Saturday, 28 April 2018

"Bye polar" disorder

Singapore is suffering from "bye, polar" disorder.

Inuka, the last polar bear in Singapore's zoo, was euthanised earlier this week when vets ascertain that he was not responding to treatment, and his health was worsening. He was 27 (born Dec 26, 1990).

The zoo held a "farewell" for Inuka.

And his keepers shared memories of Inuka
[Inuka] knew the waterfall was powered by a water inlet within the pool. Initially, it used its paw to block the inlet, but it was unable to stop the water flow completely. So, it used its toy – a large and flat red disc – instead.
Inuka knew exactly what it was doing, because it would watch the waterfall as it performed its trick. “He knew how it worked … he would spend the entire day trying to stop it,"
But age caught up with Inuka:
As Inuka’s hind legs grew weaker in its later years, its ability to stand on land was compromised. But it continued do so in the three metre-deep pool...
... Inuka would “not feel its pain or its weight in the water”...  it would play and wrestle with its toys, getting so excited that it would “twist and turn” many times.
But this exertion often proved “too much for its body”, and over the next few days, Inuka would become either unresponsive or did not want to move.
As age catches up with me as well, I can identify with that feeling of pushing my body too far.

Polar bears in the wild live to 15 to 18 years, when they are too old to hunt successfully.

At 27, Inuka had lived well passed the age of bears in the wild, and his physical condition meant that he would not survive in the wild.

Monday, 2 April 2018

The Minister and the Historian

A FB comment on the face-off between the Minister and the Historian at the Select Committee's Public Hearing on Deliberate Online Falsehood.

Edited for clarity/streamlining links.

An academic making a controversial claim is a means of advancing his credentials, an example of his ability to look at facts uniquely, or being able to break away from "established thought" or bring a fresh perspective to well-worn paths. There is nothing wrong in any of that.

In the realm of academia.

A politician making a controversial claim is (usually) a means of distinguishing his position from others, to offer an alternative to the establishment, and to bring a fresh approach, and fresh solutions to intransigent issues or problems. There is nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes, it even works.

But most of the time it is grandstanding.

As H. L Mencken (sort of) said, "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."