When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hilarious song whose lyrics I saw in Gail's profile:

Silk Stockings - Satin and Silk

Peggy Dayton:
Since my trips have been extensive ev'rywhere
I've become a much wiser gal,
For I've noticed that expensive underwear
Can improve a gal's morale.

It is strange how lovely lingerie
Can affect a gal's false modesty
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.

Though she knows that boys are evil imps
Yet she yearns to give those boys a glimpse
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.

You cannot expect a lady to exert that certain pull
If she's wearing cotton stockings
And her bloomers are made of wool,
But a woman's woes are at an end
And she's all prepared to make a friend
If she's wearing silk and satin,
She's for pettin' and for pattin'
If she's wearing silk and satin, satin and silk.

It is strange what undergarments do
To convert a maiden's point of view
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.
She will never say her pride was hurt
Should a breeze blow by and lift her skirt
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.

You cannot expect a debutante
To show she's full o' pep
If her slip is made of cotton
And her panties are made of rep,
But she feels much more self-confident
And will dine alone with any gent
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Give her broccoli au gratin,
If she's wearing silk and satin, satin and silk.

Though a gal may have been born a prude
She can quite reverse her attitude
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.

With attractive trimmin's 'neath her dress,
She can shake like hell and spell success
If she's wearing silk and satin,
Satin and silk.

You cannot expect a burlesque queen
To cherish further hope
If her bra is made of buckram
And her G-string is made of rope,
But she knows 'cause she has traveled miles
She can always lay 'em in the aisles
If she's wearing silk and satin,
She can flatten Lord Mountbatten,
If she's wearing silk and satin, satin and silk.

Dilbert and Coffee

(alt link)
(4th October 1994)

Dilbert: How's the job going, Anne?
Anne: Much better, now that I've given up sleep, exercise and nutrition in favor of coffee.
Dilbert: Any adverse effects?
Anne: This is the aorta of the last person who asked me that.

This is one of my favourite Dilbert strips.

(Dedicated to 'Trenchcoat' Chris)

Keywords: Drip, IV

Friday, September 14, 2007

Suggested title on a section on how Proton tak boleh: "The Proton Saga"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Amusing. This is someone also doing Philosophy of Religion:

"Hi, I'm a sinner saved by grace. An amateur philosopher steeped in the analytic tradition. Yes, I think we should use mathematics in philosophy. I also read a little theology. I have no patience with post-moderns and liberals. Yes, I am an extreme conservative. I think we should reinstitute litugies back in churches. Robes would be nice too. Yes, I believe in high church...

Oh, I think this semester promises to be quite interesting and very fun. Looking forward to mowing some people down in tutorials and shocking them with completely incompatible philosophic theses! Hahaha...

I suspect though, that thec prof conducting this course is some kind of a liberal, what the heck, why discuss universalism and open theism?! Hurmph. I guess I will need to prepare my shotgun and my ammo. Arrghh...But I have completely no experience in these topics! I am so busy defending the reprobation of the damned all the time, that the idea of universal salvation is almost unthinkable to me!"

Hurr hurr.
Random quotes from a salon.com article

"she lives for work because work never tells her that he's just not that into her."

"Profit doesn't care if you have kids or cats or a penis or a vagina; profit only cares if you have the hot hand, and through hard work and a little bit of luck, mine's been hot more often than not."

"Look at what a man gives up to be with one of us, We make more money. We rise higher. We take up more space. We are as far from the idea of a wife he grew up with as it's possible to be and still wear his ring and go by his last name."

"Men, we're the new women,"

"men go off to war; women shop; if we don't provide for our women, do they really need us?"

"this show is about Gator (Craig Bierko), a menschy guy tossed back into the dating market after his wife leaves him for a Cirque de Soleil performer. Gator, who hasn't been on a date since his 20s, is mystified by women, and startled to be invited up to the apartment of an attractive naturalist who shows him tapes of the gorillas she's studied. She informs him that "in the world of primates, the female always initiates," pulling him onto the floor on top of her to demonstrate. That's when the woman's pet baboon takes Gator from behind."
"All women are subtle in exaggerating their weaknesses; they are inventive when it comes to weaknesses in order to appear as utterly fragile ornaments who are hurt even by a speck of dust. Their existence is supposed to make men feel clumsy, and guilty on that score. Thus they defend themselves against the strong and "the law of the jungle."" - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others." - Liz Stanley and Sue Wise

Of course, the strategy most people use is to accept those definitions when it suits them, contest them when it doesn't and impose their own definitions when that will suit them the best.

"When a man opens a door for a woman, because society expects it, it's called chivalry.

When a woman does the cooking, because society expects it, it's called patriarchy."

"When a man has sex with a woman who is under the influence of alcohol and can't remember giving consent, it's called date rape.

When a woman has sex with a man who is under the influence of alcohol and can't remember giving consent, he has no basis for complaint."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Most of the time I don't have much fun. The rest of the time I don't have any fun at all." - Woody Allen



Your blog is damn hilarious. You're the only person I know who takes picture of girls during lecture and bitch about them (then bitches)

Gabriel, where're you going? [Me: To meet someone.] UD #6? [Me: Go and die lah.] UD #7? [Me: GO AND DIE LAH.]

If you don't get in [to the management committee] you can come to my room later. [Student 2: How about me?!] You're a guy! [Student 2: I thought you're gay.] You're not my type... Then I have to answer to *girlfriend's name*

omg i think most girls in arts are so contemptibly stupid. They giggle a lot and ask stupid questions in *** class

There are some people out there protesting against globalisation. Are they all kooks or could there be some truth to what they are saying?

[Showing the circularity of Applied Maths] We've done the work. Now we back away and see if it says what we wanted it to say.

Did Marie do something wrong? *long silence* I want to know what you think. This is not a rhetorical question.

She had baby fever. She couldn't wait. They're so darn cute and cuddly, she couldn't wait.

[On having a baby when you know it'll be blind if you could wait and have a normal one] It's hypothetical. This is a Philosophy class. You could stick your hand up and say 'I think she was right', but I wouldn't believe you.

[On changing potential lives' possibility of coming into being by means other than waiting a month] You can do all sorts of things. If you jump up and down *jumps* before you... have sex, it changes the position of the sperms and which child you create.

Unless you wanted to say that a life blind would be a life not worth living - which would probably get you into trouble with disability rights activists.

[On an omnibenevolent being being considered good for not violating rights] If I say to you: 'Congratulations, you made it through the day without violating anybody's rights', then I would be being sarcastic.

[On Job and skeptical theism] 'Who are you?'... It goes on like this for 4 chapters or so... What's more amazing is at the end this actually satisfies Job. 'Ok. I get it, I'll shut up'.

[On questions on readings] Remember to give me your questions. Some of them were really good. I hope none of you thought I was going to respond to all of them.

[Student: Out of curiosity, can we know what's your religious inclination?] Erm. Err. Ah. It's not really relevant. I'll tell you what. I'll tell you at the end of the term. You get to guess.

I made a comment that it was a poor article... Like it was written by - no offence - an undergraduate. One girl rose her hand and said 'He's my Geography Professor'. Excellent article!

The only reason I listen to my MP3 player is so that I won't have to look at people on the way to school, and if I see someone remotely familiar I will just ignore them.

I think that's bullshit really. *buries head in hand in embarrassment* A load of crap. *Laughs from students*

[On romanticisation] English undergraduates always go to India for a year doing their gap year. It's disgusting... They come back, 'What a great experience it was'... They like to say all the horrible things [that happened to them]. They repackage it. It sounds so good... The idyllic setting of the kampung: people are unemployed. They have no job.

[On people not raised in kampungs not knowing what they're missing out on] I use MSN. All my friends are online... I ask my parents: 'How do you know your friends are alive?'

Someone explain the concept of a void deck to me. [Me: It's where Malays have weddings and Chinese have funerals.] That's exactly what someone else said.

The joke about Malaysian cats. They're always scruffy and not well fed. Singapore cats are huge.

I live in Chinatown. There's a lot of people sitting there. I go to school and they're sitting there. I come back and they're still sitting theredown. [Instructor: Every now and then you check their pulse to make sure they're still with us.]

[On entertaining tourists] Geylang. For the food, of course.

One thing about Orchard Road... It's more real to you than Chinatown... It's lived-in. Traditional heritage, you guys can't connect with these types of places... the state policies meant to preserver heritage distances it from the people.

[On the Old National Library] A lot of the older generation. They go there to hang out after school, to pick up chicks. (went)

[On not wanting precendents for destroying historical buildings] In England, it's very difficult to do anything, because everything is a protected building... To do any kind of renovation to your room, you need special permits.

'That's the way it works. You can't change anything'... Both from Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans. Non-Singaporeans have this mentality. It's very strange.

[On 'character'] People who live in Rome hate Rome. Especially tourist areas. The roads are historically preserved... 1 1/2 cars at a time... The electricity sucks. You get blackouts every now and then for no reason.

Beijing does not have the best reputation when it comes to - anything.

[On the fading potence of threats] How many of you think that Malaysia is going to invade? Who fears a Communist uprising?

Who here has a positive image of what Singapore's future will be like? Wow. Not even 1 hand. What do they teach you here at NUS? I'm telling on you all.

[On Singaporean apathy] You can't change anything... The more you think about it... The more depressing it is. You just switch off.

small and incre'mittal (incremental)

Why was it so easy to knock down the library? Enough people don't care enough... It's in line with government policy.

There're a lot of intelligent people here... They criticise the government here and do exactly the same thing their government wants them to do.

[On the transience of heritage in Singapore] A lot of it is social engineering. Think of the implications. You depend on the government for your house... The only thing that is not transient is the state... Things are constantly shifting. You have nothing to latch on to.

The Jackrabbit? You don't know what it is? [*** has it,] No wonder *** is always smiling.

*** was wearing a jacket. She zipped it up and said 'Are my boobs big?'... [Female student 2: Her boobs are very saggy.]

[On the sex bible] It's cheaper than my bio textbook... Reminds me of the song 'A Whole New World'.
I am surprised that so many people cannot tell when my hair is tied up, and ejaculate: "You cut your hair ah?!" This is especially so with girls who, really, should know better!

We watched Tan Pin Pin's Moving House in class. It was much better than Invisible City (and, I hear, Singapore Gaga), probably because she had to be graded for it. One of the people in there commented that they were putting their dead brother and parents together in one niche. At first I thought this was a touching symbolic gesture, but the guy then explained that this was so they wouldn't need to visit 2-3 places in the columbariam. Singaporeans are very practical.

The CEO of Citibank Singapore studied English Literature and Art History.

Apparently there's someone whose IC says, under race, 'Aryan'.

I was bored and breaking off white hairs. I noticed that some of the strands which ended as white ones turned black nearer my scalp. Unfortunately these were outnumbered by strands exhibiting the reverse tendency.

'Academics should be read, not heard'. I was going to write an essay about how impractical and divorced from reality some of them can be, but LDPVTP offered to guest-write one for me.
"An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough-edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living." - Nicholas Chamfort


u r wt u wr

- 'Easy if you try'
- 'Party animal'
- 'Green eyed goddess'
- 'Bad at being good'
- 'I am a good looking freshie' (I finally glimpsed the back - this is a Sheares Hall tee)
- 'You just lost our staring contest' (I know this person, of a typical Chinese-Singaporean build)
- 'Not that innocent'
- 'I never get tired of all the boys staring'
- 'Your wish is my command'

I saw someone wearing a "Little Miss" shirt but it was partially obscured by her cardigan. All I saw were the letters "erbr". At first I thought it was "Little Miss Wonderbra" but it turned out to be "Little Miss Scatterbrain".
I don't know why people say 'traditional theism' when they mean 'Abrahamic theism'. Maybe it's a euphemism, just like CE/BCE.

Some apologists claim their god can do logically impossible things, like make a stone so heavy he cannot lift it (this has actually been claimed to me once). But then this shoots holes in their other arguments, like that of contingent evil - even if evil is logically necessary to achieve a greater good, since this god transcends logic there is no need for contingent evil. In any case, once you leave the realm of logic you can write off the whole project of apologetics and stand on the side of the room with the naked Hottentot and the stone-age cannibal Aztec.

One defence of the problem of evil is that it's good for the world to be governed by relatively stable natural laws. But then this would abrogate miracles.
"The paradox is, therefore, the poor families feel they are much below the level of sufficiency, but they do not feel that they need too much more income because their expectations are relatively low. On the other hand, the nonpoor families feel they already have sufficient income but they still demand more because their expectations and aspirations are higher."

--- Families under economic stress : the Singapore experience / by Eddie C. Y. Kuo.
Dear USP students

A couple of enthusiastic USP students (***) have set up a new interest group in NUS called West Asian and North African Studies (WANAS), with the aim of creating awareness of the Middle Eastern region amongst the student population. They will be holding a launch on 3 November.

In preparation for the launch, they are organizing 6 sessions of bellydancing classes starting from this Friday (14 September) for females only, who may choose to perform in front of a female-only audience during the launch. However, those who would just like to learn (and not perform for the launch) may choose to do so as well. More details on these classes and relevant contact information can be found in the e-flyer attached below.

Thanks very much.


Wah lao, so sexist!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." - Rita Rudner


I am in MEGAsucks now, waiting for lunch with LDPVTP and MFM. The former, among others, informs me that MEGAsucks is actually quite good now, so I am giving it another shot. If nothing else, at least I'll have something else to bitch about.

Interestingly, for (what I assume is still, despite the lack of a certificate,) a Halal cafe, the radio is currently tuned to a Chinese radio station.

Also, for some reason they have their own wireless network, "MegaBiteNUS".
"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." - Gertrude Stein


"As Silberman insists, archaeology may always be an unavoidably political enterprise. When, then, does one deem the use of the remote past as overly politicized or excessively nationalistic and on what grounds? Do we criticize Saddam Hussein’s deliberate manipulation of Mesopotamia’s glorious past to justify his attempted annexation of Kuwait, or condemn the late Shah of Iran’s triumphal celebration of 2500 years of Persian monarchical rule, held a few years before his own dynasty collapsed, simply because we dislike these figures and disagree with their unsuccessful policies? Are the constructions of our own pasts or national identities more acceptable because they are ours?

The cases reviewed here provide guidance and clarify, at least, two issues. First, although archaeological interpretation may constitute a form of narrative and may always be both a scientific and poiticaifliterary enterprise, most contributors would insist that there are evidentiary standards by which archaeological reconstructions can be evaluated and emphasize more Silberman’s qualification of the discipline’s “obligation to adhere to scholarly standards of logic and evidence” (p. 250). For example, Anthony’s deconstruction of the noble Aryan and the Great Mother ecofeminist myths in Indo-European archaeology is predicated on the ability to distinguish plausible from unbelievable reconstructions of archaeological data. He forcefully decries the fashionable relativism of post-processual archaeology and insists: “If we abandon our standards for choosing between alternate explanations, we abdicate any right to exclude explanations that promote bigotry, nationalism, and chicanery” (p. 88) and “Nationalist or racist agendas are only encouraged in an intellectual environment where the ‘real’ world is visualized as a web of competing ideologies, all of which are equally true and all of which are equally false” (p. 185). In other words, the historical and contemporary distortions of archaeological practice discussed here graphically illustrate the limits of the archaeology as storytelling metaphor: one story is not as convincing as another...

The question of how national consciousness reaches the extreme levels of intensity we witness today must be explored historically. To paraphrase Hobsbawm, nationalists create nations (that is, groups thinking of themselves now as nationalities), not the reverse, a fact illustrated by the famous statement of Massimo d’Azeglio delivered at the first meeting of the parliament of the newly united Italian kingdom: “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians” (cited in Hobsbawm 1992a:44).

Likewise, it is doubtful that most “Greek” subjects of the Ottoman Empire, who were mainly peasants living at the southern end of the Balkan peninsula, would have become agitated over the naming as Macedonia vaguely demarcated territories to their north prior to the nineteenth- century political liberation movements which freed them from the Turkish yoke; such movements, in turn, were initiated and led by intellectuals — foreign and local — whose yearning for plitical freedom was stimulated and abetted by their Romantic vision of classical Greek culture, a vision continuously reinforced throughout the nineteenth century by archaeological discoveries of the ancient Greeks (for a comparative analysis of nineteenth-century nationalist movements that stresses the role of intellectuals in their development, see Hroch 1985).

Prior to their nineteenth- and twentieth-century awakening, most “Greeks” would have exhibited an ethnic consciousness similar to that recorded for “Ukrainian” peasants by a British observer in May 1918:

Were one to ask the average peasant in the Ukraine his nationality he would answer that he is Greek Orthodox; if pressed to say whether he is a Great Russian, a Pole, or an Ukrainian, he would probably reply that he is a peasant; and if one insisted on knowing what language he spoke, he would say that he talked “the local tongue.” One might perhaps get him to call himself by a proper national name and say that he is “russki,” but this declaration would hardly yet prejudge the question of an Ukrainian relationship; he simply does not think of nationality in the terms familiar to the intelligentsia. (Colonel Jones, “The Position in the Ukraine,” cited in Suny 1993b:50—l)

So much for Moni Topou and the scented breeze of the land caressing the gyataphani and the karyophili...

National awakening thus is associated with political movements which were directed towards the construction of independent nation-states or for more autonomy within such states...

Since archaeologists typically uncover murkier and more remote pasts than historians, we are even more subject to critical scrutiny. Hobsbawm (1992b:3) tellingly has evaluated his own profession by means of a striking metaphor: “For historians are to nationalism what poppy-growers in Pakistan are to heroin addicts; we supply the essential raw material for the market.” Archaeologists (and perhaps linguists, folkiorists, and ethnographers) must be compared with the concocters of even more powerful hallucinogens, which distort the past to the likening of nationalists intent on demonstrating the uniqueness of their people... Hobsbawm’s metaphor may be in need of further revision: rather than just the producers of raw materials, historians and archaeologists may occasionally resemble more the pushers of these mind-bending substances on urban streets, if not the mob capos running all stages of the sordid operation."

--- Archaeology in the service of the state: theoretical considerations, Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology
"I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am." - Joseph Baretti


"It has sometimes been suggested... while we should embrace deontological principles, God is a consequentialist. He has a general duty of care for the whole of creation, while we have more limited responsibilities. But consequentialism is generally held to produce very counter-intuitive results when tested against our moral intuitions. In particular, it seems to license harming one person to produce good for others. Consequentialists try to mitigate this by various well-known ruses which suggest that consequentialist agents will behave, and perhaps even think, much more like us than might at first appear. Since these stratagems all depend on the agents in question being imperfectly informed and motivationally limited in some way, it is doubtful if they would apply to God. A consequentialist God would thus appear to be a morally unattractive figure... these constraints [on Him] put virtually no limits on God’s freedom of action. To all intents and purposes God is morally free to act to promote the general good, even at terrible cost...

I begin by sketching in the main features of a deontological system. It will standardly have the following four broad categories of duty.

(1) Duties of beneficence.
(2) Duties not to harm (non-maleficence).
(3) Duties of justice or fairness.
(4) Duties arising from one’s relationship with particular people – family, friends, benefactors etc. (positional duties)...

Swinburne certainly takes the view that humans have a variety of duties not to harm other humans and (to a more limited extent) animals... he suggests, only some of these obligations apply to God. In some of his earlier writings (1993, 185; 1994, 203) he expresses this by saying that God is under a more limited set of obligations than we are. In particular, Swinburne claims, God has the right to end our lives and the right, within limits, to impose very serious harms, not only for our own good, but for the good of others. Since He has these rights He can, by extension, authorize another agent, such as a human, to kill or to steal, even though it would otherwise be wrong for a human to do this. But there are certain things that it would be wrong for God to do. These include lying, breaking a promise, and systematically misleading His creatures. He has no right to order genocide, or the torture of children...

The limitation that God ‘remain on balance a benefactor’ would impose some limitation if it were not for the fact that there is an afterlife. Swinburne recognizes that there may be people whose lives on earth are not good overall. To fulfil His duty to them, however, God can and will compensate them in an afterlife. He is thus not restricted by having to arrange things so as to ensure that no-one’s earthly life is not worth living...

The intuition is that one ought not to bring about the suffering of the innocent to make a good state even better... Classically, we have certain natural rights not to be treated in certain ways. These rights stem from our natures (hence ‘natural’). Each agent is worthy of individual respect, and the duty to respect those rights is incumbent on all moral agents, irrespective of their social role. On this view, if God creates agents then, as a moral agent Himself, He must respect the natural rights of His creatures... they standardly include rights not to be physically and psychologically damaged in serious ways. That the person abusing our rights is acting in a good cause is not sufficient to justify the abuse.

... Swinburne... is happy to talk the language of rights, and even of absolute human rights (1998, 228). How then can God have the right to act in ways that, were a human being to act thus, would constitute abuse of human rights ? Swinburne’s reply appears to be that all rights not to be harmed (except the right to be given a life that is overall good) are contingent on the social roles occupied by the respective parties, especially on whether they stand in the relation of dependent to carer. Carers have rights over dependants that non-carers lack... God, as the total carer, has the right to subject us to many things that no human carer has...

Carers, as Swinburne acknowledges, have duties to their dependants, as well as rights over them. They have responsibilities to do more for their dependants than do others who have no duty of care. We would expect them, therefore, to be obliged to treat their dependants at least as well as a non-carer ought to treat them, in terms of respecting their natural rights. Indeed, carers typically have the duty not only not to harm their dependants themselves but to protect them from being harmed by others... Swinburne claims that there are natural evils that God puts in the world as part of His plan. And some natural evils, such as diseases, which cause prolonged agonizing pain and disability, are horrendous evils. Thus the issue of God’s right deliberately to inflict these evils on His creatures would remain. To put it more bluntly, creating a world in which children suffer long, painful, and crippling diseases is to torture children. We will need powerful arguments to show that God has the right to do that...

Swinburne’s argument appeals to the parent–child analogy... But God is much more our ‘source of being’ than any human parent, since He supplies everything that supports and nourishes us. Correspondingly, both His rights and His duties are much larger than that of any human parent. ‘The greater the duty to care, the greater (if the duty is fulfilled) the consequent rights ’ (1998, 224)... If I chose not to carry out one of these duties, say the duty to educate, I could not escape criticism by claiming (supposing we could evaluate the claim) that the package I had given the child benefitted her overall... If the duties of ordinary carers are best understood as fulfilling a number of obligations to their charges, rather than as securing an overall balance of benefit, then the analogy between human carers and God which Swinburne is pressing suggests that God’s duties to us are best understood in the former way and not the latter...

I have the right to expose my child to some dangers and difficulties for her own good. I may allow and even encourage her to take some risks so that she can learn courage. Once again, this right is limited bymyduty not to abuse the child. It would be monstrous, as Swinburne agrees, for me to handicap the child so as to give her the chance to learn fortitude...

This has been a long and even tortuous discussion... Our human rights limit what even those in authority over us may legitimately do... If it is wrong for us to harm others for good ends, how could God make it permissible and even obligatory by His commands? The answer is that for Swinburne the only reason why we may not do these things for good ends is that we lack the authority. Since God has that authority, He can authorize us. So the underlying structure of Swinburne’s moral theory is much less deontological than might at first appear. This is made clear in his proposed amendment to Kant’s famous second formulation of the Categorical Imperative: ‘ It is … permissible to use someone for the good of others if on balance you are their benefactor, and if they were in no position to make the choice for themselves’ (1998, 233).

I conclude that Swinburne has not shown that God has the right to impose serious harms to bring about the good for, while he has addressed the argument from authority, he has not addressed the argument from human rights... The model of parent and child is central to the Christian understanding of our relation to God, and for good reason. But God does not appear to treat us like a parent treats a child. No loving parent would treat their children according to Swinburne’s ‘modified’ Kantian dictum, and deliberately inflict serious harm on her child for the good of others... God, as the governor of the universe, is unfettered in what He may do to us provided we are net beneficiaries. This is not a relationship which seems aptly characterized as that which exists between a loving parent and child. Yet the great message of Christianity is that God is love. Any solution to the problem of evil has to leave that central pillar intact."

--- Is God (almost) a consequentialist? Swinburne’s moral theory, David McNaughton

(All bold my emphasis)

Swinburne in response:

"I must admit that whenever I write sentences like the above and
then watch some of the world’s horrors on TV, I ask myself, ‘Do I really mean this ?’ But in the end I always conclude that I do."

Hurr hurr.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Macworld: News: It's official: Apple is the new Microsoft

"Don’t look now, but the role of the industry’s biggest bully is increasingly played by Apple, not Microsoft...

People love iPods (including me; my family of four has purchased 12 iPods in the past few years). But iPods come bundled with iTunes. Want to buy music from Apple? Guess what? You must install iTunes. Want an Apple cell phone from AT&T? Yep! ITunes is required even if you want only to make phone calls. Want to buy ringtones for your Apple phone? iTunes.

Apple not only “bundles” iTunes with multiple products, it forces you to use it. At least with Internet Explorer, you could always just download a competitor and ignore IE...

iTunes for Windows’ popularity isn’t driven by software product quality. ITunes is the slowest, clunkiest, most nonintuitive application on my system. But I need it because I love my iPods.
Glad I'm not the only one who hates iTunes

... Dad... goes to buy another player — this time, he hopes, with an FM radio in it. Several competitors offer this feature, but not iPods. He’s about to choose a new player with an FM radio when it hits him: None of his files — now totaling 300 songs and 50 movies — will play on the new player. He bought and paid for all this content, but it only works with iPods and iTunes.

Apple has an iPod customer for life. Microsoft never had this kind of monopoly power. Sorry, dad. I should have bought you a tie...

Jobs announced with a straight face that iPhone ringtones based on iTunes songs would cost the full price of the song, plus 99 cents extra. What? The full song costs 99 cents! How on Earth can Apple seriously charge the same amount again for the ability to hear just 30 seconds of the song — the same length as the free iTunes “samples”?

Apple fully understands the power of monopoly pricing. The company has sold the 8GB iPhone for two prices in its short, three months of existence: $599 and, now, $399. When the iPhone was the only way to get the whole multitouch, big-screen, Wi-Fi iPod experience — when the product had no alternatives — the price was $599. One analyst estimated Apple’s cost to build an iPhone is $245.83. I don’t know if that’s true but, if so, more than half the user cost was profit. That’s theater soda pricing. But as soon as Apple introduced an alternative to the iPhone — the iPod Touch — Apple dropped the price by one-third.

Imagine if another company were allowed to compete in the OS X media player market. These players would all drop to below $300. Don’t hold your breath, though; it’ll never happen. Apple has the power to exclude all others from software than runs on its media players...

Who’s innovating now? The LG KE850 was winning awards for its full-screen, touch-screen, on-screen keyboard before Jobs even announced the iPhone.

The best thing about the iPhone and iPod Touch — the warm-and-fuzzy multitouch UI with gestures — wasn’t new, either. Various labs have been demonstrating similar UIs for more than a decade, and even Microsoft demonstrated a fully realized 3G UI in May, well before Apple shipped the iPhone. Microsoft will ship its tabletop UI, called Microsoft Surface, in November, and Apple will likely enter this space with a 3G UI months or years after Microsoft does.

And Wi-Fi in a media player? Ha! Microsoft’s funky Zune had that almost a year before Apple did and SanDisk’s Sansa Connect with Wi-Fi was released last June. Apple even stole the name for its iPod Touch product, according to HTC, which sells a touch-screen smart phone called the HTC Touch...

Although full details haven’t been revealed, NBC apparently wanted more “flexibility” to charge higher prices for its TV shows on iTunes. Apple said no, and NBC was sent packing. NBC now plans to sell shows on alternative locations, such as its own Web site and on Amazon.com. Prediction: NBC will come crawling back to Apple and beg the company for inclusion, and on Apple’s terms. Why? Because iTunes is increasingly becoming the only venue in which media companies can succeed selling music and TV show.

Jobs rules like Bill Gates never did. If you want to succeed in the digital music or downloadable TV business, you’ll do things his way."

I fully expect the Mac whores to use similar arguments to those of Christian apologists.

Over the years. challenges to employer-mandated personal appearance policies on the basis of sex have met with little success. In a number of the early cases, for example, male employees argued that grooming standards prohibiting men from wearing long hair, while permitting female employees to do so, discriminated against them on the basis of their sex. Federal appellate courts addressing the issue, including this court, overwhelmingly determined that such policies do not violate Title VII because they discriminate on the basis of an employee’s appearance, not their sex. See e.g., Barker i. Taft Broad. Co., 549 F.2d 400. 401 (6th Cii. 1977): Eanood v. Continental Southeastern Lines, Inc., 539 F.2d 1349, 1351 (4th Cir. 1976): Knott v. Missouri Pac. Rv. Co., 527 F.2c1 1249. 1252 (8th Cir. 1975): Baker 1’. Cakfornia Land Title Co.. 507 F.2c1 895, 898 (9th Cir. 1974): Longo v. Carlisle Dc Coppet & Co., 537 F.2c1 685 (2d Cir. 1976): and Dodge v. Giant Food, Inc., 488 F.2d 1333. 1337 (D.C. Cir. 1973).

In Willingham v. Macoii Telegraph Publishing Co., 507 F.2d 1084 (5th Cir. 1975), for example. the employer had a grooming code that required both male and female employees who came into contact with the public to be neatly dressed and “groomed in accordance with the standards customarily accepted in the business community.” Id. at 1087. With regard to men. the employer interpreted this policy to mean that men could not wear their hair long. Id. A male job applicant who was denied employment pursuant to the policy alleged lie was discriminated against based on his sex because the employer allowed women to wear their hair long. Id.

Concluding that no discrimination occurred. the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit observed that women also were subject to generally accepted dress and grooming standards. Id. at 1092. The Fifth Circuit further held that “distinctions in employment practices between men and women on the basis of something other than immutable or protected characteristics do not inhibit employment opportunity in violation of Sec. 703(a). Congress sought oniy to give all persons equal access to the job market, not to limit an employer’s right to exercise his informed judgment as to how best to run his shop.” Id.

This court anived at the same conclusion in Baker v. california Land Title Co., 507 F.2d 895, 898 (9th Cir. 1974), holding that "a private employer may require male employees to adhere to different modes of dress and grooming than those required of female employees" without violating Title VII. Rejecting a Title VII claim challenging an employer’s hair length policy as sex discriminatory, this court observed that the character of [the employee’s] sex does not seem to have been a detenent to his qualifications or he would not have obtained the job in the first place. It was his violation of the company grooming standards after his employment which appears to have caused his termination. not his sex.” Id. at 897-98.

Just a few years later, this court held in Fountain v. Safewav Stores, Inc., 555 F.2d 753 (9th (‘ir. 1977). that an employer did not violate Title VII by requiring male clerks to wear ties. Id. at 755. Fountain had argued that because Safeway relaxed dress standards applicable to women after they protested against the store’s skirt policy by allowing the women to wear pants to work, Safeway enforced its dress code unequally in violation of Title VII. Id. at 756. Rejecting Fountain’s argument. the court held Safeway did not treat the men and women unequally simply because it relaxed the women’s dress code standards in one respect. Rather, Safeway’s decision reflected “an effort to maintain dress and grooming regulations that are not overly burdensome to its employees yet still serve to extend an image to its customers which Safeway believes is beneficial to its business.” Id. The court further held that this business judgment may change over the rears. but may not necessarily change “at an even pace with respect to the sexes.” Id. Thus. the regulations for one sex may be relaxed without necessitating a corresponding relaxation of the regulations for the other sex. Id.

Discriminating against pregnant women discriminates on the basis of their actions, not their sex...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." - Thomas Mann


One of my takeaways from "Wear a hot and hideous dress to school Day" was that it was very hard and annoying to constantly not zaogeng. I asked some friends about how they coped with the sense of vulnerability, with some interesting responses:

A: I learnt to enjoy it [Ed: being vulnerable]
and wear pretty underwear

B: by meshing it with the power it gives

C: wear reasonably longer ones.

D: there isn't any

E: my skirts are usually long enough, my thighs are fat enough, and i walk very carefully

F: constant reminder to act demure in a skirt
[those wearing shorter ones are] trying very hard to be feminine

wat's wrong with zaogenging
the girl wanna show and the guys wanna watch

[Me: the feminists will kill you]

u mean feminists dun wanna show?
wat do feminists wear anyway?

G: the only time i can remember you seeing me in a skirt was when i wore one that almost dragged on the floor.

[those with shorter ones] want to be upskirted. why else would victoria's secret be so popular?

either that or the reverse: they know they're going to be upskirted, so you may as well buy nice underwear.

if you're serious about not being upskirted, wear granny panties.
it'll turn any guy's stomach.

Addendum: LDPVTP: of those listed, i would go with "there isn't any" the most
unless u wear longer skirts lor, or pants

although i've never heard any girl complaining abt tt

[girls in short skirts who get upskirted shouldn't complain] unless they're doing some sort of weird Ch 8 interpretation of demure bimbo.

A friend noted: "one fixed must come from china man written"

Either natural language translation software still has a looong way way to go, or HK's standard of English transcends even my most pessimistic expectations.

Latest dumb HK name: "Dreaming". A guy. An acquaintance who runs her own firm said upon beholding his CV she asked him in for an interview just to find out whether he chose his own name, and if so, did he know what it meant. When the answers to both were in the affirmative, she told him: "There's the reason why you haven't gotten a job since graduation."
"Ethnic stereotypes are common and commonly accepted by Singapore Malays... Malays will say that a Malay who hoards money is miserly and is obsessed with money like the Chinese. Malays often say that money and work are in the flesh and blood of the Chinese...

Malays have a moral sense of superiority to the Chinese. They regard the Chinese as socially irrelevant (Li, 1989: 134-5). 'The perception that Chinese profit through trickery, while Malays are constrained by moral and religious scruples, is a fundamental part of the ethnic image of Malay businessmen' (Li, 1989: 140). The difference is a source of pride and an acknowledgement of inability to compete with Chinese...

The question of ritual impurity is a difficult one for Malays. As a result of pork consumption, Chinese are considered impure."

--- Growing up Malay in Singapore / Joseph Stimpfl, in Race, ethnicity, and the State in Malaysia and Singapore / edited by Lian Kwee Fee.

This book was so seditious they had to print it in the Netherlands. Hurr hurr.

"When Malays engage in racialization, they racialize themselves as subjects but the Chinese and others as objects. Similarly, the Chinese racialize themselves as subjects but the Malays as objects... the Malays are politically dominant whereas the Chinese are economically dominant...

Yet, because the Malays have historically been regarded by the British as a weaker 'race', a view that has been passed down and shared by both Malays and Chinese today, it may be argued that the Chinese racialization of Malays is likely to be racist. It is unlikely that the Malay racialization of Chinese is racist."

--- Race and Racialization, Lian Kwen Fee, Ibid.

I've become a true social scientist:

One might start with the Pledge of Singapore which was “written against the backdrop of racial riots” (Government of Singapore, n.d.). It commits Singaporeans to be one people “regardless of race, language or religion”. Both in a historical and, to a lesser extent, contemporary context, these three factors are correlated. Yet by singling out and privileging these categories, other aspects of difference on which a more inclusive concept of multiculturalism might be founded, like gender, sexual orientation and economic class are ignored. Ironically, by drawing attention to these very identifiers, the Pledge makes Singaporeans more acutely conscious of them.

Too bad there's neither space nor propriety to qualify the 5% of this I disagree with.

Internalization is a common refrain of social scientists. It's true perhaps 90% of the time, but they exaggerate the impact, partly because it can't be quantified (apart from subjective 'interviews' and 'life histories').
MFM: are you going to commit sedition again

Me: academic essays are by nature seditious

Woman: Gerard, many of our readers are not familiar with the difference between the humanities and social sciences.

Man: Let us elaborate! Humanities is the study of the human condition through literary analysis and criticism.

Woman: ... while us social scientists use real data!

Man: You call subjective 'interviews' and 'life histories' 'real data'?

Woman: Whatever. At least we don't 'make stuff up'.

Man: Speculative analysis is not 'making stuff up'!

Woman: look at me! i sit in a room with some books! give me a PHD!

(via 'Temptation' Chris)
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