Friday, March 25

New version of the bible with gender neutral language

So somebody decides to translate the Bible into a gender neutral language version. So what did they do?

The 2011 translation of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains "He" and "the Father." But it does aim to avoid using "he" or "him" as the default reference to an unspecified person.

Cue moronic caterwauling and teethgnashing from assorted religious fundo’s.

Before the new translation even hit stores, it drew opposition from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an organization that believes women should submit to their husbands in the home and only men can hold some leadership roles in the church.

Perhaps inevitably, i imagined what would happen if somebody did this to the Quran? Remember the True Furqan? that was way out there but perhaps somebody could do that. And then take up residence in Mars or on the Moon. Not that its just for that religion. Take Hinduism. As soon as somebody said that Hindu’s can eat beef, have eaten been and do eat beef, some Hindu’s got all excited. Crazy, these fundos

Thursday, March 24

Reach out and touch someone

I am a touchy feely person. Quite given to hugs and cuddles and touches and and and. Obviously have to be careful at work, cant really see cuddles in a straight laced place like a bank. Or for that matter any other firm. But touching is good. But its surprising how few people hug and touch each other at work. But I do, frequently hug people.

As it turns out, its good management practise as well. Quoting from here.

The effect of touch on compliance to a request has traditionally been tested with small solicitation (answer to a small questionnaire, give a dime to a confederate ....). In our experiment a larger request was evaluated. Passersby, 53 men and 67 women, were asked by two confederates to look after a large and very excited dog for 10 minutes because each wanted to go into a pharmacy where animals were prohibited. In half of the cases, subjects were touched during the request. Analysis showed that, when touched, 55% of the subjects agreed with the request whereas 35% only in the no-touch control condition agreed. This finding indicates that touch was positively associated with the subjects' compliance (p<.03).

Source: "An evaluation of touch on a large request: a field setting." from Psychol Rep. 2002 Feb;90(1):267-9.

That, my friends, doesnt mean that you go about groping somebody. its a fine art :) but as it looks like, its good to reach out and touch somebody.

Wednesday, March 23

Trying to reduce weight and then the uni does this to me

I am trying to reduce weight and then the damn university sends this email to me.

From: Date: 14 March 2011 11:05:08 GMT
To: Subject: Participants wanted for exploring factors affecting the experience of eating a snack - circular

Circular email for use for recruitment of volunteers for study ref: PNM/09/10-121 approved by the King’s College London Psychiatry, Nursing and Midwifery Research Ethics Subcommittee (PNMRES). This project contributes to the College's role in conducting research, and teaching research methods. You are under no obligation to reply to this email, however if you choose to, participation in this research is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time.
Study Title: Exploring factors affecting the experience of eating a snack.
We are looking for volunteers to take part in a study exploring how your feelings and the way a snack is presented can affect your experience of eating the snack. The research will help us to understand the different factors that affect people’s food choices.
Participants will be asked to attend Lecture Theatre 1, New Hunts House on the Guy’s Campus on either the 16th March or 23rd March. On arrival participants will be given a carton of popcorn and bottle of water as a snack to consume while watching two film clips, one sad and one happy. Participants will also be asked to complete a questionnaire including items about the taste of the popcorn, current feelings and some personal details. The questionnaire will take approximately 10 minutes to complete each section, 30 minutes in total. The questionnaire will be completed in three sections, in-between watching the film clips. Study participation will take between one and a half and two hours.
We are looking for male and female participants over the age of 18 years to participate. Contacting us does not commit you to participate. You will receive a £10 voucher as compensation for your participation. All information given will be confidential and anonymised.
If you are interested or would like some more information, please contact;

The sheer irony of fate. Bhagya ki widambana.. sighs, man, got another fight on my hand, and its a weighty one. BTW, the uni has a world famous very big medical research unit as well and it does shed loads of medical research. Maybe they can do something on my belly? heh

The British versus the German RE market

I have been constantly surprised at the differences between the British and German RE markets over the past many years. This is a good article which lays out the comparison.

So while the grass in Germany is definitely a shade or two greener, it is not as verdant as you might have thought. The fact is that wherever you are, you don't want to be paying rent in your retirement. Although Germany is better value than the UK, buying property is still out of the reach of most.

The grim reality of today's property markets – whether it is Munich or London – is that most young people cannot get on the property ladder without parental help or inheriting.

Tuesday, March 22

Measuring you in 102 ways.

This bewildered me. I quote:

the Education Secretary said the current skills required of teachers are ‘woolly, meaningless and fluffy’ concepts. Of the 102 so-called standards, just two state the need for good ‘subject and curriculum knowledge’. Four focus on health and safety and three on a ‘commitment to co-operative learning’. Other immeasurable targets include ‘a creative and constructive approach towards innovation’.

Before you moan about the Daily Mail, see the standards document here. Its incredible and its true. These are standards that every teacher has to satisfy if they want to reach proper advanced skills teacher level. Just how you measure all these is ridiculous. Why are we loading our teachers with all this crap? Get rid of them, bring it down to basics (how well are the students doing is a good start measured by examination results). Yes, one measure is pretty good. If the complaint is that the exams are not appropriate, that’s a different matter but for teacher evaluation, stick to one measure. Meh!

Sunday, March 20

What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

What is more interesting about this analysis is not the counter factual history itself but who writes it and where it was published. Gobsmacking.

I quote:

Since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be the hero and the leader of the Arab world, then he has a very easy way to do it. He just shouts as loud as he can about the intention to destroy Israel, without mobilizing one soldier (Talk is cheap).The Palestinian misery was also used to topple another stable monarchy, this time in Iraq and replacing it with a bloody dictatorship in one of the richest countries of the world. Iraq is rich in minerals, water reserves, fertile land and archaeological sites. The military led by Abdul Karim Qassim killed King Faisal II and his family. Bloodshed in Iraq continued and this Arab country has seen more violent revolutions and one of them was carried out in the 1960s by a brigade that was sent to help liberate Palestine. Instead it made a turn and went back and took over Baghdad. Even years later, Saddam Hussien said that he will liberate Jerusalem via Kuwait. He used Palestinians misery as an excuse to invade Kuwait.

There were other military coups in the Arab world such as Syria, Yemen and the Sudan. And each one of them used Palestine as their reason for such acts. The Egyptian regime of Jamal Abdul Nasser used to call the Arab Gulf states backward states and he tried to topple the governments of these Gulf states by using his media and his military forces. He even attacked southern borders of Saudi Arabia using his air force bases in Yemen.

Even a non-Arab country (Iran) used Palestine to divert the minds of their people from internal unrest. I remember Ayatollah Khomeini declaring that he would liberate Jerusalem via Baghdad and President Ahmadinejad making bellicose statements about Israel, though not even a single fire cracker was fired from Iran toward Israel.

Published in the Arab News by —Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, is Commodore (Retd.), Royal Saudi Navy. He is based in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia,

Don't Worry Be Happy and measure it

That’s what I like. Happy Happy Happy. Don't be around people who whinge and whine and moan and cry, they suck the happiness out of you and your surroundings. Also the pursuit of happiness is a good pursuit. So how about measuring it? I quote:

The Office for National Statistics, which will do the survey, has been conducting an online debate. Answers suggest Brits link happiness to bird song, knowing themselves, the environment, responsible pet ownership, contributing to society, going out into the wild and reading Socrates.


I was thinking about some recent moments of happiness in my own life. One came walking across Regent’s Park, my skin tingling at the first brush of spring. Another came kissing my daughter goodnight as she slept and seeing how peaceful she was. A third came in Cairo seeing the powerful dignity of the Egyptian people coalescing to bring peaceful change.

These moments were linked to nature, to finding time, to feeling the transcendent power of the human spirit. Emotional prosperity is not the next e-mail in a relentless life.

So I’m ready to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt and even give a wary nod to his related “Big Society” project, also the source of much guffawing. The essence of this idea is that people can give more to one another — British A.T.M.s, for example, would automatically give customers an option of donating to charity. It’s a tough sell in a grim economy, but it captures a need among dislocated people to connect more.

That’s also true in the United States. Liberty is an inalienable right of Americans, along with the “pursuit of happiness.” Note the distinction here, evidence of the wisdom of the founding fathers. The Declaration of Independence guarantees freedom but, when it comes to happiness, only the quest for it is underwritten. Still, perhaps it’s time to measure just how that quest is going.

lol, what all do you tick off? : )