When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anthony Kenny on Derrida's old age and Descartes's [male] chauvinism

"Every crowd has a silver lining." - Phineas Taylor Barnum


Anthony Kenny on his New History of Philosophy

"I divided the Historical part in the final volume into Continental and Analytic...

The [last] Continental one was Derrida, whom I knew and admired when he was a young philosopher. We used to meet together occasionally to discuss our joint ideas.

But, I have to say I thought in his old age he turned rather into rather a comedian than the philosopher. I found it difficult, in my book, to treat him with the reverence that I treated other philosophers so I ended in making some rather rude jokes about him...

I think the prize [for the best prose] has to go to Plato. Plato's early dialogues (at any rate) are written in very beautiful Greek, but their enormous achievement is that there was then no philosophical vocabulary. There were no technical terms in philosophy. He had to get across any philosophical point he wanted to put across in the plainest of language.

The philosopher that is, I think for modern people, easiest to read is probably
Descartes, because he wrote elegant, short pieces. Whereas Descartes said he wanted to write so smoothly that even women could read them.

I think he was punished for this male chauvinist remark when the one person who quite clearly defeated him in argument was Charles I's niece Princess Elizabeth, who pointed out the complete incoherence of Descartes's views on the relation between Mind and Body

And Descartes, I think, knew he was defeated because he was reduced to telling her not to bother her pretty head about the topic because it was dangerous for women to spend too much time on metaphysics. It would damage their health"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chinese characters are dead! Long live Chinese characters!

"The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun." - P. G. Wodehouse


Wired youth forget how to write in China and Japan

"Like every Chinese child, Li Hanwei spent her schooldays memorising tens of thousands of the intricate characters that make up the Chinese writing system.

Yet aged just 21 and now a university student in Hong Kong, Li already finds that when she picks up a pen to write, the characters for words as simple as "embarrassed" have slipped from her mind.

"I can remember the shape, but I can't remember the strokes that you need to write it," she says. "It's a bit of a problem."

Surveys indicate the phenomenon, dubbed "character amnesia", is widespread across China, causing young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system.

Young Japanese people also report the problem, which is caused by the constant use of computers and mobile phones with alphabet-based input systems.

There is even a Chinese word for it: "tibiwangzi", or "take pen, forget character".

A poll commissioned by the China Youth Daily in April found that 83 percent of the 2,072 respondents admitted having problems writing characters.

As a result, Li says that she has become almost dependent on her phone...

Character amnesia happens because most Chinese people use electronic input systems based on pinyin, which translates Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet...

In Japan, where three writing systems are combined into one, mobiles and computers use the simpler hiragana and katakana scripts for inputting -- meaning users may forget the kanji, a third strand of Japanese writing similar to Chinese characters...

Character amnesia matters because memorisation is so crucial to character-based written languages, says Siok Wai Ting, assistant professor of linguistics at Hong Kong University. Forgetting how to write could eventually affect reading ability.

"There is no way we can learn the writing systematically because the writing itself is not systematic -- we have to memorise, we have to rote learn," she says.

"Through writing, we memorise the characters. Reading and writing are more closely connected in Chinese."

Chinese reading even uses a different part of the brain from reading the Roman alphabet, Siok's research has found -- a part closer to the motor area, which is used for handwriting.

Chinese characters are so complex that the country's revolutionary leader Mao Zedong told the US journalist Edgar Snow in 1936: "Sooner or later, we believe, we will have to abandon characters altogether if we are to create a new social culture in which the masses fully participate."

Instead, Mao eventually chose to simplify many characters into forms now the standard in mainland China.

Victor Mair, professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, said character amnesia is part of a "natural process of evolution"...

Some argue that the perceived decline in character knowledge is, in fact, nothing to worry about.

A survey by the southern Chinese news portal Dayang Net, found that 80 percent of respondents had forgotten how to write some characters -- but 43 percent said they used handwritten characters only for signatures and forms.

"The idea that China is a country full of people who write beautiful, fluid literature in characters without a second thought is a romantic fantasy," wrote the blogger and translator C. Custer on his Chinageeks blog."

Dalai Lama says there is no gender bias in Buddhism (but...)

Dalai Lama says there is no gender bias in Buddhism

"Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul district on Friday, there is no gender bias in Buddhism and nothing prevents a woman from becoming his successor.

"So the purpose of the incarnation is to serve people about dharma (faith). If the circumstances are such, female form is more useful, then why not," said Dalai Lama.

He also added that that the female Dalai Lama should be attractive.

"And I also mentioned in case Dalai Lama's incarnation one female comes then must be very attractive female. So the very reason, you see more influence to others, an ugly female then may not much effective," added Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama is on a four-day-long visit to the region, to give discourses on Buddhism."

(emphasis mine)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The most iniquitous motivational yarn I've yet read

"A committee can make a decision that is dumber than any of its members." - David Coblitz


: If U're in a relationship, married or none, read this. U'll know why at the end.


When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

She requested that every day for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife's divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside
the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office.... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I'm a loving husband....

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don't share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.


So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6.

By Stephanie Halmilton

Obviously, this story is ridiculous:

1) Only an idiot would not know that his wife was suffering from cancer

2) Only an idiot would suffer from cancer silently

However, on further examination, this story is not just ridiculous but repellent and repugnant. The most disturbing part of this 'uplifting tale' is the following:

3) Only an utterly cruel person would not tell her family that she was suffering from cancer, and break everyone's hearts by dying on them in one month. The fact that she knew she had only a month to live meant that she had had adequate medical advice, so this would be no excuse.

Furthermore, only a base sadist would emotionally manipulate her husband into falling back into love with her (we know what intimacy does for humans - it stimulates oxytocin, which promotes bonding) when she knew she was going to die - when the humane thing would be to keep him disconnected so he would not suffer as much when she finally went (since she inexplicably decided to go without telling anyone). She obviously felt the intimacy returning in their relationship, yet chose to keep up the deception to aggravate the pain that he would finally feel. We can see that she put her selfish pride above the welfare of her husband - who she claimed to love.

The fact that cancer does not kill you within a month means that she knew she was dying for some time, so she doubtless had been planning to get her revenge on her husband and the woman he was cheating on her with, by making him fall back in love with him and leaving the other woman - and then dying on both of them. Truly, it takes a cunning mind to formulate such a plot, and similarly only a sadist of the highest degree would sacrifice her life in this way just to spite others (and traumatise her son for eternity since he would never get a chance to say goodbye to her and might one day even cotton on to her byzantine plot).

There is also the fact that people *do* fall out of love. Just because someone wants to leave his wife of 10 years does not mean that he is a scummy philanderer (especially since only adroit emotional manipulation by his wife got him to change his mind). The story is obviously framed to make us despise the husband and Jane, but the fact is that marriages *do* break down, the spark *is* lost and people *do* fall out of love with their original partners - and back into love with others.

Also, we cannot forget:

4) The religious preaching at the end is totally irrelevant to the story (I've seen this story posted elsewhere, sans the cancer at the end - apparently it was tacked on by some zealous fool, unaware of how he was making an already atrocious story even worse)

So, contrary to the professed moral of the story, we can see that it actually chronicles the dastardly plan of a twisted, spiteful woman determined to get her revenge on her husband - even in death, and to hell if it scarred her son for life. I am glad to say that this story is probably not real, for I would not want to go to the funeral of such a sick and wicked woman.

Banal stories which have no relevance to real life are not only empty, but on closer inspection are far from what they appear to be. Self-indulgent emotional masturbation in a vacuum might feel good, but in the end you're only fucking yourself. And sometimes even sodomising yourself with a 12-inch dildo.

Unrealistic and ridiculous motivational stories are really mocking what they purport to celebrate.

Addendum: Here is an earlier version where the wife doesn't die (the story cuts off at his buying the bouquet)

Katie Mullaly on The Buzz Media hates this story too, tagging it as "Humor & Fun":

Wait, the son is clapping his hands and shouting,”Daddy is holding mommy in his arms?” How old is this kid? I thought he had exams in a month? What kind of exams? I’m thinking he’s studying for his LSATs or some shit, and he’s like FIVE…or retarded.

One commenter: "a few of my best friends found it and think this is the greatest thing ever. I was starting to think that I was the only one who saw this story in a negative light after how they have been worshipping this story and that maybe there was something off with me. Thanks for letting me know that not all women fall for this stuff"

Addendum 2: Snopes on the evolution of this crap

Links - 25th August 2010

"The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed." - C. S. Lewis


Competition for a mate shortens men's lives - study - "The more imbalanced the ratio of men to women, the more pronounced the effect was"

'I wrote 2U B4'! British Library shows up textspeak as soooo 19th century - "It turns out they were doing it in the 19th century – only then they called it emblematic poetry, and it was considered terribly clever... There will also be the first book ever printed in English, which, reassuringly perhaps, has inconsistent spelling"

Wanted - Baby Sitters With Foreign Language Skills - "Bilingual children tend to have smaller vocabularies in English than their monolingual counterparts... “Bilingualism carries a cost, and the cost is rapid access to words”... At the same time, bilingual children do better at complex tasks like isolating information presented in confusing ways... One arena in which being bilingual does not seem to help is the highly competitive kindergarten admission process."

West Midlands police force bans the thin blue panty line - "Thongs or boxers creeping over waistbands and colourful bras peeping through white shirts outlawed under new uniform policy"

YouTube - Living With Steel Wool Hands (How I Lost My Nipple) - "Nothing compares to the day that I woke up with steel wool hands. It has its drawbacks, but with the help of case-mate products and industrial strength nipple tassels, I am able to live a normal life.
If you struggle with steel woolen extremities, check out case-mate to protect your iPhone."

True Colors - "White marble has been the norm ever since the Renaissance, when classical antiquities first began to emerge from the earth... Knowing no better, artists in the 16th century took the bare stone at face value. Michelangelo and others emulated what they believed to be the ancient aesthetic, leaving the stone of most of their statues its natural color. Thus they helped pave the way for neo-Classicism, the lily-white style that to this day remains our paradigm for Greek art... Armed with high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, cameras, plaster casts and jars of costly powdered minerals, he has spent the past quarter century trying to revive the peacock glory that was Greece. He has dramatized his scholarly findings by creating full-scale plaster or marble copies hand-painted in the same mineral and organic pigments used by the ancients: green from malachite, blue from azurite, yellow and ocher from arsenic compounds, red from cinnabar, black from burned bone and vine"

What's After The Credits? - "What's After The Credits is simply a site that you can utilize to quickly find out if a movie, television show, video game, etc. has any special scenes during the credits or post credits (aka Stinger / Movie Stinger)"

Best. Decade. Ever. - "The first 10 years of the 21st century were humanity's finest -- even for the world's bottom billion."
Nobody ever got funding by saying that things were going well

On Facebook, wife learns of husband's 2nd wedding

The queen feminist thinking twice about employing young women - "If Sarah became pregnant, I would be legally obliged to keep paying her for a full year after she’d given birth – which the business could ill afford. Now, on top of this, the government has announced that parents of children up to the age of 16 (as opposed to only up to six) will have the right to ask employers for flexible working arrangements... My pigs certainly aren’t going to thrive on flexi-feeding schemes. And neither is my business... At least one thing seems clear to me now: the femi-nist mantra of the 1980s – that a woman “can have it all” – has turned out to be a lie"

The Wickedest Man in Oxford - "One of the last of the many legendary contests won by the British philosopher A. J. Ayer was his encounter with Mike Tyson in 1987... [He] was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell. ''Do you know who . . . I am?'' Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: ''I'm the heavyweight champion of the world.'' ''And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic,'' Ayer answered politely. ''We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.''"

Company tries to get gun classed as medical device

More Evidence That Intelligence Is Largely Inherited: Researchers Find That Genes Determine Brain's Processing Speed

Third of women earn more than their men - "Working women resent female colleagues who have children because they think they get better treatment... childless working women - are bitter about co-workers leaving work early for childcare reasons or having their hours cut on their return to work after maternity leave. Nine out of ten women said those without children 'resented the flexi-hours and time off mothers can have'. Seven in ten said other women were their harshest critics in the workplace and a third of female directors thought mothers less productive. A third of working women without offspring think working mothers use their children as an excuse to get off work."

Report: Men Unfaithful to Women Who Earn More
Naturally, men being unfaithful to women who earn more was explained as "Men might engage in "hypermasculine activities" — displaying their sexual virility or sexual competence — as a form of compensatory behavior", while women being unfaithful to men who earn more was positioned as "economically dependent women may encounter fewer opportunities to cheat, and they may make a calculated decision that cheating just isn't worth it"

If Women Were More Like Men: Why Females Earn Less - "Women who become men (known as FTMs) do significantly better than men who become women (MTFs)... The less-convincing appearance of MTFs probably explains part of the reason they earn so much less after they transition"

Artificial Ape Man: How Technology Created Humans

Kuo Chuan Primary School students FORCED to pay $5 deposit to ensure they watch YOG games
I love how "no outside food and beverage" (sic) is positioned as a way "to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience"

Boeing 727 Convertido en Hotel

New research: Children's vegetable intake linked to Popeye cartoons

Museum Of Bad Art Gives A Home To Forlorn Paintings

Top 11 Ways to Get Fired at Apple - "3. Start a Twitter account without approval from the Communication Geniuses Department.
1. Suggest a mouse design that functions properly."

Finally, an excuse for pregnant women to eat bacon and eggs

Brainless slime mould makes decisions like humans - "To us, a thing’s value depends on the things around it. Economists often refer to this as “irrational”. But if that’s the case, we’re not alone in our folly. Other animals, from birds to bees, make choices in the same way"

How black people use Twitter. - "Black people—specifically, young black people—do seem to use Twitter differently from everyone else on the service. They form tighter clusters on the network... black people [have] the means to dominate the conversation on Twitter... "It's the same issue I have with certain black comedy shows," says Elon James White, a comedian who runs the site This Week in Blackness. "They put out these ideas of blackness that—if it were someone of another race saying them—you'd go, 'Whoa, that's racist!' I remember when #ifsantawasblack hit, I lost my shit. I was freaking out. It was literally a game of, What's the most racist thing we can say? And it was black people saying it!""

How Many People is Enough in Singapore? - "Profits in Singapore are increasingly being earned by foreign, not local capital, and in many cases subsidized by tax breaks and other incentives not enjoyed by local business. Hence Singapore becomes ever more reliant on inflow of that capital for continued growth as well as on importing foreign labor to supplement a now almost static indigenous labor force. Recent public disquiet over immigration may be prejudiced and seem irrational to a leadership that thinks it always knows best what is good for Singaporeans. But the nation badly needs a real debate about demographics and growth priorities."

Reporters Sans Frontières - Open letter to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange: ‘‘A bad precedent for the Internet's future'' - "Revealing the identity of hundreds of people who collaborated with the coalition in Afghanistan is highly dangerous. It would not be hard for the Taliban and other armed groups to use these documents to draw up a list of people for targeting in deadly revenge attacks... The precedent you have set leaves all those people throughout the world who risk their freedom and sometimes their lives for the sake of online information even more exposed to reprisals. Such imprudence endangers your own sources and, beyond that, the future of the Internet as an information medium. A total of 116 netizens are currently in prison in a dozen countries because of the comments they posted online"

Boomerang for Gmail: Send email later or receive it when you want

Teen sex doesn't cause bad grades - "Teens in committed relationships do no better or worse in school than those don't have sex... Last year, nearly half of high school students reported having sexual intercourse, and 14 percent have had four or more partners"

Opinions vs. Data - "I immediately figured out how to use it, but my gut reaction was «most people are not going to get how this works.» It seems I was wrong. This is one of the reasons why I don’t put too much trust into opinion-based usability reviews: There’s a lot of guesswork involved, and guessing how humans behave is an endeavor fraught with peril. Expert reviews can be helpful, but they are no substitute for actual testing."

Obama's Islamic America - "President Obama says Islam has always been part of America, which raises the question, does the president know something about American history that we don't?... Islam had no influence on the origins and development of the United States. It contributed nothing to early American political culture, art, literature, music or any other aspect of the early nation"

Why don’t Anglo women like Asian men?
Amidst the meaningless motherhood statements, I like this comment: "Asian men, well, you tend to be shorter and skinnier. You have figures most women torture and starve themselves to achieve, except you lack boobies. You challenge our femininity, basically."

Why photographer was handcuffed - "POLICE handcuffed a photographer taking flood pictures along Bukit Timah Road last month because public safety was involved... The photographer had stopped his car illegally along the road at about 7.40am to take the photographs, causing an obstruction to other motorists... 'There was clear danger not only to the photographer but to other motorists as well,' said Mr Shamugam. When the photographer ignored a second advice from police against taking pictures on the flooded centre divider, he was handcuffed."
Someone parks illegally and you handcuff them for public safety. Nice try, do you think anyone other than Singaporeans will buy that?

Former RCP president backs review of drugs laws - ""Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success"... He argued that many of the problems health staff encountered were the consequences not of heroin itself, but of prohibition... decriminalising personal use could free up police resources, reduce crime and improve public health"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I will not be your father

"Si seulement tu connaissais le pouvoir du côté obscur"

The gender pendulum has swung too far

"In strictness we are all mad when we give way to passion, to prejudice, to vice, to vanity; but if all the passionate, prejudiced and vain people were to be locked up as lunatics, who is to keep the key to the asylum?" - The Times, 1853, on the verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity"


The gender pendulum has swung too far

"True or false

1. The majority of medical research and outreach has been done on men.

... most gender-specific health care research has been done on women. When I searched PubMed, which indexes 3,000 medical journals over the past 60 years, there have been 43 articles on "women's health" for every one on "men's health"...

Also, the overwhelming majority of gender-specific health outreach has been to women. Although sudden heart attack kills more men and kills them younger, most of the heart-disease public relations campaigns have been aimed at women. And although almost as many men die of prostate cancer, we see a sea of pink ribbons for breast cancer in our supermarkets and advertising campaigns but rarely the ribbon of prostate cancer. (Do you even know what color that is?) There are seven federal agencies for women's health, none for men.

2. The vast majority of severe domestic violence is initiated by men.

False. The media mainly reports the misleading police reports, which grossly underestimate the amount of female-initiated domestic violence because men are far less likely to report abuse. One reason: men are embarrassed to say their wife abused them. In contrast, women are considered heroes for reporting their abusing men... A California State University metaanaylsis of 200 studies with an aggregate sample size exceeding 200,000 "demonstrates that women are as or more physically aggressive than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners." Yet much female-initiated abuse is ignored by the police and shelters overwhelmingly serve only women.

3. Girls do far better than boys in school.

True. Male school achievement used to exceed female. Today, however, by high school graduation, girls are reading 1.5 grade levels higher than boys, a far greater gap than the tiny edge boys have in math. Boys are eight times as likely to be put on a chemical leash such as Ritalin, nine times as likely to be disciplined, twice as likely to drop out...

In graduate school, despite the fact that a far higher percentage of men work full-time after they get their degrees, fully half of students in medical school, law school, and MBA programs are women., as are almost 80 percent of veterinary school students. Yet inexplicably, there are far more scholarships set aside for women than for men...

The response to boys' falling far behind girls is too often for boys to be told to sit still for ever more seatwork, as recess and other physical activities, which used to allow boys to drain energy, are cut. Otherwise, it's a trip to the principal, a suspension, and/or placement in special education and/or that Ritalin leash.

4. According to the Dept. of Defense, 99% of U.S. soldier deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been men.

True: You might ask, "How could that be? The media and government constantly say, 'Our men and women fighting in Iraq.' Media interviews with soldiers are roughly 50/50." Fact is, only men are allowed to serve in direct combat and only men must register for the draft.

5. Men comprise 80 percent of completed suicides.

True, yet there are many programs aimed to prevent women from committing suicide, almost none for men.

6. Women earn less for the same work than men.

False: For the same work, women earn, on average, the same

... today, unmarried women who have never had a child earn 113% of what men earn. That suggests that for the same nature, quantity, and quality of work, women likely earn more than men...

Here is further evidence that when women do earn less, it's not because bosses undervalue them: Working women who have no boss (they own their own business), earn only 49% of what the average male business owner earns. Why? A Rochester Institute of Technology study found that money was the primary motivator for only 29 percent of women versus 76 percent of men. Women put a premium on shorter work weeks, proximity to home, fulfillment, autonomy, and safety...

7. While women's employment rates remain steady, one in five men ages 25-54 are now unemployed, the highest percentage since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting data in 1948

... How did you do on the quiz? If you didn't do well, why?... society's mind molders--the colleges and the media--employ many hard-line feminists and men afraid of being called sexist. So, for example, rather than dig beneath the misleading statistics trumpeted by women's advocacy groups such as the infamous "women earn 80 cents on the dollar," they report those statistics unquestioningly. And movies, TV, and commercials disproportionately portray men as boors, sleazebags, and/or morons. For example, the box-office-record-breaking movie Avatar disproportionately displays the women as strong and ethical, the guys as troglodytes. The major exception is a jarhead who is shown the path to wisdom by a woman. In the leading kids' movie, Princess and the Frog, it's the same: Tiana's (the heroine) dad is killed off immediately so she can be raised by a wise woman. Consulted to by her and Granny Bayou, Tiana beats all the bad guys who are, yes, all guys.

If a Martian read the above information, he'd reasonably infer that to be treated this poorly, men must be the inferior sex...

We perceive men who earn more money as having privilege but we are blind to dads who sacrifice their own dreams because earning more, even if the job is disdainful (e.g., traveling widget salesman) better helps their children live their dreams. When we view men's higher earnings only as discrimination against women, our anger blinds us to his mid-life crisis when he realizes he will never be the writer or artist he once hoped to be. And more important, it blinds us to how his love for his wife and children made him make the enormous sacrifice of giving up his dreams. In turn, our blindness deepens his crisis of meaning and often, his depression or anger...

25 years ago, when I began as a college and career counselor, both sexes were equally confident about their futures. Today, most of the girls and women I see are optimistic while far more males are dispirited or angry"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crazy Jeremy makes it to Twitpic


"#NUSOddities - A PRC student wearing his VERY DIRTY LAB COAT stained with a multitude of dyes. GPGT."

This is, of course, inaccurate.

1) He's not a PRC
2) He's not an NUS student [anymore] (this bit was implied)
3) His lab coat is not dirty - it's stained on purpose (who could possibly get this sort of stain accidentally?!)

Great pickup lines

"I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that." - Mitch Hedberg


Nice try, creep.

"What began as an innocent foray into the world of online dating quickly turned into a degenerate parade of quirky, amusing, odd and nauseating characters vying for female attention."

My favourite (and evidently theirs too) attempt currently on the first page:

Subject: Hell bitch. I'll be your much older friend.

Message:We can hang out.

I wear a motherfucking chicken suit. And I use it to play pranks on my local KFC. I go around their store saying "I'm a chicken on steroids!" They call the cops. I run for it down the streets. The cops are forced to chase a man in a chicken suit. I get tasered and start crying. People put it up on youtube. I become a celebrity.

I think what we have together could at least be friendship, but at the very most be true love with lots of mini-golf and butt-sex.

And that would be awesome. Cause I'm really good at mini-golf.


And an incisive observation (on "Are you a FUCKER, or a TALKER"):

"I want to believe that the success rate of messages such as this is in the low decimal points of a tiny fraction of a marginal percentage… but if that were truly the case, they wouldn't keep on coming.

Perhaps we ought to be examining this social scenario from a diametric angle: Who is responding to these messages in a manner that suggests such obnoxiousness is erotic, or even acceptable?

I'd like to meet her and tell her that this website is all her fault."

(in other words, it takes two hands to clap)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Raffles Stands with Jairus

Dear Raffles Alumnus,

As you might already have heard or read from the papers, Jairus Ang Jun Heng from the Class of 2009 and former boys' captain of the school's Canoeing team was attacked by a gang of robbers while on his way home from Kallang MRT station on 29th May at around midnight. Jairus sustained many injuries and had to undergo many operations.

Six weeks on, most of his wounds have healed and he has been discharged. However, his four fingers were amputated. Despite the physical and emotional pain, Jairus remains a fighter- staying positive and refusing to give up on his dreams.

The school has launched a Fund, open to contributions from the school community, to help his family with the medical bills and cost of future therapy and treatment. Cash and cheque contributions are welcome. Please address cheques to “Raffles Institution” with “Funds for Jairus” on the back, and mail it in to the school. For cash donations, please walk in to drop off your donation at the Student Affairs Centre at Blk D of Raffles Institution (Yr 5-6 campus) anytime between 8 am to 5.30 pm.

Over and above financial support, the Fund is a token of the school's undivided support for a fellow Rafflesian during these difficult times. Let us stand with Jairus and his family, so they may know that they are not alone in the long journey to recovery that lies ahead.

Thank you very much for your kind attention and generous support. For more information, please contact Canoeing Teacher Mentor, Mr Koh Say Yong at sayyong.koh@ri.edu.sg or Girls' Canoeing Captain 2008-09, Ms Quek Xin Er at quek_xin_er@yahoo.com.

Raffles Alumni Portal Administrator
Raffles Institution
One Raffles Institution Lane
Singapore 575954

On my suggestion, they hve also set up a Paypal account:

"Good news! our school recently set up a PayPal payment facility. Our registered email address with PayPal is peggy.lee@ri.edu.sg. So if you have a Paypal account, you can make a donation to "Fund for Jairus""

"Live Our Dreams, Burn Our Flag"

"It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear." - Dick Cavett



Police have received reports on state flags hung outside residential units or other premises being burnt.

We seek your assistance to alert Police on persons who loiter suspiciously in your neighbourhood... Your vigilance will contribute greatly to the safety and security of the neighbourhood"


"Where they burn flags, they will ultimately also burn ballot papers."

Flag Burning Made Safe and Easy - BurntFlag.com:

"If you've come to burn a flag, you've come to the right place. Flag-burning without repercussion is our specialty. So, if you come from a country where freedom of speech isn't policy, or flag-burning isn't considered freedom of speech, burn away. If you come from a country where flag burning is a protected freedom, burn your flags here to avoid those nasty arson and public disturbance laws!

After all, at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of pixels, right?

Top Five Burning Flags

1. Al Qaeda
2. United States
3. Nazi
4. Sweden
5. Algeria"
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