When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Links - 16th February 2013

"Cooking is like making love, you do it well, or you do not do it at all." - Harriet van Horne


Charities Deceive Donors Unaware Money Goes to a Telemarketer - "Just 22 percent of the funds the association raised in 2011 from the nationwide neighbor-to-neighbor program went to the charity... Many of the biggest-name charities in the U.S. have signed similarly one-sided contracts with telemarketers during the past decade... “Telephone purchases and donations are made on impulse. These are dictated not by reason or logic but by feelings of emotion. We are very familiar with the emotions of fundraising: sympathy, fear, anger, guilt, etc”... InfoCision uses a hidden tactic for some charities that could lead to invasions of donors’ privacy. An obscure contract provision allows InfoCision to force clients such as the Diabetes Association to rent out the names of their donors to other charities -- if InfoCision doesn’t receive full payment on a contract"

Satanists Plan Rally in Support of Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Home Depot Syndrom, the Purple Squirrel, and America's Job Hunt Rabbit Hole - "He explores America’s dysfunctional jobs market and concludes that the skills gap—at least as it’s most commonly formulated (“Schools aren’t giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn’t letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on”)—isn’t really to blame. “The real culprits,” he contends, “are the employers themselves”... there’s a disconnect between the people who actually do the hiring and the C-suite executives who get asked about it. “The spokespeople at the very top don’t know what’s going on”... the top 10 hardest-to-fill jobs globally in 2011, according to a well-regarded survey from the Manpower Group, included positions such as laborer (“about as unskilled a job category as we can get”), production operator (“a factory job, typically semiskilled”), technician and skilled trade (“those skills are learned largely on the job”), and sales rep.... the Silicon Valley tech boom of the 1990s: only 10 percent of the people in IT jobs had IT-related degrees. But a lot of the same people would probably have a hard time landing similar jobs today, because employers have increasingly adopted what Cappelli calls “a Home Depot view of the hiring process, in which filling a job vacancy is seen as akin to replacing a part in a washing machine... "Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly or the job won’t be filled and business can’t operate.” The problem with this approach, he says, is that “unlike a machine part, no perfect fit exists between applicants and job requirements”... Narrowly drawn job criteria may be a sign that a company is ignoring possibilities for alternative, and perhaps even more effective, operational strategies... common sense is exactly what software-based hiring systems lack... "50 years ago in the US, most big employers were much more sophisticated about hiring than they are now. So they’ve actually gotten worse at this”... “Institutional holders were now quicker to insist that the company find new strategies and structures to produce,” Cappelli and Useem noted. “And the formulas they found concentrated on restructuring the companies and slashing jobs"... In the olden days, as Cappelli sketches them, HR departments served as “reality testers”.... “Those guys are gone now,” Cappelli continues. “Now the requisition often goes automatically to somebody who inserts it into the applicant-tracking system. So they kind of take the wish list from the hiring manager, who is often looking for Superman—the Purple Squirrel, as they say in IT—something that doesn’t exist”... “When I hear stories about the difficulty in finding applicants, I always ask employers if they have tried raising wages, which in many cases have not gone up in years. The response is virtually always that they believe their wages are high enough”... there is often a cost associated with letting positions remain vacant. But most of the time it’s hard to quantify—whereas the benefit of not paying another salary is as clear as day... many American workers have—and have paid for—more education than what’s required by the jobs they are doing. That can be viewed as a deadweight loss for the economy at large, and it’s getting worse"

No, It Ain’t Gonna Be Like That - "For cultural, social, and institutional reasons, Asians cannot make original contributions to basic science. I therefore doubt Miller's prediction for the Asian future of evolutionary psychology. I believe that its future will continue to be in the United States and Europe... Japan, for example, has been a major geopolitical and economic power for most of the 20th century (Small and Singer, 1982). Yet it has produced only 12 Nobel laureates, the same number as Austria, which has one-sixteenth of Japan's population. This problem has long been known to East Asian specialists as the "creativity problem"... East Asians have much higher visualization IQ than verbal IQ... Here at LSE where I teach, we receive a large number of these third-rate Chinese students dressed up as first-rate. (About 5-10% of all undergraduate and graduate students at LSE are from PRC.) Virtually every Chinese applicant to LSE boasts "the highest exam scores in their province." Apparently it has not occurred to the LSE admissions office that there could not possibly be that many provinces in China. Naturally, most of these PRC students do very poorly and fail out of the program, and, when they do, many confess to having purchased or otherwise fabricated their exam scores and transcripts before they applied for LSE... we have an enormous problem of plagiarism among our Asian students... many Asian students simply copy the work of established scholars. To them it is a venerable act of honoring their masters to "borrow" from them, by copying their words verbatim. No matter how much we tell them that it is wrong, Asian students simply cannot understand why it is wrong to honor their intellectual masters by faithfully reproducing their work. Needless to say, this is no recipe for scientific progress... What makes America great is not the Twin Towers; if it were, then Malaysia, with its magnificent Petronas Towers, will be the greatest nation on earth"
Satoshi Kanazawa *does* study Asians!

That cliché again: “Chinese people are not creative” - "He told me a story about a lecturer in an art faculty on a collage in the US, who said that Chinese students are leaving school around the 3rd weeks of their art studies. Why? On the first two weeks, all intros are taught. You learn about different artists, their work and methods. 3rd week comes, and the students are requested to create something of their own…. Chinese students come to the lecturer and say: “Tell me what to do, I’ll do it!”. The lecturer says: “No, invent something new of your own”. They just can’t…"

Guided Self-Help Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial - "Access to Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression is limited. One solution is CBT self-help books."

Aubrey Ireland, College Student, Wins Restraining Order Against Helicopter Parents - "Ireland told the court that despite making the dean's list, her parents would routinely drive 600 miles from Kansas to Ohio to make unannounced visits to her at school. Then they accused her of illegal drug use, promiscuity and mental illness. Her parents allegedly became so overbearing that they installed keylogging software on her computer and cell phone to keep track of her every move. She told the court, "I was a dog with a collar on.”"

Satay by the Bay open for business, but not fully - "A LACK of manpower is delaying the full opening of the new 1,000-seat foodcourt at Gardens by the Bay... It does not help that a National Environment Agency rule does not permit foreign workers to work at food stalls or hawker stalls... locals preferred to work five days a week, from 9am to 5pm, for $2,500 to $3,000 a month. In comparison, foreigners ask for a starting pay upwards of $1,000, are willing to work six days a week and start the work day at 6am."

‘Hate crime’ victims: Young, poor, white - "The most likely victim of a hate crime in the U.S. is a poor, young, white, single urban dweller, according to an analysis of Justice Department statistics collected from between July 2000 and December 2003... While race is, by far, the No. 1 factor cited as the reason for hate crimes, blacks are slightly less likely to be victims and far more likely to be perpetrators... 38 percent of all those reporting hate crimes said the attacker was black, and in 90 percent of those cases, the victim believed the offender’s motive was racial. In incidents involving white attackers, only 30 percent attribute the hate crime to race, while 20 percent attributed it to ethnicity."
I'm trying to reconcile this with reporting claiming the reverse but the raw data seems to support this. 2010 data has removed the hate crime category, sadly

Among Religious Groups, Jewish Americans Most Strongly Oppose War - "Jewish Americans are the most strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Catholics and Protestants are more or less divided in their views on the war, while Mormons are the most likely to favor it. Those with no religious affiliation also oppose the war, but not to the same extent that Jewish people do."

Sharpton Marches Against Words He Won't Apologize For - "Sharpton publicly bashed former NYC Mayor David Dinkins as "a n----r whore," and once referred to his political opponents as "recycled white trash." Sharpton has also never publicly renounced his 1991 inflammatory public remarks against "diamond merchants" -- after which a Harlem mob singled out a random 29-year-old Jewish rabbinical student -- and stabbed him to death."

Poll: 14 percent in U.S. are anti-Semitic - "The number of blacks with strong anti-Semitic beliefs continued to remain high since 1992. The 2005 survey found 36 percent of African-Americans hold strong anti-Semitic beliefs, four times more than the 9 percent for whites. The survey also revealed 35 percent of foreign-born Hispanics hold hardcore anti-Semitic beliefs, while 19 percent of Hispanics born in the United States fall into the same category."
Perhaps "white privilege" means that you have fewer racist attitudes than others

'Whites suffer more racism than blacks': Study shows white people believe they are more discriminated against - "while both blacks and whites saw anti-black racism decreasing over the decades, whites saw race relations as a 'zero sum game' where they were losing out as blacks 'gained' the advantage... on average blacks saw anti-white bias rising slightly from 1.4 in the 1950s to 1.8 today"
Of course, the reality of lived experience only counts in certain cases

Man jailed for punching friend's boyfriend - "A salesman was jailed on Wednesday for a month for punching the 20-year-old boyfriend of an 18-year-old student he knew. Leang Shi Ming, 24, had sent her a text message at 3am on June 16 last year asking her if she was free to talk. Mr Edwin Poo Wei Lun, who was sleeping over at the student's Punggol flat, replied the text and told Leang to leave her alone as she was very young. After a flurry of text messages between the two men, they met at the void deck at 4.45am where Leang punched Mr Poo, causing fractures near his eyes."


Are you a PSP or a DO? GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 47)

"Jeremy taught me a lesson very early on in our relationship: It’s better to be a “PSP” than a “DO.” What the heck does that mean? A PSP is a “pleasantly surprised pessimist,” and a DO is a “disappointed optimist”...

He’d kept his expectations low so as not to be disappointed. The lesson: It doesn’t hurt to go into new situations with no expectations because things can only go up. If you go in thinking that everything will be rosy, you’re setting yourself up to be let down. As optimistic as I am about life, I know that it was an important lesson to learn."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Making the most of what you have

Boob jobs aside, there are non-surgical (and free!) ways of enhancing what Mother Nature gave you; like all Mothers, she plays favourites with her daughters - but it is pointless to complain.

This is a prime example of what I call the Japanese cleavage enhancing pose (I swear this image is somewhere on my blog, but I can't find it).

The 2 parts of this tactic:

1) Bend forward (and down), so gravity gives you a boost
2) Subtly use your upper arms to squeeze inwards so your mass is consolidated

Notice how here one's arm can serve as a subtle pushup bra

Culinary Delights

“Their flesh, when merely cooked over fire, is surprisingly tough. Native guides suggested burying the meat with hot embers for a few hours before roasting, and this produced truly wonderful results. Chimpanzee is a sublime dish, done right.”

— Jane Goodall (I haven't found a verified source yet, but this is the attribution)


Peut-être que demain, quand j'aurai cuvé l'alcool, je me demanderai ce que j'ai fait et dans quelle merde je me serai fourré.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Links - 14th February 2013

Sustainability certification sought to satisfy Asia's appetite for WA shark fins - "the plan has "astounded" green groups who say exporting fins will undermine the worldwide campaign against shark finning and become a "global embarrassment" that undermines the Barnett Government's green credentials... WA already exports about 30 tonnes of shark fin a year to Asia at $10-$20 a kilogram. But prices could jump to as much as $100 a kilo with sustainable certification... Conservation Council marine co-ordinator Tim Nichol said the move would "torpedo the campaign against shark finning, one of the cruellest and most wasteful fishing practices in the world"... "Demand for shark-fin soup underpins a criminal trade, almost as big as the drug trade, that is decimating shark populations around the world"... certified shark fin would not encourage the illegal trade because it could be "traced from the restaurant right back to the boat"... "I totally agree with a ban on shark fins where they take the fin and throw the shark away. But that doesn't happen in WA," Mr Adams said. Most of the shark meat is sold locally through fish and chip shops."
The hysteria against sustainable shark's fin reveals that they aren't really concerned about sharks

Spanish fleet position on the removal of shark fins on board - "The public consultation process currently underway is based on a completely mistaken, incorrect premise. It takes for granted that “finning” exists in the EU, a practice that involves cutting the fins off sharks and throwing the carcass into the sea. There is no finning in the EU, unlike what happens with some Asian longliner fleets, with ACP artisanal fleets and even with New Zealand fleets. Cepesca rejects the practice of finning outright. Current controls, already in place for both EU and third country ports where the Spanish surface longliner fleet operates have demonstrated that this fleet is not finning. Indeed, the economic productivity of this fishery for our surface longliner fleet precisely lies in marketing all the parts that can be used from sharks. The economic fraction from the sale of fins for a surface longliner vessel accounts for approximately 45 to 50% of the total deriving from shark fishing, while between 50% and 55% is derived from marketing carcasses. Obviously, the simple approach of throwing part of this economic yield into the sea is completely absurd and lacks any logical justification for an economic activity on which many people depend. In addition to this, the advancement of research in this area shows the great diversity of products that can be obtained from different parts of the shark: cartilage, meat, skin, etc., these being high quality products"

American or European? Board game styles you should know - "Risk... exemplifies the American style by being a luck-dependent highly competitive game with military themes... Puerto Rico exemplifies the European style of board game by being luck-independent with maximum player-inclusion and an economic theme."

Two polyglots speak a dozen languages in a mall in Ohio: Benny and Moses level up! - YouTube

French demand Crown Jewels from the Queen for 1499 murder of Edward Plantagenet - "Recalling 25-year-old Edward's 'unfair and horrible death' at the hands of henchmen working for Henry VII, England's first Tudor king, the city believes it is owed an apology – and 513 years' worth of compensation. This would amount to billions in today's currency, but Angers is prepared to accept the coronation jewels to cover it all. The petition, which has already been signed by hundreds of so-called Angevins, as well as sympathisers around France and other parts of the world, is directed at the Queen... A spokesman for Angers council admitted that the petition had 'little chance of success' but said the 'crime' against the Angevin monarchs was worth highlighting. He encouraged British people to visit Angers, which has medieval buildings including a magnificent castle which recall the glory days of the Plantagenets."

Terry Eagleton: The liberal supremacists - "there is a fundamental conflict between liberals and leftists. Liberalism holds that the state should tolerate any opinion that does not seek to undermine that very tolerance. It is an ironic kind of politics. As Tony Blair warned: "Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it, or don't come here." Whether this is comically self-contradictory or properly paradoxical depends on your view of the liberal state. That state is not too bothered about what you believe, as long as it does not thwart the right of others to their beliefs. A more cynical view is that advanced capitalism is inherently faithless; as long as you pay your taxes and refrain from beating up police officers... There is an irony or paradox built into liberal thought: you must be properly intolerant of assaults on tolerance. But this irony is in perpetual danger of getting out of hand"

Double Standard: NYT Sides with Muslims, but "Piss Christ" Foes Were Compared to Nazis | NewsBusters - "TimesWatch also sees an “uncomfortable parallel” -- one between the Times' sympathetic stance toward tax-funded art offensive to Christians, and its hypocritical failure to defend newspaper cartoons offensive to Muslims."

Exporting health to Singapore - "PHYSIOTHERAPY IS one area where Irish graduates have found particular success, and there are about 100 speech therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists working in Singapore... 'There were 37 in my class and nine came to Singapore'... the pay is around the same in Singapore, possibly a little less, but the cost of living is still a bit cheaper so it evens out. The main reason so many people are coming to Singapore to work as healthcare professionals is the fact that there are few opportunities at home"

Plan to return chessmen to Scotland is ‘nonsense’, says minister - "THE UK government has knocked back Alex Salmond’s attempt to repatriate the Lewis Chessmen, deriding his plan as “nonsense”. The First Minister wants the artefacts to be taken from the British Museum and put on display in Scotland... “Mr Salmond’s clarion call is all about creating conflict, not culture. It’s an ounce of policy mixed with a pound of posturing because museums and galleries in the 21st century do not have static collections. “They lend and borrow. They acquire. Imagine how the National Gallery in Edinburgh would be with nothing but Scottish pictures on the wall.” The minister said the pieces had been made in Norway and were probably on their way to Ireland when they got lost in the Western Isles. She added that the pieces were made of walrus ivory, which was not indigenous to Scotland, and had been loaned to museums all over the world, including to places in Scotland, by the British Museum. “It seems to me that they’ve been doing a pretty good job promoting the importance of Europe in medieval culture – and Scotland’s place in it – without any help from those who would round them up into a single, static place,” the minister said.""
"It’s not hard to imagine someone overseas wanting the glorious mummies and antiquities in the National Museum in Edinburgh sent back to Egypt, or the Burrell’s Impressionist paintings repatriated to France. And maybe we could redress the balance still further. How about slapping in a claim for the pink granite of the Albert Memorial in London to be stripped out and ‘sent home’ to Mull? It’s a lot of nonsense, isn’t it?"

Bra Size Linked To Breast Cancer Risk

“Paisura”, Japan’s New Bag Strap/Boob Fetish Goes Mainstream, Gets Dedicated Photo Books - "While most Japanese women are still shy of showing off their cleavage, however, their breasts are becoming more and more noticeable as the straps of their bags cutting across the middle of their chests and pulling their clothes tight. Whether it’s an intentional act or not, publications dedicated entirely to photos of girls with bag straps lodged between their breasts have suddenly arrived both online and in bookstores across the nation, prompting the creation of an entirely new word- paisura."

Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa? - "Quinoa was, in marketing speak, the "miracle grain of the Andes", a healthy, right-on, ethical addition to the meat avoider's larder (no dead animals, just a crop that doesn't feel pain). Consequently, the price shot up – it has tripled since 2006 – with more rarified black, red and "royal" types commanding particularly handsome premiums. But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture... Soya, a foodstuff beloved of the vegan lobby as an alternative to dairy products, is another problematic import, one that drives environmental destruction [see footnote]. Embarrassingly, for those who portray it as a progressive alternative to planet-destroying meat, soya production is now one of the two main causes of deforestation in South America, along with cattle ranching"

mrbrown.com: Epic win reply to forum letter "Does lingerie ad show women in right light?" - "The wattage of the lighting used in the photography of the model in question is probably about 2,000 watts and is usually sufficient for this sort of photography. In short, the shot is well lit and the subject is in focus... Are there any decency guidelines for public advertisements to adhere to? In my opinion, it is a decent shot because the image is not blurred nor out-of-focus. Ms Leong also mentions the ad being "strategically located". I believe, more to the point, the model's arms were strategically located, or the ad would cause accidents."

NOW do you believe us? Two men experience simulated labour pain for TV show but give up after just two hours (lucky they don't have to do it for real)!
As someone pointed out, they are actors doing it for TV

Out-of-wedlock births on the rise worldwide - "the USA and the U.K. are similar because they have more solo parenting by mothers. "The relationships of the parents are much less stable in the U.S. than a lot of other countries," she says. "In Europe, where there are high levels of childbearing outside of marriage, when childbearing is not happening in marriage, it's happening in cohabitation. Cohabitations are reasonably stable.""
Single parenthood seems to be an Anglo disease

Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love | Ars Technica - "Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn't pay. In a way, that's what ad blocking is doing to us... People talk about how annoying advertisments are, but I'll tell you what: it's a lot more annoying and frustrating to have to cut staff and cut benefits because a huge portion of readers block ads. Yet I've seen that happen at dozens of great sites over the last few years, Ars included"

'Les Miserables' soundtrack released! Download and purchase - "There are not words enough to give my praise to Anne Hathaway. “I Dreamed a Dream” is an emotionally charged, heart-breakingly sad and defeated anthem of a woman’s personal suffering. She has reclaimed the song from the white-washed and emotionless performances of the like of Susan Boyle (no offence to Miss Boyle, I also enjoy her rendition) and has restored it to its proper place as the crowning moment in a woman’s personal hell"

Contrary Proverbs

Newton's Third Law states: "Every action has an equal and an opposite reaction". So it would stand to reason that every proverb has an equal and opposite proverb:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush BUT A man's reach should exceed his grasp

A miss is as good as a mile/Do it well, or not at all BUT Half a loaf is better than none

All good things come to those who wait BUT Time and tide wait for no man

Birds of a feather flock together BUT Opposites attract

Clothes make the man BUT Never judge a book by its cover

Don't cross your bridges before you come to them BUT Forewarned is forearmed

Doubt is the beginning of wisdom BUT Faith will move mountains

Good things come in small packages BUT The bigger the better

Great starts make great finishes BUT It ain't over 'till it's over

He who hesitates is lost BUT Fools rush in where angels fear to tread/Act in haste, Repent at leisure

Look before you leap BUT Strike while the iron is hot/Carpe Diem

Practice makes perfect BUT All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down BUT The squeaky wheel gets the grease

The pen is mightier than the sword BUT Actions speak louder than words

You're never too old to learn BUT You can't teach an old dog new tricks

What's good for the goose is good for the gander BUT One man's meat is another man's poison.

Great minds think alike/Wise men think alike BUT Fools seldom differ

The best things in life are free BUT There's no such thing as a free lunch

Slow and steady wins the race BUT Time waits for none

Absence makes the heart grow fonder BUT Out of sight, out of mind/Distance lends enchantment to the view

Too many cooks spoil the broth BUT Many hands make light work

No news is good news/Ignorance is bliss BUT Knowledge is power

The grass is always greener on the other side BUT Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't

Cowards may die many times before their death BUT Discretion is the better part of valour/He who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day

Never let the sun go down on your anger BUT Revenge is a dish best served cold

Don't burn your bridges behind you BUT 破釜沉舟

Hold fast to the words of your ancestors BUT Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them

I'd always been meaning to do this... but other people got there first.

Ah well - the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese! (I get to compile a more comprehensive list, format it nicely and add some of my own)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do people fall in love on trains?

法國微電影: 我會等待著下一個,中英文字幕版 J'attendrai le suivant sub chinois (subtitles in English also)

Ni d'Hiroshima

Hiroshima mon amour.
— Oui. Je n’ai rien compris.
J’éclatai de rire.
— Ne t’inquiète pas, beaucoup de francophones ont vécu ce phénomène. Raison de plus pour aller à Hiroshima, inventai-je.
— Tu veux dire que si on lit ce livre à Hiroshima, on le comprend ?
— Sûrement, promulguai-je.
— C’est idiot. Je n’ai pas besoin d’aller à Venise pour comprendre Mort à Venise, ni à Parme pour lire La Chartreuse de Parme...

Dès l’aéroport d’Hiroshima, j’eus une impression très spécifique : nous n’étions pas en 1989. Je ne savais plus en quelle année nous étions : certes, pas en 1945, mais cela ressemblait aux années cinquante ou soixante. Le choc atomique avait-il ralenti le cours du temps ? Les constructions modernes ne manquaient pas, les gens étaient habillés normalement, les véhicules ne différaient pas de ceux du Japon entier. C’était comme si, ici, les êtres vivaient plus fort qu’ailleurs. Habiter une ville dont le nom signifiait, pour la planète entière, la mort avait exalté en eux la fibre vivante ; il en résultait une impression d’optimisme qui recréait l’ambiance d’une époque où l’on croyait encore en l’avenir.

Ce constat m’atteignit au coeur. Je fus d’emblée bouleversée par cette ville à l’atmosphère déchirante de bonheur courageux.

--- Ni d’Eve ni d’Adam / Amélie Nothomb

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Decorated Generals

I tried to find a source for this but most of the sources were Russian forums

Links - 12th February 2013

Trying to ground hooligans - "If people fitted the profile - men, aged 15 to 45, casual clothes, England flags poking out of bags - their journey was halted by football intelligence officers at Heathrow's Terminal 2... Also sought are the peripherals who would likely step in to a fight to support the hardcore of violent offenders. They might not have an order over their heads, but police say their history suggests they are a threat, past convictions or not... "The types we are looking for are casually dressed, not in football clothes, but in certain types of clothing, Stone Island jackets, Burberry""
"People seem happy to accept racial profiling when they're stopping Young White Males suspected of being football hooligans"

Airline crash data group ranks world's safest airlines - "The world’s safest airlines
1. Finnair
2. Air New Zealand
3. Cathay Pacific
4. Emirates
5. Etihad
6. EVA Air
7. TAP Portugal
8. Hainan Airlines
9. Virgin Australia
10. British Airways
The bottom 10
51. SkyWest Airlines
52. South African Airways
53. Thai Airways
54. Turkish Airlines
55. Saudia
56. Korean Air
57. GOL Transportes Aéreos
58. Air India
59. TAM Airlines
60. China Airlines"

Better Book Titles - "The Pros and Cons of Prisoner Rehabilitation Programs
Now a motion picture starring Wolverine
Victor Hugo: Les Misérables...
Even in your wildest dreams the only men interested in you will have weird teeth and be made of wood
E.T.A Hoffman and Maurice Sendak: The Nutcracker"

Tony Awards 2011 Opening number NPH sings It's Not Just For Gays Anymore - YouTube

Penis Size Does Matter To Some Women, Study Claims - "A new study finds that women who have frequent vaginal orgasms are more likely than other women to say they climax more easily with men with larger penises. Women who tend to prefer penile-vaginal intercourse over other types of sex also say the same"

Top painter saves cat first during blaze - "Tan Swie Hian... the 1987 Cultural Medallion winner then returned to retrieve six paintings, which he estimates to be worth about $9 million in all, from his personal collection... “If my house is on fire, I would save the cat. Between life and art, I choose life.”"
This is probably speciesism

Groupon - Why You Should Sell The 100% Rally - "We don't think that Groupon offers a decent risk reward profile at the current stock price and valuation. The company is trying to enter highly competitive internet businesses, such as online retail and payments, at the same time. The company has realized its core discount deal business model is at a dead end and it is desperately trying to enter new ones. The company's CEO is not sure how long he will retain his position and the company's acquisitions don't make a whole lot of sense. We don't think management knows what it wants to do and where it wants to go. The only upside risk is if Groupon gets bought by a bigger technology company."

Feminism, the Patriarchy, PZ Myers, and other trigger words - "I used to really like PZ Myers, but between belittling people who didn't agree with his definition of atheism, the "Elevatorgate" nonsense, and the colossally stupid dramas over sexual harassment policies at conferences and the embarrassment that was "Atheism+", I just stopped caring... he has a post ranting again about feminism, mocking Michael Shermer and erecting massive straw men in order to belittle anyone who disagrees with him... the vast majority of rational people, particularly those in the nontheist community, fully support legal equality between men and women. And we acknowledge that there are cultural expectations – gender roles, if you will – that women and men may or may not choose to embrace, and we should be tolerant of and celebrate those differences... The thing is, we don't all agree on the severity or relevance of this sort of thing. We don't all agree that there actually is a "patriarchy" in modern America. We don't all agree whether ads featuring scantily-clad men or women, in an attempt to appeal to our biology to drive the free market, are indicative of any kind of broad social problem. We don't all agree that, at least in modern America, the areas where women still experience inequality deserve more attention than the areas where men experience inequality... The problem is, though, that in the mind of PZ Myers, Watson, and the those of that ilk, there is no room for measures of disagreement. If you're not totally on board their train, then you are the enemy. You are, as PZ describes it, an "anti-feminist". No – you are not allowed to broadly support women's legal equality and support their right to accept or reject certain normative gender roles while disagreeing about the extent and/or severity of these issues in modern Western civilization. You either swallow the whole doctrine, or you are part of the problem. And, that's why I stopped reading Pharyngula. If I wanted dogmatism, I would have stuck with religion. At least they give out free crackers."
"I barely go to Pharyngula anymore because of this "if you are not 100% with us you're against us" rabble and his mindless minions on the comment section are even worse"
"I find it disappointingly typical that, since I don't agree with your stance, you make the assumption that the problem is one of ignorance on my part, as though I'm not familiar with women's studies."

All hail the supreme poo-bah PZ, and his minions! - "Where are all these so-called bars where men cannot seem to control themselves for 5 minutes and are supposedly groping women en masse? After years of having done the whole bar scene I was never harassed, or groped. And none of my friends, or their friends, were either. And we are talking years of going out to different places every weekend. Places packed with men who were drinking mostly to excess. Men who were probably looking to get laid, but hell so were many women. Look ladies, we can be just as ‘bad’ in regards to harassment. Stop pretending like we are all the innocent little wallflowers you femenazis would like to make us all seem to be. If you are that concerned about it then stay home. The rest of us women would like to go out and not keep worrying about stupid things that really are not as bad as you’d like to pretend it were. Most women, such as me, don’t care to live in fear and are perfectly capable of handling a drunken idiot. And we are not so uber sensitive or narcissistic to think that ANY attention from a guy means it is somehow sexually motivated and should be flagged as harassment... One thing you'll notice, if you have the intestinal fortitude, or well calloused forehead to keep reading the comments on PZ's blog, is that there is quite a low tolerance for rational, intellectual, and independent thought over there. The minions get all uppity when their supreme poo-bah is questioned, or asked to provide anything to back-up his statements. It's so sad, and quite embarrassing for the community as a whole. Which is the only reason why I even bother with this whole rigamarole. I don't want women to buy into this crap and think that the atheist/skeptic community is somehow rife with over-sexed men who will harass, touch, or rape you at the drop of a hat. This is not the case. By believing in, and perpetuating this myth we do so much more harm than sexual harassment could ever do. It rips our community apart, instills irrational fear in women, and misinforms the public at large. Is this what we want? I personally do not"

Women Need to Realize Work Isn't School - "the CEO statistics will continue to improve, but only incrementally, until women recognize that the boardroom is not the schoolroom. To be successful, we must now do the very thing we were always taught not to: be disruptive. In school, being disruptive might get you sent to the principal's office, but in business, disruption is a proven path to success, describing innovations that take root at the low end of the market, or create a new market, and then eventually upend an industry. If you play disruptively as you go into the workplace, you'll be doing the upending."

89% of Internet Traffic now x10 pop-under adverts - "An informal study by DSLreports.com staff has concluded that x10 camera "pop-under" adverts now account for 89% of bandwidth used by all broadband users."
From the bad old days of 2001

A Guy Thing? Secularism, Feminism, and a Response to Ophelia Benson - "I shall close with a warning about the propensity for social movements to turn on themselves in purges that distract from the original goals and destroy the movement from within... (Ayn Rand’s Objectivist movement, in which members were judged—and subsequently purged—for such trivial matters as liking the wrong music; in the end the movement was reduced to Rand and a handful of sycophants alone in her New York apartment.) As the aforementioned Harriet Hall e-mailed me, she “was vilified on Ophelia’s blog for not following a certain kind of feminist party line of how a feminist should act and think. And I was attacked there in a disturbingly irrational, nonskeptical way.” I asked her why she didn’t defend herself: “I did not dare try to explain my thinking on Ophelia’s blog, because it was apparent from the tone of the comments that anything I might say would be misinterpreted and twisted to use against me. I have always been a feminist but I have my own style of feminism. And I have felt more oppressed by these sort of feminists than by men, and far less welcome in that strain of feminism than in the atheist or skeptical communities”... if the worst offense against women in secularism today is a ten-second quip taken out of context and redacted to the two-second line “it’s a guy thing” (which in any case was not meant to be sexist) then I would count that as evidence of significant moral progress deserving of celebration, not vilification"

Security audit finds dev OUTSOURCED his JOB to China to goof off at work

Good Manners - "RD sent reporters to major cities in 35 countries where the magazine is published — from Auckland, New Zealand, to Zagreb, Croatia. In the United States, that meant targeting New York, where looking out for No. 1 — the heck with the other guy — has always been a basic survival skill... four out of every five people they encountered passed RD’s courtesy test — making New York the most courteous city in the world. Imagine that."
Singapore was near the bottom of the list, but even lower were Seoul and then... KL. India was the very worst

The Truth About the Financial Transactions Tax or the Robin Hood Tax - "The basic idea is that every financial transaction should have a tiny tax added to it: there are so many transactions that there will be bucket loads of money to spend, even if not enough to stopper every piggie’s squeal. No one will notice each individual amount except the banks and as we don’t like them that’s fine. This is both charming and naïve: it really isn’t possible to abstract a few hundred billion from the economy without people noticing. The only good thing to say about the tax is that it obeys Colbert’s dictum, about the art being getting the maximum feathers with the least hissing from the goose. Everyone thinks it will be the banks paying and as we really don’t like them at present then that’s just fine. Sadly, given that taxes always mean that some live human’s wallet gets lightened, it won’t be the banks paying the tax for banks are corporations which do not, ever, pay taxes. They can collect them, hand them over, but some human somewhere carries the economic burden. In the case of an FTT it will be consumers everywhere plus workers everywhere... A stated aim, over and above that the banks should pay, is that the tax will reduce market volatility by reducing some of the speculative froth. That speculative froth is what reduces market volatility seems to be lost on those ideologically opposed to finance. You know, it’s done largely by men, in offices, with money: must be bad and should be a law against it. But what is really important to know about the tax is that it won’t raise any money. Not a single penny"

Monday, February 11, 2013

This is eerily familiar...

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 17 - Departure

Europe CNY 2012
Day 17 - 4th February - Departure

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Various varieties of bread for breakfast

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"Rich and creamy milk from Jersey Cows. Unhomogenised. Sainsbury's. Taste the difference"
It was great, though still not as nice as the one in Spain

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"Où est la bint gâtée et ingrate ? Je ne la vois point."
I assume this referred to the bitchy cat (which you probably can't find in any photo because she was always hiding in a cupboard)

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Boris and Harry

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"Open early"
Pret a manger was open the earliest of all the outlets in the airport. It was that popular, huh.

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"Please offer your seat to those less able to stand"
This was easier than listing all the groups which should get a seat, but maybe it was too subtle. Actually I saw similar signs all around England.

EasyJet had a contest - take pictures of the EasyJet bear in destinations they serviced and win a free flight. This was smart - they would earn money from bear sales.

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I either took this because it was cheap or to benchmark with duty free prices in Singapore

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"£10.00 each or 2 for £10.00"
Why would anyone get only one?

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Public display of the KPIs of each terminal. Well done.

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Kate also comes without William. Feel free to analyse the significance of this.

Post-checkin airport shopping is a better bargain in Heathrow than Singapore because VAT is higher. For example the £39.99 Clark's I had bought in Stansted while waiting for my bus were only £33/32 here.

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Harrods 6ft Beefeater Bear. £1,652.15

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Pret's All Day Breakfast (and indeed everything else) cost more if you dined in - because of VAT. Erm. Okay.
So I had this and sparkling grape juice and elderflower.

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They know how to con people with talk of Air Miles - but then I think some people might find the idea of fruit and vegetables grown in a greenhouse appealing.
In any event the sandwich was actually quite good.

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I think I took this for being a staircase to a closed door. It seemed a lot more noteworthy at the time.

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Ham, Cheese and Tomato "Croissant" from Pret. Because Lufthansa food sucked. Despite not looking like a croissant it was quite good.

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I can't remember why I took this HSBC ad

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Ad on Lufthansa serviette for my butterbrezel. How unprofessional for a full service airline. In fact Lufthansa's name is not even on it.

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This outlet at Frankfurt took the cake for most cutthroat prices ever: €3,60 for 500ml of Coke. But then it was right beside the cake.

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Instant noodles (aka "Asia noodle soup") - what passes for a gourmet meal in Germany (or Frankfurt Airport, at least)

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Weird location indicator Lufthansa used when the plane was on the runway at the airport

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Weird CGI for location indicator Lufthansa used when the plane was in the air

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There was no choice of food on Lufthansa, so I was treated to an exceptionally bad beef stroganoff. This was the worst plane food I could remember having. As the saying goes, if the cooks are from Germany, you are in hell.

I tried to observe Lufthansa's level of service, and it wasn't very good. Even though my study was not as extensive as it could've been, I didn't notice any staff coming down the aisle in response to my request for attention.

In fact some requests for attention went unanswered (they could've been preparing for breakfast, but still). They didn't walk down the aisles unless at the designated times (e.g. to serve meals). Indeed one attendant walked down the aisle to deliver a special breakfast - and ignored the light signalling that I desired attention. Grr. During my Lufthansa flight, I discovered what happens if the light asking for attention is left on for too long - it turns off by itself.

The one time I thought they were finally coming to attend to me, the attendant just asked me to put my seat upright (and didn't ask me what I needed).

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Megastructures: Singapore (Marina Bay Sands)
Also if you notice, the monitor was widescreen, so actually movie watching was alright (I suspect it wasn't true widescreen, since the Megastructures episode I watched still had black bars at the top and bottom).

The entertainment system jumbled CD tracks. Gah.

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"Arriving passengers from Malaysia can buy duty paid wines. All bona fide travellers of 18 years old & above are eligible"
Who are the non-bona fide travellers? Illegal immigrants?

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Lots of shortbread!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Links - 10th February 2013

"For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing." - H. L. Mencken


Sex-for-grades case: Law professor starts cross-examination of Darinne Ko - "Addressing her in a gentle, fatherly manner, Tey began his line of defence by asking her about the circumstances surrounding her first statement to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB)"

Law prof Tey cross-examines ex-student Ko - "Ms Ko said she was hauled in by two officers from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), at about 7am or 8am during the examination period. She said she was deprived of sleep, felt scared and anxious, and was interrogated until about 7pm before she was brought to see CPIB's deputy director, Teng Khee Fatt. She said the recording officer had told Mr Teng she had been uncooperative. Mr Teng, she said, told her that the evidence she gave the CPIB was "not making out the elements of the charge against Tey". During their two-and-a-half-hour conversation, she said Mr Teng told her that corruption is a two-sided offence and that indemnity could be granted if the need arose. She also said Mr Teng had wanted her to write that she had given the gifts because she wanted "favour" from Tey but she refused. The two then argued about the terms to be used and finally settled on the words "undue prejudice", which she took as "treating her unfairly". "I was slightly more comfortable with that compromise even though it was still not an accurate depiction of the true state of affairs," said Ms Ko. When asked by Tey what the true state of affairs were, Ms Ko said: "I only bought Prof Tey the gifts because I liked him and we were in a relationship." But Mr Teng didn't buy this answer, she said. Ms Ko said he told her that it was not possible for a girl to buy a guy gifts... the Montblanc pen in question finally appeared in court as evidence. Tey pointed out that in her CPIB statement, Ms Ko said he had lost his fountain pen... Tey told her she had "recalled wrongly" and that his original fountain pen had been found. He admitted his supposedly "lost" pen as evidence. But Ms Ko explained that she only heard from Tey that he had lost a fountain pen and did not know if he indeed had the pen. Tey then quickly said: "The defendant does not seek to blame you. The defendant only wants to tell this honorable court that he had never lost his Sheaffer fountain pen, which can indeed be traced back to some 20 years ago."
"when she was locked up by the CPIB, she was latched from the outside in a room for close to 12 hours, and though she was given food and water, she was not allowed to sleep. She added she had only slept for 3 1/ 2 hours in the last 30 hours. She also said that no statement was recorded until she had a 2 1/ 2 hour conversation with Mr Teng... her earlier statements were different because she felt pressured into believing that she needed indemnity from the court"
"I further said that I could not cooperate with his definition of cooperation, because my statements would not hold up to cross-examination. Then he said that it would be possible for him to ask the prosecution to soley use my statement without calling me to testify, and if I cooperated, I would be able to carry on with my life and begin my career upon graduation."
"Ms Png [from CPIB], she charged, was also willing to record only parts of what she said. "In relation to the gift, Chen Chen had received specific orders to record it within the parameters of my agreement with her boss.""

Questions raised over Cecilia Sue's 11 hours at CPIB - "Mr Tan also said on Jan 12 - the day Ms Sue's fifth statement was taken - Mr Teng had spent four hours speaking to her after her statement was taken. Logs in Mr Teng's work diary said that she checked the statement but did not wish to sign it, said Mr Tan. Mr Tan added: "It seems to me the four hours was (spent) to persuade her to sign the statement... What did you promise her?" Mr Teng said that nothing was promised and that Ms Sue had spoken to him about her marital and work concerns. When asked by the prosecution if he was questioning the integrity of the witness, Mr Tan said: "I have good basis to suggest that the change in position by Cecilia Sue was not done voluntarily by her"

Tey says docs requested from NUS will prove he made false confessions to CPIB - "LAW professor Tey Tsun Hang said yesterday that documents he had requested from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will prove that confessions he made to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) were false... Tey's requests for the three documents, however, were denied by Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye, who did not explain why."

Prof: I had sex on sofa with another student - "The sofa in his office was in a rich shade of red. It was where law professor Tey Tsun Hang allegedly had sex with Miss Darinne Ko Wen Hui, now 23, twice. In statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), however, Tey had also alleged that he had sex with another female student on that two-seater sofa. Yesterday, he told the court that the statement was "a false confession" and was made under "harsh treatment"... The name of another former student was also mentioned in court on Friday. But there were no details on the nature of the relationship between Tey and the man, who graduated in 2010"

Cougar Life Billboard In LA Advertises 'Cougars' For 'Mother F*ckers' (VIDEO) - "Elissa Buchter, spokeswoman for Cougar Life and a cougar herself, told The Huffington Post that the billboard is the first of more the company hopes to put up in Hollywood and West Hollywood. The company is targeting the area, Buchter said, because it is the national "cougar capital" -- with more Cougar Life members in the 90069 zip code than anywhere else in the U.S. Regarding the term "mother f*ckers," she commented, "The majority of cougars are single moms. And we thought it'd be a good way to get their attention and make a splash"... "Older women are a lot more confident, more willing to explore, and in touch with their sexuality," she said. A lot of men in their late-20s want an independent woman who is not codependent and does not want drama or money, Buchter said. "Cougars have their own thing going on and can show cubs new experiences. And younger women are often cranky, indecisive, needy, immature and play a lot of games," she said. As for the cougars, Buchter explained, "It's refreshing for women to come across a man who's in his prime and doesn't have baggage.""

Free to Read | About JSTOR - "JSTOR, the not-for-profit digital library of thousands of academic journals and other content, announced today that the archives of more than 1,200 journals are now available for limited reading by the public. This is part of a major expansion of JSTOR’s experimental program Register & Read, in which people can sign up for a JSTOR account and, every two weeks, read up to three articles online for free."

Is Kate Upton Fat? - YouTube - "'There is a skinny blog known as Skinny Gossip and basically it features women who tear other women apart because of their weight issues... The latest victim is actually a model by the name of Kate Upton... She starred in this very racy Carl's Jr commercial. She's like eating the burger as if she's having sex with it'
'Maybe that's why she's having weight issues'...
'She looks like a squishy brick... the lazy, lardy look'...
A lot of times you hear women arguing that there are these unrealistic body expectations because men expect us to look a certain way. No, it's not men. It's women. It's other women tearing women apart, and that's the real problem here'...
'Here's what I can guarantee you. The person who wrote that blog is not a heterosexual male. I don't know who it is, but it ain't a straight guy, cause anybody who looks at those Kate Upton pictures thinks, yum. Okay. They don't look at it and go, oh my god, look at that lazy lardy squishy brick look'"
"A misogynist is a man who hates women as much as women hate each other."; Feminists would blame this on "backlash".

Poly students caught having 'threesome' in school - "They were captured entering the toilet together by a closed circuit camera situated outside the toilet. The three did not deny committing the act, which happened in one of the classroom buildings on a school day."

Work Life Balance in Japan - "I have seen many Singaporean people who like Japan. Of course I love talking to the kind of people who enjoy watching “Japan Hour” every week. But they keep asking me the same question. “Why did you leave Japan? It’s such a beautiful country!” Well, I always give them the same answer.
“Yeah, it’s a beautiful country.
It’s a bit like a “5 star hotel”.
Staying there as a guest is a great experience.
But if you want to serve,
That’s another story.”

Facebook’s messaging fee scheme is part of its plan to revolutionize email. - "An algorithmic spam filter, like those used by most email programs, is one way to keep out unwanted messages. But most people still find their personal inboxes jammed with marketing mail and other unsolicited items that distract from the messages they really care about. When it comes to cutting down on those, Facebook has an advantage over every other company: You’ve already told it who your friends are. That means that it can treat everyone else as a stranger by default—and ensure that they can reach you only if it’s really important. That’s where the pay-per-message scheme comes in."

Homosexuality in Star Wars: The Old Republic is separate but unequal - "BioWare has set up a fiction where homosexuality is only physically possible on one cordoned off place in the galaxy (that players have to pay extra for), and the relationships are shallow compared to the fully fleshed out companion characters. It is literally separate and unequal. While this is probably a matter of resources — it’s expensive to rerecord all the dialogue to account for a change in genders — it comes across as inconsiderate."
Moral of the story: don't include same-sex romances, since people will bitch at you either way

Bullied 14-Year-Old Girl Gets Plastic Surgery to Fix Ears, Nose, Chin - "Teased about her big ears since she was 7 years old, Nadia found school a nightmare. Her classmates tormented her, and she couldn’t bear to look at herself in the mirror. “I felt horrible. I felt like I was like dirt,” she said, in an interview with “Good Morning America.” “They said that I have the biggest ears that they’ve ever seen. They called me ‘Dumbo,’ ‘elephant ears.’” The teasing and bullying escalated, and Nadia, of Cumming, Ga., started to believe the negativity. “I kind of got into this shell and I actually skipped school a lot,” she said. “I made excuses. I would say my stomach hurt, say that I was sick even though I wasn’t.” Nadia would cry a lot on the way home from the bus stop and at night before she went to sleep. It got so bad that Nadia even contemplated suicide... Nadia told her mother everything and begged for surgery to pin her ears back. Lynda Ilse couldn’t afford it, so she turned to the Little Baby Face Foundation, a Manhattan-based organization that provides free surgery for children with facial deformities who have a financial need... Asked if they were concerned that operating on Nadia conveyed the message that other bullied children needed to have plastic surgery, Romo replied: “She wasn’t picked to have her surgery because she was bullied. She was picked for her surgery because of her deformities.” Lynda Ilse added: “It was just something that we chose to do. It’s no different than somebody having teeth that require braces.”
Someone who was very proud of being pro-gay and took a picture of themself at Pink Dot posted this story and said she was stupid and should just endure all the bullying. I posted that stupid gays should just shut up and endure the bullying: it's fashionable to be pro-gay rights, but nasty people who are pro-gay rights will still be nasty - they will just look for targets for their nastiness other than gay people

The Bittersweetest Thing / On Romances in Games - "1) Romances are a side show, not the main game
2) I dislike the idea of every character being sexually available to the player

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 16 - British Museum

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes." - Doctor Who


Europe CNY 2012
Day 16 - 3rd February - British Museum

Half the toilets at the hostel were clogged or spoilt. Gah.

Since I was crippled, I wasn't able to go very far. Luckily my hostel was just beside the British Museum, so I managed to go for the Hajj exhibition as well as see how my favourite museum had changed in the 6 years since I'd visited it (and to check in on some favourites).

For breakfast, I went to a cafe called "Roma Bella". The breakfast menu consisted of:

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1. Full Scottish English Breakfast
2. Full Vegie Breakfast (vegan-unfriendly)
3. Egg Benedict (sic)
4. Scrambled Eggs
5. Eggs Florentine
6. Eggs Royale

As you can probably tell from the name, it was an Italian joint. But then Colazione is not very exciting.

They also had jacket potatoes, fish & chips and sandwiches. Which seemed to be standard in English places.

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Full Vegie English Breakfast
The hostel breakfast would've been vegetarian. I needed breakfast anyway because I was feeling terrible and I needed something to have my pills with.
It was quite mediocre but then it was just across from the British Museum. Maybe the Italian food was better.

It's easy to be vegetarian in the UK. Vegans... don't have it so good. Vegetarian options usually have egg or dairy elements.

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"Open with care, sprinkle with abandon" (Splenda)

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British Museum

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Leave your large bags and luggage at home. This is like flying, but worse.

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Girl making a home video. This is quite a good zipai tool (to film oneself) - a rod at the end of which one can put one's video camera.

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War Memorial

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I assumed the ladies in black were all going to the Hajj exhibition

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For fans of "A history of the world in 100 objects" - not all are on display

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"and let thy feet
millenniums hence
be set in midst of knowledge"
- Tennyson

All the Latin purists can go excoriate Tennyson.

While waiting for the Hajj exhibition I hobbled around the ground floor. It was always nice to see the various items again.

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Rosetta Stone

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Every time I see the Rosetta Stone, it is different. The first time it was on a plinth, then a glass case came up around it. Now they'd moved it so it was the first thing you saw on entering the gallery.

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Lely's Venus

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Nereid Monument

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On the Parthenon Sculptures (aka Elgin Marbles, a term they strenously refrained from). They even have FAQ pamphlets about the Greek government's campaign to have the marbles returned. I wasn't able to see if there was a similar rack of FAQ pamphlets at the Lewis Chessmen about demands that they be returned to Scotland.

Having been to the Parthenon's Museum, it was obvious to me that the state of preservation and the mode of presentation of the sculptures in the British Museum far surpassed that of those in Athens (at least as of 2006).

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Hermes, Dionysius (probably), Demeter and Ares

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Horse head

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Centaur trampling a falling lapith

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Seated woman on the point of rising, woman reclining in companion's lap

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Three Nereids

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Sargon II

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Grooms and Horses

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Palace of Sargon

Flash is alright in the British Museum as a whole, which is rare. I suppose it's because they have few light-sensitive objects - only stuff with colours can be damaged by light.

The room dedicated to the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos was closed, presumably because of a lack of manpower. This was very annoying as it was a very important room.

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Sacred Boat of Queen Mutemwia

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"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Ramesses II

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Blind people get to touch some items!

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Chinese Zodiac merchandise. Approximately 1/12 of the people will get their zodiac sign wrong, since for simplicity they have aligned the solar and lunar calendars.

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"Manga at the British Museum"

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Alabaster Stela of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II

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Hajj Exhibition Halal Specials
Presumably they aren't halal normally (do Muslims come normally? this can be another indicator of integration)

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Stone Guardian figure
Apparently there are "Korean features", but they don't specify what these might be

I then got to enter the timed Hajj exhibition.

There was a 1582 compass for finding Mecca. Constantinople was marked in red. Interestingly, this points to an inconvenient fact Turkish nationalists will omit: even the Turks have called Istanbul Constantinople for most of their occupation of the city.

"Istanbul is one of the many names of the city. The word Istanbul is derived from the colloquial Greek eis tin polin, "to the city" Originally, the name Istanbul referred only to the walled city and excluded all suburbs... To describe the whole city, the Ottomans continued using the Byzantine name Constantinople (Kostantiniyye)... With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of TURKEY, all previous names were abandoned and Istanbul came to designate the entire city. Today the use of the name Constantinope to describe the Ottoman capital, although historically accurate, is often deemed politically incorrect by Turkish historians and by most Turks" --- Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire / Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Alan Masters

Muslims believe that the Kaaba building was originally built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael. Yet, access to it is denied to other Peoples of the Book. What if Israel banned non-Jews from Jerusalem?

Mecca is called the City of Abraham.

The Sultan used to send a Mahmal (palanquin) on pilgrimage to show how good he was.

Before they replaced the pillars for the Stoning of the Devil with a wall, how often did the pillars have to be changed?

Zam Zam is the well from which Muslim Holy Water comes from. This explains the name of the Arab Street restaurant.

The Tipu Sultan had his helmet (made of quilted cotton) dipped in Zamzam water so it was supposed to be impenetrable. However he was killed by the British in 1799. The helmet looked intact. I guess he wasn't wearing it.

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Sainte Chapelle mechandise

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Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue

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Great chair idea - portable chairs for one to use. Everywhere should do this.

I then had lunch with M.

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Hunter's Chicken, nachos

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Note the Pub Favourite, Chicken Tikka Masala. "What would a traditional British pub be without the classic dishes that we all know and love?"

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"You always know where you are in a licensed taxi"
Yeah. In debt.

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Railway memorial for WWI and WWII. Apparently World War I lasted a few months longer here, until 1919.

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Pierre Hermé macarons
Their body was not as scrumptiously delicate as Darcis. As for the filling, I preferred Darcis's milder intensity (it was less strong than La Durée though, which can come across as too strong).

I then returned to Cambridge for the night.

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I like the man's dramatic look juxtaposed with the sign about drama

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"Save our buses... If you want to stop the cuts to your bus then you should be here to lobby the cabinet members"
Higher taxes!

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Four Seasons Duck

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