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January 2011
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March 2011

Pretty Synesthesia

Prof. Reynolds:

A reader asks for a description of what I see. That’s hard, because the more you think about it, the less distinct the effect seems to be, at least for me. But I see sound as light, with texture and color relating to tone, and going up and down with pitch. So a smooth guitar solo (think Carlos Santana) looks kind of like an oscilloscope tracing, while, say, Jimmy Page in Heartbreaker is like a bunch of jagged lines. A drum hit is a flash, whose length depends on resonance. This is useful for judging delays because you can “see” them. Like I say, I think the synesthesia recruits more neural processing power. I don’t know if most people who experience this get the same visualizations.

Most interesting.

ODI #3110: India vs. England


On an evening that simply beggared belief, England tied with India in an incredible finale in Bangalore. Andrew Strauss was England's inspiration, producing an extraordinary 158 from 145 balls, the highest score by an English batsman in World Cup history, as England threatened the unthinkable, and set off in full pursuit of India's seemingly unobtainable total of 338 - a score that had been made possible by a brilliant 120 from Sachin Tendulkar.

One of the greatest games ever played was a tie -- which was also in a World Cup.

Society Pays

Vox Popoli:

Chivalry in the modern sense presumes that women are of intrinsically more value to men. This was true when most Western women were serious about fulfilling their primary role as propagators of mankind. But since women have by and large abandoned that role and given priority to their self-esteem, education, and occupation instead, there is no longer any justification for chivalric behavior applied broadly to the female sex in general. Each woman must be judged worthy or unworthy of such treatment on her own merits, and in the absence of any information, the assumption must be that she is unworthy.

A woman at my workplace was talking about the dating process last year. I vividly remember one thing that she said: You know, I'm a feminist, but when a guy takes you out on a date, he'd better pay.

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane?

No, it's Thunderbolt!

Today Intel officially announced that its Light Peak technology would be branded as Thunderbolt on all platforms (not just Apple making up fancy names). We didn't feel that there was anything wrong with Light Peak; we had grown quite fond of using that name. But for the casual consumer, Thunderbolt likely sounds more like something cool out of a comic book.

Thunderbolt features two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each, and delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters.

Rumor has it that Nikon's next generation of DSLRs will have a Thunderbolt connection. Good. I've been waiting for this USB-killer to arrive in the market. Let's see how quickly it goes mainstream.

The Chosen Villain

If you're a Libyan protestor, then what better way is there to demonstrate your views and gain local support than to portray the Dear Leader as a Jew with a Hitler mustache.

And you thought that Muslims weren't creative, you Islamophobe you.

This also shows the naivete of those who insist that the demonstrators in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East are pro-democracy secularists. They may be pro-democracy insofar as they want the will of the people to be heard, but given their worldview, their frame of reference, their core assumptions about the world, if that popular will is heard, it will likely result in huge victories for the Muslim Brotherhood and similar pro-Sharia groups.

It's the perfect recipe for a hell on Earth.

Risky Reality II

Alex commented on the Lara Logan post a few days ago:

You're not really agreeing with that moron, are you? You want to criticize a woman for having the guts to place her life on the line in order to do her job? Should we, likewise, mock and insult female soldiers who get killed in the line of duty? Female cops who get attacked on the job? Female firefighters who burn to death while trying to save someone?

His manner is crude but I do agree with his underlying point.

If you had a female relative -- a sister, niece or cousin -- who wanted to travel to an Islamic nation, oh let's say Pakistan, and work there for many months, then what would your reaction be?

a) That's very brave. I hope you have fun!

b) Very. Bad. Idea.

You can guess how I would react. Now, my reaction would be the same for any men who want to travel and work in such a wretched part of the world but women face far greater dangers. Infidel women are thought of as whores by most Muslims. They're considered "uncovered meat" fit for public consumption.

Many Muslim men don't have any qualms about fornicating with them but they don't consider the infidel women as marriage material. This can be seen in England where Pakistani men marry within their family at higher rates than men in Pakistan!

Muslims treat their own women in a vicious manner. Sisters, wives, daughters are beaten if they misbehave. Such men are not going to accord more respect to a non-Muslim woman. Furthermore, given the revolution and the mob mentality in Egypt, when law and order fractured, the situation could have turned lethal for an infidel.

In a sane world, we wouldn't have to worry about such horrors but to willfully ignore these truths will only lead to misery.

All About Power

Michelle Malkin:

My column today dissects how the Obama corruptocrats are misusing science to mask their grand social engineering aims. To mark the one-year anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” drive, Mrs. O is harnessing every major health bureaucracy in the federal government along with the FDA, USDA, FTC and FCC to expand the East Wing’s reach into the personal health choices of American families.

Later in the post, we get this phrase: Big Mother’s Big Bosom. This is what happens when boobs are in charge.

The Islamic Teaching Method

The Guardian via Jihad Watch:

Police have arrested a man concerning alleged assaults on children at a mosque after viewing a Channel 4 documentary screened on Monday.

Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence, secretly filmed a man apparently hitting and kicking children during Qu'ran lessons at a school in the Markazi Jamia mosque at Keighley, West Yorkshire.

An Islamic school in Birmingham in the same documentary, where a preacher was filmed making offensive remarks about non-Muslims, said it would close early for half-term, amid fears pupils could be the target of far-right groups.

Muslims throughout the world preach how infidels hate Islam and wish only to hurt Muslims. Yet, everyday, countless Muslim children are brutally beaten up by their instructors and not a fuss is made by the parents, the schools or their broader culture.

I know. I lived in such a society for a decade.

Our Urdu teacher was once talking to a few students in the front of the class. A few rows back, a student was causing a ruckus. The bearded teacher told him to shut up and he piped down for a few minutes. The teacher called him by name the second time and again he was quiet for a short while.

Finally, the teacher had had enough. He got up. The entire class went silent. He went over to the student and started slapping him. The student covered his face. The teacher started to slap and punch him on the neck and the back with each hit more forceful than the last. The kid sitting next to the student got up from the desk and stepped away. The teacher kept on brutally beating the student. The student started crying and fell to the ground within the desk. The teacher grabbed the front of the desk with his left hand and the back with his right. He then started to kick the bawling student. He kicked him for about 20 seconds. He then went to his desk while swearing. No-one said a word.

Make That Flower Sparkle!

The PatriarchyTM works in mysterious ways:

Just when you thought that there was nothing more you could do to make your genitals more acceptable to the opposite sex, along came "vajazzling". The term refers to the burgeoning celebrity craze for shaving, denuding and perfuming one's intimate area before applying gemstones in a variety of approved girly patterns. The end result resembles a raw chicken breast covered in glitter. As the name implies, this one is just for the girls - nobody, so far, has suggested that men's sexual equipment is unacceptable if it doesn't taste like cake and sparkle like a disco ball.

Surely it can't catch on. Surely, no matter how ludicrous, painful and expensive consumer culture's intervention in our sex lives becomes, nobody is disgusted enough by their own normal genitals that they would rather look like they've just been prepped for surgery by Dr Bling. Or are they?


David Thompson:

I hate to be a nuisance, but I do have more questions. How, exactly, does “consumer culture” – i.e., a faintly silly fashion product – intervene in “our” sex lives? Aren’t vajazzling kits bought by women voluntarily - for amusement possibly? Are women everywhere, or anywhere, being coerced into vajazzling - and if so, by whom? And why should we assume – apparently based on nothing – that the obvious motives are insecurity and self-disgust?

The oppression will never end. Never!

Drawing The Line

Kafir leaves a comment:

I am surprised that you can still support pak cricket team despite what goes on in that country and despite the pak cricket team being so religious.

I've been watching, following and reading about Pakistan cricket for twenty years. I do not think that by continuing to do so that I'm somehow supporting their views or religious beliefs. It has simply become a habit. The only manner in which I "support" them is by pointing out their idiocy and by commenting on their players and matches.

In a related way, my favorite music composer is a Muslim guy: A. R. Rahman. I've been listening to his music for over fifteen years. I've supported him more than any cricket team by buying dozens of his movie soundtracks. Am I supporting his views or beliefs if I buy stuff from him?

I'm unsure about where to draw a line. I just think that it doesn't go through cricket or music.

No RAW For You!

Thom Hogan writes about the new Coolpix cameras from Nikon. He links to this atrocious photo on Nikon's website. If Hogan had simply provided the photo on his own site for viewing, then I would not have believed that Nikon was showcasing such an ugly, terrible shot.

NASA orders their cameras from Nikon. That's the prestige that Nikon has earned. However, with this new gear, though admittedly low-end, Nikon is diluting their brand name.

Poor Kenya

Pakistan's strength has always been vicious fast bowlers and now another one rolls off from the endless assembly line:

Sohail Tanvir, the left-arm seamer, has been ruled out of Pakistan's World Cup campaign after failing to complete a full rehabilitation from surgery for a knee problem that has dogged him for two years. He will be replaced by the promising young left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan.

Khan has a chance to cement his place in history by debuting during the World Cup and showcasing his talent.

Subsidizing Poison

The National via Jihad Watch:

The leader of a newly created anti-Islamic party in Germany said he wants to stop the immigration of Muslims and described Islam as a "totalitarian system" bent on supplanting western liberal values.

In an interview with The National, Rene Stadtkewitz, 46, said Muslims were not integrating into German society as well as other immigrants and that authorities should become stricter, by banning headscarves in school, stopping public funding for teaching young children the Quran and curbing the influence of Islamic organisations.

Public funding for teaching children the Quran!? The German treasury must be overflowing with Euros for them to come up with this dense scheme.

The Soul of Islam

Many imams shout that Ahmadis are not only non-Muslims but ex-Muslims. Why the distinction? It's because Muslims have a religious duty to kill ex-Muslims.

That's exactly what happened in Indonesia recently:

Members of an Ahmadiyah congregation in Cimahi have expressed their sorrow over the murder of three fellow Ahmadis in Cikeusik, Banten, on Sunday morning, and their concern for the safety of all of the other members.

The attack took place in broad daylight. The crowd chanted Allah Akbar as three innocents were murdered.

Here's a video. It's disturbing, cruel and simply evil. Obviously, these people misunderstand Islam.

A Super Minority

The Daily Caller:

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA is spreading the word that, despite all the bad press — by way of terrorist attacks, honor killings, and the like — Muslims have a duty to be peaceful and loyal to the United States.


What’s sad is that this is newsworthy, at this late date.

What's sadder is that Muslims don't consider Ahmadis to be their peers. Sunnis and Shias explicitly consider the Ahmadis to be non-Muslim:

All Sunni and Shia Muslims reject the claim of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Messiah. They reject the doctrine of the continuity of prophethood and consider Ghulam Ahmad and thus his followers to be non-Muslims. In 1974, Pakistan's parliament amended the country's constitution to legally define Ahmadis as non-Muslims: "A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad... or claims to be a Prophet... or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim..."

Two Mohammads and One Butt

If I had to bet on the nationality of the first players ever to be banned for taking money and cheating in a cricket match, then I'd have had bet on Pakistan. Why? Because it's not cricket but corruption which is their national sport.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been banned for 10, 7 and 5 years respectively after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing stemming from the Lord's Test against England last year. The sanctions against Butt and Asif have five and two years suspended, which means that the trio cannot play any official, sanctioned cricket, international or domestic, for a minimum of five years, until September 2015.

Idiots, idiots, idiots!

Dim Burglar

The Baltimore Sun:

Montgomery County police arrested a man after finding his cell phone charging at the scene of a burglary, and they said 25-year-old Cody Wilkins has now been charged in other burglaries.

He wasn't content with stealing physical material. He just had to smooch off a little electricity.

Usage Based Billing II

Well, that was quick:

Canada's government will block a regulatory ruling that effectively stops small Internet providers from offering unlimited downloads, the industry minister said.

Smart move from Prime Minister Harper and the Conservatives.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered a review of the CRTC ruling on Tuesday, a day after the opposition Liberals said they would raise the issue in Parliament. The left-leaning New Democratic Party also complained.


Usage Based Billing

I'll be following this evolving story very closely:

A recent ruling that changes how the country's largest Internet service providers charge their customers is raising hackles in the online community amid fear it could lead to higher bills for heavy users.

Joining that chorus of concern Tuesday was none other than Prime Minister Stephen Harper — on Twitter, no less.

I've been using an ISP that charges a flat monthly rate for unlimited bandwidth. However, starting next month this company will be forced to limit the monthly bandwidth at a certain amount (25 GB) and if I wish to download or upload more, then I've to buy additional bandwidth blocks in advance or pay hefty charges for going over the limit.

Today, it's quite easy to go over that limit in one day, let alone a month:

Some lower-end high speed accounts offered by Canada's large ISPs include only 25 GB of downloading a month, the equivalent of about 12 hours of Netflix viewing in high definition, with additional usage charges that can be as much as $5 per GB for the cheapest plan, depending on the provider.

I've been living in Canada for over ten years. I've yet to see a significant improvement in the internet service where I live. It's not that I can't afford better service -- it's simply not available. Now, the whole enterprise is actually being made worse!

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings recently said the download caps set by Canadian service providers could be "a significant negative" for his company.

Of course. A lot of the ISPs also provide cable TV service. They'd be cutting into their own profit if they offered unlimited bandwidth. It's easier to limit bandwidth and thus smash the online competition.

The Gathering Storm

The Canadian Press:

Commuters and travellers are bracing for a rough ride as a massive storm tracking northeast is expected to bury southern Ontario and the Maritime provinces in up to 45 centimetres of snow.

Police are urging drivers to stay home, as winds gusting up to 70 km/h are expected to cause blizzard-like conditions in parts of southern Ontario.

No work for me tomorrow.