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Saturday, March 22, 2008

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary." - James Madison


LDPVTP: do you think that the social sciences are delusional?

i think psych is not bad, pretty stable
the rest are dubious
it's like, the more stats there are, the more okay it is, and the converse.

Me: the delusional people will poke holes at the stats :P

or conclude that since stats are not 100% right, they're 100% wrong

LDPVTP: it's horrific when there are no stats

Me: not everything can be measured lah

LDPVTP: you get weirdly spiritual people praying over their academic articles

oh.yeah. not everything can be measured. unfortunately academia is about measuring everything

Me: praying?

LDPVTP: or at least they sound like they're praying
"may the human race be good now"
"because i have found some weird unrelated fact that proves absolutely nothing, but that faintly indicates that the stars are aligned"
"and thus I AM ALWAYS RIGHT. and i believe the human race is essentially good. so let us all be good now."

Me: right.
what've you been reading

LDPVTP: social work

so, why am i studying something that doesn't even appear to take itself seriously?
(in some aspects)

Me: I think it helps if you realise many people are not interested in studying their discipline
but in pushing their personal agenda

LDPVTP: that's very sad
very very sad

i mean, it's not sad that that happens
but it's sad that faculties actually spend money sponsoring such stuff

Me: now you know why funding is so scarce for the arts and social sciences

LDPVTP: justly so.

bleah. BLEAH.

and all the fellas who actually try to do something worthwhile in the arts and social sciences, they get crowded out by the idiots

Someone: anyway it bugged me that he didnt walk me out/ send me out
even though i said "it's ok, just sleep"

why are guys so dense

Me: cos you said it's ok
... women

Someone: really ah

are men like that?
coz i felt hurt that he didnt care
after all i "did" for him


... [another anecdote]

thing is
i want a guy who treats me well
not use me as a sexual outlet

im sure it's a "...women" thing
but it's true

Me: you want a guy who will be psychic and know what you want
and you don't have to tell him

and when you tell him rubbish because you want to be 'nice', he will override your wishes and autonomy and oppress you with patriarchy and do what you /really/ want

Someone: that too :P

Someone else: i won't find myself supporting any external interference against a regime, no matter how brutal - unless of course that regime is pig-headed to invade another country.

as you can see from cambodia, the khmer rouge was toppled and the horrors of their war crimes didn't even come into consideration when the US and her allies imposed sanctions against Vietnam.

Me: does that mean you shouldn't support vietnamese intervention?

Someone else: you have to understand that the khmer rouge troops went into vietnam without their permission, so my case is that i support vietmanese intervention.
since it was the khmer rouge who invaded vietnam first.

Me: so the world shouldn't intervene in darfur
the world shouldn't have intervened in rwanda
the world shouldn't have entered east timor
the world shouldn't have intervened in the balkans civil war

Someone else: that is my stance.

Me: so it doesn't matter that lots and lots of people are dying

Someone else: you can sell arms to the oppressed parties.

Me: so if the PAP started cracking down in Singapore, throwing people into jail, torturing people etc, you wouldn't support any intervention?

Someone else: yes.
because you just don't know the motive behind that kind of intervention.

Me: so why endorse any forms of altruism?
close down charities. withdraw NGO licenses. stop helping other people.

would you have called Singapore Syonan-to from 1942-1945?
Singapore was Japanese by right of conquest

I do not subscribe to the school of thought that says that it's okay if Saddam Hussein kills 100,000 Kurds, but outrageous if the US kills 100 Iraqis when invading.

Just because you belong to Group X does not give you the right to oppress members of Group X.

Someone else: there is a big difference between charities, NGO licenses and help and ARMED intervention.

Me: between a million people dying and some nebulous foreign agenda, I'll take the latter anyday

Someone else: a million people dying and foreign agenda...the two are not mutually exclusive.

as to whether singapore should be called syonan to because the japanese conquered it...the situation is not that simple - because the british and the japanese have plenty to cover themselves in shame wrt singapore governance.

i do not say it is ok for Saddam to kill 100k kurds but outrageous if the US kills 100 iraqis - i am opposed to killing unless under extreme circumstances.

Me: even if an act is not well-intentioned, if it brings about good outcomes it can be praised
the free market is a big example

that's not the point
it's about accepting the right of conquest, force and coercion
which dictators essentially have over their population
just that they're native instead of foreign. which doesn't make a difference

I think some killing is acceptable to avoid even more killing
between 1975-9, the Khmer Rouge killed between 1 and 3 million Cambodians you know?

Someone else: well - if the population of a nation doesn't stand up strongly enough against their dictators it's their own fault. remember the familiar refrain "Singaporeans deserve their government if they don't speak up against it"?

the point here is not of whether the dictator is a native or foreigner, but whether the populace accepts the dictator [whether at gunpoint or not is irrelevant]

in one word - sovereignity.

Me: if you get shot if you stand up is it your fault if you don't?
if a woman doesn't resist strongly enough when she's raped, is it her fault?

there're many types of coercion and consent
just because a populace doesn't rise up in revolt doesn't mean it consents

what is sovereignty?
sovereignty lies with the people. if the ruler is illegitimate, he is violating their sovereignty

Someone else: the vietnamese invasion of the Khmer Rouge-era cambodia may be acceptable to you, but i have never heard the US understanding that vietnam did a good deed to the cambodian people.

Me: you think the cambodians enjoyed being slaughtered by the khmer rouge?
they WELCOME the invasion

I think they would say now that it's a good thing
and does it matter what the US thinks?

I think that saying that people get the governments they deserve is similar to saying that women who get raped are to blame for it - in both cases the victims probably could have done something to prevent their misfortune (being gunned down by soldiers in the former case and carrying around pepper spray/not being consumed with guilt and self-loathing in the latter), but to throw the blame wholly or even predominantly on the victim is not only wrong but grossly immoral. I have slightly more sympathy to the school of thought that says that people deserve the governments they vote for - if someone wants to be raped repeatedly there's not much you can do to help them.

Someone else: you may wish to know that 99.5% of the people voted for saddam hussein, and more than 50% of the people voted for Slobodan Milosevic before the revolution in the former Yugoslavia.

And we are not talking about individuals, but entire populaces including the military.
true, a populace not rising up in revolt does not mean consent, but it does mean respect (towards gun barrels).

you don't know that saddam rigged his elections ah?!?!

the military usually benefits from the regime
because they can topple it
so they're paid well, cossetted etc

so if someone comes up to you with a gun and goes: "your money or your life" you respect his gun lah
so you won't blame the police for not intervening

Someone else: of course i know that saddam rigged his elections - then again, so do many political parties in power - just take any ex-Soviet state for an example. where do you want to draw the line in defining a "legitimate" power?

there is a difference between a police force and a country fighting another which oppresses her civilians.

Me: yeah I don't consider the central asian states legitimate either

Someone else: but you certainly do have to ask permission from those state organs to enter their premises, legitimate leaders or otherwise. for all the contempt he probably has against Tian Shwe, the UN official still had to get his permission to see Aung San Suu Kyi.
and by getting such permission, you are in fact giving them official legitimacy.

Me: unfortunately
UN nuclear inspectors also need permission from iran or north korea to enter facilities

but this is because of necessity

Someone else: exactly.

Me: so the alternative is not to deal with them?
so if the red cross ministers to the sick and wounded somewhere it gives them legitimacy?

Someone else: sorry, i do not get your "red cross" comparison.

in any case, when it comes to dealing with countries, the equation is simply thus:

who's got the guns and bullets = legitimacy.

the alternative is simple - avoid doing business with that regime you consider illegitimate.
especially military and police hardware and software

Me: the red cross needs permission to work in a country
so like that it legitimises everyone

so why do guns and bullets not work for international legitimacy
and guns and bullets is an extremely archaic notion of legitimacy

Someone else: unfortunately, yes...who would the red cross deal with if a crisis were to hit thailand - the legitimate PM thaksin or surayud?

actually, i thought that was the entire line of argument i had all along - guns and bullets equate to legitimacy. and going back to myanmar, that makes the SLORC the legitimate rulers [unless, hopefully, enough elements in the tatmadaw suddenly develop a conscience].

Me: well according to you the very act of dealing with them legitimises them

well at least you're consistent

Someone else: well - actually i see the best way out is to give zero interference, and not invade the country.

the most spectacular series of toppled dictatorships in modern history [in the form of the eastern bloc] was down to the fact that the gorbachev-led government refused to quell the popular uprisings when the dictators in the USSR's satellite states asked them precisely to do so.

of course, speaking of this, i am reminded that the poles are still sore at the soviets because the soviets gave zero interference to aid the Warsaw uprising during World War II.
which is still a very sore point the poles have against the russians - never mind Katyn and nearly 50 years of communist terror.

Someone: *nickname: *Thesis supervisor's name*, i won't let you lose face one*

don't worry

i am almost as in th ebad shape as u

Me: so you're going to let *** lose face ah

Someone: yep
most prob he's going to lose face lah

Me: nvm lah
give you B wont lose face one!

Someone: who?

gabriel seah
thanks hor

Me: nevermind lah
next time can work in bank

Someone: hahaha
why u say that

Me: Maybank

Someone: hhahahahaaha

fuck u gabriel
fuck u

Someone else: obama > clit

Me: erm

I see you're very horny now

"History of the Predictive Text Swearing"
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics." - Fletcher Knebel


My Favourite Periodical:

November 24th:

"He was once colossally fat. Feeling unwell, he asked his doctor what the problem was. “You're fat,” said the doctor. Mr Huckabee said he wanted a second opinion. “OK, you're ugly, too,” came the reply."

December 8th:

"Nigeria's history of fighting the scourge is not the sort to discourage dealers. Its drug agency, founded in 1990, was immediately immersed in scandal when its own top people were themselves found to be involved in trafficking. At the end of October the country's independent commission on corrupt practices called in the agency's former chairman and eight other officials for questioning over money and drugs missing from an exhibit."

"Richard Cates, the associate special general counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Richard Nixon's impeachment hearings, told his nephew that law was the only place where reason controls power. Though Mr Lessig's later battle to reverse copyright extensions suggested otherwise, the young man decided that law was the career for him."

"It takes three kilograms of cereals to produce a kilo of pork, eight for a kilo of beef"
Beef should be made haram.

December 15th:

"Newly converted to fiscal constraint, Mr Bush also vetoed a bill to expand children's health insurance."

"In 1903 the trade journal Telephony reported an elderly woman's complaints about her niece, who received a phone call from a male friend while dressing. “The two of them stood talking to one another just as if they were entirely dressed and had stopped for a little chat on the street! I tell you this generation is too much for me,” she grumbled."

January 5th:

"Last month opponents of the pole tax filed for a temporary injunction against it. They argued that nude dancing is a type of expression and that its free exercise should therefore not be inhibited. The judge was unimpressed."

"Brazil is fertile land for Pentecostalism, a strain of Christianity characterised by the belief that God performs miraculous works for his faithful so regularly that they can be written into a timetable... The man behind this religious conglomerate is Edir Macedo, known by his followers as “the Bishop”. One of the world's most successful religious entrepreneurs, he does not give interviews... To sacrifice is divine, he tells the congregation. Maybe so, but to devise ingenious business models is human."
Ooh, dangerous stuff.

[From the same article as the above] "He attacks the Catholic Church for eulogising poverty."
Hands-down, this has got to be the best bit. He might as well attack Jesus.

"As Joaquín Morales Solá, a political analyst, puts it, the Argentine predisposition “is to look for a conspiracy, to see captive courts [in the United States] because Argentina has them. It's a mixture of narcissism and naivety.”"

February 2nd:

"Only seven out of every 100 Asians use deodorants, the company reckons, while many Russians and others use them only for special occasions, such as weddings."

February 9th:

"To arrive at his conclusion that the West is incompetent and Asia competent, Mr Mahbubani has to use a rather distorted view of recent history... Of the four new nuclear-weapons states that have emerged in recent decades, three have been Asian—India, Pakistan and North Korea. Two of those—Pakistan and North Korea—attained their nuclear status with a technological helping hand from China, a country Mr Mahbubani rates as being run by peace-mongering geopolitical geniuses... Mr Mahbubani's argument is... that Asia has been much better at keeping the peace in its region. This view can be sustained only if you ignore the recurrent conflicts between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, and the civil war in Sri Lanka, as well as Asia's closest parallel to the former Yugoslavia, which is Indonesia."

February 16th:

"SIR – Concerning your confusion over the exact nationality of a “renowned” Belgian mathematician (Letters, January 19th). The trouble is that when you are famous, no one knows you're Belgian. And when you are a mathematician, no one knows you're famous.

Edward Whitehead

"Some sites carried advertising suggesting a surprising degree of official entrepreneurship: Bolivia's portal, for instance, had a banner ad for passion.com, which promised “sexy personals for passionate singles”."

"Richard Clayton, a fellow-campaigner, says that personal information should be treated like plutonium pellets: “Kept in secure containers, handled as seldom as possible and escorted whenever it has to travel. Should it get out into the environment, it will be a danger for years to come. Putting it into one huge pile is really asking for trouble.”"

"People who would strongly resist giving any personal information to the government are quite happy for Google to know that they have been searching for “hot Asian babes”."

[On Rowan Williams on Sharia] "Studied closely, the archbishop's speech—and a radio interview he gave the same day—did not read like intentional provocation: it was the sort of intellectual conceit that might have worked well in a theological seminar."

"But who qualifies as a civilian?... many of those who do not carry arms (or wear uniforms) may be very much part of the war effort—ammunition workers, porters, victuallers and the like. And what of the ideologues whose hate-filled doctrines fuel the conflict, the newspaper editors who disseminate the propaganda or the taxpayers who pay for the war? Should they be afforded special protection when the unwilling teenage conscript is not?"

February 23rd:

"TO SEE what the future of film distribution might look like, go to a website called ZML.com. It offers 1,700 films for download to personal computers, iPods or other hand-held devices, or to burn to DVD. It is inviting and easy to use, with detailed descriptions of each movie, editors' picks, customer reviews and screen stills. And the prices are reasonable: “Atonement”, for instance, costs $2.99. There is one small catch: ZML.com is a pirate site."

March 1st:

"FOR a man who has placed “hope” at the centre of his campaign, Barack Obama can sound pretty darned depressing."

"John Reid, a former British home secretary, later described that ruling as “outrageously unbalanced”, famously adding that the European judges “just don't get it”. The rights of the individual had to be balanced against the security interests of the host state, he argued. In this week's ruling the judges have retorted that they did “get it”, and that their opinion remains the same."

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter


Screenshot from one episode of The Onion's video podcast: "Proposed Presidential salary increase intended to attract higher quality candidates"

Indeed, our own President could do with yet another salary increase to attract more candidates to run for office. The fact that we only had one candidate in the 2005 elections is testament to the fact that the current salary is woefully inadequate*.

* - Nitpickers might point out that he got S$2,300,000+ a year in 2005, and that he now gets S$3.8 million, but that's a ratio of only about 1.65. If we want to see 2 candidates at the next election we'll need to increase his pay to at least S$4.6 million.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive." - G. K. Chesterton


On Donald Barthelme's Snow White:

"From the reviews I had read about this book, it was supposed to be an intellectual, highly appealing and enchanting updated version of a classic children's story in which the dwarves are not really dwarves but rather sexually charged men who each take their turns having sex with Snow White in the shower (and only the shower, never in a bed). Snow White is seeking her Prince Charming, whose name is Paul. The wicked stepmother, whose name is Jane, is out to get Snow White. And one of the "dwarves", Bill, doesn't like to be touched...by anyone. Other than that, there wasn't much else I understood about this book. It was a very disjointed book. The writing was stilted and had the feel of a foreigner speaking in a second language. The conversations were completely unrealistic and the voices in my head, while reading, kept on speaking in a mechanical drone; no expression or hint of emotions. Really, really, really, wasn't worth the three evenings I spent reading it. I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has read and understood this book, but I certainly would not recommend purchasing it!"

"At times, when I am ‘down,’ I am able to pump myself up again by thinking about my blood. It is blue, the bluest this fading world has known probably. At times I startle myself with a gesture so royal, so full of light, that I wonder where it comes from. It comes from my father, Paul XVII, a most kingly man and personage. Even though his sole accomplishment during his lack of reign was the de-deification of his own person."

Amazingly, he manages to create something which is much less than the sum of its parts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A stupid warning I got from YouTube about a month ago:

"Dear Member:

After being flagged by members of the YouTube community and reviewed by YouTube staff, the video below has been removed due to its inappropriate nature.

Ware the darkness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umnYHj4fEyc

This is the second video removal notice for your account—if you receive one more, your account will be permanently disabled and all of your previously uploaded videos will be taken down.

Please refer to our Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and the Help Center for more information on what video material is not permitted on YouTube.

- The YouTube Team

Copyright © 2008 YouTube, Inc."

The offending video?

Wth. I'm using blip.tv next time.

(Incidentally, the first removed video was one of the Technical Virgin videos - this given how the creator didn't bother contacting me first. Grr.)
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." - Oscar Wilde


Apple fans burned by hot Airs - "Apple has released a software patch for the MacBook Air, hoping to fix overheating issues that have plagued the super-thin laptop since launch... Apple has long faced problems with the first generations of its products. Early iPods were prone to scratching; previous MacBook models suffered staining, whining noises emanating from their innards and random shutdown errors, to name a few."
It's okay. They can just look at it.

Gender Differences in Body Weight Perception and Weight-Loss Strategies of College Students - "Gender differences in college students' perceptions and satisfaction with body weight were examined. Females tended to perceivev themselves as overweight when they were not, failed to see themselves as underweight when they were, and many of those who did not see themselves as even slightly overweight wanted to lose weight. Although males reported some dissatisfaction with their bodies, they tended to want to gain rather than lose weight. Females dieted more frequently than did males, and nearly one-third of the females reported either self-induced vomiting or laxative use as a weight-loss strategy. The relationship between social pressure for female slenderness, dieting, and eating disorders are discussed. "
If a girl says she’s fat, she’s probably not. If a girl says she’s thin, she is.

Smell my fart and DIE: My Last Post as an NSF... - "My skin grew worse and so did my eyes, they were red and in pain all the time, i reported sick until people told me,
my officers were angry... In December, I woke up. Blind. Couldnt see clearly at all,
i went to my eye doctor. He panicked, telling me that my eye pressure was dangerously high."

'Hole, The' by Wash West (2003) - "A mock horror gay porn based on the popular 2002 hit movie The Ring (Ringu). The story centers around a mysterious videotape and anyone who sees it has seven days before they turn totally gay. When the time is up, even the most all- American jock becomes a friend of Dorothy. The story follows a reporter, who is investigating the tape to find the source of its mysterious power... "

The sermons of the Dog Whisperer - ""With a timid dog, you need to talk in a soft, soothing language such as French," he says. "With a bold, tough dog, you're better off talking in German because of its authoritative tone and curt-sounding words. I've got one dog that responds to me when I talk in a North Wales dialect, another that I always address in a South Wales accent... Tell dogs off in Arabic or Japanese; both have the right tone."

Throw Dawn Yang out of STOMP Petition - "Her blog (ClapbangKiss) contains intimate poses of herself in her bra and panties which could easily be mistaken as a potential porn site and proves to have negative impact on young children who may happen to browse her page. To be precise, she is creating a public disturbance and negative influence by appearing in events with close and intimate poses with old men, allowing them to touch her all over and she does not seem to mind. The overall impression of her fondling with middle age old men gave a public message to all that it is fine getting touched all over if they drove luxurious cars."
'Where got... She never lah. She never even show her sugar daddy. Maybe it's some ugly girl who's jealous that she has the money to go for plastic surgery'

STDs hit fourth of teenage U.S. girls - "One in four teenage girls in the United States — and nearly half of African-American girls — has at least one sexually transmitted disease, according to a study released Tuesday.
I know why more African-Americans are infected. It must be RACISM!!!

Squall Line - Weird News Story Archive - "California’s coast is being hit hard by storms blamed on the “El Niño” ocean current. Locals can hardly hear a weather report without being told El Niño is at work. The phone rings a lot at Al Nino’s house. Nino, 74, who is listed in the Nipomo, Calif., telephone directory, says people call at all hours. “It’s always something like, Why are you doing this?’,” Nino says. While the retired Navy man doesn’t enjoy being awakened in the middle of the night, “I usually joke around with them a bit,” he says, telling callers he controls the weather because “I didn’t really have nothing else to do.”"

'I Have Killed Them All' Call Leads to Arrest - "Authorities arrested Thomas Ballard, 29, of Delhi, early Monday after a woman reported receiving a late-night call from someone saying, "I have killed them all." Ballard's number showed up on the woman's caller ID; he'd called by mistake, meaning instead to get a buddy to talk-up his success in an Xbox game... in the process of identifying Ballard, that he had a 5-year-old warrant out of Baton Rouge, charging him with failure to appear on a possession of cocaine charge."

A Lingering Image - "Stephanie Pochron, 30, must spend six months in jail after a drunk driving accident, but she has something to come home to: the smashed car she was driving. The car was ordered towed to her Wanatah, Ind., front yard by the judge in the case, and he has ruled that it must stay there during her entire three-year probation. Pochron caused the crash, hitting a vehicle that then went out of control and crashed into a third car, which rolled with a family inside. One man was seriously injured. This was Pochron's third conviction for drunk driving. "I'm never going to drink again," she said."
It includes the picture.

Man hands in machine gun . . and is jailed - "A YOUNG man was praised by a judge for handing in a sub-machine gun to police, and then jailed for two-and-a-half years... At Liverpool crown court yesterday, Judge Sean Duncan described his decision as “brave”, but handed him a reduced term for possessing a prohibited weapon... Judge Duncan added: “If people are brave enough to come forward and hand in guns, the courts will acknowledge that bravery.”"
Well done. This is almost as bad as the 'oral sex is okay if it's followed by intercourse' judgment.

From Eliza to A.L.I.C.E. (A.L.I.C.E. AI Foundation) - "Weizenbaum tells us that he was shocked by the experience of releasing ELIZA (also known as "Doctor") to the nontechnical staff at the MIT AI Lab. Secretaries and nontechnical administrative staff thought the machine was a "real" therapist, and spent hours revealing their personal problems to the program... What Weizenbaum found specifically revolting was that the Doctor's patients actually believed the robot really understood their problems. They believed the robot therapist could help them in a constructive way. His reaction might be best understood like that of a western physician's disapproval of herbal medicines, or an astronomer's disdain for astrology. Obviously ELIZA touched something deep in the human experience, but not what its author intended... Weizenbaum perceived his own program as a threat. This is a rare experience in the history of computer science. Nowadays it is hard to imagine anyone coming up with an original idea for a software program and saying, "no, this program is a dangerous genie and needs to be put back into the bottle." His first reaction was to shut down the early ELIZA program."

For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus Test - "According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance. The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day... Though the public may tend to think of scientists as exceedingly sober, scientific schmoozing is often beer-tinged, famous for producing spectacular breakthroughs and productive collaborations, countless papers having begun as scrawls on cocktail napkins... as Dr. Mike Webster, an ornithologist and a beer enthusiast at Washington State University in Pullman, said, maybe “those with poor publication records are drowning their sorrows.”"
"The word 'meaningful' when used today is nearly always meaningless." - Paul Johnson


Cock on the Tibet riots:

It seems to me that the riots in Tibet are in many ways similar to the riots that erupted against Chinese communities in urban areas all over South East Asia over the past few hundred years. Anti- Chinese riots are not a new thing, and the tale seems to have a familiar ring to it- poor industrious Chinese move into indigenious areas, outcompete the natives, which results in native resentment and rioting. There were anti-Chinese riots in Manila in the 1680s (see 1688: A Global History by John Mears, a very interesting book) , just as there were in KL and Singapore in the 60s and Jakarta in 1998.

The difference between the Tibetan riots and the South East Asian riots is of course that the Mainlanders are in political and military control over Tibet. And unlike Singapore, the Mainlanders assert that Tibet has always been part of China, and have been pursuing a policy of colonising Tibet ( instead of simply exacting tribute/ fealty to the Son of Heaven, as in dynasties past). It is both the political and economic domination of Tibet that has led to the riots in Lhasa.

But no doubt helped by their own delusional propaganda, the top Communists probably believe that this week's riots were started by the Dalai Lama himself.

This is of course not a particularly credible or helpful explanation. What has probably caused this week's riots was a mixture of sharp economic inequality mixed with quixotic messages of freedom and independence from Tibetan Independence activists who are not quite as pacifist as the Dalai Lama. The protesters are screaming "long live the Dalai Lama", for the same reason the Burmese protesters shouted support for Aung San Suu Kyi last year- they're both potent symbols of freedom from oppression (economic and political), not that these two individuals directed the protesters to do so. The Dalai Lama certainly doesn't approve of the violence exacted by the protesters. ( By the way, I think that the ordinary Chinese people who were injured, killed, and had their property destroyed are just as much victims of their own government's policy as the Tibetans; it was their government's policy which led to all this trouble, but they bore the brunt of the suffering).

The political elite on the Mainland isn't going to admit- not even to themselves- that this mostly likely to be the case. Why would they rather believe the conspiracy theory even if they don't find evidence for it ( bar evidence such as confessions exacted under torture, or sympathetic utterances by various inconsequential legislators from various western democracies)? I think we have to attempt to see things from their perspective. The first is a deep seated feeling that Chinese people can only possibly be the victims in global politics, and never perpetrators of evil to other peoples. The second is a suspicion that all countries with significant military power ( especially Western democracies), are out to hobble China's rise to global power. The third is an adherence to an orthodoxy about what is rightfully land belonging to China which goes something like this: all land which has been previously conquered by a dynasty recognised as effectively Chinese rightfully belongs to China today, unless that was (a) conquered by the Yuan dynasty or (b) the people that now sit on those lands are too strong for us to overcome for now, which is fine by us because they are not really Chinese anyway ( applies to Mongolia, Vietnam and Korea). The fourth is an ethnic prejudice against other cultures which never built empires holding significant political and cultural sway over large enough swathes of the earth.

These attitudes have, I think helped shape Mainland policy towards Tibet. The protest by the political elite and some educated Mainlanders would be that it is not as if China is deliberately impoverishing Tibet and stripping the land of its natural resources, that China has thrown a lot of money at the ( apparently) ungrateful Tibetans. Which is true; there has been quite a lot of money involved in attempting to improve the economic lot of Tibetans. But that is not the point- the point is that this economic development was going to be done with Chinese money and labour, with little Tibetan input. With the money also came the immigration of Chinese not all that better off than Tibetans- I wouldn't be surprised if most of these immigrants came from the impoverished inland provinces. The Mainland government probably underestimated the inherent sensitivities involved with such levels of immigration- they probably calculated that the Tibetans would be "grateful" because this influx of money and ( Chinese) labour was the most efficient solution to bringing about economic development. They probably thought that such immigration would pose less problems than immigration to the rich coastal cities, because they only thought of immigration problems in terms of overcrowding, never ethnic tensions.

What will the Mainland government do now? It can't have a bloody crackdown on its hands- not when the Olympics are only months away. It should start negotiations with the Dalai Lama to find some way of accomodating demands for even greater autonomy, but this would be too much for the political elite to stomach. It could try to limit immigration into Tibet, and in fact I think this is what the Mainland government will probably do, and will buy them a bit more time in Tibet. The alternative- accelerating its current economic and immigration policies and harsher political crackdowns in an attempt to uncover Dalai-Lama led conspiricies against it, will probably provoke something worse than mere urban rioting.
"A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it." - Bob Hope


Woman: Dilbert asked me a question in front of the entire group that I already answered last week.

Woman: What kind of game is he playing?

Alice: Maybe he forgot your answer.

Woman: That's crazy talk.
"If you think you're not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed." - C.S. Lewis


Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher

"JERUSALEM (AFP) - High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

"The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a clasic phenomenon," he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to "see music."

He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil's Amazon forest in 1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible."

Seditious! Oh wait. We don't have a big Jewish community in Singapore, so it's okay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men." - Kin Hubbard


Long overdue pictures of Orchard Road on the first day of Chinese New Year:

Liat Towers

Lido/Tangs junction

Orchard MRT

Outside Orchard MRT

Outside Wisma Atria

Orchard Road

Inside Wisma Atria

Outside Ngee Ann City

Paragon Junction

Outside Orchard Cineleisure

Inside Cineleisure

Outside Cineleisure

Youth Park

Essentially, yes, it was more crowded than continental European cities on a Sunday.

The (relative) bliss was refreshing.
"To achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep." - Joan Klempner


The classic poster:

"Thanks to animal research, they'll be able to protest 20.8 years longer.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, animal research has
helped extend our life expectancy by 20.8 years. Of course, how you choose to spend those extra years is up to you."

A variant:

"Thanks to animal research, they'll be able to protest 20.8 years longer.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, animal research has
helped extend our life expectancy by 20.8 years."

And the 25th anniversary version of the same:

"Thanks to animal research, they'll be able to protest 23.5 years longer.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, animal research has
helped extend our life expectancy by 23.5 years. Of course, how you choose to spend those extra years is up to you."


"It's the animals you don't see that really helped her recover.
Recently a surgical technique perfected on animals was used to remove a malignant tumor from a little girl's brain. We lsot some lab animals. But look what we saved."

"Animal research saves animals
Photos of animals that have survived serious diseases are the heart of the Foundation for Biomedical Research's campaign promoting animal research for the sake of animals."

"*Picture of three cells: cancer, heart disease and AIDS*
If we stop animal research, who'll stop the real killers?
Without animal research, we couldn't have put an end to polio, smallpox, rubella and diphtheria. Now, some would like to put an end to animal research. Obviously, they don't have cancer, heart disease or AIDS."

"Some people think the best way to protect animal life is to make scientists fear for theirs.
Violent crime committed in the name of "animal rights" threatens life-saving medical research. These acts of domestic terrorism divert millions of research dollars into rebulding labs, adding security and protecting scientists and their families. Tragically, the ultimate price is paid by the sick and dying waiting for a cure."

(Mostly from the Foundation for Biomedical Research)
Me: Frigid Girl proposes that girls' shrink but don't grow
she says when they lose weight their breasts shrink proportionally
but when they gain weight their breasts don't grow as much

Someone: Hahah
But that's actually true!

well, i'd give you examples of my friends but that wouldn't help
just accept it as true

well they were fat
and slimmed down
and lost breast size

one put the weight back on
but never went back to a C


Someone else: 64% Of Nus Students Have Sex At Least Once A Week!!: Sometime never doubt a survey. it's 85% accurate


I was a former student from raffles JC and Nus.
I was just an average looking guy however i must
admit my school work and project are alway the top
5% in cohort.

And i am not a good talker also.
However when exam are close, girl start to hang out with me for group studies. This applied to project too.
I never need to pick , they come and join my team.
Most of the time are spend on studying and it alway
end with a "special" dessert on the menu.

About 8/10 of those gal who study with me have sex with me, either in hostel or hotel.
I never bring them home, my family are strict.
Somemore they hint to me they want it,which is so surprising, so never doubt the survey, it's true...
such thing is happening...since the early 1990...

I think it's their way of rewarding me back for teaching
them how to study...

NUS/ raffles JC,
James Lim"

i'm quite certain the guy's not from rj

the english sux

Someone: i got a undercover green ecofem hippie

okok here some snippets
youll love em

1. women are closer to nature coz they bleed every month, just like the ebb and flow of the tides and the moon.

i say, we guys get morning hardons, in tune with the sun. HA. we closer than you.

2. women closer to nature coz they are empathatic. bullshit. you dont see a lioness showing compassion to its prey. men are closer coz we be 'more brutal', like animals

then she dumps her trump card, saying tht i will never understand coz im not a women.
to bleed, to feel in tune with nature yada yada, cannot be felt by men

i say
men have penises. and it is a powerful, mystical thing. of POWER. so by the power of the penis, we have the right to subjugate you women. the power of the penis compells you!!

'anything that bleeds for 3 days and dosent die is NOT to be trusted.

she says women are closer to nature, and i say how? coz she quoted earlier in some hippie mumbo jumbo that nature is all around us, and flows around us. like the force. if nature is all around us, then there is no 'core' of nature by which any form of direction can be used. hence, everyone is as close to nature as the other

Someone else: do you think its worth it to take the double degree in engineering and economics to widen my social circle (girls in FASS!) and have to take 1 more year to get to PhD?

Me: err
girls in econs are the worst in FASS
you want to take a double degree just to meet girls?!?!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience." - Doug Larson



[Me on a Donut: Is this good?] Peanut. [Me: I know. Who had the other half?] XXX. She's in the toilet now. I dont know if thats a good sign.

I don't think I should do this in Singapore. I'll be detained under the Internal Security Act. I'm interested in how much people of different faiths share with each other... I wonder if people share more with people of the same faith... It's related to the group identification issue... They go to the Swiss Army... If you tell people they are playing with people in the same group as them, people share more.

[On Gregory Peck calling up a journalist for coffee while she was about to interview Schweitzer in Sartre's house] For the ladies, imagine Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt wanting to have coffee with you. What would you do? Yes yes yes yes yes!

He mentions me... 'There are people like XX XXX'. Me. 'But that's a good thing'... Naming me as a black sheep, but there is room for black sheep in our pasture.

manage to cox you into buying (coax)

Have you guys seen two girls- [Me and California Girl: *laugh*]

The devils are in the details (devil is)

This is what I said just now in works (words)

Next year, the 'integrated resort' will open... 'Integrated resort' with an attached casino.

In Economics experiments you never lie... For psychologists, no. For psychologists, you lie in all different ways... In Economics experiments you do what you say.

t'ran'sih'vity (transitivity)

t'ran'see'tee'tee'tee (transivitiy)

[On an economics student playing the dictator game and giving nothing] The standard theory has prevailed.

[Instructor: East Asian countries kept saving a lot.] *sotto voce* But I don't save.

[On environmental problems according to eco-feminists or social ecologists] How I as a man relate to women. Or how I, as an Asian, relate to white people, or people of other races.

What the socialists say, or what the social philosophers say, constitutes social ecology.

Where's the argument?... Well, feminists say: "Look, there is a connection between nature and women... They're connected in the way we talk... Nature is always a woman. You refer to nature as 'she'. 'Mother Earth'. No one talks about 'Father Earth'... Derogatory terms we use to describe women all come from nature. 'She's a cow', a 'bitch', a 'chick'"... [Student: That's stupid.] [Student 2: 'Dumb ass']... You want to abuse a man, you say 'You're a bastard'. You don't call him a dog. In English. I don't speak any other language... I'm not endorsing anything. Most ecofeminists are American women, and they speak English.

[On eco-feminism] Look at the word 'gynecology'. It comes from two words: 'gyn' and 'ecology'. At this point I will put my foot down and say 'Hold on a moment, this is stupid'... It comes from 'gyneco' and 'logy'... So anyway, that's their proof.

If the raping of women stops, the raping of nature will stop as well.

Just as Australians have been at the forefront of Environmental Philosophy, Australians have been at the forefront of eco-feminism.

[Female student] You stop raping women, you stop raping nature. I just don't get it.

[On social philosophy] The cause is social hierarchy... The rich oppress the poor. And typically - typically, white people oppress non-white people. It is this hierarchy and not so much the sexual and gender hierarchy. Incidentally, Murray Bookchin is very critical of eco-feminism. And of course, Murray Bookchin is a bit of a socialist... Multinational Corporations and corrupt and greedy world leaders.

[On returning essays] I'll give you five minutes to get over the shock

[On Tvergastein and Deep Ecology] Let's say you stay in Tampines, so you can also call it 'Ecosophy T'

premisses (written ) (premises)

[On disciplinary consistency and Arne Naess] [He believes conformity is] a sign of stagnation... He brings up the example of physics.

A lot of philosophers think that philosophy deals with truth, and for truth to have the kind of status that it has, for it to have the kind of conviction it has, for it to have the authority that it has... It's got to be absolutely true... To be called truth, it has to be... unchangeable, immutable, absolutely certain.

Arne Naess is part of Western Philosophy, even though he tries to go into Buddhism, Taoism, that sorta thing.

[On Descartes and teaching in class] What if I'm dreaming that I'm here talking to you? I do dream of that, occasionally. When I'm tired the dream is especially vivid.

[On conceptual and cultural relativism] It's true here, it's not true there - what is truth worth?

[Instructor on the will to life: What about a blade of grass makes it spring up when it is trampled on?] *sotto voce* Physics.

David Hume. A very very big name in philosophy. Right up there among the stars.

[Me: If this is an environmental philosophy class, why do at least half the people we study have such major problems?] That's why I put them in the tutorials... This is supposed to be interdisciplinary... That's why I put in a lot of people who are not philosophers, or who are very bad philosophers. Literature... Literary people... Bad science. Rachel Carson is a bad scientist.
"A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends." - Baltasar Gracian


MFM comments that even Dell and Acer have better hardware than the Macbook.

Allswell rebranded their drinks with the slogan: 'new look, same great taste'. At the same time they reduced the sugar content. Duh.

Someone had a Freudian slip and referred to Valentine's Day as "VD". Heh.

It seems that there really *is* Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza in Canada. Though it tastes better, of course.

Psychology and Economics are the most scientific of the social sciences. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are also the least ideologically charged.

The next time someone asks me, not for the first or even second time, to go to Mass with them, I'm going to ask the person to watch Faces of Death with me. Or maybe 2girls1cup. Or I could go along and after I'm done neither of us will be welcome there ever again (yes, Lucretia's father [in some versions] meant well too, by expurging the stain upon the family); luckily Jehovah's Witnesses don't go door-to-door in Singapore, or they would be recipients of my wrath.

It has been observed that statistical tests using a 5% significance level means that one out of 20 academic papers could be wrong in their conclusions, and that due to publication bias (papers with results get published), this means that wrong conclusions might be drawn. Yet, if the underlying facts are neutral, we would expect there to be an equal number of published papers showing the opposite conclusions.

I got linked by 2 blogs: one called FeministFocus and another called Condomania (with the post called "will the condom fit my penis"). Hahahahaha. Fortunately (or otherwise), they're spam blogs.

Since people are so into the symbolism of Obama, what about the symbolism to the rest of the world if Clinton is elected? Much of the rest of the world thinks women are unsuitable/unfit for power, so electing her would cause foreign policy to go down the drain. Therefore we shouldn't elect Hillary.

After observing many elections and revolutions across time and space, I've noticed that the hope and promise of change you always see in the runup and during the Honeymoon period is inevitably dashed by the power of established institutions, reality and the fact that rhetoric is free. Rhetoric is never followed up fully (or even mostly) by reality, and symbolism is much overblown (yes, deliberate repetition here). Which is why I value Obama's hot air less than the energy required to heat it up. (Incidentally this also shows you why the Rational Expectations hypothesis does not hold). Which is not to say that nothing will change, but a high discount rate needs to be applied to grand talk.
"It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over." - Edna St. Vincent Millay


A Lesson In Logic
As explained by Monty Python

Good evening!

The last scene was interesting from the point of view of a professional logician because it contained a number of logical fallacies -- that is, invalid propositional constructions and syllogistic forms -- of the type so often committed by my wife.

"All wood burns," states Sir Bedevere. "Therefore," he concludes, "all that burns is wood." This is, of course, pure bullshit! Universal affirmatives can only be partially converted. All of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan. Obvious, one would think.

However, my wife does not understand this necessary limitation of the conversion of a proposition. Consequently, she does not understand me. For how can a woman expect to appreciate a professor of logic if the simplest cloth-eared syllogism causes her to flounder?

For example: given the premise, "All fish live underwater" and "All mackerel are fish", my wife will conclude, not that "All mackerel live underwater", but that "If she buys kippers it will not rain" or that "Trout live in trees" or even that "I do not love her any more."

This she calls "using her intuition". I call it "crap" and it gets me very IRRITATED because it is not logical!

"There will be no supper tonight," she will sometimes cry upon my return home.

"Why not?" I will ask.

"Because I have been screwing the milkman all day," she will say, quite oblivious of the howling error she has made.

"But," I will wearily point out, "even given that the activities of screwing the milkman and getting supper are mutually exclusive, now that the screwing is over, surely then, supper may, logically, be got."

"You don't love me any more!" she will now often postulate. "If you did, you would give me one now and again so that I would not have to rely on that rancid Pakistani for my orgasms!"

"I will give you one after you have got me my supper!" I now usually scream, "but not before" -- as you understand, making her bang contingent on the arrival of my supper.

"God, you turn me on when you're angry, you ancient brute!" she now mysteriously deduces, forcing her sweetly throbbing tongue down my throat.

"Fuck supper!" I now invariably conclude, throwing logic somewhat joyously to the four winds, and so we thrash about on our milk-stained floor, transported by animal passion, until we sink back, exhausted, onto the cartons of yoghurt....

I'm afraid I seem to have strayed somewhat from my original brief. But in a nutshell, sex is more fun than logic. One cannot prove this, but it IS in the same sense that Mount Everest IS, or that Alma Cogan ISN'T.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers." - Mahatma Gandhi


globeandmail.com: Unleashing our inner demons, site by sickening site

In this month's Esquire, an unusually affable George Clooney is asked to look closely at the Internet. Generally he comments on sites devoted to him, but at one point he is asked to watch the “viral” (or cult) video, Two Girls One Cup, the now-censored work of Brazilian fetishist and auteur Marco Fiorito.

Clooney had been raving to his interviewer about a raunchy video called Monkey Smells Butt, and is game, but several seconds into watching Fiorito's video, he almost vomits, and leaves the room.

And he is not alone: YouTube is loaded with videos of reactions to Two Girls One Cup, which is thought to be one of Fiorito's many illegal, coprophagist masterpieces that the U.S. Department of Justice has seized. In Two Girls, a pair of women in startling makeup, and to a bleak piano score, eliminate into a cup. They then ingest the contents.

Merely recounting the video's content can trigger a gag reflex. The YouTube reactions are identical to Clooney's, and involve a great deal of hurling. “It's like the rodeo,” Clooney observes later in Esquire. “See how long you can last.”

All of this grotesque fun does lead one to wonder how far we intend to go with our insatiable interest in the kind of images once found only on Faces of Death videos, or in hard-core porn, fetish publications and performance art.

Even if an exception can be made for performance art, uninformed observers still collect it for purely prurient reasons: Self-styled “supermasochist” Bob Flanagan drove nails through his penis as a means of demonstrating his complex struggle with the cystic fibrosis that would kill him in 1996, yet his actions likely are pay dirt to collectors of hypersickness. (Sick is the name of the documentary about Flanagan made by Kirby Dick.) As technology becomes more and more accessible, an opportunity is created for those whose deepest desires, previously, were not able to see the light of day.

Arguably, Paul Bernardo's ability to acquire a video camera accelerated, among his many paraphilias, including voyeurism, his narcissistic and sadistic tendencies.

Before reading of Two Girls One Cup, I came across another website that was the only one showing the execrable video of a U.S. marine throwing a puppy off of a cliff. This site's only virtue may be its willingness to expose any criminal act; to force us to examine the sickness of the world, frame by frame.

On this site is featured images of “baby tossed in the garbage” and “woman beaten to death with wood.” Its other highlights are sexual: “Find out how easy it is to get laid on the Internet,” its home page declares. “Even if you're fat and ugly, you can still find someone hot to have sex with you.”

The sex-and-murder nexus is disquieting because it implies that these images (which include torture, teen-sex and death videos, all in a row, as well as close-ups of deformities and injuries) are erotic – as erotic as vomit (and worse) are to Marco Fioroto.

Disgusting Internet sites are not news, but where is the scholarship surrounding the phenomenon? Our right to freedom of expression is one obstacle to contrarian discourse about the effects of viewing these images. But, more significantly, the kind of images available (to say nothing of the rancid filth that squats below the Internet's surface) act in direct opposition to now-banal, once-radical ideas about porn and violence.

Among the intelligentsia, porn radicals have always ferociously guarded the idea that snuff films do not exist. (These people remind me of Betty Friedan in Iran, years ago, yelling that “The women don't wear the veil!” to Germaine Greer as veiled women moiled around their limo). Snuff films, argue theorists like Laura Kipnis, are an invention of the right, to scare people away from pornography. Porn and violence? The link does not exist! Never mind that Ted Bundy spent his last hours on Earth trying to warn us that his addiction to pornography led him directly to his first rape.

Popular artists, too, have a vested interest in erasing the line between art and action. It is common these days to hear someone say, as Eminem did years ago in The Way I Am, that Marilyn Manson is wrongly blamed for inciting teenage killers, because “Where were the parents at?”

Well, the parents are not corresponding with Charles Manson about sampling his music, for one. Even Courtney Love, long suspected as a terrifying influence on all of us, left the Marilyn Manson tour because of his Bible-burning.

It may be time to rethink our artistic posturing, and concede that people are influenced by what they see, and, occasionally, like monkeys, do.

When crazed teens were burning homeless men in the 1970s after the release of Fuzz (which features the same crime); after still other youths copycatted A Clockwork Orange and Natural Born Killers, we all still said that art was distinct from life. (As for the controversial video game Bullying: Scholarship Edition, we have yet to see the effects of an animated boy sexually assaulting and torturing his classmates).

While access to technology is a gift and guardian in many ways (beginning with the Rodney King footage), its limitless potential is frightening.

The two girls and their cup aren't so worrisome – merely ladies with the worst job ever. What does give one pause is the thought of the world in darkness, red-lit with the cameras of amateur directors too sickening to contemplate as they push us farther across the line between the boundless imagination and the simple, sordid truth.

This article is extremely late. And it's 2girls1cup, damnit.

I love the Jedi mind trick about snuff films. And I'm sure we're going to see an outbreak of corprophilia now.

Someone: that article is seriously slanted

Me: she's a feminist
what do you expect

Someone: LOL

its basically appeal to emotion and irrelevant evidence

as in, its so full of non sequiturs, its like a case study in how to make them while appearing intelligent
a must read for any aspiring politician

Me: I love the jedi mind trick

why dont you comment

Someone: because this is Singapore
and I'm scared

Me: wth
don't be stupid

Someone: irrational fear doesn't bow to logic

and secondly, I don't like to leave an electronic trail; I'll probably comment when I move to Canada

Me: .............
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