me why the Japs like tentacle porn so much, and said that tentacles acted as proxies for the male genitals since they could not be shown onscreen.

However, it turns out that this just-so story isn't strictly accurate:

"the ukiyo-e, or traditional japanese woodblock print, was one of the chief sources of entertainment for the common man and samurai alike. topics appearing on ukiyo-e were far ranging, it was possible to find pieces encouraging political dissention and rebelling against the shogunate (always couched in imagery and symbolism, to be blatant was to court with death), scenic landscapes of lake biwa and oshino hakkai, and of course, the topic of discussion, erotic prints in the form of pillow books. these erotic ukiyo-e had its origins from paintings of popular courtesans and mistresses, commissions from the rich painted by famous hands and utilised as mastabatory material. this utilisation of pleasure-prints became popular and filtered down to the common people, who could not afford to buy an actual courtesan and hence resorted to hand and painting (or sometimes, they utilised a false vagina consisting of a silken or hemp bag filled with warm konnyaku jelly) as a substitute.

however, due to the high price of paintings, especially those by famous artists, multiple prints like ukiyo-e were far more affordable (multiple copies could be purchased, so it did not mattter should it get stained when after used), and many well-known woodblock artists such as hokusai katsushika have also dabbled in this offshot of the traditional ukiyo-e, with each of them leaving behind their particular style and influence. it was also hokusai who came up with the famous ukiyo-e prints of mount fuji, and an equally well known (but perhaps in different circles) piece depicting a the wife of a fisherman being pleasured by a pair of octopi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Dream_of_the_fishermans_wife_hokusai.jpg).

in fact, tentacular sex, or the fetishisation (is there such a word? sorry my english is not so good...) of the octopus as an object of sexual fulfilment is not a rarity in japan. since the late kamakura period [Ed: 1192 - 1333] the motif of woman and octopus entwined in erotic, sensual poses has appeared on netsuke, wood carvings, statuettes, prints, in prose and even at the back of religious scrolls. female nuns were also rumoured to masturbate to such scrolls with ivory phalluses because their vows prevented them from satisfying their urges in actual intercourse. the important point to note is that such couplings of woman and octopus are almost always portrayed as being very enjoyable and the octopus is supposed to be a better lover than an man, with its many suckered tentacles and so on...

... my final point would be that the japanese have been kinky from a very long time ago. +_+"


Five drown in baptism tragedy - "After the baptism of the males, one of them wanted to be baptised again. He was overcome by the Holy Spirit and wanted to go further into the sea and we had to try to restrain him. While we were busy a big wave hit us and pulled us in."

The Fashion of the Christ - This is hilarious

Pain and Suffering is Good for You?

"'The Vatican accused affluent societies yesterday of gobbling up too much of the world's health-care resources with their fetish for stay-young-forever medical cures, urging them to look to Pope John Paul II as a model for the inevitability of old age and illness whose stoic suffering should be imitated.

Vatican psychiatrist Manfred Lutz hailed the 85-year-old Pope as "the living alternative to the prevailing health-fiend madness."

Referring to the Pope's advanced Parkinson's disease and other illnesses, Dr. Lutz said: "Precisely in the handicap, in the disease, in the pain, in old age, in dying and death, one can . . . perceive the truth of life in a clearer way."

It was rather an abrupt turnabout for the Vatican, which has vigorously obscured -- even lied about -- the Pope's state of health in the past.'

But, if the Vatican really feels that handicaps, disease, pain and suffering are beneficial, then why does the Catholic Church continue to operate shrines such as Lourdes around the world where the afflicted can travel at great expense to seek a miracle cure?"


Abuses of surveillance cameras - "We are told that surveillance cameras are never abused by their operators, each of whom can supposedly be trusted not to use the awesome technology at their disposal to engage in despicable or outright illegal behavior. But this information is false: camera-operators are not angels; they are subject to the same prejudices, temptations and corruptions that we all struggle with; camera-operators get bored or arrogant and abuse their cameras on a regular basis. To confirm this, one only has to keep up with the news being reported from around the world, which is precisely what we plan to do here, on this page, in chronological order."
Hurrah for "security". Who will watch the watchers?

Rice with Everything in China - Including Relics - "Rice fills the bowls on many Chinese tables -- and also the cracks in its ancient buildings, and maybe even the Great Wall, Xinhua news agency reported."

On the protests against supposed gay imagery in cartoons: "Could it be that in their tender years they got a subliminal message from the cartoons they viewed; perhaps the cross-dressing Bugs Bunny passionately kissing Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, or Daffy Duck? Or was it the macho Popeye homoerotically fighting the testosterone-charged Bluto over the androgynous Olive Oil, with the sexually ambiguous Swee'pea lurking in the background? Or was it the less-than-subtle S&M roleplay between Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner? Whatever the influences, these protesters have an unhealthy obsession with sexual issues."

better living through buttermilk. because sour is the new sweet. - "Pei Chi: NICHOLAS LIU, back and in old form, making fun of other people's crappy blogs and inviting flame wars. Nicholas vs. The Internet, Round 40895204398590923845."


You have decided to go for a game of floor ball rather than prepare for your mid-term test in Economic Policy Analysis that is day after tomorrow. One can infer that

a) you have made an irrational choice.
b) you are doing poorly in your economics class.
c) the economic surplus from playing floor ball exceeded the surplus from studying.
d) you need to grow up.
e) the cost of studying is greater than the cost of playing floor ball.


Someone: if it's an econs test, then obviously c
if it's a review qn at the end of your teacher's review form then b
if it's a political sci class then answer is a
if it's a test given to u by your shrink answer is d

Me: when is it E

Someone: when is it E? oh
when it's a business test lor.. simple

Which of the following situations does not involve game theory?

a) Buying a pair of pants at Guess.
b) Pyonyang (North Korea) deciding to spend more on nuclear weapons.
c) A married Singaporean couple deciding to have a second child.
d) A student considering cheating on this mid-term test.
e) Intel debating whether to lower the price on its microprocessors.


My favourite misanthrope:

"From the Kalven Report (pdf file):

The mission of the university is the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge. Its domain of inquiry and scrutiny includes all aspects and all values of society. A university faithful to its mission will provide enduring challenges to social values, policies, practices, and institutions. By design and by effect, it is the institution which creates discontent with the existing social arrangements and proposes new ones. In brief, a good university, like Socrates, will be upsetting.
(Emphasis mine)

Compare and contrast with what Agagooga calls the Premier Institution of Social Engineering. The crucial difference being the last six words of the cheerful orange statement. Needless to say "upsetting" is something that nobody in that island of conformity wants, or possibly they don't really know if they want it but are told by politicians who only care for the citizens' own good that nobody wants it, which is utterly convincing to anyone (that is, nearly everyone there) who hasn't thought about it.

We must give it some slack for being a government-funded institution that is supposedly obliged to use tax revenue in only patriotic ways. Except, of course, that taxpayers are not allowed to decide whether, or how, they should use their own money to socially engineer themselves. But it's all for their own good, what do they care so long as they're getting well fed and entertained."

Another reliable source assures me that there's no point printing at the Science Library because:

1) You have to buy a card and the System Assistant will tick off the number of pages printed on the card itself (ie It's a manual system)
2) You can only send print jobs to the printer via their computers
3) There are long queues

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

You try to make a suggestion to solve a problem more efficaciously instead of choosing from the two alternatives offered and you get eviscerated.

So much for encouraging independent thought, lateral thinking, the pursuit of knowledge and making the world a better place.

Such is the misery of the human condition.

Me: maybe he hates me

Someone: a lot of people do....

Me: haha thanks ah

Monday, February 28, 2005

"Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms." - Groucho Marx


Following on the heels of the critically acclaimed CrushCalculator, we now have the
Sex and Love Test
, described as "The secret to sex and love and the universe....."

A description of the former for the uninitiated:

"Our program predicts your compabitility with your potential partner based on your input. The program will analyze your names using a patented set of complex mathematical and statistical calculations , taking into consideration factors like name origin and personality traits of certain surnames."

I can personally attest that the sequel is even more powerful and revealing in the insights it provides.


Under Communism, talk of race and religion was vigorously suppressed by the Party, giving an illusion of racial and religious harmony. After all, everyone was a comrade: equal in status and dignity.

However, when the Communist Parties collapsed, hitherto hidden racial and religious tensions burst to the fore, and some countries degenerated into civil war and inter-racial/religious strife.

Pretending that problems do not exist and denouncing those who try to discuss such problems does not solve said problems, just as capping a boiling kettle does not stop the buildup of pressure. It only ensures that when the release of pressure comes, it will be spectacular and disastrous.

Propaganda Lessons are fond of giving us "lessons that we can learn from history", though oddly the lessons I learn are different from those that they want me to learn. For example the lesson they want us to learn from the Fall of Singapore in World War II is that we can only trust in ourselves for our defence, but the one I've learnt is that even a dedicated force of professionals cannot defend Singapore, so how can the demoralised and incompetent SAF, mostly made up of slave soldiers succeed? [Ed: Yeah, I know this point isn't on ground as solid as the previous one, but I'm making a pedagogical point about the credulousness of Propaganda lessons.]

However, in this case perhaps this is one lesson that we can learn from the Collapse of Communism.

[Addendum: If pretending that nothing is wrong does not result in strife, that might mean that the dangers and possibilities of said strife are inflated in the first place.]

Panelist 1: you should noe that in communist countries they have racist policies
well i think pogroms, discriminatory policies and forced relocations in the FSU

Panelist 2: if you're referring to Singapore, I disagree; I think that the means of repression has so neutered the vast majority of individuals with regards to many issues that it's not relevant.

Panelist 3 (Johnny Malkavian): pressure is there, but people will just grumble, pretty much forever.
again, you have to look at how the supression is done.
if by suppressing, you break the people's will to revolt, then it will work
the idea is to break them, not try to ignore the problem
let us look at nazi concentration camps
i'm quite sure the last thing those people will do is to try to escape

i thnk the term is.. learned helplessness
i don't know enough about the commies to know if they broke their will or not
but you asked me if suppression works, and i told you you have to look at how it's being executed

Panelist 4: it doesn't even say anything about trusting ourselves
fall of sg was mistake by churchhill
why would our leaders be any more capable than him
lesson is, even the most 'qualified' leaders cannot be trusted

Panelist 5: is there going to be an article on what makes the SAF demoralized and incompetent in comparison to the armed forces of Switzerland, Taiwan, Sweden, Israel etc..

[Ed: Guest submissions on this are welcome; I don't have the necessary skill/expertise to tackle this topic]


I tried to upgrade to the latest Omega Radeon Catalyst v2.6.0.5a (5.1) drivers but they refused to install.

So much for: "They work with ANY RADEON VIDEO CARD built/powered by ATI, including all Mobility chipsets (M6 and up). The Omega Drivers are compatible with all ATI Radeon cards (it doesn't matter if they are DDR, SDR, PCI, PCI-E, AGP, Mobile, Retail, OEM or 3rd Party)"

Attempts to reinstall my old ATI drivers have failed - now I've to reinstall them every bootup or else scrolling is painfully slow and jerky. Ah well, until I get down to formatting my laptop I can always play games without 3D graphics engines, like Civilization III or Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Or study for my mid-terms and do my essays, since it's probably too much bother to dig up the CDs for the former.

I've found a fellow Singaporean Sentai fan! Yay.


A succinct summary of why foreign students are so loathed by many native Singaporean students studying locally (no, it is not due to xenophobia):

"Why does the MM need to go all out to protect SIA? Why does IDA need to regulate the telcos? Why not have a free for all? Better still, throw money at foreign companies to compete against Singtel and SIA in Singapore, the way we throw money at foreign students by raising the fees for Singapore students.

The FT policy in Singapore doesnt give equal treatment to foreigners -- it is biased in the favour of foreigners, in particular, those from PRC. There is no need for a pass in English, pass in L2, pass in humanities and what nots. Foreigners are not required to leap through and survive the same hoops Singapore students have to, at every stage of our education.

Foreigners can enjoy generous scholarships if they do well in one subject, whilst Singaporeans with straight As but flunk their L2 are dumped in Arts faculty.

Singaporeans who break their scholarship bonds are shamed publicly. Foreigners can break their bonds and nothing is said.

When talented foreigners form 1% of the cohort, it is called a challenge. When the same single focus foreigners form 25% of the cohort, it is called crowding out.

Nobody wants to study a subject that they can only do second best in. You are going to see less and less Singaporeans doing science and engineering because of this. And since the ace foreigners leave singapore after they get their top honours, Singapore will be very short of good scientists and engineers. In turn, companies will complain, and more foreigners will come in, and the cycle repeats until the companies leave, and Singapore hollows out.

Aussie unis make BIG money from Singaporeans because we pay more fees. Singapore unis LOSE BIG money from PRC students because all of them are here on generous scholarships, and quotas are set in university hostels to accomodate them, so they dont have to suffer from the local public transport system."


Tym too attains Straits Times-free Nirvana:

"How's it do on local coverage? That runs the gamut from ribbon-cutting events by some bigshot to nonsense news, e.g. some joker cavilling about taupok in JCs or Zoe Tay's new baby (who gives a fuck?). Not much of it is hard news, even though they try to present it like it is. And as mr brown's implied in his Today column, local blogs can fill that void quite easily. So what's ST left to do?

... I've actually been ST-free for several weeks now. On the one hand, I kinda don't really know what's going on. On the other hand, my life doesn't seem to be adversely affected by it, so maybe I didn't need to know what was going on in the first place."

Attain Straits Times-free Nirvana, and you need not read about who got killed, raped, molested, knocked down by a van or conned into buying a Magic Stone.

Or read about the latest subjects that obsessive and anally-retentive idiots rant shrilly about; if you wanted to read that, there's always the Chinese Newspapers that we were (or at least I was) forced to read during Chinese lessons to find out the latest issues bothering the Chinese Community: such subjects of earth-shaking importance as the phenomenon of 避年 (Bi4 Nian2), where people who know better go overseas during Chinese New Year (evidently it did not strike the letter writers that it was the attitudes and behaviors of those such as they which pissed the people who left during Chinese New Year off). Or blogs, for that matter.

To say nothing of error-filled and illogical op-eds and naively positive spins on government policies.


New piece of Hate Mail (Not-so-calmone must be so jealous!):

"Senders email: xxx_xxx@xxx.xxx

you are the lousiest writer i have ever seen. your list is full of typos, hasty generalizations, ad hominems - every possible fallacy i can think of! it's the longest list of bullshit i have ever read!!!"

Har? I assume (s)he was referring to 'How Girls Waste Time'. (S)he had the courtesy of leaving a return email address, but my reply bounced, so maybe it was fake.


A reliable source informs me that printing at the Science Library costs 4 cents a page. Which actually makes it cheaper than printing at home, if one buys one's own paper and doesn't make double-sided printouts.

But no one wants to go down to godforsaken Science anyway, so.


Too early in the morning is 8 o'clock. I had a 8 o'clock lecture yesterday. They should make that illegal.

[On fur colour in humans] Ang Moh.

[Here we have] A monkey in alcohol looking very depressed because it was the last of its kind, and it was attacked by a dog.

Do we have a Life Science student here? Too bad. I like to torture Life Science students.

buy'lair'tear'ial symmetry (bilateral)

[On Sharks' method of shedding teeth] If I had been designed by an intelligent designer I would have had one of those.

[On a shark's jaw whose bottle was labelled saying that human remains were found in its gut] Where're the human remains?

[On a crab display] This display is mostly here because the director of the museum loves crabs. He not only studies them, he also eats them.

[On the crabby/craggy (?) rock crab] It looks like a black pepper crab.

cocoa's trees (coconut)

What other primates do we have [in Singapore]? They're annoying. People feed them. [Me: Children]

[On preserving birds] Arsenic is not there not for people to steal them (so people don't)

The British Museum used to have a Dodo... The curator cut off a head, cut off a wing: he burnt the rest... He went mad... You know museum people: *looks around shiftily*

[On Ernst Mayr] When he was 96, people were referring to him as 'the late Ernst Mayr'. They thought he was already dead, but he was still alive.

[On the perils of museum life] No dead animals coming out: *adopts zombie bunny pose* 'I'm gonna stuff you!'

There is an error in your book. I put a correction of it on the web but that correction is still not correct.
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