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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Links - 21st July 2012

"For every action there is an equal and opposite government program." - Bob Wells

***

A pink IC does not give you the right to a job - "One of the applicants was particularly memorable. And by memorable, I mean terribly awful... Needless to say, the interview was over in less than 10 mins. We get applicants who perform poorly at interviews all the time. But this was the first time I had the applicant send a nasty rambling email days later complaining that we never picked him. Some of the accusations in the letter looked like a copy-and-paste from the usual Temasek Review complaints."
Singaporeans first != Singaporeans only

Being cat blocked sucks. Source: http://bit.ly/NP9iM7 on Twitpic

Exploring Georgia's legendary cuisine - "Strips of delicately poached chicken submerged in a thin but rich sauce of ground walnuts, infused with garlic trout from a nearby river, pan-fried crisp and enrobed in a ruby-red pomegranate coulis. And the bread! One kind was baked into a pie stuffed to the gills with rich, melty curd cheese and served sliced, like a fat double-crust pizza, while another came shaped like a gondola, with the cheese pooled in the middle to mix with butter and a runny egg poaching as it came to table."

$5B CAMO SNAFU - "Over the next year, America’s largest fighting force is swapping its camouflage pattern. The move is a quiet admission that the last uniform — a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion — was a colossal mistake. Soldiers have roundly criticized the gray-green uniform for standing out almost everywhere it’s been worn"
Luckily, the SAF doesn't have to fight so they can continue with the current uniforms

When will citizen journalism website STOMP clean up its shit? - "What is more shocking is that “wasabi” is no citizen journalist but employed by STOMP as a content producer (more like content fabricator)!! Now we really wonder how much of the content on STOMP is produced/fabricated by their own staff? Why doesn’t STOMP inform its readers that the contributor was a staff and tries to make it seem as if all their content are submitted by members of the public? And if they are employed by STOMP/SPH why are they not subjected to the rigours of fact-checking and journalistic ethics? This stinks of mis-representation"

Iran to execute two for alcohol: Reports - "Iran is to execute two people caught drinking alcohol for a third time after judges upheld the Islamic republic's strict laws on liquor consumption"

S'pore is Asia's most expensive city for travellers - "How much would two travellers have to pay for a night out in Singapore? S$480 (US$374.94), according to TripAdvisor's latest index. The expenses covered a room for two at a four-star hotel, a round-trip taxi ride of about 3.2 kilometers each way, cocktails for two at a five-star hotel bar and dinner for two with a bottle of house wine. This made Singapore the most expensive city in Asia, and the 10th most expensive city in the world for travellers. The index covered 48 key tourist cities around the world. Tokyo was Asia's second most expensive city and the 13th most expensive city in the world, with travellers having to pay S$448 or US$349.62 for the same items."

Police arrest 2 for making racist remarks online - "Commander of Bedok police division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police How Kwang Hwee said: 'The right to free speech does not extend to making remarks that incite racial and religious friction and conflict'"
If they're really "remarks that incite racial and religious friction and conflict", why haven't we had a race riot in 33 years?

Tuan Anh | Sacramento and Beyond Concert and Stock PhotographySacramento and Beyond Concert and Stock Photography - "My favorite act of the night was Tuan Anh. She – scratch that – He came out making a couple of jokes. I have no idea what he was saying, but I was on the floor laughing. This guy is just plain funny with his mannerisms, accents and, of course, his style – very comical, but once he started singing, it’s obvious he’s a singer first, comedian second. He sang “Em Lat Tat Ca” and “I Who Have Nothing”... As I’ve said before, although I don’t speak Vietnamese, it was interesting to attend a concert where you can’t understand the language. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what language you speak when listening to music. It’s what moves you that counts"

Answer to Sex: If a girl sleeps with you in the same bed, does it mean that she wants to have sex? - Quora - "She "can't" go home? Like, there is physically no possible way for her to get home? Bridge washed out? No cabs in your city? She rode her horse over to your house, and it wandered off?... Don't listen to all these people who are suggesting you ask her if she wants to have sex. As you surmise, this is the dumbest thing ever. "Do you, um, want to have sex with me now?" will not work"

Kojima Haruna to flash her panties as a magic student in new drama ‘Megu-tan tte Mahou Tsukaeruno?’ - "The drama is going to feature many scenes where Megu will be flashing her panties in order to erase other people’s memories. AKB48’s producer Akimoto Yasushi personally asked Kojima whether she would be approve of flashing her panties. She explained, “I wasn’t all that surprised (about there being such scenes) and told him that I’d be fine as long as they aren’t cheaply done.”"
Damn Japs

Micro-Bias: If You Want a Kiva Loan, It Helps to Be Pretty and Light-Skinned - "Dark skin may slow the pace of receiving money through Kiva, but being from Africa helps enormously. Loans to Kenya fund several times faster than loans to Bulgaria on the platform. Geographic discrimination is far more important than skin tone. Users tend to believe there is more need in poorer countries, and African countries tend to be poorer. Lenders may also feel their dollars will go farther with a microloan to Africa than elsewhere. On Kiva, the skin tone bias only crops up strongly after other factors are accounted for... "What we found [on Kiva] are these patterns of discrimination are most evident in people who don’t lend much," he says. Habitual use of a site, he reasons, makes the lender more strategic, more businesslike, and less biased... There is also some evidence that race bias is more pronounced when we are overwhelmed with choice and when we make split-second decisions"
This all falls into line with what we know about heuristics

Boys raised by traditional families 'do better at school' - "family structures had a much more significant effect on boys’ early education than school type or even the gender of teachers. It found that boys were much more likely to misbehave, be excluded from school and go on to achieve low grades after rebelling against “emotionally distant” parents. The pattern is particularly marked in single-parent families where mothers “invest disproportionately less in their sons or feel less warm toward them” than daughters"

Germans seek beastiality ban - "German chancellor Angela Merkel may spend much of her time trying to solve the euro zone crisis, but drug use, protection of animals and interpretations of history are more pressing issues for some of her compatriots. More than 152,000 Germans have voted to make cannabis a legal drug in an online poll conducted as part of Dr Merkel's strategy to bring the German government closer to the people. Outlawing sex with animals also proved to be an important issue, with more than 93,000 voting to scrap a 1969 law which decriminalised the sexual abuse of animals."

German Muslims call on lawmakers to protect circumcision - "Around 20 organisations representing most of Germany's around four million Muslims said parliament must ensure religious freedom by eliminating the legal uncertainty surrounding the rite since the June 26 ruling by a court here... In a decision that also sparked outrage among Jewish groups and which could set a legal precedent, the regional court in this western city ruled against a doctor in Cologne who had circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents' wishes. The judges found that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents""

FEMALE CIRCUMCISION: RELIGIOUS PRACTICE V. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION - "Two problems arise when instituting the phrase “female genital mutilation”. First, the phrase inaccurately describes all forms of female genital surgeries as mutilative. The symbolic pricking of the clitoris and the sunna, both mild forms of the practice, are better described as circumcisions. In addition, identifying an African religious and cultural practice as mutilative is offensive. Indigenous African groups, themselves, prefer to employ the term “female circumcision” when referring to female genital surgeries... a commonality exists among these African groups and their reasons for practicing female circumcision: Islamic and other African religions are one of the primary foundations of female circumcision in Africa... There is no reference to female circumcision in the Qur’an. However, the Prophet Mohammed’s Hadith contains several references to the practice... the international legislation concerning female circumcision is contradictory. The same documents that promote self-determination and individual freedom restrict international citizens from choosing to practice female circumcision... prohibiting female circumcision has only encouraged the practice to occur secretly, avoiding detection by authorities. Legislation restricting the practice of female circumcision is not ending the practice. Instead, female circumcisions are forced to be performed in more rural, unsanitary areas, increasing the possibility of health risks and deaths... I returned home, learning so many lessons from Africa. One of these lessons was that we, as Westerners, have large egos. The most powerful countries in the world walk into the weakest ones, demanding that they do things the “right” way."
With abortion, people say that if you ban abortion all that happens is you force them to be performed in unsanitary conditions, increasing health risks and deaths

'Cat ladies' may be more likely to attempt suicide, scientists say - "owning cats may be a risk factor in why some people attempt suicide. The study looked at the effects of the common cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which has been attributed to mental health issues in humans in the past. The nasty bug is found in cat feces, making cat litter boxes a cesspool of disease that is repulsive not only for its choking smell but for its health effect. Specifically this research, which looked at over 45,000 Danish cat owners, found that infected women (yes, they were all women) were one-and-a-half times more likely to try to kill themselves than women who didn’t have the parasite"

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 1, Part 2 - Kew Gardens

"I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet." - Rodney Dangerfield

***

Europe CNY 2012
Day 1 - 19th January - Kew Gardens
(Part 2)

The next stop was Kew Gardens. Granted it wasn't going to be too impressive in the winter, but the greenhouses would be nice, and I wasn't sure when I was visiting London again (it'd been 6 years since my last visit)

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Entrance

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Devil's Claw Proboscidea louisianica
This was a sculpture made of some organic plant material, not the actual plant

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Orangerie. Here there was wifi for you to download a Kew Gardens app. They blocked web pages but forgot to block foursquare and Whatsapp.

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Kew Palace

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Oriental Plane tree: fruit

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Oriental Plane tree

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Kew Palace, lawn

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Green bird in tree

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Green Bird

I then came across the first of many sponsored benches:

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"Cherished memories of my husband Mr. Mark Antony Yates. 1956-1991 and the many treasured hours spent here"

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Sweet Chestnut Tree

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Rhododendron Dell. Which looks nicer in Spring or Summer

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A very simple sponsored bench: "Dave's Bench"

Happily there were 2 spots of colour: camellias in different stages of flowering.

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Camellia japonica 'Prosper Vial'

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Camellia 'Lady Clare'

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Overbooked bench, dedicated to both Kathy Ward and Jack Pearce.
By this point I was suspecting Kew Gardens made more money from selling bench space than from ticket sales.

There was a Minka House. Minka being a Japanese type of house.

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On the Minka style, and the Minka House at Kew

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Inside the house

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Exterior of Minka House

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Are you suspicious at the bench placement? Do you suspect that they are not located for patrons' comfort but for some other reason?

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Azaleas, out of season

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Geese

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Circumcised narrow leaved ash

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Lucombe oak

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Syon Vista

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Annoyingly, the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkways were closed. They should've lowered ticket prices to compensate.

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Lake with Sackler Crossing in the background

Then came the most suspicious bench placement yet:

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Benches scattered at random, as if by a mad artist
I went to check, and all of these benches were sponsored (in fact, I didn't see any NON-sponsored benches in Kew). I was positive that they were placed so that they could be auctioned off, rather than being pre-existing benches.

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Lake path

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Lake

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More cynical bench placement

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Perrys Weeping Holly

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Closed treetop walk

I saw a bench with 3 memorial plaques. At first I thought this was the most outrageous example of commercialisation yet, but a closer look revealed a different story:

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"In memory of Norman L. Dunbar"
"Sylvia R. Illman (née Dunbar)"
"In loving memory of Florence Dunbar"
The wife outlived her husband by a year, and the daughter died just shortly after her mother. Sad.

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One of Kew's Glasshouses, the Temperate House which "is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world"

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A smaller glasshouse, the Evolution House. "This aluminium glasshouse is probably the oldest made from this material anywhere in the world". Hah.

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Evolution House
The place had a mixture of extant plants and artificial ones

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Jumping 3 billion years in a step

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Liverworts

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Ancient Forest view
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