header image
We can’t all be rock stars
November 23rd, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 2 ]

I’ve always wondered about my musical ability and I stumbled across Jake Mandell’s site which is supposed to test for tone deafness. I would think that if you scored less than 50%, you would be considered tone deaf because you would do better just by randomly hitting buttons.

Again, I scored below average! Only 69.3% when “normal” is considered 70% and of 15000 people, only 23% did worse than I did. I’m sure all these online tests are conspiring against me! :P. I guess I haven’t been playing enough guitar in order to promote my understanding of music :P.

Big Brother Haircut
November 20th, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 1 ]

Ever wondered what it would be like to live under a Big Brother-style government? I think North Koreans do:

North Korean state television is showing a series of programmes instructing shabbily coiffured men on the personal grooming required of a citizen of the vehemently anti-capitalist state.

The five-part series, entitled “Let’s trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle”, exhorted them to opt for one of several officially sanctioned haircuts, including the crew cut and the “high, middle and low” styles. Hair should be kept between 1cm and 5cm in length and should be trimmed every 15 days, it said.

Their policies on sex must be scary. I especially loved this quote:

People who wear other’s style of dress and live in other’s style will become fools and that nation will come to ruin.

I mean come on! Had the West entertained this kind of thinking, the 80s would never have happened!

Counter-Intuitivity (Pt 1) – The Ultimatum Game
November 16th, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 3 ]

Recently, I was wondering why people (including myself) seem to make irrational decisions. Often, we seem to make impulse purchases and then regret it later. I came a across a Newsweek article that described a game I’d never heard of called The Ultimatum Game:

Imagine that I have $100 and I offer you $20 of it, no strings attached. You’d take it, right? Any fool would; it’s a windfall. But imagine further that you know I must give away part of my $100 or lose it all. All of a sudden my motives aren’t entirely altruistic, but I’m still offering you free money. Take it or leave it, but no negotiation allowed. How would you feel? What would you do?

The Ultimatum game is used in experimental economics to model irrational behaviour. This site goes on to explain it further:

A typical experiment is the so-called ‘Ultimatum Game’, which involves two people (A and B) and 10 coins. Person A has 10 coins and places some of them in front of him, and the rest in front of person B, who is asked whether or not he accepts the proposed allocation.

  • If B says ‘Yes‘, then both A & B keep the coins in front of them.
  • If B says ‘No‘, then neither player gets any of the coins.

So which deals do you think people are most willing to accept?

Player A usually splits the coins nearly evenly, averaging around 6:4, and player B usually accepts this offer. Interestingly, autistic players are the only ones who consistently split the coins 9:1, as game theory predicts.
Player B usually accepts the allocation when the coins are fairly evenly split. However, with unfair allocations, especially when offered only a single coin, very few people make the ‘logical’ decision to accept the offer.

This is exactly how I would have behaved. But if you use game theory and you’re Person B, the only correct option is to accept every offer as long as it’s not zero. Surely something is better than nothing?

Jesus Camp shuts down
November 10th, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: none ]

While I’m happy that Jesus Camp has been shutdown, it’s kind of a hollow victory:

The summer camp featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp,” which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years…

So it’s been shut down for a few years but so what? There’s probably a 100 other camps like this all over the place. If not, they’ll probably spring up to fill some parents insane need to brainwash their children. Do parent’s not trust their children enough to make their own choices? The fact that this came about because vandals hit the campsite in the pocket is also a bit a sad but I guess I didn’t really expect anything less.

As for this:

The married, 50-year-old father of five admitted in a letter read Sunday to his followers that he was “guilty of sexual immorality.”

Wow. I’m stunned. I never expected him to be human. I guess forgiveness doesn’t extend to people in positions of power. But then again, the congregation is also human.

Child Labour 2.0
November 2nd, 2006 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 10 ]

What is it with parents who force their views on kids? I mean is it so difficult to get them to grow up well adjusted? A few weeks ago, there was a story going around about a film called Jesus Camp. Kids learn about Christ and then go out and preach. Here’s an example:

In another scene, Rachael, who has a habit of nervously holding her breath as she talks, clearly parroting the lessons about faith and values she’s learned at home and at church, walks up to three older African-American men seated in a park in Washington, D.C., where she has traveled with her parents to take part in an anti-abortion demonstration.

“Hi,” Rachael says, arm semi-outstretched with a Bible tract in hand. “If you died tonight, where do you think you’d go?”
“Heaven,” one of the men says.
“Are you sure?” the little girl prods.
“Yes,” the man says pleasantly.
As she walks away, clearly flummoxed by the encounter, Rachael whispers to the two kids with her, “I think they were Muslims.”

Children don’t understand the world they are living in. How can they possibly comprehend the afterlife.

So if that isn’t bad enough, there was a link on reddit to the most racist ad ever. While the association the ad represents clearly do not share my views, it’s their right to tell whoever is dumb enough to listen. What I object to, is the use of children to promote their ideology. Enter Prussian Blue! Two 14 year old girls who sing about “white separatism”. Here’s an example of some lyrics:

ALL the mud races must be banished,
For look at the world they have damaged.
Look around and what do I see?
Ugly brown faces staring at me.

That’s not separatism, that’s supremacy folks. Want to know how they got their name?:

The band was named after the color Prussian blue, a reference to the name of the blue residue left over by the use of Zyklon B, the poison the Nazis employed to kill millions of Jews and others in concentration camps during World War II.

Those words are not from the twins, they are from their parents. So my question is, why do they use cute and cuddly kids extoll the views of their parents? Because it sells well, of course. I believe that the parents of these children should seriously be held for child labour. This is the definition:

States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

Last time I checked, the United States are part of the UN right? Do you think these children are going to grow up well-adjusted?