When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Straight Dope Staff Report: Does NLP work? Is it the basis of Derren Brown's "mind-reading" act? - "Most NLP advocates (perhaps unsurprisingly) take the view that scientific research is simply irrelevant here. Again, they say only that NLP works, and interested parties are invited to try it themselves and make up their own mind. This stance is not necessarily inappropriate, as it is perfectly possible for something to be practical and useful without any peer-reviewed writing in its support. On the other hand, it is well known that self-assessment and subjective evaluation are often unreliable. In addition, NLP theory undeniably makes some assertions that ought to be empirically verifiable. For example, the NLP concept of "visual accessing cues" is based on the notion, stated as fact, that eye movement is a reliably better-than-chance indicator of whether someone is accessing a memory – i.e., telling the truth – or fabricating a lie. One very well qualified researcher, Mike Heap, was among the first to test this claim, and published a paper showing that it is not supported by the evidence. (Heap has also investigated other NLP claims, with similar results, and his papers make for interesting reading.) Many others have looked into "visual accessing" (see, e.g., here), and to date there is no empirical support for this concept."

The Straight Dope: Will Transcendental Meditation enable you to levitate? - "TMers see levitation not merely as a novel method of transportation but as a mighty blow in the struggle for cosmic consciousness and world peace. According to David Orme-Johnson, a researcher at Maharishi International University, "Thirty-one sociological studies conducted throughout the world document that the quality of life in society significantly improves when as little as the square root of one percent of a population practices TM-Sidhi Yogic Flying together in one place." Orme-Johnson was one of the authors of a recent scientific paper purporting to show levitation and related techniques had reduced the violence in Lebanon. Wait a sec, you say. Reducing the violence in Lebanon?"

Techography - U.S. military places sharks in Iraqi canals to kill kids - "A two-meter shark has been caught in a river in southern Iraq more than 160 miles from the sea... Locals blamed the U.S. military for the shark's presence. Tahseen Ali, a teacher, said there was a "75 percent chance" Americans had put the shark in the water. "This is very frightening for us. Our children always swim in the river and I believe that there are more sharks. I believe that America is behind this matter," said fisherman Hatim Karim."

Bring A&W back to Singapore Petition - "Should we bring A&W back to Singapore for the many locals who miss it since its closure in 2003?"

Plane takes off on its own - "The pilot, Paul Sirks, got out to hand-crank the propeller, and watched the empty plane fly away. "The plane took off without him in it, and went across the field, over the runway, up over the hangar, and it just took off," said eyewitness Carol Hall. Police officers tracked the plane by helicopter as it rose to over 11,000 ft and flew in lazy circles... About an hour later, fuel exhausted, the aircraft came to earth in a bean field almost 100 miles (160 km) away."

Fantasies in black and white - "If even most African-Americans believe the black poor are primarily responsible for their own plight, does that make it true?"
Reading articles that undermine themselves is amusing. This one misrepresents the NPR article (which is much better, incidentally) as claiming that racism is dead, when it actually says racism is now not the most important factor keeping blacks behind. It cites a study showing that blacks with criminal records are less likely to be hired than ex-con whites, which I skimmed through: it was good, but it doesn't take into account the fact that recidivism rates among blacks are significantly higher than among whites - too bad we can't get a good instrumental variable for race. It sneakily moves from the proposition that race is not dead to the proposition that race is not only a major problem but a growing one (even when it implicitly denies this by admitting no longer have "No coloreds need apply" signs - blacks are no longer totally excluded from segments of the labour market). It also conflates the effects of race and poverty, and ends off spectacularly by contradicting itself by revealing that the lack of intergenerational transfers are what keep blacks down. So, one wonders who is the one truly fantasising.
See also: Lexington | The greasy ladder

Pew poll: Black Americans and beliefs about race - "37 percent of blacks agreed with the statement that blacks today are so diverse they can no longer be considered a single race. Among the youngest respondents, aged 18 to 29, a staggering 44 percent agreed... The real point of the values answer is not that middle-class blacks are turning against "blackness," whatever that is: It's that they are insisting that they have the right to create their own signifiers of blackness. And it's that middle-class blacks -- who suffer from white discrimination that is in part a response to black underclass behavior, and who are far more likely to be the victims of black criminals than whites are -- are no longer willing to simply give every knucklehead in the 'hood a free pass because of "structural racism."... It's also good because anything that short-circuits traditional racial clichés is helpful. Moving beyond the old formal, guilt-innocence standoff will improve relations between middle-class whites and blacks... the way to overcome it is to start talking beyond race and start seeing beyond race. To be your brother's keeper, you must first know that you are his brother. And that connection isn't made through skin color. It's made through a shared humanity."

Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre - "If we’ve seen them at the Louvre, why should we see them here? Due to architectural constraints at the Louvre, the items are displayed according to material – the stone sculptures were shown on the ground floor, while vases, bronzes and terracotta figurines were displayed in the upper galleries because the floorboards can only bear the weight of small objects. In Singapore, the exhibition will be a thematic presentation of ancient Greek life, ‘of how their people lived, the structure of their society, their educational, political and belief system as well as their cultural foundations,’ says Tan."
Yeah, nice try.

Florida Gators team physician invented drink known worldwide - "Developed so that water and sodium could be more readily absorbed in the intestinal tract, the drink also included sugar, a key source of energy, and phosphate to help burn the sugar. The first batch of what would become Gatorade tasted so vile, it made researchers sick. "So I learned the old lesson: If at first you don't succeed . . . ask someone smarter," Cade said in a 1994 speech at an innovation workshop. "So that was my wife," who told him to add lemon juice and artificial sweetener "because that usually covers up any bad taste.""

Singapore What's On: Singapore Forthcoming Events - AngloINFO Singapore - Ongoing and upcoming events list in Singapore. No reason to keep this an expats-only resource, though they definitely are a more receptive market than the local crowd.

Can You Trust Wikipedia? - "Stern, a major German weekly, has reviewed 50 articles from various subject categories in the German Wikipedia and compared them to articles in a well-known traditional German language encyclopedia. Their conclusion, based on expert feedback: Wikipedia is actually significantly more accurate, comprehensive, complete and correct than the 15-volume paper encyclopedia it was compared to."
"If God lived on earth, people would break his windows." - Jewish Proverb


Diary of a Bad Year | Extracts (JM Coetzee)

"On Machiavelli

On talkback radio ordinary members of the public have been calling in to say that, while they concede that torture is in general a bad thing, it may nonetheless sometimes be necessary. Some even advance the proposition that we may have to do evil for the sake of a greater good. In general they are scornful of absolutist opponents of torture: such people, they say, do not have their feet on the ground, do not live in the real world.

Machiavelli says that if as a ruler you accept that your every action must pass moral scrutiny, you will without fail be defeated by an opponent who submits to no such moral test. To hold on to power, you have not only to master the crafts of deception and treachery but to be prepared to use them where necessary.

Necessity, necessità, is Machiavelli's guiding principle. The old, pre-Machiavellian position was that the moral law was supreme. If it so happened that the moral law was sometimes broken, that was unfortunate, but rulers were merely human, after all. The new, Machiavellian position is that infringing the moral law is justified when it is necessary.

Thus is inaugurated the dualism of modern political culture, which simultaneously upholds absolute and relative standards of value. The modern state appeals to morality, to religion, and to natural law as the ideological foundation of its existence. At the same time it is prepared to infringe any or all of these in the interest of self-preservation.

Machiavelli does not deny that the claims morality makes on us are absolute. At the same time he asserts that in the interest of the state the ruler "is often obliged [necessitato] to act without loyalty, without mercy, without humanity, and without religion." The kind of person who calls talkback radio and justifies the use of torture in the interrogation of prisoners holds the double standard in his mind in exactly the same way: without in the least denying the absolute claims of the Christian ethic (love thy neighbour as thyself), such a person approves freeing the hands of the authorities - the army, the secret police - to do whatever may be necessary to protect the public from enemies of the state.

The typical reaction of liberal intellectuals is to seize on the contradiction here: how can something be both wrong and right, or at least both wrong and OK, at the same time? What liberal intellectuals fail to see is that this so-called contradiction expresses the quintessence of the Machiavellian and therefore the modern, a quintessence that has been thoroughly absorbed by the man in the street. The world is ruled by necessity, says the man in the street, not by some abstract moral code. We have to do what we have to do.

If you wish to counter the man in the street, it cannot be by appeal to moral principles, much less by demanding that people should run their lives in such a way that there are no contradictions between what they say and what they do. Ordinary life is full of contradictions; ordinary people are used to accommodating them.

Rather, you must attack the metaphysical, supra-empirical status of necessità and show that to be fraudulent."
u r wt u wr:

- 'Where's the hidden message?'
- 'Wanted: Boyfriend. *something* *sk application' (It might've read: ""WANTED boyfriend, submit application form with bank statement")
- 'If ju kən rid δis ju mΛst bi ə liŋgwıst'
- 'Nothing but trouble' (I know this person)
- 'Hard Rock Cafe. [Back: Let's take it backstage]'
- 'I love u honey' (I might've mistaken 'money' for 'honey']
- 'Love me, ♥ my dog' (But girls prefer cats, so it should've read 'Love me, ♥ my pussy'. Or maybe 'Love my pussy, ♥ me'...)
- 'Enjoy the ride'
- 'Best you'll ever have'
- 'I like bad boys'
- 'Good girls are just better at lying'
- 'Cool down. I am not that hot'
- 'Pretty punk'
- 'Put the fun between your legs' (This is a night cycling shirt)

- 'I am an FBI agent *silhouette of man on surfboard*' (Worn by a guy. I don't get it)
"In the 1950s, to spare the blushes of the Board, it was decided that the acquisition of the earliest surviving British condom should appear before the Board as 'a piece of eighteenth-century armour'"

"At a symposium in Oxford in 1988 a paper was given on a coin-hoard of enormous importance smuggled out of Turkey into (ultimately) the United States; every scholar who attended has been banned by the Turkish authorities from ever again working professionally in that country, whether they had handled the coins or not... four of the Museum's staff were at the conference and have been so banned, although their only crime was to attend the lecture and discussion by some of the world's greatest experts on the hoard. This extraordinary decision strikes deeply at the base of academic freedom of expression, and we must wonder whether in these circumstances such a hoard can ever again be mentioned in academic publication."

"On my first day in the Museum as a very junior curator I was presented with three tasks; the one in my own speciality was the most difficult (to answer a query as to whether the Vikings ate onions)"

"The standard text-book, How to lie with Statistics, is by every civil servant's and every museum director's bedside"

"A demand came from a Minister of State of a particular ex-colonial country, who asked for the return of all the objects in the possession of the British Museum which came from that country... We were rather nonplussed by the request as much of the material was similar to that available in great quantity and superior quality among the collections of the museums and public buildings of his own country... We were even more puzzled as about a month later we received through official channels a significant gift of archaeological material from that country from an excavation which we had partly financed."

"To start to dismantle it by bowing to unthinking, if understandable, nationalistic demands would be to start a process of cultural vandalism which would make the politicisation of art in the 1930s in Germany look like a petulant child's destruction of its dinner... the other great museums of the world would be under pressure to follow suit and the spirit of man would be the poorer. In a period when all our aspirations are based on the hops of international agreement, we cannot let narrow nationalism destroy a trust for the whole world... What is pillage in the twentieth century was seen as a highly civilised and legal process in the eighteenth century... What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: the questionable legality of the sale of Charles I's great painting collection does not mean that we should sue half the world's great art museums for its return."

--- The British Museum. Purpose and politics. David M Wilson.
"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." - Martin Luther King Jr.


I was at St Andrew's Cathedral a few weeks back, and one person was giving a testimony. He said that his family was Taoist, and when he was young he used to argue with his Christian friends (presumably uttering words and performing actions that caused both religions to be insulted in the process). Then someone told him that as a rational man, it behooved him to give Christianity a chance and to find out more.

He then continued, talking about how he was pointed out of a crowd at a chalet which he was attending with Christian friends (thus no doubt being susceptible to peer pressure), and said that from that moment his faith was ignited. His dating a Christian girl no doubt had something to do with it, and there was the usual story of someone putting their hand on his eyes and his bursting out in tongues.

He then started talking about the stock market of 1985, and how he was saying to himself: 'Jesus, he will help me in my stock market experience' and asked him to cause the stock market to go up. The next day, God caused the market collapsed due to his omnipotence and omniscience. The market was closed for 3 days.

He liquidated his share position and realised he had lost $350,000. His family and friends were unable to help, so his only hope was to turn to the God who had bankrupted him. He quoted Jeremiah 29:11, and sought help from Christians. They didn't give him any financial help, but told him to let go, experience the 'peace of God' and let God take over. He and his girlfriend asked for mercy.

Then, his sister who was overseas suddenly gave $7,000 of her hard-earned savings to him. She was not a believer, and when he asked her why she did it, instead of citing sibling bonds she said she didn't know why, but just felt that she had to do it, and this was taken by the giver of the testimony as proof of God's goodness; evidently God had violated his sister's free will.

He was then retrenched and given a $17,000 package, with which he staved off bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, at this point I checked my phone and realised I had 3 missed calls from PaRaDoX, so I called him back and went for dinner with him. It had been a miracle that I hadn't heard my phone ringing - it seemed some higher power wanted me to stay on to listen to and critically examine the testimony, but alas, prior fraternal commitments had me bound. In summation, though he talked about rationality, his testimony was not about rationality at all, but rather faith and how God had manipulated his sister's free will into saving him from the bankruptcy that he himself had brought on.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben,
Schlafe, bis dein Gluck erwacht;
da, mein Bild will ich dir geben,
schau, wie freundlich es dir lacht.

Ihr sussen Traume, wiegt ihn ein,
und lasset seinem Wunsch am Ende
die wollustreichen Gegenstande
zu reifer Wirklichkeit gedeih'n.
My Grailquest collection is now complete! Muaha!
"Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation." - James Thurber


Star Signs and the Personalities They Reveal

ARIES - The Aggressive

Outgoing. Lovable. Spontaneous. Not one to mess with. Funny. Excellent kisser EXTREMELY adorable. Loves relationships, and family is very important to an aries. Aries are known for being generous and giving. Addictive. Loud. Always has the need to be 'Right'. Aries will argue to prove their point for hours and hours. Aries are some of the most wonderful people in the world. 16 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

TAURUS - The Tramp

Aggressive. Loves being in long relationships. Likes to give a good fight. Fight for what they want. Can be annoying at times, but for the love of attention. Extremely outgoing. Loves to help people in times of need. Good kisser. Good personality. Stubborn. A caring person. They can be self centered and if they want something they will do anything to get it. They love to sleep and can be lazy. One of a kind. Not one to mess with. Are the most attractive people on earth! 15 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

GEMINI - The Twin

Nice. Love is one of a kind. Great listeners Very Good at confusing people... Lover not a fighter, but will still knock you out. Gemini's will not take any crap from anyone. Gemini's like to tell people what they should do and get offended easily. They are great at losing things and are forgetful. Gemini's can be very sarcastic and childish at times, and are very nosey. Trustworthy. Always happy. VERY Loud. Talkative. Outgoing VERY FORGIVING. Loves to make out. Has a beautiful smile. Generous. Strong. THE MOST IRRESISTIBLE. 9 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

CANCER - The Beauty

MOST AMAZING KISSER. Very high appeal. A Cancer's Love is one of a kind. Very romantic. Most caring person you will ever meet in your life. Entirely creative Person, most's are artists and insane respectfully speaking. They perfected sex and do it often. Extremely random. An Ultimate Freak. Extremely funny and is usually the life of the party. Most cancers will take you under their wing and into their hearts where you will remain forever. Cancers make love with a passion beyond compare
Spontaneous. Not a Fighter, But will kick your ass good if it comes down to it. Someone you should hold on to! 12 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

LEO - The Lion

Great talker. Attractive and passionate. Laid back. Usually happy, but when unhappy tend to be grouchy and childish. A leo's problem becomes everyone's problem. Most Leos are very predictable and tend to be monotonous. Knows how to have fun. Is really good at almost anything. Great kisser. Very predictable. Outgoing. Down to earth. Addictive. Attractive. Loud. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Not one to mess with. Rare to find. Good when found. 7 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

VIRGO - The One that Waits

Dominant in relationships. Someone loves them right now. Always wants the last word. Caring. Smart. Loud. Loyal. Easy to talk to. Everything you ever wanted. Easy to please. A pushover. Loves to gamble and take chances. Needs to have the last say in everything. They think they know everything and usually do. Respectful to others but you will quickly lose their respect if you do something untrustworthy towards them and never regain respect. The do not forgive and never forgetThe one and only. 7 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

LIBRA - The Lame One

Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! However, not the kind of person you want to mess with... you might end up crying... Libras can cause as much havoc as they can prevent. faithful friends to the end. Can hold a grudge for years. Libras are someone you want on your side. Usually great at sports and are extreme sports fanatics. Kinda dumb at times. 9 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

SCORPIO - The Addict

EXTREMELY adorable. Loves to joke. Very Good sense of humor. Will try almost anything once. Loves to be pampered. Energetic. Predictable. GREAT kisser. Always get what they want. Attractive. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Loves to party but at times to the extreme. Loves the smell and feel of money and is good at making it but just as good at spending it! Very protective over loved ones. HARD workers. Can be a good friend but if is disrespected by a friend, the friendship will end. Romantic. Caring. 4 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

SAGITTARIUS - The Promiscuous One

Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found. Loves being in long relationships. So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away. Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones will all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed..!!! Not the kind of person you want to mess with- you might end up crying. 4 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

CAPRICORN - The Passionate Lover

Love to bust. Nice. Sassy. Intelligent. Sexy. Grouchy at times and annoying to some. Lazy and love to take it easy. But when they find a job or something they like to do they put their all into it. Proud, understanding and sweet. Irresistible. Loves being in long relationships. Great talker. Always gets what he or she wants. Cool. Loves to win against other signs especially Gemini's in sports. Likes to cook but would rather go out to eat at good restaurants. Extremely fun. Loves to joke. Smart. 24 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

AQUARIUS - Does It In The Water

Trustworthy. Attractive. Great kisser. One of a kind, loves being in long-term relationships. Can be clumbsy at times but tries hard. Will take on any project. Proud of themselves in whatever they do. Messy, and unorganized. Procrastinators. Great lovers, when their not sleeping. Extreme thinkers. Loves their pets usually more then their familiy. Can be VERY irritating to others when they try to explain or tell a story. Unpredictable. Will exceed your expectations. Not a Fighter, But will Knock your lights out. 2 years of bad luck if you do not forward

PISCES - The Partner for Life

Caring and kind. Smart. Center of attention. Messy at times and irresponsible! Smart but lazy. High appeal. Has the last word. Good to find, hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. Lover of animals. VERY caring, make wonderful nurses or doctors. They always try to do the right thing sometimes get the short end of the stick. They sometimes et used by others and hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good Sense of Humor!!! Thoughtful. Always gets what he or she wants. Loves to joke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to other but need to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be. 5 years of bad luck if you do not forward.


GetAmused.com - The Oreo Personality Test

"The Oreo Personality Test

Psychologists have discovered that the manner in which one eats Oreo cookies provides great insight into one's personality. Choose which method best describes your favorite method of eating Oreos:

1. The whole thing all at once
2. One bite at a time
3. Slow and methodical nibbles, examining the results of each bite afterwards
4. In little feverous nibbles
5. Dunked in some liquid (milk, coffee, etc.)
6. Twisted apart, the inside, then the cookie
7. Twisted apart, the inside, and toss the cookie
8. Just the cookie, not the inside
9. I just like to lick them, not eat them.
10. I don't have a favorite way because I don't like Oreo cookies.

Your Personality:

1. The whole thing all at once: You consume life with abandon, you are fun to be with, exciting, carefree with some hint of recklessness. You are totally irresponsible. No one should trust you with their children.

2. One bite at a time: You are lucky to be one of the 5.4 billion other people who eat their Oreos this very same way. Just like them, you lack imagination, but that's okay, not to worry, you're normal.

3. Slow and methodical nibbles: You follow the rules. You're very tidy and orderly. You're very meticulous in every detail with every thing you do to the point of being anal-retentive and irritating to others. Stay out of the fast lane if you're only going to go the speed limit.

4. Feverous nibbles: Your boss likes you because you get your work done quickly. You always have a million things to do and never enough time to do them. Mental breakdowns and suicides run in your family. Valium and Ritalin would do you good.

5. Dunked: Everyone likes you because you are always upbeat. You like to sugarcoat unpleasant experiences and rationalize bad situations into good ones. You are in total denial about the shambles you call a life. You have a propensity towards narcotics addiction.

6. Twisted apart, the inside, and then the cookie: You have a highly curious nature. You take pleasure in breaking things apart to find out how they work, though not always able to put them back together, so you destroy all the evidence of your activities. You deny your involvement when things go wrong. You are a compulsive liar and exhibit deviant, if not criminal, behavior.

7. Twisted apart, the inside, and then toss the cookie: You are good at business and take risks that pay off. You take what you want and throw the rest away. You are greedy, selfish, mean, and lack feelings for others. You should be ashamed of yourself. But that's ok, you don't care, you got yours.

8. Just the cookie, not the inside: You enjoy pain.

9. I just like to lick them, not eat them: Stay away from small furry animals and seek professional medical help--immediately.

10. I don't have a favorite way because I don't like Oreo cookies.: You probably come from a rich family, like to wear nice things, and go to upscale restaurants. You are particular and fussy about the things you buy, own, and wear. Things have to be just right. You like to be pampered. You are a prim."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work." - Peter Drucker


Martin Rebas - Humor - Stolen humor - General wittiness

One World War II Quaker conscientious objector had been a professional wrestler. Once when he and some other inmates of the Coshocton CPS camp in Ohio made a trip into town, they were hassled about their pacifism by some local youths, who insisted that only force could change the German's views.

In response, the ex-wrestler took off his coat, challenged one of the local boys to a match, and promptly threw the townie across the room. He then asked the youth, "_Now_ do you believe that force won't change people's views?"

"Heck no!" the local boy hollered back.

"That's exactly my point," said the Quaker, who put on his coat and left.

Actual listing in the TV section of the Marin (CA) Independent-Journal:

Movie "The Wizard of Oz": Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

Gay Court is, or used to be, a street in the megabucks San Francisco suburb of Alamo. The county board of supervisors, citing homosexual implications, social stigma and ridicule, officially changed the name of the thoroughfare to High Eagle Road. [...]

Local gay activists responded with ingenuity and aplomb, announcing that Bay Area homosexuals would henceforth refer to themselves not as "gays" but as "high eagles."
"Frankfurt-style counterexamples fail to show that the Principle of Alternate Possibilities is not required for moral responsibility… The key to my response is that events, including acts, should be individuated in a fine-grained way. I take what Fischer calls the “essentialist principle of event individuation” to be correct. This principle states that “x is the same particular event as y if and only if x and y have the same causes.”6 Thus, it is not enough to say that the act E, which Jones performs, is Jones’s voting for Al Gore (to alter a Frankfurt-style example of Fisher’s). There might be several different acts that could fall under such a general heading… Although Jones presumably does not know that he is in Frankfurt-style circumstances, and thus does not know that the alternative acts open to his free causal contribution are Jones’s voting for Gore as a result of an unimpeded personal decision to do so, and Jones’s voting for Gore as a result of the impeding intervention of Black after Jones showed an inclination to vote for Bush, there are in fact these two acts, each of which Jones has the ability to bring about in the circumstances in which he is. In performing the first act, Jones thus does have the ability to do otherwise, and PAP thus remains intact."

--- Divine Providence and human libertarian freedom: reasons for incompatibility and theological alternatives, James D. Rissler,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some comics:

Carol: I'd like to take advantage of our new family friendly policy.

Three of my kids have bronchitis, two have dental appointments, one is in a school play, and one has a rugby game.

In all likelihood, you will never see me again.

Pointy-haired boss (sotto voce on phone): We didn't think this through.

Dilbert: My company wants me to design a private moon shuttle in three months. Doom is inevitable.

Dogbert: What you need is a scapegoat to blame for the project never getting finished. I'll send one over.

Dilbert: *Gesturing to goat* I was almost done, and then this idiot comes along.

This one's so Monty Python.

Constitutional Scholar to a blind man on a 'Don't Walk' sign: Well, I think under our rights guaranteed by the 4th Amendment, the State can only make it a suggestion, not a command, so I say go ahead if you want.

"The short-lived experiment of a seeing eye constitutional scholar"

Signs: '"I don't get it." "What's that supposed to be?" "What the..."'
"Earl and Edna's favorite part of the Museum of Modern Art"

Kate: Giggle.
Danae: Woo-hoo!

Joe (reading newspapers): *THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMP* *THUMPA* *THUMP*

Joe: Kate... Danae... STOP HORSING AROUND!!

Kate, Danae and Lucy: *boggle*

Lucy: Did I just get profiled?
Kate: I... I think so.
Danae: Fortunately, I have the A.C.L.U on speed dial...

And one non-comic:

"Tracey says
(√2 + √8) is an irrational number
(√2 + √8)^2 = 18
I think that if yousquare an irrational number you always get a rational number

Tracey is wrong.
Use an example to show that Tracey is wrong.

'She's a woman'"

For some reason, this is funnier now than the previous time I saw it.
"Household tasks are easier and quicker when they are done by somebody else." - James Thorpe


In the City Harvest comments box: "singapore has hope because of people like you. not afraid to question things, and speak your mind."
Aww, that's awfully sweet...

I am amused at how "Friesche Vlag" is translated into English in Malaysia and Vietnam not as "Friesian Flag" but "Dutch Lady".

For some reason, when Malay food is cooked in large quantities, Chinese-style vegetables will be served (and often the dish is cauliflower). Someone said it was a swap, since Chinese zi cha stalls have sambal kang kong.

"As you step into Little India, prepare for an assault on the senses" - STB website. Wah, racist! Heads will roll!!!

In one Chinese Clan association, they don't even use dialect during meetings, but English. Hah.

A study by the Singapore Children's Society found that children's happiness was not affected by family income (see also Children say money can't buy happiness). This kills another of the mumbo-jumbo excuses used by modern liberals to claim that single-parent families aren't worse for children's happiness than more traditional forms of the family (despite the existence of studies which control for income, which prove the same thing). Another common mumbo-jumbo tactic is to find isolated examples and to trump them as disproving the point, but somehow that never works when you try that with successful members of subaltern groups.

One of the many contradictions in feminism is that they are committed to securing easy access to abortion. Yet, to saddle men with unwanted children (or child support), they have to stress the danger, stress and trauma of abortion, in which case, restrictions and regulations on it would be called for (think of the indemnity forms you have to sign and the informed consent that has to take place before major operations). Another contradiction is that with regard to fetuses, men have responsibilities (they have to pay child support even if they don't want the child) but no rights (since the fetuses can be aborted at any time over their strenuous objections). You can't have it both ways, except in a sexually stratified society.

MGS girls have to French braid their hair. You learn something new everyday.

Someone said my hair had something wrong with it, and that it looked dead. Wth.

I was in the Forum with 3 others. We had one Thinkpad, one ASUS, one Toshiba and one Mac. The only terminal unable to connect to the NUS network was the Mac. Hurr hurr.

Someone was unable to eject a CD from her Mac laptop - apparently there is no hardware eject button on them. Pity.
"There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers." - William James


Stolen GPS leads police to hideout - "When thieves broke into the company's office earlier this month they stole more than $13,000 worth of equipment including a demonstration pack, a laptop computer and a half-dozen in-car navigators... But five days later, a thief plugged the software in which alerted Fleetlink to the precise location of its stolen equipment. "We were fairly confident he was going to be silly enough to plug it in because it looks like something to plug in," said business development manager Murray Griffith."

Prison offers inmates pole-vaulting lessons - "Inmates at the young offenders’ institution are learning how to vault 13ft high bars. But the governor insists that their new skills will not be put to use for escape bids – because the jail walls are 20ft high and topped with razor wire."

Wacky Uses - This is True description: "the site is pretty good: it includes wacky uses for everyday products (who knew Alberto VO5 hair conditioner prevented silver tarnish? And since you used up the bottle, you can use Reddi-wip as a hair conditioner.) There's also a weird facts section ("To this day, the ingredients in Worcestershire Sauce are stirred together and allowed to sit for two years before being bottled.") A fun way to waste an evening."

Men motivated by 'superior wage' - "On receiving a paypacket, how good a man feels depends on how much his colleague earns in comparison, scientists say. Scans reveal that being paid more than a co-worker stimulates the "reward centre" in the male brain."
The study on Harvard students was problematised, but this is yet more evidence confirming the relative wealth theory, which also fits in with Evo Psych.

Why Give to Wikimedia? » Blog Archive » Why Wikipedia Does Not Run Ads - "Read, if you will, through the comments left by our donors: “Giving back to a repository which has given so much to me.”"
HAHAHAHAHA this was my comment

Big Boys Don't Cry -- and Other Myths About Men and Their Emotions: Emotional Intelligence - ""Emotions live in the background of a man's life and the foreground of a woman's," says psychologist Josh Coleman, PhD, author of The Lazy Husband. "Testosterone dampens feelings in men, who compartmentalize and intellectualize more... In 125 studies in various cultures, boys and men were consistently less accurate at interpreting unspoken messages in gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. Men also react less intensely to emotions -- and forget them faster. In an experiment at Stanford University, photographs of upsetting or traumatic images triggered greater activity in more regions of female brains. Three weeks later the women remembered more detail about the pictures than the men. In similar ways, the researchers speculated, a woman may continue stewing over a tiff or slight her husband has long forgotten... Many men remain confused about how much they can dare to share. "In one breath a woman says she wants us to be emotionally open," says Westover, who is divorced. "In the next she wants us to be her rock. Women are asking us to perform these incredible emotional gymnastics, and it is messing with our heads. Men don't have a road map or a role model to show us how to be both emotional and strong.""

Notorious MDA: The Singapore government raps - "From time to time someone will ask me why I left Singapore for China. This is a fair question. I lived there for nearly a decade, Mrs. Imagethief is Singaporean, and I have great affection for the place. Usually I give some longish explanation about various professional and personal frustrations that were beginning to set in. From now on, however, I'll simply be able to point people at this video on YouTube... It is often remarked that the Chinese government considers the Singapore government a role model for successful technocratic authoritarianism. Whatever the Chinese government learns from Singapore, let us pray that it does not absorb the idea that rapping bureaucrats is a good idea... Unfortunately, a pigeon with a nail through its skull would still have the brain power to predict the inevitable result of this project: a catastrophic piece of self-ridicule that drags out for four-and-a-half painful minutes every reason why government involvement in creative industries is a disaster. And why Singapore's media industry is, like the site of a bad plane crash, so much lifeless wreckage."

Asian media vows to make western media cry - "On average Asian media suck. Especially news media... I blame government. Governments, by and large, should not involve themselves in media. But Asia's governments cannot, for the life of them, keep their grubby mitts off the media. And damned if they don't have a near mystical talent for boiling the life out of it... too much government involvement and you get soul-destroying headlines like... Well, just for fun, let's see what the top story on the Straits Times website is right now... Good gosh, two government headlines in a row. And this is typical. Back in Singapore we used to joke about what the above-the-fold government headline of the day would be... This story is rewritten across the region. As long as Asian governments manage their news, censor their films, and interfere explicitly in culture then their newspapers will be treated as propaganda, their most talented artists will flee overseas and their people will wolf-down tawdry but lively foreign culture... 'Delegates of Asian media attending the BFA conference reached the consensus that Asian media should shoulder a responsibility for broadcasting "a harmonious Asia" with "a harmonious Asian image" and provide a value of "harmonious region" to tell the world a real Asia.'"
In comments: "Having just moved to Singapore from Beijing I looked forward to a good English language daily. I am still looking forward to a good English language daily. Straits Times is a curious paper. Heavy on pages but light on content. It is at most a 20 minuted read - a record perhaps for a paper in four or five sections. The Forum stands alone for sheer numbness. It makes China Daily's 'Odd News" look good. A colleague of mine came to visit from Europe and was obsessed by the ridiculousness of this page and as far as I know she still checks it out online and distributes it to fiends... no mention of Singapore media can pass by without honouring Mediacorp. It would take too long to give proper critique of this multi-stationed entity but let me just say, thank god for cable. nd if anyone doubts me, take the chance to catch up with one of Mediacorp's latest high rating hits The Peak (I think you can view it online). A passionate drama set in the exciting world of, wait for it, keppel fels shipyard! It has to be seen to be believed."

Materialistic Singaporeans - "A new China immigrant from Shenzhen recently wrote on the Internet of his five-month stay here, and of his shock at finding a Singapore so vastly different from the “nice” place he had heard about. “Everyone here seems to be crazy about money. “Why is this happening here? Back in China, we are also concerned about money, but not like this; every other thing is about money here,” he commented. “In the office, people are always talking about 4-D, en bloc property, shares or higher salaries. There was also an idiot who blew S$2,000 on a soccer match last week. That’s a lot of money to lose in a single day. “I know of two girls in my office who moonlight as insurance agents and sleep around with clients. All that for money.”"

Children say money can't buy happiness - "A new report shows wealth plays no part in making adolescents happy. Instead, the overwhelming influence on children's emotional state was the age of the child and its sex. Put simply: the older a teenager gets, the more miserable he or she becomes. And girls are a lot more miserable than boys... A loving, large family contributes most to adolescent bliss. Boys were happiest when their fathers were unemployed and stuck at home for company - an indication that poverty does not always mean unhappiness. But that was offset by a slight swing in favour of two-parent households. An only child tends to be less happy."

I'm done!
Just finished a 10 episode, 8 hour Heroes marathon.

Good luck to Yi Teng, the sole stalwart of the 8.

We wouldn't have lasted this long without the portable fan!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"A number of countries were hesitant to acknowledge the PRC, given its large size and potential wealth, as a genuine Third World state. Its list of irredentist territorial grievances added to these misgivings, as did rhetoric advocating world revolution that cast doubt on how non-aligned the PRC actually was. Several countries accused Beijing of meddling in their internal affairs---such as supporting a communist movement in Burma and training anti-government guerrillas in the Cameroons---which were strictly forbidden by the Pancha Sheela"

--- Encroaching On the Middle Kingdom? China’s View of Its Place in the World, June Teufel Dreyer

(Emphases mine)
2 actual NUS exam questions:

"When does the FY 2007 of Singapore government start and end? What about the U.S. government? What are the approximate revenues of Singapore government in FY 2007?"

"Prove the Rybczynski Theorem"

Monday, December 03, 2007

"Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died." - Steven Wright


Someone: i thought back then you were like plato
just think of philosophical stuff

i used to think you were asexual
i mean, some days you would ask XXX some damn cheem question
and i would be there just half dozing and thinking about sex

Me: so smart = asexual ah

Someone else: he msn'ed me yesterday
asked if i missed him
blah blah

asked me if i was seeing anyone else
and then "hugged" me

men are so crap

Me: crap men get ahead

Someone else: get head

Me: that too hurr hurr

Someone else: i hate the fact he doesnt care abt my feelings

Me: then you should hate yourself for going for him

Someone else: hmm guess u're right

as in
i'd rather have been with him than not
so i guess i shldnt complain

Me: yeah
life is suffering

Someone: how much is a blowjob worth to u?

as in
what would u do for a bj?

someone offered to pick me up from sch to go home in return for a bj

Me: wth

good deal
for him ;)

oh wait
spit or swallow

eh fuel now very ex. better take the deal while it lasts hahahahaha

Someone: wah lau. like that i rather take cab home lor. cab only $10... my blowjob is worth way more than that

Someone else: i am situating 881 as a form of resistance cinema, as an utterance of the chinese-speaking chinese people of their emasculated dreams in society

Me: very good.

but how is that [the topic]

Someone else: chinese heritage
a contestation in representation

that's where the mindfuck comes in
reading fanon, derrida
and all that bullshit about difference

Me: oh god
basically obfuscate yourself to a thesis

MFTTW: bleeding all the blood out of meat dries it out
not so tasty

Me: halal steak sucks
though I don't eat beef

HWMNBN claims if you know what you're doing with marinade it's ok
pls lor

MFTTW: huuuuuuuh
marinade bleah

Me: that's why muslims don't eat steak
they eat rendang or kebab

MFTTW: i take the reductionist view of food... if you start with crappy raw materials you cannot get a great dish, merely a good dish

that's why they like to stew
stewing breaks down the meat so lack of moisture doesn't matter

Me: do other muslims like to stew also?

MFTTW: i think so

i'm thinking about what i know about othe rmuslim cuisines
i thinkt he stewing also because they eat a lot of goat
which is stringy and tough to begin with anyway
hurr hurr

HWMNBN: your blog shows up when i google asian vagina width

is there ANYTHING it doesn't show up for?

Male friend: oh, and let me give you some advice - Vicks vaporub is not the same as KY jelly

without going into details, i learnt this much to my sorrow

Someone: later i found out abt the other girl
who, may i say in all my cattiness, is really ugly

Me: haha ok
is she still?

Someone: yes she's still ugly
and kind of fat

oh well he has bad taste in women
the one he liked before me was really pukeworthy

Me: but he had you what
so are you also... :P

Someone: ahahah

but then you see, i'm not his type. it didn't last long. he had to "try" to see us together

hence i am not the usual kind of ugly fat girl he prefers

i may be fat
but i'm not ugly

Me: orh

Someone: you don't believe me do you

Me: no comment =D

Sunday, December 02, 2007

If you want to be arrogant, fine.

But at least be RIGHT.

Jan Chan - Actively Atheist: If there was one thing I could change in history...

"You do realise that Mexicans are Europeans in the same way that Americans are... Majority of Mexicans are Europeans with some Aztec ancestors, which of course is quite hard to prevent considering that they had more then half a millennium of living together. Just looking at their skin colour can tell you that their bloodline is mostly Spanish. Spanish is the language spoken by 97% of the people, even if they were all native Americans which they aren't, that kind of numbers shows that they have essentially westernised...

[On Thomas Paine] I call him an atheist because he was so extreme in human rights that he was disowned by his fellow deists."
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