Friday, May 29, 2009

Time paradoxes make good money

Nothing beats a good tale of self fulfiling prophecy- Kill mom in the past, fail, son lives to send his own protector. Repeat.

Throw in man killing machines and a plot regarding the epic struggles of humanities' last hope and you have an easily repeatable, infinitely rebootable hollywood movie series.

Not that I'm opposed to any of this mind you (provided that the story is good) but I do lament the insinuation of this assertion- that entertainment's best and brightest are unable to think of new ideas and original stories to tell.

Terminator Salvation was indeed an entertaining film perfunctory insertion of philosophical musing of 'what defines a human' notwithstanding. Like it's other summer blockbuster cousin- Star Trek, the director eskews story telling and character building elements for a cinematic creation filled with plenty of flash but void of bang.

Marcus Wright makes a compelling Terminator pregenesis but even as his sacrifice towards the end allows John Connor to continue the good fight, the viewers are robbed of the magnamity of the situation. There's no sense of emotional loss akin to the ending of Terminator 2 where this reviewer will admit to the shedding of tears as Arnold gets lowered into the vat of molten iron. Most amazingly, we connect with Arnold even if all he does is act monotonously. Marcus on the other hand is a heart and steel prototype with human perspectives and emotions yet there's hardly a reaction from the audience for his ultimate gift of life.

Yes Terminator Salvation will entertain you exceeding well. Is it a good movie? No. Ironically, even with a lead Terminator with heart, the film has none.

Dark Times- Part 2

Sometimes God lets you float in the darkness for a while, to test your mettle and refocus your faith and strength. But He ALWAYS saves and rewards you at the end.

I sense the light coming and I hope it's O&M.

Let it be His Will and I will rest easy in faith that He alone knows what's best for me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Face: Common sense sacrificed on the alter of Singaporean Culture

Yes. You heard me- Singaporean Culture. I don't say Asian Culture because a variety of politicians and dictators have misguidedly used the idea of "asian values" as an excuse to practice autocracy.

But this post isn't about politics. It's about plain common cents.

Face value in the Singaporean context is so ridiculously important that it not only gets in the way of rational business decision making but it causes the usually "penny-pinching" singaporeans into getting into their cars, paying their road taxes (tax to use the road) and then PAYING more taxes (erp) to use particular roads.

We complain about kopitiam price increases, cost of living expenses etc but when it comes to owning a car and driving it around a very small and highly connected Singapore, common sense flies out the window.

My premise is this- If the majority of New Yorkers, one of the most densely packed population of career minded and fashion conscious people, can eskew car ownership for a metro system and foot travel, why the hell can't we?

Why are we still so voluntarily paying for more than we have to when we don't need to? It's FACE and the "loving adoration" of relatives/friends going- "Wahh.. he drive merchedis (insert car brand) hor.."

And it's the very same mentality that keeps the majority voting the same people back in. Just think about what a big liability this obsession is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The toast of Cannes: COLIN - a zombie POV movie



Shot on a $70 budget, the effects are pretty good from the looks of the trailer alone. The acting could use a bit of polish though, so does the direction (omg overuse of hand shaky effect).

One thing is for certain, despite the criticisms, KUDOS I say to the idea of a zombie movie from a zombie's POV. Kudos.

P.S. First to post!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to turn more onto the pleasures of the news

Melissa Theuriau is a presenter on "LCI Matin" (LCI Morning), a Today Show-style French morning show.


Eye candy and upwardly fashionable, if more news anchors started looking like she does, you can be pretty sure citizens of the world would start to be a little more current in their current affairs.

In Singapore, we have our very own- CHERYL FOX.

Thanks Cheryl. For being the face that kept me sane during the morning drudgery of NATIONAL SERVICE. Without you, my bunkmates would rather listen to techno in the morning.

Because of you and thy sublime beauty, you enthralled a platoon of ah beng soldiers to the wonders of Channel NewsAsia. If it had not been for you, my brain cells would have chosen to self-terminate and I would not be blogging today.

Cheryl Fox- thank you.

Most sincerely,

Time to move aside Chuck..



After chained viewing of the Dos Equis spots, I'm thoroughly convinced this man could beat Chuck Norris.

His beard > all.

He lives vicariously through himself



I like this guy. Adore this ad. Love this quote.

Great advert and if Dos Equis ever comes to Singapore, you bet my beer budget I'll order this for a taste.

p.s. He pwns Chuck Norris.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The argument against Rollerblading



Succinct.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sherlock Holmes



Hollywood seems to be going through a bit of the "reboot" trend. Not that I mind, especially when they have talented leads like RDJ (Robert Downey Jnr) and Jude Law together.

Combine it with stellar starlet Rachel McAdams and you have a killer combination of entertaining eye candy for 2 hours.

I like Sherlock Holmes. I adore the cast. I believe I'll love the movie.

Useful Stuff: Runpee.com

In a bid to make this blog more useful to my viewers. I'm going to dedicate a new category of "Useful stuff" entries for you readers out there.

The inaugural entry: Runpee.com

Runpee.com is a website dedicated to helping you find out the optimal time slots in any particular movie- TO GO PEE.

As we all (myself included) have experienced, the large coke and popcorn combo can be a deadly money waster in terms of sabotage to personal health (kidney stones) and entertainment (shit.. I missed the plot!).

Runpee.com is our best hope in avoiding the "should I go now or later" situation when nature calls mid fight scene or dramatic moment.

It's now in BETA. Avaliable here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If I should be so lucky

I'm guessing if it was a local couple, they'd be going:
HUAT AH!
Click here for the full BBC article.

BREAKING NEWS: OOPS..

I was wondering, since Mdm. Ho Ching has stepped down, couldn't she just clear leave like every other employee in the country (isn't that what we do after tendering our resignation)? Rather than make half-crocked decisions to "Buy high and sell low"?

According to the NEW YORK TIMES:
Analysts at Goldman raised BofA from neutral to buy and added the company to their so-called conviction list of recommended stocks. Analysts at Citigroup kept a buy rating on the shares, but had positive things to say about the integration of BofA and Countrywide, the troubled mortgage lender it recently bought, as well as its capital-raising plans.BofA is using “at-the-market” stock sales to raise a large part of its additional capital cushion. That means the shares are quietly dribbling out in unknown quantities. Reading the tea leaves — and watching the volume of BofA stock trades — analysts at Citi, led by Keith Horowitz, estimate it has already raised $3 billion to $4 billion from selling new stock.
But Temasek, the investment arm of Singapore, could be feeling a bit of seller’s remorse. The fund recently reported selling its entire stake in BofA — at an enormous loss, by all accounts — some time before March 31. Since then, BofA’s stock is up about 74 percent.

OOPS..

Click the title or here for the full NYT article.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Asian Values

Once upon a Cultural Studies lecture many years ago, my college Professor Brown had this to say:
Don't give me this bull shite about Asian values. The Kamasutra & tantric sex. Populations of 3 Billion in China. 1 Billion in India. There's definitely FUCKING going on in Asia. Decadent west.. hmpf..
This came to mind after a cursory glance of the comedy forum section of the 20th May 2009 issue of the Straits Times.
According to Mr. Steven Tan:
Besides providing accurate facts about STIs, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Aids, the programme also imparts useful skills to students, such as decision-making and the right places to obtain reliable information, as well as assertiveness and strategies on how not to succumb to persuasion.

I was truly heartened to learn that the students were taught that the best way to avoid STIs and Aids is to avoid casual sex, sex with multiple partners and unprotected sex, and to stay faithful to a partner within the context of marriage.

However, the students were subsequently taught how to use a condom.

While I understand HPB's good intention to curb the rising incidence of STIs among the young, I wish to express my concerns as a parent that students are being taught how to use condoms in school.
  • It gives a mixed and confusing message. Is it not better to encourage students to avoid pre-marital sex altogether, since the programme also teaches that the use of condom is not 100 per cent safe?
  • Students are not likely to heed or remember to practise safe sex just because they have attended a lesson on condom use.
  • Even if they do use a condom, they are not likely - in the heat of the moment - to remember or follow the steps to use a condom correctly.
I truly appreciate the HPB's efforts for creating such a programme and hope that it will review and consider whether it is really necessary or useful to teach students how to use a condom.

This confuses, contradicts and compromises the good advice to avoid pre-marital sex as the only foolproof protection against STIs and Aids.
With this many people in Asia, you'd think learning how to use the condom would be a good thing no?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DICING WITH DEATH

How on earth is that news?!

Comment on the economy. Write commentary on how current policies to invigorate the local economy are NOT SHOWING FRUIT. Write about the plight of migrant workers and how local employers need to take classes on Business ethics 101. How is it news that "It's a common sight to see people falling or jumping into the Singapore River"!?
  • Misstep sends student into water.
  • Misstep sends commuter falling onto train tracks.
  • Misstep sends pedestrian onto path of incoming car.
  • Misstep sends maid off HDB flat onto pavement 20 floors below.
  • Misstep sends slipper of heartland hubber into face of an ah beng- a fight ensues.
SEE A TREND!? Falling into the Singapore River when all signs point to common sense and intelligence telling you to be careful on steep wet steps IS NOT NEWS.

Anyway, the story goes on to talk about how Coral Secondary School Student Muhd Asyraf Azman lost his footing on a step along the Singapore River that had a hole in it.

I've been to the Singapore River. The steps are steep. The steps are wet. And the water is dirty. Stay away. How is it a SPECIAL REPORT: SINGAPORE RIVER HAZARDS.

Piranhas in the Singapore River (if there were. not saying there are). That's a hazard.

Steep, wet steps along the river. That's common sense- keep away or sit, stand, climb or play on those steps at your own risk.

A cup of clear, odorless acid. That's a hazard. Hot coffee with all the hallmark indications of a severe scalding if you spill some on yourself. That's common sense to exercise caution around a hot beverage.

P.S. I enjoyed the flotation device story that tested methods of what Mas Selamat might have used to get to Malaysia. It was definitely the kind of story I look forward to in the Sunday Plus. I was wondering if you would do an article on "HOW MANY TOILET ROLLS CAN BREAK A FALL FROM A THIRD STOREY WINDOW".

Realistic Long Term Investments

I've been writing love letters to Angelina Jolie. I send about 1 a week and roses fortnightly. Daily, I send her emails asking her if she has eaten well and whether she's had a good day.

I consider this a long term view on my investments. In time, my love to Angelina Jolie will bear fruit. Oh Angelina, how I've carried a torch for you since I saw you in Hackers. I've stuck steadfastly beside you since your breakout role and worshipped the countless silver screens upon which you've graced us with your presence.

Oh how others laugh and make jibes at my investments but I believe in time, my true love (no one, not even Brad can love you like I do) will bear fruit and I will stand vindicated.

But, "Be still." says my rational mind. "Are these realistic long term investments?"

Never has an article reminded me so succinctly, the love and the torch I bear for Angelina. I must take the long term view I tell myself, but never have my logical thoughts been louder.

I read, breath in throat, as Finance Minister Shanmugaratnam spoke about the US$ 2.3 billion to 4.6 billion loss. I recalled how you told us that it was a "long term investment" when others questioned its prudence as a purchase during a collapsing global economy. I wept, as Temasek gave up and lost money in their other "long term investments". Oh, how the course of true love never did run smooth. I'm a true blue Singaporean it seems, my love for Angelina is the same. I see the parallels. My love will see me victorious.

As others panicked and gave up their stocks in questionable banks and firms, Temasek Holdings held true and continued to, as the Financial Times put it "Buy high and sell low."

But no, I won't panic Ms. Jolie, I'll double my efforts to woo you no matter the cost.

Many people still laugh at me as I continue to invest in my pursuit of you Ms. Jolie.

But when I invest, I'm investing for 10, 15, 20 years. It may look like I'm making a loss, but I have not borrowed my emotions to invest- my heart is true. I will ride the storm and in time, make beautiful babies with you.

"Be still my heart," sayeth my rational mind again.

"Is this a realistic long term investment?"

Monday, May 18, 2009

For Dr. Thio Su Mien



"Dr." Thio reminds me of another Defender of the family unit basing her arguments on the christian bible- "Dr." Laura Schlessinger.

Schlessinger was frequently criticized in the gay community for her view of homosexuality as a "biological error," and for her opposition to adoption by same-sex couples.

In response to her comments about homosexuality, a rhetorical and sarcastic "letter to Dr. Laura" was circulated circa 2000 on the Internet, that attempted to illustrate disagreements with her literal interpretation of the Bible, especially with regard to homosexuality.[21] This letter was the inspiration for the character Jenna Jacobs in a Season 2 episode of The West Wing called "The Midterms." In that episode, President Bartlet criticizes Jacobs for using the Bible to call homosexuality "an abomination."

President Bartlet: Forgive me Dr. Jacobs, are you an M.D.?
Jacobs: A Ph.D.
Bartlet: A Ph.D.?
Jacobs: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: Psychology?
Jacobs: No sir.
Bartlet: Theology?
Jacobs: No.
Bartlet: Social work?
Jacobs: No. I have a Ph.D. in English literature.
Bartlet: I'm asking 'cause on your show, people call in for advice, and you go by the name of "Dr." Jacobs on your show, and I didn't know if maybe your listeners were confused by that and assumed you had advanced training in psychology, theology or health care.
Jacobs: I don't believe they are confused, no, sir.
Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President, the Bible does.
Bartlet: Yes, it does, Leviticus.
Jacobs: 18.22
Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it OK to call the police?

Here's one that's really important 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

Does the whole town have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A good reason to separate Church and State


The common misconception about the United States is that many mistake the country to be a christian nation when in fact nothing in the constitution alludes to that fact.

The biggest problem isn't that Americans don't separate Church and State, it's that they can't separate CHURCH AND POLITICS.

if they're expecting a Christian Obama to impose his christian views on a secular public, they're expecting to be lied to.

Angles & Deus

No it's not a typo. Yes, this rant is semi-inspired by the movie- Angels & Demons.

I watched it last night. I'm not a fan of Dan Brown's books and while I am a conspiracy theory buff, his writings are poorly researched and referenced even as works of fiction.

Nevertheless, his portrayal and perspectives on the catholic church are mostly spot on.

My position as a lapsed catholic notwithstanding, I feel that Dan Brown's and subsequently the director Ron Howard's depiction of church and religion are something that have been hallmarks of why so many turn to atheism.

Religion in its man-made forms are so flawed and so prone to justifications that all the rites and traditions for our salvation (and subsequent secular benefits to the needy & hungry) are so heavily shadowed by the evils and divisions it encourages.

What really gets my goat is the religious war-cry: "God's will!" Lapsed though I may be, I do subscribe to the will of the Father. But I'll also extend this disclaimer: "Reliance on God's Will is NOT AN EXCUSE for common sense and logical reasoning to take leave."

I winced inwardly at one point during the encounter between this lady (catholic I assume) and a supporter of stem cell research.
Supporter: "Why do you deny the right to save lives of the sick and dying?"
Catholic lady: "We can't play God!"
That point and counterpoint provides a neat summary of this conundrum. We are interpreting God's Will from a human angle. The entire bible has been interpreted from a human angle. Even if we take at face value the perfection of Logos (The Word), our interpretations of Logos are far from it.

Human Angles & the Will of Deus: a top down philosophical and logical look at things:
  • God gives us the ability to reason. (For you fundamentalists and literalists- You really think Adam and Eve could have taken the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge that belonged to an omnipotent and omniscience deity if He really didn't want us to have it?)
  • God gives a free will- the power to make choices.
  • With sentient and independent thought- Humans begin to conceptualise philosophy and begin scientific inquiry into how the world works. We want to touch the face of God (the divine).
  • God is everlasting & eternal.
  • The Bible/Torah/Quran is one book. Written from perspectives of humans. (Hands up how many took dictation from a tutor or teacher and still got the written work wrong somehow.)
  • Just for fun: Sum of present human knowledge is in over 20 volumes of encyclopedias.
  • Humans presume that whoever Deus/God is, He/She NEEDS our help in "fixing" the world.
  • Religion begins to divide humanity because we each interpret holy writings in accordance to our own beliefs as we try to "fix" the world.
  • Each sect of religion is the TRUE ONE.
  • The premise that if one individual's version is the TRUE, it also holds true that all others are therefore false.
  • "God has spoken to me!" or alternatively "It's God's Will!", we must convert/cleanse/save, the unbelievers/infidels/heathens.
  • We give birth to the Spanish Inquisition/Salem Witch Hunts/Modern day fundamentalist terrorism/whatever horrors committed in the name of God
My contention is that you don't need religion to act in accordance to morality and good conscience, for example:

Cloning
  • Human angle on Morality: Who's responsible for that new life? Who takes priority- the original or the clone?
  • Human angle on Good conscience: We should therefore ban complete human replication in good conscience. We however, retain the knowledge to duplicate healthy organs for replacement in the host to save lives.
  • What Deus says through Religion: Ban it all. We shouldn't play God.
Then what the Fuck (pardon the french)? Should we nuke ourselves back to the stone ages? Discard all medical advances in health and technology?

Consider for a minute that for all of THE BIBLE'S "perfection", nowhere has the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent God EVER dictated to us how we should behave when it comes to controversial new technologies like stem cell research and cloning.

Neither has God said, "In time, the atom will lead to terrible destruction in your distant future, thou shalt not conduct atomic research."

If anything, the pursuit of science and discovery is one that God has encouraged and pre-ordained. Adam and Eve satisfied their curiousity by eating of the fruit. As sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we satisfy our curiousity by continuious pursuit of the fruit of knowledge (science).

What God is looking for is the maturity to exercise that discovery and power responsibily and with the intention to benefit the rest of mankind.

Take this allegory:
  • Noah, go build the ark to save lives, a flood is coming.
  • Here are detailed blueprints and construction plans for the ark based on principles of physics and how wood is less dense than water (engineering/science for Godsakes- no pun intended).
  • God didn't go: Noah, a flood is coming. Come, take 2 of each animal and walk onto my giant God-hands. I will keep you safe while I cleasnse the world of the nephilim.
Ignoring the story of faith against a mocking audience, the fable also tells the story of an inspired farmer (also the first drunk and possible inventor of wine- Go read the Bible again), with no prior knowledge of boat building technology and understanding of physics, built a vessel that was no only capable of long voyages but of sufficient bouyancy to keep thousands of species afloat.

Not to mention, the technology that would prevent the animals from conducting their "circle of life aka food chain" behaviors that would cause them to eat each other.

Anyone that claims God is against science and progress is out of their mind.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking News: Shanghainese Woman freaks out when boyfriend refuses to buy her a car



A woman goes hysterical after her male companion refuses to buy her the car.

I found the original on youkou (a Chinese Youtube copy). I couldn't find a unadulterated version on youtube.

Translation:
Man: The car doesn't suit you
Woman: It does suit me!
Man: It's like this each time we go shopping. I'm not buying this car for you!

The woman then jumps into and drives the car up and down the showroom, ignoring her now frantic companion and salesman.

Finally he caves.
Man: Stop! Stop! I'll buy it! I'll buy it!

Something to live by

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How much is that doggy?

I'm a cat person now... but it still doesn't stop me from appreciating one of God's handsome doggies :)

My personal favorite- the Border Collie Rough Collie aka Lassie

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why PAP will always win

As taken from the ST forum page, letter in full available here.

The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and its president, Ms Lee Bee Wah, conveyed refreshingly clear thinking in their courageous decision not to nominate Liu. It is crucial not to recognise the wrong individual or for the wrong reasons.
- Lim Pueh Joo (Mdm)

Hi Mdm Lim Pueh Joo,

Thanks for the letter and I hope you continue to enjoy your estate upgrading programs and impositions on your civil liberties. We need more stalwarts like yourself as a bulwark against rising sentient thought in this country.

We need automatons that will take all our words at face value and regurgitate them as if it were personally held opinion and God given fact.

Thanks for your eternal support.

Best Regards,
Opinion Engineering Executive
Ministry of Public Relations

From TODAY Online: MP had no empathy

It started with Member of Parliament (MP) Seng Han Thong being set on fire. Then came MP Denise Phua who was threatened by a rag-and-bone man. Recently, MP Cynthia Phua was subjected to a display of violence by a constituent.

Although these incidents are disturbing and a cause for concern, I wonder whether the constituents are solely to be blamed.

Allow me to relate my personal experience.

In February 2001, my older son died in a naval accident whilst serving National Service. In that year, my younger son was due for enlistment. A friend, a very active grassroots member, suggested that I approach my MP, for help in exploring the possibility of getting an exemption for my younger son. I was reluctant but he went ahead to fix an appointment for me at the Meet-The-People Session (MPS). I subsequently relented and he accompanied me there. It was in March 2001. That was my first appearance at a MPS, and it was to be my last.

I waited until midnight before I could meet the MP. Prior to this, he was given the case paper which detailed the objective of the meeting and the circumstances of my case.

When I entered the room, his first remark was “Yes, what can I do for you?”. There was no attempt at offering a word of sympathy or condolence. I then related my situation and said that both my wife and I were very traumatised.

His next remark “What traumatic, after two months, you won’t be traumatic?”. With that, I decided to end the meeting. And with that, my respect for him hit ground zero. I was too stunned and grief-stricken to react. Someone who was less-controlled and less-measured than me could have flown into a rage and become violent.

MPs are elected or appointed to serve the constituents. People who attend the MPS are those who have real problems and need help. In a lot of instances, they are stressed, distressed and troubled. What they need is a caring soul, a helping hand, a gentle voice, and words of hope and encouragement. To dispense these, MPs need good interpersonal skills and a high EQ. Arrogance, a patronizing, chiding and belittling attitude, aloofness and lack of empathy will only trigger acts of rashness and violence. Many of our politicians have a high IQ, some are scholars. However, a high IQ is not the only attribute needed in a political career. A high EQ is equally, if not more critical, especially when it comes to dealing with the constituents.

In my case, I would have felt good if my MP could have been a warm and caring person. If he could have been empathetic, consoling and helpful. All these qualities can only come from the heart, not from the mind.

How many of our MPs can stand up and be counted for this?

The stress test

After a full day of use comprising:
-continuous calls
-regular smses
-reading eBooks during commutes
-google maps when I got lost
-web surfing & emails between meetings

I was 1/4 batt by the time I got back to the office. Throw in music and video and I'm guessing flat before day's end.

The good news?
With USB charging, it took 1hr to get back to full :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finally caved in...

Blasted iPhone... I've now joined the ranks of a bazillion other iUsers. Sigh..

The problem is not that it's a status phone. It's that truth be told, as a convergent device (phone, pda, music & video player, web surfing and entertainment) it does the job remarkably well..

I'm not even seated in bed typing this post with heated MacBook on lap. I'm doing this via iPhone :)

The surfing experience is bar none and I look forward to the kindle app & eBooks. More on stress tested battery life tomorrow.

Breaking News: Terminator Salivation REDUX


Check out the orgasmic goodness of Terminator Salvation- 21 May 2009. TERMINATOR SALVATION!!

I've been cheated by trailers before (ahem Star Wars episodes 2 & 3- GO TO HELL LUCAS) but Terminator Salvation seems to be the real deal!

The Scourge of Nigerian Scammers

I salute these guys :)

Taken From Ars Technica- Click title for original article. Excerpt below:

When your hobby is baiting 419 scammers (also known as Nigerian scammers or advance-fee fraudsters), a death threat isn't cause for concern—it's a trophy worth bragging about to your friends.

Scam baiters are the vigilante enforcers who come together to waste hours, weeks, or months of 419 scammers' lives for nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing that they are distracting them from real victims. Though the world of 419 scams has existed since long before the Internet, people continue to fall for scammers in droves—certainly, scammers are making millions of dollars every year by promising money, goods, and romance that they never deliver on. That's part of why scam baiting has actually become a somewhat popular pastime online, with thousands of users flocking to scam baiting forums to share stories and ideas on how to string along more scammers. And hey, why not? Most of us end up spending too much time screwing around on the Internet anyway—these folks just use that time to make scammers miserable.

But when you hear stories like this, it makes you wonder. "I get death threats on regular basis," a student who goes by -C- told Ars. "Death threats are not uncommon and are actually considered achievements: they are a testament to the fact that the baiter managed to annoy his/her scammer nicely."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek and a review of Inadequate 23rd century tactics

fcintro03

Twenty-third century warfare isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You’d think that weapons and tactics would have progressed in 200 years. But the new Star Trek movie shows that the United Federation of Planets has a lot to learn about warfare.

A military analysis of young Cadet Kirk’s War isn’t easy. Director J.J. Abrams‘ frenetic rock ‘em, sock ‘em style can be tough to follow. But here is Star Trek’s vision of future warfare. (Warning: all sorts of spoilers ahead.)

From Wired.com. Click here to read more.

That said, Star Trek was a rocking good movie sans plot and moralistic introspection (not really a bad thing). Die hard Trekkers will dislike the giant continuity problems that will ensue as a result of MASSIVE history altering events (hint: the United Federation of Planets suffers loss of a homeworld of one of its founding members) and the non-Trekkers will find the movie a good reason to look up "continuity" Trek TOS (original series) and TNG (Next generation).

The latest incarnation of Star Trek is Star Trek:Nemesis on crack. Nemesis was action focused but as usual, attempted to slide in a cautionary tale on evolutionary biology, cloning and whether the actions of ones' clones are a reflection of the original.

This "reboot" turns Trek history on its head with the death of James T. Kirk's inspiration to join Starfleet- his father. George Kirk takes command of the USS Kelvin for 12 minutes and successfully enacts a holding action against a vastly technologically superior time-traveling Romulon Mining Ship (why a mining ship is so heavily armed is a mystery to me.. but then again, they're Romulon..), saving his wife, newborn son and 800 others. And that's where history splits, Jim never joins Starfleet till a chance meeting with Christopher Pike (first commanding officer of the constitution class Enterprise. NERD ALERT: Robert April is the first CO.. but it's a reboot..).

Commander Spock rises swiftly through the ranks and is actually given Captainhood of the Enterprise when Pike has to meet Nero face to face, Pike's last orders assign Kirk to Spock as First Officer.

The movie will continue to place die-hard "OMG continuity" Trekkers in a very uncomfortable position- the joy of watching their boyhood hero grow to fill the Captain's chair and the inevitable pain that comes from watching a founding member's homeworld go kablooey.

But nevertheless, watching my girlfriend ooh and aah at the spiffy updated constitution Enterprise bridge controls and phased laser point defense systems, I was under no doubt that this was the Trek movie that would turn previously non fans, fans.

JJ Abrams has tastefully included the bridge sound artefacts from the original series (whee.. whee.. whee..) and finally proven the purists that- THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE with a viscereal 10 minute combat sequence that cuts from "pew-pew-kabloom" ship exterior to ship interior at the precise moment where a bulk head explodes, flushing a crewwoman into the silence of dark space.

Overall, it's a mast watch (nautical joke). 4.5 out of 5 stars.

P.S. I might catch it again. The sound FX and soundtrack are worth every penny.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nessun Dorma - Britains Got Talent 2009 Ep 5


Greg Spencer Pritchard

24 year old hotel waiter Gregg Pritchard auditions for the judges on Britains Got Talent, singing Nessun Dorma.

Click the title. Seeing is believing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bible Thumping

You can read the inspiration for this post here.

Definitely not a pro-pornography post (but hey, like any hot blooded male, I do enjoy a voyeuristic romp), but just some simple thoughts on those that use the Bible to condemn all manner of behavior.

Please have a read through on the typical "evils" of pornography
(not my opinions btw)

Around 10 percent of all adults (not statistically proven) who engage in viewing pornography feel that they are addicted. These are self-reports of men and women who cannot stop viewing pornography. The consequences of pornography addiction (dependence) may not always be clear, but let me list a few consequences:
  • Separation and divorce
  • Being unavailable to children
  • Job loss
  • A fiance ending the relationship
  • An increased tendency to argue
  • Lack of trust in relationships
  • Sexually acting out
While many argue that pornography is a matter of freedom of speech, they are missing the point. Pornography hurts people. Do you really wonder who it hurts? It hurts marriages. It hurts the individuala who become addicted. Those caught in this addiction are likely to be depressed and feel out of control. They will not be as focused in their relationships with other halves.

If you aren't anti-pornography - you might want to consider the social implications that pornography is having upon all of us. It is time to wake up and realize that pornography is destroying far too many good men and women's lives. "

He then went on to quote the bible, to back up what he was saying.
I find this situation rather typical in present day interactions with a typical christian. In this instance, when I say christian, I'm excluding Catholics (though we're part of the same family).
Catholics can be depended upon to mind their business, their relationship is between God and themselves (the Pope being the exception as he continually shoots his mouth off. He speaks for the religion but not for the majority of practicing Catholics).

Back on point- It's my opinion and experience that increasingly Christians around the globe have taken to "bible thumping". In this instance, they've targeted pornography. Not too long ago, Singaporean Christians set their sights on homosexuality- Be aware of MORONS in Aware.

Firstly, I've mentioned that marriage as an institution is no longer as sacred as it used to be. Secondly, as a biblical foundation, marriage was something instituted by the Catholics (Vatican council) to be precise. For those of you who are family with King Henry VIII, his conflict with the Holy See over marriage and divorce essentially led to the splinter from Holy Leadership in Rome and gave birth to the Church of England (Anglican Catholicism). My point is that the man-made foundations (decided by men; females weren't involved in the decision making) for this institution is the reason for its high failure rates.

Through the ages, marriage success is and continues to be a major factor in how we are judged. People are pressured into marriage even today by social norms and mores. In the local context of Asian Singapore- there's a greater emphasis of "waiting for the right time (e.g. after graduation)" rather than "waiting for the right one."

As a student of human social dynamics, it's my opinion that marriages are failing, because it's not natural. And the failure rate is compounded when many (particularly Singaporean females) pressured into finding someone and as a result don't take the time to find the right one.

Raise of hands, those of you who are familiar with the following statements:
  • He was nice so I stay with him lor.
  • He was persistent. Always chasing me, so I gave in.
  • Together 7 years already, get married lor.
When girls tell me this, it really doesn't speak about how madly in love they are with their partners. It just tells me how insecure and how badly in need of adoration many Singaporean girls are.

And in the end, Singaporean hen-pecked men resent their wives, Singaporean women, hate their unromantic unwitty husbands (enter the Ang-moh), do you really think this is all because of porn?

Now think about how many people have been duped into believing that they must go and make it "official".

Some have claimed that the bible is a highly flawed book and when the entire institution of marriage is based in the bible, where does that leave us?

Biblical "Marriages"
They would see a priest (one from the tribe of Levi) to get permission and blessing. the man would do this. then he would go to the woman's family and buy her, of course she was only acceptable if she was a virgin.

It's only a marriage after it's been consummated. This is where the whole "tradition" of "you may kiss the bride" arises. In days of old, the village or village elders are present at the consummation to stand witness to the virginity of the bride, the evidence: Blood on the marital sheets.

Bible refers to post-marital sex as "and he knew her" so when a man knows this woman, by having sex, she becomes his wife.

Biblically (Christian, Torah & Quran), a man could do this with as many women as he could afford to keep. Solomon had 700 wives, and 300 slave women.

This was cool with God. All the key people in the bible had more than one wife; I've looked it up, you should too.

Having read the basis of marriage, reconsider the hypothesis that Porn is the reason for divorce. For all intents and purposes, the Bible tends to describe sex/sex with multiple women as an amazing thing (Songs of Solomon) even if it's paid for. In a way it's always paid for, even from the beginning, a man had to buy his virgin wife from her parents.

Now think about our Nanny State and all the taboos of sex/talks of sex and how the government continually bemoans the lack of babies. We have essentially tabooed sex itself!

And if we never talk about it openly and talk to our children the responsibilities of this profound and amazing act, how will we as a society and as individuals ever achieve maturity in our thoughts and feelings regarding the issue? On a more personal note, I've noticed that a bout of amazing sex solves more arguments that cold facts and logical reasoning, it is therefore, a logical assumption that the nitty gritty of the course of marriage might run a little smoother with semi-regular exchanges of bodily fluids no?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Breaking News: Old AWARE Exco triumphant

The women have spoken and the vote of no confidence has been passed on Dr. Thio and her ilk, the new AWARE Exco.

It's 8.20 pm SGT and they've said they'll take 5 minutes to decide whether to resign.

Being women, I assume the same 5 minutes my girlfriend uses to get dressed and put on her make-up.

Enough time for me to finish watching Dances with Wolves.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spotted at IKEA: Words of wisdom

Venture Shaven.

Well.. it's actually "Venture's Haven" but poor font leading has led to this faux pas.

And please forgive the crappy picture resolution, the Nokia e66, while beautiful and functional in everyway possible is cursed with a shit camera that cannot handle close photography.