"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

An extract from a reading someone sent me:

"I think Deconstruction appeals to the clerisy of graduate students, who like to feel themselves superior to the laity of common readers, liberated from their shared meanings; liberated, too, from the tedious requirement of meaning as such, the official obligation to suppose that words mean something finite rather than everything or nothing. Deconstruction allows them to think of themselves as forming a cell, the nearest thing the universities can offer in the form of an avant-garde. The wretched side of this is that Deconstruction encourages them to feel superior not only to undergraduates but to the authors they are reading (The New York Review of Books, 41)."

- Ending/Closure: On Derrida's Edging of Heidegger
Some pictures my brother in law took in Crete. First of a series of 6. Those seeking a context for these pictures can read the Crete travelogue in the May archives.

I bugged him to send them to me via YouSendIt, but of course he didn't, and I only got them when I returned back at the end of July. I should've copied them to my laptop in Crete.

Reunited in the cabin of the ferry to Crete. Magiranger is on my laptop screen in the background.

Drinking from a bottle of water at the lousy self-service restaurant on the boat


Dogs creating a racket in Arhanes

On a swing in the semi-abandoned village of Ethia

In a cafe in the semi-abandoned village of Ethia

At dinner in Heraklion

At dinner in Heraklion (next day)

Being led by my guide in Malia
Tallis Scholars - Christmas Carols and Motets - Angelus ad virginem

Angelus ad virginem
Sub intrans in conclave,
Virginis formidinem
Demulcens, inquit: 'Ave!
Ave regina virginum;
Caeli terraeque Dominum
Et paries intacta
Salutem hominum;
Tu porta caeli facta,
Medela criminum.'

'Quomodo conciperem
Quae virum non cognovi?
Qualiter infringerem
Quod firma mente vovi?'
'Spiritus Sancti gratia
Perficiet haec omnia;
Ne timeas,
Sed gaudeas, secura
Quod castimonia
Manebit in te pura
Dei potentia.'

Ad haec virgo nobilis
Respondens inquit ei:
'Ancilla sum humilis
Omnipotentis Dei.
Tibi caelesti nuntio,
Tanti secreti conscio,
Et cupiens videre
Factum quod audio;
Parata sum parere,
Dei consilio.'

Eia mater Domini,
Quae pacem redidisti
Angelis et homini,
Cum Christum genuisti:
Tuum exora filium
ut se nobis propitium
Et deleat peccata:
Praestans auxilium
Vita frui beata
Post hoc exsilium

Found in the Dublin Troper ca. 1360; mentioned by Chaucer in "the Miller's Tale," Canterbury Tales.

An amusing outburst I came across last month:

Seven Bridges of Königsberg: Strangest sympathy usually comes from me

"I'm not sure about you, but I've came across the blog of this, supposed, man, who whines because he didn't like products from Malaysia, very much obviously felt the wrath of an exasperated girl (probably while drunk in self-centred egotist-misogynist glory. I can't blame the girls), and anyway still feels the urge to condemn, rebuke, and very excitedly spew ridiculous assertions, perhaps with the mindset he has all the mental capacity and artful vocabulary that sometimes is tragically mistaken for eloquence and thus can spew his thoughtless opinions around.

And hello, he preens that he had attended nyps and the raffles family of schools, but surprise surprise, doesn't have room in his cranium for a little friend called Rational Thinking. ergo, common sense.

Poor, poor man. I really do hope he finally sees the good in mankind, judging from his numerous angst-ridden bursts of uncontrolled confusion and hopelessness.

This post is dedicated to him and everyone who has ever felt that way :) Maybe one day you'll realize. If only."

I wonder if I'm the one who's supposed to be doing the realising.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Miyagi and I gave a talk at NUS this morning on and for "Representing Singapore".

It was interesting, for once, to be behind the table giving a talk rather than sitting down listening to one. If nothing else, I actually had to do my readings/research before the talk rather than after it (or not at all - shh!) Unlike Miyagi, though, I don't pay for my tracker so I don't know if, as for him, 3 (or fewer) people did their homework by clicking onto this page from the module Readings site before the talk (hurr hurr). So like him I'd like to thank the 2 wonderful lecturers Edna Lim and Philip Holden for the opportunity.

It was also fun to make fun of "The river which brings us life" and the little Ah Mahs again, 2 years later.

Inquiring, inquisitive young minds (Picture stolen from Flickr photoset)

I will just note that Miyagi observed that when compared to JC and poly kids and civil servants, NUS students are the deadest of the lot. Hurr hurr - NUS disease.
This is so ridiculous, I can't make it sound any worse than it already does.

Why do people lap this up anyway?!

When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be
bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the lamb and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The lamb sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken
soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the lamb.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

REMEMBER: EACH OF US IS A VITAL THREAD IN ANOTHER PERSON'S TAPESTRY; OUR LIVES ARE WOVEN TOGETHER FOR A REASON. One of the best things to hold onto in this world, beside God, is a friend !!!!
"Is your resume this good?"

Financial Post (Toronto)
Friday February 23, 2001

Former Marijuana Smuggler

Having successfully completed a ten year sentence, incident-free, for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States, I am now seeking a legal and legitimate means to support myself and my family.

Business Experience: Owned and operated a successful fishing business -- multi-vessel, one airplane, one island and processing facility. Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor-trailer trucks conducting business in the western United States. During this time I also co-owned and participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of US$100 million annually. I took responsibility for my own actions, and received a ten year sentence in the United States while others walked free for their cooperation.

Attributes: I am an expert in all levels of security; I have extensive computer skills, am personable, outgoing, well-educated, reliable, clean and sober. I have spoken in schools to thousands of kids and parent groups over the past ten years on "the consequences of choice," and received public recognition from the RCMP for community service. I am well-traveled and speak English, French and Spanish. References available from friends, family, the U.S. District Attorney, etc.

Please direct replies to
Box 375, National Post, Classified 1450
Don Mills, ON, M3B 3R5

Philosophy is an enterprise which has been going on for how long. Mill... Thousands of years.

[Student: ***, can you go through quesitons 13, 14 and 15?] Sure, with pleasure. Not with pleasure, but I will.

[Me: Why is there a key around your neck?]... Someone said: "Key to a 'lose your chastity' belt"... [Me: Does that key fit a lock?] Can you find me a lock that this fits? [Me: I saw these earrings. One key and one lock] Did the key fit the lock? [Me: I don't know] Why're you so concerned? [Student 2: He needs closure]

[On carbonara] I asked him for lettuce. He was totally nonplussed... I didn't expect him to put it in. [Me: Why did you ask for lettuce with your carbonara?] I want vegetables.

[Me on a sparkly white crocodile hair clip: Do you know what this is? It's been here for a while.] I thought it was yours. [Me: What the hell?] It goes with the whole rebonding thing. [Me: Right.]

[On a programming test] How can it be wrong lah? Why should I give you a wrong hint?

[Me: I haven't seen taupok in NUS before. Have you?] I stay in hall. Of course got.

[On Asian Prince] I would say that your inclusive fitness is fucked... It's a good waste of sperm propagating you... This kind of diversity in the gene pool is not good... ** - this sort of people is not good for the gene pool. Wo-hen fans, fly shaggers

[On my Asian Prince sighting wallpaper] Don't look! Don't look! It fucks with the mind!

[On a horizontal railing the shape of a MRT track] After playing tomb raider for one month, everytime you see something like this you feel like climbing it.

He says things like 'I have no problem getting girls to give me blowjobs'. [Student 2: Of course lah! He borrows all the money from people to get blowjobs.]

[On herpes] Why is it called the clap? Woo hoo! Gonorrhea! *claps* (???)

If I come up with a burger I shall call it 'Sweet Bovine Death'.

[Me: My friend said there're always been Christian moving companies.] That's true. Every since Moses Christians have been moving here and there.

Actually options are very simple. It's more complicated if you want to make it more complicated. If you want to make it simple it's simple *cries from audience*

[On Aluba] That's why you should only celebrate your birthday with female friends.

You're not sure whether you'll be hell dee (healthy)

I decided to push back the deadline by a couple of days... Just incase some people want to celebrate Halloween.

Ben Ber'nang (Bernanke)

[On Barro-Ricardian equivalence] That makes a lot of people mad.

[On a perfect model of the economy] If anybody can come up with that, he will be a rich man, not an economist.

Brad DeLong, who nowadays is pretty well known as a blogger. He's also an economist on the side.

What about the whole economy as a whole? (economy)

You can't use the term 'blacks' in the USA, you have to use the word 'African-American', but we're here, so it's okay. You have to take note of these things. Yo ucan't use the term 'J-A-P' in the US because it's considered derogatory, but here it's just short for 'Japanese'. (phrase 'African-Americans').

Have a good holiday. Have a good Hari Raya Haji. (Puasa)

[On telling a joke during his time in Engineering] More than half the students started copying, so I put this up to make fun of them. *flashes a OHT with "Ha ha, I'm making fun of you" in Chinese and presumably the same sentence in Malay and Tamil*... Lucky you all didn't copy. USP students [are more discerning]

[On engineering design vs industrial design and subjectivity] In the case of the tissue paper, all of you got full marks. (toilet)

He was thinking differently. I gave him half [a] mark. I think it was *** [Student: I didn't answer the question]

[On morals and ethics] If you ask a philosopher he will tell you a lot of things and in the end you end up where you began.

[To a student] Can you come here and I go sit there? I think you know more about the subject than I do.

The pay'r'urnts (parents)

I'm not doing so good today, so I'll let you all go... Brain freeze. To save myself more embarrassment and save you more confusion, I'm letting you go now.

I can tell you in Singapore... either people have been conditioned or there are cultural elements that makes them amenable to either censorship or circumspection (sic) of freedoms

[Student: I don't really see a correlation between watching pornography and having a pornographic mind] I know. I watched a lot of pornography *laughter from audience* when I was young.

[On spam] Now the pornography is looking for you... Last time it was pull technology... Now it's push technology. [Someone: How come I never get any?]

What do we do? I would like to take some advice from you people so I can tell the Minister when I meet him tomorrow.

Now if I brought in some pornography on this screen and there is a policeman here, he cannot arrest me... This is what I call schizophrenia. These guys are all 50 and above. They cannot understand.

We have just completed our study on blogs during the election time... Most people say technology is liberating... In the Singapore case, the number of blogs... You would've thought that for a country that is considered tech savvy - in blogging we are one of the top countries... how many people had something sensible... to say? Not even three [Ed: ?] people... We tell the government: "You are unduly worried. These people are not interested".

We have this group PAGI - Parents Advisory Group for the Internet... all fuddy-duddies like me. They have no clue... we had this program... most of the parents didn't know how to install it... the kids know. They ask the child, 'Can you install this for me?'. The moment the father turns aside, the kid uninstalls me.

[On parenting difficulties] I've seen him do this so many times. The moment I walk into the room, he does this and it's another screen.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Someone: its about this guy who wants to start up this pimping business
and he talks about how he would be successful because all men would need a place to enjoy "a nice quiet poke"

Me: pimping is not about providing a place to poke
but someone :P

Someone: i mean
he wants to start like a whorehouse of sorts la
put a prostitute into a flat etc

Me: haha
singapore has them already

Someone: its not singapore its in a play in one of my lit texts

Me:when I have a side parting it'd hard to tie my hair without it bulging up
how ah

Someone else: haha dont hve parting la.
or... use water first.

Me: some pple suggested I comb so the parting disappears
ie instead of the hair going down the sides of my head it goes over to the back
I tried it and felt like a secondary schoolgirl haha

if I put hair oil I can be a mafia gangster with the little ponytail

Someone else: haha yeah then use hair oil. xD
but without parting nicer la.
but with parting so cheeko.

Me: wth
why cheekpo

Someone else: its just cheeko, if its a guy.
and if its a girl, any parting at all is weird.

Me: ... and no parting is slimy

Someone else: no! no parting is fine. :D

Han on Sentai/PR: what do you think about pr time force?
I'm want your opinion

I'm watching ep 3 right now
they're showing it on free to air tv at this time of the night

despite the fact that PR is so damn cheesy and corny, I find myself strangely addicted

I think PR has better morphing graphics
and looks less cheesy/corny

I think PR has better morphing graphics
and looks less cheesy/corny

the red roll call for PR is more cool lah
the graphics are nice

I notice the japs like to do actions which, in other cultures, would make others consider them retards

the pink ranger's move is "cover my boobs"
while the male rangers are more a

like, hello
got boobs must cover and protect
otherwise the monster will molest

and you know what
what's up with the pink time ranger's uniform having a heart at the chest area?
the helmet also got heart

man, I feel that women in Japan seem to be bludgeoned into conforming to gender stereotypes

yeah, check out the pink time ranger's morphing move
it looks like a cross between ballet and peeing
she looks like she's squatting in mid air
"If you want to have fun at a social gathering, step inside the personal space boundary of a friend. With some practice, you can back them up around the entire room without them even being aware of what is happening."

"The next time you get a call from a telemarketer, do not hang up. Instead, stick with them a few minutes just to hear their pitch. You will probably know pretty quickly if you are dealing with a "greenie" who is reading from a script or a seasoned professional. If it's a greenie, give them a polite "no thank you" and hang up. But stick with the pro through the entire call. Why? Because now we are going to have some fun.

In the beginning of the call, talk to them in a very quick and upbeat voice, possibly somewhat higher in pitch. If they are good, they will follow right along with you, matching your tempo and pitch. If not, they are still a greenie, operating in their own little world--end the call. But if they follow along, here comes the fun. Gradually slow down your rate of speaking and lower your voice in both volume and pitch. Guess what? The true pro will follow you all the way down. Surprised? Don't be. Just as a telemarketing pro is trained to do this (and at this point may not even be conscious of what they are doing), any good marketing person does the exact same thing."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency." - Raymond Chandler


In some ways, a lot of libertarian ideology seems like faith. For a huge and startling array of problems, the root cause is somehow always traced to government intervention or regulation. If some degree of deregulation causes problems, the solution is not to reverse the deregulation, but somehow even more deregulation. If reduced government intervention means that monopolies will reign unchecked, the fact of these monopolies' existence in the first place is blamed on governmental action (when in fact many counter-examples can be raised, including the NKF in a Singaporean context, as well as natural monopolies like power distribution).

I can't think of any political system where Libertarian has been practised, so all its promised benefits are - so far at least - purely theoretical. But then the law of unintended consequences comes into play; the Laffer curve sounded like a good idea in principle (and in fact tax cuts are a cornerstone of libertarian ideology), but it plunged the US into a decade of red ink. Communism also sounded like a good idea in principle, but look how it turned out (and is turning out).

Libertarianism is predicated upon markets clearing, but the truth of the matter is that markets are imperfect. Labour is less mobile than capital, so a moderate minimum wage is not necessarily harmful; furthermore cutting the profits of capital owners is less hurtful than cutting the wages of poor laborers (it helps that perfect competition rarely holds so the costs can't all be passed on to consumers). Other problems are that people are irrational and comparative statics works well on paper but maybe not as well in practice (in giving you exact numbers) since things change all the time (one reason why policy making does not require as much mathematics as academia).

Economists like to advise that companies must restructure health/pension plans to stay solvent, but the discourse is structured in such a way that the fact that but this is tantamount to reneging on binding contracts signed with workers is not considered. Similarly, the costs of a minimum wage are assumed to be passed on to consumers, but similarly so will any punitive fines the government imposes on a company. Does this mean we shouldn't fine companies then, since they won't really 'pay' and consumers will bear the cost?

I wonder what would happen if some of the techniques of political correctness were used in those fields to manipulate the system. For example, a male in a gender studies class could claim that the field, being dominated by women, was systematically biased against him. A science student could claim that essays in literature class imposed a foreign epistemological paradigm upon him by diktat, and that the test was culturally biased and hence rubbish. A non-native speaker of English could complain that being assessed in English was inherently ethnocentric and racist.
An email I got from someone in Scandinavia:

in light of your recent blogs on parties. i think there shouldn't be fanciful names, but just plain simple names, like arts party, or NUSSU bash. no need to think of additional kinky names. instead, they should have like free condoms, like this one here which is held. take a look.

"Free entrance from 8pm
Free drinks until 10pm 4 girls & 4 those wearing costumes
Free condoms all night"

Gotta love these Europeans.
Random Playlist Song: Les introuvables de Jacqueline du Pre, disk 1 of 6: Jacqueline Du Pre, John Barbirolli - Elgar- Concerto Cello in E minor - Adagio Moderato

This is one of the few works (the only one that comes to mind at present) that has made me tear.


"Intimate, highly-concentrated and unlike any other ever written for the instrument. Pablo Casals, Paul Tortelier, Jacqueline du Pré and Yo-Yo Ma are among the cellists who have made landmark recordings of Elgar's concerto, and memorable new interpretations continue to appear. The concerto may be the work of Elgar's with the most universal appeal, but, paradoxically, it is the work of his that is most rooted in a specific moment in time.

Elgar wrote the concerto in 1919, just after the Great War. Appalled and disillusioned by the suffering caused by the war, he realized that life in Europe would never be the same after such destruction. His first reaction had been to withdraw from composition, and he wrote very little music during the war's first four years. Then, over a period of twelve months - from August of 1918 to the following August - Elgar poured his feelings into four works that rank among the finest he ever composed. The first three were chamber works in which he developed a new musical voice, more concise and subdued than his previous one. The fourth work was the Cello Concerto, Elgar's lament for a lost world."

Me: it's really a great song
consider that I'm not one for 20th century =D

Frigid Girl: haha =p elgar is different
he doesn't write screwed up songs
neither does benjamin britten

must be something in the english
i think it's called common sense

Me: haha

no britten has screwed up songs

On Winamp: A Ceremony of Carols: Westminster Cathedral Choir - Ceremony of Carols - Adam lay i-bounden

the whole of the ceremony of carols is funny
some is awful
some is ok only

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Someone: what is "non-altar"?
and what is "altar man-ism"?
how come ppl on YR don't use plain english and insist on trying to sound arty-farty smarty

Me: hmm
this is a specific concept

"Yes and I can learn to see the great and glorous Whole Picture. I can see all the men defecating and urinating in their trousers before they died at Chateau-Thierry watching their own guts fall out into their laps and screaming out of a hole that isn't a mouth anymore, as manifestations of that sublime harmony and balance which is ineffable and holy and beyond all sepech and reason. Sure, I can see that, if I knock half of my brain out of commission and hypnotize myself into thinking that the view from that weird perspective is deeper and wider and more truly true than the view from an unclouded mind. Go to the quadruple-amputee ward and try to tell them that. You speak of death as a personified being. Very well: Then I must regard him as any other entity that gets in my way. Love is a myth invented by poets and other people who couldn't face the world and crept off into corners to create fantasies to console themselves. The fact is that when you meet another entity, either it makes way for you or you make way for it. Either it dominated and you submit, or you dominate and it submits. Love? Equality? Reconciliation? Acceptance? Those are the excuses of the losers, to persuade themselves that they choose their condition and weren't beaten down into it. Love of country? Another lie; the truth is fear of cops and prisons. Love of art? Another lie; the truth is fear of the naked truth without ornaments and false faces on it. Love of truth itself? The biggest lie of all; fear of the unknown. People learn acceptance of all this and achieve wisdom? They surrender to superior force and call their cowardice maturity. It ultimately comes down to one question: Are you kneeling at the altar, or are you on the altar watching the others kneel to you?

You know, my contempt for lies has an element of the very sentimentality and foolish idealism that I have been rejecting. Perhaps I will be most effective if I never speak so honestly again."

Someone: the difficulty with talking to you is I can never tell if you're telling me something you think or you're quoting someone else

Me: notice the quotation marks?

Someone: lol
yeah lah
I know

I meant before
I was thinking whoa, this gabriel
brain working overtime man
din know he had such a poetic streak

Someone else: if you were female then no one would call you misogynistic anymore. they'd just say you were a sad bitch or something like that.

[Unrelatedly:] they were in that girl's dance nation competition.
judging by the picture from that contest, all sgp dancers know how to do is simulate sexy dance moves

Someone: haha we're all like. if you know you're ognna get your thing during obs, drink lots of cold stuff two weeks before.
so youll get it one week early.

Me: cold stuff?!

Someone: yeah! you get your period faster if you eat a lot of cold stuff yknow. and if you do so while having it then it'll last longer. and sometimes get more crampy also.

it really works haha most girls know. xD
Someone was complaining that I use too many Economics terms in real life. For example:

Friend: *shows me picture of rope bridge* Would you cross it?
Me: I'm a believer in efficient markets - if that bridge were going to break, it would've broken already.
Friend: What if you're the one to clear the market?
Me: Too bad.

In my defence, that other person was an economics major as well, and that seems to be a common and acceptable setting in which to do so. Other terms which pop up: "transaction costs", "sunk costs", "I want to clear the market" (in relation to printing at Business just on principle)

Someone: i was going to say yes. use it when i wannaa be an ass
­just like how you just demostrated

Someone else: well if entropy of system, of which logic of my conversation is a subset of, does not cross into the right hand side of the jw axis and create instability, i might...
however, true to form as engineer
i usually assume wat i cannot simplify n b as brief n as short as long as dey r nt incmprhnsble

Someone (2): it just filters out the dumbasses from ur life
for instance when i say: i think she's quite the feminist.
and the enginerd replied: that means she's the most feminine is it
no im not tryin to be proud here, but well, yeah it is interesting to use ivory-towered vocab in real life to elicit some entertaining responses

Lawyer: of course
any reasonable person would
"What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds." - Cindy Gardner


I went to the Business computer lab to print things (and enjoy 4 cent/page printing) and found a sign saying that with effect from July 1st 2006, it would be for Business students only, and access would be via matriculation cards. Why this is the case I know not, since everytime I went there in the past it was either empty or deserted. In contrast, the Arts computer lab at AS7 is always at least 2/3 full, and often during peak periods no terminals are free. Engineering and Computing also have restricted access facilities, as far as I know.

As the former Grace Quek lookalike complained: "We don't have any restricted access [facilities]. Arts - we're like a prostitute. Everyone comes in and uses us."

Someone pointed out that USP has a restricted access computer lab as well, but that's tiny and anyway there isn't 5 cent/page printing there. Hell, they exploit their own students (at least if photocopying in the Reading Room is still 5 cents/page).

In the end, rebuffed by the door at Business, I went to the library to print, only to find that the computers at level 1 had no Word or Powerpoint, and I had to go to level 2 to print my Powerpoint slides. But then I'd run out of time already, so I printed my slides at Arts in the end. Grr.

Amazon.com is described as such: "In order to cope with the Christmas rush, Amazon has far more computing capacity than it needs for most of the year. As much as 90% of it is idle at times." Looks like we've a solution for CORS downtime.

I'm told SoC has cheap colour printing at 30 cents/page, but you need to buy a package of 60 pages.

I'm told that there used to be free unofficial printing in the Cyberarts lab since there was an unsecured printer in there. Then 1 PRC spoiled the market by printing whole thick stacks of notes there. When the printer spoiled, he even had the cheek to email one of the admin staff asking him to fix it. So the printer got spirited away and now no one can use it.

It seems in one module there were 2 mid-term questions, one of which asked how long a pineapple took to mature and another asking what year the Japanese invaded. Both were multiple choice, so in the latter example 4 years in succession were given (I joked about a putative O level history MCQ asking what day the Japanese won, but truly truth is stranger than fiction). Someone whose Malaysian hometown grew pineapples got the first wrong, unfortunately.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Basically a dog person. I certainly, though, wouldn't want to offend my constituents who are cat people, and I should say that being, I hope, a sensitive person, that I have nothing against cats, and had cats when I was a boy, and if we didn't have the two dogs might very well be interested in having a cat now." - Incoming Missouri Congressman James Talent, responding to the question "Are you a dog or a cat person?"


An abhorrent case of Islamophobia:

Outrage as Muslim cleric likens women to 'uncovered meat'

"A Muslim cleric's claim that women who do not wear the veil are like 'uncovered meat' who attract sexual predators sparked outrage around Australia yesterday.

Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the nation's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women who do not wear the Islamic headdress with meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats...

Sheik al-Hilali suggested that a group of Muslim men recently jailed for many years for gang rapes were not entirely to blame.

There were women, he said, who 'sway suggestively' and wore make-up and immodest dress "and then you get a judge without mercy and gives you 65 years. But the problem, but the problem all began with who?" he said, referring to the women victims...

Women, he said, were 'weapons' used by Satan to control men."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The food posts haven't been coming, not because I haven't been cooking, but because of the reduced pace of about once a week, lack of experimentation (I almost always cook ta pao boxes either for myself or others) and because I don't sync my camera to my computer on a regular basis anymore and so taking and then posting photos is annoying.

I just made a simple Pasta Pomodoro with Smoked Garlic Pork Sausage (garlic, onion, smoked pork sausage, sun dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil). Since it's simple it has a very clean taste; perhaps too clean. I considered adding the herbs provencale I hadn't used since the ratatouille but decided against it. Using the olive oil used to preserve the sun dried tomatoes instead of normal olive oil added some of the flavour that I'm more used to in my pasta; I also added more olive oil than usual since there's no sauce - hopefully it won't be absorbed by the pasta by tomorrow. Remembering to add salt this time helped too, I think (as well as the magic ingredient - a small sprinkle of sugar). I hope it won't taste even cleaner tomorrow when I have it for lunch. Maybe I'll just stick to real sauces next time, especially for food that's not to be eaten on the spot.

2 Fridays ago I also had some chicken curry. Unfortunately it didn't turn out so well. Firstly in texture (I didn't cook the blended onions for long enough, I think) and also in taste (maybe the British curry powder is better suited to flavouring yoghurt/cream based curries than onion based curries - there was something lacking in the taste). It was also vaguely sour. But then I don't think just blended onions and a few tablespoons of milk can ever give you the richness of coconut milk/cream or even yoghurt.
Oct 19th 2006, Letters

Thinking man

SIR – The Marqués de Tamarón used an old and easily refuted argument in his attempt to defend religious faith against atheism by pointing to the godless regimes of communism and National Socialism (Letters, October 7th). He should have considered that Stalin's regime (like that of China under Mao) was based on a personality cult, and that Nazism was underpinned by a warped Nordic mythology and ideology centred on an Aryan master race. These cultish, quasi-religious qualities have little in common with atheism. Atheists believe that rationality and critical thinking serve humanity better than blind faith and religious dogma. The regimes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao did not come into being in order to defend atheism. And the horrors of communism and Nazism occurred not because these societies applied too much reason and critical thinking, rather because they did not apply enough.

Mark Eaton

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