When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Freedom of Speech vs Freedom from Criticism

EDITORIAL: Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from criticism

"Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of any successful democracy. Any modern society that does not allow its citizens to express concerns or grievances in at least some manner is one that is doomed to long-term failure.

That being said, the concept of freedom of speech is one that is frequently misunderstood, even by those who depend upon such a right for their livelihood. “My freedom of speech” has become conflated with “freedom from criticism of my speech,” and every time this fallacious equivalence rears its head it minimizes the struggles of those who face true challenges to their freedoms.

Every media figure faces the prospect of criticism. Every media figure with an audience surpassing his immediate family experiences criticism, and the more successfully he does his job the more criticism he receives. Yet, people refusing to place an imprimatur of approval on a journalist’s speech after the fact does not abridge his freedom; his words are still free to influence whomever they will. Likewise, when a publication makes a poor decision and readers express a modicum of disapproval, that publication is not the victim of speech suppression; on the contrary, citizens with the same right to express their various and sundry opinions are exercising the most important freedom of all.

One’s speech is suppressed when government censors must approve a work prior to its publication. One’s speech is suppressed when speech codes choke words, even unpleasant and unfortunate ones, from the vocabulary. One’s speech is suppressed when he is beaten with sticks for complaining about the local royalty. However, one’s speech is not suppressed when he says something others find objectionable and the offended express their distaste. In fact, such arguments are the only means by which discourse can hope to improve.

This is not to say that all criticism of speech is necessarily well thought out or valid — far from it. However, when one assumes a public stance on a controversial issue, one should not only expect but welcome public disagreement, as the process of argument ultimately benefits everyone."

Correlation and Causation

Schopenhauer on Hegel

"Schopenhauer expressed his dislike for the philosophy of his contemporary Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel many times in his published works. The following quotation is typical:

'If I were to say that the so-called philosophy of this fellow Hegel is a colossal piece of mystification which will yet provide posterity with an inexhaustible theme for laughter at our times, that it is a pseudo-philosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking, and, by the most outrageous misuse of language, putting in its place the hollowest, most senseless, thoughtless, and, as is confirmed by its success, most stupefying verbiage, I should be quite right.

Further, if I were to say that this summus philosophus [..] scribbled nonsense quite unlike any mortal before him, so that whoever could read his most eulogized work, the so-called Phenomenology of the Mind, without feeling as if he were in a madhouse, would qualify as an inmate for Bedlam, I should be no less right.'

In his Foreword to the first edition of his work Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik, Schopenhauer suggested that he had shown Hegel to have fallen prey to the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Schopenhauer thought that Hegel used deliberately impressive but ultimately vacuous verbiage. He suggested his works were filled with “castles of abstraction” that sounded impressive but ultimately had no content. He also thought that his glorification of church and state were designed for personal advantage and had little to do with the search for philosophical truth. For instance, the Right Hegelians interpreted Hegel as viewing the Prussian state of his day as perfect and the goal of all history up until then."

--- Works of Arthur Schopenhauer: The Wisdom of Life, Religion: a Dialogue, On Human Nature, The Art of Literature, The Art of Controversy, On Authorship and Style and Other Essays (Mobi Collected Works)

Someone: Hegel is infamous for his incomprehensible jibberish; it's not any better in the German original...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

LKY wants students to defy the government

"I had a high regard for the discipline and seriousness of purpose in life Chinese school students displayed compared to English school students. One of my most unforgettable memories was when the Chinese High School was having a sit-in led by my left wing pro-communist activists in October 1956 to protest the arrests of student leaders and closure of Chinese High School and Chung Cheng High School. The Chinese school students camped inside the school. After watching this drama of the sit-in at Chinese High School, I passed by the University of Singapore's student hostels on Dunearn Road, just around the corner from Chinese High. The contrast was stark. I could see the students - the English-educated students - enjoying themselves. They were laughing and blowing whistles, regarding the clash between the Chinese students and the police as a big joke. I thought to myself that if Singapore students all turned out like those in the university hostel, Singapore would fail. I vowed then to change this state of affairs.

This was why I decided to save the good Chinese language schools as Chinese schools switched into English as the main medium of instruction"

Links - 1st December 2011

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true." - Robert Wilensky


Saudi moral committee threatens to cover “tempting” women’s eyes - "Women with sexy eyes in Saudi Arabia may be forced to cover them up, according to the spokesperson of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the conservative Gulf kingdom... In 2002, the committee refused to let female students out of their burning schools in Mecca for “not wearing the proper head cover,” which contributed to a large number of dead"

Skinny People Need To Stop Pretending That They’re Fat « Thought Catalog - "When thin people talk about their poor eating habits, are they showing off? Are they letting us soak in the irony that they’ve maintained a nice figure by eating absolute crap?"

Bob Ostertag: Militarization Of Campus Police - "Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not... former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper published an essay arguing that the current epidemic of police brutality is a reflection of the militarization (his word, not mine) of our urban police forces, the result of years of the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror"
"There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people"

Funny? The LTA not amused by pedestrian crossing prank - "At the pedestrian crossing in front of Rendezvous Hotel Singapore in Bras Basah Road, a button on the pedestrian crossing has been covered by a sticker which admonishes: 'Press Once Can Already'... [LTA] is not amused by the prank. It warns that individuals who are caught pasting signs or illegal advertisements on street infrastructure can be fined $300 for the first offence and $400 for a repeat offence. If prosecuted in court, they may be fined up to $2,000"
Apparently they don't have better things to do; it's significant that no one they asked disapproved of it per se - despite the journalistic imperative for "balance"

Oddly, Texas can teach the UK a thing or two on criminal justice - "It is the unlikely centre of a revolution in prison reform sweeping the US, overthrowing decades of failed polices and sterile debate driven by politicians scared of being seen as soft. The state has cut crime, costs and the numbers in jail to such an extent it has just shut a high-security prison for the first time in history. What makes this prison revolt even more unexpected is that it is led by some of the most conservative figures in politics. They have decided – correctly – that an expensive prison system repeatedly locking up the same people is a sign of failure. As a result, they have endorsed policies traditionally seen as liberal to keep people out of jail."

Racial murders: nearly half the victims are white - "Nearly half of all victims of racially motivated murders in the last decade have been white... The disclosure will add to the intense debate over multiculturalism in British society. The figures also overturn the assumption that almost all racial murders are committed against ethnic minority victims. Senior police officers have admitted that 'political correctness' and the fear of discussing the issue have meant that race crime against white people goes under-reported. One chief constable has claimed that white, working-class men are more alienated than the Muslim community... it was harder to get the media interested where murder victims were young white men... 'Sometimes we forget that ethnic minorities actually make up quite a small percentage of the population'"

Websites Let People Farm Out Chores - "Erika Dumaine, 24, logged onto TaskRabbit this April and saw the following plea for help: "Buy me shoes ASAP. I stepped in dog poop." So Ms. Dumaine, now a full-time nanny, bought and delivered a requested new pair of navy blue Toms shoes from Nordstrom's to the poster, Guillermo Rauch. (Her payment: $17.)"

Lawsuit: Man fired for not wearing "666" sticker

Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Natural History - NYTimes.com

African-American Atheists - NYTimes.com - "In most African-American communities, it is more acceptable to be a criminal who goes to church on Sunday, while selling drugs to kids all week, than to be an atheist who ... contributes to society and supports his family"

Alcohol-free whisky is halal-certified

Lawsuit Says Prosecutor Went Too Far In Charging Boy - "A 6-year-old Grant County boy has been accused of first-degree sexual assault after playing "doctor" with two 5-year-old friends... the prosecutor, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker, on Monday morning asked a judge for a gag order in the case and was granted it. The gag order prohibits the boy's parents from talking about the case... "She (Riniker) bypassed the parents and sent a 6-year-old boy a summons, on which is a threat that the 6-year-old will go to jail for failure to appear"... The attorneys said they have sought the opinion of many experts who said that children "playing doctor" is not a sex crime"
"The lawsuit says that once he turns 18, he will be listed as a sex offender"

Perverted Justice - "The panic that followed Megan Kanka's murder produced an alarm system that often fails to distinguish between dangerous predators like Timmendequas, who had a record of assaulting little girls, and nonviolent lawbreakers like Elliot, who posed no discernible threat to the general public. They are all mixed together in the online registries of sex offenders that every state is required to maintain... Registration only rarely leads to murder, but it routinely ruins relationships, triggers ostracism and harassment, and impedes education and employment... In Miami local residence restrictions have given rise to a colony of more than 70 sex offenders who live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, a bridge that crosses Biscayne Bay... Two decades of ever-more-punitive legislation have produced sentencing rules so bizarre and byzantine that the punishment for possessing images of sexually abused children can be more severe than the punishment for sexually abusing them... at least 13 [states] required [sex offender] registration for public urination... the rules aimed at discouraging sex offenders from committing new crimes can produce the opposite effect. "One of the most powerful things that keep people from breaking the law is a sense of what they will lose if they do," she says. "If you're treating someone like a cur, a dog that is being kicked out of the village, how are you strengthening that person's desire or ability to follow the law?"... "Though often thought of as the most persistent and dangerous criminals, sex offenders are among the least likely criminals to recidivate"... conventional wisdom assumes child-porn consumers are undiscovered or future molesters, that assumption is also wrong... "People who watch movies like Saw and Friday the 13th are being titillated by the act of torture and murder. That doesn't mean that they're going to go out and commit torture and murder"... a substantial share of defendants were themselves victims of sexual abuse as children and look at these images as a way of working through the trauma"

Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study
The interpretation is odd: in that case atheists who used to be religious would have atrophied brains too

Give them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange - "Five studies show that gift recipients are more appreciative of gifts they explicitly request than those they do not. In contrast, gift givers assume that both solicited and unsolicited gifts will be equally appreciated. At the root of this dilemma is a difference of opinion about what purchasing an unsolicited gift signals: gift givers expect unsolicited gifts will be considered more thoughtful and considerate by their intended recipients than is actually the case (, and ). In our final two studies, we highlight two boundary conditions for this effect: identifying a specific gift and using money as a gift. When gift recipients request one specific gift, rather than providing a list of possible gifts, givers become more willing to purchase the requested gift (Study 4). Further, although givers believe that recipients do not appreciate receiving money as much as receiving a solicited gift, recipients feel the opposite about these two gift options (Study 5)."

Dartmouth Algorithm Rates Altered Images - "Dr. Farid got the inspiration when he read about feminist legislators in Britain, France and Norway who were trying to get legislation passed that required digitally altered photographs to be labeled as such... "Readers aren't fooled if you really sculpt the images," Seymour said. "If you're a good editor, you don't go too far these days""

Creative thinkers more likely to cheat: Study - "Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions."

How my mother's fanatical feminist views tore us apart - "My mother's feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her. I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology... Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating. But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women's movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them"

Amazon.com: What's Wrong with Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment - "The attractiveness of communism—the “emotional fuel” of communist revolutionaries for over a hundred years—has always been “exactly the same as the emotional fuel of every other utopianism: the passionate desire to alleviate or abolish misery.” Yet communism was such a monumental failure that millions of people today are still suffering its consequences. In this most prescient of essays, Stove warns contemporary readers just how seductive universal political benevolence can be. He also shows how the failure to understand the connection between benevolence and communism has led to many of the greatest social miseries of our age."

XXX Site to Taylor Swift: Convert to Islam, and We'll Take Down Photo - "We will remove the [photo] if Taylor Swift simply agrees to convert to Islam. To convert to Islam, Taylor Swift must publicly renounce her Jew God Jesus [...] then sacrifice a goat and devour its entrails"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best divorce letter(s)

Dear hubby:

I'm writing you this letter to tell you that I'm leaving you forever. I've been a good woman to you for 7 years & I have nothing to show for it. These last 2 weeks have been hell.

Your boss called to tell me that you quit your job today & that was the last straw. Last week, you came home & didn't even notice I had a new haircut, had cooked your favorite meal & even wore a brand new pair of silk dress. You ate in 2 minutes, & went straight to sleep after watching all of your games. You don't tell me you love me anymore; you don't want anything that connects us as husband & wife. Either you are cheating on me or you don't love me anymore; whatever the case, I'm gone.

Your EX-Wife
P.S. don't try to find me. Your BROTHER & I are moving away to West Virginia together! Have a great life!

Dear Ex-Wife:

Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter.

It's true you & I have been married for 7 years, although a good woman is a far cry from what you've been. I watch my games so much because they drown out your constant whining & griping. Too bad that doesn't work. I DID notice when you got a hair cut last week, but the 1st thing that came to mind was 'You look just like a boy!' Since my mother raised me not to say anything if you can't say something nice, I didn't comment. And when you cooked my favorite meal, you must have gotten me confused with MY BROTHER, because I stopped eating pork 7 years ago. About those new silk dress: I turned away from you because the $49.99 price tag was still on them, & I prayed it was a coincidence that my brother had just borrowed $50 from me that morning.

After all of this, I still loved you & felt we could work it out. So when I hit the lotto for 10 million dollars, I quit my job & bought us 2 tickets to Jamaica But when I got home you were gone. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.

I hope you have the fulfilling life you always wanted. My lawyer said that the letter you wrote ensures you won't get a dime from me.

So take care.

Your Ex-Husband, Rich As Hell & Free!

P.S. I don't know if I ever told you this, but my brother Carl was born as Carla(woman) ......... I hope that's not a problem

Now that The Old Republic's Beta Test Weekend is essentially over: Churchill on Modern Writing

"The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning. One specimen of this method will suffice:

"It is reasonably certain that a petty chieftain named Arthur did exist, probably in South Wales. It is possible that he may have held some military command uniting the tribal forces of the Celtic or highland zone or part of it against raiders and invaders (not all of them necessarily Teutonic). It is also possible that he may have engaged in all or some of the battles attributed to him; on the other [hand, this attribution may belong to a later date."

This is not much to show after so much toil and learning"

--- A History of the English-Speaking Peoples / Winston Churchill

Experience and Identity Politics

"To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level." - Bertrand Russell


On Mata Hati, a play about sex and the Malay politician:

Sex and the politician
(Straits Times, 24th November)

"The question on some people's minds is, what is a Chinese playwright doing writing this play about Malay issues?

'You have no idea how much I have struggled with it' was Dr Loon's lightning-fast response, almost as though he had anticipated the question.

With a sigh, he says: 'I ask myself constantly, 'What right have you as someone coming from the Chinese majority to write about a minority issue?'

'I am constantly aware of my position and this was the hardest play I had to write. It was an interesting experience but not one I would like to repeat.'

To improve his knowledge of Malay issues and the history of Malay politicians in Singapore, he hired an assistant to research the background and speeches of post-1965 Malay leaders.

He also 'tried to balance the peculiarity of the racial issue into something more general'. 'The play isn't just about a Malay politician, but politicians in general. When happens when you get into office?'

Zizi also read his drafts and provided her input. She thinks the fact that it is a Chinese playwright tackling the material is 'inconsequential'.

'If we think that someone else of a different race cannot understand our situation, then I don't think we can be a society without borders.

'The fact that Robin is Chinese makes him more objective. Sometimes, we are afraid to face up to certain truths, or we are afraid of saying things that are controversial.'"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Links - 28th November 2011

"Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is against me, but deep down I know that's not true. Some smaller countries are neutral." - Robert Orben


disproving intelligent design with a mouse trap ( TheUKatheist ) - YouTube

Who says sex doesn't sell? - Richard's Blog - Virgin.com - "All of the books I have written with sexual connotations in the title have sold a storm. Losing My Virginity, Screw It Let's Do It and Business Stripped Bare all went down well. The only one that hasn't sold as well as the rest was Reach For The Skies, which I wanted to call Getting It Up""

Cheated!!! : Brought a iPhone 4s but gotten a Samsung instead! - "She was given a Samsung phone instead of the iPhone 4S. Mdm Kun Tong immediately asked for a refund but the shop assistant refused and instead challenged her to bring him to court. She called the police immediately, but police officers could do nothing to help her... With the help of CASE, the shop eventually agreed to give her a refund, but insists on charging her $120 for a Goods and Service Tax (GST) processing fee"

Gabe Newell: Piracy is a “Non-issue” to Valve; Providing better Services Will Result in More Sales - "No one knows the PC market better than Valve, and in a recent interview with TCS, Gabe Newell explained why Valve is so successful... He said that there is a general misconception about piracy, and it’s not really the high cost that forces people to pirate. It’s about the delivery service and how convenient it is to people with purchasing power... “Prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe”"

Women gamers have more sex, study finds - "Female Gamers have more sex, are more social, and are happy

'He was supposed to drop cat off at SPCA' | The New Paper - "Her husband was caught on camera dumping the feline into a rubbish bin, triggering outrage from netizens... she said that Michael had bipolar disorder and suffered a relapse eight days ago"
Now we see who's stronger: the cat lovers or the advocates for the mentally ill

Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact - NYTimes.com - "Having children is the surest way to send your carbon footprint soaring, according to a new study from statisticians at Oregon State University. The study found that having a child has an impact that far outweighs that of other energy-saving behaviors"
The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to kill yourself

Man appears in FHM's '100 Sexiest Women' list - "That readers of FHM have voted an androgynous man in to their most recent list of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World might have been a cause for celebration among equal rights campaigners. Instead, the magazine has provoked outrage over its warning to readers to "pass the sick bucket" on encountering 19-year-old Andrej Pejic, rather ignoring the fact that it was they who voted for him in the first place... Having been chatted up by Australian men since the age of 14 ("Sometimes they're shocked, but most of the time they still want to buy me a drink," Pejic says), neither his place on the list nor the reaction it has engendered will come as a particular surprise to him. He has been more philosophical than his persecutors on the matter. In an interview last month, he declared: "It's a very liberal industry. You can be yourself. Just not overweight""
Is it misogynistic to vote a man into a woman's competition?

10 illegal baby names

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to challenging social issues - "The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed"

Section of Evidence Act that can discredit sexual assault victim to be repealed
I'm not holding my breath for Section 509 to be repealed; naturally AWARE is deafeningly silent on it. Bizarrely, Lim Kit Siang says that Section 509 protects men rather than women.

Swearing in Quebec: If you profane something no one holds sacred, does it make a swear? - "One motivation behind the museum exhibit on swear words was to show visiting school children the objects they were referring to when they swore, as many had no idea what a chalice, tabernacle or ciborium (ciboire) looked like. They would recognize hosts, but only because these communion wafers are now sold as snacks in Quebec grocery stores... Swear words disappear not through censorship, but when they no longer offend"

Scorpios and Virgos need not apply, says job at university ' because they are too moody and critical'

STOMP - Singapore Seen - Are curry puffs sold outside MRT stations safe to eat? - "They do not have any license or proper way of handling these curry puffs. They just put the curry puffs in plastic bags!... It is extremely unhygienic to have these people selling curry puffs like this. I urge the relevant authorities to look in to this matter." NEA: "Any person who wishes to sell curry puffs or other food items must do so in a licensed premise such as a food shop or food centre. NEA will continue to deploy officers to take enforcement action against illegal hawkers"
And you wonder why entrepreneurship is so hard to encourage

Fox News Viewers are the Most Misinformed: A Seventh Study Arrives to Prove It (and to Vindicate Jon Stewart!) - "I noted in my prior posts that the studies documenting the “Fox News effect” do not necessarily show causation. In other words, watching Fox may make you more misinformed, but people who believe lots of political misinformation may also gravitate towards Fox. I actually think both things are going on simultaneously—but the new Feldman study does make a strong causal case that Fox is actively driving a lot of the problem."

omy - 新闻 News - Men falling for online sex con - "Con men are now pretending to be underage girls to blackmail men online... The "girls" all claim to be at least 18 years old in their posts. When contacted, the "girl" will not answer the phone and will instead send an SMS to say that she is actually only 15 years old, and willing to have sex for cash. After the offer for sex, the con victims will receive SMSes from the girl's supposed "father", threatening to bring the case to the police. A short while later, victims will receive SMSes from a supposed "policeman" asking them to go to the station to assist in investigations. At this point, the girl's "father" will SMS again to ask for money to drop the case"

Attacks on small nations a 'direct challenge' to S'pore - "The invasion of a small country by a larger neighbour and the forceful removal of its government are direct challenges to Singapore's foreign policy, former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng said yesterday at the S. Rajaratnam Lecture. The former coordinating minister for national security used Cambodia as an example. Even though Singapore did not agree with the country's Khmer Rogue regime, it had to make a stand against Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1978."
Free Tibet! Free Taiwan!

Lost in translation: our top 20 picks
The majority are from China

American Samoa football team celebrate first ever win - "American Samoa's football team - ranked as the worst international team in the world - has won a game for the first time in its history."

How to be a bad tourist - "Here are a series of photos I took of some Korean (I think) tourists and a young Burmese girl near Amarapura in Burma earlier this month. This is why when I travel, I try to only take pictures of food."

Burma parliament passes protest bill - "Burma's military-dominated parliament has passed a bill allowing citizens to protest peacefully, a lawmaker said Thursday -- the latest in a rapid series of reformist moves in the isolated country."
And now Burma has more freedom than Singapore (on paper)

Islamic embryology: overblown balderdash : Pharyngula - "I have read the entirety of Hamza Andreas Tzortzis' paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: A scientific-linguistic analysis of chapter 23: With responses to historical, scientific & popular contentions, all 58 pages of it (although, admittedly, it does use very large print). It is quite possibly the most overwrought, absurdly contrived, pretentious expansion of feeble post hoc rationalizations I've ever read. As an exercise in agonizing data fitting, it's a masterpiece."
Is science Islamophobic? If science offends religion, should we criminalise science?

Joe Pressil: Dude, Where's My Semen? - "Joe Pressil is accusing a Houston fertility clinic, Advanced Fertility, of accepting a semen sample from a woman claiming to be his wife in 2007, and, without his knowledge or consent, performing "in vitro fertilization which resulted in the birth of twins... Gibson says Anetria surreptitiously smuggled the spunk by saving the condoms that had been used... Anetria got pregnant only to squeeze more money -- and the house -- out of Pressil, Gibson says"

Tibet and the Chinese People's Republic. A Report to the International Commission of Jurists by its Legal Inquiry Committee on Tibet - ""The view of the COMMITTEE was that Tibet was at the very least a de facto independent State when the Agreement of Peaceful Measures in Tibet was signed in 1951, and the repudiation of this agreement by the Tibetan Government in 1959 was found to be fully justified. In examining the evidence, the COMMITTEE took into account events in Tibet as related in authoritative accounts by officials and scholars familiar at first hand with the recent history of Tibet and official documents which have been published. These show that Tibet demonstrated from 1913 to 1950 the conditions of statehood as generally accepted under international law. In 1950 there was a people and a territory, and a government which functioned in that territory, conducting its own domestic affairs free from any outside authority. From 1913 -1950 foreign relations of Tibet were conducted exclusively by the Government of Tibet and countries with whom Tibet had foreign relations are shown by official documents to have treated Tibet in practice as an independent State"

The Great Irish Famine and the Holocaust - "When blight struck the Irish were ‘totally vulnerable’. This was a ‘nuanced genocide’, he continues, one that manipulated fate ‘by pushing a people to the brink of annihilation and turning away so not to hear the wailing …’. Put briefly and more bluntly, professors Charles Rice and Francis Boyle believe: ‘the policies pursued by the British government from 1845-50 in Ireland constituted ‘genocide’’... to narrow the focus simply to the role of the British government for a moment: for all the massive irresponsibility and buck-passing that characterised the five years of crisis, the state succeeded in organising public relief schemes that employed three-quarters of a million workers, and at one point was responsible for feeding three million people on a daily basis. These are not the actions of a Government or a state bent on genocide"

What's in a name?

"No skating here please... Take the action to *scape Skate Park!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One man's boon

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams


Bob prayed that he would get an earlier appointment with his specialist.

He couldn't wait for a month - he just had to know what was wrong with him.

Hopefully he would be blessed with an earlier appointment

Suddenly, the phone rang.

"Hello. I'm calling from the hospital. Can I speak to Bob please?"
"Yes, this is Bob"
"I'd like to inform you that a specialist appointment slot has just opened up tomorrow at 4pm. Can you make it?"
"Yeah, sure. That's great news. Thank you"

As he put down the phone, Bob knew that he'd been blessed. He was grateful.

(one hour earlier)

The phone rang.

"Hello. I'm calling from the hospital. Can I speak to George please? This is about his upcoming appointment"
"George. But he's... dead. He was eaten by a lion while on safari in Africa."
"I'm very sorry to hear that Sir..."

The nurse put down the phone and marked the late George's appointment slot as free.

His death was unfortunately, but now his slot had to be given to someone else.

(inspired by a true story)
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