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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Links - 12th January 2013

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." - W. H. Auden


'Too Bad You're a Girl': Testing the Biblical Teachings I Grew Up With - "Pastors told wives to submit to their husbands as the apostle Peter instructed in 1 Peter 3:1, but rarely told them to refer to their husbands as "master" as he instructed just three sentences later in 1 Peter 3:6... Some fellow evangelicals are unhappy with me for playfully challenging widely held assumptions about "biblical womanhood." They say I am mocking scripture, muddying the waters, and straying from the straightforward hermeneutic that had conveniently rendered "biblical womanhood" into the happy-homemaker archetype. What they don't realize is that evangelical women like me have received mixed messages about womanhood for years."

UBS fires trader, replaces him with computer algorithm

Israel ranked as most militarized nation - "Singapore ranks second, followed by Syria, Russia, Jordan, and Cyprus, according to the Index, which is based on a number of weighted variables, such as the comparison of a country's military budget with its gross domestic product (GDP), and the%age of the GDP it spends on health care. Six of the top 10 states, including Israel (1), Syria (4), Jordan (5), Kuwait (7), Bahrain (9), and Saudi Arabia (10) are located in the Middle East, while yet another of Iran's neighbors, Azerbaijan, made its first entry into the militarized elite at number 8... While the Middle East is far more militarized than any other region - all of its countries rank within the top 40 - Southeast Asia, led by Singapore, appears ascendant... In contrast, both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are relatively low on the Index... Among those excluded from the Index was North Korea, whose defense budget has proved impervious to independent analysts and which is widely thought to be one of the world's most militarized states, if not the most... Too little militarization carries its own risks, according to Grebe, because states may not be able to guarantee order or even territorial integrity. "This situation points to the seemingly paradoxical phenomenon that some state security apparatuses are incapable of preventing violence and conflict simply because the country concerned shows a degree of militarization which is too low""

Print Free Graph Paper - "Save yourself money and a trip to the store! Print graph paper free from your computer. This site is perfect for science and math homework, craft projects and other graph paper needs. All graph paper files are optimized PDF documents requiring Adobe Reader for viewing."

PAP’s quiet counter-insurgency - "This PAP digital initiative is aimed at defending itself or going into the offensive against online critics, which include Opposition representatives. It is quite a fascinating subject and uniquely Singaporean. No other government in the world - democratic or dictatorial - is known to have operated such an outfit... In this informed economy, successful propaganda needs to be practised by experts, people skilled in subtly articulating issues. Most of the operatives today are none of these. The first rule is that no one should actually know it is propaganda. Making it public destroys its ability to be effective."

Faitheist, heal thyself - "Our goal has been to increase the quality of life of marginalized students – and in this case, we think the best way to accomplish that is not pouring vitriol upon people, but appealing to the better angels of their nature... Given that religion will be with us for the foreseeable future, it is worthwhile to work with – even within – religious communities to rein in their tendencies towards tribalism, xenophobia, and irrationality, support their more positive traits, and show them that atheists are good, normal people... “critical thinking,” which he praises elsewhere as well (150, 172), is a rather flimsy substitute for the full panoply of epistemic virtues – in the same way that “niceness” is a poor substitute for compassion and justice... In the final two chapters, at times I felt like I was a TA again, grading a third-rate undergraduate philosophy essay... Compassion without reason is problematic – but so is reason without compassion... we don’t need more people who are full of themselves. You call yourself “humble” (162) – almost always a performative contradiction"

Pride: Apple's biggest weakness gives Amazon Kindle easy fire in the iPad mini war - "your [Apple’s] 7.9-inch tablet has far fewer pixels than the competing 7-inch tablets! You’re cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy"

Killing Sexy Halloween: The Ethical and Practical Complications - "most of the anxiety about the sexualization of Halloween comes from adults—the very people teenagers are inclined to ignore. If sexy Halloween is going to die, girls themselves will have to kill it. Perhaps the most persistent argument that adults make against sexy Halloween is that women in revealing costumes are asking for trouble. The idea that wearing an abbreviated costume makes a woman a target of unwanted sexual attention from men is repeated endlessly in columns and on blogs. "Dressing girls like grown women for Halloween communicates that they have the sexuality of adults, in the bodies of children," a sociologist told CNN in a recent article. "A girl dressing up as a sexy nurse will only prompt men to ask her when she starts giving out sponge baths," a Tulane student warned her classmates in the campus newspaper last year... "What's wrong with having a night where we can say 'This is my body, and I'm not ashamed of it, or of using it to express my sexuality.' In fact, the only about that that seems wrong to me is the fact that it's limited to one day, when the other 364 days of the year turn that idea on its head""
Maybe Slutwalk and Killing Sexy Halloween can start a catfight

Low cholesterol associated with enhanced risk of death in heart failure patients

Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world

Japanese Car Brand Releases A Car For Women Only, Prevents Wrinkles

Silly Tweets from Taco Bell’s corporate account

Vie de Saint Gapour - "la biographie résumée du patron de Singapour... Il s’installe en 1687 à Tumasik, île où se trouve l’actuelle Singapour et est rapidement remarqué par la Cour, au sein de laquelle il réalise un grand nombre de conversions. Il y fonde la première église catholique en y installant un monastère"

Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa - "we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time...
Jack said that a philosophical question inspired the study design: "The most persistent question in the philosophy of mind is the problem of consciousness. Why can we describe the workings of a brain, but that doesn't tell us what it's like to be that person?"...
"This shows scientific accounts really do leave something out - the human touch. A major challenge for the science of the mind is how we can better translate between the cold and distant mechanical descriptions that neuroscience produces, and the emotionally engaged intuitive understanding which allows us to relate to one another as people""
Original paper in NeuroImage: fMRI reveals reciprocal inhibition between social and physical cognitive domains
Does this explain Liberal Irrationality?; more evidence that emotion (or at least one form of emotion) is an enemy of reason

18 Crazy Wifi Names - "2 Girls 1 Router"

Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin - "much as I admire Tolkien, he did things in ‘Lord of the Rings’ that were brilliant in and of themselves, but in the hands of the Tolkien imitators who have followed him these things have become terrible clichés. One of them is this question of good versus evil, where there’s a Dark Lord and he has minions who are usually dressed all in black and they’re very ugly and they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever... No one ever questions whether Sauron was really misunderstood... I think excluding sex is excluding a very important part of human nature. Critics will talk about whether it’s gratuitous sex. I’ve balked at that word ‘gratuitous’. What does that mean? What is gratuitous feasting and gratuitous heraldry and gratuitous descriptions of the clothes that people wear? I reject all of that. I want to give my readers a feast, and I want them to taste the food, and I want to take them into the bedroom and show them what’s happening in the sex scene, whether it’s a great transcendent, exciting, mind blowing sex, or whether it’s disturbing, twisted, dark sex, or disappointing perfunctory sex"

Ethicists, Courtesy & Morals - "Schwitzgebel & Rust report on a study that suggests that audiences in ethics sessions do not behave any better than those attending seminars on other areas of philosophy. Not when it comes to talking audibly whilst a speaker is addressing the room and not when it comes to ‘allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session’"

Media kept at arm's length of Singapore PM - "Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong will have a round of talks in the Beehive today. But the media are being kept at arm's length. They're being invited to photo opportunities but have been told there'll be no questions to Mr Lee. Mr Key says that's Mr Lee's wish and is the nature of the Singapore system."

Italy sacks Reggio Calabria council over 'mafia ties' - "Mayor Demetrio Arena and all 30 city councillors were sacked to prevent any "mafia contagion" in the local government"

Singapore's Three Rs: Racing, Risk-Taking and Rock - Speakeasy - WSJ - "Singaporeans aren’t taught to take risks or improvise: “Our kids,” he quipped, “only know how to go in a straight line”... “I was in a musical recently, and the director told me about a visit she made to a very famous girls’ school here,” says Chua. “As a part of her presentation, she gave all the girls a piece of paper, and instructed them to cut it in half. That sent the girls into a panic — they were all saying, ‘We can’t do this, we don’t have any scissors!’ So she told them just to fold it in half and tear it, and they started crying and screaming, because they couldn’t get the tear exactly even. That pretty much sums up Singapore for me”... “Rock music is very much an underground phenomenon here,” admits Mike See, cofounder of Chua’s label Riot! Records. “I mean, a lot of what you’d associate with it is officially frowned upon in Singapore. Back in 1972, the government barred Led Zeppelin from entering the country because they had long hair — they actually turned them away at the airport.” Even now, points out See’s partner Eugenie Yeo, “at the biggest local rock festival we have, Baybeats, the police still come every year and arrest ‘suspicious looking’ people, which pretty much means anyone with a Mohawk”... “Every good band in Singapore dies because of National Service”... Exposure to the burgeoning rock scene at SXSW in 2010 and again last year confirmed to Chua that in order to continue growing as a musician, she’d have to leave her beloved home... As Helen Gao wrote in The Atlantic in June, “Students with ideas that deviate from the official orthodoxy often seem to struggle in China’s education system, as do students whose pursuits differ from the system’s rigidly defined standards for talent and success….Whatever your formula for innovation — diversity of thought, collaboration, risk-taking — you’re not likely to find it in abundance in Chinese schools.”
One could always form an all-girl band

All the Single Ladies

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken


All the Single Ladies
Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing). But this strange state of affairs also presents an opportunity: as the economy evolves, it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and to acknowledge the end of “traditional” marriage as society’s highest ideal.

"The decision to end a stable relationship for abstract rather than concrete reasons (“something was missing”), I see now, is in keeping with a post-Boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else. And the elevation of independence over coupling (“I wasn’t ready to settle down”) is a second-wave feminist idea I’d acquired from my mother, who had embraced it, in part, I suspect, to correct for her own choices...

As women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with...

Two-income families were the norm. Not until the 18th century did labor begin to be divided along a sharp line: wage-earning for the men and unpaid maintenance of household and children for the women...

[Marriage] was undergoing a transformation far more radical than anyone could have predicted, and that our current attitudes and arrangements are without precedent...

By blithely deeming biology a nonissue, I’m conveniently removing myself from arguably the most significant decision a woman has to make. But that’s only if you regard motherhood as the defining feature of womanhood—and I happen not to...

Even as women have seen their range of options broaden in recent years—for instance, expanding the kind of men it’s culturally acceptable to be with, and making it okay not to marry at all—the new scarcity disrupts what economists call the “marriage market” in a way that in fact narrows the available choices, making a good man harder to find than ever...

Siberia today is suffering such an acute “man shortage” (due in part to massive rates of alcoholism) that both men and women have lobbied the Russian parliament to legalize polygamy. In 2009, The Guardian cited Russian politicians’ claims that polygamy would provide husbands for “10 million lonely women.” In endorsing polygamy, these women, particularly those in remote rural areas without running water, may be less concerned with loneliness than with something more pragmatic: help with the chores...

In their 1983 book, Too Many Women? The Sex Ratio Question, two psychologists developed what has become known as the Guttentag-Secord theory, which holds that members of the gender in shorter supply are less dependent on their partners, because they have a greater number of alternative relationships available to them; that is, they have greater “dyadic power” than members of the sex in oversupply. How this plays out, however, varies drastically between genders...

In 1988, the sociologists Scott J. South and Katherine Trent set out to test the Guttentag-Secord theory by analyzing data from 117 countries. Most aspects of the theory tested out. In each country, more men meant more married women, less divorce, and fewer women in the workforce. South and Trent also found that the Guttentag-Secord dynamics were more pronounced in developed rather than developing countries...

My spotty anecdotal findings have revealed that, yes, in many cases, the more successful a man is (or thinks he is), the less interested he is in commitment...

In his book, Is Marriage for White People?, Ralph Richard Banks, a law professor at Stanford, argues that the black experience of the past half century is a harbinger for society at large... It might seem easy to dismiss Banks’s theory that what holds for blacks may hold for nonblacks, if only because no other group has endured such a long history of racism, and racism begets singular ills. But the reality is that what’s happened to the black family is already beginning to happen to the white family...

The early 1990s witnessed the dawn of “hookup culture” at universities, as colleges stopped acting in loco parentis, and undergraduates, heady with freedom, started throwing themselves into a frenzy of one-night stands. Depending on whom you ask, this has either liberated young women from being ashamed of their sexual urges, or forced them into a promiscuity they didn’t ask for. Young men, apparently, couldn’t be happier... The likelihood increases “that even a highly sought-after woman will engage in casual sex, even though she would have sufficient market power to defy prevailing norms”...

Last year, a former management consultant named Susan Walsh tried to dig a little deeper. She applied what economists call the Pareto principle—the idea that for many events, roughly 20 percent of the causes create 80 percent of the effects—to the college dating market, and concluded that only 20 percent of the men (those considered to have the highest status) are having 80 percent of the sex, with only 20 percent of the women (those with the greatest sexual willingness); the remaining 80 percent, male and female, sit out the hookup dance altogether. (Surprisingly, a 2007 study commissioned by the Justice Department suggested that male virgins outnumber female virgins on campus.) As Walsh puts it, most of the leftover men are “have nots” in terms of access to sex, and most of the women—both those who are hooking up and those who are not—are “have nots” in terms of access to male attention that leads to commitment. (Of course, plenty of women are perfectly happy with casual, no-strings sex, but they are generally considered to be in the minority.) Yet the myth of everyone having sex all the time is so pervasive that it’s assumed to be true, which distorts how young men and women relate. “I think the 80/20 principle is the key to understanding the situation we find ourselves in—one in which casual sex is the cultural norm, despite the fact that most people would actually prefer something quite different,” Walsh told me...

“There used to be more assortative mating,” she explained, “where a five would date a five. But now every woman who is a six and above wants the hottest guy on campus, and she can have him—for one night”...

It appears that the erotic promises of the 1960s sexual revolution have run aground on the shoals of changing sex ratios, where young women and men come together in fumbling, drunken couplings fueled less by lust than by a vague sense of social conformity. (I can’t help wondering: Did this de-eroticization of sex encourage the rise of pornography? Or is it that pornography endows the inexperienced with a toolbox of socially sanctioned postures and tricks, ensuring that one can engage in what amounts to a public exchange according to a pre-approved script?) For centuries, women’s sexuality was repressed by a patriarchal marriage system; now what could be an era of heady carnal delights is stifled by a new form of male entitlement, this one fueled by demographics...

Until the mid-19th century, the word love was used to describe neighborly and familial feelings more often than to describe those felt toward a mate, and same-sex friendships were conducted with what we moderns would consider a romantic intensity. When honeymoons first started, in the 19th century, the newlyweds brought friends and family along for the fun.

But as the 19th century progressed, and especially with the sexualization of marriage in the early 20th century, these older social ties were drastically devalued in order to strengthen the bond between the husband and wife—with contradictory results. As Coontz told me, “When a couple’s relationship is strong, a marriage can be more fulfilling than ever. But by overloading marriage with more demands than any one individual can possibly meet, we unduly strain it, and have fewer emotional systems to fall back on if the marriage falters.”

Some even believe that the pair bond, far from strengthening communities (which is both the prevailing view of social science and a central tenet of social conservatism), weakens them, the idea being that a married couple becomes too consumed with its own tiny nation of two to pay much heed to anyone else. In 2006, the sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian published a paper concluding that unlike singles, married couples spend less time keeping in touch with and visiting their friends and extended family, and are less likely to provide them with emotional and practical support. They call these “greedy marriages.” I can see how couples today might be driven to form such isolated nations—it’s not easy in this age of dual-career families and hyper-parenting to keep the wheels turning, never mind having to maintain outside relationships as well. And yet we continue to rank this arrangement above all else!...

An unexpected consequence of people’s marrying later is that they skip right over the cheating years...

“The sooner and better our society comes to terms with the inescapable variety of intimacy and kinship in the modern world, the fewer unhappy families it will generate” "

Among other things, this is yet another example of the theory of second best - greater [supposed, anyway] equality can lead to worse outcomes.

Also, the Mosuo example seems misreported and it's interesting how she concludes that women can live together in communities - rather than addressing the causes of the problem she identifies.


Addendum: This is an article about a feminist who hit the wall before finding a life partner and complained that she got tricked by feminism

Friday, January 11, 2013

Does the sex debate exclude men?

"To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


A Point Of View: Does the sex debate exclude men?

"Sex is everywhere in modern society - but why are women doing all the talking about it...

Once again the snake pit of policing sexual behaviour and the conflict between men and women's perceptions of it have become news, such as the would-be US senator who claimed that after what he called "legitimate rape" women's bodies protect them from pregnancy, and George Galloway's assertion that what Julian Assange did or didn't do in bed in Sweden was simply bad sexual etiquette...

The proverbial Martian arriving to study contemporary sexual behaviour might find him/ her/ itself most confused. All one can say is welcome to the human race. The story of how men and women negotiate doing the one thing necessary to continue their existence, is a complex and often painful one...

You don't have to go back far to find a time when rape was an acceptable last resort of courtship... the young woman was used goods and marriage was the only option. As such, this was merely an extension of a deeper view of women imbedded not just in law but also in the religious culture that informed it...

For years now it has been women who have made the cultural running when it comes to really talking about sex.

Feminism spawned a huge debate about all such things. From the uncompromising idea that all intercourse is close to rape because it is about subjugation, to those like Camille Paglia or Katie Roiphe who took modern women to task for not taking enough responsibility for their own behaviour: if we are to own our desire and be equal players in this dangerous game - we have to careful how and when we chose to paint ourselves as victims...

The director of a charity for victims of domestic abuse recently called for Fifty Shades of Grey to be burnt, claiming it portrayed female abuse in ways not dissimilar to the crimes of Fred West. Except this is fiction and the heroine in the novel is getting pleasure out of the pain...

If these novels had been written by and for men highlighting the S rather than the M and outselling Antony Beevor and footballers' biographies there would be any army of women commentating on it.

And that, I suppose, is what worries me. Where are the heavy-weight male voices debating contemporary sexuality?...

In the aftermath of feminism growing up male can be hard: but where are the big public conversations about men's sexuality...

Such admissions will not necessarily be politically correct. Sex often isn't. It doesn't help that when men do open their mouths on the larger stage, they are firmly shot down. Both George Galloway and our now ex-Justice Secretary Ken Clarke might have been ill advised in their remarks about sexual behaviour and the law, but like it or not, they thought something needed saying, only to be met by a storm of female outrage that effectively stifled all debate. Yes, we have a long way to go. But we can't do it without the views of men"


"Why bother ? Decent men are not as stupid as we look. It is easier to learn from the Alpha male Bad Boys who women of all ages (and educational levels) so love. They don't bother entering into a debate. Thank god for pornography. A little light relief for the ordinary decent men of this world. But of course we get criticised for watching it, unlike 50 Shades which is OK because it's for women!"

"what were seeing now is a reluctance by many "normal" men to voice any opinion for fear of untold retribution. The alleged oppressors have become the oppressed!... women seem to be so wrapped up in how they feel about sex, sexuality, relationships nowadays that they seem to have forgotten that there's another person involved and a totally different perspective to share and work with!"

"I have heard female colleagues talking about things in the office that would land a man right in front of their line manager under a disciplinary hearing"

"now that online porn is ubiquitous, what does it tell you regarding what men find attractive in a woman? Answer: just about every size / shape / colour / combination of features you can think of!"

"Fifty Shades of Grey seems to have opened a sore within the feminist community... their aim of women taking charge of their own sexuality doesn't seem to include the desire to be dominated"

"it seems that Ms. Dunant is perplexed by another difference betweent the sexes, i.e. that men do not generally spend great deals of time analyzing their interests. One's love of Manchester United football can be summed up a in a single sentence and so can men's view of sex...IT'S ENJOYABLE!"

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 7 - Scottish Highlands

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform." - Mark Twain


Previous post: Balderdash: Links - 10th January 2013

Europe CNY 2012
Day 7 - 25th January - Scottish Highlands

In the brochures at the hostel, there was information about the tour in many languages - but not in English!

It took longer than expected to get to the pickup point for the tour, so I popped into a cab for the last leg. In the end I scrambled up the bus with a few minutes to spare.

Our tour had 600km of driving - in one day.

There was a highway sign saying horse drawn vehicles were not allowed. Hurr. Another said "Free Recovery. Await Rescue"

The guide described Henry VIII chasing Mary Queen of Scots as a "period of rough wooing". Turns out that is a common term in the literature.

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Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scotts was born, through the trees
The French said her first husband, the Dauphin, died of an ear infection. The guide said it was due to a STD.
The Scots call her "Mary Queen of Tragedy"

We also passed Stirling Castle, but I didn't manage to get a picture.

In 2010, Doune Castle rented out 3,500 coconut shells. It is of course the Monty Python Castle.

We had a rest stop at Trossachs Woollen Mill.

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Hamish the Cow sign. He's a Highland Cow.

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No Hamish

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On Hamish. Of course he wasn't there in January.

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This day, 25th January, was special. It was Burns Night! Burns Night Special: "Raspberry Cranachan", a "traditional Scottish dessert, cream, oatmeal, honey, whiskey and Scottish raspberries... served with the finest Scottish shortbread"

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Misleading sign on Hamish.
Also: "Discounted goods highlighted in this branch have been on sale at the higher marked price within at least one of our outlets for 28 days within the past 6 months." Ahh, consumer protection! Well, I can think of ways to game the system but at least there is a guarantee of sorts!

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Everything had been on sale at Trossachs so I got this "suede look classic" for £6. I still haven't worn it.

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Loch Lubnaig

There're 2 words for valley in Scots: strath (gentle) and glen (steep).

In 2010/2011 Scotland had its coldest weather in 30 years. At this time it was the warmest in 270 (since records were kept). There wasn't enough snow to ski. However some time after I left it became very cold.

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NOT the Harry Potter railway
It used to be a rail line but there were too many rockfalls. Now it's a foot/cycle path.

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Loch Tulla

Usually you can see a lot of deer. This time 4 were spotted but I missed them.

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More Lochs

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The red stuff on the ground is heather. It's different in summer.
3 weeks before this day there were winds blowing at more than 100 miles per hour.

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Panorama of Highlands

The next stop was Glencoe, site of a famous 1692 massacre.

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We were only 100m above sea level.

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Glencoe Panorama

There is no law of trespass in Scotland. So anyone can camp for 2 months in the same place just 50m from a residence.

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Scot Beach, Atlantic Ocean

Next was a rest stop at Fort William.

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"The Spirit of Scotland. Whiskey Shop... Water of Life"
It seems "whiskey" has similar etymology to "eau de vie" (water of life)

According to the guide, the record for whiskey samples on one of his tours was 18 - an Australian girl.

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Apparently you need license to let people under 18 be *present* in the premises

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"The Smallest Bottle of Whiskey in the World"

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"Scotland's Heather Cream Liqueur"
This was like weak Bailey's

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Several shelves of fun size liquor bottles

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Alcohol for girls

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"Traditional favourites now being served. Sweet & Sour Chicken served with Rice & Prawn Crackers"

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I don't know "gateau & cakes"

Beside the rest stop was a castle which we got to explore.

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Inverlochy Castle

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Public and Private

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Ruined Turret

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On the castle

It was built pre-gunpowder in 1280.

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Windows, arrow slit

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Fort William has the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis. A mountain with cloud cover, so in 2011 the guide saw its peak only 9 times.

Inverness (a nearby city) means "mouth of the river Ness".

Even in 1740 only 30-35% of Scotland spoke Gaellic as a first language. Now it's 3-4%.

Fort George is the sole post-Jacobite rebellion fort remaining. In 50 years 75% of the highland population was shipped out and there were a lot of harsh laws.

We then reached Loch Ness. It was lunch time. Those not going on a cruise of Loch Ness could enjoy a leisurely lunch but I had to have takeway - at a takeaway run by Turks but which served pork. The takeaway was very cheap especially considering the location - £5,50 for Haddock fish and chips (though it was inferior to cod). Hot food was not allowed in the ship cabin so I ate it outside and finished it just before leaving.

I could've paid in SGD at the shop. The market rate was 1.97 but they offered 2.05. I think credit card was better.

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"Nessie does exist... well at least she did back in 1938, according to secret Government papers released today"

The cruise ship was very well equipped:

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Sonar to look for the Loch Ness monster

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Heading out

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St Augustine Abbey, a former fort

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Choppy waters

Cruising Loch Ness
The water is black because of peat

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[Sailboats are] "Like a woman the rigging costs more than the hull"

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Loch Ness was huge. However it was not the biggest loch by either surface area or depth (it was by volume). It had more water than England and Wales, and was 900 feet deep (one drills 480 feet for oil in the sea).

The first sighting of the Loch Ness monster was in 565AD by St Columba.

Explaining their equipment. The red screen on the left shows the results of the life detector, which you need. Even in summer there is 3 feet visibility in the water.

There're huge ferocious fish here, e.g. Ferox Trout (Latin for Ferocious, it's cannibalistic too). The staff have seen a pike taking down a seagull, then another summer a pike ate ducklings.

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How detailed their sonar is

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On the right side is the entrance to Cory's Cave (grey stone)

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Feral goats

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Nessie sighting!

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The bar was extremely cheap: £1 for a canned soft drink.

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Returning to berth

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Swans, Ducks

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Locks for the Loch

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Girls playing with Nessie wire sculpture

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Nessie wire sculpture

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UK English is better than Australian English but I still saw mistakes (I saw a few other examples but we were in a hurry so I couldn't snap records). And how do you enforce this parking fee where only the first 15 minutes are free?!

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Nessie Plushies

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Mario Crisps

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"Scottish Lasses". Those are VERY smooth legs.

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A problematic ad for Aran knitwear. If you use Cashmere wool, then you can't proclaim it to be authentically Scottish anymore.

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War Memorial

4 Spaniards didn't go on the Loch Ness cruise (makes one wonder why they came on the tour, then) so we drove them up to it.

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Loch Ness

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Supposedly Christianity is in Scotland because of the Loch Ness Monster (I can't find a story on that) so there's a saying in Scotland: if you believe in Christianity you believe in Ness. I agree - both come from the same magical thinking.

The guide pointed out a red telephone box in the middle of nowhere, around hills and heather. There'd been 7 calls in 2 years made using it (he'd checked with the phone company). It did email and texting as well.

The guide tried to sell Scotland to us: the last sighting of bears was 800 years ago. Bears and wolves had been eaten up. There were no spiders either, so there was nothing dangerous. Well, except exposure I suppose.

There are 97 distilleries in Scotland.

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Dog plushie

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I don't know why I took this. Perhaps because their idea of being "in a hurry" is having food that's ready in 15 minutes.

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"Kampong Ali" Malaysian restaurant

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Edinburgh Castle

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Irn Bru
According to our guide, it was a cure all (outselling Coke which is very rare for a local soft drink - must be Scottish Patriotism, not taste). So I tried killing my cough with it.
It was quite blah. So blah I left it at the hostel reception because it wasn't good enough to remember to take back.

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"On this site Sept 5, 1782 nothing happened"

I was talking to a Korean girl in the room until past 9, so 2 pubs didn't serve food anymore. Since it was Burns Night I was looking for Haggis - and 1 pub had run out of it. However the fourth (the last in a row) answered my prayers.

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Vaguely meaty and quite sticky but not disgusting, it was quite spicy and a bit nutty. It wasn't particularly tasty though.
I wanted to try Cranachan but I was full.

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Vegetarian Haggis. WTF
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