The Lava Trolley: June 2005

The Lava Trolley

Or is it the lavatory???

...Either case, this little nook on blogasphere is the natural dumping ground for the sort of crap that erupts
when you find a wee Chink in the Britworks...

But hey, I promise you this is steamingly hot shit...which is probably why it's all looking a bit brown!

 

27 June 2005

Women – Know your place!

++housewife~parody++

It was during another round of Test the Nation when women were (yet again) soundly trounced, that I began to wonder if men were perhaps truly superior in the mental arena. Not about to turn traitor to the feminist cause, I made a point of doing some research on the differences between the male and female psyche, with every hope that science would reinstate my faith in womankind.

Ashes from Germaine Greer’s bra-burning days have long since settled, and some believe that significant milestones have been achieved in ending the oppression of the supposedly weaker sex…Yet, gender wars go on, and not just in TV game shows, but in the home and work environment as well…Clearly, the end of the “anything you can do, I can do better” debate is nowhere in sight…Not yet, at any rate…


This begs the question: Just what are us women good for, apart from making babies?

As expected, there was enough information out there to rival all the spam on cyberspace, and not very much of it was new. Since one’s bandwidth deals better with bytes than neurons, I shall spare all readers as much of the science bit as possible and stick only to details that were found intriguing.

1) Like a baby just learning how to work a shape-sorter, Nature sometimes makes a few mistakes when slotting our brains into place:

“There are three common brain types: for some individuals, empathising is
stronger than systemising. This is called the female brain, or a brain of type
E. For other individuals, systemising is stronger than empathising. This is
called the male brain, or a brain of type S. Yet other individuals are equally
strong in their systemising and empathising. This is called the "balanced
brain", or a brain of type B… A key feature of this theory is that your sex
cannot tell you which type of brain you have
.”
Hmmm…That would explain an anomaly like Michael Jackson.

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He can barely decide if he's black or white, let alone male or female.

Anyhow, this is a moot point. It only supports the theory that gender roles are determined by society rather than one's sex. Who decides what is masculine or feminine anyway?

2)
There is no evidence to show that one gender is more intelligent than the other.

“While there are essentially no disparities in general intelligence between the
sexes, a UC Irvine study has found significant differences in brain areas where
males and females manifest their intelligence.”
According to the results, both men and women are capable of attaining the same IQ level…We just don’t use the same methods to get there.

The human brain is made up of grey and white matter. The grey’s job description is to process all the information, while the white is predominantly occupied with networking.

To put it in simple terms, greys excel when sitting there on their own working things out, while the whites work wonders at ensuring all in the cell community are communicating with one another.

“Men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of grey matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men.”

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So it would make perfect sense that the male brain is more suited for tasks involving spatial and quantitative abilities, whilst its female counterpart is more adept at verbal activities and perceptual speed/accuracy.

“The male advantages here reflect more specialized skill while the female
advantages
are inherently more integrative.”
The claim that women are better at multi-tasking does appear to have some legitimacy after all!

Or perhaps all this means is that us girlies are quicker at making associations between certain concepts...

I'll say this...I have noticed that men with all-rounded skills are the exception rather than the rule, which is why jobs as Administrators, Nurses, Housekeepers etc tend to be predominantly in the province of women. But...just because we can fill many roles doesn't mean we can perform them all at the same time!

3) It's official...Men are more intuitive than women.

Hmmm…do I detect a sense of outrage in the female community?

Hardly surprising if that were true, since drawing on intuition is a favourite ploy in feminine tactics. Apparently, this has to do with the difference in which the left part of the brain works, and that of the right. Men tend to use the right-side of the brain more than the left, whilst women are more likely to do the opposite.


“Since a man spends more time in his right brain, he may be more likely to sense a situation and take action intuitively. He responds immediately with sexual feeling to sex objects, bypassing the planning or long decision-making process that a woman may engage in. If a woman says something that a man does not want to hear, he may not respond verbally, but spatially as he moves to the TV to watch ESPN. A woman, on the other hand, may have long debates in her head before she comes to a decision and takes action. Such internal thinking and deliberation are left brain activities.

Because men do seem to have more difficulty with feelings, one might conclude that they must not be in the right half of their brain after all. On the contrary, however, they often compensate for their feeling impediments by replacing the uncomfortable feelings with other ones. Typical compensations are: they may feel sexual in situations that are not particularly sexual, they may resort to addictive behaviours as a distraction, or they may get angry in situations that might call for a different response.”

Oh bugger! No longer will I be able to rely on a woman’s intuition to get my way…There goes another weapon in my arsenal!
Hey! Does this mean men are more primitive? Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Mind you, I’m not all that astonished that some of us have found this assessment to be fairly accurate. Women have been known to over-analyse, be indecisive and are particularly fond of that dreaded phrase, “We need to talk”.

But this still doesn’t tell us where impulse buying fits in!

“The theory is saying that, on average, males and females differ in what
they are drawn to and what they find easy, but that both sexes have
their strengths and their weaknesses. Neither sex is superior overall.”

I suppose there is only one deduction that could be made from such findings:


Questions in Test the Nation are FAR too biased towards male interests!

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Research Material:
Brainpower as Easy as X and Y
Intelligence in Men and Women is a Grey and White Matter
Different Brains, Different Realities?
Brains Differ
They Just Can't Help It


He-She Jokes:
Ladies
Gentlemen

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Glorified Piece of Paper

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Yay!!! It's all over!!! I've finally passed!!!

Got a 2:2 which is a bit crap...But I only have my own lazy self to blame (and Neopets!!!), since most of my assignments were late submissions (so a large percentage of marks were deducted), and I only started studying for my exams two days before I had to take them! Uh oh! Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Well, since I'm rubbish with exams anyway, I figured there wasn't much point in wasting all that effort...

No, I'm not quite sure what sort of logic that was! Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Anyhow, it's better than a 3rd, and infinitely better than failing (which was what I had initially expected). Gosh! It's almost a miracle I scraped through considering everything I'd done (or rather, NOT done)!

Oh well, that's what you get when you opt to do a course (Journalism in my case) that you later discover doesn't interest you...I suppose suffering from a mental/personality disorder doesn't help either...Hmmm...at least that's now behind me, and I can pursue an MA in Fashion or something design-related...That's when the real fun begins!

You'll soon see piccies of me in a silly hat...Let's hope I don't trip over my over-sized gown!!! Fingers crossed! Image hosted by Photobucket.com

PS - Oh...forgot to add...I'll be away from 30 June to 19 July to visit family down south and to spend a week of relaxation at the Lake District...No worries...Will reply to all messages as soon as I get back.

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Chocolaty Nirvana

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[/homer on]

Mmmmm...Chocolate...

[/homer off]

As a pat on the back for being such a good girl, I rewarded myself with a celebratory drink of chocolaty goodness to mark the end of student life...er...as opposed to all the other celebratory Chocolissimos for not smoking, for remembering to take my loopy pills, for handing in my essay, for not buying anything when I go out (apart from just that one drink!), for eating all my veggies, for even waking up at all etc etc...oh nevermind...it's still special anyway!!!

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Royal Disappointment

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Philippa Gregory's much anticipated latest offering isn't quite what I had hoped for...It isn't terrible, but neither is it one of her best works, and it's certainly not as gripping as The Other Boleyn Girl or The Queen's Fool...I found the characterisation a tad watery, not having done much justice to the illustrious personage which inspired the story in the first place. Having read most of Gregory's novels, I can't help but notice that most of her heroines/heroes seem to have been painted with the same brush, with more emphasis on sensationalism than plot or substance.

There is also some oversight with regards to historical accuracy. For instance, The Virgin's Lover gave the impression that the Treaty of Edinburgh 1560 (which does stipulate that the Queen of Scots would no longer assume the arms of England, though that appears to have been blatantly disregarded) only came about due to the death of Mary of Guise. It is true that her demise acted as a catalyst, however, the French had been amenable to reaching some sort of compromise on the Scottish front even before the Queen Regent died, since they were so preoccupied with religious rebellion on home ground. After the disastrous attempt to capture Leith that Spring, Elizabeth I rallied her troops and became even more resolute in achieving her goal. At the time, the French simply could not afford to provide Leith with more supplies and reinforcements indefinitely. It was more a good sense of timing than a stroke of luck (or an assassin's skill) that got England out of that predicament.

Still, it's only a work of fiction...who's going to keep track of past affairs so long as the book's entertaining?

But if you think this is going to live up to The Other Boleyn Girl, you're in for a bit of a disappointment.


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Buy:
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Queen's Fool
The Virgin's Lover

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22 June 2005

Beauty: An exact science?

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"Looks don't matter" appears to be the favourite refrain of my many fellow net prowlers if the Fat-or-Skinny polls and debates I find on various (practically ALL) online communities are a true reflection of general opinion.

After being regaled with one too many lofty pronouncements rejecting physical attraction as the basis for founding a relationship, I have decided that enough is enough, and shall now proceed to dispel that particular naïveté, or dare I say...hypocrisy.

Consider this:

You have just entered a club, and have the choice of chatting up two individuals lounging by the bar, both of whom are strangers to you, one being more appealing to the eye, and the other, well...not. Who would you approach?

Remember that you know nothing about them but what they look like...

I'll wager that the majority of us would make a beeline for the person who's better-looking. Granted, there are exceptions...In a manner reminiscent of one Nobel Prize winner, a friend confided that he was more likely to target the less attractive female as:

a) he would have a better chance with her
b) she would more likely be a nicer or more intelligent individual

All well and good, except my point has already been made...His decision was still based on looks alone, regardless of his choice.

This exercise in human behaviour has nonetheless drawn my attention to a widespread attitude towards Beauty...Often we hear anecdotes about Bimbos/Himbos - people abundant in the looks department, but sadly lacking in others. Yet, this presumption has no factual grounding as some of us are only all too eager to believe.

On the contrary, the more beautiful a person is, the probability that he/she is intelligent stands to be higher. Before I go any further, allow me to acquaint you with the Divine Ratio, otherwise known as Phi, of 1:1.618...the formula that is ubiquitous throughout all of Nature's creations. I shan't elaborate on this right now as evidence of such research can be found all over the net (see below...It's not the first time studies have been made on this subject), except to add that this is a matter of proportion...The fibonacci equation is relevant only when physical attributes are assessed in relation to other qualities. A feature (or a part of it) on its own bears little significance in terms of symmetry, which is why the 'mask' shown in the image above is culture-fair and not gender specific. It can be used as a yardstick regardless of a person's racial heritage. Basically, the closer one comes to fulfilling the Divine Ratio, the greater one's chance of being found attractive by a larger number of the population...bearing in mind that nothing is perfect.

My main objective here is to put foward the hypothesis that Beauty frequently equals Brains. If a being has satisfied all of Nature's criteria on the outside, it stands to reason that it has, more likely than not, met all the requirements on the inside...The latter being a reference to the internal workings of the anatomy (Grey/White matter included), rather than personality. A well-formed body usually points to dexterity in the cerebral regions and vice versa. Intelligence is a sign of health, and Beauty is merely a manifestation of "signals that indicate health, fertility, and sexual receptiveness".

I'll concede that this may not always be the case...Even Nature's experiments do go wrong from time to time, and I am certain we can find many examples of such instances in life. (At this juncture, I would like to remind the reader that Ignorance does not necessarily signify dubious mental capacity.) And yet, it is rare to encounter an ill-rooted tree still standing, let alone flourishing and blooming while rotten at the core. There is enough logic in this argument to validate a theory seeking to refute the prejudice that has spawned the bacronym "body impressive, brain optional".

"Mathematics is a human invention . . .but
nature dictated to human beings what mathematics to invent"

- Astrophysicist Mario Levio
Using mathematics to define Beauty may seem a little ridiculous at first, but the magic number Nature has seen fit to impose on all her subjects makes one give pause for thought. Those propounding this ideal have been accused of only seeing the Golden Ratio where they want, with the aim of pursuing their own motives (Eg. Dr. Stephen Marquardt). However, the same could also be said of those who challenge the existence of this geometry. After all, the notion that pulchritude will remain ever-elusive by staying only a few decimal places ahead is a little hard to swallow.

It all seems a little too coincidental that in the many tests done to affirm the prevalence of Phi, the resulting calculations border uncannily on the Golden Mean...Those who have been commonly acknowledged as the benefactors of Nature's bounty, such as models, actresses etc etc, have been discovered to fit the mould best. Even animals have the inbuilt mechanism to recognise such traits in their kind, and we are no different. The eye will adhere to Nature's dictates, whatever our preferences.

All too frequently do many of us confuse Beauty with Sex Appeal - an element that is more about personal taste, usually influenced by one's education and past experiences thus allowing the mind to overwrite much of its biological protocols, and less about the laws of physics. Science has yet to discover the exact properties which make up what mankind deems to be the 'right' package, though it is universally accepted that personality does play a huge part. Whilst outward appearance could lead to the start of a beautiful relationship, it is all the other factors that determine the endurance of one.

More on my views regarding Phi:
Main Homepage > Inquisition Cell > 026

Research Material:
Golden Number - The Phi Source
Beauty and Brains
Beauty - Making Sense of Sex Appeal
Be Careful What You Believe

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20 June 2005

The Asian Palette

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I don't normally do this, but I came across an artist's website earlier, and liked her work enough to feature it here...

Claire Ye's style is pre-dominantly traditional Chinese, but with a modern twist that's quite refreshing...Her paintings are very cleverly done, original and poignant...Soulful stuff!


Unfortunately, that pic featured above has already been snapped up by a lucky buyer, but here's more below:

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To view her portfolio, visit her website.

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15 June 2005

How far is too far?

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It is not my intention here to make a statement the way Hussein Chalayan did in his Spring/Summer 1998 show...

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...nor do I want to launch into a debate regarding the ethics of veiling oneself from the world, or deliberate on whether the Chador is a symbol of eroticism.

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No, my reservations regarding Burqa-wearing are a little more pragmatic.

I'd just like to point out that I have no argument against Muslim attire per se, and neither am I accusing every woman shrouded from head to toe of being a terrorist...The UK is a democracy after all (or rather, it claims to be), so we are all entitled to wear whatever we want, and to believe in whatever faith we so choose...within reason.

However, it seems to me that we can't have different rules for everyone.

I doubt I would be welcome in any public place (particularly banks, shops etc etc) if I walked around wearing a balaclava. Correct me if I'm wrong, but unless I'm sadly mistaken, the wearing of helmets is not allowed in petrol stations as it creates all sorts of problems security-wise. In times when identity has become such a big issue, and CCTV cameras are all over the place, is it wise that we allow religious conviction to manifest in such extremes?

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With all due respect, Islam is not the dominant way of life in the UK. I do sympathise very much with Muslim women who encounter difficulties (of which there must be numerous) that alienate them from the rest of society, but it is hardly fair that the minority should have the last say in such matters.

Since the decision to reside in Britain (where they are, to put it quite bluntly, out-voted) belongs to these Muslims, it would be in their best interests to achieve some sort of compromise. They should be allowed to attire themselves in any religious garment on the proviso that facial features remain uncovered. That appears to be a reasonable concession. I fail to see how exposing eyes, nose and mouth could jeapordise one's virtue and chastity...let alone incite uncontrollable lust. Besides, as already explained, there are practicalities involved. In the real world, where so many cultures have to live together, it is just not possible to please everyone. At some point, one needs to draw the line.

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13 June 2005

Degrees of Ridicule

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Right...I've finally ordered my Graduation Gown...

It's costing me £35 just to hire it for a couple of hours! Image hosted by Photobucket.com


£35!!!

£35 just for a bit of cloth and a piece of cardboard that I won't even get to keep! That's OUTRAGEOUS!!!Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thirty-five BLOODY pounds!

That piece of paper I receive at the end of the ceremony had better get me somewhere in life!!!

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03 June 2005

Me no speak Engrish!

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I was in Boots collecting my medz a few days ago, and had the misfortune (and inconvenience!!!) of encountering a member of staff who's quite obviously in the wrong job...

Granted, she's new to it, but that's not what got me on edge...The woman could barely speak a word of English, which leads me to wonder how on earth she got through the interview process...

The conversation went something like this -


Me: Hi there, I'd like to collect my medication.
Her: jfdirgmn cvnej djgbkjf
Me: Sorry?
Her: kjdfbu hgbcxmc vnjd
Me:
Could you repeat that?
Her:
kjdfkvntk fjkhnmdl tohsloym
Me:
Er...

And so on...You get the picture...All the while, a massive queue was forming behind me...

I really had to struggle to make out what she was saying, and it wasn't just the accent. In the end, the pharmacist had to act as 'translator'.

The problem with large companies like Boots is that they have to satisfy a certain quota with regards to immigrants...Don't get me wrong...I am all in favour of employing people from other countries, most of whom probably contribute more than half of our citizens...Diversity is not just great for culture but for the economy as well...The UK is, after all, a mongrel nation. Where would we be without immigration? But what the policy-makers don't seem to realise is that this pre-occupation with controlling racial statistics in the employment industry will only fuel xenophobia even more...

Surely employing a person just because of his or her ethnic background is racism too?

It is only fair that someone is chosen for a job because he/she is the best person available to do it...and if the vacancy requires the ability to speak English coherently, then someone who can barely pronounce the most basic of words, let alone make herself understood, should not be selected...Perhaps the afore-mentioned checkout girl (not sure which country she was from...somewhere in Europe probably) at the dispensary isn't quite suitable for a job in customer service. And if she did want a job like this bad enough, surely it would be HER responsibility to improve her command of the language?

Let's put it this way, I wouldn't go to China and expect to get a job as an office receptionist because I don't speak Mandarin well enough...a position in a factory maybe, or anything that has less contact with the public...This has got nothing to do with the colour of my skin, but my capacity to perform when placed in a particular role.

Race is irrelevant, only knowledge and experience count...That's just common sense.

Come to think of it, if you're going through all the trouble of moving to another country, wouldn't it be prudent to learn the lingo anyway so you can adapt to your surroundings and be a part of that society? Otherwise, what would be the point?

In an ideal world, there would be no boundaries...and all cultures would integrate, living together in harmony (hopefully without losing their identity and individuality!), but in reality, ramming Utopia down everyone's throats will only spell trouble. Better to allow this multi-culturalism to occur naturally, over a length of time.

[Cue for Grolsch advert]

SHTOP!!!! This pot is not ready to melt yet!!!

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There's a reason I named my daughter 'Oracle'...

++manga~fest++


...And it's got nothing to do with any computer programs or a certain movie starring Keanu Reeves...

Just thought I'd share that before I go on about more techie stuff...

I'm well-chuffed with myself, since I've managed to pick up quite a bit about CSS and RSS feeds in one day...which is really great as this means I have more tools to use when re-vamping my site...Next on my list is Flash...will be ready to shift everything to my new domain and launch it once I've mastered that...Yay!!! Image hosted by Photobucket.com Just got to upgrade my new account so I can upload my site using our existing broadband connection...

Don't you just love it when you learn new things...It actually gives me a high...or is that just the geek in me that's talking? Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I get an adrenaline rush everytime this happens...ars potens est - knowledge is power...which incidentally, was my school's motto when I was a kid...I must have subconciously adopted it as my own...think of all I could do with the new stuff I've learnt!

This really must be the whole point of life...to acquire new intelligence and to pass it on from generation to generation...But knowledge on its own means nothing until it is applied (or abused!)...The question is, will this Faustian quest bring about humanity's extinction, or will it make us as a race immortal?

One need only look at current issues concerning WMD to know what I'm talking about... Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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