Author Archives: uthinki

Death of a Celebrity

Dead Before His Time Shain Gandee, the star of MTV’s reality show Buckwild was found dead inside his red Ford Bronco.  Three bodies were found, Shain Gandee, his uncle David Gandee, and a third unidentified person.  No foul play is suspected, and police reports believe that the three likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning; with the truck having been submerged up to its windows in mud. Shain was only 21 years old. In a statement issued by MTV:  “Our thoughts and prayers are with them.  Shain had a magnetic  personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will  miss him dearly.” A sad time for those who knew Shain and the others personally, or had watched Shain Gandee on television. Empathy and Reframing to Grieve In no way to make light of the situation, it is interesting the way in which society (or societies, as attitudes do differ) deal with both celebrities and ...

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North Korea – State of War

An Ongoing State of War North Korea has declared that it has entered a state of war, and will use wartime protocols to deal with its counterpart South Korea. As a country, North Korea has been largely shut off from, and closed to, the rest of the world.  Where things often taken for granted elsewhere, such as mobile phones and even magazines are not allowed to cross the borders.  This speaks to the level of control the government – or, dare it be called a regime – exerts upon its citizens.  Methods such as this are used as a means of media control.  To stifle the ease, and freedom of speech; and promote the party line (and propaganda) of the ruling body politic.  If one thinks about how hard it is to monitor and censor statements made, especially in real time, on mobile phones, the link between their availability and the level of a society’s ...

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Fish for Friday

If you live in a part of the world that follows an essentially Christian custom, then there are two days in the year that have special significance.  These being Christmas Day and Good Friday.  If nothing else, from a secular perspective, this has translated into these two days continuing to be maintained as public holidays.  For Good Friday especially, no other day in the calendar is presented as quite so sacrosanct. On this day, many people even if not strictly Christian, will tend to observe the custom of eating fish (or seafood) and avoiding other meats. An explanation offered is usually something suitably vague, to the effect of: “We don’t eat red meat on Good Friday because that would be eating Jesus.” Best to ignore what happens on other days then.  Or churchgoing Sundays with bread and red wine. From this, how many have truly questioned the reason for the Good Friday custom?  The vague adage ...

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Towering Feng Shui

It guides building design in Hong Kong.  Recently it was used in the design of the Australia 108 skyscraper to be built in Melbourne, Australia. It’s called feng shui.  (If you’ve never heard of it before, enjoy being surprised by the correct phonetics!) An ancient Chinese tradition, often linked with Taoism, it serves as a guide to the orientation of buildings both internally and externally.  To maximise auspiciousness, and the flow of qi.  It is a combination of geomancy and Chinese astronomy, the traditional five elements (wu xing) and the concept of yin-yang. With the Australia 108 to be tallest building in the southern hemisphere, there’s a lot riding on its completion. Even the chosen number, 108 storeys, was to maximise feng shui compliance and appeal.  (The number 8 is considered lucky.) Yet was all of this clever marketing by property developers and architects to attract rich Chinese investors? Some dismiss feng shui as superstition.  ...

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uthinki, Why So Unserious?

Enter Off-Centre There’s probably the need for a warning here.  What follows will likely contain some ‘big’ words.  There’s probably also the need for a disclaimer.  What follows began with the intention of including no mathematics, whether that continues to hold by the end of the writing may be somewhat different.  So, given the presence of ‘big’ words and mathematics are reportedly inversely related to the number of readers, things are bound to go wrong. Anyone still there?  Anyone… If you are, it may be a long read.  To explain the concept of uthinki will not be something instant.  It’s about exploration.  Amongst other things, attempting to understand whether the crowd provides wisdom, or madness. Why the Jokers are Wild Is it serious, or not? That’s a resounding yes.  An emphatic no.  And also a maybe, just for good measure. As alluded to in the title, should the choice be left ...

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Blind to a Bargain or Real Pricing?

“Psst…  Want to buy this?  It’s worth $500, but you can have it right now for only $49…” There’s something appealing in the idea of getting a bargain.  Somehow, paying less for something than it is supposedly worth. The rather dubious, yet familiar, statement at the start of this article need not just be confined to back alley deals and crowded markets though.  It’s something that most, if not almost all, mobile phone companies do. The question is then, why are we so blind to this? From the standpoint of the mobile service provider, the strategy is at least twofold.  One, it appeals to consumers’ innate sense of getting a bargain.  Two, if the consumer goes over the cap amount, then the company can charge the inflated rate for usage. Yet as a customer, is it really worth all the weighing up and judging what is and isn’t included in a cap when it ...

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Same-Sex Marriage: Discrimination and Inconsistencies

That there are inconsistencies with discrimination is likely little surprise.  The nature of discrimination is to differentiate and discern differences.  That anti-discrimination can also be so inconsistent or contradictory, however, warrants further thought. The issue of same-sex marriage, or gay marriage to use another term, is something which continues to strike discord amongst many. There are those for it.  Often gay couples, annoyed and dismayed by the fact that two consenting adults whom love one another are all too often unable to be married.  Apart from an expression of love and commitment, marriage has various legal and financial ramifications conveyed to a spouse but not necessarily to a de facto partner. There are those against it.  Often drawing a line in the sand on religious grounds, that a marriage must be between a man and a woman.  That somehow, allowing same-sex marriage supposedly degrades the institution of marriage and may pave the way ...

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Customer Loyalty – A two-way street?

Customer or consumer, loyalty can be a tenuous thing.  There is little doubt that a business selling something, be it a good or a service, is attempting to profit in some way from the transaction.  A customer may buy on the grounds that the perceived value they will receive is worth at least the money that they’ll part with. In saying this, once a customer is generally familiar (and not dissatisfied) with something, they will tend to use it again.  There is a general inertia, or “stickiness” as some describe it, in customer behaviour and preferences.  This is not entirely irrational.  There is a search cost, time and money spent, in finding something new.  People generally also prefer to avoid uncertainty.  So sticking with what you know, is often the easiest approach.  Therein brand loyalty tends to arise. Yet in saying this, it’s curious (said perhaps euphemistically), the ways in which businesses often exploit ...

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Thoughts on the Bench Press?

When it comes to lifting weights, the bench press forms one of the big three lifts (along with the squat and deadlift).  Three lifts, that when combined, are believed to be enough to develop impressive overall strength and conditioning. The question of how much that strength and conditioning carries over into into general sports remains a somewhat debated issue.  Yet people will continue to do push ups without considering this question. So when it comes to the bench press, what are your thoughts? Play uthinki Feature Image Credit: jason.lengstorf

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