September 2007

Unbelievable sexual harassment video

by Limbic on September 25, 2007

Gems include

“I hear you have a fat cock”
“It smells of vagina in here”

I suspect it is a very good spoof.


Disappointed Virginity

by Limbic on September 25, 2007

By Marc Blackiese


Variable schedule of reinforcement

by Limbic on September 24, 2007

Ever wonder why those beaten and abused spouses stay with their abusers? Do you know why it is so hard to stop a gambling habit? It has to do with a bizarre trick of nature called variable reinforcement, and it can keep us trapped in behaviours for life.

From “Don’t Shoot the Dog!” by Karen Pryor

Schedules of Reinforcement

There is a popular misconception that if you start training a behavior by positive reinforcement, you will have to keep on using positive reinforcers for the rest of the subject’s natural life; if not, the behavior will disappear. This is untrue; constant reinforcement is needed just in the learning stages. You might praise a toddler repeatedly for using the toilet, but once the behavior has been learned, the matter takes care of itself. We give, or we should give, the beginner a lot of reinforcers – teaching a kid to ride a bicycle may involve a constant stream of “That’s right, steady now, you got it, good – However, you’d look pretty silly (and the child would think you were crazy) if you went on praising once the behavior had been acquired.

In order to maintain an already-learned behavior with some degree of reliability, it is not only not necessary to reinforce it every time; it is vital that you do not reinforce it on a regular basis but instead switch to using reinforcement only occasionally, and on a random or unpredictable basis.

This is what psychologists call a variable schedule of reinforcement. A variable schedule is far more effective in maintaining behavior than a constant, predictable schedule of reinforcement. One psychologist explained it to me this way: If you have a new car, one that has always started easily, and you get in one day and turn the key and it doesn’t start, you may try a few more times, but soon you are going to decide something is wrong and go call the garage. Your key-turning behavior, in the absence of the expected immediate reinforcement, quickly extinguishes, or dies out. If, on the other hand, you have an old clunker that almost never starts on the first try and often takes forever to get going, you may try and try to start it for half an hour; your key-turning behavior is on a long, variable schedule and is thereby strongly maintained.

If I were to give a dolphin a fish every time it jumped, very quickly the jump would become as minimal and perfunctory as the animal could get away with. If I then stopped giving fish, the dolphin would quickly stop jumping. However, once the animal had learned to jump for fish, if I were to reinforce now the first lump, then the third, and so on at random, the behavior would be much more strongly maintained; the unrewarded animal would actually jump more and more often, hoping to hit the lucky number, as it were, and the jumps might even increase in vigor. This in turn would allow me to selectively reinforce the more vigorous jumps, thus using my variable schedule to shape improved performance. But even some professional animal trainers fail to make good use of variable schedules of positive reinforcement; it seems to be a peculiarly difficult concept for many people to accept intellectually. We recognize that we don’t need to go on punishing misbehavior if the misbehavior stops, but we don’t see that its not necessary or even desirable to reward correct behavior continuously. We are less sure of ourselves when aiming for disciplined response through positive reinforcement.

The power of the variable schedule is at the root of all gambling. If every time you put a nickel into a slot machine a dime were to come out, you would soon lose interest. Yes, you would be making money but what a boring way to do it. People like to play slot machines precisely because there’s no predicting whether nothing will come out, or a little money, or a lot of money, or which time the reinforcer will come (it might be the very first time). Why some people get addicted to gambling and others can take it or leave it is another matter, but for those who do get hooked, it’s the variable schedule of reinforcement that does the hooking.

The longer the variable schedule, the more powerfully it maintains behavior. Long schedules work against you, however, if you are trying to eliminate a behavior. Unreinforced, any behavior will tend to die down by itself; but if it is reinforced from time to time, however sporadically – one cigarette, one drink, one giving in to the nagger or winner, the behavior, instead of being extinguished, may actually be strongly maintained by a long, variable schedule. That is how the ex-smoker who sneaks an occasional cigarette can go back to being a heavy smoker in a day.

We have all seen people who inexplicably stick with spouses or lovers who mistreat them. Customarily we think of this as happening to a woman – she falls for someone who is harsh, inconsiderate, selfish, even cruel, and yet she loves him – but it happens to men, too. Everyone knows such people, who, if divorced or otherwise bereft of the nasty one, go right out and find someone else just like him or her.

Are these people, for deep psychological reasons, perpetual victims? Possibly. But may they not also be victims of long-duration variable schedules? If you get into a relationship with someone who is fascinating, charming, sexy, fun, and attentive, and then gradually the person becomes more disagreeable, even abusive, though still showing you the good side now and then, you will live for those increasingly rare moments when you are getting all those wonderful reinforcers: the fascinating, charming, sexy, and lun attentiveness. And paradoxically from a commonsense viewpoint, though obviously from the training viewpoint, the rarer and more unpredictable those moments become, the more powerful will be their effect as reinforcers, and the longer your basic behavior will be maintained. Furthermore, it is easy to see why i uneone once in this kind of relationship might seek it out again.

A relationship with a normal person who is decent and friendly most of the time might seem to lack the kick of that rare, longed-for, and thus doubly intense reinforcer.

Look at it from the manipulator’s point of view: I can have her/him eating out of my hand, and doing whatever I want, for my comfort and convenience solely, as long as I give her/him what she/he wants once in a while. That’s one way pimps keep their whores in line. It’s a powerful fix, all right, but once the victim appreciates that the intensity of the “charm” is at least partly due to the nature of the reinforcement schedule, he or she can usually walk quietly away from this kind of relationship and look for something else.


[Note: Installing Mars Edit 2 dredged up some old draft posts I had forgotten about]

I have become a metrosexual.

Last Sunday night I was staying with my old pal – C – when he introduced me to the latest weapon in his battle against his werewolf like body hair: Veet for Men.

Since meeting his beautiful but back-hair-hating 24 year old girlfriend, he has been forced to suppress his dorsal mat. First he tried waxing (not the infamous back sack and crack, just back) but it was too painful. Then he discovered Veet and swears by it.

I was sold.

The following morning, Monday, I stocked up on three tubes of Veet for Men at Boots Heathrow Terminal 1 and resolved to rid myself of my own simian back rug at the earliest opportunity.

That was last night. I am getting ahead of myself.

Back in the early 1991 I noticed that I had sprouted a few wispy hairs on my shoulders and back. I was not too alarmed but made a mental note to keep an eye on things. After all, the derogatory name for Afrikaners in South Africa was “Hairyback” and even in 1991 many women were vocal about their dislike of hairy backs.

I decided to deal with the problem early to avoid it worsening and took it upon myself to apply my sisters Imac depilatory cream to the affected region.

After a few minutes of chemical sizzell I watched in amazement as the hairs simply scraped off. It was a miracle…and a cruel false anti-hair messiah.

Mere days after my cleansing short, thick, stubby and black wire-like hairs protruded from my shoulder skin. After two weeks the growth was worse than before. What had I applied? The effect was more Regaine then Imac.

That whole summer fought hard: Massive dollops of Imac against the protein savannah spreading across my back.

By the time I gave up: hands hairless and red with amonia burns, nausious at the stink of Imac and with thick Neanderthal hair covering from my shoulders to the small of my back, I owed my sister over £100 in Imac vouchers.

Years passed by and I resigned myself to hirsute happiness until a new girlfriend insisted that before we go to Jamaica, I had to have a back wax.

I found the experience to be less painful than I expected, but my reaction to the waxing was gruesome. I spent my vacation not as King Kong Back by Harry Acne back instead.

Boils, carbuncles and weeping pimples coated the waxed region. It took weeks to subside. I vowed never to wax again.

So last night, I found myself in my bathroom, yet again with a depilatory cream struggling to reach the middle of my back, feeling the burn and tingle of chemicals loosening molectular bonds and the happy scream of dying back hair.

Veet does not stink as much as Imac used to (even though it is derived from the same product). I followed the instructuctions..well mostly..and everything appeared to go well. I scraped of the hair. I no rash or reaction. My back and shoulders are smooth again for the first time in 5 years.

Then I spotted them.


Thanks to the understandable difficulties of applying cream to ones own back, I had missed some patches of hair and under dosed others. The result? The middle of my back looks like it has been getting chemotherapty.

Patches of dolls hair sprout out of nowhere. There are islands of back coiffure holding out against the Veet. My back looks like mini tumbleweeds were randomly blown across a glue smeared back.

I look absolutely ridiculous!

The parts of my back that are smooth are now chemically burned as I had forgotten my experiences of a decade ago and allowed the Veet to stay on for 8 minutes instead of the usual 4.

I have decided that this is the last time I side against the sproutage. I am going to pleat my shoulder hair and perm by back hair. I am going radical, like those feminists on the beach with hair poking out their bikini bottoms.

[Update 2007: Another girlfriend ordered me back to the Waxologist. Thankfully I have kind and swift depilator called Maja who once a month metrosexualises me into a 21st century smooth-backed man. I think I need to harden the f**k up!]


Russian army 'tests the father of all bombs'

by Limbic on September 24, 2007


From The Telegraph:

Developed in secret, the unchristened bomb, a vacuum device capable of emitting shockwaves as powerful as a nuclear weapon, was unveiled with great theatre on state television’s main evening broadcast.

Boasting that the weapon had “no match in the world,” ORT First Channel television showed a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber dropping its payload over a testing ground, followed by a massive explosion.

Pictures of what appeared to be crumpled multi-storey apartment blocks were also broadcast.

Although there was no independent verification of the Russian military’s claim, the test is likely to cause further consternation in the West after a series of bellicose statements by the president, Vladimir Putin.

According to Russian generals, the bomb is four times more powerful than the American Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb or MOAB.

Better known as the Mother of All Bombs, the MOAB is a descendent of the BLU-82 Daisy cutter used in Tora Bora during the war against the Taliban in 2001.

Although it has never been used, the US military says the MOAB is capable of destroying nine city blocks in one strike.

According to Gen Alexander Rushkin, the Russian deputy chief of staff, the new bomb is smaller than the MOAB but much deadlier because, due to nanotechnology, the temperature at the epicentre of the blast is twice as high.

Russian army ‘tests the father of all bombs’ – Telegraph

The people of Grozny must be happy to hear this news! Here is the notorious handheld thermobaric weapon that wreaked such havoc in Grozny in 2000:



For more see:

[Via Bruce Sterling]


EU eases visa regime with Balkans

by Limbic on September 24, 2007

The EU has signed visa agreements with five Balkan countries, making it cheaper and easier for their citizens to travel through much of Europe.

The deals with Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are expected to come into force in January.

The Balkan nations have complained that strict EU visa rules have confined them to a ghetto at the heart of Europe.

The five nations also agreed to take back illegal immigrants who reach the EU through the Balkans.

BBC NEWS | Europe | EU eases visa regime with Balkans


EU eases visa regime with Balkans

by Limbic on September 24, 2007

The EU has signed visa agreements with five Balkan countries, making it cheaper and easier for their citizens to travel through much of Europe.

The deals with Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are expected to come into force in January.

The Balkan nations have complained that strict EU visa rules have confined them to a ghetto at the heart of Europe.

The five nations also agreed to take back illegal immigrants who reach the EU through the Balkans.

BBC NEWS | Europe | EU eases visa regime with Balkans


Sarkozy the the Hero

by Limbic on September 23, 2007

The Sarko love fest continues (and I am an enthusiastic participant). This time a revival of a stiory about his heroism years ago in a bomb hostage negotiation:

FRANCE will never forget the day 14 years ago when a psychotic with explosives strapped to his body took over a nursery school in a suburb of Paris and threatened to blow it up unless he was paid £10m.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has particular cause to remember: a television drama this week will show him as the young mayor of Neuilly who bravely walked into the classroom to negotiate the children’s release.

Can he get any better?


Japanese Internet Cafe Homeless

by Limbic on September 23, 2007

From The Times:

The Comic Plaza internet café never closes, but it is not until the late evening that the regulars begin to occupy its tiny, neon-lit cubicles. They are men, mostly; slightly grubby looking, and carrying small rucksacks. They take full advantage of the free coffee and soft drinks included in the all-night charge of 980 yen (£4.20).

They have no interest in the world wide web – to many of them the Comic Plaza is the only home they have. They are the internet café “refugees”, Japan’s new social headache, and the object of growing concern among politicians and bureaucrats.


Harden The F**k Up!

by Limbic on September 23, 2007

Chopper Reid has some advice for Australia…