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Saturday, February 07, 2009

"I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." - Richard Feynman


A friend sent me a copy of the contract MOE made him/her sign [Addendum: detailing some aspects of MOE HR policy]. While some of the (presumably non-exhaustive list of) examples are pretty standard, 2 in particular stand out:

"Examples of Misconduct or Offences

8. Speaking disparagingly of the Government
14. Immoral behaviour"

The problems with the latter are not hard to see (e.g. definition, enforcement etc), so I will dwell on the former, which is eminently unenforceable, as presumably even going: "Aiyoh, Public Transport Council approved a public transport fare hike again! They just want to earn the bus companies profits" could get you a written reprimand, verbal or written warning or worse.

More worryingly, it is pointedly partisan.

If the item were phrased as "expressing political opinions" it wouldn't be quite as bad. After all, one could make a case (even if it is a weak one) that it behooves a public servant to be impartial and non-partisan in making statements which could conceivably (even if improbably) reflect on and politically taint his employer in some way.

Similar(ly weak, or even weaker) cases can be made for disallowing officers from speaking or writing to the press or "accepting any invitation to make or provide materials for any form of broadcast" (at least in an unofficial capacity - I heartily endorse the right of organisations to require that their employees get approval before flaunting their official capacities in non-work situations).

Yet, by expressly forbidding its officers to "[speak] disparagingly of the Government", MOE's obvious corollary is that it is alright to speak glowingly of the Government. One is impelled to make comparisons with Communist regimes, where you could (and were expected to) praise the Party, even if your Trabant was belching smoke and out of style.

Perhaps they have this policy because of what is happening during National Education lessons whose syllabuses, as someone puts it, are about "how Singapore is good and everyone else sucks" but which, I am informed, are avenues for teachers who are pissed off at having to teach Propaganda to psycho their students in the other direction (i.e. pointing out all the regime's faults)
"Furious activity is no substitute for understanding." - H. H. Williams


The 10 people most responsible for the recession - "Its proximate cause was a conscious decision by the US Treasury to jeopardise the stability of the world economy in pursuit of an essentially political objective - to show that the Bush Administration was willing to act ruthlessly against at least one big Wall Street investment bank. Until that point, savers and investors around the world had assumed that financial institutions such as Lehman were "too big to fail" and would always be supported by their governments. By shattering this belief Henry Paulson triggered a run on every important bank in the world and caused the sudden implosion of consumer and business confidence seen in the past two months."
You rescue banks, you get bashed for rescuing fatcats. You don't, you get bashed for having political motives. Damned if you do...

Just what is the middle class, and other stuff - "How people view their own income status is the antithesis of Lake Wobegon: Everybody sees themselves as average. Some surveys have found that upward of 90 percent of the population considers itself middle class. But there is also a lot of variation in who professes to be middle class. A 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center found that only about half of all adults put themselves in the middle class. But four in 10 with annual family incomes below $20,000 called themselves middle class; one-third of those with incomes over $150,000 said the same. Few people report themselves to be rich."

Has Middle America Stagnated? A closer look at hourly wages - "Numerous recent commentaries conclude that it has, at least for "middle America"—the broad swath of people who live well above poverty but well below opulence. These articles are supported by statistics showing slow-growing—even falling—wages, and little growth in household income over the past 30 years. It's a pretty gloomy scenario... Microeconomic statistics showing stagnation, and macroeconomic statistics exhibiting growth, measure "wages" quite differently. When the data are adjusted so that they more closely measure the same conceptual object, the disparity between the microeconomic and macroeconomic statistics largely evaporates, and I find that labor income per hour for middle America has not stagnated. Rather, the economic compensation for work for middle Americans has risen significantly over the past 30 years."

Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists... just a little - "In this cool region I was for once glad of my abaya - the long, black gown that all women must wear in public, along with a hijab (headscarf). In Riyadh's 35C heat this was akin to walking around in your own personal sauna. Local men usually wear cool, white robes known as thobes; it seems that the abaya's stifling black is intended to discourage women from leaving home. Women visitors must accept that wearing an abaya is an important part of showing respect in Saudi culture. More practically, not to wear one will open you to abuse on the streets. I certainly felt more at ease when covered up, though I was frustrated by the many restrictions: women are not allowed to drive, use internet cafés or go into many restaurants."

Water is blue ... because water is blue - "The following figure shows a measurement of the absorption spectra of normal and of heavy water, taken from WHY IS WATER BLUE? by Charles L. Braun and Sergei N. Smirnov, reproduced from J. Chem. Edu. 70(8) (1993) 612."
Popular Science books conned us!

No, Nuh-Uh, No Way: The Robo-Urinal - "Allegedly this robo-urinal holds your junk while you pee."

Op-Chart - Bulls, Bears, Donkeys and Elephants - "As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index* would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years."

The smell of fear is real, claim scientists - "Researchers have found that chemical signals emitted by the body in sweat when scared really can be picked up by others and can trigger fear in their brains. The discovery may help to explain why individuals with phobias such as a fear of flying can infect others who normally exhibit no such worries... Simon Wesseley, psychiatrist at King's College London, told the magazine that studies in the 1960s had shown that injecting people with adrenaline did not make them fearful until the situation became threatening. He said: "You can generate the physical symptoms of fear but people don't necessarily get scared.""

Iraqi woman had 80 women raped to recruit suicide bombers - "A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame."

'Immortal' jellyfish swarming across the world

Will daily sex cure a low libido? - "The absence of sex is a powerful yet subtle foe. It quietly corrodes the most important parts of a relationship — trust, intimacy, passion, respect — and that least analysed of all attributes, fanciability. If left untreated, the lack of sex can even destroy love. I am convinced many people split up because they forget to make love to each other, and love — along with the feelgood chemical, dopamine, that sex generates — dries up... The idea that you could enjoy sex without “wanting” it can be a revelation, but “you just have to put the canoe in the water and start paddling”... It seems, as in so many aspects of marriage, that the answer lies in compromise. The needs of both people be recognised. “Sometimes that means making love to your spouse even when you’re not in the mood,” says Spurr. “You do it because you know it’ll make the person you love happy.”"
Strangely, there're no feminists bashing men for demanding sex as if they own women's bodies in the comments

Bobbie Johnson: Why I'm finished with 'social media' - "Nobody talks about people down the pub laughing about Bale's expletive-laden bullying as a "social drinking sensation". They don't call people giggling about it on the phone as a "social telecommunications sensation". They call it joking, or they call it gossip, because that's what people do. Whether they do it online or offline, down the pub or on Facebook doesn't matter. "Social media" is mainstream - we don't need to claim any more victories for it. So, that's it. I'm sick of "social media experts"."

YouTube - WHERE ARE THE CHIPS??? - "They're big and full and bouncy. A double-breasted burger from Nando's."
They wouldn't be able to do this ad in Singapore for more than one reason.

Straight and to the point. - "I just need to do this without the drama. You know! Genuine conversation and chemistry as the only real requirements. So why craigslist? I can't bring myself to risk any of the current friendships and it's been awhile since the last time."
Two people sent me this. For all you know it's a "Your chances of getting laid through Craigslist" study

F*** My Life - FML : Your everyday life stories. - "Today, I decided to send my boyfriend a pic text of me naked. I accidently sent it to my dad and got a text back saying "You definitely take after your mom". FML.. Today, I had just gotten over the flu and thought I was better. So me and my boyfriend decided to have sex. As I was about to orgasm, I puked all over his face. He was so disgusted that he ended up throwing up on me as well. FML... Today, I was eating ice cream and I noticed some on my jeans so I wiped it off with my finger and licked it. It was bird shit. FML"
I bet half of these are fake

A shallow strategy - "This takes us rapidly to the credit crunch: stretch rules to their limits, don’t worry about systemic effects, don’t think about ethics – and measure success in Ferraris. Game theory has made the financial world in its image, and we are now trying to rescue ourselves from it. Is this book a guide to success in business? Probably not, unless you want to go into competition law, running complicated auctions, utility regulation or military micro-tactics. Is it a guide to life? The trouble lies in its shallow psychology. The games you play and the way you play them change you as a person – today’s game changes the games and pay-offs you will face tomorrow. A focus on the tactics of life squeezes out the important questions of what a good life should be. The financial crisis is also a crisis for economics: why did the discipline fail so spectacularly to predict it? Worse, did it contribute to making the meltdown possible?"

More soldiers committed suicide in January than killed by Al Qaeda

He’s not controversial, just brutally frank - "It can be a hair-raising experience talking to socio-political blogger Gabriel Seah. And we’re not talking about his views on mega-churches as being cult-like, or the fact that he blew famous blogger Dawn Yang’s plastic surgery cover. Rather, it’s the way he tosses his mane nonchalantly as he speaks... “There’s also something that I like to do to other people with my hair,” Seah explained. He tied his hair in a high ponytail, and without warning, whipped his friend’s face. She yelped in pain, and he laughed."
I'm not a socio-political blogger ><

The Psychological Consequences of Money - "Money has been said to change people’s motivation (mainly for the better) and their behavior toward others (mainly for the worse). The results of nine experiments suggest that money brings about a self-sufficient orientation in which people prefer to be free of dependency and dependents. Reminders of money, relative to nonmoney reminders, led to reduced requests for help and reduced helpfulness toward others. Relative to participants primed with neutral concepts, participants primed with money preferred to play alone, work alone, and put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance"

PMSBuddy.com - The free online PMS reminder - "PMSBuddy.com is a free service created with a single goal in mind: to keep you aware of when your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, or any other women in your life are closing in on "that time of the month" - when things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all."

Some guys have all the luck - "It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Developer Ong Jun Da spends about 20 minutes each day picking out attractive Singapore women to add to his iPhone slideshow app SG Girls (iTunes link). As a result of his tireless efforts, SG Girls (US$3.99) now has more than 2,000 pictures of attractive women. More are added each day... Currently, he gets all the pictures from Flickr but he is looking at getting pictures from other sources as well."
!@#$%^&*(). I'm quite sure he's violated some CC licenses in the process of making this application.

Disney's Desperate Housewives / Disney Princesses, Deconstructed

Mother Goose and Grimm:


BELLE: My husband is an animal.
CINDERELLA: Mine still drives a pumpkin.
SNOW WHITE: My husband leaves me at home with seven little ones.
ARIEL: Mine wants me to wear fishnet stockings.
AURORA: I just pretend I'm asleep.

Addendum: Also see,

Disney Princesses, Deconstructed » Sociological Images (or What Disney teaches you; there's also one on Disney princes)

The evolution of the Disney princess:

Snow White (1937): Her burgeoning sexuality is a threat to another woman, so she's killed. Her only asset, physical beauty, is what saves her in the end

Sleeping Beauty (1959): Betrothed at birth to solidify a political position, she is killed by another woman out of spite. Her owner...ahem...fiance, saves her with a kiss. Again, sex is her only salvation.

Belle (1991): Saves a prince's life. With her only asset, her sexuality.

What Disney princes teach men about attracting women:

Prince Charming (x4): Be rich, charming, famous and good looking.

Aladdin: Be charming, good looking and appear to be rich and famous.


What Disney Princesses teach girls, What Disney Princes teach men about attracting women
"The only thing I like about rich people is their money." - Nancy Astor


Valentine's Day 'haram in Islam'

"The state Religious Department yesterday reminded Muslims here that Valentine's Day was "haram" in Islam, which means forbidden.

The fatwa had been declared in 2005, but the warning, said Mufti Datuk M. Tahrir Samsudin, was the department's yearly reminder to Muslims not to engage in un-Islamic activities.

He said such celebrations "involved elements of vice" and violated Islamic tenets and values. He said the Christian elements found in the celebration also did not correspond with Islamic practices."

Malaysia Boleh!

Japan trip - Day 16, Part 5 - Matsushima Bay; Akihabara, Tokyo

"Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow." - Oscar Wilde


Japan trip
Day 16 - 21st June - Matsushima Bay; Akihabara, Tokyo
(Part 5)

I then went to Zuiganji Temple. They had caves with many nice statues.

Sign about the more-than-eight-century-old caves


Don't ask me why there're 2 reels

Long road leading out of the temple grounds

Enmei Jizo (The Guardian deity of longevity), 1863. The statue was modelled after the 117th abbot, tsk.

Whereas the grounds were free, entrance to the complex cost Y700. I decided not to visit yet another temple (even if it was, surprise surprise, a National Treasure) and spend the time walking around the town, and back in Tokyo.

Outside they were giving out free samples of beef tongue (Gyu tan), the local delicacy (thanks to post-War food shortages). This was cooked with black pepper and tasted mostly like beef, except springier and chewier.

It was a bit early, but I hadn't eaten very much during lunchtime (3 scallops and a rice ball, then ice cream a few hours later) so I looked for a restaurant, "Gozabune", recommended by Lonely Planet. Once again, it had failed me, as one woman informed me that there was no such outlet, and someone from another restaurant said it was in Shiogama (a nearby city). So, whatever, I had a Y1500 fried oyster combo at a place with "Cow" in its name (IIRC where I asked about Gozabune; it specialised in beef tongue, but I wasn't really a fan). It didn't hurt that they had an English menu.

The oysters were very fresh (assuredly fresher than in Miyajima). Both sauces were for the oysters (that one was egg mayo was weird).
Barley rice wasn't very special - just normal rice with a bit of barley inside. It didn't do anything for the taste.
It was one of the very few places I'd been to where the miso soup didn't taste the same (i.e. from a huge factory in Japan supply 99.9% of the world's miso soup). The spring onion was very fresh, and the soup was light and refreshing.

Dinner menu. I don't know what sashimi being "raw in this season" means. Maybe they have cooked sashimi in other seasons.

I was still a bit hungry after dinner, so I had fries from a kiosk beside the restaurant. These were light and fluffy. The guy pressed a lever on a machine to squeeze out the fries. I think he was pressing a lump of reformed potato.

Can you tell what is wrong with this vending machine?

On the Shinkansen back to Tokyo, I took a sound recording of the variety of English that is common in English announcements in Japan: what I call Gaijin English: Gaijin English Accent.WAV; it's an unplaceable, off-angmoh accent which you'd expect from an angmoh who'd been in Japan for too many years.

Assorted snacks. The ones on the right look freaky (like alien riceballs)

Back in Ueno, I got my backpack from a locker and then went to my Capsule Hotel in Akihabara.

Besides the main sign advertising a 24 hour 'DVD" shop, notice the banner on the left: "Video & DVD Men's Relaxation Space. 3 hours. Y1000". There're options for up to 12 hours too - Jap men must have a lot of stamina.

"Olive High Society School Club"

"Lingerie Club"

I was quite annoyed by the typos in both signs - Engrish is known for bizarre grammar and word choice, but usually the spelling is alright.

Despite all the alluring signs with tempting services, I eventually reached my Capsule Hotel. Capsule Hotels are primarily designed for businessmen who are out past the last train and unable to get home. They then check into these relatively inexpensive, high-density (see future photographs) establishments to spend the night.

You only get a locker like this to store your stuff. Sufficient for a businessman, but not for travellers (there was a rack at the lobby for bo liao people like me to chain our luggage).

What's the difference between Wonda Wonderful Coffee's "After Shot" and "Morning Shot"?!

I then went to walk around again.

Y1700 watermelons at Hanamasa Prospec Discount Supermarket (24 hour). I shudder to think of how watermelons at non-discount supermarkets are priced.

Japanese Snapple - not made from the best stuff on earth (how shocking).

Akihabara at night - dead

??? manga poster. Wth is "lump of sugar"?!

I had no idea what this dispensed, besides artificial sugar (Calorie Mate), but had a hunch it was food. I am informed this sells canned ramen and oden.

Costume Shop. There's one at Bali Lane

"Octopus Ball Made in Kyo-To" - If these were really made in Kyoto I wouldn't want to eat them.

I then wandered into another 'DVD' shop, intent on finally getting someone his tenga cup.

Half a floor of MILF material, 1 floor of gravure and manga/anime and 2 of adult materials.

Huge U-15 shelf on the gravure floor.

What looks to be a shelf of food and beverage products: cup noodles, green tea, beer, lemon tea and red tea, but look closer. I am particularly amused by "Anaho Super 'Wet'" (a take on Asahi Super Dry). I don't know why lube needs to be packaged in this form though.


Used panties.

I was quite excited to see this. I never knew sex dolls were so affordable. Then again there's the freaky manga face, ugh. And on reflection it doesn't look fully articulated (for all you know it's a blowup underneath).

Someone: u see e words beside the 8400 yen
it means "self made hole for specialised use"

I finally got the tenga cup for someone, so I left.

There's a LOT of Dōjinshi at this place. There's "女人向" but no "男人向" (maybe that's porn).

I was feeling peckish, so I went to Matsuya again.

The pork was both better taste and value. Fried stuff doesn't fare well when microwaved.

Almost all Jap eating establishments up to the not-so-cheap level use disposable chopsticks. Maybe it's some law.

Matsuya menu. Mine was the top left.

Various breads. The one on the top right was my breakfast.

I don't yet know if this is Français or Fwancais (Fwench)

An example of subordinate masculinity. The tie makes it less subordinate, I suppose.

After my walk I returned to the Capsule Hotel.

Hotel's floors. I am amused at the distinction between beer and normal vending machines. Women got private shower cubicles, their own computer area and the option of renting a room (as opposed to capsules). How sexist. Then again, knowing how perverted Jap men can get, I don't exactly blame them.

My coffin capsule. It's not a real coffin because there's no door (only a blind you can pull down)

The capsule had a TV (but I couldn't hear anything) but no power points inside. Cutting edge technology indeed - for the 1980s!

Usually Jap-style pillows have beans inside. This one didn't.

The mortuary

Me in my coffin, with the blind pulled down

Someone: your display picture looks like some rather sleezy pictures I've seen of passed out girls

PS: I only have 2 more travelogue entries left, but there probably won't be more for quite a while.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Temasek CEO Ho Ching to Step Down; Chip Goodyear to Take Over

"Temasek Holdings Pte said Chief Executive OfficerHo Ching will step down after almost seven years at the helm of Singapore's $130 billion state-owned investment company.

Ho, wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will be replaced by Chip Goodyear, 51, a former CEO of BHP Billiton Ltd...

Ho's departure comes as slumping global stock markets slashed the value of investments by Temasek, which generated shareholder returns of 17 percent between its inception in 1974 and the end of March. Ho increased investments in financial services to 40 percent of Temasek's total portfolio, by buying stakes in banks including Merrill Lynch & Co."

Ah, it is a sad day indeed for Singapore and locally-born Singaporeans.

Once again, Foreign Talent has edged aside a Singaporean, in the job of caring for the family silver, no less.

Verily, "Singaporeans jobs for Singaporeans" should be the motto guiding us through these dark times laden with layoffs!

This is also a sign to us that we cannot be complacent. We must tighten our belts and prepare for more wage and CPF cuts so that we can remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Ms Ho, we, the people of Singapore, feel your pain.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Mathematics has given economics rigor, but alas, also mortis" - Robert Heilbroner



[nw.t]'s judgment is pretty suspect. 'Face okay but quite good body'... He says that about every girl

He's been married for 35 years... 'Do you know what's the secret of a successful marriage? Lie. Lie lie lie all the way [Me: Women don't appreciate honesty]

[On a church pastor and tithing] He pissed off the church people. Asked his congregation not to give 10%... the church admin, so they kicked him out

[Me: Apparently he doesn't want to be known as 'The Cock' anymore] So what does he want to be known as? 'The Vagina'? I guess being a short vagina is better than being a short cock.

Motherfucker. Some people are just so rude.

Minutemaid Limade (Limeade)

[Cock on a receipt given to him: It is not inside my fucking wallet... It is] This is what Oxford teaches you... [Cock: It only happens when I'm with you guys... You distract me]

I don't know one good-looking girl from Nanyang.

Billy Bombers Holland Village. The Billy Bombers from hell. I vowed never to go back again. [Me: But the milkshakes are heavenly] That's the only reason I've been back

My friend went to DB for 1 week. He was on duty, he shit his pants, he was too embarrassed to tell anyone. He drove home to change, when he came back the Duty Officer saw him through the security camera.

She says she studies Science for an hour a day, and she still fails. I think she's a liar. All little girls are liars. [Me: Because they're training to-] Exactly... 'Honey, I have a headache'... I swear, man, little girls, they start really young. Little boys just beat each other up. Little girls... Just ignore her, leaving her emotionally scarred for life. Little girls are vicious, I tell you. You know who's their first victim? Daddy.

[On simple girls] Do they mean 'simple' or 'simpleton'?

[On NDU] The first guy Out-Of-Coursed before he even got in.

There's a note of despair in your voice whenever you talk about your soul

Do you think we should stop discussing you like a piece of livestock? [JB: I don't mind] [Me: I should quote this] [JB: Oh shit. Okay I mind]

I like to keep my room very clean and well-organised. That turns me on.

Perestroika... Dunman High. They used to very Communist... The discipline person was assassinated, which was a good thing.

I'm not interested in school anymore. I'm interested in housework... Which detergent to buy.

Full prof. He drives a Corolla. We asked him why. He showed us the Excel sheet. Stochastic modelling... 2nd order differential. All the matrices... It's cheaper... The cheapest is not 1.6 litre but 1.8

For those of you who know PGP, PGP is basically a prison. Sorry... [On a pilot project] You can go to ANY floor at ANY time you like

[On hitching a train in East of Eden] So you shouldn't complain when you take public transport

[On being suan-ed] What do you say to a Victoria's Secret girl who's bigger than you?

[On Hooters] Let's go there after I've gotten my implants, show them my breasts. Fuck natural.

[On Lord of the Rings] A movie about walking

So. is [nw.t] making a play for Jailbait?... If it was another guy I'd say they were just hanging out, but it's [nw.t]

[Me on dirt in Rebel Without A Cause: I thought he was gonna rub it on her boobs or something.] You watch too much porn.

[Me on Rebel Without A Cause] If you want to get a girl, get her boyfriend killed

[On Chinese in California vs Singapore] They look prettier, taller.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

UNESCO World Heritage Site for Singapore!

"I have visited a few hundred WHS round the world and am convinced that certain sites in Singapore deserve to be listed, for they do posses what UNESCO calls sites with “outstanding universal value”...

Tiong Bahru is an outstanding example of post-modern urban planning and public housing project. Bukit Timah and Sungai Buloh are the best example of a well-preserved tropical rain forest next to a metropolis – this hardly exists anywhere else in the world – and Bukit Timah had been acclaimed by renowned naturalist Alfred Wallace as a site with unrivalled biodiversity."

Someone's comment:

"Initially I was thinking that the Island Nation of Singapore would be suitable as a UNESCO site, it being quite a marvel of social and economic engineering."

Mine: This is hilarious.

I agree that not all sites deserve to be on the list, but that's no reason to debase it further by adding to it.

In any case, if Singapore had ever been a World Heritage site it'd have been put on the Danger list long ago due to rampant and thoughtless destruction of our natural and historical heritage and then delisted like Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary.

Seeing how much of Bukit Timah had been destroyed (with a telecoms tower planted smack in the middle of it and some of the rest turned into what is essentially a public park), Alfred Wallace would spin so fast in his grave, he'd open a wormhole back to the 19th century.
"In a mad world only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa


A favourite retort of those accused of various iniquities (or who just like to make people squirm) is that their accusers are guilty of hypocrisy - that they apply their principles inconsistently and imperfectly (and often not to themselves).

Seemingly, then, it is better to be consistently evil than to be inconsistently good (or inconsistently evil). Truly, le mieux est l'ennemi du bien. Or, as an extension of the Chinese proverb "十步笑百步" (the soldier who has retreated 10 steps from a battle laughs at one who has retreated 100 steps as being a coward), "千步笑一步" (the soldier who has retreated 1,000 steps from a battle laughs at one who has fought long and valiantly but has now retreated 1 step as being a hypocrite).

Cries of 'hypocrisy' tend to be a last ditch defence, used when one cannot find anything else to pick on: for example, by supporters of "Asian"/Third World Values. While a few points may be scored debate-like, just as scorched earth tactics detract from your enemy's gains but do not win you the battle (even if the war is a different story), charges of hypocrisy do not win an argument for you.

It is also important to note that those who fall back on the crutch of 'hypocrisy' usually implicitly acknowledge that what their opponents are advocating or fighting for is ultimately good thing.

All this is not to say that hypocrisy is a good thing. Obviously minimising it is an aim we should all strive for, but not at the aim of having praiseworthy principles.

A hierarchy of virtue might then rank, from best to worst: perfect adherence to virtuous principles you profess (Lawful Good), partial adherence to virtuous principles you profess, not doing anything (True Neutral), partial adherence to contemptible principles you profess and total adherence to contemptible principles you profess (Lawful Evil).

(Perhaps obvious) caveats:

- the more your moral righteousness, the more justifiable claims of hypocrisy become
- the less the disparity between your sins and those of the people you are criticising, the more justifiable claims of hypocrisy become. And if it goes in the opposite direction, people will just tell you to go and die (e.g. Nigeria lecturing Singapore on high corruption)

Excerpts from 2 articles on hypocrisy (saying pretty much the same things in a different way):

Ask a Philosopher: What's wrong with hypocrisy?

"Everybody loves hypocrisy, which accounts for their going on about it so much. Granted, hypocrisy is most loved in others, where it offers an opportunity for sensations of moral rectitude in the onlooker. But that's all right, because most of the people in the world are, as it happens, other people.

... When hypocrisy does exist in my own case, this amount's to the entirely proper tribute paid by myself, and my vices, to virtue. It is perfectly stupid of these self-righteous hypocrisy-detectors to go around pointing out that such and such an imperfect/fallen/vicious/evil person was inconsistent in their imperfection/degradation/vice/evil in virtue of the kind and just things that they did or said on other occasions. It is as if they would find someone who was consistently vicious and evil more praiseworthy — which is perfectly absurd.

If there is any justice in the many attacks upon hypocrisy, this resides entirely in the justice of a specific attack upon some specific evil, not in the absurd charge of inconsistency in that evil. For instance, if a priest has been thieving silver we are entirely right in responding angrily to this. Where we might be on dodgy ground, however, is in entertaining the thought essential to the accusation of hypocrisy, namely that if the offender had been a leader of some satanic cult, the theft would have been somehow less a theft. Several different angers may be getting mixed up here. We have a right to be angry about any misplaced trust — but the proper target of this anger ought to include systems and institutions which have permitted the trust to be misplaced. Worryingly, this might include being angry at ourselves, and anyway impersonal things are difficult targets for anger to hit — so it is much easier to be angry at the personal other. So it often happens that already feeling great anger at the offender for the specific offence, we also throw onto him, willy-nilly, this additional floating anger about the failure of our misplaced confidence in him. Much of this confusion is expressed in the angry cheated-trust cry of 'hypocrite!', with it's utterly perverse implication that a consistently evil man would have been more praiseworthy.

David Robjant"

In Defence Of Hypocrisy

"It is a sad indictment of a society when the only safe target of anything approaching universal condemnation is hypocrisy. Hypocrites trip themselves up, condemn themselves out of their own mouths by contradicting with their actions what they claim to espouse as ideals. Criticising hypocrisy, then, seems all well and good. The only problem is that now we have a social climate where it is impossible to embrace any moral position without fear of being branded as 'loony' if you cling doggedly to the position, or 'hypocritical' if you fall short of it. The result is that we are left with a cynics jamboree and a tendency towards moral paralysis. In a perfect world, moral paralysis would not be a problem, but a perfect world it is not, and as soon as you so much express concern the snipers are out. It is much safer to abdicate all moral responsibility than step into the danger zone - and the danger zone is huge. If you fall short of the ideal you espouse, you are a hypocrite. It follows, therefore, that in order never to be a hypocrite, it is safest not to espouse any ideals you may have any difficulty living up to - result; said cynicism and moral paralysis...

Those of us who aim high and fall short will always be hypocrites, while those without beliefs, ideals or any expression of concern gain commendation every time they show gentleness or perform the slightest noble act."
"The Army has carried the American ... ideal to its logical conclusion. Not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on ability." - Tom Lehrer


Urban Legends -- Pork + Coke = Worms (All Lies) - "Although the "soda + pork = worms" item gets a lot of press, there are many similar tests you can perform. For example:
* You can check if a wedding cake is going bad by pouring motor oil on it.
* Dunking a doughnut in coffee creates a coffee-flavored doughnut and brings out java's natural sweetness.
* Pouring Mountain Dew on your cat will make it go insane.
* Spraying a smoker with lighter fluid is a traditional (but felonious and occasionally fatal) cure for smoking.
* Filling a plastic bottle with filtered water can increase the value of the water by a factor of 1,000."

Banned PETA Super Bowl Ad - PETA has too much money.

Is Facebook Hurting Feminism? - "While I like Facebook in many respects, I find the "Relationship Status" part completely juvenile, if not damaging. Why do we feel compelled to announce or define our relationships for everyone else? (There is already a part where you can write your interests i.e. dating, networking, etc.) Why isn't it enough to define our relationship with our partner? Why must we formally legitimize our relationships for the greater public? Is it really anyone's business?"
Someone: It's just another fact about a person - something other people are naturally curious about! If I want to know what music or books you're into, there's a high chance I'd also be interested in your romantic life. As for the argument that publicising your relationship is just an expression of your worth being dependent on whose girlfriend you are, the exact same thing can be extended to men. To say it's different for them, and their statement is one of possession/ownership is being
inherently anti-feminist. Obviously things would be different if Facebook made it ABSOLUTELY COMPULSORY to state your relationship status, but it's a choice and
nothing more. No one is making us define or legitimise anything.
Me (more pithily): Are feminists hurting feminism?

Fake Taj Mahal: India Angry Over Bangladeshi Plans To Build Replica Taj Mahal - "The Indian High Commission says it hopes to sue Mr Moni for copyright infringement."
They sound like Malaysia.

'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years - "Some years ago when I worked at the libertarian Cato Institute, we used to label any new hire who had not yet read "Atlas Shrugged" a "virgin." Being conversant in Ayn Rand's classic novel about the economic carnage caused by big government run amok was practically a job requirement. If only "Atlas" were required reading for every member of Congress and political appointee in the Obama administration. I'm confident that we'd get out of the current financial mess a lot faster."
Getting out of the frying pan and into the fire must appeal to them... Abolishing the income tax. Now that really would be a genuine economic stimulus. But Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Washington want to do the opposite: to raise the income tax "for purposes of fairness" as Barack Obama puts it.

Why we yawn: To cool our brains - "Contagious yawning may have evolved to keep group of people alert"

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance—Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! - "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action"

Death & Taxes: A Visual Guide to Where your Federal Tax Dollars GO
Someone should do this for Singapore, but most of the information is probably unavailable.

Female Bank of England Employees Must Wear Makeup and Heels - "Earlier this week, the Bank of England held "Dress for Success" day. On that day, they sent out a memo to female employees detailing just how they should dress for success"
... feminists, who jump at everything and see coercion everywhere

Can Your Name Make You a Criminal? - "In a new study to be published in the March issue of Social Science Quarterly, David Kalist and Daniel Lee, economists at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, find that adolescent boys with unpopular names are likelier than other boys to be referred to the juvenile-justice system for alleged offenses. The researchers conclude that the Ernests, Prestons and Tyrells of America are significantly more delinquent than the Michaels and Davids."
As a letter-writer to My Favourite Periodical also pointed out, this probably helps to explain why those with "Black" names are discriminated against in job applications (despite the usual reflexive appeal to racism)

The Holy Foreskin - "My favorite theory about the fate of the holy foreskin is the one put forward by the 17th century theologian Leo Allatius. In an essay, De Praeputio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Diatriba, he speculated "that the holy foreskin may have ascended into heaven at the same time as Jesus himself, and might have become the rings of Saturn.""

Gun O'clock(ガンオクロック) / ムービー - A clock in the form of a shooting range target.
Damn Japs.

What exactly are you "celebrating" and why? | Celebrate Capitalism (tm) - "Celebrate Capitalism is a positive campaign of promotion, discussion, and festivities - NOT a counter protest. We'll leave the negativity and nihilism to the thugs, bores, and buffoons of the anti capitalist movement... We proudly stand up for free trade, money, liberty, profit, free speech, technology, universal individual rights, intellectual and material prosperity, private property, rule of law, innovation, creativity, human dignity and happiness... Capitalism is: 1. Practical 2. Moral 3. Magnificent. We focus on Capitalism's intellectual foundations, its history, what it offers, all the marvellous things it makes possible for all humankind! Books, medicines, vacations, supermarket, ballets, computers, and much more! We offer Capitalism as both a destination and a direction. The solution to all social/political problems is always in the direction of Capitalism."

YouTube - Satisfaction - "[Benny Benassi's] Satisfaction, WITH MEN!"

Bratz Dolls May Give Young Girls Unrealistic Expectations Of Head Size | The Onion - "According to gender equality advocate Melissa Waters, even though these dolls can't talk they're sending young girls a message about their bodies. 'What girls are taking away from this is that in order to be beautiful you need to have a head that's twice the size of your torso'... 'I want her to feel good about herself, about her head'... 'If you make a Bratz doll of human height... the sheer weight of [her head] would crush her spine, rendering this so-called cool girl bed-ridden for life... We really have to teach girls that any size head is beautiful, otherwise they're going to be in a plastic surgeon's office at 23 asking for cranial implants... 'Just the other day, I saw her hitting herself in the face with a book to try to get her face to swell... A doll shouldn't make a girl feel bad about herself'"
And at the end: "Obama to Keep Bush on as National Scapegoat"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

"We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society." - Judith Martin, (Miss Manners)


2 Girls and 1 Cup:

Damnit, how long did this guy spend looking for the images?!

The theme on electric guitar. I like his hair.

Meanwhile, I'm very happy, because someone has mirrored it again! We have easy access once more, at: http://2girls1cup-video.net/
A supposedly inspirational animation:


An explanation from ISFAT -> Flying Kiwis, Broken Windows & Dony Permedi:

"Kiwi! is an animation about a Kiwi - a type of bird that cannot fly, who spends its whole life working towards achieving his dream. The kiwi strived to create the illusion that it was flying over a forest as it soared down through the sky from the top of a cliff. Thus, the kiwi spent what must have been its whole life nailing trees to the side of a cliff. All this, to fulfil its one dream of flying, even though it was technically unable to. There are several powerful messages behind Kiwi, but mainly, it makes you think: no matter how absurd and seemingly out of reach your dreams are, what's stopping you from achieving them?"

Yet, the real moral of the story is that no matter how hard you work to construct a delusion, ultimately it is all for naught as nothing has changed in objective reality.

Besides which, your self-delusion could get you injured, or even killed (just think of what happens when this Kiwi eventually hits the ground; notice his conspicuous lack of a parachute).

[Addendum: If you think the Kiwi achieved its dream, you'll think someone forging a University degree scroll has fulfilled his dream of getting a degree.]
"From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx


Someone: after looking at the gals from SDU magazine, i think the pple around me arent bad after all...=P whoops

wa lao....if u see e SDU ones.....for me i rather be a monk

Me: consider that the magazine ones are probably the better ones

Someone: they will send u a free membership soon

stay tuned
around march

Someone else: my school does not allow ex-students with long and coloured hair to come to school to visit teachers
because the current students "might form the wrong perception that the school actually endorses such grooming."

Someone on HWMNBN: he'd fuck a pencil if it wore a skirt

HWMNBN: Only if it was a chio pencil. None of those HB sluts.

Someone else: i have rape fantasies
which is apparently quite typical

Me: rape fantasies
or fantasies of submission
not nec the same

Someone else: rape fantasies (:

Me: so who do you want to rape you

Someone else: not you (:

jb: when guys a little less than twice your age want to meet you alone, it doesn't mean anything good

i used to think it was just being friendly
but it really isn't

Someone: *wants to be an ancient chinese taoist for the wrong reasons.*

"In early Chinese Culture, sex was regarded without guilt. Like Princess Shan Yin, the Taoists were great believers in sheer quantity: "The more women with whom a man has intercourse" wrong one early Taoist sage "The greater will be the benefit" Another advised "If in one night he can have intercourse wiht more than 10 woman is best" - Christopher Hart in Ancient Sex Manuals, reading for SC 3219

Everyone was fucking like bunnies then.

Me: Eh. You think so easy ah. Last time no contraception. And they didn't know about STDs. But yah pre-Ming Chinese were kinky

Anyway more importantly the Taoists believed that you could not COME. If you came too much you'd die. So you should either withdraw before coming or you practice finger presses/breathing control to prevent your come from shooting out (actually it went into the bladder, but the Ancient Chinese didn't know that)

Someone: Wrong la, they believe that you could come, the only thing is that, they believe that men have limited amount of yang qi, therefore they shouldnt come too often. Will finish up the good stuff.

They tried to simulate multiple orgasms for men by withholding ejeculation. Apparently, recent science has shown the ejeculation and orgasm are two separate events.

Anyway STD sounds like moral panic to me leh.

Me: SAME LAH. That's like saying you can shoot someone, just that you'll go to jail.

There're tantric techniques that involved exercising your PC muscles and breath exercises. You go and try. I'm too lazy to try.

Eh VD quite big last time you know

Someone: Different leh, if they dont shoot then they die.
Not having sex will severely impair your yang qi!

Eh I want to go learn.
Gab, we go learn together la,
set up class make some money.
Can make it a CCA in NUS,
get SDU sponsor

Me: If they don't shoot they die?!


Someone: ya lor, they repress yang qi.
Maybe internal combustion.

Someone else: haha...SDU won't sponsor a no-shooting class la!

HWMNBN: he's been poisoning my well

i can't abide treachery in my male friends
so i've decided to keep away

Me: so you can abide treachery in your female friends?

HWMNBN: i expect treachery from my female friends
it's inehrent to their nature

males are a different story

Me: ...

TMM: I hope SUG doesn't stand for Single Ugly Girl

MFTTW: i still think the customs inspector who took my bak kwa ate it
and pocketed the $170 fine

"fine is $350 by credit card... $170 by cash"

like malaysia like that

MFTTW: yup

i should have told him "yeah i know what's going on.. i'v been ot malaysia"
he was desi

prob ABCD
american-born confused desi

the epithet of choice of the indian-born desis

i've noticed that overseas indians are disproportionately represented in customs/immigration

i think it's a power trip thing
to compensate for them failing to get into medical/law/business school

Me: ><


the indians here are either all doctors/lawyers/business
or they are border police

MFTTW on this exchange: your fb spouse is damn cheong hei [cantonese... "long winded" (literally)]
need so many words to explain simple concepts

i summarize for you

1) sg gahmen acts as Big Brother
2) Languages are hard to learn

ok chop chop done.

oh ya, unless he's Malay he shouldn't use "brudder" :P
"The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money costs less." - Brendan Francis


November 15th:

"Your endorsement was the most baffling article I’ve read in the 20 years that I have studied and trusted your publication. Eschewing your impeccable logic, you spent nearly the entire leader correctly, even apologetically, identifying the reasons why Mr Obama is unfit for the presidency, then brushed them aside to say “take a chance” and vote for him anyway.

John Rollins
Tallahassee, Florida"

"Many South Africans say that rich countries’ strictures on democracy and human rights will carry little moral force until poorer countries have a bigger say in running the affairs of the world. Not all agree. Turning a blind eye to oppression abroad is “a betrayal of our own noble past”, argues Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace-prize winner and a hero of the struggle against white rule. “If others had used the arguments we are using today when we asked them for their support against apartheid we might still have been unfree,” he says."
The oppressed, once free, become the oppressors.

"Mr Voronin called Transdniestria’s leader, Igor Smirnov, “an evil force who has turned his region into a festering wound on the body of Moldova”... Ukrainian and Moldovan businessmen exploit the black hole of Transdniestria to dodge customs duties on cars or chicken. In 2006, EUBAM has found, the poor folk of Transdniestria nominally ate 12 times as much chicken per head as Germans."

"They noticed that when people fast-forward a DVR they actually concentrate intensely on the screen, looking out for the end of the advertising break so that they can get back to their programme. This means they are probably paying more attention than they would if the advertisements were playing normally."

"“As the first global generation ever, the Net Geners are smarter, quicker and more tolerant of diversity than their predecessors,” Mr Tapscott argues. “These empowered young people are beginning to transform every institution of modern life.” They care strongly about justice, and are actively trying to improve society... People who play video games, for example, have been found to process complex visual information more quickly. They may also be better at multi-tasking than earlier generations, which equips them better for the modern world... More optimistically, the Net Geners are much more positive than their predecessors about their family. Half of those interviewed regard at least one parent as their “hero”."

November 22nd:

"The proposal the government unveiled this week—to make those buying sex liable to criminal charges if it subsequently emerges that the prostitute was controlled for another person’s gain... As the law stands, punters who knowingly have sex with an exploited woman can face charges of rape. The new law would criminalise the oblivious as well... A man who has sex with an underage girl, for example, may be acquitted if it emerges that he was fooled... Furthermore, women deemed to be “under the control of another” could include those who support their boyfriends, or work with a mate. The most ethical punter could easily be caught out. Good, says Jacqui Smith, the home secretary: it will make potential clients “think twice”."

[On Polar Bear quotas] "Tribal elders insist that they are seeing far more bears than ever before. Bear experts like Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta acknowledge this, but explain that the bears are being pushed ashore as the sea ice disappears. With fewer opportunities to hunt seals, they venture closer to towns in search of garbage or unattended dog food—if not the dogs themselves. Treaties between Nunavut and the federal government make clear that science should not influence decision-making more than “traditional knowledge”, known as Inuit Qaujimaningit, or IQ. Scientists offer statistical projections and computer models; native hunters prefer IQ, which tells them that polar bears are everywhere... Mr Qillaq, who chairs the Kanngiqtugaapik Hunters and Trappers Organisation, laughs at the notion that hunting will harm the polar bear population. “Numbers are just numbers,” he says. “We live here, so we know what’s really going on in the north. We can hunt anytime we want, anywhere we want, no matter what anybody says.”"

[On a Turkish politician in Germany] "“Is it so important to have a Turkish chancellor?” he wonders. “The fact that we’re still talking about this shows how far there is to go.”"

"In Armenia, for example, the local branch of Transparency International—a global anti-corruption movement—has to contend with a government that seems humourless and harsh. So campaigners against a proposed mine in northern Armenia, which risks destroying a pristine forest, devised colourful responses which the authorities couldn’t repress without looking foolish. In a recent street protest, they dressed up as animals; in another they staged a “funeral” for a slice of nature that was at risk."

"A study just published in Psychological Science by Simone Schnall of the University of Plymouth and her colleagues shows that washing with soap and water makes people view unethical activities as more acceptable and reasonable than they would if they had not washed themselves... Something to think about for those who feel that purification rituals bring them closer to God."

[On price controls] "One chicken hatchery drowned 43,000 baby chicks on television because, its manager said, “it’s cheaper to drown ’em than…to raise ’em.”"

"France, “a country where ideas have always been more important than facts.”"

November 29th:

"Catalan politics is based on clumsy parochialism, dead-end linguistic nationalism and an astonishing amount of whining about our treatment by the rest of Spain. Our leaders would be well advised to take a shot of the café para todos you mentioned and recognise that while we talk, others do business in whatever language is necessary."

[On Larry Summers (table)] "Weaknesses: ego surplus, sensitivity deficit"

[On Clinton] "Defeat and humiliation only seem to make her stronger—the perfect qualification for dealing with the Middle East."

"Unlike Soviet propagandists, who told people what to think, Russian propagandists tell people what they want to hear, says Georgy Satarov, who used to be an aide to a former president, Boris Yeltsin, and now runs INDEM, a think-tank. What people want to hear, especially as they are getting richer, is that their country is “rising from its knees”, sticking its flag in the Arctic Circle, winning football games and chasing the Americans out of Georgia."

"The paradox of Russia’s nationalism is that its patriotic zeal closely follows the American model. One of the biggest pop hits in Russia a few years ago was a song called “I Was Made in the USSR”, first performed in 2005 in the Kremlin, in front of Mr Putin. “Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova—it is my country…Kazakhstan and the Caucasus as well as the Baltics—it is my country…I was born in the Soviet Union; made in the USSR,” its lyrics go. As the audience rose to applaud, it was perhaps unaware that the tune was the same as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”."

"Russia wants to be like America and follows in its footsteps. Unfortunately, says one American former official, “they followed our mistakes and not our system of governance.”"

"RUSSIA may not have democratic elections or the rule of law, but it does have one long-standing institution that works: corruption."

"The average Russian gets through 15.2 litres of pure alcohol a year, twice as much as is thought to be compatible with good health. The problem lies not just with how much but also with what is drunk: moonshine and “dual-purpose” liquids, such as perfume and windscreen wash, make up a significant proportion of alcohol consumption, according to Russia’s chief physician, Gennady Onishchenko."

"Vodka is one of a very few Russian products that seem relatively immune to inflation. Between 1990 and 2005, for example, the food-price index increased almost four times faster than the alcohol-price index. A cheap bottle of vodka in Russia costs the same as two cans of beer or two litres of milk... Occasionally the government raises the alarm about alcohol poisoning, but it does little to curb drinking. Instead it has declared war on Georgian wine and mineral water, which it claims is not fit for consumption. But life expectancy in Georgia remains 12 years higher than in Russia."

"A hero of the Napoleonic wars revered by Russian romantics, Yermolov is still universally hated by “the natives” who think of him as brutal, contemptuous and genocidal. In the late Soviet period his statue in Chechnya was regularly blown up until it was eventually thrown into the river."

"Mr Gavrilenkov of Troika Dialog argues that Russia’s attitude to America is closely correlated with its balance of payments. When that is strong, Russia turns anti-American; when it is weak, Russia becomes a friendlier place."

"Ms Royal says she will be “a force of transformation” inside the party, which roughly translates as being an internal troublemaker."

"Mr Lewis also contributes an introduction to each of the sections dealing with the four main panics of the last 21 years; the stock market crash of 1987, the Asian crisis of 1997-98, the bursting of the dotcom bubble after 2000 and the current housing and banking bust. It is worth remembering, as we contemplate the gloomy economic future, how each of the previous three crises was greeted with apocalyptic headlines. “How many times does the end of the world as we know it need to arrive before we realise that it’s not the end of the world as we know it?” Mr Lewis writes, in perhaps the most telling sentence of the book."

"The best term associated with walking is not English at all: the French flâner, he writes, is “a truly wonderful word…it can mean to stroll, but it can also mean the act of simply hanging around.”... Walking, he says, is like sex: “basic, simple, repetitive activities…capable of great sophistication and elaboration. They can be completely banal and meaningless, and yet they can also involve great passions and adventures. Both can lead you into strange and unknown territories: a walk on the wild side.”... The wafflier the piffle, the more sharply Mr Nicholson wields his skewer. His deadpan treatment of “psychogeography” (imagine modern literary criticism applied to the layout of car parks) is howlingly funny. So are his demolitions of the sub-Thoreau ramblings of “New Agers”. Which bit of nature have they been walking in: “Frozen wastes? Disease-ridden jungle? Malarial swamp? Or just the local park?”"

December 6th:

"Many European states have large bureaucracies, reinforced by a network of NGOs, whose job is to protect immigrants from oppression by the majority “white” population. These institutions should be just as concerned when the infringers of human rights are locally dominant religious establishments."

"I too do not believe for a moment that prostitution can be eliminated by legislation. But limiting a ban to those paying for sex with a woman “controlled for another’s gain”, such as a pimp, will doom this new law to failure. Instead of the relatively simple prosecution of a “punter”, police will be faced with a full scale and expensive vice-inquiry to establish “control” and “gain”. Good intentions marred by ineffective legislation are the hallmark of this government.

Martin Jauch
Former chief superintendent, clubs and vice unit
Metropolitan Police
Winchcombe, Gloucestershire"

"Given that some countries have already nationalised the world’s second-oldest profession (banking), why not nationalise the oldest? The industry would become fully regulated; the prostitutes could then work decent hours under close supervision, have regular holidays and be free from abuse by pimps.

Governments could use the huge revenues that prostitution generates to bail out even more banks (the vice industry in Australia alone is growing at a rate of 8% a year: the country spent $11.3 billion on prostitution and strippers in 2007). As well as being the oldest profession perhaps prostitution is also the most honest, given the recent shenanigans by all those involved in the credit crunch. We are all civil servants now.

Mike Gallagher

December 13th:

"Mr Singh's answer, to start by boosting regional trade, is the best there is. His vision is "to have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul". (And wake up in hospital, diplomats josh.)"

"The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (otherwise known as the "Ministry of Fun")"

"THE doodlebugs were much less nice than their nickname sounds. They were devastating flying bombs that began to hit London in June 1944. Later that year, the Nazis deployed even more awful supersonic rockets—and a few Londoners referred to the "good old doodlebugs". Which goes to show that memory is unreliable, nostalgia irrational and judgments often relative."

"Psychologists have found that being exposed to numbers, even irrelevant ones, can affect people's decisions. For example, diners tend to spend more in a restaurant named "Café 97" than in one named "Café 17"."
"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." - Eric Hoffer


The American Spectator : Show Me the Money (Quote), Khatami! - "Yet, while Khatami's demeanor fit the storyline, the rhetoric most certainly did not... KHATAMI'S DEFENSE OF Hezbollah was doubtless not the only uncomfortable moment for those bound and determined to see him as an agent of tolerance in the face of American extremism. One such moment came when a student pointedly brought up the persecution and prosecution of gays in Iran, to which Khatami answered simply, "homosexuality is a crime in Islam and crimes are punishable"... Can you guess what CNN's headline on the Khatami visit is? Do you think it was "Khatami: 'Society Cannot Run' Without Punishment of Homosexuals" or "Khatami Slams bin Laden"?"

Overthinking 'disrupts golf putt' - "St Andrews University and US scientists said they had established that too much analysis made the golfer's game worse. They said thinking too much about the previous shot can disrupt performance... "This effect was especially dramatic in skilled golfers""

Sex drive warning to vegetarians and elderly - "Elderly and vegetarian men are being warned about the effect of low protein diets on their sex lives in later years. Researchers say people who do not eat enough protein are at risk of low testosterone levels which can cause a decline in sexual function as well as muscle loss, reduced red blood cells and damage to bones."

Messy? I'm an artist! - ""If she is being obsessively tidy or he is being very slovenly, it usually points to some underlying problem to do with anger or trying to have power over the other person. It can stem from unhappiness."... The tidy person, for instance, tends to assume that he or she is right. But look at tidy people in history and who do you see? Dictators, secret policemen and oppressors... Organisations that put the greatest premium on tidiness put the least on creative thought - the Army, for instance. Advertising creatives, visionaries and academics (and, er, tramps) are notoriously scruffy. Dr Roderick Orner, a consultant psychologist and expert on obsessive compulsive disorder, says that tidiness is fundamentally about control - whether you want it and why you need it... a study by researchers at Columbia Business School found that people who kept a neat desk spent 36 per cent more time looking for things than people who kept a "fairly messy" desk." One comment: "Men are messy because they're doers. People who spend their lives cleaning never achieve anything. Their evolutionary purpose was to distract smilodon while the doers built civilisation."

YouTube - Zombie snails - "mind-controlling parasites... this parasite is called Leucochloridium paradoxum. There are many other "mind-controlling" parasites such as the Spinochordodes Tellinii which infect grasshoppers and forces them to drown themselves... (Where the worm reproduces). Oh and one of my favs is the Toxoplasma Gondii found in cats intestines. But I'll let yall look it up. Savor the knowledge my children."
The pulsating tentacles are cool

STREET WITH A VIEW: a project by Robin Hewlett & Ben Kinsley - "Street With A View introduces fiction, both subtle and spectacular, into the doppelganger world of Google Street View. On May 3rd 2008, artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley invited the Google Inc. Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside to collaborate on a series of tableaux along Sampsonia Way. Neighbors, and other participants from around the city, staged scenes ranging from a parade and a marathon, to a garage band practice, a seventeenth century sword fight, a heroic rescue and much more..."

CAP ... Study: Comic Book Superheroines 'Improbably Busty' - "The study, which looked "very closely" at more than 100 female superheroines and sidekicks, found the average character's cup size to be closer to 38DD than to the national average of 36C, says Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Center... Spitznagel pointed out that his researchers found characters like Ms. Marvel, Dawn and of course Wonder Woman to be "improbably busty," to the point where, if they actually existed, their prodigious bosoms might actually interfere with their ability to fight crime... "Our researchers would carefully measure the breasts of the characters using an adjustable utility micrometer," explained Spitnagel. "They would then do the same for the female models and compare the results." The work was fairly grueling, said Spitznagel... "Usually they'd each go off by themselves for a few minutes of alone time and come back much more refreshed.""

Do vegetarians really have better sex? - "PETA noted that meat makes people "fat, sick, and boring in bed"... vegetarians are, in general, more health-conscious. An avowed vegetarian who ate nothing but french fries, after all, would run a high risk of both obesity and heart disease... Vegetarianism also may have some negative effects on sexual desire. Vegetarian diets tend to correlate with higher rates of zinc deficiency, which is closely associated with lower testosterone levels and depressed sex drives. Vegetarian women are also more likely to develop amenorrhea (loss of periods), a condition that's usually accompanied by low testosterone, vaginal dryness, and poor libido. Finally, the notion that overweight people are less sexually active isn't entirely accurate (for women, at least): A recent analysis published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that overweight women might, in fact, be slightly more active. Historically, vegetarianism has been linked more closely with chastity than with licentiousness."

Roadside Ass-sistance - The second episode of PG Porn is out!!!

YouTube - Classic Hits by Microsoft Songsmith: "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor - "Here's what Survivor's hit "Eye Of The Tiger" would sound like if they'd used Microsoft Songsmith. Original vocal track from the 1982 recording, everything else by Microsoft Songsmith."
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