Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Genetics controls gender, not upbringing

Very interesting article. Due to accidental loss of penis, parents and doctor attempted to raise son as daughter. Despite having been castrated and believing he was a girl, his behavior became increasingly masculine:"The girl had many tomboy traits, such as abundant physical energy, a high level of activity, stubbornness, and being often the dominant one in a girl's group."

[...]

Yet by the time Brenda reached puberty at 13, she was feeling suicidal.

"I could see that Brenda wasn't happy as a girl," Janet recalled.

"She was very rebellious. She was very masculine, and I could not persuade her to do anything feminine. Brenda had almost no friends growing up. Everybody ridiculed her, called her cavewoman.

Chocolate flavored powdered meat

Hello to another day in a world where the vast majority of the protein we need for our sustenance - as well as lots of superfluous protein that we don't really need, but it looks nice on our bodies - is derived from daily torture and slaughter of thousands, millions, literally billions of dairy and meat animals.

I probably don't have to go into details of what a lifetime of a dairy cow or farm chicken looks like. You know their life spans are short, nasty, and brutal.

Some time ago, I walked into a nutrition store, looking for protein powder. Among the most prevalent powders, which tend to be derived from milk, I noticed a conspicuous product called Carnivor. It's protein powder... made of beef.

If there was ever an abomination, this is it. This is pure, powdered evil.

You see, we can get far more protein per life-of-animal-suffering from dairy, than we get from slaughtered meat.

Over an average life span of 3 lactations, a dairy cow will produce 20,000 lbs of milk per lactatio…

People who don't help themselves...

Image
In Indonesia, a country of 230 million people, they apparently "do not have expertise" to maintain a tsunami detection system which was put in place after the 2004 catastrophe:Locals were given no indication of the coming wave because an early-warning system put in place after the devastating 2004 tsunami has stopped working.

Fauzi, the head of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysic Agency, told the Associated Press that the system began to malfunction last year, and was completely inoperative by last month.

"We do not have the expertise to monitor the buoys to function as intended," he said.There's just no excuse for this incompetence.

Over the course of 6 years, a country with a population of 230 million has been unable to acquire equipment and train people to run a crucial early warning system? After they received the help to put it in place from countries like Germany, China, France, and the US?

What a waste of help.

Every cent misplaced by helping people who…

The value of seven billion dollars

According to the French legal system, the value of $7 billion is 3 years in jail. That's what Jerome Kerviel got for fraudulent trading which saddled Societe Generale with a $7 billion loss.

EPA's economic analysis estimates the value of a US human life at about $7 million.

The reason a life can be assigned a value is because it takes a certain amount of money in order to save a US life. If you have $14 million, you could use that in the US to save, most efficiently, about 2 human lives total. Or that's what EPA suggests.

The money wasted by Jerome Kerviel could, therefore, have been used to save 1,000 human lives.

So basically he wasted 1,000 human lives worth of money, and what he gets is 3 years in jail.

Of course the damage cannot be undone, regardless of whether the jail time is 3 years, or a lifetime, or if he is simply executed, like the Chinese would have done.

But money is about human lives. Economic damage is about human lives. A system which handles this sort of wrong…

Lady GaGa's meat dress

I think people who are put off by Lady GaGa must either really dislike her music, or must be numb in the head. I don't remember a person this original since... ever.

Here's her latest outrage: the meat dress.

You and I might joke around and come up with a crazy idea to wear a dress entirely made of meat to a celebrity show, chuckling and feeling smug about our original and iconoclastic thinking. Then we would go wearing a nice evening suit because we don't have the balls to actually pull that off.

Lady GaGa goes and wears the meat dress.

It's visually disturbing, and at the same time seems to be a waste of meat that could have been served on a dinner plate. But consider our meat industry, which slaughters more animals in a year than there are all humans living. Consider the inefficiency of our food industry in general, combined with our eating habits, which wastes 50% of our food.

What is actually more disturbing: these few pounds of flesh made into a dress, or 10 billion a…

Being deaf vs. speaking an unpopular language

Katja Grace makes an interesting argument comparing:intentionally making your kid deaf - like some deaf people want to do, arguing it will help the child experience deaf culture;raising a child in an unpopular language - like most parents speaking unpopular languages do, arguing it will help the child experience that language's culture.There is a difference between the two, primarily that a child raised in an unpopular culture can still learn a foreign language, whereas a deaf child cannot learn to hear. However, most won't learn a foreign language, and those who do, will be severely handicapped. Katja's arguments are illuminating and compelling.

I've expressed this sentiment in the past: languages with small numbers of speakers, like Slovenian, are poison for the people brought up speaking them. It should be a basic human right that one should be not just taught, but raised in a major world language, one that's e.g. in at least top 10 by total number of speakers. …

Fidel Castro, peace activist

Wow:Over the course of a five-hour discussion, Mr Castro "repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism", and criticised Mr Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust.

"The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust," the former president said.

Mr Castro said that Iran could further the cause of peace by "acknowledging the 'unique' history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence", Mr Goldberg wrote.

Mr Castro told Mr Goldberg that he understood Iranian fears of Israeli-American aggression and that he did not believe that sanctions and threat would dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

"The Iranian capacity to inflict damage is not appreciated," Mr Castro said. "Men think they can control themselves but [US President Barack] Obama could overreact and a gradual escalation could become a nuclear war."

Mr Castro has recen…

James Jay Lee's demands

James Jay Lee has been solo protesting outside the Discovery Channel's offices for years, demanding a complete overhaul of their programming. He believes that the human race is so bad for the planet that our population should be radically lowered through mass sterilization. He also wants an end to civilization and armed conflict. Because the Discovery Channel's network reaches many people, he believes they can, and should, make this happen.

It seems that no one has been taking him seriously, so now he invaded the Discovery Channel's headquarters waving a gun and with metallic canisters strapped to his chest. It appears that he is currently taking a couple of hostages, awaiting his demands to be met.

Read about his crazy demands before his web site is shut down, which seems likely. :)1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions t…

The doghouse: India goes after encryption

India is going after all sorts of encrypted communications that are making it inconvenient for its security services to keep tabs on everyone.

They've already gone after RIM (Blackberry), and telecoms firms are next.

If their smarts are sufficient to at least be consistently dumb, a countrywide ban on secure web browsing ought to follow.

This is a ridiculously bad idea because it only prevents law-abiding citizens from using encryption to protect their sensitive communications.

All the smart criminals and terrorists can continue to use encryption, whether or not it is legal, as they please.

Something to show your kids

Food additives

A very nice article making an attempt to dispel the irrational fears of food additives. An imbalanced diet is much more of a danger than the additives in the food:So, had I overdosed? Yes, but not on E numbers.

Dr Heaversedge wasn't worried about my E consumption, not even sodium nitrite (remember that 100-fold safety margin). What he was horrified by was the fact I'd eaten 418% of my recommended daily allowance of fat, 500% of my salt RDA and 218% of my sugar RDA. So the biggest nutritional culprits in my binge came in purely organic form and had no E numbers.Don't miss the column that enumerates a few additives used by our ancestors in recent centuries. Strychnine and sulphuric acid in beer, anyone?

"Zakaj bi verniki sami seb lagal?"

[Most of my posts are in English. This one isn't. :) ]

Vprašanje v naslovu mi je pred kratkim postavila neka anonimna korespondentka, ko sem objavil, da je laganje samemu sebi popularno. Da 90% ljudi - vsi, ki so verni - sami sebi lažejo.

"Zakaj bi verniki sami seb lagal?"

Odgovoril sem ji:

Vera temelji na tem. Zato se ji reče "vera", ne pa "resnica". Jedro vere je verska laž, v katero se verjame, ker je udobno, ne zato, ker je res. Okoli laži je antiracionalni ščit, ki varuje laž pred razumom. Ščit poskuša nevtralizirati razumske misli, ki bi versko laž ogrozile. Če kakšna misel pride skoz in predre ščit, pa je vernik zadolžen, da zapolni luknjo s pasto iz laži.

Conversations with a Christian

The following is my summary of a long and frequently frustrating debate on Facebook between myself, another atheist, and a Christian. I changed the names for some degree of privacy.

"The evolution of morality is a pretty well researched question with solid evolutionary answers. A better argument for the existence of something along the lines of God is awareness itself. To the best of my knowledge, science has so far been unable to offer an explanation of why anyone's aware of anything. Nor does it offer a satisfactory explanation of why I happen to be aware of only me - and not any of the other billions of creatures in existence.

In my mind, questions about the origin of awareness beg an answer that must point somewhere outside of what we currently know as nature, or at the very least requires augmentation of our knowledge of nature.

However, jumping briskly from these questions to "God exists as depicted in the Bible, and he sent Jesus to atone for our sins" is a gros…

Iran considers prisoner rape noble

Image
Words of an influential imam, with whom Ahmadinejad "regularly consults":"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."
Cultural relativism, anyone?

How socialism caused World War II

I was just recently informed, via Tomaž Štih, of Götz Aly's book Hitler's Beneficiaries. The original German title of this book was Hitler's People's State, and it analyzes in detail Hitler's economy before, as well as during World War II. There's a Spiegel review here.

Apparently, this book makes a compelling case that the entirety of the German war effort existed to finance German socialism. The Nazi party was, of course, a socialist party - its full name was the National Socialist German Workers' Party. But it turns out that apparently, the wars and the socialism weren't related just coincidentally. Hitler was a great social redistributor; the ultimate Robin Hood, in fact - in terms of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. His social state was financed first by confiscating the property of Jews in Germany. But eventually, this source of funding ran out, and the social system required funding. Hitler's choices at that point, then, were eithe…

Apartheid was bad, but South Africa today is worse?

Interesting comments by a few South Africans:
"We didn't like apartheid, but some things were better under apartheid than they are now.""Life here under apartheid was bad, but now it is more bad."

Chicago Justice

Inevitably, in a country of 300 million people, even if most things go right, there will be stories every day that make you sick.

Inevitably, in a country that large, many of these stories will involve the police.

This is a story like this.

Dad, wife and daughter are out for breakfast when they notice what appears to be a woman in distress. It is in fact an undercover police officer looking to trap people with "soliciting" a prostitute. She leans on the passenger side window and offers sex or blowjob. No sooner are they able to respond when the police swarm the car, arrest the dad, impound the car, and leave the wife and daughter stranded.

The dad spends 8 hours in custody. They do not return the car. The city wants $4,700 in "towing and storage fees" in order to give it back.

Related: read this insightful comment about the Chicago Department of Revenue and their car impounding racket. Snippet:And as for the poor guy in this story, odds are that he will not get his car …

The doghouse: Residence Inn "High Speed" Internet

My wife and I are currently on an extended trip. We spent some time in Vegas and are now visiting Chicago. Hotel prices in Vegas currently seem to be about as low as they're going to be, so we took this as an opportunity to stay in some nicer hotels that we might not have otherwise considered. We stayed in the lower-end suites at Trump, Vdara and our favorite from last year, South Point, and we must say that the Trump is now our favorite experience. We will for sure stay there again, if we can get a similarly reasonable rate.

What we liked most about the Trump was the lack of any major inconveniences or drawbacks. The suite was nice and had a great view overlooking the strip. The bathroom was the most marvelous of a comparable size suite or room that we ever stayed at. There was a lot of storage space; there was a nice little kitchenette; none of the space was wasted on a mini-bar with insulting prices; 24 hour room service with excellent food; a 24 hour gym; and quite importantly.…

Braindead MP3 buying restrictions

As you may know, I live in St. Kitts. St. Kitts is a nice island in the Caribbean, part of the two-island Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis. The two islands have a population of about 40,000 and have their own government, their own seat in the UN, and so forth.

St. Kitts & Nevis also happens to have no really enforced copyright law.

There's a store downtown which sells pretty much any movie you can think of for about USD 7. All bootlegged, poor quality, pirated copies. If they don't have a copy pre-manufactured in the store, they'll burn it on a CD for you if you return in 20 minutes.

I don't buy movies this way. I prefer high-quality copies, and I don't mind shelling out what's basically the price of two movie tickets to have it on a proper DVD. I also like to know that I'm contributing towards production of future movies, not just some guy who purchased a device that can copy a CD.

For similar reasons, I prefer to buy my MP3 music from legitimate copyri…

Life in prison for "lewdness with a minor"

A 34-year old Nevada woman was drunk and made some seriously inappropriate proposals to a 13-year old son of her friend:Taylor kissed a friend’s child, forced him to touch her breast [through a bra] and asked him to have sex with her.Prosecution charged her for "lewdness with a minor". A jury found her guilty, and the judge had no choice but to impose the penalty required by Nevada law: life in prison.

In the words of her public defender:“She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him.”Check out some of the insane comments here. For example:Lori Bishop: About time!!! Maybe if a state takes a stand against predators other states will follow.Bekah: FINALLY! I AGREE because these sick people might really think next time they want to mess up another childs life! GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i wish it was like this in EVERY STATE!

Idiot Greeks

I've never had too much respect for modern Greece - like I don't have much respect for any country that dwells on the overinflated achievements of its ancestors, but not achieving anything today.

What's happening in Greece these days, however, is outrageous. Over the last decade, Greeks have enjoyed a government spending splurge that was financed by borrowed money. Now they are deeply in debt. In order to stop accumulating that debt, let alone to repay it - if at all - they need to tighten their belts. Work a little bit more, for a little less money, for a little bit longer. There is no other way, because the borrowed money isn't coming any more. The Greek government's spending cannot continue at its former levels. Without the borrowed money, the numbers simply don't work out.

So what do the idiots do? They don't just stick their heads into sand. They cement buckets full of sand onto their heads and run around while setting things on fire:At least three peopl…

No Flash on the iPhone

I've writtenbefore of Apple's crappy attitude towards developers. Here's the latest example with Adobe:Mr Chambers also commented on Apple's revision of its terms and conditions. He wrote: "...as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at any time."And what a bunch of hypocrisy from Apple:Apple responded in a statement to technology news site CNet in which it described Flash as "closed and proprietary". Apple preferred to support more open standards which replicate everything Flash can do, added the statement.This coming from the vendor of the most proprietary and tightly controlled of popular computing platforms.

Miscarriage blamed on non-fussy uterus

Very interesting:FAR from being a passive container, the human uterus seems to be highly selective about which embryos it accepts. Women with less "fussy" uteruses may be at higher risk of miscarriage.

Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy, with around 1 in 3 embryos lost before 6 weeks of pregnancy and a further 10 per cent before 12 weeks. For years, faulty embryos or problems such as abnormal clotting or immune responses have been blamed.

Jan Brosens at Imperial College London wondered if another process was at work. He had noted that many women who had repeated miscarriages claimed to have conceived incredibly quickly. "Each one of their pregnancies was conceived within one or two months of trying," he says. What's more, some studies have hinted that embryos implanting outside the normal window of uterine receptivity were more likely to miscarry.

[... article ...]

The doghouse: US Postal Service

A month ago, I ordered a shipment from the US. Unfortunately, the only shipping method available was US Postal Service. The shipment was supposed to be delivered from a sender in Colorado to me in St. Kitts, and the quoted time was 10-14 days.

Now look at these admirable tracking details:Electronic Shipping Info Received, March 25, 2010
Arrival
International Dispatch, April 05, 2010, 8:14 pm, ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)
Arrived Abroad, April 09, 2010, 12:38 pm, BAHAMAS
Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Inbound International Arrival, April 13, 2010, 3:25 pm, ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)It is now April 20, and the shipment spent this time going from Miami to Bahamas and back to Miami, and is now apparently still in the States.

A courier service would have delivered this in 2 days.

Omni-fix for Windows?

Nice!Microsoft has launched "Fix It" software that keeps an eye on a PC and automatically repairs common faults.

The software basically adds the automatic diagnostics system in Windows 7 to older versions of Microsoft's operating system.

[...]

Once installed, the software gets updates about known issues with Windows or any connected devices, and regularly checks to see if a host machine has fallen victim. Once fixes become available it will tell users they are ready or attempt to apply them.Let's hope this takes off and becomes more effective over time. There's really no reason why Microsoft shouldn't proactively fix common problems on people's machines, including malicious software removal. It is a major opportunity for Microsoft to make Windows friendlier to users who don't know much about software, and invariably end up with machines bogged down by malware and other problems.

Abortion should be legal after birth

Kids like these are why abortion should remain legal for quite a long time after birth:At first all seems well, but as time goes on the boy begins to display disturbing behaviour, spitting, hissing and kicking his new mother, threatening to kill family members, reacting violently when denied a new toy, attempting to beat a relative with a statue when asked to correct his math homework.

Finally, when the child not only threatens to burn down his house but draws pictures of the conflagration, the adoptive mother hatches a desperate plan. She puts the boy on a plane back to Russia with a note saying that he has severe psychological problems, she was lied to by the orphanage, [...]Looking at some of the comments under this article, I am bewildered by the attitudes some of these commentators take:This is a new variation on child abuse. The disposable child abandoned by airplane.narcissistic single woman who should never have been permitted to adopt a child and now rightly deserves to be f…

Fruit and veggies don't make you healthy

I've suspected this for quite a while, and evidently, it's true. The claim that fruit and vegetables are inherently healthy is baseless:In the best case scenario, an extra two portions of fruit and vegetables each day could prevent 2.6% of cancers in men and 2.3% of cases in women, the study concluded. [...] Fruit and vegetables could [...] be beneficial just by virtue of taking the place of more calorific fare, health experts say.The following is the best article I've read so far on what we actually know about nutrition:

Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice

I stick to the following rules myself:Calorie budget. I write down the number of calories in everything I eat. I do not allow myself to exceed my daily calorie budget. I pace myself throughout the day, eating 100-300 kCal every 1-3 hours, so that I can have a final meal of protein before I go to bed, without exceeding the budget.Protein. I try to get at least 20g of protein every 3 hours. I …

Dubai stinks

Dubai, the Arab world's most "cosmopolitan" and "secular" destination, sentences a British couple to 1 month in prison, based on a 2-year-old child's allegation that she noticed them kissing in the restaurant they were at.

Also for enjoying alcohol illegally with their meal.

"Your user profile was not loaded correctly"

Is anyone experiencing the following issue?About 25-50% of cases after booting, logging into Windows produces the message "Preparing your desktop". This takes several minutes, and then you get logged into a temporary profile instead of your own, and Windows shows a notification stating "Your user profile was not loaded correctly!"When you check the Application section of the Windows Event Viewer under Administrative Tools, you see messages from User Profile Service with Event IDs 1502 and 1508, and contents that include: "DETAIL - The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process." One of the events mentions specifically that the file is ntuser.dat, belonging to the profile being logged in.I've had this happen on two laptops consecutively, so the problem must be in some software I've installed, but I don't know what software.

I've read reports on the net that this problem can be caused by Google Updater, a progr…

Germany tells Greece to sell islands

If there's something I particularly like about Germans, it is their hard-nosed character trait of not only accepting responsibility, but expecting others to accept it, too.

More so than other European nations, they seem to have the ability to tell themselves and others to suck it up, tough it out, and face the consequences of foolish decisions in the past.

So I cheer when I hear German politicians proposing that Greece should start solving its national debt problem by selling islands. That's principled.

I'll add to that: sell sovereignty along with the islands. An island that goes for €2 million would easily sell for €2 billion (or more) if the buyer gets to make his own laws.

Apple is evil

Not only does Apple make arbitrary decisions that affect the livelihoods of anyone developing for the platform; they are also now abusing the hopelessly wrecked US patent system to thwart competition.

Apple stinks.

Why we don't do Apple

This is one reason why our small software company has not invested anything into producing software for the Apple platforms, nor do I plan us to:ChilliFresh is an Australian company that creates apps for the iPhone, including the recently banned Wobble, which provides pictures of women's breasts.

"I'm now worried the eco-system is run by puritans and is not fair to all players," developer Jon Atherton said on its website.

"And worst of all it is not a secure source of income. It can drop to close to zero if they decide to change the rules," he added.

The firm was making £320 a day out of its apps, a figure which has dropped to £5 since the ban, he said.

"On Friday evening we got an e-mail out of the blue which basically said, thanks very much but we don't want you any more. Apple said it was removing all overtly sexual apps," he told the BBC.It just doesn't seem to make sense to develop for a platform where you can't even count on being ab…

Man crashes plane into IRS offices

The US Internal Revenue Service is frequently described as the most aggressive, least forgiving, most bullying tax agency in the western world.

The IRS is charged with enforcing a tax code which is incredibly unwieldy and full of traps. The way IRS enforces this tax code is said to frequently result in honest individuals ending up bankrupt or in jail for "transgressions" that they did not even know about.

I do not know this man's background, but quite apparently, the IRS was ruining his life, and he saw no better recourse than to crash his plane into their office building.

Quite possibly, they did, in fact, leave him with no other recourse.

The US tax system must be reformed, and the IRS must get out of the business of destroying people and businesses.

Charity considered harmful

I was struck by this comment by Toby Ord under a LessWrong.com article:
It's not actually that hard to make a commitment to give away a large fraction of your income. I've done it, my wife has done it, several of my friends have done it etc. Even for yourself, the benefits of peace of mind and lack of cognitive dissonance will be worth the price, and by my calculations you can make the benefits for others at least 10,000 times as big as the costs for yourself. The trick is to do some big thinking and decision making about how to live very rarely (say once a year) then limit your salary through regular giving. That way you don't have to agonise at the hairdresser's etc, you just live within your reduced means. Check out my site on this, http://www.givingwhatwecan.org -- if you haven't already.Charity is the process of taking purchasing power away from functional, creative individuals and communities, and giving it to dysfunctional, destructive individuals and commun…

Happy times in North Korea

In The Economist:First, women under 40, the main cohort of traders, were banned from markets, which have since been closed. Travel restrictions, especially near the Chinese border, were reimposed. “Antisocialist Conscience Investigation” teams fanned out. With market activity criminalised, punishments got harsher. In low-level “labour training-centres”, where most economic “criminals” are housed, 60% of inmates have seen executions and 90% witnessed forced starvation, refugees tell surveys by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland for the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Copyright troll hijacks hit song Down Under

Copyright troll Larrikin wins lawsuit against Men at Work for their inclusion of two bars of an old Australian popular melody in Men at Work's recording of Down Under. The copyright troll now wants 40-60% of the song's earnings.

Larrikin purchased the copyright to "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" specifically to extort people who make any use, even tangential, of this old, well-known Australian melody:"It's earned a hell of a lot of money for us since we've bought it,'' Mr Lurie told The Age.Another case of people who would leave the world better off if they were run over by a bus.

Previously:Patent troll i4i extorts MicrosoftPatent troll extorts Research in Motion

Australia bans depictions of small breasts and female ejaculation

Incredible.

If the world is indeed overpopulated, then censors like these should be the first to go.

Protecting you from yourself, and from your obviously immoral curiosity about female ejaculation.

"You... slut!"

Image
In various shapes and forms, the following has been making the rounds:


This has a ring of truth to it, which is why people think it's funny. But it's false - unless the woman in question is failing to protect her fertility by getting tested and using condoms, or is failing to use birth control.

I think that the label "slut" for women who like sex is spread primarily by women who have a lower sex drive to begin with, and use sex as a means of manipulating their partners. If such women did not shun and discredit other women who genuinely like sex, then their undesirability would become apparent and their manipulativeness would lose power.

St. Kitts election

The Labour party has been in power in St. Kitts & Nevis for 3 consecutive terms over the past 15 years. During Labour's reign, the islands first subsidized an ailing sugar industry, then retired it, improved as a tourist destination, and have seen much development in recent years. This would have been great, if it wasn't for an ominous and enormous dark side: the foreign debt has ballooned from several million USD when Labour began their first term, to now over US $1 billion. With a population of perhaps 50,000, this works out to $20,000 US per every adult or child - exceeding the islands' annual GDP.

Talk of corruption is endemic, and the amounts that have reportedly been spent on public projects, such as houses for laid off sugar workers, seem to be more than these projects should cost. Since St. Kitts has no external supervision and no Freedom of Information Act, it is hard to estimate how much of the more than $1 billion has been siphoned off to private accounts, bu…

Obama is the man

It's been a year and I have to say that, so far, I am fairly pleased with the Obama presidency.

It is certainly much better than the dumb white guy that was in charge before.

I am particularly happy to hear about his plans for some serious bank reform that ought to prevent banks from getting too big to fail.

This is good news, and is something I've been advocating since a year ago.

Violent genes

In the UK, two brothers, aged 10 and 11 at the time, beat two other boys almost to death, apparently unprovoked:During police interview, the court heard the older brother said he attacked the boys because he had been bored and "there were nowt to do".

[...]

A BBC investigation has already revealed the two attackers were well-known troublemakers and that social services were heavily involved in their lives.Compassion is a genetic trait.

Some people have more of it, some have less of it, and some people don't have it.

We aren't all the same.

Most people who lack traits that we take for granted don't make themselves visible like this. They live among us and have relatively normal lives, except for little or no compassion, and they show this in small ways rather than large.

I say this because some people have a fiction that there is such a thing as a "brotherhood of humankind", united in values that "virtually all" respect (or should respect) by default…

G-spots and squirting

There has recently been a lot of ruckus about a "study" having "proved" that there is "no such thing" as a G-spot.

The "study" basically involved asking a bunch of women who were twins whether they have a G-spot or not.

Since women in genetically identical pairs would differ on whether they have a G-spot, the study concluded that there must not be any such thing.

The study seems to have pretty much completely ignored relevant information such as the variety and sexual competence of these women's sexual partners.

I shudder to think that this sort of complete bullshit passes any sort of review and gets published worldwide as if it's meaningful.

If you want to know the truth about sexual topics, you need to go to people who have had a lot of sex and a variety of sexual partners.

You need to go to people who enjoy swinging, partner swapping, group sex, open relationships.

If you enter a community like that, you will quickly learn that:Yes, there mo…

PEBKAC

PEBKAC. Acronym for: Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair.

I have cofounded, and I run, a small software company that specializes in SSH client and server software for Windows.

SSH is a standardized protocol which specifies how a desktop program, called an SSH client, can connect to a back-end program running on another machine. The other program is called an SSH server, and the SSH standard specifies how the two programs can transmit files and information in a securely authenticated and encrypted manner.

If you have any experience with computers, I hope it's not too far fetched to expect that you have a vague understanding of what "client" and "server" means. A program that runs in a client role is proactive: it decides what server to connect to and what actions to request that server to perform. A program that runs in a server role is reactive: it waits expectantly to receive connections from clients, and responds to them as they arrive, in turn.

So, as I me…

Why Kenzo died

Edit 2009-01-27: We learned Kenzo's pathology results today. It turns out Kenzo he had a tiny tumor that obstructed his bile. This resulted in the damage to the pancreas and liver that eventually led to his death. We are told that the tumor was very small and hard to identify even during the autopsy. It wasn't until they put the tissue into formalin that they were able to see it. Identifying it in the first place would have probably required a CT or an MRI, and removing it would have required a very involved procedure that would have been very high risk even in an otherwise still healthy cat. There is apparently no way he could have been saved on St. Kitts, and his chances would still have been poor even with state of the art skills and equipment.

When our cat Kenzo fell ill, and we were browsing the web for information and other people's experiences, we mostly found reports by people whose cats survived. It may however also be useful to hear failed accounts, so as to know …

In memoriam Kenzo, Sep 2004 - Jan 2010

Image
Our cat, Kenzo, died today after 3 weeks of intensive home care. He was the sweetest, most graceful and majestic cat we've ever known.

Goodbye, Kenzo.