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Friday, February 22, 2013

Cracking down on Blasphemy

The vile anti-Muslim video and the First Amendment: Does the U.S. overvalue free speech? - Slate Magazine


"The problem with arguing that blasphemy shouldn't have First Amendment protection lies in defining blasphemy. If I were to say "Jesus Christ is the Son of God" I have just committed a rather foul blasphemy by both Jewish and Muslim standards (to say nothing of the Atheist view of such a statement). But if I say "Jesus Christ was just another preacher of no special significance" then I have committed a Christian blasphemy. And those three religions all worship the same God. Either statement is blasphemy to a Hindu, and Hindu polytheism is blasphemous to Christians, Jews AND Muslims.

For that matter, you cannot teach a comparative religion class without committing blasphemy or bias, since you either have to start with the presumption a given religion might not be The One True Way or you have to declare one religion is right and that others are wrong. Bias and/or blasphemy.

"I feel that you have no right to write this article. I am offended and thinking about setting things on fire."

"There is no reason at all why we should allow the sensibilities of other people to define our rights. But Mr. Posner is free to go live under Sharia Law if he holds freedom of expression in such poor regard."

"So, Posner, you'll be happy for us to censor your articles?"

"Your view seems to be that we should reward violence... When Muslims react to mockery with violence liberals seek to accommodate them. When Christians react to mockery with turning the other cheek liberals mock them even more and accuse them of all manner of crimes and fanaticism."

"Sharia is not a comprehensive legal code. The word translates roughly to "justice." Many Muslim countries have recognized that it is incompetent in criminal law because it lacks procedures for investigation and discovery and that it is severely limited in civil law because it has not adapted to modern necessities of contract law. It is widely used for family law, in much the same way that many modern religions have turned to counseling as the hearing of first resort"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Number One Enemy of the SAF (or: Reflections on Part-Time Slavery)

Having been subject to 2 episodes of Temporary Slavery (ICT), I have had occasion to reflect more upon the institution.

While the SAF indeed is moving with the times in some ways (styrofoam ration packets having been replaced with eco-friendly paper boxes which contain a detachable eating implement, or disposable pillowcases for example), on a more fundamental level things are still pretty much the same.

I am encouraged in my reflections by a senior officer (possibly my former CO), who said that it was important to reflect, or else we would feel very frustrated about our corvée and wouldn't want to be there. Yet, it is precisely because I reflect that I feel frustrated. But no matter - it is important to study the Misery of the Human Condition.

Perhaps the most succinct way of looking at the situation is to consider the idea of the Third Generation (3G) SAF: New hardware. New technology. So we are told. But also the same fucked-up attitude.


As with its full-time equivalent, Part-Time Slavery is about controlling on conscripts, and impressing on them the fact that they are helpless. How else to explain, to name the most ruthlessly enforced manifestation that is the SAF haircut? Both ICT sessions, I saw many people who seemed to have very decent haircuts, and yet they were forced to go to the barber. This is because, for Temporary Slaves, the haircut is one of the few mechanisms left by which the Slavemasters can impress the fact of their control over Slaves; when you can't knock people down or make them sign extras for petty reasons, shearing (and dyeing) them is both the most visible and the most lasting sign of your power, since it's the gift that keeps on giving (hair takes time to regrow). A bonus is that the shearing is performed en masse in a large-scale ritualistic ceremony. And perhaps most telling is the fact that even if you apply for deferment, you are forced to be sheared first, so as to spite you as much as possible.

Of course, you still have the old nonsense like charging people for not eating (or for not scanning their cards to indicate that they have eaten, at any rate). In other words, punishing people for not pretending to consume food that they never wanted in the first place.

The older bullshit is not entirely dead, and token attempts are made to promote it: the claim that Nike shoes are not allowed, NSmen should be role models for the NSFs (actually this is true - as a Full-Time Slave reservists were my role model, since they had already ORDed and left hell) and that one should wear Smart 4 (instead of Reservist 4, aka Long 4). Some are still justified with nonsensical lies, for example the claim that if you're used to wearing headgear in camp, you'll be used to wearing it in the field. But then, with the biggest lie of all, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, the small ones don't really matter, do they?

The fact that in reservist one dispenses almost totally with regimentation and many of the other things that make Full-Time Slavery such a pain gives the lie to the claim that Discipline and Regimentation are needed for an army (alternatively, they give the lie to the claim that Operationally Ready NS-men are an effective fighting force). This reinforces the fact that the #1 enemy of the SAF is not Malaysia or even Indonesia - but its own soldiers.

Of course, the usual false dilemma is brought out. Singapore is respected for owning our security (I can't think of many countries in the world which don't "own" their security), and our political masters can do their job because of 355,000 NSmen (it's quite sad if the threat of military force is the only reason Singapore is taken seriously in the world). This is somehow the reason why NSmen are around. So this sleight of hand is supposed to demonstrate the fact that we cannot question the fundamentals of Slavery, and speaks to a (deliberate) failure of the imagination to shackle us to the existing paradigm.

Amusingly, as a (possibly) last-ditch attempt to convince us, they even mentioned migration. The senior office acknowledged that many of us wanted to migrate, but claimed that we would go to our desired countries and become Second Class Citizens. But then he didn't consider the fact that in Singapore we are already Second Class Citizens (who are Slaves to boot). He also claimed that Singapore had no natural disasters, at which point I was tempted to quote Confucius on Tigers and an Oppressive Government.

Mindfucking and the Desperate Search for Relevance

During reservist, the usual mindfucking is present. They know that we are only there for 1-2 weeks, so they have to try and convince us of the necessity of servitude. They claim that we are there because we are convinced of the necessity of Slavery, and want to be there. Yet the fact that so many try to defer is telling (and some people being charged for not turning up, i.e. being AWOL). Really, many people just want to get it over and done with since they have no choice. There is probably a name for the technique of psychological manipulation whereby the victim is given the illusion of choice so he is deluded into thinking that he has chosen his fate. At this faux realisation, he feels even more crushed and resigned to his lot. Alternatively, there is the simpler Gobbels doctrine: "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth", or plain Stockholm Syndrome. Nonetheless, this doesn't work on everybody: one of the countless propaganda videos we were shown had one guy talking about extending his NS by 9 months. The auditorium got very excited, and I heard one guy saying the reason was because the chap couldn't find a job outside.

Of course, a familiar trope that is trotted out is that the 911 attacks and the spectre of terrorism (incidentally, a senior officer told us that after 911 they were very busy. Does it mean that before that they were very zuobo [free]?) The invocation of 911 and terrorism to justify National Slavery as an institution would be laughably ironic, were it not so tragic.

How does one fight terrorism? Primarily with intelligence, counter-intelligence, special forces and police work. Indeed, conscript soldiers trained in conventional warfare are possibly the worst way of fighting a faceless, amorphous enemy who works in small groups, strikes targets of opportunity using tactics of asymmetrical warfare and blends into the population. Actually, scratch that. The worst way would be to use old conscript soldiers who are called up for two to three weeks a year at most.

I have to admit, though, that some parts of the Fight against Terror play to the SAF's strengths. Take for example the Protection of Installations (POI). As we know, this is purely symbolic, since terrorists have a whole bevy of soft targets to hit, and the point of attacking targets is more to demoralise than to cripple key infrastructure. Want to fortify all schools? I don't think we have enough Slave Soldiers for that. Thus, it is clear that POI is wayang (acting) - which is something that the Singapore Acting Force (SAF) excels at!

What is the perfect way to demonstrate National Service's irrelevance is instead used to justify its existence. This shows that all this talk about National Service being justified because it's about fighting terrorism is merely bankrupt rhetoric: the desperate grasping at straws and scraping of the bottom of the barrel by an institution that has long lost its relevance.

National Service and Gender Relations

Usually people think that the reasons that Singaporean girls are not enslaved are:

i) economic reasons
ii) problems with integration
iii) a lack of commitment to gender equality in Singapore, which AWARE would surely decry a lack of political will to override the instinctive protectiveness that people have for females

I submit, though, that there are others:

iv) they are useless ('Nuff said)
v) A development of point iii) - most profoundly, the whole system is predicated on the idea that women (in their capacities as wives and mothers) are defenceless and need protection (together with children, who genuinely do since they are minors - significantly fathers play a minor role in the discourse, if any).

This plays upon the universal imperative to protect women (and also spoils the cute tagline, "Sons of Singapore").

For example, we were told that if someone raped our wife, we could fire a gun (leaving aside the improbability of your going AWOL to defend your wife in the event of an invasion, the possibility of asking your wife to defend herself was evidently not considered, which is quite daft given that physical strength does not matter with firearms as the great equaliser).

Yet at the same time, in exchange for this protection, women become objects on which male sexual desires are projected. This is most obvious in Full-Time Slavery, with large numbers of horny 18-21 year olds, but in Part-Time Slavery one also sees it, albeit in more subtle forms. For example we were told to hug our wives and girlfriends before we went outfield.

The attitude to women that the SAF embodies can be seen with Female Regulars. In one of the countless propaganda videos, they interviewed the First Female Tank OC (Officer Commanding, aka Company Commander) to fight ATEC (Army Training Evaluation Centre - the test for an army unit). She said she went to Germany for Ops (Operations), and it was valuable since it was the first time she took part in live firing with the guys. This does not speak well of gender integration in the SAF. Another way to look at things: If National Service turns Boys into Men (or Ah Boys to Men), what does it do to women? Can women perform rituals of masculinity without being masculinised (or already masculine in the first place)?

All this just makes it clear that one of the best ways that AWARE can campaign in the direction of true gender equality in Singapore is to get women conscripted. Of course, since they are for women's interests and not gender equality, they won't.

Miscellaneous observations/thoughts

It was quite amusing to see people scramble to become Officers in their Active (Full-Time Slavery) days, whether to bolster their CVs, get a bit more money, hook the chicks or even out of some misplaced conception of pride. How short-sighted they were! Enlistees don't need to do anything (or much, anyway), while the higher your rank is the more you must do (and the more time you must waste). All while you get paid more or less the same.

I've always known that Singaporean Chinese have abysmal Mandarin skills. I was told that older ones were better, but I observed that the ones in their 30s (even their mid-late 30s) don't speak good Mandarin either. They're not so different from those in their 20s - they just leaven their speech with more Hokkien, rather than just English.

They claimed that no one in world trains as much as the SAF, even the Israeli Defence Forces. Even assuming that this is true, as someone else pointed out, that's because they fight real enemies. Which is the best training you can get (not the SAF's vaunted "tough, realistic and safe training"). The Israelis are shot up and are operations-tested.

"Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim" - sign in toilet. Presumably this was meant to be inspirational, when it's actually bad. That says a lot about the SAF's attitude of Stupidity, Sadism and Senselessness.

I realise I have a great aversion to be addressed as "Gentlemen", thanks to Slavery.

If a Singaporean is lucky enough to have a son when overseas, the worst thing he can do would be to register him for Singaporean citizenship, because that traps the child in a Catch-22: you cannot give up your citizenship till you are 21, yet if you do not report for Slavery at 18 you will be labelled a deserter and will never be able to enter Singapore again.

The way Humanitarian Ops are conducted (at least as viewed through the media of PR-friendly video clips), it looks like they're just rehearsing for war.

The SAF is complimented by its partners on overseas missions. That's because they generally don't send NSFs and NSmen.

I thought "Ninja Vans" were called that because they popped up and disappeared. I'm told that it's because they're actually not supposed to be there.

Unfortunate nametags:
"M Y Wang"
"C B Yeo"

Never sit in an unlit train carriage

In a train carriage there was an Englishman, a Frenchman, a spectacular looking blonde and a frightfully awful looking fat lady.

After several minutes of the trip the train happens to pass through a dark tunnel, and the unmistakable sound of a slap is heard. When they leave the tunnel, the Frenchman had a big red slap mark on his cheek.

(1) The blonde thought - "That randy looking French guy must have tried to touch me and by mistake, he must have put his hand on the fat lady, who in turn must have slapped his face"

(2) The fat lady thought - "That dirty old Frenchman must have laid his hands on the blonde and she smacked him."

(3) The Frenchman thought - "That stupid Englishman must have put his hand on that blonde and by mistake she has slapped me."

(4) The Englishman thought -"I hope there's another tunnel soon so I can smack that French Sod again."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Links - 20th February 2013

Group sex is new ill afflicting pupils - ""Colleagues are coming across reports of young people having sex in large groups. It is known as daisy-chaining and is obviously very worrying as far as sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy is concerned. "As we understand it, it involves groups of older teenagers going round to each other's homes and having sex ... It is very new and is only just starting to be talked about""

Sexual Freedom Always Curtails Other Freedoms - "Men like Teddy Roosevelt wrote letters to other men that expressed great love and tenderness, to the point it makes modern day readers feel uncomfortable... Today, there is little freedom for men to be physically affectionate toward one another. Writing an affectionate email might be seen as “girly” or “unmanly,” although it’s hard to imagine Teddy Roosevelt as a wimp. What happened? As society has rushed to embrace homosexual behavior, the normal bonds of friendship between men have been curtailed. When Hollywood produced Brokeback Mountain, a movie that celebrated the relationship of gay cowboys, people began joking about men who go camping together and sleep in pup tents. Men no longer express affection and friendship in ways they did a generation ago."

Women's "Token Resistant" and Compliant Sexual Behaviors are Related to Uncertain Sexual Intentions and Rape - "Muehienhard and Hollabaugh reported that 39% of college women engaged in "token resistance" (said "no" but wanted to have sex). Many of these women's reasons for their behavior explained a sexual refusal but not token resistance. The authors hypothesize that many token resistant women honestly refused but later decided to have sex. Evidence indicates that token resistant behavior occurs on or after the 11th date, whereas resistant behavior (said "no" and meant no) occurs earlier. In addition, 83% of token resistant women had more than one sexual intention during the token resistant episode. They said they resisted or were uncertain before they said "no" and neant yes. The authors conclude that most token resistant behavior is a change of intention that is poorly recalled because of memory consolidation. Women's compliant sexual behavior (agreeing to unwanted sex) occurs for relationship maintenance reasons. Both behaviors are related to women's histories of rape."
When a lady says no...; What women say they want, what women think they want and what women really want aren't always the same
See also below

Note: Cross-posted as this isn't an anecdote of a woman displaying this behavior

Examining Stereotypes About Token Resistance to Sex - "We found that 39% of the respondents reported having [said no when they meant yes] at least once... Studies done at universities in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Texas (two schools), Illinois (three schools), and Japan (two schools, using a questionnaire in English) all found that between 37% and 39% of women reported having engaged in token resistance (Muehlenhard & Hollabaugh, 1988; Muehlenhard & McCoy, 1991; Shotland & Hunter, 1995; Sprecher, Hatfield, Cortese, Potapova, & Levitskaya, 1994). Only one sample of women reported a higher prevalence rate; in a sample of Russian women, with a TR scenario translated into Russian, the prevalence rate was 59%... more men than women reported having engaged in token resistance... one respondent wrote, “I thought and felt I should say ‘no’ because I was unsure if it was the right thing to morally do. Yet I had every intention of participating in sexual intercourse that night” (Muehlenhard & Rodgers, 1998, p. 453). Another wrote, “I believe I act this way because I get embarrassed about the situation and I want to be ‘the good girl’”. Other themes that respondents mentioned were adding interest to an ongoing relationship, not wanting to be taken for granted, testing a partner’s response, and increasing their power and control in the relationship... many described ambivalence about having sex; it was clear that not all sexual activity could be neatly categorized as either totally wanted or totally unwanted. Many described multiple dimensions of wanting or not wanting sex (e.g., my body wanted to but my heart and mind didn’t, Muehlenhard & Rodgers, 1998, p. 449). Many wrote that they had wanted the sexual act but not the consequences (e.g., pregnancy, appearing to be using the other person). Many described wanting to have sex but deciding not to—that is, wanting to but being unwilling to have sex... some women who had been raped rated the intercourse as wanted. For example, one woman wrote that her boyfriend frequently got her intoxicated and had sex with her despite her protests. Although it was clearly nonconsensual, she rated the intercourse as strongly wanted overall"
This also problematises the concept of "enthusiastic consent"

Court rules state voyeurism law doesn't outlaw photographing up skirts - "Photographing or videotaping up a woman's skirt in a public place doesn't violate a voyeurism law, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The unanimous ruling found that the law only protects people in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The court rejected prosecutors' arguments that people reasonably expect privacy under their clothing... "Although Glas' and Sorrells' actions are reprehensible, we agree that the voyeurism statute, as written, does not prohibit upskirt photography in a public location," wrote Justice Bobbe Bridge, one of four women on the nine-member court."
Of course, Washington quickly changed the law

What’s so wrong with incest? The case of Stübing v Germany - "the Court reaffirmed the principle that, in sensitive matters of morality where no consensus exists within member states, the margin of appreciation will be broad. Individual states are better placed than the European Court to evaluate the moral convictions of the people and the manner in which these convictions should be translated into domestic law, if at all. Germany, like the UK and many other European countries, prohibit incest between adult siblings. In other countries, such as Portugal and Serbia, incest has been decriminalised. However, such is the Court’s reliance on the margin of appreciation that Lord Lester’s concerns that the concept has become as “slippery and elusive as an eel” and a “substitute for a coherent legal analysis of the issues at stake” spring to mind... Taking cover behind the ‘margin of appreciation’ and the variability of European approaches to the issue of incest, the European Court chose not to meddle with the conclusions of the Federal Constitutional Court. This is an understandable approach, but one that will leave the philosophically minded unfulfilled and, more importantly, will provide scant comfort to Patrick Stübing."

Gardener 'beat woman with a rope in sadomasochistic sex session they planned after reading Fifty Shades of Grey' - "A gardener indulging in a sex fantasy inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey repeatedly beat his lover - because she didn't use the secret 'code' word for him to stop"
Of course, they only name the man - the masking of the woman's name already prejudges who the victim is

From two jags to two fingers - "In 1990, the Sun newspaper did its bit for the entente cordiale by urging its readers to stick two fingers up at then President of the European Commission Jacques Delors. Its "Up Yours, Delors" front page attracted scores of complaints about its alleged racism. But the now defunct Press Council cleared the newspaper after it said it reserved the right to use vulgar abuse whenever it felt it justified in the interests of the British people."

North Carolina teacher who had sex with student, 15, escapes jail by MARRYING him - "under North Carolina law a defendant's spouse cannot be made to testify in criminal cases."
How would one prosecute marital rape in North Carolina?

Genetically Engineered Babies Are Moral Duty, “Ethics” Guru Claims - ""We’re routinely screening embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome, and there’s little public outcry," Savulescu claimed... "What’s more, few people protested at the decisions in the mid-2000s to allow couples to test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes, and this pushes us a lot close to creating designer humans," Savulescu correctly observed"

'Gay Marriage' Confusion - "Love affairs are personal relations. Marriage is a legal relation. To say that government should not get involved in legal relations is to say that government has no business governing... If judges of the Massachusetts Supreme Court or the mayor of San Francisco want to resign their jobs and start advocating gay marriage, they have every right to do so. But that is wholly different from using the authority delegated to them under the law to subvert the law. Gay rights activists argue that activist judges have overturned unjust laws in the past and that society is better off for it. The argument that some good has come from some unlawful acts in the past is hardly a basis for accepting unlawful acts in general. If you only want to accept particular unlawful acts that you agree with, then of course others will have other unlawful acts that they agree with. Considering how many different groups have how many different sets of values, that road leads to anarchy... The last refuge of the gay marriage advocates is that this is an issue of equal rights. But marriage is not an individual right. Otherwise, why limit marriage to unions of two people instead of three or four or five? Why limit it to adult humans, if some want to be united with others of various ages, sexes and species? Marriage is a social contract because the issues involved go beyond the particular individuals. Unions of a man and a woman produce the future generations on whom the fate of the whole society depends. Society has something to say about that. Even at the individual level, men and women have different circumstances, if only from the fact that women have babies and men do not. These and other asymmetries in the positions of women and men justify long-term legal arrangements to enable society to keep this asymmetrical relationship viable — for society’s sake. Neither of these considerations applies to unions where the people are of the same sex."

Jetman Yves Rossy flies alongside passenger plane for first time - "According to his website, he became the first and only man in the history of aviation to fly with a jet-propelled wing in 2006."

RPGs, challenge, and grinding - "the disabled aren't the only people who are often turned away from games, and physical skills are simply one barrier among many. Plenty of non-disabled players are turned away in droves from games they could have otherwise enjoyed, usually by the game's difficulty... how can a game remove difficulty without under-mining the experience? A perfect example of an incredibly difficult and hard-core game that expands its audience through accessibility is VVVVVV. The accessibility options allow you to slow the game down, turn visual effects on and off, and even make yourself invincible... Personally, I like the feeling of achievement that comes with unlocking things myself - so you know what I did? I didn't unlock them from the menu... Grinding is one of the oldest accessibility options in games. If the player can't beat the next boss, she can always beat up some monsters, level-up, and try again. This allows players of widely different skill levels to complete the same game on their own terms... ame designers often misjudge what counts as "easy," so I will join with Ernest Adams' in demanding that "Easy Mode is Supposed to be Easy, Dammit!"... Not only does casual mode offer a solution to getting stuck, it offers a solution to not having time... Inevitably, some small fraction of players will find ways to see the endings to games they can't beat. Either they will use a cheat code, hack the game, or wait for tools like emulator save-states to arrive that let them play the game in a way they can handle. Rather than forcing these persistent few to jump through hoops simply to enjoy a video game, why don't we as game developers meet them half-way, and just give them well-balanced tools up-front that don't spoil the experience for anyone?"
Comment: "In PC gaming circles at least, "accessible" has nearly become a code word meaning "simplified to the point of banality to run on consoles."

Terrifying and Confusing

"Tell someone you love them today, because life is short. But shout it at them in German, because life is also terrifying and confusing."

- German Consulate General Boston

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

Source: 時尚華爾滋 - 以前 & 現在

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Links - 19th February 2013

Church network to speak up for S377A - "AN INFORMAL network of about 100 churches is mobilising their members to speak up against an upcoming court challenge to a law banning gay sex. In the coming weeks, pastors of churches in the LoveSingapore network will be urging their flocks to speak up - both online and offline - against any repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code. LoveSingapore says it represents at least 40,000 Christians... Asked why they decided to respond as such, he said that if the gay community had not pushed for the repeal, "we would not come out into the public square. You touch a law that affects us, we have the right to speak up""
Backlash - why I was against campaigning to repeal it

Getting Nearer and Nearer by David Cole - "Klarman, one of the country’s leading legal historians, remains skeptical of the utility of litigation to achieve [gay marriage equality]. In From the Closet to the Altar, he tells the remarkable story of the legal, political, and cultural struggle over marriage equality. But even as he chronicles the almost unheard-of progress on this issue in the past two decades, Klarman argues that each judicial advance has been met with a forceful political reaction, at substantial cost to gay rights and to liberal causes more generally... Indeed, Klarman contends, gay marriage may have tipped the 2004 presidential election for President George W. Bush, and in turn affected the composition of the Supreme Court... Klarman’s concern about backlash is not limited to the issue of gay marriage; he argues more generally that court decisions protecting individual rights that do not already enjoy widespread majority support often spark backlashes that do more harm than good to the cause sought to be vindicated. In other writings, he has made this claim about such landmark constitutional victories as Brown v. Board of Education, which he claims made segregation more tenacious at least in the short term; Roe v. Wade, which inspired the growth of the right-to-life movement; Miranda v. Arizona, which protected suspects from abusive interrogation but also, Klarman argues, inspired Richard Nixon’s “war on crime” and the radical expansion of America’s prison population. He also points out that Furman v. Georgia, which invalidated the death penalty (temporarily) in 1972, revived what had been a waning interest in the death penalty, as thirty-five states enacted new capital punishment statutes in response. Klarman is surely right that judicial decisions protecting unpopular constitutional rights are likely to spur popular resistance"
Where laws are almost entirely symbolic (e.g. 377A) the hostility resulting from backlash means gay people who just want to lead quiet lives are the ones ultimately hurt by gay activists. Also see 2009 AWARE takeover as backlash from 2007 campaign

A Hundredfold - "The Bible is consistent in prohibiting homosexual practice. Jesus himself condemns “sexual immorality” (Mark 7:21, for example). Though Jesus does not directly mention homosexual activity, he does include it. The Greek word we translate as “sexual immorality” (porneia, from which we get the word pornography) is a catch-all term for any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage."
So Jesus *did* have something to say about homosexuality after all...

Careful who you throw snowballs at! Firemen take revenge on teenagers by giving them a drenching with power hose

Carissa Hads, 24-Year-Old Massachusetts Woman, Allegedly Posed As 17-Year-Old Boy To Have Sex With Minor - "Hads allegedly had two sexual encounters with the underaged girl, one of which involved vaginal penetration with a prosthetic penis, the affidavit states. The Smoking Gun reports that Hads never undressed during sex with the girl, and wore a back brace that concealed her breasts... The fake penis was found in the front pocket of Hads' pants when police searched her"

Turkey wages 'cultural war' in pursuit of its archaeological treasures - "Turkey has threatened to bar foreign archaeologists from excavation sites in the country by not renewing their digging permits if governments refuse to return artefacts that Ankara says were unlawfully removed from Turkish soil. It has also threatened to halt the lending of its treasures to foreign museums, they say... Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, which among other collections oversees the city's Pergamon Museum, has accused Turkey of "playing a nasty game of politics" and of "threatening the future" of scientific work and other collaborations... Turkey is gearing itself up for the opening in 2023 – the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic – of the 2.5-hectare Museum of Civilisations in Ankara, which is due to showcase many of Turkey's best cultural treasures. But archaeologists working in Turkey point to what they say is a sharp contradiction between the government's zealous attempts to retrieve artefacts, and its apparent negligence towards valuable excavation sites that are the talk of the archaeological world. Among the most prominent is Allianoi, a Roman bath and spa complex in Izmir province, which was flooded in February 2011 on the orders of the government after the Yortanli dam was constructed. "Allianoi was destroyed despite our efforts to save the baths. The government preferred profit over the preservation of such an important heritage site"... In the central Anatolian town of Konya, the 5,000-year-old Askar Hoyuk burial ground was recently covered over with concrete and turned into a recreational area. At Yenikapi, where a Byzantine harbour and 8,000-year-old human remains were found, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently outraged the archaeological community by ordering the excavation there to come to a rapid end as it was holding up construction of the prestigious Marmaray tunnel underneath the Bosphorus, which is aimed at easing traffic congestion in Istanbul. A Turkish archaeologist, who did not want to be named, said he was heartbroken that the government appeared to be destroying sites at the same time as battling for the return of artefacts. "I don't understand the attitude of the government," he said. "This contradiction is truly mind-boggling... The Pergamon altar, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin, was narrowly saved from destruction in the 1860s by the German engineer, architect and archaeologist Carl Humann. "Many believe that the Pergamon altar stood in the Anatolian sun until the Germans dragged it away," said Parzinger. "But the truth is that Humann had watched in horror as reliefs were being loaded into lime kilns … on the basis of contracts made according to the law governing antiques at the time, it was arranged for the reliefs to be brought to Berlin and so it was saved.""
If anyone doubted their true political/financial motives, they are now clear

Spiders invade Sadiya in Assam region, India: Two dead

Do we need another Workers’ Party MP? - "When one draws up a report card for a political party, nothing does better as a guide than their own campaign promises. The most striking thing about the WP’s campaign in GE 2011 was its overarching rhetoric of a “First World Parliament”. It is also arguable that it was this promise, and its alluring pitch of a ‘co-driver’ elected to ‘slap’ the ruling party when it veers off-course, the seductive promise of check-and-balance, and the ideological insistence that an opposition in Singapore was necessary, that toppled George Yeo’s team in Aljunied... The strangest thing that struck me during the GE campaign of 2011 was the WP’s strident rhetoric that electing it to Parliament would foster more debate, and thus help Singapore progress towards a ‘First World Parliament’... What was strange and extremely disturbing to me was that for a party that values debate so highly, in the 21 months that I served as Nominated Member of Parliament, the WP was curiously passive on the debating front... In the 21 months that I was NMP the WP filed precisely ZERO motions. They did not even file any adjournment motions that would have given them a chance to speak at length, rather than just ask a question. In the first 21 months since GE 2011, the Workers Party has filed merely one adjournment motion (by NCMP Yee Jenn Jong), and another by Sylvia Lim just to withdraw it again. In contrast, my former parliamentary colleague Viswa Sadasivan filed a full motion during his very first parliamentary sitting, which not only made Cabinet Ministers rise to rebut him, but even caused then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew to speak in Parliament for the first time in years, and in the process teaching a nation the meaning of the word `hifalutin’"

Sex galore in Japan when World Cup gets underway - "Countries such as Thailand and the Philippines may be cheaper, but in terms of the scale and sheer variety of its sex industry, Japan is unequaled. "There are many kinds of sex businesses in Japan. Commercial sex is an everlasting side of Japan's daily life and anything is acceptable here," Shinya Yamamoto, the most famous Japanese commentator on Japan's sex industry told Deutsche Press-Agentur dpa. More than 10 per cent of Japanese male adults use sex services, and the number is roughly 20 per cent among young Japanese men, according to a survey by the Japanese government. The figure is much higher than an average one to two per cent in the United States and European countries, Tokyo says. "Japan's sex industry is mainly centred on sexual massage not sexual intercourse. Young Japanese men don't have courage or energy to find a girlfriend, they prefer going to such sex places"... According to a condom maker Durex's global sex survey in 2001, Japanese had sex on average 36 times a year, compared to Americans who had an average 124 times a year. Among the 28 nations surveyed, Japan remained low on the list, while the United States topped the charts in the annual survey. "The size of Japan's sex industry market is estimated at least 1.2 trillion yen (9.4 billion dollars)," said Takashi Kadokura, an economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute, who recently published books about Japan's underground economy... The newest sex business is called, "deri-heru," or delivery health. Health in Japanese-English refers to erotic pleasure. What a delivery health delivers is a girl to the address specified by the customer. The services typically provided are sexual, excluding intercourse, at customers' hotels or homes. According to the National Police Agency (NPA), delivery health services have expanded particularly fast, rising from 2,684 in 1999 to 8,434 in 2001. The number of delivery health businesses well exceeds the number of McDonald's fast food outlets in Japan at 3,867"
Theory: Prostitution is bigger in East Asia than the West because East Asian women are frigid

Middle managers not always at fault: Experts - "It is insufficient to pay lip service to work-life harmony and yet... push the middle managers to deliver results constantly."

Who Sleeps Better at Night? - WSJ.com - "Mismatched body clocks—a night owl with a so-called lark, for example—can be tough on a relationship, says Jeffry H. Larson, a professor of marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He led a 1991 study of 150 couples. Ones with mismatched body clocks argued more (2.13 times per week compared with 1.6 times for matched couples) and spent less time together in shared activities (about 3 hours versus about 6 hours per week). They had slightly less sex, too. Dr. Larson counsels couples with sleep differences to “accept that your partner is different.” Body clocks are fairly fixed: Most people can’t rejigger their natural bedtime and wake time by more than one hour, he says. Sleep specialists suggest couples with mismatched schedules initially retire together for that “special time in bed and negotiate that [the night person] gets to leave and come back later and then gets to sleep in,” says Colleen E. Carney, associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto... Dr. Dittami and Gerhard Klosch, a sleep researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, co-authors of the book "Sleeping Better Together," recommend that couples sleep with separate blankets, especially if one person is a restless sleeper."

Why Everybody Loves Studying Abroad

The Reality of Chinese Students Abroad - Sinolicious

"A recent study at Hubei University showed that in one class, every single student intended to move abroad to study after graduation. Results were similar in test environments at other training schools. One girl, who wishes to remain anonymous, was reported saying “I want to study in the American because it is very free, I can to find a good job and very happy life, I do not think I will to come back”...

In 2012 a survey was carried out with participants whom had studied abroad, The students were asked a series of questions about their experiences since leaving China, and were encouraged to be as honest as possible, with confidentiality guaranteed. Researchers were quoted as being “shocked” by their findings..

The UK based survey found that 87% of students confessed to paying somebody to write their final dissertation...

It emerged that sexual liberation was another key lifestyle change with the transition abroad. 91% of the girls interviewed had experimented sexually with the locals in their new homes, with 22% of that number engaging in risky group sex practices. In contrast, less than 3% of males questioned had any experience with their Western female counterparts. Only one in twenty used any kind of contraception, with most preferring not to do so.

“I always used to feel so pressured into being conservative” said Rachel Wen, an 18 year old student of Leeds Metropolitan University, “but now my parents can’t see what I’m doing, I’m free to play around and find myself more” she giggled as she added “black men are my favourite”.

Recreational drug use was also a talking point for the students, with over 80% of them claiming to have used illegal substances during their studies. Ivy Peng, 19, found herself taking designer drug, mephedrone, not long after the start of her Fashion degree at University College London. “In China, the word to be ‘high’ means to get happy” she said, “but after I go to the bar and club for more than two times, I discover it new meaning” She confessed to the interviewer that she spends around £150 a day on the drug.

But what happens to all these students once they’ve graduated? Do they plan to return to China?

24 year old post-graduate MBA student Viper Tan said “I will try to find job in UK of course, but I think is so difficult this days, maybe I will to just stay for longer.” When asked if he means remaining in the country illegally, he shifted around nervously before answering “I think so”.

Only 12% of the group questioned had any intention of going back to China. Most had their sights set on getting citizenship by whatever means possible. The UK is known for its ease of gaining citizenship and many said that if they were arrested and caught, they would claim to be a member of the Falun Gong cult, which is heavily persecuted in their homeland, in the hopes of gaining citizenship by claiming asylum."

MFTTW: i think i'm a little more alarmed that UCL offers a fashion course


UCL dun offer a fashion course.

Observations - 19th February 2013

Is Groupthink inevitable once a certain size is reached?

If we criticise Christians for importing US Fundamentalist Christianity, why not others for liberals and human rights activists for doing the same for the Western paradigm of human rights?

I think fuzzy (or downright wrong) thinking from progressives annoys me more than from conservatives, because they claim to have progress, history, reason on their side, and the intelligentsia reflexively support progressive causes.

If 377A is found to be unconstitutional, does this mean National Service can be challenged too?

"I don’t think the anti-LGBT version of “agenda”, often unexplicated, with sinister undertones, exists"
Me: "What, you mean the anti-gay agenda where they force gays to get married, lock them up until they repent and hang those who refuse to turn straight?"

The only thing I love more than men who look like women... is women who look like men who look like women.

Amused that ACJC's BGR policy is to "let light pass through between you and your friend" (other JCs have more strict stances, e.g. RJ's "no holding hands in school uniform" [at least as of 2001])

It's not your fault if you have a disability. But it is if you make it hard for people to accommodate you.

Saw a woman pushing a pram. Looked inside, and there were two cats.

"Sorrow for the victim, or outrage at the crime, can blind us. To see clearly, such feelings must be put aside"

RT @Notorious_QRG #TellAFeministThankYou thanks to my Mum, who is a feminist, but who brought me up to be critical and independent - so I dumped feminism.

"For every time I hear an outwardly sexist comment by a man said to a woman, I’ll hear ten comments by women saying that technology is “a man’s job” or “I need a man to help me” or something similar."

"I have pretty conservative and liberal friends...but it seems many of my liberal friends see their political belief as like a religion, and if you don't adhere to it they are quick to judge you as morally corrupt, stupid, or evil...I've been attacked worse for my heretical views by liberals than conservatives (and I disagree with both on many issues in American political context)."

BF: Baby, you must be a broom.
GF: Why? Cause I sweep you off your feet?
BF: No. Cause you're fucking hairy.

"My wife went to the beauty shop and got a mud pack. For two days she was beautiful. And then the mud fell off"

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools"

On HBO Asia's Serangoon Road: "You know what would really give it a tinge of authenticity? A tv in the background with LKY crying..."
"Nothing more 60s than that, folks. That, and race riots. According to our school history textbooks"

RT @9GAG: There's "hell" in hello, "good" in goodbye, "lie" in believe, "over" in lover, "end" in friend, "ex" in "next", & "if" in life.

"Never ask a painter to do whatever he/she wants, 50% of artists really enjoy depicting the worst thing the can think of when it's going on a public place to make a statement and gets a ton of free publicity."

On running a F&B business and dealing with "ex convicts":
"Forget the ex convicts [asking you to buy their stuff to give them a chance]... I have, numerous times, asked them to call me to get a job and none of them called like they promised. And they just walk on when I asked them to come inside the bar for a quick interview when they were just outside trying to solicit money for their wares."
"I deal with the type that ask for money so they can eat to take and seat and I'll buy them a meal, I've never had one take me up on the offer."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Links - 18th February 2013

Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship? - "There is overwhelming empirical evidence that fertility is negatively related to income in most countries at most times. Several theories have been proposed in the literature to explain this somewhat puzzling fact. The most common one is based on the opportunity cost of time being higher for individuals with higher earnings. Alternatively, people might differ in their desire to procreate and accordingly some people invest more in children and less in market-specific human capital and thus have lower earnings. We revisit these and other possible explanations. We find that these theories are not as robust as is commonly believed. That is, several special assumptions are needed to generate the negative relationship. Not all assumptions are equally plausible. Such findings will be useful to distinguish alternative theories. We conclude that further research along these lines is needed."

From Same-Sex Marriage to Polygamy and Polyandry - "if we redefine marriage for one group, there's no logical reason to deny other nonconformist advocates their right to do so, especially if they successfully argue their version of marriage on utilitarian grounds -- it benefits or does no harm to society. I don't know who invented the slippery slope fallacy, but he or she shouldn't be decorated with a medal. Sometimes the slope exists, it really is slippery, and people actually slide down it. In the 1950s, Lucy and Ricky were shown in separate beds. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Brady Bunch parents shared the same extra-wide king-size bed, but were far apart. Today? No need to describe primetime or daytime TV. The sex drive is powerful, and society has publically slid down that slippery, muddy slope long ago... Of course religious scholars can't deny the clear teaching of the Quran. Allah wills it. So they inform us of the social benefits of polygamy."

Polygamy, Too - "The increasingly prominent profile of Islamic polygamy in the West has inspired a range of accommodations. Several governments now recognize plural marriages contracted lawfully in immigrants’ countries of origin. In the United Kingdom, these polygamous men are eligible to receive extra welfare benefits — an arrangement that some government ministers hope to kill — and a Scottish court once permitted a Muslim who had been cited for speeding to retain his driver’s license because he had to commute between his wives."

Japan Radiation Map
Singapore has more or a comparable amount of radiation than/to a large part of Fukushima

Sex workers don't want rescue - "More than a score commercial sex workers rescued on Wednesday and sent to a shelter in the city began a violent clamour last morning for a return ticket to brothel life... In yesterday's drama a member of the management suffered a minor injury on the arm... "In major raids, initially such things happen," said Padiyare. "In an earlier raid, when 46 girls were brought, the same thing had happened.""

Rescued 'cybersex' girls bolt DSWD office in CDO - "Fifteen girls, rescued by police and National Bureau of Agency (NBI) men from a cybersex den operated by two Swedish nationals, have escaped... the girls escaped after mauling the duty security guard. The girls then flagged down a passenger jeepney and forced its driver to bring them away from the DSWD office"

Chinese prostitutes resist effort to rescue them from Africa - "After a joint raid by Chinese and Congolese police on the karaoke bar, however, the women decided to stay in the country, saying it was easier to make good money there than in China... As well as prostitution, the women, mostly from China's underdeveloped Sichuan province, were able to take cheap goods from China to Africa after visits home and sell them for big profits"

Hookers rescued ‘against their will’ in Angeles City - "“The women don’t really consider it a rescue,” said CIDG Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) head Supt. Emma Libunao, who led the raids. “They kept cursing us, and tried their best to escape”"

What I Learned by Being a Migrant Sex Worker (Part 1): Parrenas - "A decade ago, the U.S. government determined that apart from terrorism, the gravest threat to democracy in the world was human trafficking. It vowed to wage war on this scourge as well as on terrorism... According to the 2004 report, Filipinas who work as hostesses in clubs in Japan constituted the world’s largest group of sex-trafficked persons, making up more than 10 percent of those 800,000 victims... In a nine-month study in Tokyo in 2005 and 2006, I interviewed 56 Filipina hostesses and worked as a hostess myself. None of the hostesses I encountered wanted to be rescued from their employment. Most found that migration had made them breadwinners in their families, a position that granted them decision-making power and earned them the respect of their kin. In some instances, participating in commercial flirtation allowed them to challenge conservative norms that limited the acceptable sexual activities of women. Here’s something else I found, an observation supported by other studies: Filipina hostesses in Japan sell drinks, not sex, in hostess clubs. While they perform sex work in that they titillate customers via commercial flirtation, “sex work” is not “prostitution.” It encompasses a wide array of services including flirtation and stripping -- in addition to prostitution. For hostesses, acts of commercial flirtation include playful bantering, seductive dance and song performances, and, in rare instances, sex acts such as groping and discreet masturbation of customers beneath the table. For the most part, no one coerced my fellow hostesses to work in Japan... migrant Filipina entertainers see servitude abroad as a much better option than their other choice of immobility in the Philippines"
Part 2: "In the clubs, men bond over their ability to objectify hostesses with no admonishment... I often heard customers describe me as “futote,” meaning fat, and “kuroi,” meaning dark. I could not retort because customers patronize hostess clubs not only to avoid rejection but to experience male superiority. Hostesses can express only positive comments about clients. As one of my co-workers observed of our clients, “No one wants to listen to them. No one tells them they are good-looking. No one admires them. That is why they go to the club.” Hostesses try to generate sales by bolstering the masculinity of their customers... For Filipina hostesses, the goal should be job improvement, not job elimination"

Introduction « The Honest Courtesan - "I can almost hear some of my readers’ protests: “Oh, I don’t think sex is dirty, but it’s so intimate. How could you do it with someone you don’t know?” Therapists listen to intimate details of their patients’ lives all the time and give them intimate advice on subjects they wouldn’t discuss with their best friends. My gynecologist sticks her fingers into my vagina without a qualm, and nurses give very intimate care to bedridden patients. None of this seems to bother anyone. Or this one: “Oh, but sex is special; it’s for showing affection to someone you love.” Well, there are many ways of showing affection. If a professional chef prepares a special meal for her husband, is that gesture lessened by the fact that she prepares meals for strangers every day? If a masseuse gives her man a massage, is he concerned that she has been rubbing other men’s backs? If I dated an artist, would the picture he painted for me be any less a gift for his having painted many other women? Of course not... Although I had more than a few clients whose names you might recognize, those names will never pass my lips... those of us in the higher strata of harlotry have professional ethics just as any other professional has. I would no more reveal a client’s name than his lawyer, doctor or clergyman would reveal any of his other secrets... if you’re looking for pornographic detail you may as go elsewhere because you won’t find it here. If I wanted to provide wanking material I’d start a phone-sex business and it certainly wouldn’t be for free!"

Men in India get murdered on buses. Where’s the outcry? - "Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, has asked all high courts to set up fast track courts to deal exclusively with offenses against women. Why was this? It was because, he said, the brutal gang-rape and murder of Delhi girl has shaken the conscience of the nation. On 26 July 2012, the Hindu newspaper reported that not one, but THREE people had just been stabbed to death on a bus in Andhra Pradesh State, India. There were apparently NO demonstrations, NO international media coverage, and NO demands by to set up special courts to violence against men."

Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops - "Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.
This seems to be proof that cops/police are stupid (at least if they stay for a while).

The Gadget Hackwrench Religion - "'Fess up - who though that Gadget Hackwrench from the Disney TV series Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers back in the early 90s, was adorable?... Well, believe it or not, a group of Russian fans of Gadget Hackwrench have created a new religion, with the above mentioned cartoon character as the idol. They pray to posters of her, gather to talk about how incredibly great she is, compose songs about her, and spread stickers of Miss Hackwrench, wherever they go. It’s pretty unbelievable, but if Maradona has his own cult, why couldn’t Gadget Hackwrench?"

映画 『デッド寿司』 予告編 Dead Sushi (Long Version) Trailer HD - YouTube - "Sushi Action!
Sushi Erotica!
Sushi Violence!
Attack of The Killer Sushi!"

Falling over - "To keep old people from falling down so much, says Dr Frederick R Carrick, play them songs sung by someone special. But Dr Carrick cautions that this is a musical power distinct from the mundane sort that shatters glass or eardrums or a listener's complacency. So rare is this potency that only one singer - 25-year-old French pop star Nolwenn Leroy - is known to possess it."

Are Humans Getting Dumber? - "Roving the African plains in small dispersed packs that would not develop language until much later, survival as an early hunter-gatherer was not for the dull-witted. Life for our early ancestors who made the strategic switch to surviving by their wits was, in Crabtree’s words, “more intellectually demanding than we would commonly think”... this ability to tame nature and therefore mitigate the harshness of our environment may paradoxically be the greatest blessing and curse that our unique intelligence has given us as a species."

Icelandic Girl Fights For Right To Her Own Name - "A 15-year-old is suing the Icelandic state for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother. The problem? Blaer, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic, is not on a list approved by the government."

Saudi Royal Princess Maha Al-Sudairi 'does a £5m runner from Paris hotel' - "Most offenders in her position would have been arrested on the spot, charged and perhaps would already be behind bars. But because the princess is protected by diplomatic immunity, police were unable to arrest or even charge her with an offence... she had been confined to a palace in the middle eastern state by Saudi King Abdullah after leaving behind a trail of unpaid bills with luxury firms across Europe, reportedly including Dior, jewellery outlets Chaumet and Victoria Casal, and at least one hotel."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Links - 17th February 2013

“It is impossible to be truly artistic without the risk of offending someone somewhere.” ― Wayne Gerard Trotman


Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy - NYTimes.com - "THIS is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability... This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency... Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like S.S.I., a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying that hard-working guy she likes. Yet marriage is one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married couple households only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households... “If you do better in school, you threaten the income of the parents. It’s a terrible incentive.” About four decades ago, most of the children S.S.I. covered had severe physical handicaps or mental retardation that made it difficult for parents to hold jobs — about 1 percent of all poor children. But now 55 percent of the disabilities it covers are fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation, where the diagnosis is less clear-cut. More than 1.2 million children across America — a full 8 percent of all low-income children — are now enrolled in S.S.I. as disabled, at an annual cost of more than $9 billion. That is a burden on taxpayers, of course, but it can be even worse for children whose families have a huge stake in their failing in school... A growing body of careful research suggests that the most effective strategy is to work early on children and education, and to try to encourage and sustain marriage"
People respond to incentives, even if the incentive is a social safety net

Why doctors like me would rather die than endure the pain of treatment for advanced cancer - "The problem of overtreatment is most intense when young people are suffering from very serious illnesses. You get their wives, mothers and other relatives fighting all the way and demanding the doctors do ‘all that they can’. But often, those relatives are fighting for their own sakes rather than the good of the patient. They can’t bear the thought of the loved one dying, so they blind themselves to the futile trauma they are putting them through. Often, the patients themselves would like their treatment stopped, but feel they can’t say this because of the pressure from relatives to keep fighting. So they end up doing everything they can to stay alive, in order to keep everyone happy. In this, they are assisted by medical specialists, whose reflex response is to give one more last dose of drugs or radiation just in case it somehow does do the trick, no matter how unlikely... Doctors are not very good at telling people when it is time to throw in the towel. For us, it is like admitting defeat. Our whole training and instincts tell us to keep promising people that we can do something for them... his wife thanked me for telling them the truth in time. It meant that they did not go on hoping against hope. Instead, they used their remaining time together as best they could. They even drove to Rome together in a Bentley to make a wish of his come true"

ML: Macaulay Library - "The Macaulay Library is the world's largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings"

The Question Dividing Japan: Which Girl Would You Rather Date? - "On the left is “girl I want to look at” or, as written in parentheses, “the girl of my dreams.” She is described with the following characteristics:
- Confident and with a dazzling smile
- Physically fit
- Popular
- Straightforward and has a good time with anything
- All smiles and
- Fashionable and good-looking
- Height: about 165cm (5’5″)
- Athletic
- Strong and kind
Next up on the left is “girl I want to date,” or “girl I want to be with.”
- Dependent
- A little selfish
- Shows emotion
- Thin and soft
- Shy and gets lonely easily
- Pretty, but not too beautiful
- Not too popular with guys
- Height: about 150cm (4’11″)
- Doesn’t have to be strong"

Top 9 Anime Situations That Seem Likely to Happen, but Never Do - "5. Getting slapped by a girl after you walk in on her while she’s getting dressed – 19.8%
As one male Niconico reader puts it: “There were times in high school when we would walk in on the girls as they were changing, but they were too busy covering their underpants with their hands to slap us.” (In Japan, you change into your gym clothes in your homeroom)"

Can non-Europeans think? - "What immediately strikes the reader when seeing this opening paragraph is the unabashedly European character and disposition of the thing the author calls "philosophy today" - thus laying a claim on both the subject and time that is peculiar and in fact an exclusive property of Europe."

Sex education in Minnesota schools - "Here's an "exercise" that's aimed to 15-18 year olds:
For questions 4-5 have the teens focus only on the lists for Vaginal Sex, Anal Sex and Oral Sex.
4. Let's say you are trying to communicate your feelings, desires and boundaries with your sexual partner. If all the above words listed are synonyms for sex, how would your sexual partner understand what specifically you meant if you said "do you want to have sex?" Could the same problems occur that we listed earlier when we talked about styles of communication? What additional problems might we add to the list? How can you be sure that your sexual partner is consenting to the same sexual experience as you if the words you use are vague or if you are using different communication styles?
Well, OK, that's... uncomfortable, and I know it is based on the number of folks who've reacted to hearing Erickson's comments on the radio this morning while their kids were in the car."
Looking at conservative opposition to gay rights as just an anti-gay phenomenon is incomplete - when sex education is seen as sex instruction, sex education with homosexual components is viewed as promoting, teaching and/or encouraging homosexuality. As one quote I read (which I can't find anymore) goes: "I don't want my son to know how nice a penis feels when it is put in a vagina"

Top 3 Reasons Not To Marry a Chinese Woman - YouTube
Revelation: bad jokes offend me more than racist jokes

Reality TV polygamists sue for right to lifestyle choice - gay media repudiates - "The polygamous stars of a TLC reality TV series are planning to challenge Utah’s law against bigamy, arguing that it is a violation of their right to a lifestyle choice consistent with their religious beliefs. Pro-family activists have long warned that redefining marriage to include two men or two women would inevitably lead to legalized polygamy, with polygamists employing the “equality” and “consensual” rhetoric of the gay rights movement. However, gay rights commentators immediately distanced themselves from the polygamists’ suit, with one prominent commentator calling it “a political gift to anti-gay groups nationwide”... Utah attorney general spokesman Paul Murphy told the AP that the state would defend the law, noting, “So far the courts have held that states do have an interest to regulate marriage”. In previous interviews, Kody Brown has pushed for social acceptance of his definition of marriage as a “civil rights” issue. “Part of our reason for ‘coming out’ is it’s a story that needs to be told”"
The oppressed become the oppressors

Wormburger Anyone? Worm Meat More Sustainable Than Beef, Pork, Chicken and Milk: Study

The fashion for gay marriage has nothing in common with the civil-rights campaigns of the 1960s - "The greatest difference is between the agony suffered by those civil-rights campaigners compared with the celebrity and adulation enjoyed by gay-marriage activists today... this is in fact a very elitist campaign. It is underpinned by an aloof and disdainful political outlook. There are three areas in which the gay-marriage issue has more in common with the modern-day politics of elitism than it does with olden-day civil-rights campaigning. The first is in its snobbery towards vast sections of society; the second is in its intolerance of dissent; and the third is in its indifference to the lives and experiences of everyday people... If gay marriage really is a civil-rightsy, freedom-orientated issue, then why are so many of its supporters so hostile to open debate?... We often hear that gay marriage is about elevating gay relationships – but it is far more obviously a denigration of traditional marriages. You can see this most clearly in the government’s proposal to airbrush certain words from official documentation: words like husband, wife, father, mother... What message do we send to mums, dads, husbands and wives when, Orwellian style, we cavalierly cast aside their titles?... Gay marriage is allowing the state to redefine and rename our relationships, to flatten out and homogenise every human relationship and turn us all into “partners” – that soulless word which is never used by normal people to describe their relationships, only by cut-off bureaucrats."

After Connecticut: the myth of America’s ‘gun culture’ - "It isn’t really until the 1960s and 70s, and more notably the 1980s and 90s, that mass school shootings, where the aim is simply to kill a lot of young people for no discernible reason, become more common. Clearly, there’s something other than ‘gun culture’ going on here... School shootings are better understood, not as the end product of American revolutionaries’ insistence on the populace’s right to bear arms, but as part of today’s trend for highly anti-social, super-individuated acts of nihilistic, narcissistic violence - from so-called ‘Islamist attacks’ carried out by British men on the London Tube to Anders Behring Breivik’s massacre of 77 of his fellow Norwegians last year. What such assaults share in common is a profound sense of cultural disconnection... To try to explain mass school shootings through the fact that guns exist is like trying to explain the al-Qaeda phenomenon through the fact that aeroplanes exist: it fetishises the technical means as a way of avoiding grappling with cultural factors."

The burdens that Israel should not have to bear - "there is a great irony to anti-Israel sentiment in the West today: it depicts itself as anti-colonialist, sometimes even as anti-imperialist, but it actually helps to rehabilitate Western and particularly UN authority in global affairs in a new way. The transformation of Israel into a kind of scapegoat for the crimes of colonialism is itself a neo-colonial act, driven as it is by the needs of Western and other powers to assert their post-colonial diplomatic and military authority over so-called deviant states, like those that exist in the Middle East... From re-appraising the Enlightenment to handwringing over the Industrial Revolution to churning out texts on how horrendous exploration and colonialism proved to be, it is now de rigueur for Western intellectuals and activists to be consumed by a kind of self-disgust that dresses itself up as a radical stance... the failure of Enlightenment supporters in the West firstly to work out what is causing anti-Enlightenment thinking today, and secondly to find a way to counter it effectively, is projected on to Israel, so that the modern and profound crisis of Enlightened thinking comes to be explained as a simple case of medieval barbarians (Islamists) attacking a symbol of Enlightenment (Israel)"

SEX, SEX-ROLES, AND IRRATIONAL BELIEFS - "A feminine sex-role orientation is related to irrational beliefs... clinicians are cautioned not to assume there are no sex or sex-role differences related to irrational thinking"
Feminine women - and presumably feminine men - are more irrational
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