"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

"It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power." - David Brin


The biggest problem I have with Delifrance - a French cafe that doesn't serve wine? The so-called authentic French cafe-bakery indeed. [Addendum: For those not in the know, they used to sell themselves as "the authentic French cafe-bakery". Unfortunately, as my favourite lawyer-in-training informs me, even if they'd still been using that tagline, they wouldn't be able to be sued for misrepresentation.]

Some time ago I saw this sign: "Do not sit on kerb. By order". Reminds me of when I issued orders in the name of "L/3SG Tan Ban Xiong", like closing the smoking point (which got him screwed upside down by a smoker specialist).

I now have 9,421 quotes on my homepage. I would like to hit 10,000 by the end of this semester, but this seems impossible. oh well.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Even after sending in my laptop for repair and the service staff formatting it and supposedly replacing the wireless hardware, I suffered the same old wireless reception problems in Chatterbox.

But then Abdullah advised me to install the IBM version of the Intel drivers since they were supposedly stabler and better than the ones from Intel themselves; he'd been suffering similar problems but they were solved once he installed the IBM drivers.

And so I took a step back and downgraded my Intel 2200BG PRO/Wireless Driver drivers from to, and my wireless reception problems are almost totally solved! I hereby officially declare that Abdullah is a genius.

(Being gey kiang and trying to upgrade my IBM-branded Intel drivers from to today to get rid of the last few problems I had, I screwed my system up and had to spend 2 hours fixing it because I installed the 2100 drivers instead of the 2200BG ones, but that is another story.)


Short Guys Finish Last

"Is there, then, no good news for short men? No: there is none. And if, having read this far, you do not believe that height discrimination is serious, you are no doubt a tall person in the late stages of denial. Or, perhaps, you cringe at the thought of yet another victim group lining up to demand redress. Surely the notion of SHRIMPs (Severely Height-Restricted Individuals of the Male Persuasion) as an oppressed social group is silly, and the idea of special protections or compensatory benefits for short men preposterous? Actually, no--unless all such group benefits are equally dubious."


Public Speaking Project Petition

"To: Ms Kuang Ser Yee

Dear Ms. Kuang
Due to time constraints, and the fact that there are many projects are due on the same time, and with the upcoming Common Tests, we are sad to say that all the groups in our class are not able to finish on our Public Speaking component for our CA. As such we hope that you can give us an extension or push this to CA2."


i think this is really retarded
sec 2 students.. but they're gep
gep students should know better right
can imagine the express students laughing their pants off
New blog image:

We, members of the Singapore Armed Forces, do solemnly and sincerely pledge...
"It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours." - Harry S Truman

Random Playlist Song: Michael Hoenig - Night In Cloakwood


"even though this is a rather condescending thing to say, a large number of GEP-ers now, don't well, live up to their uh title?

they can't spell. tHeY tYPe lyK dIs. they play annoying 'SUPERCOOL WANNABE PUNK ROCK' on their blogs. heck, they have really really annoying pop-ups that are TEH CLICHE, with lines like "i will nvr 4get u" & "u shattered my heart into a million pieces" & sith like that.

& they say you can't judge a person by his/her blog? my middle foot, plz.


Uhh. I don't think it used to be so bad in my time. We were just the weirdos down the corridor.


NUS CentennialBar

"The NUS CentennialBar is just a simple toolbar like that of the Bookmarks Toolbar (BT) which ships with Firefox.

The idea came when after using the BT for some time, I realised it was unsightly and inefficient to keep too many bookmarks on the BT.

So with the NUS CentennialBar, the bookmarks are arranged in a drop-down menu, so you'll never run out of horizontal space! The toolbar includes predefined links common to NUS students and you get to input the rest for your own faculty or whatever needs.

Last but not least there is also a search box that directs all searches to nus domain via google. With time to come hopefully I would be able to add in more features to improve this beta version."


Now there's a Firefox extension for NUS students. And it celebrates our centennial too!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

A sealion's flipper.

I never knew that they looked so much like hands!
There're lots of interesting bits in my Evolutionary Psychology textbook, but I'd rather spend my leisure time killing berks in Sigil, watching my Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger subs and viewing the webcast for a makeup lecture where nothing was new, so what the hell, I'll just skip to the chapter on Short Term Mating and transcribe all the juicy bits.

After all, that's what everyone loves - casual, mindless sex!

"Imagine an attractive person of the opposite sex walking up to you on a college campus and saying "Hi, I've been noticing you around town lately, and I find you very attractive. Would you have sex with me?" How would you respond? If you were like 100 percent of the women in one study, you would give an emphatic no. You would be offended, insulted or just plain puzzled by the request. But if you were like the men in that study, the odds are good that you would say yes - as did 75 percent of those men (Clarke & Hatfield, 1989). As a man you would most likely be flattered by the request. Many of the 25 percent of the men who declined the sexual offer were apologetic, citing previous commitments. The idea that men and women react differently when it comes to casual sex may not be surprising. Theories in evolutionary psychology, however, provide a principled basis for predicting this difference and for explaining its magnitude." (pp. 163)

"Men's testes size, relative to their body weight, is far greater than that of gorillas and orangutans. Male testes account for .018 percent of body weight in gorillas and .048 percent in orangutans (Short, 1979; Smith, 1984). In contrast, human male testes account for .079 percent of men's body weight, or 60 percent more than that of orangutans and more than four times that of gorillas, corrected for body size. Men's relatively large testes provide one solid piece of evidence that women in human evolutionary history sometimes had sex with more than one man within a time span of a few days... Human testicular volume is substantially smaller than that of the highly promiscuous chimpanzee, whose testes account for .269 percent of its body weight, more than three times than the percentage for men." (pp. 168)

"Men's sperm count went up dramatically with the increasing amount of time the couple had been apart since their last sexual encounter... When the couples spent 100 percent of their time together, men inseminated 389 million sperm per ejaculate, on average. But when the couples spent only 5 percent of their time together, men inseminated 712 million sperm per ejaculate, almost double the amount... It is important to note that this increase in sperm insemination upon being reunited did not depend on the time since the man's last ejaculation. Even when the man had masturbated to orgasm while away from his wife, he still inseminated more sperm on being reunited if he had been away from her a long time." (Baker & Bellis, 1995) (pp. 168)

"Another study analyzed forty-eight "private wishes" ranging from "to be with God when I die" to "to make a lasting contribution through creative work" (Ehrlichman & Eichenstein, 1992). The largest sex difference by far was found for one wish: "to have sex with anyone I choose."" (pp. 169)

"Evolutionary psychologist Martie Haselton recently found evidence for a possibly adaptation in men to facilitate the success of a short-term mating strategy: an emotional shift right after sexual intercourse (Haselton & Buss, 2001). Men with more sex partners experienced a sharp decline in how sexually attractive they found their partner immediately following intercourse, whereas neither women nor men with less sexual experience showed this decline. If further work verifies the attraction-reduction effect, it might support the hypothesis that men have yet another psychological adaptation designed to promote the success of a casual sexual strategy, one that motivates either a hasty postcopulatory departure to minimize investment in any one women or, alternatively, a roving eye within the context on an existing long-term mateship." (pp. 172)

"Forty-three percent of women but only 12 percent of men report that they never substitute or switch sexual partners during a fantasy episode. Thirty-two percent of men but only 8 percent of women report having imagined sexual encounters with more than 1,000 different partners in their lifetime. A sample male fantasy is "being the mayor of a small town filled with nude girls from 20 to 24. I like to take walks, and pick out the best-looking one that day, and she engages in intercourse with me. All the women have sex with me any time I want" (Barclay, 1973, p. 209). Numbers and novelty are key ingredients of men's fantasy lives.

Men focus on body parts and sexual positions stripped of emotional context. Male sexual fantasies are heavily visual, focusing on smooth skin and moving body parts. During sexual fantasy, 81 percent of men but only 43 percent of women focus on visual images rather than feelings. Attractive women with lots of exposed skin who show signs of easy access and no commitment are the frequent contents of men's fantasies. As evolutionary psychologists Bruce Ellis and Donald Symons observed, "The most striking feature of [male fantasy] is that sex is sheer lust and physical gratification, devoid of encumbering relationships, emotional elaboration, complicated plot lines, flirtation, courtship, and extended foreplay (Ellis & Symons, 1990, p. 544)... Women emphasize tenderness, romance and personal involvement in their sexual fantasies. Women pay more attention to the way their partner responds to them rather than to visual images of their partner (Ellis & Symons, 1990)"

"Anthropologist Thomas Gregor described the sexual feelings of Amazonian Mehinaku men in this way: "Women's sexual attractiveness varies from 'flavorless' (mana) to the 'delicious' (awirintya)..." (1985, p. 84). Furthermore, Gregor notes that "sad to say, sex with spouses is said to be mana, in contrast to sex with lovers, which is nearly always awirintyapa" (Gregor, 1985, p. 72)." (pp. 175)

"The number of sperm a woman retains is also linked with whether she is having an affair. Women time their adulterous liaisons in a way that is reproductively detrimental to their husbands. In a nationwide sex survey of 3,679 women in Britain, all women recorded their menstrual cycles as well as the timing of their copulations with their husbands and, if they were having affairs, with their loves. It turned out that women having affairs appeared to time their copulations, most likely unconsciously, to coincide with the point in their menstrual cycle when they were most likely to be ovulating and hence were most likely to conceive (Baker & Bellis, 1995). Furthermore, women who are having affairs are more likely to be orgasmic with their affair partner than with their regular partner. (see Buss, 2003)." (pp. 177)

"The absence of a father while growing up has been reliably linked with the pursuit of a short-term mating strategy. Among the Mayan of Belize and the Ache of Paraguay, for example... Other studies of both women and men have found that those growing in father-absent homes are more likely to reach puberty sooner, to engage in sexual intercourse earlier, and to pursue a short-term mating strategy (e.g., Ellis, McFadyen-Ketchum, Dodge, Pettis, & Bates, 1999; Surbey, 1998). Intriguingly, one study found that stepfather presence, even more than biological father absence, may be the critical factor promoting early sexual maturation in girls - a likely precursor to the pursuit of a short-term mating strategy (Ellis & Garber, 2000)... Finally, poor attachment to one's parents was linked to a higher likelihood of reading pornography among women, and predicted sexual promiscuity for both sexes (Walsh, 1995, 1999)." (pp. 183-184)

"The fact that premarital adolescent sexual experimentation is tolerated and even encouraged in some cultures, such as the Mehinaku of Amazonia (Gregor, 1985), provides a clue that short-term mating is related to one's stage in life." (pp. 184)

"For women, however, self-esteem proved to be a highly significant predictor of short-term mating. Women scoring low on self-esteem, relative to their high self-esteem counterparts, tended to have a greater number of sex partners since puberty, a greater number of sex partners over the past year, a greater number of one-night stands, a preference for short-term sexual relationships, and scores on the SOI indicating the pursuit of a short-term mating strategy." (pp. 185)

(All quotes from David M. Buss, Evolutionary Psychology - the New Science of the Mind, Second Edition, 2004)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Seen around: "Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake a whole relationship."


I'm not sure what to make of this:

the blog of daniel, the paedophile on bus 156, junction 8...

"to RI boys

hello RI boys

in case you didn't know, i'm uncle daniel, the one you refer to as the bishan gay or whatever. i'm not gay, i'm a paedophile. firstly an intro about me. i'm a sick shit who likes to sit at kfc or delifrance or once in a while macdonalds. i pretend to write assessment books, but what i'm actually doing is hanging around to stare at you guys. if i'm free i also like to tail some of you home. i used to teach geog in your school till i got jailed for molestation. but i don't regret it because it was worth it. now i have grown old and i am content just to sit around and smile. i am instantly recognisable through my spectacle bands, suitcase, discman and of course my trademark smile. hope to see you soon once school reopens after your ilearning."


[Addendum: Since they don't make RI boys like they used to, let me state:

1) I am not the Bishan gay
2) The above quoted bit is from a spoof blog, most certainly set up by an RI boy, in the name of the Bishn gay.
3) I have never seen the Bishan gay in real life and don't know anything beyond what I read and what people tell me.

- Sunday, 11th May, 2008]
A report from a representative I sent down to the VCF talk last Wednesday: "Is it true...? Debunking the myths of Christianity" (the title actually makes it sound like an anti-Christian talk):

Representative: Not as well as I had hoped, the guy that I was with thought that the speaker wanted to beat me up or something
I was terribly frustrated towards the end and I think it showed

Not much, standard arguments...very standard apologetics. Gosh, with the amount of interpretation that he did, the bible could prove anything you wanted

yeah...you should have been there. Would have been more useful. I just realise that I could make a fantastic fundamentalist =P The highlight of the entire thing was when I used Hebrew to demonstrate why the creation myth of Genesis 1 was meant to be read literally

why the 6 days of genesis is a literal 6 days.

Me: but were these the "the earth is <10,000 years old" type?

R: Oh no...which is really good. They belong firmly in the metaphor and apologetics camp

Apparently the word yom in genesis wasn't just that. It was followed by 3 other hebrew words which clearly meant night and day. Hence night and day, god created this etc. This is especially so when Hebrew has like 3 different characters for epoch.

Me: ah I dimly recall this
tell me more

R: But I don't think my conduct was entirely examplery...nor too convincing unfortunately

I've decided that attending suchs talks as those held by VCF are a necessary evil
Someone needs to keep them honest. I mean the crowd there was docile and eating up everything the speaker was saying

Me: hahahaha
were you the only one?

ok we shall notify each other of upcoming ones

R: yeah
small crowd with the president of VCF nodding away at everything...

Me: wah
when I went last year there were 2-3 other skeptics

R: Lunch time talk....the rational and logical person would be having lunch
Since skeptics = rational and logical, egro they wouold be having lunch. THUS they would not have been there

Me: hahahahhahahaha

eh last year it was lunch time too

R: Then maybe they left it up to me...=P
*Shrugg*...either that or they were turned away at the door

I wonder if I can attend any of these talks anymore =P

Me: haha
let's find out next time :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it." - Edith Sitwell

Random playlist song: 大海啊故乡 (中国军魂军歌试听中心 www.junhun.cn)





When I was young, my mother told me,
That the sea was my home
Being born by the sea, growing up in the sea

The ocean, the ocean
Is where I grew up
The sea breeze blows, and the waves lap
With me, it flows in every directions

The ocean, the ocean
Is just like mother
No matter where in the world I travel
She's always by my side

Ocean, oh hometown
Ocean, oh hometown
My hometown, my hometown

Inevitably, something is lost in translation, but this isn't too bad, I think, especially since I had help from Xephyris, the expert in translating songs from East Asian languages to English.

Another of Wu Yi's pieces. What can I say, folk songs can be soothing to listen to.

The recording's a bit muffled, and I'm quite sure I heard them pronounce it as "The ocean is the place where I grew longer".

I found this on mp3.baidu.com, which has just improved. Last time it searched the whole search string as a phrase, and even doing a +"foo" +"bar" didn't help. Now I think it works like a normal search engine, and interprets each term in the search string as separate.


Dashing young priests turn heads at Youth Day - "Father Jonathan Meyer, wearing sunglasses and a sleek black cassock and clutching a crucifix, replicates Keanu Reeves' pose in the film "The Matrix" for a recruitment poster. "It has been a complete success...It is a striking image which meets young people were they are at," said 28-year-old Meyer, who manages youth work in the diocese of Indianapolis. "I know I am hanging in a few girls' bedrooms too, but that's fine -- we need their prayers for more priests," he said."

Stripper stabs man who refused lap dance - "An angry San Diego topless dancer pulled out a knife and stabbed a customer after he refused a lap dance, police said on Thursday. Lawanda Dixon, 24, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon shortly after the altercation with 33-year-old Melik Jordan at the Dream Girls Cabaret early on Wednesday, San Diego police Det. Gary Hassen said."

God Hates Shrimp - "Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, all these are an abomination before the Lord, just as gays are an abomination. Why stop at protesting gay marriage? Bring all of God's law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver's and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye's shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants."

Sri Lanka Cabinet reduces the age of consent for sexual encounters to 13 years - "Cabinet spokesperson Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the action has been taken due to rising numbers of men arrested for sexual relations with girls below the age of 16."
60 signs of a True-Blue Singaporean

1. Thanks to SMS, you have an extra large thumb.

2. Tks 2 SMS, u oso dun no how 2 spel n e mor.

3. You pat MRT and bus seats to cool them before you sit down.

4. At lunch, you start discussing what to eat for dinner.

5. Your wedding photos include shots of you dressed up like Louis XIV, Michael Jackson, or Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic.

6. When speaking to foreigners, you somehow feel a need to adopt an accent. (If you're a DJ, this happens even when you’re not speaking to foreigners.)

7. You won't raise your voice to protest policies, but you’ll raise your fists to whack someone over Hello Kitty.

8. You're forever talking about businesses you want to set up but will probably never get around to starting.

9. You don't know 3/4 of the people attending your wedding.

10. You separate food into 2 basic groups: 'heaty' and 'cooling'.

11. You're never completely sure how many times you’ve sung the second verse of the National Anthem.

12. You think that what makes you 'married' is not the legal registration but whether you’ve thrown a 12 course dinner.

13. You marry for the real estate breaks.

14. You have kids for the tax advantages.

15. You move to where you want your child to go to school.

16. You feel you can't walk around naked in your own flat.

17. You force your children to take Speech & Drama classes, but pray they won't wind up in Arts later on.

18. You suddenly realize you're very interested in biotech - just like you suddenly realized three years ago that you were very interested in e-commerce, and before that, engineering, and before that, medicine and law.

19. You think being an entrepreneur is setting up a bubble tea/Portuguese egg tart/gao luck/porridge shop right next to an existing bubble tea/Portuguese egg tart/gao luck/porridge shop.

20. You think people are inconsiderate when they don't leave their table immediately after eating at the food court but think you have every right to take 25 bites to finish the last red bean in your ice kachang.

21. You find it impossible to make suggestions without drawing a fishbone chart first.

22. If you're a guy, whenever you get together with your guy friends, you invariably trade army stories.

23. If you're a girl, whenever you get together with your girl friends, you invariably trade stories about how your stupid guy friends are forever trading army stories.

24. You think the most important sporting event in Singapore this year was David Beckham switching from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

25. You somehow feel that food tastes better when eaten by a longkang.

26. It actually makes a difference to you being called an 'NSMan' rather than a 'Reservist'.

27. You've eaten more times at the Esplanade than you've actually seen shows there.

28. You need campaigns to tell you how to be courteous, to flush toilets, have sex, etc.

29. When you visit the Zoo, you wonder what the animals taste like.

30. You feel the urge to add the suffix '-polis' to everything, viz. Biopolis, Airtropolis, Fusionopolis, Entrepolis, etc.

31. You always feel oddly hungry at 11 pm, and are willing to drive to far away places for supper.

32. You meet in hotels a lot.

33. Your children have a rudimentary knowledge of Tagalog or Bahasa Indonesia.

34. You work at McDonald's when you’re old rather than young.

35. You'll gladly spend $50,000 on a car, but will go to great lengths to save a few bucks on
ERP charges or even a few cents on a parking coupon.

36. Pork floss and mayonnaise on bread is a completely natural combination to you.

37. If you're pregnant, you have the strange ability to make people on the MRT fall asleep instantly.

38. You ask for the bill by miming a signing movement.

39. You've started referring to foreign employees as 'talent' instead of 'expatriates'.

40. At the dinner table, you're always discussing which other food places serve better versions of what you’re eating.

41. You copy down licence plate numbers of cars involved in accidents.

42. You think your boyfriend doesn't really love you unless he gives you part of his liver.

43. During sales, you book hotel rooms near malls to enable you to shop more efficiently.

44. You pronounce the letter 'R' as 'ah-rer' and the letter 'H' as 'haytch'.

45. No matter how old you are, you keep associating people with their secondary schools. (alternative: No matter how old you are, you secretly need to know what other people got for their PSLE, O levels and A levels.)

46. You’re always on a quest for the definitive version of your favourite local dish.

47. When you explain things to people, you keep (a) using alphabets, and (b) speaking in point form.

48. You believe that you can generate 'creativity' through rules and committees.

49. You 'chope' a seat by placing a packet of tissues on the chair.

50. You’re very forthright with your criticisms of the Gahmen, unless there’s a chance they might actually hear you.

51. You diligently track the whereabouts of your favourite hawkers, i.e..you know that the famous Tiong Bahru Bao is now in Jurong, the famous Outram Char Kuay Teow is now in Hong Lim Centre and the famous Lau Hock Kien Hokkien mee from the old Lau Pa Sat is now at Beach Road.

52. Your mother probably can’t speak your 'mother tongue'.

53. You’d rather drink your own pee than pay someone more for water.

54. You secretly find that the best part of the Speak Good English Movement is hearing the Singlish bits in their ads.

55. You have an automatic sensor in your head which categorizes people you meet into stayer/ quitter, cosmopolitan/heartlander, normal/ express/ gifted, etc.

56. You think we’re living in a modern, sophisticated country even when our leaders still insist on wearing their school uniforms.

57. You wish your constituency is in a walkover, because otherwise it’s damn 'leceh'.

58. During elections, you decide that there is no credible opposition even though you don’t know the name of the opposition candidate in your constituency.

59. You think having a constitution is like the condition you get when you don’t eat enough fibre.

60. You can never quite remember what “the core values” of Singaporeans are
bouncing off walls informs me that I'm mentioned on Radio Singapore International (RSI):

Student Blogs

"Does John have any blogs on his list of must-reads?

JA: I like Gabriel Seah, or gssq.blogspot.com. He's kind of a resident cynic of sorts. I enjoy reading his posts because they are all anti-establishment. I enjoy all the controversial points of view, going through all the sites, in black and white, and the gray parts in between."

Verily, I am amused.


Leung Kwok-hung - "Leung Kwok-hung..., also known as Long Hair... is best known for his long, shoulder length hair and nearly always wearing a T-shirt with the image of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Leung said he will not cut his hair until the government of People's Republic of China apologizes about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989."
Another of the mysteries of life is solved.
More Quotes:

[On a lecturer] He shouldn't teach at all. His English is so bad. He should go back and learn English before teaching.

Re-riding problem (freeriding)

kidney problem (TV program)

*Pulls my hair* Don't be angry. Later I'll let you pull my ponytail.

This cannot be choo (true)

the mungle utility (marginal)

only and only if (if)

in j / jair (agent j)

Glues Clarks (Groves-Clarke)

Goose Clark (Groves-Clarke)

Marsh equilibrium (Nash)

To tell you the truce (truth)

jack (J)

seeker ma (sigma)

Why do we need to observe flies mating to study sexual selection? Just go to the Arts Canteen.

farm (firm)

labour market and good market (goods)

No school ever had the slogan 'The Worst is Yet to Be', yet it is as true and as unfalsifiable as 'The Best is Yet to Be'... 'The Best is Yet to Be' is a triumph of optimism over pessimism. It has no rational basis.

[On a confused enquiry] I'm concerned. I'm paid to be concerned... Students are not meant to graduate confused.

In doing questionnaire studies, you always need to make allowances for those who either wilfully, or because they were half asleep, or drunk, or tired, or gave it to their maid to fill in... There's always noise in the data.

[On abuse] Their boss is always picking on them, so they whack the wife, the wife whacks the kid, the kid kicks the cat. Something like that.

[On infanticide resulting from post-natal depression] I don't know, but I would like to know if it makes the mother feel worse. As a biologist I think it will make her feel better. As a social scientist I think it will make the mother feel worse.

[On the mid-semester break] Next week is your break so-called 'week'

[On mass consciousness] The revolution never happened. Some say that, in some places, it did. I wouldn't want to live in Cuba or North Korea though.

In Singapore, power is concentrated. Can I say [this]? I'm a foreigner. What can they do to me?

What does Marx think about political emancipation? It's like a quiz show. 'Contestant! What does Marx think of political emancipation?'

[On Marx] Even though he goes in a huge round, talking crap and confusing all of his readers...

Bring out your readings. So even if you didn't do your reading you can pretend to underline.

[On Marx] For crap like this... 20% of the material matters. 80% is crap. Just read the first paragraph, the last paragraph... read the first sentence, the last sentence.

In the Philippines, they have these prayer rallies. These are not attended by the middle class. The pastor will ask: 'Who doesn't have a job?' A thousand people will raise their hands. The pastor will say: 'Tomorrow you will get a job'. The next day 2 of them get a job, and they go 'Hallelujah!' Two out of a thousand.

For Durkheim, the Totemic Principle underlied the distinction between Sacred and Profane (underlay)

[On the end of lecture buzzer] Oh goodness. That's so harsh. It's like I've done something wrong, isn't it?

[On linear regression] Our task is to find the green line. If you don't know what you are doing, then I don't know what to say.

At the end of the task book (textbook)

point five t (two)

the colour that corresponds to (column)

in other whirl (words)

[On the meaninglessness of the slope coefficient when regressing onto a binary variable] D equals to 1 for a male and D equals to 0 for a female... You talk about changing the feminits, the masculinits... It has no meaning. (gender)

[On taking my non-hair tie rubber bands every week] You are my rubber band commander.

I want to use this new miracle example (numerical)

Today is an exceptionally hot day. The girls' skirts are getting higher and higher. [Other student: Maybe it's because the skirts are high] It's mating season.

It's very simple. I expect you to know it. It's not simple. It's simple because I expect you to know it.

[On the mid-semester break] I don't know why, but some chap decided to put a week from Sunday to Thursday. You get a break, but you don't get a break from me.

[Flashes slide on 'How to Study'] First, you ask yourself how you learn best. Don't copy please! I'm not going to test you on this! [Ed: NUS students...]

[On reading the textbook/notes before the lecture] Or do you prefer the excitement, not finding out beforehand? *laughs from audience* It's not a joke! I'm like that.

[To the end of lecture buzzer] Shut up.

loin x (ln)

If we don't server'sify (specify)

That's why copyright is very important (property rights are)

the street line (straight)

any vinegar (villager)
Previously quoted:

"Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanour. Philosophers stretch the meaning of words until they retain scarcely anything of their original sense. They give the name of ‘God’ to some vague abstraction which they have created for themselves; having done so they can pose before all the world as deists, as believers in God, and they can even boast that they have recognized a higher, purer concept of God, notwithstanding that their God is now nothing more than an insubstantial shadow and no longer the mighty personality of religious doctrines. Critics persist in describing as ‘deeply religious’ anyone who admits to a sense of man’s insignificance or impotence in the face of the universe, although what constitutes the essence of the religious attitude is not this feeling but only the next step after it, the reaction to it which seeks a remedy for it. The man who goes no further, but humbly acquiesces in the small part which human beings play in the great world -- such a man is, on the contrary, irreligious in the truest sense of the word."

- Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion.

There are 2 schools of thought in dealing with cases when religion conflicts with logic, rationality, science and reality. One is to pretend that said conflicts do not exist and to either paper over or ignore them, or to undertake contortionist feats that even an escapologist would be proud of and proclaim that 1 + 1 = 3. My contentions with such approaches have previously been explored at length.

The other school of thought is to abstractify religion, treat it as figurative, metaphorical or symbolic, or to segue into a modern, politically-correct variant of the "all religions are the same" spiel. The above extract crystallises the problems with such an approach, and I will add that this perverts the original meaning of religion.


Natures and Cultures of Cuteness

"The biologist Stephen Jay Gould has argued that Mickey's progressive juvenilization - what is known as neoteny - moved toward the features of his young nephew Morty. This was accomplished by an increase in eye size, head length and cranial vault size; Mickey's arms and legs and snout were thickened, his legs jointed, and his ears were moved back. This growth toward childhood, Gould contends, represents the "unconscious discovery" by Disney and his artists of the biological principles outlined by Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz [Ed: Infant/baby schema; Kindchenschema]. The attributes of cuteness described by Lorenz and other ethologists are the very features of infancy acquired by Mickey. These attributes are said to trigger "innate releasing mechanisms" of caring and the related affective responses of adults to children. A cute Mickey is more affectively involving, and more saleable, than a jealous, wisecracking rodent with a pointy snout. For this reason, Gould thinks, "the magic kingdom trades on a biological illusion - our ability to abstract and our propensity to transfer inappropriately to other animals the fitting response we make to changing form in the growth of our own bodies.

... Ultimately, I want to consider the representations of animals used by National Geographic Magazine  [henceforth NGM] to elicit reader involvement in the National Geographic Society's [henceforth NGS] work. I am arguing that popular participatory science of the kind found in NGM cultivates cuteness in order to encourage specific kinds of involvement with the animals reproduced in its pages."


The Panopticon - "The Panopticon ("all-seeing") functioned as a round-the-clock surveillance machine. Its design ensured that no prisoner could ever see the 'inspector' who conducted surveillance from the privileged central location within the radial configuration. The prisoner could never know when he was being surveilled -- mental uncertainty that in itself would prove to be a crucial instrument of discipline."

I feel distinctly cheated. All my life, Singaporean secondary school mathematics teachers had led me to believe that this symbol: was pronounced as "teeter". Now I discover that it's the Greek letter Theta, and "teeter" is the Singaporean mispronunciation of the British variant pronunciation.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"The biological irony of the double standard is that males could not have been selected for promiscuity if historically females had always denied them opportunity for expression of the trait." - Robert Smith


Adolescents' age preferences for dating partners: support for an evolutionary model of life-history strategies.

"The tendency for women to prefer older partners, and for men to prefer younger partners, has frequently been explained in terms of socialization to American sex-role norms specifying that men must be older and more powerful than their female partners. However, recent cross-cultural data reveal this same pattern in all societies studied, a finding more in line with an evolutionary life-history model. The evolutionary model assumes that what is attractive to males is not youth, per se, but features related to fertility. This perspective leads to a hypothesis concerning the development of age preferences among adolescents: teenage males should violate the normative pattern shown in adult males and express interest in females older than themselves. 209 teenagers (103 males, 106 females) ranging in age from 12 to 19 were surveyed regarding the age limits they would find acceptable in a dating partner, as well as the age of a dating partner they would find ideally attractive. Although teenage males were willing to date girls slightly younger than themselves, they indicated a much wider range of acceptability above their own ages, and also reported that their ideally attractive partners would be several years older than themselves. Preferences of teenage females were similar in pattern to those of adult females, ranging, on average, from their own age to several years older. When combined with the consistent adult data obtained from numerous cultures, these data suggest the utility of viewing the development of sex differences in mate preference from the perspective of an evolutionary life-history model."

This also looks fun: Does women's hair signal reproductive potential?

"This study explores the possibility that women's hair signals their reproductive potential. Evolutionary psychology and related approaches are considered as rationales for the belief that women's hair is a signal for mate selection and attraction. A sample of women were approached in public places and surveyed as to their age, hair quality, marital status, hair length, children, and overall health. A Significant correlation between hair length and age indicated that younger women tend to have longer hair than older women. Hair quality was correlated with women's health. Consistent with the principle of intersexual selection, the results of this study indicate that hair length and quality can act as a cue to a woman's youth and health and, as such, signify reproductive potential. Future directions for research on women's hair are discussed."
More saddening feats of intellectual suicide:

A: we do have to acknowledge that not all the writings in the ancient scriptures are conducive / friendly towards religious harmony. Maybe religion itself is anti-religious harmony. One big problem for religions harmony is that intolerence itself is deeply institutionalised, so the only thing for practicers of faith to do in our day and age is to decide for themselves what and what not to believe.

So I think you can pick and choose which part of the bible to believe in and still be a good Christian.

B: Let me put it this way: to be a good Christian, one has to believe in the whole Bible, not just part of it.

Me: Do you believe that slavery is acceptable?

B: The Bible does not explicitly condone or condemn slavery. Remember, slavery as practised within the Mosaic Covenant and slavery in the modern world are quite different.

Read Deuteronomy 15:12-15. Being a slave does not mean slave for life.

"If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today." (Deuteronomy 15:12-15)

Me: That's for Hebrew slaves. Taking slaves from other races/peoples was condoned, and in many situations instructed by Jehovah:

Joshua 9:21-27
2 Samuel 8:2-4
Psalm 2:8-9
Psalm 149:5-8
Jeremiah 21:9-13
Zechariah 14:1-2

B: Joshua 9:21-27
"... woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community."
- When is the profession of woodcutters and water carriers the equivalent of being slaves?

2 Samuel 8:2-4
"Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute."
- Becoming subjects of King David is not the same as becoming slaves.

Psalm 2:8-9
"Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession."

- Please read the verse in context. This verse is a reference to the Covenant of Redemption, the covenant between God the Father and God the Son.

Psalm 149:5-8
"to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron."
- This is a psalm, which speaks of punishment for the evil nations. No where in this psalm did it imply that the kings and nobles would be the prisoners or slaves of Israel. Please refer to Deuteronomy 9:4-6 to get a better picture.

Jeremiah 21:9-13
"Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life."
- I do not see any relevance to slavery at all. The city is a reference to the southern kingdom of Judah which was under attack by the Babylonians. This is in fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy that the people of Israel will be exiled (refer to Isaiah 40).

Zechariah 14:1-2

"I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city."

- Again, this is a prophecy concerning the southern kingdom of Judah. The people of Israel would be taken into exile.

Me: Actually if you want to play the context game biblical literalism falls to bits. For example, Isaiah doesn't talk about a virgin birth for the Messiah, but for some woman living in that time period. Besides which, it translates as "a young woman will conceive" rather than "a virgin will conceive".

Even if you don't want to use KJV (as I do):

Joshua 9:21-27
"... woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community."
- When is the profession of woodcutters and water carriers the equivalent of being slaves?

When you are woodcutters and water carriers for eternity:
Joshua 9:23 - You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."

2 Samuel 8:2-4
"Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute."
- Becoming subjects of King David is not the same as becoming slaves.

No, but considering the context of the verse, when you put 2/3 of a populace to death you're going to enslave the rest, so the translation is disingenuous.

Psalm 2:8-9
"Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession."
- Please read the verse in context. This verse is a reference to the Covenant of Redemption, the covenant between God the Father and God the Son.

Context? What does ruling with an iron scepter and dashing pottery have to do with this then?

Psalm 149:5-8
"to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron."
- This is a psalm, which speaks of punishment for the evil nations. No where in this psalm did it imply that the kings and nobles would be the prisoners or slaves of Israel. Please refer to Deuteronomy 9:4-6 to get a better picture.

You bind people in fetters and shackles and they're not slaves? Okay, whatever floats your boat.

Jeremiah 21:9-13
"Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life."
- I do not see any relevance to slavery at all. The city is a reference to the southern kingdom of Judah which was under attack by the Babylonians. This is in fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy that the people of Israel will be exiled (refer to Isaiah 40).

In a historical context, surrendering would mean becoming a slave.

Actually if you want to play the context game biblical literalism falls to bits. For example, Isaiah doesn't talk about a virgin birth for the Messiah, but for some woman living in that time period. Besides which, it translates as "a young woman will conceive" rather than "a virgin will conceive".

If you study the Bible, you would know that many Old Testament prophecies has double fulfillment; one that would take place in the present and one that would take place in the future. As for Isaiah 7:14, this article "Did Isaiah Prophesy the Virgin Birth of Christ?" provides an excellent explanation.

Even if you don't want to use KJV (as I do)

Actually, I use many Bible translations. When I use the KJV, I occasionally refer to the Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionary, Thayer's Greek Definitions and Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions for greater clarity. However, for the sake of communicating effectively with others here, I refrain from KJV usage and resort to the NIV translation.

When you are woodcutters and water carriers for eternity:
Joshua 9:23 - You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."

Being cursed does not necessarily makes one a slave. Take for instance, Cain. "Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand." (Genesis 4:11) Joshua 9:23 is like saying, "You are cursed to be a software engineer for Microsoft for eternity."

No, but considering the context of the verse, when you put 2/3 of a populace to death you're going to enslave the rest, so the translation is disingenuous.

Nowhere does the verse say "enslave the rest." The verse says "brought tribute." If you know your history, there were many nations surrounding China that brought tribute to the Emperor of China. Bringing tribute does not make these nations slaves. They were simply recognizing the Emperor's power.

Context? What does ruling with an iron scepter and dashing pottery have to do with this then?

Read Psalm 2:7. "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.'" Psalm 2:8-9 is God the Father speaking to God the Son.

According to the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, "His enemies shall be subject to His terrible power (Job 2:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:8), as His people to His grace (Psalm 110:2-3)." The iron scepter denotes severity (Revelations 2:27), while "dashing pottery" describe utter destruction.

You bind people in fetters and shackles and they're not slaves? Okay, whatever floats your boat.

"Fetters and shackles" does not necessarily mean slaves. In the context of the psalm, it likely mean prisoners of war.

In a historical context, surrendering would mean becoming a slave.

Do you know who was surrendering to who? The verse speaks of the Israelites surrendering to the Babylonians. The Israelites were once slaves in Egypt. This does not mean God endorses slavery. If you study the Bible, you would know that God delivered them out of Egypt. In the same way, the Israelites were not in exile forever. They did came back to their land after 70 years of exile.

Me: I could roll up my sleeves and descend into this morass, but this is getting nowhere and more importantly, frankly I'm getting bored.

Just as an example, let me raise this point:

You bind people in fetters and shackles and they're not slaves? Okay, whatever floats your boat.

"Fetters and shackles" does not necessarily mean slaves. In the context of the psalm, it likely mean prisoners of war.

Come, now. In historical times victorious armies did not take POWs. If people were not massacred and were in fetters and shackles, they were slaves. This was long before the Geneva Convention.

Furthermore, even if I were to humour you and assume they were POWs, that does not mean they were not slaves. The Japs used POWs to build the Burma Railroad and other things - is this not slavery?

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck - then it must be the god of apologetics.
"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories." - John Wilmot


Some people seem to think that laughing at a joke degrades, debases or otherwise defiles the subject of the joke. I think it is more true to say that when we laugh at jokes, we recognise that they aren't always true.

I contend that almost all jokes have both an element of truth and an element of falsehood. The contradiction inherent and the tension between these 2 conflicting yet codependent elements generates the humour of a joke.

Puns and corny jokes are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but then they all suck, so they're not counted.


Maim That Tune - Detune your head - "Are you plagued by Stuck Tune Syndrome? Do you have a tune stuck in your head you just can't get out? Take heart friend, for your suffering is over. The Maimograph Machine, through complex analysis and calculation, will find an even catchier tune to counter-act the one you already have."


"Scientists in Japan, long on the cutting edge of shiny, beepy, useless things, are working furiously to evolve our more complicated robots take on such human tasks as the fabulous fan dancing, walking in a circle and of course playing trumpet."

- The Daily Show

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I am the guy who kills memes (and this one for more than one reason).

Addendum: I'm That Salesman: "I'm the salesman you said I wasn't listening to your needs. I'm the salesman you neglected, and added that my company's profit margin is unbelivably high, and I'm making a huge sum out of you when I'm only earning $20 per set. I'm the salesman you referred to as not paying attention to your needs because you didn't know that I was busy with my other customers."

(For those who catch no ball: We're that blogger)
Friend on it raining cats and dogs on the morning of the DBS NUS Heritage Run (ie now): "Damn.Even god doesn't want heritage run to be held"


It seems the Digital Life article featuring me has been archived on NUS's Media Coverage page. Given that unlike the rest of the stories there, that particular one had nothing to do with NUS except for mentioning that I study there, why this is so is puzzling.

Interestingly, only Straits/Sunday Times articles are archived there, so maybe they have an agreement with them to archive articles mentioning NUS on their site. Either that or no one subscribes to Lianhe Zaobao.
"With Epcot Center the Disney corporation has accomplished something I didn't think possible in today's world. They have created a land of make-believe that's worse than regular life." - P. J. O'Rourke

Random Playlist Song: Bach - Concerto for 3 harpsichords D minor BWV.1063 - 02 - Allegro


Someone: anyway, take this the suffering [core economics modules] u have to go thru to do the good stuff.

Me: what good stuff
more maths ah


Someone: macro is actuallyvery fun
maybe your lecturer got carried away with her phd education
econs phds are very mathematical


The new Friendster layout displays very clearly what the relationship status of the person whose profile you're viewing is.

Tsk tsk, as if it wasn't obvious enough.

Why do people always choose black and white photographs for their funeral pictures, looking so sombre and formal in them?

For my putative funeral, I want to have a colour photo of me doing something wacky.
It's how I wish to be remembered.

(Then again, someone informs me that she's never seen black and white photos at funerals, and sometimes the people are smiling. Hmm.)

Since truffles are located/dug up by pigs or dogs, does that make them haram?


Catholic Church recruits more student exorcists

"Applications are invited for exorcism training at the Vatican's Rome university, the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum. The 10-week course includes sessions in exorcism rites, how to talk to the Devil, the tricks he uses to fight back and signs of the occult hidden in rock music and video games.

Students also attend classes in psychology so that priests can distinguish between "real cases" of satanic possession and illnesses such as schizophrenia."
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