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Everything posted by msj

  1. Sure, it piles up for Trudeau, but Trump? Nah, it's quite alright for him to get his charitable foundation to buy him a selfie-painting. Yeah, Trump is all right and the reason he is elected is because people - no, elitists! - complain about Trump's selfie-painting (not to mention other methods to fund Russian money to his campaign - allegedly). So, I will continue to not care much so long as Trudeau continues to govern as he has done so far (which is pretty good) and so long as the alternatives continue to stink (which they probably will for quite some time).
  2. To believe something as unlikely, or improbable, is a belief, sure. That does not make it a religion. There are no hoards of atheists going to atheist church. Sure, in general, atheists usually are going to agree on certain political beliefs but to claim that we are somehow organised to the extent that religious institutions are, with all their tax benefits/breaks, is a ridiculous claim.
  3. Never claimed to defend Trudeau from the substance that can stick - fundraising and influence peddling. Every politician faces these because every politician participates in it. Once day something will stick. If not now then years from now. Ho hum, same as the old boss, etc.
  4. Nice story dude. Oh, and nice way to try and smear Trudeau by trying to conflate him with someone and something else. Not buying this smear method - maybe just focus on the substance instead, k?
  5. False. To the extent that religious people keep their crazy beliefs out of public policy then I have no problem with people believing whatever stupid belief system they want. I have no desire to convert people to accepting one less god than they currently do. But I will fight like hell with the religious zealots who will not allow gays to marry, or do not want women to have a choice, or won't allow people to eat shellfish because some stupid book tells them this is morally righteous.
  6. This is a false equivalency. Atheism only requires the non-belief in a god/gods. There is no prescribed dogma, no messiah, no systems of belief to not believe in any god/gods. If you happen to think the probability of a God/gods is unlikely then you are, effectively, an atheist. That's it. The advantage of our politics being free of religion is that not only does this allow people to practice their religion privately, at least to the extent that it does not conflict with secular law, but it allows public policy to be based on evidence and rationale rather than the dominant demographic's religious beliefs which, at times in the past and in many modern day theocracies, can lead to oppressive policies - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc being examples of various degrees of oppression.
  7. A real and successful businessman, Richard Branson, mentions his 2 hour lunch with Trump where Trump could only talk about the 5 people he wanted to get revenge on for not bailing him out for his latest bankruptcy. https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/meeting-donald-trump
  8. Mitch McConnell's rules for cabinet nominees under a black President. Will they apply for their new Russian President? 


    1. kimmy


      Short answer:  no.  Detailed answer: HAHAHHAAHA no.

    2. Argus


      Hey! These are all job creators! You don't need to ask them questions! Just bow and be glad they're willing to do the work!

  9. Before leaving on vacation I listened to "You" by Caroline Kepnes: I got the Audible version as read by Santino Fontana; and he is one of the best readers you will ever find. Very good book even if the ending is a bit abrupt and a bit weak. The book reminds me a little bit like "Lolita" (as read by Jeremy Irons from Audible) in that the narrator (or point of view of the story) is this horrible person and yet you kind of fall in love with the beauty of the story from his point of view (stalker Joe in "You" and phedophile Humbert in "Lolita"). Highly recommend these two books as something worthwhile reading one after the other.
  10. Forgot to mention the part of Tour 1 (and Tour 2 - which we skipped) where we visited the killing fields and a prison under the Khmer Rouge during the bad days of '75 to '79. Disturbing! To walk across a field with bone fragments from the killings and to see the building housing hundreds (thousands?) of skulls only to them go to the prison where people were tortured.... As a guy who has soft hands, wears glasses, and is educated, it makes me shiver. Then the next day we talk to a mathmatics teacher who survived because he conviced the Pol Pot idiots that he was a construction worker rather than a teacher. Fortunately construction was a hobby so he did have sruffy hands. He also had to pretend to be unable to read and write among other lies he lived with for four years. The guy from NY and the other guy from St Louis had also been to Auschwitz but they both found this more troubling - probably because Pol Pot occurred during our lifetime....
  11. Trying to stay up to 9pm to adjust back to the Pacific Standard time zone. Left Bangkok Saturday morning (there time - 15 hours ahead) and arrived in Hong Kong to take the flight to Vancouver and then take the final flight to Vancouver Island. Slept a few hours on the plane but am bagged. Anyway, the tours we did were these two: 1) https://www.gadventures.com/trips/mekong-river-encompassed-ho-chi-minh-city-to-siem-reap/4705/ 2) https://www.gadventures.com/trips/ultimate-cambodian-adventure/4418/ They do not natually fit together: we left early to spend an extra few days in Saigon before boarding the ship that took us up river to Siem Reap. Of course, being the dry season, we were not able to take the boat all the way to Siem Reap so had to endure a bus trip for that final stage; such is the way of things in developing countries with interesting wet and dry seasons (the Mekong river/ Tonle Sap River/Lake system have a cool reversal thingy happening https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonlé_Sap ). Ended up staying in Siem Reap rather than join tour #2 in Bangkok and then travel to Battambang and then back to Siem Reap. This allowed us to spend four days in a row at Angkor Wat and then travel to Tonle Sap lake/river etc etc at the cost of missing Battambang. The first tour was an upgraded style whereas the second was a lower "classic" style. It was hard spending extra days at the Royal Angkor Resort and then leave it to join tour #2 at the considerably lesser Mekong Palace. But we suffer for travel. Really glad we spent this much time in this region. Felt like we got a real sense for the different parts of Cambodia and even enjoyed an extra day in Bangkok on our way home. Apart from a minor incidence of food poisoning and another of heat sickness, the trip was awesome. Now have enough Kampot pepper and amok spice to keep the memories going for months and months. Also got to meet some interesting people: a few Americans who swear they did not vote for Trump (I believe them, especially the gay guy from St. Louis on tour 1 and even the father/daughter from Texas on tour 2, a Russian who probably did vote for Trump (kidding), and many interesting Canadians despite being from eastern Canada.
  12. On the way to Cambodia: The latest Jason Bourne movie: not as good as the previous ones, less realistic but same kind of action/vehicle chase. X-men Apocalypse: not very good but I still have the comic books from the early 90's wrapped up in acid free plastic and acid free cardstock backing so I am biased. On the way home from Cambodia: Suicide Squad: a rather dumb movie that really likes guns and stupid bad guy super heros (like the guy from Australia with the pink unicorn stuffed toy and the boomerang weapon). Captain Fantastic: an okay movie about a family that is home schooled in the woods of Oregon and their development from book smart, liberal, Noam Chomsky loving "rednecks" to their embrace and acceptance of the larger world. Finally, a movie that explains "Lolita" for the genius that it is. It is supposedly a comedy, drama, and romance. It does have several funny moments, despite dealing with the morbid tale of the mother's suicide and reclaiming her body from the cemetary to be properly disposed of.....
  13. The Angkor Stout is better than the Guinness Foreign Stock (bottle) in Cambodia.
  14. Well, I managed to log in to my office from a boat in the Mekong River system (from Saigon to Siem Reap) and finish up several files. Sure, I have good staff in the office who I rely on but that's why they get paid the big bucks The thing about technology is that some has been around for a long time, like the telephone, and others are based on that technology to make it possible to conduct business from anywhere in the world. Technology: it's a thing. Use it!
  15. Xmas in Cambodia is interesting. Had to leave the hotel last night to avoid the overpriced Xmas dinner at our hotel. $72 USD each for dinner and to listen to children sing Xmas carols. Having Cambodians wishing us a Merry Xmas is also amusing since the wife and I are not into it. We just say thank you and move on to another iced coffee with cognac and Khalua. As for Santa, he is white here but on the skinny side.
  16. Oops wrong thread Merry Christmas from Cambodia!
  17. I don't care about fake news. I just want to spend time celebrating the birth of the son of God.
  18. A few more sleeps before the long flight to Hong Kong and then Saigon/Ho Chi Min. Then the river cruise begins. We finish in Siem Reap and will stay there for a couple of days for the land tour to arrive (so we will miss Battambang).
  19. Usually atheists know more about religion than the religious types since we have actually read the Bible and some of us have been exposed to the BS liturgy thanks to the indoctrination of children which starts at an early age. So to be this ignorant is more likely a result of being a nominal Christian than an atheist.
  20. No, that's Easter which can be somber and/or joyous depending on the Christian sect. Dying and resurrecting and all that leads to complicated feelings. Other people celebrate with a big ham/turkey and indulge in chocolate. This is done to appease pagans so that Christians can claim that a larger proportion of society is Christian since so many celebrate these BS holidays as if any of us give a fig about Jesus.
  21. I noticed that Michael Lewis's new book "The Undoing Project: a friendship that changed our minds" comes out tomorrow for Audible. A book about Tversky and Kahneman, two psychologist who have helped change how we think. If you want some answers to your questions I'd start here and work towards Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" and Richard Thaler's "Nudge" and "Misbehaving." These books demonstrate our inability to think about things: from rules of thumb to relying on our experience, from a "system 2" thinker to a "system 1 " thinker etc. The list of cognitive biases is too large to pretend that we can ever truly be fully rational. But understanding them will bring us closer to evidence based thinking so if you have to start somewhere I suggest the books above and a list of cognitive biases: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
  22. Excellent! You only live once. You are not going to wish you worked more on your deathbed. But don't forget to take some business cards from the hotel lobby.
  23. Getting lost is one fear I could understand in HK. So grab some of the hotel business cards and be willing to use cabs to get back to the hotel. A few bucks but worth it. As for food: thats what the dukoral is for. I take it every year now. It's my "pond water" to prevent cholera and intestinal diseases. But whatever, I'm off to Vietnam/Cambodia next week and will be bringing 21 days of anti-malaria pills and some antibiotics in case of the runs. For some reason I enjoy spending hundreds of dollars on visas and medicines each year for my vacation.
  24. What a weird phobia. It's a big city. Most likely it smells bad, has bad traffic, and is over populated. You could keep it safe and do what Anthony Bourdian did: http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/the-layover/travel-guides/48-hours-in-hong-kong-travel-guide Or show her his No Reservations episode: https://vimeo.com/73101635
  25. No, that way when you do go it feels like it's free.
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