Thursday, May 5

Egypt post Mubarak

First the story which I got via email.

The media sold the Cairo riots as the birth pangs of
> "democracy" in the Mideast. Egyptians yearn for our style of "freedom,"
> we were told. But a new survey of their attitudes shreds that story
> line.
> According to the Pew Research Center, 89% of Egyptians say a
> post-Mubarak government "should follow the values and principles of
> Islam." And 62% want laws to enforce Shariah — the barbaric legal code
> practiced in much of the Mideast.
> This may come as quite a jolt to the romantics in the Western press who
> expected liberalism to flower from Tahrir Square. But we're not the
> least surprised.
> Pew's poll — based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews with Egyptian
> adults in April — merely confirms a similar one last spring. As we
> noted during the riots, Pew found that 84% favor the death penalty for
> people who leave the Muslim faith; 82% support stoning adulterers; and
> 77% think thieves should have their hands cut off.
> Pew didn't ask such questions this time around.
> But it did ask what Egyptians thought of the U.S. and Israel. Despite
> the Obama administration's support for their uprising and the media's
> glorification of it (while enduring beatings and even gang rapes),
> nearly 8 in 10 Egyptians still hate us.
> Egyptian views on Israel are starker: A solid majority wants to return
> to war footing against the Jewish nation. By 54% to 36%, Egyptians say
> a new government should tear up the peace treaty with Israel.
> So who do they like? Fully 75% of Egyptians expressed a favorable view
> of the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
> The well-organized Brotherhood, previously outlawed by Mubarak, is in
> the best position to take advantage of the prevailing sentiment
> recorded by Pew.
> Running under the newly formed "Freedom and Justice" party, the
> Brotherhood seeks to replace the old regime in this September's
> elections and instate Islamic law. Its platform bars women and
> Christians from the presidency. It also establishes a board of Muslim
> clerics (read: mullahs) to oversee the government.
> Earlier this month, Brotherhood officials called for the creation of a
> virtue police to crack down on "those who commit immoral acts." It's
> aimed largely at women who refuse to cover their heads in public.
> Pew found that gender equality and religious freedom aren't top
> priorities for Egyptians. Only a third think it's important for women
> to have the same rights as men or for Coptic Christians to practice
> their faith freely. Since Mubarak's ouster, churches in Egypt have been
> firebombed, and Christians slaughtered in the street.
> All those pundits and politicians who cheered on the rioters against
> the secular, pro-American Mubarak should have been more careful of what
> they wished for.
> The Pew poll confirms that Egyptians were revolting against
> Western-style democracy. If so, we may face another Mideast regime
> violently at odds with U.S. policy.

Second, these feelings and opinions are not just emerging, these were there all along, just that the Mubarak regime kept a lid on it. Guess what’s coming out of Egypt now?

Wednesday, May 4

Marry Older Women, they are so grateful :P

Fascinating stuff, quoting the entire story:

My dear Friend,

I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entring into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the compleat human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissars. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good Economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.

But if you will not take this Counsel, and persist in thinking a Commerce with the Sex inevitable, then I repeat my former Advice, that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these:

1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.

2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.

3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.

4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.

5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.

6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy.

7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.

8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!

Thus much for my Paradox. But still I advise you to marry directly; being sincerely Your affectionate Friend.

Tuesday, May 3

Invisible Businesses: The Characteristics of Home-based Businesses in the United Kingdom #ukpolitics

I never thought of these. The researchers come up with some very interesting arguments. I quote their abstract:

Home-based businesses comprise a significant proportion of the small business sector. But because they are invisible, their economic significance is assumed to be minor. This paper challenges this view. The majority are full-time businesses. One in ten has achieved significant scale. They create jobs for more than just the owner(s). They are concentrated in computer-related, business, and professional service sectors. They also have a distinctive geography. Rural areas and non-metropolitan parts of Southern England have the highest proportion of home-based businesses. Urban-industrial regions have the lowest proportion. This suggests a need to reconsider the role of home-based businesses in local economic development.

More to be pushed I daresay. I think local councils are missing a trick here by not pushing this faster, further, etc. etc. This would be good for the country, the council and and and.

Monday, May 2

Anthony Seldon: Five things I have learned

Dear Son,

BBC has put this series together of the great and good men talking about what they have learnt. Here’s one of them. The 5 things that Anthony Sheldon says that he has learnt are:

1. Stop worrying

2. Happiness is the opposite of selfishness

3. Live by water

4. Learn from experience - not just university

5. Be yourself

I am ok with 1, 2 as learning points. Good points. Stop worrying is a very good start. And in my opinion, the trick to stop worrying is to be prepared. And know where and when you cannot do anything about stuff. So things like when you are stuck in traffic. Or waiting for a delayed train. Or not having enough money. Have you done everything you can? Can you do anything else? Shouting and screaming and throwing your toys out of the pram does not work.

Happiness is the opposite of selfishness. Yep, Agree. Your Mamma told you that you should have offered your seat to her when she came into the shop. It is a small thing, but do try to help others, even if it causes you discomfort. You will see, son, that helping others makes them happy and will make you happy as well. I know you are a little shit of a teenager at the moment where life revolves around you and are very conscious of peers, but I am proud of you, you do care about others. Good of you son.

But I am not sure if I agree with the #3rd one. That’s a very personal view. If you ask me what makes me happy? All kinds of natural places, but I would prefer the mountains. I also like the riverine beginnings. Where the rivers are born. See here for an example where I felt at peace with the world. You have to find your own place to live and breathe and be yourself. But if I had to give my thoughts, try to be happy wherever you are. Wherever you are, there is you and if you do decide to believe, your God. That’s all that one needs. Then one can be happy next to a sewer, a bustling road, an airport or a mall. In other words, do not let the surroundings dictate your mood or your feelings. Rise above it if you can.

Learning from experience, yes, agreed to a certain extent. I am always reminded of the Mark Twain quote, I never let my schooling interfere with my education. I agree, son, life teaches you tons. Then again, books are distillations of other people’s experiences (whether be it science or arts or fiction). Reading books is a way to learn from other people’s experiences. You do not have to follow them slavishly but it does help. I am also reminded of another phrase which I read about experiences. The problem with experience is that it takes a lifetime to get. Wouldn't it be great if we were born old and grow young? Now that would be fun. So both please.

Be yourself, of course you have to be yourself. Totally agree. I frequently quote this. No complaints, no explanations, no excuses. You are yourself. Be what you want to be, son. I know you will get there. You are already there, you are turning into a man and you are showing your own personality, your own likes and dislikes. You are changing your opinions and your career aspirations frequently. That’s fine, Make mistakes, do things that challenge you. I think that’s a great way to find out what you are not and what you are.

So interesting list of lessons, eh?

Sunday, May 1

Does Nagging Work? You betcha


Managers who inundate their teams with the same messages, over and over, via multiple media, need not feel bad about their persistence. In fact, this redundant communication works to get projects completed quickly,according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Tsedal B. Neeley and Northwestern University's Paul M. Leonardi and Elizabeth M. Gerber. Key concepts include:

  • Managers who are deliberately redundant as communicators move their projects forward more quickly and smoothly than those who are not.
  • Project managers lacking direct authority will work harder at communication, trying to enlist support from team members. They time first and second messages close together, typically starting with a phone call or face-to-face meeting followed up by an e-mail.
  • Project managers with power delay communication, typically sending an e-mail, assuming that is enough to pressure employees to do the job—only to find themselves later scrambling to do damage control.
  • Clarity in messaging matters less than redundancy. It's not the message; it's the frequency of the message that counts in getting the job done.
  • Managers with and without power met deadlines and budget goals with the same frequency, regardless of their communication strategy. But managers without power got employees to move more quickly, and with less mop up needed later.

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, ever since I have become a programme manager (about 11-12 years now), communications has been a crucial aspect. So far so that in certain large programmes, I have ended up with a team of 5 people dedicated to communications. In my current particular programme, I have a dedicated communications manager. It is important to talk and talk and talk. Totally keep on banging on and on about it. You have to be a total arse about it actually. Constantly communicate. Talk and bore the pants off them. Most projects are people oriented projects. Very few are purely technical. You will have somebody always. Getting people to change requires nagging the hell out of them. Yes, you will get a reputation of being an anally retentive bugger. Well, yes, tough. Your job is to complete the change. To make things happen. To deliver the deliverables. You are not there to win love.

So how do you know if you are at the anally retentive level? Can you sing the barney song or Old MacDonald’s in public? on the pavement? Twice over? If you can, then you have reached that level. And believe you me, that is literally the level one needs to be at when you are running change programmes. Actually, when I was in business as usual roles (looking after global infrastructure or the cash equities trading floor), the same concept applies. Bang on about it. Nag Nag Nag.

I should know, I have a whole tribe of female relatives who nag me. What I am, is due to the nagging from all of them : )

Can perfectionism kill you?

The major hypothesis of the study was that perfectionism as a personality trait, along with the five-factor personality traits and dispositional optimism, is strongly associated with mortality in late life. After baseline assessment of health and personality traits as predictors of mortality, 450 participants were followed over a period of 6.5 years. Consistent with our hypotheses, findings demonstrated that risk of death was significantly greater for high scorers in perfectionism and neuroticism, compared to low scorers at the time of base line. Conversely, risk of death was significantly lower for high scorers in conscientiousness, extraversion and optimism. Implications for health and longevity are discussed.

Source: "Perfectionism and the Five-factor Personality Traits as Predictors of Mortality in Older Adults" from Journal of Health Psychology

from here.

hehehehehehehe. dont worry, be happy Smile