December 30, 2010

Mammoth Supply Company: Enormously sexist and homophobic

I have to call you out on this - I'm sorry Mammoth, and a shame that you are a New Zealand company (this isn't Kiwi wit, c'mon!), but this is terribly sexist and homophobic. I'm a bloke and I don't see the humour in it.
( via )

December 01, 2010

The Orang Utan

Whenever I'm at the Singapore Zoo, I get the most distracted and enchanted by the orang utan. Watching this video of the orang utan using tools, tying knots, rowing boats, washing themselves.. reminds me again & again how closely related we are.

Never forget that you are just a great ape.

I've since bookmarked this as my new favourite site: BBC Earth's Life Is

November 22, 2010

When Did YOU Choose to be Straight?

Travis Nuckolls and Chris Baker take to the streets of Colorado Springs, asking strangers if they think being gay is a choice:

September 24, 2010

Stephen Hawking says universe not created by god

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
Full article here.

In his latest book The Grand Design Hawking sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe could not have been created out of chaos.
The Grand Design

August 26, 2010

Cookies are god's way of showing that he loves you

( via ) <-- You should follow. She is beyond awesome.

August 06, 2010

A Poker Player Plays Poker

(from e-mail)

Two couples were playing poker one evening. Jim accidentally dropped some cards on the floor.. When he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed Bob's wife , Sue, wasn't wearing any underwear under her dress! Shocked by this, Jim upon trying to sit back up again, hit his head on the table and emerged red-faced.

Later, Jim went to the kitchen to get some refreshments. Bob's wife followed and asked: 'Did you see anything that you like under there?' Surprised by her boldness, Jim admitted that, well indeed he did. She said: 'Well, you can have it, but it will cost you $500.'

After taking a minute or two to assess the financial and moral costs of this offer, Jim confirms that he is interested.

Sue told him that since her husband Bob worked Friday afternoons and Jim didn't, Jim should be at her house around 2pm Friday afternoon.

When Friday rolled around, Jim showed up at Bob's house at 2pm sharp and after paying Sue the agreed sum of $500 - they went to the bedroom and closed their transaction, as agreed.

Jim quickly dressed and left.

As usual, Bob came home from work at 6pm and upon arriving, asked his wife: 'Did Jim come by the house this afternoon?'

With a lump in her throat Sue answered: 'Why yes, he did stop by for a few minutes this afternoon.' Her heart nearly skipped a beat when her husband curtly asked: 'And did he give you $500?'

Sue, using her best poker face, replied: 'Well, yes, in fact he did give me $500.'

Bob, with a satisfied look on his face, surprised his wife by saying: 'He came by the office this morning and borrowed $500 from me. He promised he'd stop by our house this afternoon on his way home and pay me back.'

Now THAT, my friends, is a poker player.

August 05, 2010

Same-sex marriage

This afternoon, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will publish his decision on whether to uphold or overturn the California voter-approved ban known as Proposition 8 (or the California Marriage Protection Act) that would insert language into the state constitution saying that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Walker's ruling is one of a number of recent decisions made by voters and governments around the world affecting the ability of same-sex couples to marry legally. Around the U.S., several states are challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage act, both Washington DC and Mexico City legalized same-sex weddings last March, and on July 15th, Argentina became the first Latin American country to recognize same-sex marriage. 
I've handpicked some of my favourite pictures from the article. (go here to see all 26 beautiful photographs)

June 29, 2010

Protect the women we care about

Being genetically male does not mean I can't talk about cervical cancer. I have a wife, a mother, grandmothers, aunts, grandaunts, cousins, and perhaps someday, daughters. All are women or soon to be women that I care very deeply about.

Having lost two aunts to different types of cancers, I'd say I know firsthand that prevention is better than cure. Incidentally, did you know cervical cancer is the only preventable women's cancer?

Wikipedia gives its usual scientific explanation, but here's the plain English version by Monoxious:
Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t affect you based on your skin colour, how rich or poor you are or even how old you are. So if you think that cancer won’t affect you or your loved ones, think again.
Here are some hard facts about Cervical Cancer:

  • Cervical cancer refers to cancer originating from the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb (uterus).
  • It is the 6th most common cancer amongst women in Singapore.
  • It’s caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • It can take anytime from 10-20 years to develop but before that, pre-cancer cells develop and CAN be detected by a Pap smear.
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking can increase the possibility of you contracting cervical cancer up to 10 times!!!
  • Cervical cancer can be treated if detected early.
So what can we do about it? Sign up for a pap smear & HPV vaccination, ladies.

Gentlemen? Get the lady you care about to go for a pap smear. It's that simple.

If you go to a polyclinic in Singapore, it's heavily subsidised for Singaporeans. (In Malaysia, Japan, and Australia it's free.)

If you need to know more, POCC (Power Over Cervical Cancer, a Singapore initiative) has launched a very informative website at

A little background:
Power Over Cervical Cancer is a campaign that aims to make Singapore the country with the lowest incidence of Cervical Cancer and they need your help to spread the word.

Pledge your support for this cause and protect those you care about by telling them about Cervical Cancer. Together, we have POWER Over Cervical Cancer.

Click the button below to begin!

June 01, 2010

Bangladesh's army of 'InfoLadies'

They zap around on bicycles, each carrying a netbook, mobile phone, and medical supplies. 'InfoLadies' are like Little Miss Know-It-Alls with a revolutionary idea: to bring crucial (and potentially life-saving) information to the doorsteps of millions of poor people in Bangladesh.
"Ask me about the pest that's infecting your crop, common skin diseases, how to seek help if your husband beats you or even how to stop having children, and I may have a solution."
( via )

April 21, 2010

In pursuit of silence.

I work at a computer all day, quietly, not saying a word. Yet, I tell my partner, once I'm done with work I crave stillness.

Not talking does not mean there is no noise. While we're at work a million things go through our minds, dozens of "non-verbal" conversations take place (Twitter, Facebook, SMS, MSN, e-mail, etc), ideas come and go.

Every e-mail & every article I read is part of the daily conversation that goes on in my seemingly quiet world. Once I'm off the grid, I don't want to have to think about these things. I also don't want to engage in small talk about my day or what I had for lunch with my partner, at least not within the first hour of finishing work. My favourite thing to do is head straight for the pool, where the water envelops me and I can't hear a thing.

Although, you could call this a form of escapism masquerading as "exercise".

In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, a book by George Prochnik, helped me rethink my definitions of silence and noise.

Right on the outset it says "More than money, power, and even happiness, silence has become the most precious—and dwindling—commodity of our modern world."
In order to understand the pursuit of silence, it would be necessary, also, to track the pursuit of noise. The two were bound together -- each, in its own way, was reactive. It's a torrid, choppy affair that we are often in denial about, or tend to laugh off as a bass-heavy, summer's night fling. But it seems to have a surprisingly tenacious hold on us, and if we are ever going to being making a serious investment in the cultivation of silence, we have to understand how we became so entangled with noise. 
Instead of being against noise, I think we need to begin making a case for silence. This means getting imaginative about expanding our understanding of silence in ways that develop associations between silence and a vibrant, fulfilling life. Anti-noise activists often compare noise pollution to air pollution. But unlike smoke, lots of noises are good, at least some of the time. Instead, we might frame noise as a dietary problem. Most of us absorb far too much sonic junk. We need to develop a more balanced sound diet in which silence, and sounds we associate with quiet states of mind, become part of our daily regimen. 
Prochnik concurrently maintains a blog of silence as well.

April 19, 2010

Avert your eyes ↵

"If you are walking by a pond and you see a child drowning, do you save her? What if it means ruining a very fancy pair of Italian shoes?" 
Okay, if we assume the answer is yes, then why not spend the cost of those shoes to save 20 kids who are starving to death across town or the world? There's really no difference. Or by, extension, invest in research or development that solves a problem forever... The issues are proximity and attention.

My take is that most people would instantly save the kid, but given the choice, probably wouldn't take the road by the pond again any time soon. We like to avoid these situations, because these situations make us uncomfortable

April 16, 2010

Paedophilia not linked to celibacy; it is linked to homosexuality

The Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, also known as 'Deputy Pope', told a news conference in Santiago:
"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.."
It would be interesting to see where the Deputy Pope obtains this steaming pile of excrement from.

Meanwhile in England, Richard Dawkins (atheist campaigner) and Christopher Hitchens (atheist author) are planning a legal ambush on the Pope:
Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.
Everything about Catholicism is dated - the rituals, the frocks, the cover-ups.
“This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."
This old boy's club mentality has gone on long enough.

Alien Baby: Genetics, Adoption, and how I became myself ↵

When I think about the differences [between me and my adoptive parents], I wonder if they're personality traits I cultivated on my own or if they belong to someone else who passed them onto me. Things like a preference for morning or evening hours can often be genetic, and this is part of what I hope the DNA test will tell me.

April 14, 2010

Isn't Sinead O'Connor overdue a massive, grovelling apology from absolutely everybody? ↵

In 1992, Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live as a protest against paedophilia in the Catholic Church and the complicity of the church hierarchy. It was viewed as an act of career suicide. The following day, steamrollers crushed hundreds of her CDs outside Rockefeller Center to huge cheers from protesters. On the next SNL, presenter Joe Pesci quipped that “if it had been my show, I would have gave her such a smack.”
I remember her doing this back then, but I was in my early teens & didn't quite know it was about paedophilia.
..even the most outlandish allegations O’Connor made against the Catholic Church eighteen years ago seem pretty tame in comparison to what we now know to have occurred. And in the wake of the most recent wave of revelations, which have implicated the current Pope, the US media seems belatedly to have acknowledged as much.
Only in adulthood did I finally understand why my father (an atheist) never allowed my brother to serve as an altar boy (we were raised Catholic. Long story.)

The comments are an interesting read. This one stood out:
"Sinead is definitely due an apology. 38 years ago my father warned me never to be alone with a priest or take a lift from one. This was before I went to Irish College which was run by the priests. He told me that they lived very unnatural lives and that some of them preyed on children and did bad things to them. I took his advise. Lots of people knew what was going on even then."


Trash-collecting entrepreneur squashed in San Francisco ↵

A guy named Joe got fed up of being charged $37/week for garbage disposal. So he decided to take things into his own hands. Eventually it turned into a small but profitable business. He worked from 5am to 8am everyday, and hired a few neighbourhood kids to help out.

All was going well for Little Joe until the Big Guys found out:
When the local garbage company and its union found out about "Joe" they complained to the city. Within a year a law was passed stating that garbage service was now mandatory for all residents at the price the city's monopoly charged, which was shortly raised. And Joe? For a while he still took our recyclables until he was fined $4000, even though he had our permission. It appears our household recyclables are owned by the Garbage company, not us, as it subsidizes our low cost of garbage service!

It is clear that monopolies are bad in business or unions and monopoly unions exist to enrich a class of privileged workers at the expense of ordinary workers.

April 13, 2010

North Korea operates several restaurants outside of the country? ↵

Aptly named Pyongyang, they operate in Cambodia, Thailand, China & several other Asian countries.
The restaurants are used to earn additional money for the government in Pyongyang—at the same time as they were suspected of laundering proceeds from North Korea's more unsavory commercial activities...
Visitors to the restaurant are ushered into an air-conditioned, flood-lit hall filled with dozens of glass-topped tables. Unlike North Korea proper, which is wracked by economic sanctions and constant famines, the food here is fresh and abundant.

April 12, 2010

The best things in life aren't things ↵

Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby), on why he gave away his company to charity:
I live simply. I hate waste and excess. I have a good apartment, a good laptop, and a few other basics. But the less I own, the happier I am. The lack of possessions gives me the priceless freedom to live anywhere anytime.

April 08, 2010

Women's natural scent more seductive than perfume ↵

Study has found that men detect a woman’s natural scent at an unconscious level. In the tests testosterone levels were higher in men who smelled an ovulating woman’s T-Shirt.

If you want more incentive to just let your natural odour come through you should know that showering is probably contaminating the drinking water supply.

April 07, 2010

What teachers make

"Taylor Mali speaks of the world of the teacher with power and grace. His voice is our voice." -- Michele Forman, 2001 National Teacher of the Year

You can also buy his book, What Learning Leaves.

April 02, 2010

The Rage Is Not About Health Care ↵

The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.

March 31, 2010

March 24, 2010

The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice

The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice by Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro

This contains excellent thoughts about conducting oneself socially, manners, conversation, style, how to tie ties, how to order drinks, how to be suave on a date, all sorts of things that a gentleman would want to know. Not impressed with the sex part (cheesy!) but hey you can’t win ‘em all.
Get this along with Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion - as it is, not enough blokes (especially in Singapore, I've noticed) take care & time to dress well.

Stop wondering why your women look across the shores for companionship. Stop thinking that your only option is a mail-order bride. Things can be better. The change begins WITHIN.

March 15, 2010

March 12, 2010

The zero-rupee note that shames corrupt officials into not demanding bribes ↵

The idea was dreamt up by an expatriate Indian physics professor from the University of Maryland who, travelling back home, found himself harassed by endless extortion demands. He gave the notes to the importuning officials as a polite way of saying no.
I'm really curious to know if there are measurable results for this. Fantastic idea, nonetheless.

March 05, 2010

Racial groups that are OK to make fun of ↵

In the year 2010, in the United States, it’s acceptable to make fun of some groups of people. To find out which groups, you only need to turn on a children’s TV station, such as Nickelodeon, or wait until Halloween and see how people dress up.

January 29, 2010

The Jewish Bra

(from e-mail)
A man walked into the women's department of Macy's in New York City .

He found a saleslady, and told her, "I would like a *Jewish bra* for my wife, size 34B.."

With a quizzical look the saleslady asked, "What kind of bra?"

He repeated "A *Jewish bra*. She said to tell you that she wanted a
*Jewish bra*, and that you would know what she means."

now I remember," said the saleslady. "We don't get as many requests
for them as we used to. Most of our customers lately want the
*Catholic bra*, or the *Salvation Army bra*, or the *Presbyterian

Confused, and a
little flustered, the man asked "So, what are the differences?"
The saleslady responded: "It is all really quite simple.
The *Catholic bra* *supports the masses*.. The *Salvation Army bra* *lifts up the fallen*, and the *Presbyterian bra* *keeps them staunch and upright*.."

He mused on that information for a minute, and asked "So, what does the *Jewish
bra* do?"

The saleslady responded: "The *Jewish bra* *makes mountains out of molehills*."