Sense Of Entitlement 101 – Oil Producing States

Sense of Entitlement 101 –

OPEC States Want to Be Paid if Pollution Curbs Cut Oil Sales:

For all its prosperity, he said, Saudi Arabia will still need help in developing new industries and job sources for its growing population.

Mr. Sabban said a large coalition of developing countries was ready to reject the treaty language if industrialized nations rejected the idea of compensating countries whose economies were harmed.

Saudis Seek Payments for Any Drop in Oil Revenues:

“It is like the tobacco industry asking for compensation for lost revenues as a part of a settlement to address the health risks of smoking,” said Jake Schmidt, the international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The worst of this racket is that they have held up progress on supporting adaptation funding for the most vulnerable for years because of this demand.”

Translation:

If you don’t want what we have, for the good of the world we ALL live in, I want to be compensated so that I’ll still be fucking rich without having to work for another source of wealth.

If it is all about using the money for diversification, then pray tell why when they were already bringing in so much money from oil over the years, they didn’t use that wealth to plan and diversify then.

In the context of Singapore:

Hey World, because you guys stopped shipping stuff, Singapore’s economy is hurt because our port is underused. You guys need to compensate us for loss of income because of your decision to stop shipping things.

I also have a product which because you do not want, I must be compensated for.

All joking aside though, a business model where you get paid when people don’t buy what you’re selling is pretty awesome business if you can get it..

Metafilter discussion here.

Some further thoughts:

The problem is really about politicians trying to get countries to do a group hug, but every single one of them wants to actually walk outside the circle and fuck the other politicians in the ass.

The truth is, countries should just be responsible global citizens within their own boundaries.

Industrialized countries once committed the current sins of developing countries, sins which allow them to be where they are now, which is industrialized. Developing countries aspire for that status, and it is naive at best to assume they will give those aspirations up by not taking the way previously taken (damn the consequences) and hubris at worse for politicians from industrialized countries to think they have the right to bully developing countries into towing the line.

The truth is, the cost to the environment is difficult to be measured and rarely factored into the cost of development. The best way going forward is not for industrialized countries to say do this instead of doing that (which was what we did, but please forget about it) but for those who already have the ability (i.e. industrialized nations) to create financially cheaper ways that are also just as effective as the old way for developing countries to get industrialized (although frankly, that might not be the best goal around) and progress without harming the environment.

Additional Notes:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

Leaders from around the world will gather in Copenhagen in December 2009 for the latest talks held on implementing a 1992 treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal is a climate treaty that would go beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a climate change agreement that set emissions targets for industrialized nations. Many of those goals have not been met, and the United States never ratified the accord.

Although the United Nations has held a big climate meeting each year since 1995, the 12-day gathering in Copenhagen is extraordinary for many reasons. The emissions reduction commitments that countries made under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012. And while the Bush administration was seen by many countries as an obstacle to achieving a global accord, President Obama has declared that he wants to be a leader in environmental issues.

A 200-page document, which serves as a starting point for treaty negotiations, outlines proposals for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by rich countries and limiting the growth of gases in the developing world. It also discusses ways of preventing deforestation, which is linked to global warming, and of providing financing for poorer nations to help them adapt to warmer temperatures.

But many environmental advocates and politicians suggest that not enough has been done to winnow down those options. Representatives of poor countries complain that developed nations have not made an adequate commitment to reduce their emissions.

The United States and China jointly produce 40 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions.

The United States never joined the 1997 Kyoto accord, the first major attempt to limit emissions in a global treaty, partly because quickly developing and increasingly competitive countries like China and India were not required to set emissions reduction goals of their own.

China and India, meanwhile, have said that the industrialized world, which has been responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions to date, must commit to far deeper cuts before negotiations at Copenhagen can succeed.

A show of resolve by the United States about doing its part to combat global warming is considered critical to the outcome of the Copenhagen talks. Yet the prospect of action by the United States Senate on climate change appeared dim before the Copenhagen talks, with Congress mired in the fight over health care and Democrats divided on climate change measures.

Regardless of Congressional action, the Obama administration announced in early October 2009 that it was planning new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from hundreds of power plants and large industrial factories.

Good or bad, any climate agreement that comes out of the December meeting will bear Copenhagen’s name. And the tenor of the meetings is likely to reflect Denmark’s sober brand of environmentalism. The government has proposed new fines to keep activists in check during the meetings – $2,000 for breaking through a police cordon or wearing a mask during demonstrations.

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How Shots Of The Olympic Divers Are Done

How does the camera follow the divers as they leap off the platform and gracefully move through the air until they enter the water? The answer is amazingly simple yet brilliant.

Well, there’s a rope. There’s a pulley. And the rope and the pulley work a contraption made out of a pipe. The whole gizmo is based on the brilliant insight that objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass. A Tuscan by the name of Galileo came up with it about 400 years ago; if he were alive, he’d call it cutting edge. And there’s the beauty of it: It’s sophisticated, yes, but only because it’s simple.

Read more over here at the Wall Street Journal.

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This Is Why At Times I Find Librarians Extremely Sexy

I just came across this letter by a librarian via Metafilter. Read it here. I’m going to put the whole letter here because it is just so awesome. But please, please, go over there and read it – the comments alone are worth the extra click. Note – the letter is written by a guy. Oh, and I can’t say this enough times – librarians and curators are the most underrated important people in our society. They aren’t just people who tell us to keep quiet, or shelf books or look after art pieces. They are custodians of knowledge and ideas. In case you are wondering, we have our own sexy librarian here in Singapore.

The reason for the letter:

Recently, a library patron challenged (urged a reconsideration of the ownership or placement of) a book called “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding.” Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of it until that complaint. But I did read the book, and responded to the patron, who challenged the item through email and requested that I respond online (not via snail-mail) about her concerns.

The letter:

Uncle Bobby’s wedding
June 27, 2008

Dear Ms. Patron:

Thank you for working with my assistant to allow me to fit your concerns about “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” by Sarah S. Brannen, into our “reconsideration” process. I have been assured that you have received and viewed our relevant policies: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, the Freedom to View, and our Reconsideration Policy.

The intent of providing all that isn’t just to occupy your time. It’s to demonstrate that our lay Board of Trustees –- which has reviewed and adopted these policies on behalf of our library — has spent time thinking about the context in which the library operates, and thoughtfully considered the occasional discomfort (with our culture or constituents) that might result. There’s a lot to consider.

Here’s what I understand to be your concern, based on your writings. First, you believe that “the book is specifically designed to normalize gay marriage and is targeted toward the 2-7 year old age group.” Your second key concern is that you “find it inappropriate that this type of literature is available to this age group.” You cite your discussion with your daughter, and commented, “This was not the type of conversation I thought I would be having with my seven year old in the nightly bedtime routine.”

Finally, you state your strong belief, first, “in America and the beliefs of our founding fathers,” and second, that “marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman as stated in the Webster’s dictionary and also in the Bible.”

You directed me to the SarahBrannen.com site, which I also reviewed. I got a copy of “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” today, and read it. I even hauled out my favorite Webster’s (the college edition, copyright 1960).

First, I think you’re right that the purpose of the book is to show a central event, the wedding of two male characters, as no big thing. The emotional center of the story, of course, is Chloe’s fear that she’s losing a favorite uncle to another relationship. That fear, I think, is real enough to be an issue for a lot of young children. But yes, Sarah Brannen clearly was trying to portray gay marriage as normal, as not nearly so important as the changing relationship between a young person and her favorite uncle.

Your second issue is a little trickier. You say that the book is inappropriate, and I infer that your reason is the topic itself: gay marriage. I think a lot of adults imagine that what defines a children’s book is the subject. But that’s not the case. Children’s books deal with anything and everything. There are children’s books about death (even suicide), adult alcoholism, family violence, and more. Even the most common fairy tales have their grim side: the father and stepmother of Hansel and Gretel, facing hunger and poverty, take the children into the woods, and abandon them to die! Little Red Riding Hood (in the original version, anyhow) was eaten by the wolf along with granny. There’s a fascinating book about this, by the bye, called “The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales,” by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. His thesis is that both the purpose and power of children’s literature is to help young people begin to make sense of the world. There is a lot out there that is confusing, or faintly threatening, and even dangerous in the world. Stories help children name their fears, understand them, work out strategies for dealing with life. In Hansel and Gretel, children learn that cleverness and mutual support might help you to escape bad situations. In Little Red Riding Hood, they learn not to talk to big bad strangers. Of course, not all children’s books deal with “difficult issues,” maybe not even most of them. But it’s not unusual.

So what defines a children’s book is the treatment, not the topic. “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” is 27-28 pages long (if you count the dedication page). Generally, there are about 30 words per page, and each page is illustrated. The main character, and the key perspective, is that of a young girl. The book is published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, “a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.” The Cataloging in Publication information (on the back side of the title page) shows that the catalogers of the Library of Congress identified it as an “E” book – easy or beginning reader. Bottom line: It’s hard for me to see it as anything but a children’s book.

You suggested that the book could be “placed in an area designating the subject matter,” or “labeled for parental guidance” by stating that “some material may be inappropriate for young children.” I have two responses. First, we tried the “parenting collection” approach a couple of times in my history here. And here’s what we found: nobody uses them. They constitute a barrier to discovery and use. The books there – and some very fine ones — just got lost. In the second case, I believe that every book in the children’s area, particularly in the area where usually the parent is reading the book aloud, involves parental guidance. The labeling issue is tricky, too: is the topic just homosexuality? Where babies come from? Authority figures that can’t be trusted? Stepmothers who abandon their children to die?

Ultimately, such labels make up a governmental determination of the moral value of the story. It seems to me – as a father who has done a lot of reading to his kids over the years – that that kind of decision is up to the parents, not the library. Because here’s the truth of the matter: not every parent has the same value system.

You feel that a book about gay marriage is inappropriate for young children. But another book in our collection, “Daddy’s Roommate,” was requested by a mother whose husband left her, and their young son, for another man. She was looking for a way to begin talking about this with son. Another book, “Alfie’s Home,” was purchased at the request of another mother looking for a way to talk about the suspected homosexuality of her young son from a Christian perspective. There are gay parents in Douglas County, right now, who also pay taxes, and also look for materials to support their views. We don’t have very many books on this topic, but we do have a handful.

In short, most of the books we have are designed not to interfere with parents’ notions of how to raise their children, but to support them. But not every parent is looking for the same thing.

Your third point, about the founders’ vision of America, is something that has been a matter of keen interest to me most of my adult life. In fact, I even wrote a book about it, where I went back and read the founders’ early writings about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What a fascinating time to be alive! What astonishing minds! Here’s what I learned: our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them. The founders uniformly despised many practices in England that compromised matters of individual conscience by restricting freedom of speech. Freedom of speech – the right to talk, write, publish, discuss – was so important to the founders that it was the first amendment to the Constitution – and without it, the Constitution never would have been ratified.

How then, can we claim that the founders would support the restriction of access to a book that really is just about an idea, to be accepted or rejected as you choose? What harm has this book done to anyone? Your seven year old told you, “Boys are not supposed to marry.” In other words, you have taught her your values, and those values have taken hold. That’s what parents are supposed to do, and clearly, exposure to this book, or several, doesn’t just overthrow that parental influence. It does, of course, provide evidence that not everybody agrees with each other; but that’s true, isn’t it?

The second part of your third point was your belief that marriage was between a man and a woman. My Webster’s actually gives several definitions of marriage: “1. the state of being married; relation between husband and wife…; 2. the act of marrying, wedding; 3. the rite or form used in marrying; 4. any close or intimate union.” Definitions 2-4, even as far back as 1960, could be stretched to include a wedding between two men. Word definitions change; legal rights change. In some parts of America, at least today, gay marriage is legal. If it’s legal, then how could writing a book about it be inappropriate?

Finally, then, I conclude that “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” is a children’s book, appropriately categorized and shelved in our children’s picture book area. I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won’t agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don’t imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.

As noted in our policies, you do have the right to appeal my decision to the Board of Trustees. If you’d like to do that, let me know, and I can schedule a meeting. Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to discuss this further with you. I do appreciate many things: your obvious value of reading, your frank and loving relationship with your child, your willingness to raise issues of importance to you in the public square, and more. Thank you, very much, for taking the time to raise your concerns with me. Although I suspect you may not agree with my decision, I hope it’s clear that I’ve given it a great deal of thought, and believe it is in accordance with both our guiding principles, and those, incidentally, of the founders of our nation.

Best wishes to you and your family,

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How To Marry A Girl Without Her Knowing About It.

I’m sure this has been exploited in some way before.

A proxy marriage is a marriage in which either the bride or the groom is not physically present for the wedding. During the solemnization of the marriage, based upon a power of attorney, a stand-in, or proxy, acts on behalf of one of the parties. If neither party is present, it is called a Double-proxy Marriage.

A relevant website.

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Your Friends Are Also Your Enemies

Your friends are secretly your enemies. Need proof? Look at the image below.

Friends and Enemies

Image above created using the very cool tool Ambigram.Matic.

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Why You Should Not Talk To The Police

Via metafilter, discovered these two videos which really taught me a lot about the Fifth Amendment and the Miranda warning.

Learned of this project called “The Innocence Project“.

The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects.

I wonder…. How many people have been falsely convicted in Singapore. Do these individuals have any sort of recourse to right the wrongs done against them? Do we have such rights as stated in the video?

Anyway, back to the videos. I was wondering about what we write on our blogs as well as the information we sprinkle all across the different online services and whether we will ever see a case where the stuff we put online is used as evidence against us.

I’m not talking about a racist writing a seditious blog post. I’m talking about twittering an innocuous message at 10.15am saying that you are at Raffles MRT waiting for a friend and that is used as evidence that you were around the vicinity of a certain crime.

Or you write a Wall Post talking about how much you hate someone and then something happens to that someone. Motive?

I wonder….

We don’t exactly put everything online. And when we do, it isn’t always the truth – there are times when there are embellishments to the story we tell. What is truth anyway? Is it what actually happened or the way we remembered what happened?

Hmmm… Just saying that our online bread crumbs might lead people down the wrong path about who we really are.

I wonder if one day it can be used against us in court.

On Singapore
Tangled Web We Weave
Videos

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Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits

“I think it is the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

George Carlin is apparently dead. I’m sad that I never got to see him perform live. One of his claims to fame was the seven dirty words – Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits.

He was supposed to receive this year’s Mark Twain Prize, a lifetime achievement award presented to an outstanding comedian.

He did something that none of my English teachers ever did – taught me the concept of unnecessary words and actually made me love the English language. I love how he is so spot-on with the hypocrisies that fill this world.

Discovered him first through his books, then random quotes online. Only when YouTube and video sharing sites took off did I manage to follow more of his stuff after I started working.

Go seek out his works.

George Carlin, I’ll miss you.

I hope he gets to Heaven, assuming there is a God and a Heaven. He was so angry only because he probably actually cared.

Updated: If we keep saying he should go to heaven, he might be pissed enough to come back and kick our asses. That’s a thought.

Updated: New York Times has written an article about him.

“I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

“Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

Updated: You know you are getting older when your heroes start dying.

Updated: Buzzfeed has a list of links about George Carlin and his death.

Updated: This was not written by George Carlin.

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits

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Another Study That Supports The Homosexuality Is Due To Biology Stand

Via metafilter – there is an interesting study about how a homosexual’s brain represents that of the opposite sex.

Do check out the metafilter link for the comments and more links relevant to this discussion.

Do note also while reading this that there is a difference between causation and correlation.

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Instead Of Just Renovating A House, Designer Creates An Amazing Scavenger Hunt

This is just so amazing. I’m sure the kids were inspired beyond measure. Article is here.

The apartment is quite attractive and perfectly functional in all the typical ways, and its added features remained largely unnoticed by its inhabitants for quite some time after they moved in, in May of 2006. Then one night four months later, Cavan Klinsky, who is now 11, had a friend over. The boy was lying on the floor in Cavan’s bedroom, staring at dozens of letters that had been cut into the radiator grille. They seemed random — FDYDQ, for example. But all of a sudden the friend leapt up with a shriek, Ms. Sherry said, having realized that they were actually a cipher (a Caesar Shift cipher, to be precise), and that Cavan’s name was the first word.

via:metafilter

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Why Do Married Men Want To Have Affairs? Read This.

So, why do married men want to have affairs? New York Mag has an interesting article that might help explain all these shenanigans.

My sister has been influenced by evolutionary psychology, the widely publicized theory that the sex drive is genetically programmed. One of the leaders in the field, David Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire and a professor at the University of Texas, says that men’s genes program them to seek many mates and try to monopolize the reproductive lives of those mates; think of the manners of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints sect’s sprawling compound in Texas, in which the older men ran the younger men off and had as many of the girls—as young as 14—as they wanted. But women are also programmed for infidelity, Buss says. They have a drive to monopolize the economic resources of their mate, according to the theory, but also to keep a man or two in reserve, because men die earlier than women, or men go off, and women need protection.

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The Mad Fold-In Guy

New York Times has an article on the artist who has been drawing the fold-in feature for Mad Magazine since 1964. I love this magazine however as a student, they were just too expensive to buy. Maybe I’ll start getting them again. The fold-in feature was always a highlight because you never knew what the hidden message was and how it would shock, provoke or tease you.

A sample of some of the fold-ins can be found here.

The thing about these fold-ins is that they show you the power of humor in making a statement. Part of the power is that it lures you in, and when your guard is down, hits you with a perspective that you might not have otherwise bothered to consider. Humor allows someone to enter our lives as a buddy and become a mildly disapproving parent who holds up a mirror to let us see ourselves for who we really are.

And today you could teach a pretty good course in modern American history just using Mr. Jaffee’s fold-ins. June 1970: “Who is fast becoming our all-time top comic character?” A collage of every cartoon figure you can think of folds into one big Spiro Agnew. July 1968: “What is the one thing most school dropouts are sure to become?” A picture of teenagers at an employment center folds into a piece of artillery with a kid stuffed in it, and the answer: “Cannon fodder.”

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Jack Handey Is Funny

Via: metafilter, I discovered Jack Handey. The stuff he writes is hilarious.

His site: Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey posted to the Saturday Night Live newsgroup -

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why
several of us died of tuberculosis.

How I Want To Be Remembered by Jack Handey in The New Yorker

He was fabulously wealthy, but he would pretend to be broke, and often tried to borrow cigarettes and money from people. Little did they know that those who gave him stuff would later be rewarded in his will, with jewels and antigravity helmets. Women who refused to have sex with him are probably wishing that they could turn back the clock and say yes.

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