Friday, June 29, 2018
Lunched today with two old friends from my army days -- Rod H. and Peter H. I hosted them at the Sunny Doll -- where we had Bento boxes, which were good, as usual. I think we all ate up most of our rice. I was pleased about that as a lot of people seem not to realize that the rice IS the meal from a Japanese viewpoint. Meat etc. is a garnish.
The conversation ranged widely but because we are all old and falling apart medical matters figured largely. I was pleased to see that Rod walked in without a walking stick. Some healing of some dodgy ligaments has taken place, it appears.
Peter gave us the story of his recent trip to a ham radio convention in America. Most of the story was about the difficulties he had dealing with American airlines and how he overcame them.
I provided a huge dose of cynicism about conventional medical wisdom -- talking about the poor evidence in favour of statins, PSA tests etc. Peter and Rod both seemed pretty appalled when I told them about the replication crisis -- where most repeats of major papers in psychology and medicine were found not to give the same results.
We also mentioned briefly that most forbidden topic of race and IQ, with particular reference to the Queensland test -- something produced by people we know. It was a clever idea but didn't deliver the results hoped for. As we are all old we are a bit out of tune with political correctness. Things that were normal to us in our youth are now taken as deeply wicked. We tend not to agree.
There were only a few people in the restaurant when we arrived at 12 noon and none when we left at about 1:30. They gave us some free samples of watermelon after a while so I took that as a signal that they wanted to shut up shop for the lunch period. Expecting lunchers after 1:30 would have been unrealistic
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Carmen Gorska Putynska, PhD student, School of Civil Engineering, University of Qld
Carmen was featured in the glossy University of Qld. propaganda periodical called "Contact". As a graduate of U.Q. I get it mailed to me.
She was featured as part of an assembly of women students who were doing well: Feminist propaganda, in short.
For once however I found something I liked in it. The picture above first struck me. She has the good looks which are alarmingly common in Polish women.
In addition to my male chauvinist porcine nature, however I was struck by something else. It is in the first line of the article below. How improbable is that? Is it just foolish boasting? I don't think so.
It made me think of her as a kindred spirit, in fact. I did similar things. I taught Senior High school geography when my highest qualification was Junior school geography and I taught honors level High School economics when my highest qualification was university freshman economics. And I got a B in Senior High school Italian after studying it for only 4 months instead of the usual 4 years. So I don't think her claims are impossible at all. Some of us are born lucky.
The article below is obviously truncated so I looked for a longer version of it but could find none. I was however able to fill out a few details
“I started tutoring for $10 an hour at age 14, and by 15 was tutoring students older than me in subjects I hadn’t yet taken myself.”
Carmen is a PhD student studying Self-extinguishment of Cross Laminated Timber and it’s potential uses in large structures.
Carmen obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, specialized in bridges and underground constructions, in 2013 in Poland, at Technological University of Poznań. Then, she was awarded with the “Erasmus Mundus Scholarship” and accepted in the “International Master of Fire Safety Engineering” program. That opportunity gave her the chance to study in UK, Belgium, and Sweden, offering her the access to the discipline of Fire Safety Engineering.
Carmen didn’t have a traditional tertiary trajectory, after excelling in high school she received a fully funded scholarship to study Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
“I was one of 10 females among 200 males, all the professor were male, and the male students were not really inclusive with the female students. Feeling isolated I was unable to ask for help, worried about being judged, and I completely failed my first year.”
A charming interview with her below:
Friday, June 22, 2018
Have you used that expression? I use it to describe (say) an athletic young woman. But if you Google it you will find it as a description of a lot of things. So where does that phrase come from? I know but seeing nobody else seem to know, I thought I had better put it online.
Back in the 60's, when a lot of people went rather mad (I was there!), there was a washing machine manufacturer in South Australia called Lightburn. Eventually however they got bored with making washing machines and had dreams of making a motor car. And they did -- using their washing machine factory for the purpose. It was called the Lightburn Zeta. It seems to have been inspired by East Germany's Trabant. Maybe Mr Lightburn was a Communist. About 400 of them were made
Any way the Zeta gave the Trabant a run for its money for flimsiness. Though it was at least mainly made of steel rather than the plastic of the Trabant. It was very small and powered by two stroke motors, presumably bought in from some motorbike manufacturer. But it was a very light vehicle so a motorbike motor could push it along.
It's most amazing feature was that it had no reverse gear. To reverse it you had to stop the motor and then start it again. So that gave you four reverse gears. I did tell you this was the 60s!
Anyway, there was really only one good thing about it: The advertising slogan. Somehow their advertising agency had a stroke of inspiration and described the Zeta as everyhing it was not: "Trim Taut & Terrific". And that then took off as a description of many things
Even the Wikipedia entry on the Zeta does not know of its slogan so it is sort of lucky that it has stuck in my aged brain -- probably because I thought it was hilarious from the beginning.
I would add the information to the Wikipedia entry except that they always wipe everything I put up. They have got a whole team of "editors' who seem to spend all their time wiping entries they regard as "unsuitable". I will probably add this post to my personal Wikipedia. My personal Wikipedia has lot of information about operetta that is not elsewhere available in English but it was still not good enough for Wikipedia
A final note: You will find here a description of something that is said to be "Trim Taut & Terrific" but also "small, but perfectly formed". That is a rather weird combination. "Small, but perfectly formed" was originally a description of Alexander the Great -- a Greek King from about 300 BC
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
There is a well-known story in the family about the time when Von went to cook the first meal for herself and her husband Simon. Von hadn't had much experience with cooking so she decided to take a shortcut. She saw on the supermarket shelf a bottle of stuff called "Chicken Tonight". It was advertised a bit at that time so she decided it to use it to create a chicken dinner.
It was a disaster. The meal was so bad that Simon decided there and then that he would have to do all the cooking. And he still does. Von prefers gardening so that was OK with her.
So I have always steered clear of that stuff -- on the grounds that I am a pretty crook cook too. But a little while ago I mentioned the matter to my brother and mentioned that I avoided the stuff. He replied rather sharply that there was nothing wrong with it and he makes it often.
He and I see eye to eye on most things so I had a rethink. Next time I saw the product on sale I bought a bottle. And just recently I used it. I cheated a bit though. I just chopped up two chicken breasts, tossed them into my crockpot (slow cooker) and tipped the "Chicken tonight" gloop in after them. And two hours later, the meal was pretty good. I even drank all the soup at the bottom of the crockpot. Yummy!
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Australia's population is about 5% Asian, mostly Han Chinese. And, as I have often noted, Australia is so racist that it is very common to see about the place little Asian young ladies on the arm of tall Caucasian men. It's the same in America: Little Asian ladies really go for tall Caucasian men. And since neither party is in fact racist the ladies tend to get their man. Finding this little feminine lady being nice to them tends to go down well with the men concerned. When so many Caucasian ladies tend to talk feminism, it must in fact come like a breath of fresh air.
But that creates a puzzle. Asians have been in Australia for a long time now. They started coming when the conservative government of Harold Holt abolished the White Australia policy in 1966. So this fascination has been going on for some time so where are all the Eurasian babies? It is quite rare to see anybody of any age about the place with that mix of ancestry. I now know why.
I was having a pleasant chat to a young female pharmacist recently who was wearing a nameplate which gave her surname as "Ng" (pronounced "Ing"). She spoke good Australian English and did not look Asian so I assumed that her surname must have been that of her husband. So we talked a little about the surname "Ng" and I said "You got your surname from your husband, did you?"
Booboo! No. she said, "My husband is Caucasian. It's my father who is an Ng.He is Chinese.My mother is Caucasian". So there you have it: She was Eurasian but did not look it. Her eyes were a little narrow but were within the Caucasian range of variation. She also told me that she and her husband had a little blue-eyed son, so no-one will ever guess the Asian in his ancestry.
So that's the answer to where all the Eurasians are. They are all around us but mostly we can't tell. Quite a lot of our apparently Caucasian population has in fact been given to us by Chinese mothers!
ADDENDUM: A little more about what is going on in the mixed marriages.
There are a few taller ones but most of the Chinese ladies are quite short -- around 5'. And when they find themselves among what must look to them like an army of giants, they hate it. So they want their children to be tall. But to achieve that, they have to marry a tall man. And there are few tall Chinese men around. So to get themselves a tall husband they have to find a tall Caucasian
And there are quite a lot of Caucasian men around in my burg who are in fact 6' tall or taller. So that would be perfect for what the ladies want. And it is the tallest men they go for. Though they also seem to like men who are both tall and well-built -- footballer types. The footballer might be a bit dim but they figure they have got enough brains for two.
Some years ago I read a story about Chinese ladies on Ivy League campuses in America in which the Chinese ladies were known to go for "Jocks" -- big built Caucasian sportsmen. It was such a phenomenon that the Caucasian ladies felt outdone in getting a big man and referred to the Asian ladies as "The yellow peril". Even after a lot of Googling I have been unable to find that article again so I suspect that it has been erased in the name of political correctness.
So what do all the tall Caucasian ladies do? They want tall men too. A lady HATES having a man shorter than her. But they mostly miss out. The Chinese ladies have out-competed them. And they hate seeing a tall man with a short lady on his arm. They see the lady as stealing one of THEIR men.
So what about the Chinese men who are spurned by Chinese ladies? Sometimes they just send back to relatives in China to find themselves a bride but there is also another possibility. It's not very common but some Caucasian ladies like the politeness and patience of the Chinese men. So you do occasionally see the combination of a Caucasian lady with a Chinese man.
On one occasion I saw a remarkably attractive Caucasian lady going out with a fairly ordinary-looking Chinese man. I think I know what happened there. The lady was so attractive that all the men wanted to rush her in to bed. The Chinese man was the only one who had patience. And she wanted that.
And last of all, where do short men fit into the picture? As they themselves often complain, they are invisible. Ladies look right over their heads. And that does of course steam them up. So they too want a taller partner so that their children will not suffer such indignities. So they go all out to get a tall woman. She might be skinny and gawky and be of limited attractiveness generally but they will have her. As long as she has got long legs. Anything for tall sons! So any tall lady will never lack a dapper suitor -- as long as she can cop a small one.
I remember an amusing instance of such a trade. A very feisty and quite attactive lady I know had teamed up with a successful barrister and she was crowing slightly to one of her friends about that. The friend said: "but isn't he a bit short?". The feisty lady replied: "He is 6 feet tall when he is standing on his wallet!" And so it goes.
We must not take East Asian ancestry as totally homogeneous. There are many nations there with their own histories. So my generalization above about the invisibility of Eurasians is undoubtedly too sweeping. Some Eurasians do look rather Asian and that could reflect a different ancestry, ancestry from Asia but from a different part of Asia.
Another fact that very strongly points to different Asian ancestry is the fact there are quite a few people in the Caucasian population who have no traceable Asian ancestry but who have semi-Asian features. I know of several among my personal acquaintances and friends. And they pass those features on to their children. They do not die out. So their Asian genes are as persistent as equivalent genes in other Asians are recessive.
A possible source of more persistent genes is Mongolia. At one stage in history the Mongols conquered China and ran an empire there for several centuries,
So it's possible that the Mongolian genes for appearance (high cheekbones, very narrow eyes, sallow skin) are persistent but the Han Chinese genes are not. Mongolia is a cold dark place to the North of China where people are animal herders rather than farmers so maybe that had some effect on the evolution of the eyes which did not take off in China
So the combination of influences -- persistent Mongolian genes plus Caucasian genes -- does produce a person with some degree of Asian appearance
Below are two pictures that show you what I mean. Both are of Franceska Hung, who has just won a Miss Australia competition. Her father is Chinese and her mother Caucasian. She could be any well-tanned Australian. Her eyes do not stand out as Asian.