Stupidus

Saturday, September 30, 2006


How To Get People To Trust You

From the "slideshow"

Make friends in high places
Harvard Business School negotiations professor Deepak Malhotra suggests showing references to establish your credentials.

Don't be a dummy
Car salesmen are instructed to respond to every question, whether they know the answer or not. Appearing to be informed encourages others to trust you.

Admit your mistakes
In her 2004 study on deception, University of California, Santa Barbara, psychology professor Bella DePaulo found that liars rarely correct themselves or admit misstatements. So, if you want to seem truthful, fess up to your ignorance.

Be Confident
Online daters show photos of themselves at their skinniest or in front of mansions. They pull this off--no matter how bloated or poor they truly are--by acting in a confident, self-assured manner once they meet their dates in person.

Chill out
In her 2004 study on deception, DePaulo found that liars are tenser and more fidgety. They're also less pleasant and prone to complaining.

Show some skin
Baring your forearms and showing your palms indicates openness and availability. Making eye contact is also important.

Learn the language
Different cultures have their own verbal and nonverbal cues. If you don't know the cultural mores, you're not going to seem believable. The same applies in business.

Kiss up
People trust those they feel comfortable around. Do favors and pass out compliments to make people like you.

Be predictable
To establish a long-term, trusting connection, the most important thing is consistency. "It's all in the actions," says dating coach Patty Feinstein. "It doesn't matter what the e-mail and text messages say."


Jerry Pournelle and a correspondent on free trade

It is pretty clear that the US would survive and be wealthy if, magically, all imports and exports were blocked. The Technocracy people for all their odd views did a pretty good resource survey and concluded that a Technate of North America could be quite self-sufficient. I understand there are a few vital resources like chromium that must be imported, but there cannot be many vital resources with no substitutes whatever. An economically isolated United States is not only possible, but one could argue that by requiring the contribution of nearly everyone in the country, it might well be better off in the sense of being a working republic.

As I have said many times, my own view is that a tariff of between 10 and 15% on all imports would be about right; it would provide enough protection for "inefficient" enterprises (such as those that provide health care and pensions and worker safety) without leaving the domestic industries utterly without competition and thus grossly inefficient. I have yet to see a good economic refutation of this taking into account the reductions in anomie, the lowered costs of prisons and welfare systems and parole officers and the whole machinery of compensating for a large underclass with no economic importance. [...] Given political realities, does exporting jobs make sense?

Clearly exporting SOME jobs makes sense; the question is how many, which ones, and what the hidden costs of job exports are. The firm that exports the job gets the benefit of work at lower cost; that firm does not bear the social cost of unemployment or downgraded jobs, of casting someone from middle to lower class and from lower class to underclass. Those costs are born by all. I have yet to see a real economic model taking all this into account.

[...]

There is a study cited in Emmanuel Todd's L'Illusion Economique - I looked it up on Amazon and it doesn't look like it's been translated into English.

The study was about a short period at the end of the 19th century when most industrialised nations agreed on free trade agreements. According to the study, international trade dropped and growth in participating nations slumped, so after a few years protectionism gradually crept back in and growth and international trade came back.

This is counterintuitive, but Todd's thesis is that you can't dissociate economics from society - he's an ethnologue and his basic theory is that family structure conditions both political and economic structures, the main parameters being nuclear/extended, patriarchal/non-patriarchal, endogamic/exogamic, and inheritance patterns.

In the case of free trade, however, his analysis is that it dissociates supply from demand in the mind of economic decision-makers. In a protected system, your employees are also your customers, so if they're doing well, so will you. In a free trade system, employees are just cost. Of course, at the end of the day, if employees all over the world are getting pressured, demand falls for everybody, but it's a classic game-theory situation where you're pushed into a sub-optimal choice.

Another point Todd makes is that Ricardian specialisation at the country scale is plain stupid. Not everybody in Switzerland is a genius at making watches or cheese, so if you insist on everybody in Switzerland doing just the one or the other, you'll end up turning great aerospace engineers into poor milkmen and overall efficiency will drop. Of course, you could force Swiss aerospace engineers to relocate to Seattle or Toulouse, but we all know it just doesn't work that way.

But the real problem according to him is that globalisation forces everybody to use the same economic system - these days, that's the anglo-saxon financial, stock-market driven model - and that simply doesn't work because of societal pressures. You can think of it roughly as the Germans being more efficient working in patriarchal conglomerates, the French in a Jacobin, state-pushed system, etc... just because it corresponds to the family structure in which they're raised.


The British are nearly all Celts under the skin [article includes maps]

A major genetic study of the population of Britain appears to have put an end to the idea of the "Celtic fringe" of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Instead, a research team at Oxford University has found the majority of Britons are Celts descended from Spanish tribes who began arriving about 7,000 years ago.

Even in England, about 64 per cent of people are descended from these Celts, outnumbering the descendants of Anglo- Saxons by about three to one.

The proportion of Celts is only slightly higher in Scotland, at 73 per cent. Wales is the most Celtic part of mainland Britain, with 83 per cent.

Previously it was thought that ancient Britons were Celts who came from central Europe, but the genetic connection to populations in Spain provides a scientific basis for part of the ancient Scots' origin myth.

The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, following the War of Independence against England, tells how the Scots arrived in Scotland after they had "dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes".

Professor Bryan Sykes, a human geneticist at Oxford, said the myth may have been a "residue" in people's memories of the real journey, but added that the majority of people in England were the descendants of the same people who sailed across the Bay of Biscay.

Prof Sykes divided the population into several groups or clans: Oisin for the Celts; Wodan for Anglo-Saxons and Danish Vikings; Sigurd for Norse Vikings; Eshu for people who share genetic links with people such as the Berbers of North Africa; and Re for a farming people who spread to Europe from the Middle East.

The study linked the male Y-chromosome to the birthplace of paternal grandfathers to try to establish a historic distribution pattern. Prof Sykes, a member of the Oisin clan, said the Celts had remained predominant in Britain despite waves of further migration.

"The overlay of Vikings, Saxons and so on is 20 per cent at most. That's even in those parts of England that are nearest to the Continent," he said.

"The only exception is Orkney and Shetland, where roughly 40 per cent are of Viking ancestry."

In Scotland, the majority of people are not actually Scots, but Picts. Even in Argyll, the stronghold of the Irish Scots, two-thirds of members of the Oisin clan are Pictish Celts.

However, according to the study, the Picts, like the Scots, originally came from Spain.

Ancient Britons come mainly from Spain

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, said: "About 6,000 years ago Iberians developed ocean-going boats that enabled them to push up the Channel.

"Before they arrived, there were some human inhabitants of Britain, but only a few thousand. These people were later subsumed into a larger Celtic tribe... the majority of people in the British Isles are actually descended from the Spanish."

A team led by Professor Sykes — who is soon to publish the first DNA map of the British Isles — spent five years taking DNA samples from 10,000 volunteers in Britain and Ireland, in an effort to produce a map of our genetic roots.

The most common genetic fingerprint belongs to the Celtic clan, which Professor Sykes has called "Oisin". After that, the next most widespread originally belonged to tribes of Danish and Norse Vikings. Small numbers of today's Britons are also descended from north African, Middle Eastern and Roman clans.

These DNA fingerprints have enabled Professor Sykes to create the first genetic maps of the British Isles, which are analysed in his book Blood Of The Isles, published this week. The maps show that Celts are most dominant in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

But the Celtic clan is also strongly represented elsewhere in the British Isles.

Boffin looks to Wales for neanderthal blood

Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at Oxford University, says the last of the real neanderthal bloodline could have been carried by a pair of Mid Wales twins who died in the 1980s.

In his new book Blood of the Isles, which traces the ancestry of the British, Prof Sykes says he first heard of the Tregaron Neanderthals while visiting the 13th Century Talbot Hotel in Mid Wales during a research trip.

The twin bachelors lived behind the ruins of a Cistercian monastery at nearby Strata Florida, where they were apparently visited every year by school pupils eager to learn about human evolution.

Prof Sykes told WoS: "By the time I heard the story, they were dead, but it was always said that these bachelors were neanderthals. It is just possible. Children would be taken to see them in geography or history lessons.

"I have looked at 10,000 people in the UK and I have never seen a piece of neanderthal DNA, but I have not given up hope."

The boffin spent 10 years taking samples from 10,000 people around Britain and Ireland and he found people in parts of Mid Wales whose bloodlines stretch back 10,000 or even 12,000 years, to when man first began repopulating Britain after the last Ice Age.

He said: "In Mid Wales, around Tregaron, I found the oldest ancestry. We were looking at modern descendants of the oldest ancestors in Britain.

"There are pockets of people in Mid Wales whose ancestors go right back 10,000 years. They would have been hunter-gatherers. The fact that Wales and Mid Wales is hilly and mountainous is one of the reasons it has been undisturbed and we can see some of the oldest DNA here."


Maps of War - Flash animation showing various empires in the Middle East throughout history


International Civic Heraldry - coats of arms for countries, cities, towns, etc.


The Official Blitz Website - game creation tools and utilities

"Our flagship product is Blitz3D, the hit 3D games programming language used by thousands of programmers around the world."

Code archives - source code, algorithms, etc. sorted by category


Tattoo Mesh Skinning Tool - software for painting on meshes

FAQ

Tattoo can now be used effectively under two different licences. The professional use license operates as before and requires registration just as before.

However for those that have not registered, a new 'Non Commercial' license has been introduced. This allows for the use of Tattoo for personal projects, educational projects, Game MODs and a whole bunch of stuff without paying a penny. Saving is no longer disabled on either license. There are no functional differences between the versions (apart from the notification at the start of the program).

Tattoo was originally developed because I personally couldn't afford the higher end solutions to 3D texturing such as 'BodyPaint2' or 'DeepPaint3D'. I wanted to be able to offer people something that would do much of that work, but at 1/20th of the cost. Even so, I am aware that many people have a limited budget (like me), so now that the software is maturing, I have decided to open it up to a wider audience, while still catering for the professional who will need support etc.

Screen shots


Friday, September 29, 2006


Professional wrestling slang

Example:

Kayfabe, term used to describe the illusion (and up-keep of the illusion) that professional wrestling is not staged (i.e. that it is authentic athletic competition, and that the on-screen situations between performers represent reality). The term is said to have been loosely derived from the Pig Latin pronunciation of the word "fake" ("akefay").


EU should run asylum policy, says Sarkozy

National governments should surrender their powers to judge whether asylum seekers are genuine to a new "single European asylum office", Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to say today.

The office would be staffed by officials on secondment from their countries, but would judge asylum applications according to EU rules.

The plan echoes a proposal put forward by the Dutch government in late 2004, during its turn at holding the EU presidency. The Dutch proposal went nowhere, but several nations continue to back European Commission plans for a common asylum policy, which would harmonise further the rules by which refugee applications are judged.

His address is also expected to propose that the embryonic EU border agency, Frontex, should be able to "requisition military [including naval] and police means to intervene in case of massive influx".

Mr Sarkozy has criticised countries such as Spain and Italy for holding large scale amnesties for illegal immigrantsM, blaming them for encouraging further waves of arrivals, and at the Madrid meeting he will call for mass amnesties to be banned.


Dream world a strange, scary place for liberals

Excerpts:

A dream researcher from John F. Kennedy University in California has discovered fundamental differences between the dream worlds of people on the ideological left and the ideological right.

Among his findings, Kelly Bulkeley discovered that liberals are more restless sleepers and have a higher number of bizarre, surreal dreams -- including fantasy settings and a wide variety of sexual encounters. Conservatives' dreams were, on average, far more mundane and focused on realistic people, situations and settings.

His research is being published in an upcoming issue of Dreaming, a journal published by the American Psychological Association.

Out of the 134 liberals who participated in the study, 91 per cent said they recently dreamed about sex; only 76 per cent of 100 conservative subjects admitted the same.

Liberals showed slightly higher levels of nightmares than conservatives -- a statistic at odds with a similar dream study Mr. Bulkeley conducted in the late 1990s.

He said the ideology of the United States' governing party may affect the dream patterns of Republicans and Democrats.

While conservatives deplored former president Bill Clinton's reign in the 1990s, liberals are currently both furious and fearful of the Bush administration, he said.

Mr. Bulkeley said that the most surprising result in his study is that conservatives showed a higher tendency for lucid dreaming -- being aware they were asleep. Conservatives largely reported using their "dream awareness" to wake themselves up from uncomfortable situations and nightmares, he said.

Overall, conservative males appear to sleep the most soundly and remember the fewest dreams, while liberal women are the most restless sleepers and fantastical dreamers.

"While some of my colleagues think my research reinforces the stereotype of repressed, uptight conservatives, it also shows that many liberals may he hanging on the edge of mental well-being," Mr. Bulkeley said. "There may be a lot of hidden distress and unpleasantness in the liberal mind."

Thursday, September 28, 2006


An interesting suggestion for protecting expensive equipment in your luggage when travelling by air

One note on using TSA rules to your advantage.

Weapons that travel MUST be in a hard case, must be declared upon check-in, and MUST BE LOCKED by a TSA official.

A "weapons" is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols - those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets - are considered weapons...and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.

I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare...I'm given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me.

That's the procedure. The case is extra-tracked...TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.

It's a great way to travel with camera gear...I've been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.

[However...]

And you non-gun types should be aware that there are indeed U.S. cities (and many uneducated, paranoid cops) that regard starter pistols as firearms. If you're caught with it on your person, you could be arrested for unlicensed concealed carry. Be careful and always study the laws before you do anything with a weapon.


Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa - Portuguese grammar and etymology Q&A

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Hackosphere - "If you blog with Blogger Beta, try my hacks with simple instructions to improve your blog."


Cluedo Cop Star - online game

Cluedo Cop Star gives you the chance to be the best detective in the world. You'll be pitted against thousands of others as you investigate the recent murder of Dr Black at Tudor Mansion. One of the guests there did the deed, and you'll need your skill, talent and brainpower to explore, get the clues and find the culprit.

Cluedo Cop Star's start date is 22nd September 2006. It's divided into four episodes and there will be one episode available to play at the start.

One episode will be added each week for the following three weeks. Once you reach the end of an episode, you'll have to make an Accusation (see Accusing A Suspect) and you'll progress to the next one if it's available.

You must play the episodes in order, starting with episode 1, even if you join the game when later episodes are available.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


FindSounds - Search the Web for Sounds


Aznar: "Muslims should apologize for occupying Spain for 800 years"

Muslims should apologize for occupying Spain for 800 years and a U.N.-backed program to encourage dialogue between them and West is stupid, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar has said. Aznar made his comments Friday night in a speech at the Hudson Institute, a thinktank in Washington, D.C., as he discussed Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on Islam and violence.

Aznar said the West is under attack from radical Islam and must defend itself. "It is them or it is us," Aznar said. "There is no middle ground." He did not elaborate. Aznar said he found it surprising that Muslims have demanded an apology from the pope over his Sept. 12 remarks.

Aznar noted the nearly 800-year Moorish occupation of Spain that began in the year 711 with an invasion from North Africa. He said Muslims had never apologized for this but still demand apologies whenever they feel offended by remarks by non-Muslims. "It's absurd," Aznar said.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Here's an idea for fixing Islam a bit (along the lines the Pope is talking about). In the Koran, certain passages abrogate others; in theory, later ones abrogate earlier ones. But why not decide to abrogate in the opposite way? There seems to be disagreement about what abrogates what anyway, so someone creative might go through the Koran and figure out a more "peaceful" chapter ordering... They'd be able to save face, everyone could live more peacefully, Muslims could convert to Christianity without getting killed, etc.

But on the other hand...

We need to start asking ourselves, not "What is harmless or useful?", but, "What is true?" If Islam is true (it isn't), it should not be reformed, but, rather, accepted by all. And if Islam is false (it is), no one should accept and practice it, no matter how tolerant and non-interfering with secular ways it may become.

It is a sin against charity (under most circumstances) to kill people who are in error, but it is also a sin against charity to allow them to remain in error without a(n intellectual and prayerful) fight.


BrainTrack University Index - links to the websites of universities around the world


The Regensburg Lecture seems to be working

Excerpt:

Note what's happening here. Usually, when the pope or any other Western leader mentions Islam and tolerance, he is making a plea for tolerance for Muslims in the West. Here, however, Benedict denounced Muslim religious violence and demanded tolerance for Christian minorities in Muslim countries. He was then applauded by a roomful of Muslim ambassadors. Compare that to the outcome of the Cartoon Jihad.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Police to brief Muslims before terror raids - in England

Police have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.

Members will be security vetted and will have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown. They will not have to sign the Official Secrets Act.

The first panel, expected to consist of four people, will be set up initially in London. Tomorrow representatives from police forces across England and Wales will decide whether to make the scheme national.

Muslim groups have welcomed the move, which is understood to be backed by Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner.

This week the Association of Chief Police Officers will discuss with MI5 and the Home Office whether to reveal to the panel intelligence information from the security service.

The idea came from the Metropolitan police and the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), which works for better police-Muslim relations. It has been under discussion for two years and came to the top of the agenda after a police raid in Forest Gate, London, in June, in which a man was shot. Police were acting on a tip-off about a bomb. None was found.

The police and the Crown Prosecution Service have sometimes been criticised for being over-cautious about tackling Muslim extremism. Last week Abu Izzadeen, a radical cleric who has so far escaped prosecution despite seemingly inciting terrorism, gained entry to a closed meeting in east London and heckled John Reid, the home secretary.

It has now emerged that Izzadeen apparently urged Muslims to wage holy war in Britain in an internet video downloaded by several thousand users from websites that closed down two months ago. The sites were linked to the Saved Sect, of which Izzadeen was leader and which has now been banned and disbanded.

David Corker, a partner in the London law firm Corker Binning, which has dealt with terrorism cases, said of the video: "There is enough material there for him to be considered for prosecution."


An article on the HVX200 by Adam Wilt - includes framegrabs

On camera settings, referring to the above article

Excerpt:
Having my HVX for 9 months now, i can say for sure that cinelike D is not the best gamma choice for the best highlight natural handling/clipping/compression.

If you want the color to pop with cinelike D, open he iris and bang, the whites are clipping in a contrasty scene.

With "High" gamma setting, you will not clip the highlights AND have good color intensity/reproduction in the 0 to 30 ire range.

My very best results were when using "cinelike V" AND "High" gamma settings. I prefer "High" gamma setting with cinelike color matrix.

ALSO, the image is cleaner with "high" than with cinelike D, and more vivid. You have to close the iris about half a f/stop to a full f/stop to match 50 ire response.

Adam is also right saying that cinelike has less edge enhancement for a given detail setting. It is obvious when you film a closeup of a book. The biggest difference is in the vertical ehancement.

If i use cinelike, i set 0 H Detail and 0 V detail.

If i use "High", i set H detail to -2 and V detail to -2.

Finally, using the "high" gamma setting, since it is cleaner, you can dial detail coring to 0 without fearing too much noise, and you should see a little better image finesse.

That said, there are plenty of situations where cinelike D is great gamma curve.

Home