When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, March 17, 2012


"Marianne insists throughout the course of her narrative that she is not an author (“je ne suis point auteur”) and that she knows neither how to write nor how to express complex abstractions. The fact that she tells her reader this in the midst of a narrative characterized by extreme verbosity and a penchant for philosophical digressions is a significantly ironic point not to be overlooked.’She begins her story by complaining to the friend to whom she is writing her memoirs that she has no literary competence...

The above passage should not, however, convince us that Marianne truly believes her lack of verbal style renders her ineffectual as an observer of the human condition. While advertising her naïveté, she, like the primary voices of Marivaux’s journals, also believes that it is this very naïveté that validates her observations and makes them all the more genuine"

--- Face Value: Physiognomical Thought and the Legible Body in Marivaux, Lavater, Balzac, Gautier, and Zola / Christopher Rivers


Friday, March 16, 2012

Another pwning forum exchange

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." - Juan Ramon Jiminez


Me: A: ‎Insulting people is not a good way to get them to agree with you

A: @Gabriel they're not going to listen to my argument anyway and are going to argue from their
Own prejudices and biases, So I might as well tell them what I think of them. Of you think and act like a fundamentalist cumbubble, I'll call you that.

Me: Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries

A: ...

Ok lets make this simple. Anyone here been raped? No. Anyone here knows anyone who's been.raped? Chances are no.
So what are you arguing from? Ignorance.
All this discussion about whether she was raped is meaningless if you keep discounting everything. You dont know if she was so no point even raising that. No ones saying anyone deserves to be raped so fouridine kpet throwing up that red herring.

So what the FUCK are you arguing about?

Seriously. What the hell are you idiots arguing about?


[In another thread]

A: *some photo with text*
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd."
-- Bertrand Russell

One of my favourite philosphers.

Me: ‎"People who have been properly brought up are supposed not to insult other people" - One of your favourite philosophers

A: ‎'People should mind their own fucking business' - Me

B: Easily resolved - A is a BR fan who was not properly brought up. =D

A: I've been brought up well enough to recognise dumbfucks when I see them.

Me: ‎"When people move about, act, and transact in public arenas, they are implicitly consenting to be seen and noticed. Even philosopher Jeffrey Reiman, who favors a strong right to privacy and for whom respect for privacy is expressed as "a complex of behaviors that stretches from refraining from asking questions about what is none of one's business to refraining from looking into open windows one passes on the street" (1976, 43-44), concedes that the social demands of privacy do not include "the right never to be seen on a crowded street" (p. 44). practically speaking, it is not only implausible that one would not be noticed, but imposes an unreasonable burden on others, requiring that they actively restrain themselves by averting their gaze or not telling others what they saw... In other words, if people make no effort to cover, hide, or remove themselves or information about themselves from public view, if they willingly yield information into the public domain, if they let the proverbial "cat out of the bag," it is unreasonable for them later to "get it back" or suppress it"

--- Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life / Helen Fay Nissenbaum

Death and Taxes

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The perils of taking psychic harm to be real harm: even Christmas Trees are harmful

"Stupid people are not necessarily hateful. In fact, some stupid people are quite nice." - David Low


Christians have no right to wear cross at work, says Government

"Ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so"

To justify this, one could use research which 'shows' that seeing the objects of another religion harms one; when psychic harm is taken to be real harm, the floodgates are opened.

For example, take this wonderful study:

Christmas trees 'make non-Christians feel excluded'

"Non-Christians feel less self-assured and have fewer positive feelings if a Christmas tree was in the room... Christians, however, did report feeling more guilt when a tree was in the room, which, claim the researchers, suggests the holidays can be stressful...

"I don't think it's really going to undermine anyone's experience of Christmas to tone it down. We're not suggesting 'no Christmas' or 'no Christmas displays at all,' but in contexts where we really do value respecting and including diversity in terms of religion, the safest option is not to have these kinds of displays""

The best way to be inclusive and diverse, then, is to do nothing - so you don't offend anyone.

If exposure to manifestations of homosexuality raises some people's blood pressure, should we avoid such manifestations?

Even someone on the Sikh Philosophy Network was dismissive:

"One wonder what would happen if subjects were tested on a variety of other things that might make them feel excluded. After all, McGill University philosopher Charles Taylor, an expert on the 'politics of recognition,' says, we're all members of one minority or another.

It got me wondering about other things that can get people into a mood of feeling they don't belong.

Like being among university grads and not having a bachelor's degree. Going solo to a party where most people are couples. Being Somalian while living in a neighbourhood of ethnic Chinese. Being a female on a mostly male soccer team. Having a mental illness among people who are emotionally stable. Walking on a beach full of men and women with sculpted bodies. Being a boy at an elementary school where 19 out of 20 teachers are female. Working at a minimum-wage coffee shop job serving well-off Vancouverites...

It suggest a hyper-sensitivity on behalf of non-Christians, treating them as "victims" of so-called mainstream culture. Curiously enough, as a religion writer I almost always find, anecdotally, that Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are highly enthusiastic people about Christmas, which has become a giant secular holiday as much as a Christian one. These religiously active minorities sometimes seem to like Christmas's public trappings more than Christians themselves"

Points of View and being "Deserving" of Misfortune

"I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room." - Blaise Pascal


"My rapist doesn’t know he’s a rapist you taught him it wasn’t his fault. I drank too much, flirted and my shorts. Too short. I was asking for it. He left me in a parking garage staircase. My (ex)boyfriend spit in my face. He called me a slut, he called me a whore. I deserved it. My friends gave me dirty looks. They called me trash, not realizing, it could have been them. This culture, your culture, my culture, told them, told me, this was my fault. And I suffered. But, my rapist doesn’t know he’s a rapist. I am not ashamed. I will take a stand. Slutwalk DC 2011"

A possible alternate view of the story: "she was wearing short skirt, had some drinks and flirted with some guy at the bar, then had sex in a stairwell, regretted it and told her boyfriend, who called her a slut, broke up, told her friends, called her a slut, now she calls the guy a rapist"

"Politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated" - Catharine MacKinnon

Someone identifies the problem here as "accusing a woman who (whether she's lying or not) for being rape because she wore short skirts and flirted with the man". Yet, since drinking and flirting are normal precursors to intercourse in a hookup setting, they give us some reasons to think that it was consensual.

Similarly, in a murder trial, if the defendant had gotten into a loud argument with the victim and if one were Googling "how to kill someone" the night before, they would be taken as reasons to believe that the defendant was guilty.

Of course the usual question came up: "So what if she really was raped? U saying she deserved it?"

Of course, "she deserved it" is a very loaded phrase. Does anyone "deserve" any bad end? Let's take 3 examples:

1) Fantasy Author Inadvertantly Burns Down His Office

"Fantasy writer David Eddings, 75, said he was using water to flush out the gas tank of his broken-down Excalibur sports car, when some fluid leaked. In a lapse of judgment he readily admitted, Eddings lit a piece of paper and threw into the puddle to test if it was still flammable. The answer came in an orange torrent.

The fire raged through the garage and a quarter of the way into the office that occupies the lot next door to his home... "One word comes to mind," the renowned wordsmith said as he stood in a pajama shirt and slippers. "Dumb.""

Did David Eddings deserve to have his house burnt down?

2) Alternatively, let us look at a Darwin Award winner from 2011.

2011 Darwin Award: Motorcycle Helmet Law, ex-Protestor

"Protesting motorcycle helmet laws, an Onondaga, NY man was participating in a bare-noggin protest ride when he was killed via flipping over the handlebars. The motorcycle accident injured the noggin of Mr. Contos, 55, fatally damaging a brain that was unable to determine the physics of the situation"

Did Mr Contos deserve to get fatal brain damage?

3) To take a more personal example, if I forget to lock my house door when I go out and find that my house has been burgled, did I "deserve" to get burgled?

I am very sure that anyone who said that she "deserved" to get raped is going to say that in at least some of these 3 examples, the victim also "deserved" to have the misfortune visited upon him, so this is not indicative of "rape culture" or any such nonsense, but rather a more general worldview about personal responsibility.

In any event, sidestepping the question of whether any of these 4 people (or indeed anyone) "deserves" any bad thing that happens to them, we can say that they could've taken steps to prevent these bad things from happening.


It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates.

Candidate A: Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

Which of these candidates would be your choice? Decide first, no peeking, then scroll down for the answer.


Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

(this is not exactly accurate but the idea is there)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Observations - 14th March 2012

"So little time and so little to do." - Oscar Levant


[On it taking 2 hands to clap] "Geylang is just a part in Singapore which is who of nice food and lust. Being a lady myself. If I ever caught my bf there being with a fling or pros, I will blame tat I didn't take care of my own relationship well." (the comment comparing "SG WIFE" and "PRC GAL" is hilarious)

I finally found out the answer to a question that'd been bugging me for 17 years: Angel Grove High = the Ulysses S. Grant High School in Los Angeles.

For cities that have more than one Hard Rock Cafe (e.g. Singapore with Changi and the City) do the T-shirts read differently?

夫妻相 may be sweet, but it could mean you're related

I realise the French Fuck is very misnamed.

Any "temporary" ban on shark finning would become permanent. Just look at whales.

Why is dodgy health advice so popular? I'm tempted to tell people to eat 3kg of raw bitter almonds to maintain their health.

WOO HOO! Under the Road Traffic Act you can run down cats (but not horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs). Where is the Cat Welfare Society?

For all the Argentines talk about the Falklands, they keep quiet on Patagonia and the Misiones.

Suspecting some who condemned Iraq 2003 as illegal also condemn the UN for being useless for Syria 2012.

Amused that Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School - a SAP school - got Gold for Indian Dance (with Chinese students dancing). Even more amused that someone making this observation was told that he sounded racist.

If bourgeois pigs will always be bourgeois pigs, pig farmers will always be pig farmers.

People only say "correlation is not causation" when they don't like the result.

"Liberals believe in evolution in a classroom setting. Conservatives deny evolution in the classroom, but are more willing to believe in it in the real world... they act like humans have a genetic legacy that includes a sexual division of labor, group differences, hereditary traits, etc"

I got a phishing email - sent to someone else's address and CCed to more than 90 other addresses. Well done.

"10千万女人寻求一个男人为了今晚做爱" - Even if you want to BS you shouldn't be so outrageous

"How can you not have watched Citizen Kane? I thought you're a Europhile"

"Spiritual but not religious on dating sites means the person is a cuckoo, mystical, new age kind of person" (this is from Rationally Speaking)

"why does the HPB website tell me to go for pap smear when i click on screening info for Men? arghhh"

"I wanna write 'I miss you' on a rock and throw it at your face so you know how much it hurts to miss you."

RT: @FlareonRRRAGE: From now on, whenever a girl asks me "do guys really think about sex every 7 seconds?", I will look them in the eye and lick my lips.

RT @skinnylatte: I marvel at how Malaysians are celebrating a play about racism by one of Singapore's very own racists.

RT @querulus The name "Natasha" is "Ah Satan" backwards, but nobody freaks out about that.

RT: @sickipediabot: Give a man a fish, and he'll feed himself for a day. Beat him to death with his own shoe, and he won't be hungry anymore.

Links - 14th March 2012

"This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it." - William Goldman


Evgeny Morozov: The IGod: Steve Jobs’s Pursuit Of Perfection—and The Consequences. - "The piece about Jobs in Der Spiegel shed no light on his personality, but it stood out for two reasons. The first was its title: “Der Philosoph des 21 Jahrhunderts,” or “The Philosopher of the Twenty-First Century.” The second was the paucity of evidence to back up such an astonishing claim... For Jobs, consistency was truly the hobgoblin of little minds (he saw little minds everywhere he looked) and he did his best to prove Emerson’s maxim in his own life... He talked up the virtues of contemplation and meditation, but did everything he could to shorten the time it takes to boot an Apple computer... Jobs famously expressed his utter indifference to the customer, who in his view does not really know what he wants. Apple’s most incredible trick, accomplished by marketing as much as by philosophy, is to allow its customers to feel as if they are personally making history... For much of the last decade, Apple was not just selling gadgets; it was also selling technologically mediated therapy... If gadgets and devices in their ideal form exist independently of reality and are to be discovered by epistemologically privileged designers, then the science of making customers out of thin air can be justified only on the grounds that the designer is a kind of prophet who has access to a higher truth and needs to spread that truth as widely, as evangelically, and as remorselessly as possible. Those who attack Apple as a quasireligion are more correct than they know... Jobs wanted every household in the world to have an Apple product so that he could teach the bastards proper aesthetics: this was emancipation from the top down. It is a strange way to promote empowerment... Ironically enough, the most consequential of Apple’s threats is not to the physical but to the virtual: the company may eventually suffocate the Internet. Apple’s embrace of the “app paradigm”—whereby activities that have been previously conducted on our browsers shift to dedicated software applications on our phones and tablets—may be destroying the Internet in much the same way that the automobile destroyed the sidewalks and the playgrounds... his own tragic limitations were on full display when Rolling Stone asked him about the future of technology—whether genetic research and cloning “were pushing it all too far.” He rolled his eyes. “You know—I’d rather just talk about music. These big-picture questions are just—zzzzzzzz,” he said, and started snoring. The philosopher of the twenty-first century, indeed."
For a book review, very little of the article is about the book

Lindsay Lohan Hosts Saturday Night Live - iVillage - "A wine-chugging Cinderella then introduced her husband Prince Charming, whom the other housewives can tell is secretly gay.
"Here's some good advice: Never marry a guy who's really into shoes," Cinderella slurred."

Cold Oil French Fries (Chips) Absorb Less Oil - "Absorbing oil has nothing to do with how long the potatoes fry for but how high they’re fry at, because that high temperature will drive away more moisture"

Factors that affect fat uptake during French fries production - "Very high temperatures shorten the life of the fat. Raising the temperature of the fat higher than 185°C causes the fat to break down more rapidly due to an increased rate of oxidation and polymer formation in the fat... On the other hand, if French fries are cooked at lower temperature, or the ‘boiling action’ on the surface ceases due to a lower heat input, the crust does not form on the surface. This allows extra fat to penetrate into the core of the French fries... When fat-containing food such as chicken, sausages, and other meat products are fried, some of the fat from these foods is extracted during cooking and replaced with the cooking fat. This exchange of components, including fat and salt, changes the composition of the frying fat
during the cooking process. Moreover, this extracted fat is in a natural unrefined state that is more unstable and causes darkening of the fat. Potatoes fried in this fat are of reduced quality. Therefore it is preferable to use a separate fryer for the cooking of French fries and the same fat should not be used for frying of different foods"

Blocked on Weibo - "What's not allowed on China's version of Twitter"

not sticking your dick in crazy - "you love your dick.
why would you KNOWINGLY
stick it in crazy.
this is a public service announcement.
"Don't stick your dick in crazy"

In Scramble for Land, Oxfam Says Ugandans Were Pushed Out - NYTimes.com
#kony2012! Woo hoo!

Is decoupling real? « Consider the Evidence - "Since the 1970s, income growth for middle-class American households has become decoupled from growth of the economy... The measure [below] includes all sources of cash income. It adds in-kind income (employer-paid health insurance premiums, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid benefits), employee contributions to 401(k) retirement plans, and employer-paid payroll taxes. Tax payments are subtracted... The story is virtually identical"

Airlines Studying the Science of Better In-Flight Meals - NYTimes.com - "Until recently, airline food seemed in terminal decline — another victim of widespread cost cuts in this long-troubled industry. Industry experts trace the problem back to 1987, when American Airlines removed a single olive from its salads to save a little money... "Ice cream is about the only thing I can think of that tastes good on a plane""

Facebook faces flak over surname mess - "The All Assam Chutia Students' Union (Aacsu) on Saturday raised serious concern against a social networking site blocking the accounts of thousands of Chutia community subscribers believing the accounts to be fake and fabricated. Chutia, pronounced Sutiya, is a community in Assam while the word is a commonly-used derogatory term in Hindi... The students' organization also decided to burn an effigy of the social networking site... "We think it may be a deep-rooted conspiracy against our community""

Why should my bike subsidize your car? - "Drivers do not bear the true economic costs of their choices, let alone the environmental ones. Instead, the supermarket takes the cost of providing the parking and, since we all pay the same prices for grocery items, redistributes it among everyone who shops there. In effect, cyclists, walkers and those who take public transit subsidize the parking of those who don’t."
Comments: "The analysis is defective. There would be no food store there without roads to bring in the food. Cars pay for the roads thorugh fuel taxes. Bikers are "free riders' who do not pay for the roads. Bikers want roads to ride on, and food in the store, but both require cars and trucks. Reducing externalities is a legitimate goal. But you can't cherry pick only the cost's you dont like."
"How dare you carp about an “unequal” burden you and your tree hugging sect pay! I am a resident of Northern Virginia and part of the taxpaying citizens who built and maintain a bike trail for your less than 1% of the population to use absolutely free. Included in this amenity are several multimillion dollar flyovers, parking areas and rest areas. The quality of this path is maintained by tax dollars that even your sect pays – though you are only 1% of the tax base. So suck it up, Dude, you got the clean end of the stick!"

MODEL-MORPHOSIS - T Magazine Blog - NYTimes.com - "The photographer Greg Kessler captures the transformations of the Fall 2012 Fashion Week in Paris"
I actually prefer the Before shots of many of them

African voices respond to hyper-popular Kony 2012 viral campaign - ""This is me talking about the danger of portraying people with one single story and using old footage to cause hysteria"...
She urges those concerned about human rights in Africa to "think before you give"...
"I was concerned at the simplicity of the approach that Invisible Children seemed to have taken"...
"The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening"...
He says he wants to "bang my head against my desk" to "make the dumb-assery stop""

Malaysia safest country in Southeast Asia, 19th in the world - "Malaysia has been recognised as the safest country in Southeast Asia and 19th the world, in the Global Peace Index (GPI) report for 2011, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein."
Evidently their education system isn't very good, since they misunderstand what the GPI measures

Samurai Yetis and Ninja Werewolves: How One Teacher Turned Sixth Grade Into an MMO

Department of Deportment: How to Get VIP Treatment at Pretty Much Any Restaurant


Girl who posed as a boy to molest teen girls is jailed - "She wore hats and baggy clothes to hide her real identity when she met them. Barker sexually assaulted one girl up to 20 times, and the other one up to ten times. She also fooled her victims' families, and was rumbled only after one girl began suspecting her "boyfriend" was not who he claimed to be. Her alter ego Aaron Lampard was arrested for sexual assault — and her real identity was revealed when cops took off her hat and her long hair tumbled out. The fraud charge came after Barker tried to win compensation by breaking her own jaw, then claiming she had been assaulted by one of her fake male characters"
And you thought the Chinese kungfu stories of women disguising themselves as men were improbable

The writer of 'Sh*t My Dad Says' on why your team doesn't give a damn about you - ""This doc, he got real sweet on one of the strippers there. And he started coming back from lunch and telling everybody how he was sure this girl was sweet on him too, and that she was telling him he was different than the other guys, and blahbitty fuckin' blah. This goes on for a few months. Then, on Valentine's Day, he shows up at the titty bar with a bunch of flowers to ask this stripper to be his girl or whatever. Guess what happened."
"She said no."
"No. He never even asked her, 'cause when he walked in she was grinding her ass on some guy's hard-on...
"What he failed to recognize — that any sane human being would — is that a stripper is always gonna be just nice enough to you to keep you coming back, but at the end of the day, she doesn't give a fuck about you. You're just a hard-on she rubs up on for money. That's her job. And guess what? That's the same goddamn way the San Diego Chargers and any other team feels about you""

LATIN IS THE BEST LANGUAGE | More Intelligent Life - "To learn Latin is to learn rigour. The price for the rigour is the mortis"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The perils of truly engaging people


Woman: I like men who are confident in any situation.

Dilbert: Within that subset of men, do you prefer the phonies or the ones who are too dumb to know when they shouldn't be confident?

Dogbert: What went wrong this time?

Dilbert: I showed interest in her opinion.

Australia 2011 - Day 7, Part 3 - Alice Springs, Darwin

"Take the diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week." - Will Rogers


Australia 2011
Day 7 - 4th August - Alice Springs, Darwin
(Part 3)

The Desert Park had wifi for one to download a podcast on hiking the McDonald Range and an iPhone app for the place. Hah.

We then had a bit of time before our flight to Darwin, so we poked around the supermarket.

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Haram fries which are "Oven Bake" (sic)

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PORK CRACKLE (the Anzac name for Pork Crackling)

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"Male Health Men's Shed

Learn New Skills!
- Gym equipment
- Mechanic's tools
- Leatherwork tools

Use the Equipment!
- Art canvas and paints
- Woodworking tools
- Welding tools"

This sounded dodgy.

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3 days of flying insect splats on the windscreen

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I thought this was going to be my meal - pork crackle and vanilla malt milk; a fish and chips shop was closed and would be for at least 20 more minutes (if they respected their stated opening time), and there were no sandwiches on sale in the supermarket (only roasting chickens).

Luckily, my palate and stomach were saved by a KFC (well).

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KFC menu

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Lunch. The gravy was tastier than in Singapore (no surprise given how Australians love gravy). The fries sucked though - they were hot but not crispy. Perhaps they were meant to be dipped in the gravy - I did this anyway, especially as there was a LOT of gravy (see above about Australians).
I'd been told that the kualiti of KFC in Australia was lower than in Singapore, but I found it to be about the same. The fillet burger was bigger than in Singapore and the mayo was more sour.

We then returned the car at the airport. Hertz had a full tank option - at a price of $1.54/l (to fill the whole tank), one could return the car with as little fuel as one wanted. However this was not worth it as one would want to keep some fuel in the tank as a buffer: in town fuel was $1.629/l, which was only 5.8% more.

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Alice Springs Airport - with empty Tiger queue, and French tourists.

Tiger allows one to bring 2 items of baggage weighing 10kg on board. Perhaps this is to compete in the local market.

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"Fly the Flag" (condom publicity)
What about lesbians? They are excluded from the publicity

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"As of 1 July 2008 access through this door will be restricted to personnel from the AFP, ARFFS and Airport Operations and Security... Maximum penalty exceeds $5,000"
Presumably before that visitors could waltz past. And "exceeds $5,000" is very vague.

Alice Springs Airport allowed visitors to go past security screening. I guessed this was because the shops were all past screening, and it was too small to make a real distinction between the passenger and visitor areas.

I'd my stick out, so the lady at the counter asked if I wanted a buggy to get to the plane. How nice.

They didn't check MR's photo ID. Domestic flights are slack.

There was a sign saying that one could not walk or ride on the conveyor belt for baggage. But they always do that at Changi...

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"William & Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding"
This was $45, barely 3 months after the wedding. This seemed a bit cheap, but they're not crazy about their monarch.

The airport shop called hair ties "metal free elastics".

The bookshop sold Nuts magazine, but it was British. Cultural imperialism!

"Some girls. My life in a harem" by Jillian Lauren (the girl who was in a Bruneian harem) was on sale. I doubt it's on sale in Singapore, since that might cause a diplomatic incident.

There was a magazine with very WTF copy:

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Landing in Darwin we found it to be hot but bursting in life compared with Alice Springs.

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I think this was what I thought was "Porkies" but was actually "Pokies"

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Brochure on petrol sniffing. Of course, this is for the aborigines' benefit. Amusingly there are links to be drawn between petrol sniffing and the inhalation of substances for religious purposes.

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Mitchell Street, a multicultural street crowded with young white partygoers.

For dinner I had pizza at "Mitchelli's the Pizza Place", which claimed to have Darwin's best pizza. I crossed my fingers, hoping it was better than what I'd had on Lygon Street in Melbourne. I wasn't confident, yet the other options: Vietnamese and Thai among others, didn't really excite me.

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Menu. Carbonara pizza??? It has no egg or even cream sauce.

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You can see their priorities - the alcohol menu is longer than the one for food, despite it being a "casual pizza place"

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10" Jester: a tomato base, mushrooms, ham, tiget prawns and cheese
It was horrendously stacked, but the same rule one applies to prata can be applied to pizza - too many toppings ruin them.
Excess of toppings aside, it was mediocre. Despite the lack of an Italian legacy to live up to it was about the standard of Papa Gino's in Melbourne. Again I couldn't really taste the tomato base, and it was a bit cremated; I'm not a diehard follower of the Italian tradition (I like California Pizza Kitchen, even Japanese pizza) - I just ask for my pizza to taste good.

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"Happy high herbs. If you're not happy about the bans on the synthetic weed products: MAKE SOME NOISE!!!"

We then went to stock up on supplies for our journey the next day.

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"Ideal for: BBQ's" (sic)
Would you use pittes for pizza???

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"Real Stock" (there's no pork though)
What do the Aussies normally use? Fake Stock?

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"In a Biskit Crispy Bacon"

They had chu qian yi ding instant noodles.

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"Chocolate biscuits" is a different category from "biscuits"
They also have "longlife milk"

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Which contrasts, of course, with "freshmilk"

Cole's had no People or Picture magazines. There was Maxim but the pictures were all "proper".

I was unable to find Krimer and other Krap.

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There was also a category of "audio visual"

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Vegemite scrolls. Ugh.

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"We Need You! Help round up our abandoned trolleys."

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Cruel humour or empowering?

I took a walk by the seaside (the Esplanade) and encountered:

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Wtf sprinklers. Among other things they watered the pavement.

In The Esplanade there was also:

Wtf toilet. The most surprising bit was the muzak: Burt Bacharach gives me constipation.

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Free condoms

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Draconian approach to alcohol

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Strange booth to sit in

Solo tastes better than Lift - it has more body (both are citrus soft drinks). The edge reminds me of Schwepps bitter lemon, except it's not bitter but cuts gently.

No one used foursquare in the Northern Territory; I got many mayorships.

There's so much deadly wildlife in Australia, yet you have men walking around in shorts.

Most restaurants boasted that they were "fully licensed". Are there half-licensed places?

Breastfeeding as Religion

"Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought-- particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things." - Woody Allen


The Passion of the Breast: The Religiosity of Breastfeeding

"I will then demonstrate that breastfeeding itself may be read as a religion, and outline why this is a reading which can only be made due to the conditions which exist in our late-modern, post-feminist society...

As women became more autonomous, they began to view their breasts as symbolic of the female - the binary with which to differentiate themselves from the oppressive male. This is linked to a parallel decline in wet-nursing, midwifery and associated increased medicalisation of pregnancy...

While feminists cried ³choice´ in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they really decried thetraditional, and supported instead a ³get out of the home and into the public space´ philosophy...

The last 20 years has seen feminist scholars discuss breastfeeding, but with a biased lens. Inher study of breastfeeding rates Wolf claims that the feminism inspired health movement inthe late 1970s initiated the revival of breastfeeding, however she finds the statistical recessionand surges in US rates of breastfeeding ³inexplicable.´ Additionally, both Wolf and other scholarly focus has been on the discrepancy between racial and class adoption of breastfeeding, and the health promotion and medical attempts to address this discrepancy.This is purely a reflection of the lens through which this feministic discourse is undertakenrather than a sincere attempt to address declining rates of breastfeeding in the US.

Wolf reveals her feminist, neo-liberal bias when she describes white, college-educated women being the only group which has embraced breastfeeding in large numbers since theearly 1970s.´ This positive slant, however, contradicts the facts outlined above. Most USwomen are supplementing their own milk with artificial milk (formula), or have moved toformula completely within just one week of their child¶s birth. With these facts in mind, itcan hardly be said American women are ³embracing breastfeeding in large numbers.´ Thethreat breastfeeding represents to feminism is evident in this treatment...

"Only 17% of momsexclusively breastfeed for six months, which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics"...

Feminist scholars are uncomfortable with breasts when any function other than attraction is considered... These writers went to such an extent as to identifyscientific evidence regarding the benefits of breastfeeding over bottle feeding as being male-oriented and reflexive, with a political agenda of keeping the woman in the home...

As Pam Carter recognises, while there are feminist perspectives of childbirth, there are none about breastfeeding - and she compels feminists to get involved due to the greater reality of what this lack of engagement says about women. She sees a different type of political construct at play and asks if breastfeeding has not become a feminist issue then that creates the perception of women being irrational...

If women are still being told by media and society that breastfeeding is not a "polite" thing to do in company, I imagine that images of the Madonna breastfeeding in a traditional Catholic church today would be described as blasphemous. In fact, with today's American women being asked to leave public areas such as shopping malls to breastfeed, to do so in church would be unacceptable

[Ed: Crucifying oneself in a church would also be unacceptable]

... Breastfeeding requires a system of symbols. (Geertz describes symbols as any object,act, event, quality or relation which aids in meaning). There is quite obviously nothing that awoman needs to purchase to signify herself as a breastfeeder...

Secondly, the practice and rhetoric of breastfeeding are designed to produce long-lasting commitment... It is this type of commitment which reflects the dichotomy between the sacred and the profane referred to by Durkheim in his appreciation of religion. Thus in breastfeeding as religion we can see strong positive and almost spiritual values are placed on the experience by practitioners...

For the religious breastfeeder, it is common to hear education and promotionalrhetoric, especially as they tend to use words which are unusual in everyday conversation, inthe reasoning as to why they have chosen to breastfeed...

Geertz quotes Santayana in stating "[Religion's] power consists in its special and surprising message and in the bias which that revelation gives to life" (Geertz 1973 p. 87). Breastfeeding's reading as religion meets all of these definitions.

The religiosity of breastfeeding itself is supported by the reverence ascribed to it by practitioners... 85.7% of respondents stated they believed that breastfeeding has a deep meaning... Interestingly, the respondents used the opportunity to not only give further information toclarify their thought, but they commonly used religious language in doing so (belief/believe,taboo) as well as identifying their autonomy in their belief...

When experienced as a religious commitment, women pursue and construct meaning which lasts distinctly longer than the time they practically breastfeed for. This is demonstrated by their personal value adjustment, influence over friends and family in evangelising positive breastfeeding education, and for some,maintaining memberships to legitimating groups such as the La Leche League, in order to promote breastfeeding to the wider community.

Secondly, the practices are reflexive. Breastfeeding is associated with a larger goal of goodmothering which is also promoted and legitimated through the advocates¶ breastfeeding¶s³breast is best´ rhetoric. Religious breastfeeders not only adopt the functional practice of breastfeeding but in fact embrace and celebrate it¶s µdeeper meaning¶. For these women, breastfeeding is more than simply a right or natural, or even rite of passage. They seek andcelebrate an identity of being a good mother by breastfeeding. For these women, breastfeeding is symbolic of their mothering ability and the autonomy of their decision. Their choice to breastfeed instead of bottle-feed provides them with a transcendent meaning-making that in turn validates their choice. It is religious...

In achieving these goals, the value of work done in the home by women has been described as less valuable by both men and women (Mattelart & Reader 1982). The privatesphere holds no attraction for women of the 21st century. It is seen as tired, traditional andoppressive. If women were to return to the home, this would be a backward step in a feministcontext. However, this reading denies the legitimacy of the choice taken by the religious breastefeeder and forces them into a polemical response against the other"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Australia 2011 - Day 7, Part 2 - Alice Springs Desert Park

"Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves." - J. B. Priestley


Australia 2011
Day 7 - 4th August - Alice Springs Desert Park
(Part 2)

Then we entered the Nocturnal House. Most of the lizards were hiding.

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Thorny Devil

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Spinifex Legless Lizard

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Desert Skink
"Arrente name: not known". Does this mean that Western Science is superior to native knowledge? Or that the Arrente don't disclose its name due to it being part of some secret ritual?

"Australian scorpions are relatively harmless". Somehow, this wasn't very comforting.

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Desert wolf spider
"Arrente name: Impe (generic name for all spiders with a big bottom". So much for the superiority of native knowledge: just as the Eskimos are reported (falsely) to have a gazillion words for snow

Since this was the Nocturnal House, many exhibits were too dark for me to take photographs, and sometimes even to see what was inside. There was even a Mala (the animal sacred down at Uluru).

A picture of the Mala:

A picture of the Mala I saw:

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A very cute Tawny Frogmouth. Luckily it stayed close to the glass and stayed still.

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Spinifex Hopping-mouse. This is the sign only - I couldn't find it (IIRC)
Again the arrente name is "not known"

There was a ghost bat. I'm guessing it was translucent but in the shadows I couldn't tell.

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Red-tailed Phascogale sign
"Extinct in Arrente country". Hurr so much for native peoples being good stewards of the land. The extinction was blamed on feral cats.

Australia has the world record for mammal extinction.

The audioguide narrator was very pissed off by cute rabbits, because they caused problems. A few years ago instead of the Easter Bunny one group used another, native, animal - the Aclilpa (or somethng like that).

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Acacia stick insect

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"Biological Septic System"
Biological = stinky

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Insulting Aboriginal Epistemology - how come they don't talk about the Dreamtime?

They introduced buffalo grass to crowd out native ones like lemongrass. THey had good intentions - to control soil erosion.

The audioguide talked about the medicinal uses of plants - as if they were as good as aspirin. Bah.

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Alcoholic moneyeaters

After the Desert Rivers and Sand Country was the last third of the park - Woodland.

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Masked woodswallow

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White-winged fairy wren

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"The Witchetty Grub Story"

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There's a 5,000km Dingo Fence keeping dingos out of the Eastern states, so there're more kangaroos there.

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On Red Kangaroos

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Another one


Kangaroos refusing to hop

Kangaroos refusing to hop 2

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This is a weird caption for a worm clusterfuck

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"Working together"

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Layers of Landscape

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Walking on Ancient Land: "The wild dog then travelled a little way north and metamorphosed into a boulder (Akngwelye Thirrewe) embedded in the ground near the spot where the McDonalds hamburger restaurant now stands"
This was quite sad

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Quartz veins and gold reefs

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Toys strewn about. Huh?

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Buy one get one free - except it's VHS tapes. In Japanese.

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Amusingly instead of banning commercial photography they regulate it with a (presumably) light touch

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Mini dry river

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Bugs on car windscreen
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