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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Links - 9th June 2011

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." - Henry David Thoreau


Got Camel Toe - Welcome to Cuchini.com - "Hey Girls. Camel Toe might be hot... if you are a Guy!! But who wants to be the one sporting it? Some secrets are meant to be kept... The Cuchini is a comfortable, light-weight material that adheres to any undergarment (panties, bikini, sports attire, etc). It smoothes the ridges of a woman’s mons pubis area providing a smooth and camouflaged appearance. This eliminates what is commonly known as "Camel Toe." The Cuchini products are designed by women to provide comfort and convenience."

YouTube - DSK - the missing link - "I've figured out what's really going on with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and why he hasn't been able to get the sexual healing. It's just one big cultural misunderstanding...."
If she were male and/or if DSK were a member of a minority race, there'd be hell to pay

Whistleblower officer says Russian troops served dog food

'Granny' mugger strikes S.African shopping centre - ""I went back to the mall and reported the incident to the security guards, who advised me to go to a police station and open a case," he said. "Before I could leave another man came into the security control room to report that he had also been robbed by two men and a granny.""

How Britain fell in love with Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Report: Teen sells kidney to buy iPad 2

VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his literary match – not even Jane Austen - "He felt that women writers were "quite different". He said: "I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me." The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women's "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world". "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too," he said. He added: "My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way"... In the past Naipaul has criticised India's top female authors for their "banality" on the topic he is best known for writing about, the legacy of British colonialism"
Luckily he's not white

Gays and God: German Catholic Doctors Offer Homeopathic 'Gay Treatment'

If You Want to Know if Spot Loves You So, It's in His Tail - "When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left."

PAP’s Sitoh SACKS all 16 staff of Potong Pasir Town Council - "PAP MP for Potong Pasir Sitoh Yih Pin has reneged on his promise to retain all the staff at Potong Pasir Town Council by sacking all of them before referring them to reapply to be hired under EM Services, the new estate managing company."
After his refusal to repair the solar lamps in 2006, this comes as no surprise


The Drug Metyrapone to Erase Bad Memories?

Cycling in Singapore: When on footpaths, cyclists should not be ringing bells at pedestrians - ""I became a victim of bicycle rage on Monday"...
"so a guy on a footpath got bumped by a douchebag on a bike and had a whinge to the paper about it. so what? what about the 3 cyclists every 2 weeks who are killed or seriously injured by motorists. and how many of those motorists serve any significant jail time?"
"I know personally of at least two friends who were injured by cyclists on a footpath""
It's heartening to see from the comments, that there're douchebag cyclists as well as douchebag motorists

21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue

Japanese seniors volunteer for Fukushima 'suicide corps' - "The group, consisting only of retirees age 60 and up, says it is uniquely poised to work at the radiation-contaminated plant, as the cells of an older person's body divide more slowly than a younger individual."

Placebo effect works even if patients know they're getting a sham drug

“War on Drugs Has Not, and Cannot, be Won”: New Report - "The report, compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, top Republican ex-cabinet members in the US, high-profile economists like Paul Volcker and many others, is blunt: “Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won”... The industrialized world is already seeing a slow trend towards decriminalization"

Epidemiology and prognosis of coma in daytime television dramas - "Objective To determine how soap operas portray, and possibly misrepresent, the likelihood of recovery for patients in coma.
Conclusions The portrayal of coma in soap operas is overly optimistic. Although these programmes are presented as fiction, they may contribute to unrealistic expectations of recovery."

Maureen Dowd's misguided new book. - "Like the crude, sexist men she lampoons, Dowd is extremely fond of clever stereotyping... "Deep down all men want the same thing: a virgin in a gingham dress," or "if there's one thing men fear it's a woman who uses her critical faculties." To support these generalizations, Dowd relies on the faux journalism of women's magazines. She cobbles together anecdotal evidence from people she encounters... The problem with this approach is that one could go out and find a 29-year-old publicist who would say the opposite... it is especially important not to neglect nuance. One of the failures of the feminist movement in the first place was a reliance on easy aphorisms, and the schematic worldview that such aphorisms implied. The famous line, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" did not prove to be a constructive or realistic contribution to the feminist cause. Replacing one set of rigid gender stereotypes with another did not allow women the full range of their desires and ended up sabotaging the movement"

YouTube - BBC misandry: Do we need men? - "A particularly unpleasent example of misandry from the BBC programme This Week - a debate on whether men are still needed, now that sperm has been created in a test tube."
"Can any defence be made of men these days? I guess not"
"Men just need to kind of sit on the noddy step for a while and let women take over"

What is wrong with American English? - "Why do we dislike American spelling and grammar?... I far prefer their slightly more consistent use of grammar. I love it. When I read the Guardian website, I get a headache and switch to the New Yorker or The New York Times to counterbalance the effect. See, these guys have clear distinctions. They insist on using which only in non-restrictive clauses; that is used in restrictive clauses. Most of their publications still use whom to refer to the object in a sentence.  And something I rarely see in publications influenced by the British is the American use of that for inanimate objects and who is reserved for the rest of us. Oh, give me an American writer any day... What many people might not know is that the Americans kept many of the old British spellings when they became independent. There is also nothing wrong with -ize endings; the British have been using such endings for a couple of centuries I (it is also the preferred spelling of the OED)"

Managing Your Career as an Economist after Tenure - "Potomac fever is contagious and incurable. I know one economist who deliberately hired an undocumented nanny as a commitment device to avoid the temptation of government"

Conflicting Reports Over Death Of Katya Koren, 19-Year-Old 'Muslim' Beauty Queen, Emerge - "Ukrainian officials have slammed media claims that a teenage beauty queen was stoned to death by three Muslim suspects who alleged the 19-year-old violated Sharia law by participating in pageants"

Man ordered to pay £100,000 for children after ex-wife tricks clinic into using his frozen sperm - "His ex-wife, now 51, said: ‘I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. It was getting later and later for me and I wanted to have a child. If I had not done it then I would not be blessed with my children. I have no regrets.’"

About A Boy - "[I changed my handle] as a response to some of the most hateful misandrist bile I have seen in a long time, from, yes, you guessed it, feminist bloggers. Not just misandrist but also transphobic, nasty, nasty stuff. That in my mind boils down to the ‘eugenics’ element in ‘radical feminism’."
"My reaction to always having male privilege thrown in my face at every turn…has been to refute its unilaterality, and thus it’s power. If female privilege exists, then male privilege isn’t a damning thing that can make you evil. It just happens to be stuff people take advantage of."

For Microsoft Customers, It's About Perspective Not Religion - "I came to the Microsoft side of the fence for the same reason that most did, not out of any particular love of the company or its products but rather from pragmatism... Windows users—even Windows fans—tend to be a lot less religious and a lot more pragmatic about the technologies they choose... The biggest difference between those who advocate non-Microsoft solutions and those who simply use Microsoft's products and services is that the former are obsessed about their choice and the choices that other people make. On the PC side, we're simply not obsessed about either. Obviously, we use PCs. And we understand that some other people do not. We're just not interested in pushing our worldview on others. This sounds very general, and it is, but it's also very true."

On why Science reporting in the media is so bad

"Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought." - Sir Arthur Helps


Don't dumb me down | Science

"Why is science in the media so often pointless, simplistic, boring, or just plain wrong?... the media create a parody of science, for their own means. They then attack this parody as if they were critiquing science... [Some] promote the reassuring idea that sensible health advice is outmoded and moralising, and that research on it is paradoxical and unreliable...

There was an interesting essay in the journal PLoS Medicine, about how most brand new research findings will turn out to be false. It predictably generated a small flurry of ecstatic pieces from humanities graduates in the media, along the lines of science is made-up, self-aggrandising, hegemony-maintaining, transient fad nonsense... Scientists never said that tenuous small new findings were important headline news - journalists did...

All stories involving science must be dumbed down... Compare this with the book review section, in any newspaper. The more obscure references to Russian novelists and French philosophers you can bang in, the better writer everyone thinks you are. Nobody dumbs down the finance pages...

Statistics are what causes the most fear for reporters, and so they are usually just edited out, with interesting consequences. Because science isn't about something being true or not true: that's a humanities graduate parody. It's about the error bar, statistical significance... if they want balance... One scientist will "reveal" something, and then another will "challenge" it. A bit like Jedi knights...

This misrepresentation of science is a direct descendant of the reaction, in the Romantic movement, against the birth of science and empiricism more than 200 years ago; it's exactly the same paranoid fantasy as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, only not as well written. We say descendant, but of course, the humanities haven't really moved forward at all, except to invent cultural relativism, which exists largely as a pooh-pooh reaction against science. And humanities graduates in the media, who suspect themselves to be intellectuals, desperately need to reinforce the idea that science is nonsense: because they've denied themselves access to the most significant developments in the history of western thought for 200 years, and secretly, deep down, they're angry with themselves over that.

That's what I'd have said three years ago. But now I'm on the inside, I can add a slightly different element to the story... There is one university PR department in London that I know fairly well - it's a small middle-class world after all - and I know that until recently, they had never employed a single science graduate. This is not uncommon. Science is done by scientists, who write it up. Then a press release is written by a non-scientist, who runs it by their non-scientist boss, who then sends it to journalists without a science education who try to convey difficult new ideas to an audience of either lay people, or more likely - since they'll be the ones interested in reading the stuff - people who know their way around a t-test a lot better than any of these intermediaries. Finally, it's edited by a whole team of people who don't understand it. You can be sure that at least one person in any given "science communication" chain is just juggling words about on a page, without having the first clue what they mean, pretending they've got a proper job, their pens all lined up neatly on the desk."

Review: Entre-Nous Creperie

"A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time." - Oliver Wendell Holmes


Premium crêpes
(Cross-posted etc)

Though I've been here twice before, it was only to try the dessert crêpes. Having sampled a savoury crêpe today, I finally can write a holistic review.

Tucked into a narrow unit on Seah Street, it is easy to miss this outlet - and the black and white flag of Brittany doesn't stand out either! The owners being from Brittany, they have hung pictures of Brittany and especially lighthouses on the walls. They're quite pretty. The only downside about the setting is that sometimes I find the place too hot.

Those who are used to eating wheat flour crêpes such as those you'd find in Marché will find the galettes (savoury crêpes) here, made of buckwheat flour, quite different with a more complicated flavour, and perhaps an aftertaste with just a hint of bitterness. There's a wide range of toppings. I tried ham, Emmental cheese and egg. For those used to the crap we call "cheese" in Singapore, Emmental is a welcome change.

As for the sweet crêpes, the salted caramel crêpe that I previously tried was amazing. The flavour is complex and it is a veritable mélange of sweet and salty. Cooked apple was so-so, as it was a little dry.

I also like the cider, though I prefer that at Barracks at House (which also comes in a smaller portion if you don't want so much).

Service is also good. When the server is also an owner one avoids the principal-agent problem.

As other commenters point out, this is not a cheap place to dine. While most of the ingredients might be imported from France, this is neither necessary nor sufficient to ensure quality results. Perhaps the owners' looking into more affordably priced but still premium ingredients will benefit all parties concerned. Otherwise one way to enjoy this establishment would be to dine at a cheaper place and come in just for dessert.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Our Disgusting Car Theft Culture

"The least of learning is done in the classrooms." - Thomas Merton


victim's blaming!  on Twitpic

By seeking to divert responsibility from the car thief to the car owner, this sign and signs like this are engaging in Victim Blaming. If you leave valuables exposed in your vehicle, you are asking for it, and the asshole who smashed your windscreen or side window to steal your stuff is absolved of blame - because we know car thieves lack free will, and are unable to resist whenever they see valuables lying in vehicles. Car thieves are entitled to steal any valuables they see exposed in vehicles. Car theft seems to be the only crime where it’s seen as ok to put the victim on trial.

Car theft apologism and hatred of car owners is clearly evident here. If you own a car, you are not sovereign over it - it is your responsibility to cover up valuables. Nevermind the principle of private property - your car is not yours to do with as you please. Are we living in Soviet Russia? Every car owner has the right to leave his car unlocked and expose his valuables in his vehicle, without the fear of car theft.

Whoever designed this poster is clearly a weeping syphilitic chode. Perhaps he is even a car thief himself.

We need to organise mass protests where everyone will leave valuables exposed in their vehicles. That will show them!

We can call them "CarWalks"

Here are more revolting examples of Car Theft Culture:


(this one has the revolting line that "Auto burglaries are the number one victim-assisted crime and they can be prevented!")

Monday, June 06, 2011

Patterns of Racial-Ethnic Exclusion by Internet Daters

"Facts are the enemy of truth." - Miguel de Cervantes


Patterns of Racial-Ethnic Exclusion by Internet Daters

"Racial exclusion in dating is gendered; Asian males and black females are more highly excluded than their opposite-sex counterparts"

"The literature on interracial dating and racial boundaries generally focuses on white-minority relationships, ignoring inter-minority pairings...

Previous studies indicate racial homogamy in dating is strong among all racial groups (i.e., Blackwell and Lichter 2004; Joyner and Kao 2005). Assimilation theory posits that a shared racial identity is a powerful determinant of in-group marital preferences (Gordon 1964; Kalmijn 1998). Similarly, the evolutionary psychology perspective asserts that “similarity overwhelmingly is the rule in human mating.”(Buss and Schmitt 1993:205) According to these perspectives, the majority of our online daters should prefer to date within their own racial-ethnic group.

Other theories suggest different preferences for racial homogamy among racial groups. Social exchange theories argue that lower status racial-ethnic groups trade wealth and education for a racially higher status mate (Davis 1941; Merton 1941). Minority group members who intermarry with whites exchange their higher socioeconomic status for the higher racial status of a white spouse (Blackwell and Lichter 2000; Kalmijn 1993; Qian 1997). Nonwhite daters gain status by dating any white. Whites, on the other hand, have little to gain by dating minorities unless the latter can elevate their economic status. Similarly, Blumer (1958) posits that, as the historically dominant group, whites solidify and maintain their group position through prejudice towards others. According to social exchange and group position theories then, Asians, Latinos and blacks of similar socio-economic status should be more open than whites to outdating and more open to dating whites than whites are to dating them.

Existing theories also suggest differences in the degree of acceptance or exclusion different racial-ethnic groups may face in dating markets. According to the social exchange perspective and classic assimilation theory, those minority groups that enjoy greater secondary structural integration, as measured by income, educational attainment and residential integration, should enjoy greater primary structural incorporation or close, personal ties with out-group members... Based on the secondary structural assimilation of Middle Easterners, East Indians and Asians, one might expect whites to prefer dating those groups over Latinos, and to least prefer dating blacks...

Recent studies argue that similar to the inclusion of European immigrant groups, the boundaries of “whiteness” are extending to include Latinos and Asians, but remain closed to blacks (i.e., Feliciano 2001; Lee and Bean 2007). Evidence for this thesis is found in both the greater acceptance by whites of Latinos and Asians than blacks, and also the greater acceptance of whites than blacks by Latinos and Asians...

The classic assimilation perspective, consistent with the aforementioned studies, suggests that Asians, Latinos and blacks will prefer to date whites over one another, and that Latinos and Asians will be more open to dating one another than they will be to dating blacks. However, much of the research considered thus far does not consider the extent to which racial-ethnic exclusion may be gendered...

Several studies confirm [the Evolutionary Psychological prediction] that women are less willing to out-marry than are men (Tucker and Kernan 1995; Yancey 2002), and place more emphasis on selecting a same-race partner than men (Fisman et al. 2006). Collectively, these studies predict that women will be choosier, that is, have more criteria for dates and be more likely to select a same-race date than men...

It follows from both social exchange and sexual strategies theories that women should prefer dating white, Asian, Middle Eastern and East Indian men than black or Latino men [due to wealth]...

Recent survey research suggests that internet daters do not differ in socio-economic or demographic characteristics (such as gender, race or education) from single internet users who do not use internet dating services... Online daters are also found to be more socially liberal compared to others (Madden and Lenhart 2006), and more educated respondents have been shown to express more positive racial attitudes (Bobo and Massagli 2001)...

Misrepresentation of age and physical characteristics is common among internet daters, although scholars find no gender or ethnic differences in the levels of mispresentation (Cornwell and Lundgren 2001)...

In contrast to marriage and dating outcomes (Harris and Ono 2005), stated racial preferences are not necessarily limited by physical proximity. On the internet, individuals are free to state preferences for groups they might not normally come into contact with in their everyday lives. Therefore, stated racial preferences in an actual search for a date may be a better indicator of the social distance between groups than dating or marriage outcomes...

Women are more likely than men to state preferences for all characteristics except body type... Women tended to state preferences for many more characteristics than males (50% vs. 34%)...

We see few racial differences in the percentages stating racial preferences. For those who state a preference, both white males and females are the least open to interracial dating within their genders – 29 percent of white males and 65 percent of white females prefer to date only whites...

White women (4%) are less likely than black women (8%), Latinas (16%), and especially, Asian women (40%) to prefer to date only outside of their respective racial group...

We find women are much more likely to state a racial preference than men (74% vs. 58%, pr = .001, not shown). However, we see that only some groups of women prefer to be more racially homogamous than men. Among those who state a racial preference, more white women (65%) and black women (45%) prefer to date only within their race than their male counterparts (29% vs. 23%). However, Latino males and females do not differ in preferring racial homogamy, and Asian women are much less likely than their male counterparts to prefer to only in-date (6% vs. 21%)...

Consistent with social exchange and group position theories, Asians, Latinos and blacks are more open to dating whites than whites are to dating them. Of those who state a racial preference, 97 percent of white men exclude black women, 48 percent exclude Latinas, and 53 percent exclude Asian women. In contrast, white men are excluded by 76 percent of black women, 33 percent of Latinas, and only 11 percent of Asian women. Similarly, 92 percent of white women exclude black men, 77 percent exclude Latinos, and 93 percent exclude Asian men. White women are excluded by 71 percent of black men, 31 percent of Latinos, and 36 percent of Asian men...

For Asian women, only 11 percent of whom exclude white men as dates, far less than the 40 percent excluding Asian men...

Latinas’ dating preferences are inconsistent with racial-economic exchange theory as they exclude Asian men (90%) at higher rates than black men (76%)...

Although white women and Latinas are more exclusionary of Middle Easterners, Asians and East Indians than of blacks, white men and Asian men are far more exclusionary of black women than other groups of women. The greater exclusion of black women by white and Asian men supports the secondary structural integration thesis, but the pattern of exclusion among women does not. This is particularly surprising because both social exchange and sexual strategies theories posit that women seek economic and financial security in a mate. Thus, women’s rejection of higher earning men fails to support these theories.

Similarly, we find significant gender differences in the exclusion and inclusion of Asians and blacks. White females, black females and Latinas are all much more likely to exclude Asian men as dates than their male counterparts are to exclude Asian women. In contrast, the gendered pattern to the exclusion of blacks is unique in that it is the only case where women from a particular minority group are more excluded than their male counterparts. That is, white men, black men, Latinos and Asian males are all more likely to exclude black women than their female counterparts are to exclude black men...

In contrast to black women, Latinas and Asian females are less excluded than their male counterparts. However, the gender difference in the exclusion of Asians is the most striking in its magnitude. The probability that an Asian man is excluded is .91, compared to only .61 among Asian women. Asian men are also much more excluded than white men (.31), Latinos (.63) or black men (.68). In particular, we noted that Asian females are much less likely to exclude white men (11%) than Asian men as possible dates (40%). This finding suggests a level of preference for a racial group different from one’s own (white men) among Asian women that is unique among all the racial/gender groups in this study...

Whites are far more likely than minorities to prefer to date only within their race. Our analyses of minorities’ racial preferences show that Asians, blacks and Latinos are more likely to include whites as possible dates than whites are to include them...

Existing theories may not adequately capture the complexity of Latinos’ racial position between blacks and whites (see Feliciano et al. Forthcoming). Our !nding that Latinos are the most included minority group by Asians, whites and blacks suggests that they may bene!t from racial ambiguity (that is, they may be seen as black or white) (Yancey 2003)...

Blacks are far more exclusionary of whites than Latinos and Asians are, suggesting that they are less open to primary structural integration. While this finding may be somewhat contrary to social exchange, group position and classic assimilation theories, it is consistent with a pattern of black exceptionalism, a product of the unique historical construction of blacks as the supreme “other.”(Feliciano 2001; Lee and Bean 2007) Given the long and pervasive legacy of white racism, blacks may have more negative perceptions of whites, and may perceive Latinos as more willing to date them than whites. Our data support this contention...

[Puzzling is that] all groups are more accepting of Asian women and Latinas over their male counterparts. Especially perplexing is that women prefer to date black men over Asian men. This is completely contrary to the claims of social exchange and sexual strategies theories that women should prefer to date men with higher socio-economic standing.

However, our findings are consistent with gendered patterns of black-white and Asian-white intermarriage, which existing studies have not explained (e.g., Jacobs and Labov 2002). Our results suggest that intermarriage patterns result from gendered racial preferences, but we can only speculate about the factors driving such preferences. One possible explanation for the greater exclusion of Asian men and black women is that they are less open to interracial dating than their opposite-sex counterparts. However, we find both are more open to dating other groups than these groups are to dating them, suggesting that the preferences of others drive the relatively low intermarriage rates of Asian men and black women. One study confirms that few black college women are willing to date whites because they believe whites perceive them as unattractive or as stereotypically hypersexual and promiscuous (Childs 2005). The reasons for these gendered preferences are still unclear, but previous scholarship suggests that negative portrayals of Asian men’s masculinity (Espiritu 1997) and black women’s femininity (Collins 2004) may shape the exclusion of these groups"


It was proposed to me that men find lower status mates attractive, which was why White men liked Asian women. My reply was that in that case Black women should be the most attractive of all.

Sadly, black racism is explained as a reaction to white racism - which is very insulting (and yes, racist).

Piss Christ

"Etant... encore moins adepte de toute forme d'intégrisme, je suis sidéré de constater l'étonnement et l'émotion soulevés par cet « attentat » contre une oeuvre qui à mes yeux n'a rien d'une oeuvre d'art. On peut certes polémiquer sur la définition de la notion d' »oeuvre d'art », d'autant plus que, en matière d'esthétique, chacun réagit en fonction de sa propre sensibilité. La mienne me porte à admirer de préférence, ce qui est beau et que j'ai plaisir à regarder ou à entendre, en m'émerveillant parfois du talent et de l'inspiration de l'artiste qui me procure une émotion artistique. Pour certains, l'artiste, et cela fait partie de sa licence, a le droit de choquer. Il paraît que c'est cela qui fait progresser le goût, en obligeant le public à réflechir…. Réflechir… Comment, à une époque où nous sommes saturés de plaintes sur tous les tons, de jérémiades, d'invectives, d'insultes à coups de noms d'oiseaux tels que « racistes », « islamophobes », dès que le moindre dérapage verbal, ecrit ou pictural s'attaque à une religion qui a réussi à imposer une auto-censure efficace à tout ce qui pense ou ce qui s'exprime, comment, donc, peut-on encore s'étonner de la violence des réactions des catholiques devant des images bien plus conçues pour provoquer, choquer des convictions religieuses, que pour susciter l'émerveillement ????"

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Links - 5th June 2011

"No human thing is of serious importance." - Plato


China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work

Clashes in Barcelona after Champions League win - "Around 90 people were injured, at least two of them seriously, as bottles were thrown and scuffles broke out. Around 20 people were arrested."
Following National Education rhetoric, Singapore should ban football

Pandaranol | Sushiprod - "[Il] est le thème principal du jeu concours de référencement qui a démarré hier, soit Lundi 23 Mai 2011 à 19h. Le but de ce concours est simple : créer un site et le positionner sur le terme cité précédemment, c’est à dire pandaranol."
Enfin, j'ai appris qu'est-ce que 'Pandaranol' veut dire

No more Blank Cheque for the PAP « Dr Tan Cheng Bock - "Today, after 25 years of nation-building, there is an erosion in this faith and trust in the Government and this was translated into a 12.5% swing in the last general election... Is this then the ordinary people’s government, or is it a government for a special breed of men?... Mr Speaker, Sir, the angry mood of the people did not go unnoticed... It is therefore good to find that one of the Government’s new goals will be to pay particular attention to the 15-20% lower income group and the aged... It is easier to please the past generation. Their needs are simple. But times have changed and problems are different today... Singapore watchers saw how our people voted in the last general elections. They have made conclusions"
Considering that this speech is from 1985, it's telling. Plus ça change...

Marital Happiness, Marital Duration, and the U-Shaped Curve: Evidence from a Five-Wave Panel Study - "Previous research suggests a U-shaped pattern of marital happiness over the life course... In an analysis based on a fixed-effects pooled time-series model with multiple-wave panel data, we find declines in marital happiness at all marital durations and no support for an upturn in marital happiness in the later years. The relationship between marital happiness and marital duration is slightly curvilinear, with the steepest declines in marital happiness occurring during the earliest and latest years of marriage. When other life-course variables are controlled, a significant negative effect of marital duration on marital happiness remains"

Advice for Online Daters: If You’re a Guy, Don’t Smile - "Women are turned off by guys who smile, according to a new study published in the American Psychological Association's journal Emotion. Men, however, were most attracted to photos of smiling women, the study found. And both men and women said they were attracted to people with a look of shame"

AndroidSPIN Marital Bliss! Android Style with a Little Harry Potter for Good Luck - "Jon C. Hodgson proposed to his girlfriend of 2 years in a very innovative way that involved their Android phones, Google App Inventor, and a little bit of ingenuity."

You’re No Ansel Adams: MIT Finds Landscape Photos Forgettable - "Photos with people in them are more likely to stick in the viewer’s memory after seeing a series of photos... “That’s hilarious,” says Randy Greenwell, Director of Photography at The Virginian-Pilot. “A machine telling people what is memorable? I’m not ready to trade in my photo editors yet. It takes a human to understand human feelings. And as far as landscapes go, I have two words for you: Ansel Adams.”"
As usual, people blithely dismiss research findings with 'common sense' and anecdotes

The Burning House - "If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question. "

Badminton Dress Code for Women Criticized as Sexist
Meanwhile no one cares about male dress codes

Brazilian Woman Wins Right To Masturbate At Work - "Ana Catarian Bezerra is a 36-year-old Brazilian woman who suffers from a chemical imbalance that triggers severe anxiety and hypersexuality... Ana is allowed to masturbate and watch porn — using her work's computer, no less — legally."
This has interesting implications for discrimination/employment law

SBS’ Official Iris iPhone App and its API - "3rd party clients are being locked out of the SBS Iris API by a stupid captcha. It’s ok, don’t forget that SBS has its official iPhone app, we can take a look at its request packets and see how it communicates with the Iris servers, and use that for our 3rd party clients too"

Students turn back alley into sex den
Malaysia Boleh!

The pros and cons of a man sitting down to pee - The Oatmeal

PLoS ONE: Epidemiology, Quality and Reporting Characteristics of Systematic Reviews of Traditional Chinese Medicine Interventions Published in Chinese Journals - "The impact factors of 45.8% of the journals published in were zero... Funding sources were not reported for any reviews. Most (68.8%) reported information about quality assessment, while less than half (43.6%) reported assessing for publication bias. Statistical mistakes appeared in one-third (29.3%) of reviews and most (91.9%) did not report on conflict of interest"

Is this the inventor of bubble tea? - "[She] was sitting in a staff meeting and had brought with her a typical Taiwanese dessert called fen yuan, a sweetened tapioca pudding. Just for fun she poured the tapioca balls into her Assam iced tea and drank it."

Singaporeans’ political attitudes
According to this Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) survey on Singaporeans’ political attitudes on 1,092 citizens aged 21 years and above in July and August 2010 21.6% strongly agree that "Singapore should have a powerful leader who can run the Government as he thinks fit" (51.6% agree), 26.9% disagree or strongly disagree that "Everyone should be given the freedom to criticise the Government publicly" and 70.1% prize "good economic growth" above freedom of speech (of which 12.8% feel strongly so). And 20% aged 21-39 do not think there is media bias for local political news.
Addendum: Keywords - "Survey on Political Traits and Media Use. Singaporean Youth: Different, but not that different"; "strong leader", IPS, democracy, Singapore

Facebook : le rendez-vous galant était un guet-apens - "Appâté par une jeune fille rencontrée sur Facebook, un Parisien de 17 ans a été torturé toute une nuit durant par trois adolescents apparemment dénués de tout mobile."

A Thing (or Two) About Holly Jean: How to Spot Breast Implants

Delete Your Digital Self: Moddr.net - "It should come as no surprise that Facebook would reply with a letter threatening to sue the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. After all, Facebook's growth projections and core business depend on getting more and more people to sign up for their service. Encouraging people to leave Facebook–especially if the trend were to catch on–could hurt the company's bottom line... eventually society will condemn the idea of virtual suicide and may even rule it to be illegal"
The thesis (summarised in the last line) is classic journalistic speculation and hysteria

100 million trips, but don't ask us where - "The British have always been among the most travelled nationalities, but it seems our geographical knowledge is no better for it... Among 2,000 holidaymakers[,] Sixty per cent of those interviewed could not accurately place on a map where they had been on holiday last year. A further 38 per cent thought Singapore was in China, 29 per cent believed New Zealand belonged to Australia, and 44 per cent did not know the Alps were in Europe"

Keeping the House in order - "The throngs of newly elected members of the House of Commons preparing to take their seats this week are in for one of life’s more disillusioning experiences — encountering the stark difference between the theory and practice of parliamentary life... MPs consider the least productive, most embarrassing part of the job to be the Question Period follies that by far receive the most public attention... Their most satisfying and productive work, it was frequently said, was in the committees seldom covered by reporters and in caucus deliberations done in secret... “I can remember being told, walking into my first Question Period, ‘Remember, Speaker, this is Question Period not ‘answer period’.”"

How much longer can photographic film hold on? - "Among those who still rely on film _ at least part of the time _ are advanced amateurs and a smattering of professionals who specialize in nature, travel, scientific, documentary, museum, fine art and forensic photography, market surveys show. Regular point-and-shoot adherents who haven't made the switch tend be poorer or older _ 55 and up. But there's also a swelling band of new devotees who grew up in the digital age and may have gotten hooked from spending a magical hour in the darkroom during a high school or college class. Others are simply drawn to its strengths over digital and are even venturing into retro-photo careers."

Merdeka Center poll highlights differences among voter segments - "Older voters give greater weight to party label and party leadership, than to candidates and issues... Women higher satisfaction government... less concerned with issues... less favorable toward opposition parties... see opposition as less credible... less supportive of more opposition seats"
This is no surprise given that women are more risk averse, and it replicates and confirms the long-standing finding that women are more politically apathetic (which is tied to why they are underrepresented in politics)

The Volokh Conspiracy » The Gender Gap in Interest in Politics - "87% of all Wikipedia contributors are male... it’s difficult to attribute the gap to discrimination, since most Wikipedia writers are anonymous, thereby making it virtually impossible for Wikipedia to discriminate against women even if they wanted to... decades of research show that there is a substantial gender gap in political knowledge, with men especially overrepresented among the 5% of the population who follow politics most closely... 25% of men, but only 10% of women report reading at least one nonfiction book on politics over the last year... Younger women today have higher average levels of educational attainment than men, and the Harris poll mentioned above shows that they also read more than men do overall. Thus, the gender gap in political knowledge and interest in politics is likely due to lower interest among women in this particular field... Despite massive changes in public attitudes on women’s role in politics over the last fifty years, the general gap in political knowledge has declined only modestly over time... the vast majority of political bloggers are male, as are about 70–80% of political blog readers"

On the Utility of appealing for Outside Pressure to improve Singapore's Political Situation

"Most people ignore most poetry
most poetry ignores most people."
- Adrian Mitchell


A: Singapore: UN Rights Body Should Press for Fundamental Freedoms | Human Rights Watch

B: Bollocks. Does a country with about one in five with degrees need Human Rights Watch to do our dirty political work for us?

A: Apparently yes.

C: i find it embarrassing too, but there are too many ignorant and self-centred people in singapore. it's not apathy, i'm done with using that term.

B: rights are almost never "given", you have to take them. every nation that now grants rights to its citizens did so under threat or application of force i.e. once upon a time the people fought for it.

we've never fought for anything; we complain and uncle PAP will either give it to us or tell us why cannot. complaining to the UN won't work. worse if we get others to complain for us ...

Me: You rather they do not?

B: yes, we can do our own complaining. Maruah?

Me: So since Sri Lanka has a strong democratic tradition, should NGOs not bother protesting the war crimes during the final years of the war against the Tamil Tigers?

Should non-Americans point out the disturbing implications of the Patriot Act and other Bush-era legislation?

Must non-Hong Kongers keep mum on each delay in Legco's true emancipation?

B: those are good questions, but wrong. those who want rights must fight for them, those in power will never willingly grant them. getting others to talk about one's injustices is good for their consciences and maybe, ours too; but there will be no redress. the UN is not a world government: how many battalions does it have? none.

Tamil Tigers still died and the Patriot Act hasn't been repealed. Despite lotsa talk ...

D: could all of these concerns over rights be solved peacefully, by those with access to connected-advocates, in the civil-courts, under the sole discretion of a PAP judge ?

B: and the alternative would be ... ? the international court of justice in The Hague? maybe baby steps first, say, restoration of the jury system, the heart of English Common Law? there are things to do, many things ... complaining to outsiders, with their own interests and agendas, isn't the most effective.

D: international-attention /will/ effect some, nominal, change-in-policy (or the way policies seem to outsiders) but real change can only be effected by a change in the way the ppl relate to their government.. folks should stop paying fines for meaningless offences, turn-off the state-run news ( or write-it, without regard for government-directives ) and break the systems of class- & race-segregation in their own thoughts & daily-activities. . . am i gonna get sued ? *_*"

Me: How did apartheid in South Africa end?

B: Apartheid was internally resisted by violence as well as a trade embargo (but cheating through Israel and Portugal was extensive) - Lodge, Tom (1983). Black Politics in South Africa Since 1945. Longman.

Me: Your point being? If the international community is not unanimously behind it, there is no point?

B: not sure what is "the international community"? NGOs? UN and it's agencies, e.g. IMF, World Bank, FAO, WHO ... ? or the EU, ASEAN or ... ? They are all different and with separate interests and agenda. I've repeated my point and will, for your sake, write it again: effective change in society must come from within and power structures yield only to force, hopefully the force of the ballot and not violence. Gottit?

in case you missed it, D said the same, "but real change can only be effected by a change in the way the ppl relate to their government.. "

E: There are many factors that can affect how people relate to their governments. We also have to take into account what type (culture) of people they are. Many a times, outside opinions will trigger the emotions of those within a place, rightly or wrongly.

A passive culture (or like singapore, the myopic 'looking out for only oneself culture), who are used to whatever status quo, might need a little nudge, a little reminder, a little 'enlightenment.. to feel that they are not alone and that they have support, or that they really do have something to be aggrieve about.

Without outside forces.. sometimes it would have to take serious tragedies before people act out of their comfort zone. But that might be a tragedy in itself.

B: if we agree that they aren't homogenous, then which outside forces should we respond to? how do we avoid confirmation bias? it seems that we agree that we tend to be passive. if so, then can't the silent majority be roused by native daughters and sons who should not wail into the wilderness but socially network everyone to make the PAP listen and respond. or else! i would be sorry if we are inspired only by foreign voices ...

E: an abused child might not know he is being abused. He knows that he doesn't like to be hurt, he is fearful, he is angry, but he doesn't know that he is not alone, he doesn't understand that what is done to him is not right, and he also doesn't know that he can change his situation, he doesn't know how... He still loves his parents and believes that they care for him and are only doing whatever for his own good.

We are his neighbours and we know what is going on in that household. Should we intervene?

B: your analogy is inexact: it assumes a nation-state with legitimate police powers. what would be the supra-national authority that would intervene on behalf of us, the abused children of singapore? UN Security Council resolution? ICJ determination? who will enforce it? NATO or the US Sixth Fleet? a trade embargo that hurts everyone. including those who don't care about the ISA or 377A?

E: what I wanted to point out is how or when one should intervene when one sees certain injustice, whether or not there is one or more authorities one can report to.

It is important for me to see this world as one big nucleus, without any one place being exclusive.

There are many ways to fight diseases..

I have not assume anything. I was merely asking, "should we intervene?".

What I am trying to point out is that, there are many factors that affect change, especially when we are talking about such large scales.

Let's use North Korea as an example. Most of the world has turn very much a blind eye to the going ons within that regime. Children, women, people are suffering and dying everyday. They have no rights. They have nothing, and they are nothing to the regime.

Without outside help, influence, forces.. do you think the people of North Korea can help themselves? They cannot leave the country, they have no money, they have little education, they cannot buy weapons etc.

Unless the unlikely happens.. a power hungry general decides to do a mutiny... Or a bunch of soldiers decides to rebel. Or hungry people just go for broke..

How long must it take before the world does something something about it? How dangerous must pyongyang becomes before we act? What must we stand to lose before the world take serious notice? How many innocent people must die, how many generations must suffer before we say or do anything?

The people in North Korea must help themselves? Sure. Tell me how?

It does not have to be one big authority.. it can be multiple world institutions... doesn't really matter sometimes.. for raising awareness is almost always the first and most important step.

Me: It is not a binary variable of change being totally due to outside pressure or there being no outside pressure at all. There are forces inside Singapore working for change - doesn't mean that outside pressure is not desirable

Nobody says that change should be forced upon by outsiders upon a totally unwilling populace. But that's not to say that outsides should not help.

D: conservative & well-considered international-intervention, like trade-sanctions & threatening-military-actions, have only served to intensify the oppression of the north-korean people. this sort of vague, un-commited, /strictly-political/ action is the fuel for the isolationist-propaganda-machine, & only serves to further the culture-of-abuse within an authoritarian-state. Who among the PAP will see their abuses & seek change? What might bring-about this awareness? this is the form of an effective, insurrectionary, intervention.

Me: That's why nowadays sanctions are more targeted

I can't see what might bring about change. It's more like spitting on the jailer's face

D: an appeal /must/ effect moral-indignation on the part of those in power. wide-distribution of the stories of those hurt by the regime is a good first-step, interviews with imported child-brides, domestic-workers, homosexuals & their families would prolly do the trick.

B: Are we living in a N. Korean situation?

Why rely on outside help when you can help yourself? Are we to admit our helplessness in the face of PAP power? Low Thia Kiang, luckily, does not believe this.

Human rights Watch does a good job for N Korea, Syria, Iran ... but do we need it? Yes is the pathetic answer!

Me: So should HRW close down?

They even produce country reports on many developed countries, including the US (in fact their US report is the longest of all, I think)

B: Good try, but putting words into my mouth is good tactics but poor reasoning. Read my message: "we" equals "Singapore" not "the world" on which I'm not qualified to comment.

Me: Your logic is that a developed country with an educated populace has no need of outsiders to point out human rights and other issues.

To test your logic for external consistency, we should apply it to various similar scenarios and see whether it still holds.

Pleading ignorance is a copout. No one is asking you to comment on Botswana.

Good reasoning:

Reflective Equilibrium http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reflective-equilibrium/

"Many of us, perhaps all of us, have examined our moral judgments about a particular issue by looking for their coherence with our beliefs about similar cases and our beliefs about a broader range of moral and factual issues. In this everyday practice, we have sought “reflective equilibrium” among these various beliefs as a way of clarifying for ourselves just what we ought to do. In addition, we may also have been persuading ourselves that our conclusions were justifiable and ultimately acceptable to us by seeking coherence among them. Even though it is part of our everyday practice, is this approach to deliberating about what is right and finding justification for our views defensible?

Viewed most generally, a “reflective equilibrium” is the end-point of a deliberative process in which we reflect on and revise our beliefs about an area of inquiry, moral or non-moral. The inquiry might be as specific as the moral question, “What is the right thing to do in this case?” or the logical question, “Is this the correct inference to make?” Alternatively, the inquiry might be much more general, asking which theory or account of justice or right action we should accept, or which principles of inductive reasoning we should use. We can also refer to the process or method itself as the “method of reflective equilibrium.”"

B: Read my lips - "Sing-a- pore", not "developed country".

Thanks for the Stanford link. I now understand our dispute. Your stance is moral and I fully agree. Mine is real-politik, i.e. what is and what works.

“Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” - Lord Palmerston

And, if I may add, no principles either; although in an ideal world ....

Me: No, your previous comments indicate that you were not talking solely about Singapore:

"Does a country with about one in five with degrees need Human Rights Watch to do our dirty political work for us?"

"complaining to the UN won't work. worse if we get others to complain for us"

"those who want rights must fight for them, those in power will never willingly grant them. getting others to talk about one's injustices is good for their consciences and maybe, ours too; but there will be no redress. the UN is not a world government: how many battalions does it have? none."

"complaining to outsiders, with their own interests and agendas, isn't the most effective."

"but real change can only be effected by a change in the way the ppl relate to their government.."

Besides which, even if you were only talking about Singapore you would have to justify your appeal to Singaporean exceptionalism: why is it the case that for Singapore - and not a similarly situated developed country - outside pressure, regardless of the form it takes, will not work?

And no, I was talking about realpolitik as well as the moral aspect of things. While often of limited use, there is no reason to totally eschew outside pressure.

While realpolitik is the primary principle motivating international relations, it does not mean that doing the right thing is not a motivation at all - that is a false dichotomy. Being on the right side of history is one reason the 17 nation coalition is intervening in Libya after all (to take merely the most recent example).

B: "exceptionalism" is your perception not mine and I can't argue for or against it ...

the best reason to "eschew outside pressure" is not needing it, as we (Singaporeans) don't. Well, that is my claim and I'd like to debate this and no other.

Me: You say that you're only talking about Singapore and you refuse to consider any other cases. That's implies exceptionalism - that Singapore is such a special case that others cannot be discussed or even taken into consideration

If your claims cannot be applied to wider scenarios then it's not clear that they have any validity in and of themselves.

For example Christian Apologists contort history into all manner of uncomfortable and outrageous bends in an attempt to justify their faith. Of course, this flies in the face of all good historiography, and would radically rewrite history as we know it if applied to non-Biblical history. Inevitably, though, they demur when asked what would happen if their historiography were applied elsewhere.

Similarly, quack doctors and other hawkers of pseudoscientific treatments do not agree to submit their wares to scientific testing, saying that they work for their clients. Should we thus believe their claims of efficacy?

D: Singapore is a truly exceptional case, because even those who are hurt by the regime can be /perceived/ as sharing in its benefits. so those stripping the rights of the (various) under-classes feel /none/ of the regret, indignation, & self-directed outrage that could be expected. Furthermore, (and this may /only/ speak to my ignorance) i have never met a singaporean-nationalist, there are company-men & legalistic-conservatives, but no national-identity like we see in nations founded before the rise of the global-market. . . srsly though, books & movies & blog-posts, the censors can't burn /everything/ & they /have/ to read or watch the content first !

E: B, since you are trying to throw us off by suddenly saying that all along you are only referring to Singapore, and like Gabriel, I do not see how we have failed to 'read between the lines'.

The internet (which they cannot ban), returning Singaporeans who spent good years away, foreigners (which more than ever we cannot do without - 40% of the population) etc.. are all 'outside forces' which have had influence the minds of people.

D: this bickering is entirely beside-the-fact ,, change /must/ come from within, (the people, the parliament, the judiciary) and /all/ of these bodies are influenced (to varying degrees) by outside forces. scream & you'll be heard,, maybe even by the right ppl ^_^ !

B: D, thank you for your understanding.

To the rest, I'm just too ignorant (historiography, prostitutes and exceptionalism) to debate any other political situation except Singapore's. So, bowing to your superior knowledge, I stand silent to listen and learn ...
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