Sunday, October 23, 2016

Waiting for Brexit to bite

I am watching for foolish consequences of Brexit to be felt by the British public. The sooner the better so that public opinion might have a change of heart before Article 50 could be issued.

The world can afford to let the UK indulge in this foolish experiment and learn at their expense but not if America was experimenting as well. Good to see that Trump chances of winning the Oval Office has become very small. He is the worst of the four or five candidates.

It is sad to see how gutted the UK political class have become but I think there is no way for them to learn their lesson except by the hard way. Of course on paper we are at least if not more vulnerable than the UK. There is no guarantee that we will not quickly trip up ourselves. We have a tricky time navigating the complex changes happening now. I think this government notice what is going on but I am not sure if they are making sense of all the developments. They are still good at framing the questions but I am not as confident about them coming up with the answers. At least never be wishful and weak like their British counterparts.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Some good advice from Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb is spot on here. Unfortunately there are lots of people like those Taleb advised avoiding. To be practical you often cannot avoid them but keep a healthy distance from them. Confine yourself to at worst to only a professional relationship.

This blog post is for my children. Note that your uncle, aunty and parents have lived by this dictum for a very long time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Political Pressure from the Christians

I do not feel sorry for the religious right in America. Finally they are getting their comeuppance for messing with politics. Trump as the Republican standard bearer had been very useful to reveal the true character of these Christians who have failed to accept Jesus telling Pilate that his kingdom is not like those of this world.

Closer to home I am concerned if the Christians might eventually grow from signing online petitions to pushing their agenda on the government through the power of their members' votes.

Singapore cannot be run on single issues which such types are apt to do. See Sarah Posner article.

Anker Cordless Mouse

Long story. I first ordered this on eBay but it never arrived and the merchant refunded my money. By then every seller seemed to have sold out their stocks and those on Qo10 were asking for more than $50. No choice, I bought the corded one which arrived quite quickly. Then the cordless version became available again and I bought it at the good price (USD 21). It arrived today when I was advised the earliest date of delivery is the 21st :-)

Very good mouse. Now I alternate between this mouse and my Logitech to minimize the risk of RSI.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On Trump: The heart directs the mind

Yahoo republished this from The Atlantic, "A Tale of  Two Trumps"

I am using this to explain that our minds do not think independently or impartially. The mind is directed by the desires of the heart. For example, see this from the article.

That is how one former US marine, a Trump supporter excused Trump horrific speech and probably attacks on women.

This Christian marine desperately want to see conservative judges fill the supreme court bench even when to many of us it is doubtful that Trump were he to become president will give them such judges. Meanwhile he needed to find reasons to excuse the inexcusable from Trump.

Our hearts direct our thoughts. There are limits to persuading people on logic. Closer to home the ministers' effort to persuade Christians about legalizing and limiting online gambling was foreordained to fail. The WP recognized there is much support on the ground against online gambling and duly took advantage of it. Political opportunism.

The ways human hearts lean against logic and empirical evidence is the Achilles heel of Democracy. As and when the conditions are suitable, demagogues will seize power and bring on the age of darkness and repression. Pray Trump does not succeed Obama.

After Trump has failed we can count how many bigots live in America. That number will define the future of the world.

Update: 10:20 pm

Shame on that ex-marine who dared to involve Jesus Christ and Christian values in all these. NYT Nicholas Kristof has made it easiest for me how blind people must be to support Trump (See If Hillary Clinton Grope Men). By the way, Kristof avoided to mention the danger of allowing Trump near those nuclear launch codes. To support Trump is to risk apocalypse.

It is not just double standards but blatant hypocrisy as well.

Risk to our Democracy: lesson from the US elections

This post isn't about the US Presidential Elections. That election is almost as important as ours but we have no say in it. For better, for worse the world has to accept whomever the Americans choose. But the Americans excel at studying themselves and this Vox article makes the scholarly findings of two Princeton political scientists accessible to more people. Here the book blurb.

Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters--even those who are well informed and politically engaged--mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly.

So far our elections are mostly issues based but we have been warned that it is actually unnatural and therefore a temporary state of affairs that can only be made permanent if at all with herculean efforts.

In fact we can see entropy growing already. Just consider the legalization of restricted online gambling. Many Christians suspend rational and logical thought for a misplaced Christian ideology which was only appropriate in a different time and place. That ideology is still and I hope will always be relevant in their Christian homes and communities but they have no moral authority to force that on a multi-religious society like ours.

Many Christians fail to understand when they are fully capable of doing so that restricted online gambling has nothing to do with approving the habit but realistically managing an evil habit which we cannot eradicate. Inexplicably they could accept the same impossibility of banning prostitution or eliminating the Aedes mosquito. Dr. Achen and Bartels research try to get us to accept that this is simply how humans behave and I regret to say that it is already in the Christian holy book the Bible as well! They fail to see themselves in the mirror of their Bibles reflecting their own sin and hypocrisy. Instead they use their Bibles to legitimize living in a bubble. Then they try to defend that bubble instead of becoming increasingly inclusive in the spirit of Christ.

This presidential elections show up clearly how many American evangelicals are spiritually and morally gutted. Proves that they are not followers of Christ but extracting from his Bible some derivatives to build something which is essentially exclusive and ugly. Now that scum has materialized in their candidate Donald Trump. I have yet to read about James Dobson from Focus on the Family rescinding his endorsement of Trump.

How the Christians behave over the issue of online gambling is yellow alert portending a possible trend that is inimical to our democracy. One day but unthinkable at the moment, we will vote for personalities instead of issues and policies. That day would be the end of this place. Right now we are midway stuck at the ideology milestone which is impossible to unstuck from because of obeying God stricture against gambling. I think it is nothing more than their wild imagination from hearts that never love Christ.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bob Dylan awarded the Literature Nobel Prize.

Sotong me! Didn't even know something so basic, this song was by Bob Dylan! Many were surprised that he was honored with the Nobel for literature. I thought it was only for writers.

I used to play this song on my guitar.