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Friday, April 15, 2011

On trying to dismiss research findings you don't like (OR: On women being more religious than men)

"I never put on a pair of shoes until I've worn them at least five years." - Samuel Goldwyn


Comments on a post on Token Skeptic about Women And Paranormal Beliefs:

Me: I think any investigation of gender differences in skepticism cannot ignore the fact that women are more religious than men.

DSKS: Women are not more religious than men. Much like the intelligence difference issue, there’s a palpable irony in the fact that the statistics of such studies are so often approached by men with exactly the kind of lazily intuitive thinking that the data ostensibly suggest women are the more prone to.

As far as I can tell there appears to be a tenacious trend indicating that for every 7 in 10 fellas who are religious (depending on the strength of definition) maybe 8 in 10 women are. At best, that suggests there is a slightly higher likelihood that a randomly sampled woman will be “religious” than a randomly sampled man, which is a completely different conclusion than “women are more religious than men” (which is demonstrably false).

Nevertheless, a difference of 1 in 10, whether it passes muster according to a given statistical model or not (and notwithstanding the hell of controlling for all the biases in the study), is still a pretty lousy difference, and certainly not one upon which a physiological argument from gender can be clearly made.

Statistics 101: just because a difference is significant doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s significant.

Me: You need to provide evidence to support your claim that a statistically 14% difference is not significant

14% is very much bigger than what is found in many studies whose results are accepted as uncontroversial

Furthermore, the finding holds true across a wide variety of metrics:


“The percent of women (and then men) who:

* Are affiliated with a religion: 86 (79).
* Have absolutely certain belief in a God or universal spirit: 77 (65).
* Pray at least daily: 66 (49).
* Have absolutely certain belief in a personal God: 58 (45).”

This gender disparity also shows up across 7 decades of polls.

All this points to a remarkably robust result which requires, at the least, a great deal of explanation to challenge.

DSKS: Well, I was being facetious, but with regard to providing evidence for a particular arbitrary interpretation of statistical data versus another… is there evidence that appealing to p<0.05 provides for more accurate conclusions than p<0.01? Type I or Type II error, one must choose one's poison.

Of course, whether an absolute but relatively small difference that appears unlikely to be due to random variance in single population (P<0.whathaveyou) is, for want of a separate word, informative, is thoroughly context-dependent (and no where is this a more important issue to acknowledge than in the already dubious realm of evopsych).

Here’s some arguments for why the hypothesis that this small difference between men and women is due to some intrinsic biological predisposition towards religiosity should be taken with a pinch of salt. First, relative to the kinds of differences we usually attribute to the XY/hormonal differences underpinning the separation of man and woman, the differences highlighted above are not very compelling and even less informative. In the context of sex differences, which are usually profound (e.g. differences in endocrine function, skeletal structure, chromosome configuration &C) it can at least be said that for a given property, either most women have it and most men don’t or vice versa. In this instance, most men and women have it (religious leanings), but we still want to conclude that the slightly increased chance of a woman being religious is indicative of a biologically based gender distinction. That, in a room with 10 men and 10 women, we will find that there will be one more woman with religious tendencies than there are men. That might be informative if, of the 20 individuals, only a single woman had any religious leanings at all, although even here it would indicate that religiosity was merely an aberration that was sex specific, rather than a norm for that sex. But in a room in which 7/10 men and 8/10 women are religious… well, it’s not quite time to start digging deeply into the psychology of women for want of an explanation for their irrational leanings, imho. To think otherwise is to be guilty of the kind of shoddy inductive reasoning that has plagued psychology for centuries all the way up to the middle of the last one (and more often than not to the detriment of women and minorities incidentally).

Second, there is the highly important issue of adequately controlling for other factors that might equally contribute to these small differences. Crucially, there is no population of women that we can turn to to provide a control group of females that has existed in state of complete and total equality with their male counterparts, and thus by which we could reasonable remove the social baggage that invariably taints such investigations.

Third, but related to the second, religious institutions are almost all patriarchal, and almost all hang on the prophesies, testimonies, miracles and other arcane meanderings of… men. Which puts a big bloody question mark over the idea that women are, by pure voluntary association, more likely to be religious. The shadow of coercion, so neatly emphasized by such thrilling events as the Salem Witch trials, is strong and it is thoroughly male. That the religious leanings of that extra woman in the group of 20 are due to a profound social pressure does not seem like an outrageous hypothesis. Certainly a better one than “Women are more religious than men because they’re women”.

Me: A p-value of 5% is standard in social science and is a good compromise between Type I and Type II errors. That’s the reason why good research must be replicable – and 7 decades of polls is surely sufficient for that. In any event, this is a very simple research finding (very unlike studies of whether drugs are more effective than placebos) with an effect size larger than what you typically find in research, so I am sure the p-value is far below 1%.

As for biological differences, when did they come into the picture?! What I was referring to was the very uncontroversial finding that women are *more religious* than men, not that there’re inherent biological reasons why this is so. There are various theories put forward to explain why women are more religious than men, and not all of them are biologically grounded.

When you sample size is 20 – 10 in each population – I would not draw any strong conclusions. Yet when we crank up the sample size – in theory 30 is the minimum you need to get a reasonably accurate result – and more importantly, replicate the findings multiple times, attempts at denying findings you don’t like look more and more like delusion (the social baggage that invariably taints such investigations is not always on the part of those seeking to draw conclusions from research).

I’m assuming that you don’t think very highly of social science research in general, since more or less all of it can be objected to on similar grounds.

DSKS: I have no general aversion to social science. Arguably the best and the worst use of statistics occurs within that discipline. (Your last post suggests that you might be of a frequentist disposition, which is interesting because this approach is currently under pressure in the social sciences, assailed as it is by the Bayes brigade.

However, as I understand it the majority of these studies have not been conducted to the standards of a serious quantitative study by a team of social science researchers anyway; mostly basic Q&A based polls from Gallup and similar outfits. Outfits that have been notoriously wrong in there poll-based predictions for more concrete things like voting patterns. These also tend to return the kinds of numbers that are ripe for cooking in all sorts of ways to yield different strengths of interpretation. e.g. for the following:

* Are affiliated with a religion: 86 (79)
* Have absolutely certain belief in a God or universal spirit: 77 (65).
* Pray at least daily: 66 (49).
* Have absolutely certain belief in a personal God: 58 (45).”,

Assuming equal sampling of men vs women, the female fraction of religiously affiliated, God believing, and praying are 52, 55, and 57% respectively. Suddenly, the differences aren’t so striking, and when we consider that the latter three questions are a little vague (what exactly does an individual consider to be “God” or a “universal spirit” and what constitutes prayer?) they’re even less so simply by virtue of being difficult to parse meaningfully.

At best we can say that there is possibly a weak but persistent trend indicative of higher probability of a randomly selected woman being religious than for man. But simply stating a frequency statistic that, “More of the religious are women” is very different from the statement and conclusion that, “Women are more religious than men”. Given as a hypothesis, the latter is as immediately falsifiable as the statement, “Men are taller than women”.

Me: Again, your objections are not unique to Gallup and other pollsters. Yes they have been wrong in the past, but just because you are wrong sometimes does not mean that your results cannot be trusted.

Election polling is especially noticed when it is wrong. Which means that it is right often enough for us to place weight on it. Indeed, the record of election polling is generally good (and almost always right in the results of the election, even if not in the margins of victory: http://www.gallup.com/poll/9442/election-polls-accuracy-record-presidential-elections.aspx)

The widely accepted test size of 5%, after all, means that there is a 5% chance of getting the results in question even if your null hypothesis is true. I’m assuming your bar for “a serious quantitative study” is really high, and would disqualify a good deal of research; despite repeating the mantra of “correlation is not causation” when they don’t like particular research findings, I still see researchers fall prey to it – especially when they like what they find (one example: TV violence).

And just mentioning Bayesianism does not mean that women are somehow not more religious than men – after all, the statistics show that more women are religious than men, which will update your prior probability

While definitions of prayer and gods differ, we are not trying to investigate the research question, “Do more women than men hold to the Nicene Creed” but simply “Are women more religious than men?”. What sort of questions would you ask to determine religiosity, if not these?

Also, differences do not have to be overwhelming in order to make a difference. To turn it around, the gender wage gap in 2008 was 77:100 (this is ignoring very important factors like education, experience, occupation, industry and union membership). So the female fraction of earnings in 2008 was only 44%. Yet, if I said “Suddenly, the difference is not so striking” or that “at best we can say that there is possibly a weak but persistent trend indicative of higher probability of a randomly selected woman earning less than a man”, you can imagine the frosty reception I would receive.

Lastly no one (except those flogging straw men) seriously thinks that the statement “Men are taller than women” means that all men are taller than all women, or that “Women are more religious than men” means that all women are more religious than all men, any more than anyone would say that the claim that “there is racism against blacks in the United States” is falsified by there being a black President.

Chinese Philosophy

"Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster." - Quentin Crisp















1 歲時出場亮相
10 歲時功課至上
20 歲時春心盪漾
30 歲時職場對抗
40 歲時身材發胖
50 歲時打打麻將
60 歲時老當益壯
70 歲 時 常常 健忘
80 歲時搖搖晃晃
90 歲時迷失方向
100 歲時掛在牆上

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

France 2010 - Day 12, Part 2 - Angers: Tapestry of the Apocalypse

"If the fans don't wanna come out to the ballpark, no one can stop 'em." - Yogi Berra


France 2010
Day 12 - 13th October - Angers: Tapestry of the Apocalypse
(Part 2)

As previously mentioned, the Tapestry of the Apocalypse is the longest in the world. It illustrates scenes from the Book of Revelation, so naturally St John is in each scene. The style is a transition from Gothic-Flemish to Flemish-Realism.

Despite the traditional meaning of "apocalypse", here "apocalypse" refes to the Book of Revelation, and not the end of the world.

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Death (on a horse) goes after the lamb, Evangelist and Kings

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Christ with a sword in his mouth.

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Christ, the 4 Evangelists, 24 Kings
Christ is the only one who can open the 7 seals

The tapestry also had propaganda value, being made as it was during the Hundred Years War.

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Edward III as Satan opens the gates of hell with locusts

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The Black Prince (see the Ostrich Feather) killing 1/3 of the world's population

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Idol worship - Satan is the Dragon, and he's giving the sceptre to the Leopard Beast

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Witnesses resurrected by doves, the Dragon attacking the Child of the Virgin Mary (and an angel taking her away), Idol Worship

The tapestry was huge. It's one thing to read about these things and another to see them.

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The beasts performing miracles, for example making the sky rain blood

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People forced to worship the statue of the Lord Beast. If they do not, they are put to the sword

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Charles V of France harvesting: he is reaping the rewards of his reign (normally this would be Christ, crowned by God above, harvesting the souls of the just)

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Apparently I didn't take down notes for this bit. I will explain below.

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The Whore of Babylon is looking at herself in the mirror (notice the 'hideous' face that looks back)

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The Whore is astride the beast

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The Devil (and an English Man-at-Arms) is chased into the earth and sealed for 1,000 years

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An angel gives St John a golden cane at the End of the World

René I (1434–1480) became King of Jerusalem - even though the last Crusader Stronghold had been lost in 1291.

Q: How many historians does it take to change a light bulb?

"Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts." - Saki


A: There is a great deal of debate on this issue. Up until the mid-20th century, the accepted answer was 'one': and this Whiggish narrative underpinned a number of works that celebrated electrification and the march of progress in light-bulb changing. Beginning in the 1960s, however, social historians increasingly rejected the 'Great Man' school and produced revisionist narratives that stressed the contributions of research assistants and custodial staff. This new consensus was challenged, in turn, by women's historians, who criticized the social interpretation for marginalizing women, and who argued that light bulbs are actually changed by department secretaries. Since the 1980s, however, postmodernist scholars have deconstructed what they characterize as a repressive hegemonic discourse of light-bulb changing, with its implicit binary opposition between 'light' and 'darkness,' and its phallogocentric privileging of the bulb over the socket, which they see as colonialist, sexist, and racist. Finally, a new generation of neo-conservative historians have concluded that the light never needed changing in the first place, and have praised political leaders like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher for bringing back the old bulb. Clearly, much additional research remains to be done.

(From FB)

Links - 13th April 2011

"Life is just one damned thing after another." - Elbert Hubbard


Legal or not, sex industry powers on - "WHETHER prostitution is legal or not has ''little or no impact on the size of the industry'' but it does affect the health of sex workers, Australian research shows"

Software firm wants naked web coders - "As far as I am aware this is not only the first UK office job for naturists in web-coding or web-selling, but is also the first worldwide facility for naturists to earn substantial sums of money from work that incidentally provides them with the capability to work entirely without clothes... Mr Taylor admitted that a naturist office offers "no benefit to business productivity other than providing a nice facility for the staff". There's no benefit for customers, either, since they'll "never know that the provider is nude""

S'pore ranks second-lowest for job satisfaction - "In Robert Half's latest survey of finance professionals, Singapore ranks second-lowest worldwide for job satisfaction, with only 53 per cent of local respondents claiming to be satisfied with their job... Other Asians are not much happier in their jobs than Singaporeans, forming a regional theme of dissatisfaction"
Something is wrong in Asia and especially Singapore

The Daily Mash - Increased drinking caused by cancer fears - "There is of course a link between stress and cancer and drinking. Stress causes both cancer and drinking, while drinking eliminates both stress and any memory of articles about stress and cancer, which in a nice, neat way are now the single biggest cause of stress. The answer is to either stop reading newspapers or for every drop of alcohol in this country to be sold at below cost price"

Real Nick Clegg found chained in Conservative party basement - "The Lib Dem leader has apparently been kept prisoner since the day after the general election, when he visited David Cameron to discuss forming a coalition government with the Conservatives. His place was then taken by either a clone, an android or a secret twin that he was previously unaware existed"

YouTube - Charlie and the Apple Factory - "The best new iPad feature? Golden tickets."

Disinterested or uninterested? How long we should cling to a word's original meaning. - "Suppose a friend said to you, "I know you're disinterested, so I want to ask you a question presently." Then he didn't say anything. Would you be momentarily nonplussed? Quite likely, yes. The above paragraph contains four words whose primary definitions have changed or are currently changing... Such archaism seems designed to attract attention, and nothing more"

Friday Lyrics Analyzed with Rebecca Black - "Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal. That line, that line is about consumerism. I gotta have my bowl. I gotta have my cereal. We can't live without these things in modern society. And for some people, it's a mortgage. For others, it's a bowl of cereal"

No Free Trade - Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism - "Two years after becoming Treasury Secretary in 1789 at the outrageously young age of thirty-three, Hamilton submitted to the Congress the Report on the Subject of Manufactures, where he set out the economic development strategy for his young country. In the report, he argued that 'industries in their infancy', like the American ones, need to be protected and nurtured by government before they can stand on their own feet... Given his views, were Hamilton finance minister of a developing country today, he would have been heavily criticized by the US Treasury Department for his heresy. His country might even have been refused a loan from the IMF and the World Bank"

Hermit crabs at the Great Shell Exchange - "hermit crabs with an empty shell are like women at a shoe store"

1869 Harvard Entrance Exam
Today those who know Latin can't do maths and vice versa

DenialDepot - "Welcome to my climate science blog. I believe that one day all science will be done on blogs because we bloggers are natural skeptics, disbelieving the mainstream and accepting the possibility of any alternative idea. We stand unimpressed by "textbooks", "peer review journals" and so-called "facts". There are no facts, just dissenting opinion. We are infinitely small compared to nature and can't grasp anything as certain as a fact."

Rebecca Black exposed as fake - "A press statement from Universal Studios says Rebecca Black is a character from the family movie The Music Factory, due for release on April 29... The Music Factory, directed by Home Alone's Chris Columbus, is about a secret facility where cyborgs resembling young teenagers are created and turned into pop stars."

Why Feminism Is the Anti-Viagra - "Gender equality inhibits arousal. The majority of women have submission fantasies... Almost every quality of dominant males triggers arousal in the female brain: dominant scents, dominant gaits, deep voices, height, displays of wealth... On the other hand, most men are aroused by being dominant... In humans, the hormonal vagaries of prenatal development appear to cause a substantial portion of men to be born with active submissive circuitry... just as democracy has no effect on our basic taste preferences for sugar and fat, democracy doesn't affect our basic sexual preferences for domination and submission."

Increased life expectancy discourages religious participation - "Many religions and societies link to some degree the cumulative amount of religious effort to benefits in the afterlife. We show that higher life expectancy discounts expected benefits in the afterlife and is therefore likely to lead to postponement of religiosity, without necessarily jeopardising benefits in the afterlife"

Economics focus: Paper chains | The Economist - "CHRIS ROCK, a comedian, is a big fan of Oprah Winfrey, a television host and philanthropist. He recalls one of Ms Winfrey’s shows during which a woman confessed to her husband that she had frittered away $300,000 and as a consequence their home was about to be repossessed. “By the end of the show, it was all the guy’s fault,” a clearly impressed Mr Rock told David Letterman, another talk-show host. “He was apologising for not loving her enough—it was the greatest ‘Oprah’ of all time.”"

New Statesman - The politics of hair - "The Guardian's Hadley Freeman has written on the "most unfair state of affairs" that "discriminates against baldies"; Samson's struggles to come to terms with his hair-related self-esteem issues, meanwhile, famously resulted in much unnecessary strife -- his inability to adjust to an unfortunate haircut led to eye surgery at the hands of the Philistines, whose licences to practise in ocular care had not been approved by the General Optical Council... The leader of Japan's Your Party, Yoshimi Watanabe, has instead taken a more proactive approach, exploiting hair's semiotic value for political gain. Though formerly mocked by colleagues for being the leader of the "new party [of] one person", Watanabe's followers swept this month's House of Councillors election, winning ten seats. Many, including the Mainichi newspaper, have ascribed Watanabe's recent success to his distinctive "antenna" hairstyle, reportedly based on David Beckham circa 2002"

Raped, teenager flees only to be gangraped - "An 18-year-old woman was raped four times within a span of two hours in south Delhi on Saturday. The hapless teen was first allegedly raped by her brother's father-in-law at his house in Vasant Kunj. After she ran out of the house and pleaded with a taxi driver to help her, he and two other men took her to a secluded place in Dwarka in the cab and allegedly gangraped her there."

RUNNING IS FOR GIRLS - "Running makes me all sweaty. But at least I don’t smell like a boy. Ew."
This site is full of misandry

Women who post lots of photos of themselves on Facebook value appearance, need attention, study finds - "These women are more likely to base their self-worth on appearance and use social networking to compete for attention... females identify more strongly with their image and appearance and use Facebook to compete for attention... The people who tended to base their self worth on things like academic competence, family love and support, and being a virtuous or moral person spent less time online and showed less interest in attention-seeking through social media"
This suggests that feminists' claims that women dress up "for themselves" is false; the paper is interesting: "Weiser discovered that female Internet users tend to seek health and education information online, whereas males prefer searching for news and entertainment purposes"
Addendum: This also suggests that [some] women not only like being objectified, but objectify themselves

English: Who speaks English? | The Economist - "EVERYONE knows the stereotypes about foreigners speaking English: Scandinavians are shockingly fluent, while the Japanese lag despite years and billions of yen spent trying. Now a big new study confirms some of those stereotypes. But it holds some surprises as well... Wealthy countries do better overall. But smaller wealthy countries do better still: the larger the number of speakers of a country’s main language, the worse that country tends to be at English. This is one reason Scandinavians do so well: what use is Swedish outside Sweden? It may also explain why Spain was the worst performer in western Europe, and why Latin America was the worst-performing region... Export dependency is another correlate with English... Malaysia, the best English-performer in Asia, is also the sixth-most export-dependent country in the world. (Singapore was too small to make the list, or it probably would have ranked similarly.) This is perhaps surprising, given a recent trend towards anti-colonial and anti-Western sentiment in Malaysia’s politics. The study’s authors surmise that English has become seen as a mere tool, divorced in many minds from its associations with Britain and America. Teaching plays a role, too. Starting young, while it seems a good idea, may not pay off: children between eight and 12 learn foreign languages faster than younger ones... Finally, one surprising result is that China and India are next to each other (29th and 30th of 44) in the rankings, despite India’s reputation as more Anglophone. Mr Hult says that the Chinese have made a broad push for English (they're "practically obsessed with it”). But efforts like this take time to marinade through entire economies, and so may have avoided notice by outsiders. India, by contrast, has long had well-known Anglophone elites, but this is a narrow slice of the population in a country considerably poorer and less educated than China"
I feel insulted

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ethics& SAF Values - thoughts of an Encik

"Either I've been missing something or nothing has been going on." - Karen Elizabeth Gordon


Ethics& SAF Values
1WO Teo See Keong
United States Army Sergeants Major Academy
Class 58 / #697

"I strongly believe that in order to be an effective and professional leaders, we need to enforce and place our values, integrity, and moral courage in top priority...

I had to recommend punishment to one of my outstanding NCOs due to absent from place-of-duty without official permission... I have reinforced my belief that a leader at any level will have to keep a clear line between boss and subordinates. This line allows us to hand out punishment or make decisions with less emotional attachment, but again it must be dealt with professionalism and organization interest...

During one of our annual best unit evaluations, units competed amongst themselves... there are some that will go the extra mile to straighten things out at all cost. They will loan stores equipment, if they cannot account for it, and worst case is altering the data input to make it accountable. During one year, one highly regarded unit was found guilty on fabricating results in order to win the award. The unit commander was relieved from command and disciplinary actions were given to all those that were involved.

Self interest and achievement is always the evil of most causes but the worst side is not showing the unit’s genuine status and operational capabilities. In war, deficiency of equipment and standards will cost the life of many Soldiers... I am very sure that most of those commanders were well trained, with good academic records, and definitely sworn by the flag to pledge allegiance. But sad to say that they still made the mistake of crossing the evil line to win at all cost...

One of the key success factors for Singapore’s economy is competitiveness. Singapore's economy continues to strengthen over the years and civilian sectors are getting more competitive and stocks market rise. Since Singapore is a business hub in this region, information technology, job competition, cars, and housing are daily topics we discuss. As such, the Singapore Armed Forces takes a very serious view to indebtedness...

They tend to spend their future by applying advance credit or other forms of unsecured loans based on the both examples, they have violated all the SAF core values and the rights to lead mentioned as follows:

Leadership – As leader, they should not set a bad example to peers and subordinates. He shall demonstrate competence to lead and inspire others to excel.

Loyalty to Country – They are the protector of the nation. They shall not compromise their position in term of monetary issue and selfish acts.

Discipline – Leader shall have the self-discipline to control and manage his temptation. He is exemplary and responsible to showcase that he is a disciplined Soldier that they can depend on.

Professionalism – As a professional Soldier, they must make sound decisions to do things well and right. They must serve with pride and honor, and shall not cross the line of trust, and integrity.

Fighting Spirit – This is inner strength to win, commonly know as perseverance and determination. They show a very negative behavior in term of self-discipline and character. This will damage team bonding and greatly affect the fighting spirit.

Ethics – Ethics represents exemplary conduct and moral courage. It allows us to know what is right from wrong. We shall not misuse the authority against anyone. Commanders must be trustworthy and upright with unshakable character. They loose their moral ground to instruct and teach.

Care for Soldiers – Showing genuine concern of the Soldiers well being, training, and equipment support is one of the most important ways to improve morale and confidence. They loose the confidence from the Soldiers...

In conclusion, leaders are the guiding torch of your Soldier and the reflection of your action

All accounts based on experiences of the officer 1WO Teo S K"


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation

"Life is just one damned thing after another." - Elbert Hubbard


The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation

"Emancipation should make it possible for woman to be human in the truest sense. Everything within her that craves assertion and activity should reach its fullest expression; all artificial barriers should be broken, and the road towards greater freedom cleared of every trace of centuries of submission and slavery.

This was the original aim of the movement for woman's emancipation. But the results so far achieved have isolated woman and have robbed her of the fountain springs of that happiness which is so essential to her. Merely external emancipation has made of the modern woman an artificial being, who reminds one of the products of French arboriculture with its arabesque trees and shrubs, pyramids, wheels, and wreaths; anything, except the forms which would be reached by the expression of her own inner qualities...

The emancipation of woman, as interpreted and practically applied today, has failed to reach that great end. Now, woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation, if she really desires to be free. This may sound paradoxical, but is, nevertheless, only too true.

What has she achieved through her emancipation? Equal suffrage in a few States. Has that purified our political life, as many well-meaning advocates predicted? Certainly not...

Emancipation has brought woman economic equality with man... how much independence is gained if the narrowness and lack of freedom of the home is exchanged for the narrowness and lack of freedom of the factory, sweat-shop, department store, or office?... Our highly praised independence is, after all, but a slow process of dulling and stifling woman's nature, her love instinct, and her mother instinct...

Every movement that aims at the destruction of existing institutions and the replacement thereof with something more advanced, more perfect, has followers who in theory stand for the most radical ideas, but who, nevertheless, in their every-day practice, are like the average Philistine, feigning respectability and clamoring for the good opinion of their opponents. There are, for example, Socialists, and even Anarchists, who stand for the idea that property is robbery, yet who will grow indignant if anyone owe them the value of a half-dozen pins.

The same Philistine can be found in the movement for woman's emancipation. Yellow journalists and milk-and-water litterateurs have painted pictures of the emancipated woman that make the hair of the good citizen and his dull companion stand up on end. Every member of the woman's rights movement was pictured as a George Sand in her absolute disregard of morality. Nothing was sacred to her. She had no respect for the ideal relation between man and woman. In short, emancipation stood only for a reckless life of lust and sin; regardless of society, religion, and morality. The exponents of woman's rights were highly indignant at such misrepresentation, and, lacking humor, they exerted all their energy to prove that they were not at all as bad as they were painted, but the very reverse. Of course, as long as woman was the slave of man, she could not be good and pure, but now that she was free and independent she would prove how good she could be and that her influence would have a purifying effect on all institutions in society. True, the movement for woman's rights has broken many old fetters, but it has also forged new ones. The great movement of true emancipation has not met with a great race of women who could look liberty in the face. Their narrow, Puritanical vision banished man, as a disturber and doubtful character, out of their emotional life. Man was not to be tolerated at any price, except perhaps as the father of a child, since a child could not very well come to life without a father. Fortunately, the most rigid Puritans never will be strong enough to kill the innate craving for motherhood. But woman's freedom is closely allied with man's freedom, and many of my so-called emancipated sisters seem to overlook the fact that a child born in freedom needs the love and devotion of each human being about him, man as well as woman. Unfortunately, it is this narrow conception of human relations that has brought about a great tragedy in the lives of the modern man and woman...

Through these masterly psychological sketches [of Eleonora Duse, Sonya Kovalevskaia and Marie Bashkirtzeff] one cannot help but see that the higher the mental development of woman, the less possible it is for her to meet a congenial mate who will see in her, not only sex, but also the human being, the friend, the comrade and strong individuality, who cannot and ought not lose a single trait of her character.

The average man with his self-sufficiency, his ridiculously superior airs of patronage towards the female sex, is an impossibility for woman as depicted in the Character Study by Laura Marholm. Equally impossible for her is the man who can see in her nothing more than her mentality and her genius, and who fails to awaken her woman nature...

The disciples of emancipation pure and simple declared me a heathen, fit only for the stake. Their blind zeal did not let them see that my comparison between the old and the new was merely to prove that a goodly number of our grandmothers had more blood in their veins, far more humor and wit, and certainly a greater amount of naturalness, kind-heartedness, and simplicity, than the majority of our emancipated professional women who fill the colleges, halls of learning, and various offices. This does not mean a wish to return to the past, nor does it condemn woman to her old sphere, the kitchen and the nursery.

Salvation lies in an energetic march onward towards a brighter and clearer future... true emancipation begins neither at the polls nor in courts. It begins in woman's soul. History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters through its own efforts. It is necessary that woman learn that lesson, that she realize that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches. It is, therefore, far more important for her to begin with her inner regeneration, to cut loose from the weight of prejudices, traditions, and customs. The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. Indeed, if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman, it will have to do away with the ridiculous notion that to be loved, to be sweetheart and mother, is synonymous with being slave or subordinate. It will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds.

Pettiness separates; breadth unites. Let us be broad and big. Let us not overlook vital things because of the bulk of trifles confronting us. A true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit of conqueror and conquered; it knows of but one great thing: to give of one's self boundlessly, in order to find one's self richer, deeper, better. That alone can fill the emptiness, and transform the tragedy of woman's emancipation into joy, limitless joy."

--- Emma Goldman (1906)

Review: Amici Authentic Italian Restaurant

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx


Expensive and mediocre
(cross-posted on HGW)

Was here for dinner and we ordered Baked Black Cod and Squid Ink Pasta.

They have an open concept kitchen and the aromas were wafting throughout the establishment, so I was expecting a decent repast.

While the Squid Ink Pasta was decent even if not spectacular (coming with some fried fish was an interesting touch), the Cod was awful despite being touted as a house or chef's specialty. I am accustomed to Italian fish having crisp skin and firm flesh that is bursting with simple yet robust flavours. This Cod had soft flesh, limp skin and flavourless flesh - and was cold to boot.

On top of that, the restaurant is expensive, especially for food of this standard. The 2 mains came up to $72.75.

Vegetarians should also beware, as according to the person who wrote the menu, grilled chicken breast is vegetarian.

The coup de grâce is that service isn't very good. Had to gesticulate wildly to try to attract the staff's attention, and even then we were forgotten for a while.

Perhaps it is a bad sign that they feel the need to emphasise that the restaurant is "authentic".


On the subject of food reviews, MFTTW's new tumblr Hungry say what? at http://jiak-simi.tumblr.com/ is up:

"Community forums for reviewing restaurants can be a good thing. But with GREAT POWER comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. And some people just cannot handle that kind of hot potato."

Some choice bits:

1) Ambience is good with light english music.
2) Price is reasonable. What you see is how much you pay. No gimmicks.
3) Food is good. Can fight with jap restaurants in town.
4) Best of all, walking distance from my hse.


i) what’s light english music? purcell? with a side of the kings’ singers?
2) um. charging the price on the menu. how ingenious.
三)Fight fight fight!
d) yeah, if the horse is left too far away, someone might steal it."

”The potato salad had a nice zinc to the taste - very refreshing!!

— maybe it was made by an iron chef"

The service is good and the food..wow! Had the crab pasta thingy, lamb thingy, as well as one other item which I cannot recall for the life of me.. all were fantastic!

— The review that started it all…"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

France 2010 - Day 12, Part 1 - Angers

"I've stopped drinking, but only while I'm asleep." - George Best


France 2010
Day 12 - 13th October - Angers
(Part 1)

The morning was dedicated to looking at the Apocalypse Tapestry - the longest in the world. I didn't have a guidebook for this area of France (the Loire valley and surroundings) because we hadn't originally planned to come here, but since we needed to return to Paris anyway we decided to take a southern loop.

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Rue St Denis

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Place du Ralliement, Opera House

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Rue des Deux Haies (Road of Two Hedges). Notice the donkey on the swing.

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Montée St-Maurice staircase

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Cathédrale St-Maurice

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Cathédrale St-Maurice

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I don't know what the term for these carved alcoves on the exterior of cathedrals is

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The cathedral was quite bare (thanks to the French Revolution), but had 13th century stained glass

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South Rose Window

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According to my notes there's St Peter being crucified upside down and St Elas on 13th century glass somewhere, but I can't find it in this or the other stained glass panels before this

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Relic of St Martial, taken from the catacombs of Rome and dating from the 1st century

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Bishop's chair by altar

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Funeral monument
The plaque says it's from 1874 and for a 12th century Bishop of Angers but it looks to be done in a 12th century style

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House in Place Sainte Croix

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Bus with sign reading "Belle Beille Techno". I can't find out what "Belle Beille Techno" is.

There was a woman in boots. Pulling 2 wheelie bins.

Garden in the Moat of the Château d'Angers
This was a bit vulgar as there was only one colour, but nice still

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Impressive towers of the Château

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Towers and empty moat

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Plaque about the Château

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Asymmetric Châtelet.

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Heraldic insignia

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Garden with 10th century wall

(The tapestry will appear in the next post, dedicated to it)

The GPS showed sites of interest, but we didn't use that feature (except to find petrol stations - not all of which existed/had not closed down).

Every other town or city was a "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" or a "Cité de la caractère" (Distinctive City).
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