Saturday, September 30, 2006

I Strip For God

I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God! I Strip For God!

Amen.

Link not safe for work.

(Thanks xXx)

History of the dashed line

The dashed line. We see it everyday. It's everywhere in our lives. We take it for granted. So in appreciation of the dashed line, here is 50 years of the dashed line. We love you, dashed line.

(Thanks Ashley)

Vintage Marijuana Propaganda Posters

Hands up if you have taken weed before. No one? Good. Remember boys and girls, weed/marijuana is dangerous and please don't take it aye. Just take a look at these cool posters and ads from the 1930s showing how bad marijuana is. Remember, Marijuana = The Smoke of Hell. Forget about the weird orgies and wild parties.

Scrabble Shots

Scrabble Shots is a LiveJournal community for LJ'ers to post photos of their Scrabble board at the end of the game. I love Scrabble and it's nice to see other people's end-game boards. Can even pick up a new word or two.

(Thanks Thomas)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Experience Electric Foreplay

Ladies, listen up! Here's a device that will take you to a pre-orgasmic plateau and hold it there for as long as you desire. The Slightest Touch uses a very mild electrical stimulation at two acupressure points above a woman's inside ankles. It sends out a set of gentle pulsing and tingling frequencies that a woman can just lightly feel. These frequencies are similar to the electrical signals the body uses to communicate sexual arousal to a woman's pelvic region.

(Thanks Myra Leong, and errr, no I won't be testing it with you. lol.)

How to beat anyone at Scissors, Paper, Stone

The World RPS Society on how you can beat anyone at Rock, Paper, Scissors (Scissors, Paper, Stone). From World RPS Society:
In RPS circles a common mantra is "Rock is for Rookies" because males have a tendency to lead with Rock on their opening throw. It has a lot to do with idea that Rock is perceived as "strong" and forceful", so guys tend to fall back on it. Use this knowledge to take an easy first win by playing Paper. This tactic is best done in pedestrian matches against someone who doesn't play that much and generally won't work in tournament play.

The second step in the 'Rock is for Rookies' line of thinking is to play scissors as your opening move against a more experienced player. Since you know they won't come out with rock (since it is too obvious), scissors is your obvious safe move to win against paper or stalemate to itself.
(Thanks Madsen)

How to put Google Maps on your blog



Here's how you can add Google Maps to your blog in seconds.

1) Go to WikiMapia.org and find the area you're looking for. WikiMapia.org is a Web 2.0 project to describe the whole planet Earth. It was created by Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, inspired by Google Maps and Wikipedia.

2) Once you found the area you're looking for, click on WikiMapia at the top right corner and then click on the "Map on your page" link.

3) Just copy the HTML code given and paste it on your blog. You may need to resize the frame accordingly.

For example, above you can see a map of the Changi Boardwalk.

Changi Boardwalk is made up of four segments. Sunset Walk: For a splendid view of the sunset over Changi Point, amid a backdrop of huge boulders. Kelong Walk: a stretch of the boardwalk with kelong stilts built over water, reminiscent of the 'good old kelong days'. Cliff Walk: located just below the hilltop chalets, allows a walk through lush greenery. Viewing decks along this stretch at vantage points provide panoramic views. Sailing Point Walk: near the Changi Sailing Club provides open views of the sea.

You can zoom in and out and move the map around too. Cool aye.

USSR Posters 1917-1991

A fantastic Flickr photoset of Russian/Soviet propaganda & advertorial posters from 1917 to 1991. There are more than 1400 of them!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

High-5 Bread Update

Yesterday, I blogged about the photos taken in a Malaysian factory making High-5 bread that have shocked many. I also found out from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority that the High-5 bread available in Singapore is safe for consumption.

Today, I decided to piece together the series of events behind the High-5 Bread controversy. This is what I found out.

1) A food manufacturing plant in Nilai, Malaysia was raided on September 6 by officers from the Health Ministry, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, the police, Department of Islamic Development, Negri Sembilan Immigration Department, State Religious Affairs Department, Nilai Municipal Council and Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association, after suspicions that the plant uses a non-Halal (not for Muslim consumption) oil in making their bread.

2) The authorities found out that the releasing agent used in making the bread did not have its Halal certification and its Halal certification had expired. They also found out that the floor in the plant was dirty.

3) Silver Bird Group which makes the High-5 bread, shut down the Nilai plant immediately and I understand that remedial works is undergoing there.

4) It also said that the cooking oil used in High-5 products is sourced from reputable local companies and certified halal by the Islamic Development Department.

6) Rumours began to spread on email and SMS in Malaysia that the plant was shut down because it used lard. Email containing a series of photos which the company claimed was staged and taken by unauthorised parties, also began to circulate on the internet.

7) Singaporeans later became aware of the photos via email and online forums. But the message: "the plant was shut down because it used lard" in the original email has now been removed. Instead it focuses on the plant's dirty working conditions and added that the bread-making process to be unacceptable by the Health Dept.

Of course, we now know that High-5 bread is indeed safe to eat. Even the ones in Malaysia are safe because ever since the closure of the Nilai plant, they make all their bread in their high tech plant in Shah Alam.

Previously: High-5 Bread is safe to eat

Chained F&N

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Chained F&N

The voting for Best Asian Photo Blog category at the Asia Blog Awards is now open. Don't forget to rank Katoomba Syndrome as your number 1 aye. Thanks.

Japanese Testicles Smasher Game



A Japanese game show where the participants are given long sentences to read out loud and quickly. Make a mistake and they will be hit on their balls. Ouch! This is really funny and I've yet to stop laughing.

(Thanks Min)

How to be a student

Here's a good guide on how to be a student. If only I've read this many years ago, I could have been a good student. From How to be a student:
Exams

* Preparation:
o Roughly prioritize material as to its importance (primary, secondary, tertiary), and concentrate your studying on the most significant topics. Remember, the instructor only has a limited amount of time to test what you know and can do. Thus, keep in mind when preparing for an exam that the problems cannot be too complicated if they are to fit within the allotted time.
o Study in ways that are suited to you.
+ Study with a group or alone based upon which is really best for you.
+ Do your most strenuous and important work during those times of the day that you work best.
o Summarize or outline the course or text material in your own words. Writing a summary not only forces you to examine the subject matter in detail, but provides a compendium to review just prior to the exam.
o Play it safe: Memorize somewhat more than what the instructor says is required. Bring a calculator even if it's not suggested. Etc.
o Study old exams if the instructor is known to give similar exams. But, don't be fooled into thinking that since you were able to work through an old exam, it means you understand all the course material in general, and can perform in a test situation.
o Bring your own paper and a watch.
o Fighting exam anxiety: Convince yourself that all you can do is all you can do; but, don't let that lead you to become complacent. Just be determined to be "on" for the duration of the exam. (Give yourself a pep-talk to this effect prior to each exam.)
(Thanks manilico)

Man has 10 years of erection

Man with 10 years of erection thanks to a faulty penile implant, will not get the money awarded to him by a jury in 2004. From MSNBC:
The medical device maker's insurance company, National Union Fire Insurance Company, argued that since the device's now-defunct manufacturer, Dacomed Corp., can't be held liable for the device, it can't, either.

Lennon received the steel and plastic implant in 1996, about two years before the impotence drug Viagra went on the market. The Dura-II is designed to allow impotent men to position the penis upward for sex, then lower it.

But Lennon, 68, said he can't position his penis downward because the device is faulty, causing him pain and embarrassment.

"I'm suffering with it right now," he told The Providence Journal during a recent interview. "It never stops. It's like a constant headache."
Poor dude. I wonder how he pees.

(Thanks Mr Big)

Previewing Singapore's free Wi-Fi service

Sumner Lemon previews Wireless@SG, a free Wi-Fi service in Singapore that will begin operation in January 2007 and cover nearly the entire nation. From InfoWorld:
Accessing the Wireless@SG network was a breeze while seated outside a cafe in CityLink Mall. My search for a Wi-Fi connection turned up five access points within range, four of which were labeled "Wireless@SG." Once I had selected a Wireless@SG access point and connected, I opened my browser and found the welcome screen, which requires users to first agree to a set of terms and conditions before they can get online.

My expectations were high. After all, the IDA Web site promised Wireless@SG offers connection speeds up to 512K bps (bits per second), depending on the number of users accessing the network.

An informal test showed I could access U.S. Web sites at speeds of 150K bps, not quite the maximum promised but more than adequate for Web surfing and checking e-mails. That speed also matched the network connection of my laptop's 3G (third-generation) data card when tested from the same location.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mee Siam Mai Hum Motivational Poster



Remember the Motivational Poster Generator that I blogged yesterday? Well, AsiaPundit had used it to make some motivational posters of his own featuring our Asian leaders. I like the Mee Siam Mai Hum one. Brilliant!

Previously: Make your own Motivational Poster

High-5 Bread in Singapore is safe to eat

Recently, I received an email with photos showing the extremely dirty conditions in a bread factory in Malaysia that makes High-5 bread. The photos are widely circulated in emails, online forums, etc. This is what the message in the email says:
High-5 bread's factory is really terrible. Pls don't buy in future.

In summary, the High-5 bread sold here is manufactured in Malaysia.
The local news reported that the factory was recently raided by some Health
Dept officers from the Government sector of Malaysia.
They found the entire premises to be dirty, stench odor and unhealthy
environment; even the bread-making process to be unacceptable by the Health
Dept - no gloves, dirty utensils, etc. See pictures attached!
Here are two of the pictures.





You can view all the pictures on maverickchen's High-5 Factory photoset.

Thank god, I eat Gardenia. With all the publicity surrounding these photos, I'm sure many people will choose not to eat High-5 Bread anymore. Look at the factory. Crikey! Who would want to eat anything coming out from there?

But today, David Tan, Deputy Head from the Food Control Division of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) in Singapore told me that High-5 Bread available here is safe to eat. He said, "The Hi 5 bread available for sale in Singapore is manufactured at Shah Alam, Selangor and is not from the implicated bakery in Nilai, Negri Sembilan which was reported in the Malaysian Press." He added that the bread has been tested and AVA assures everyone that the bread is safe for consumption.

There you have it. Assurance from the government but I bet the damage has already been done and consumers will have second thoughts when they see a High-5 bread on the shelves of the supermarket.

Update: Piecing together the series of events behind the High-5 bread controversy

Asia Blog Awards: Best Asian Photo Blog Q1 2006/2007 Poll

My photoblog Katoomba Syndrome is one of the finalists for the Best Asian Photo Blog category at the Asia Blog Awards. This year's award will be slightly different from the previous. There will be a quarterly nomination and voting.

To view all the finalists for the Best Asian Photo Blog Q1 2006/2007, click here.

Now the fun part. Ok, boys and girls, aunties and uncles, do take a couple minutes of your precious time to participate in the voting. It's simple. After viewing all the finalists, click on the link given on the Best Asian Photo Blog page to go to the poll. Then enter your name and email address. Once you're done with it, check your email (and your spam box just to be sure) and click on the link given on the email which will bring you to the actual polling page. You will then be required to rank all the finalists. Make sure you rank Katoomba Syndrome as number 1.

Ok. Sounds easy aye. Go do it now.

Gracias.

Thanks.

Looking Back 1

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Looking Back 1

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

3 year old boy buys car from eBay

I tell you. Kids today are getting smarter. This 3 year old bought a car from eBay! I was still sucking my left thumb when I was 3. From BBC:
A three-year-old boy has used his mother's computer to buy a £9,000 car on an internet auction site.

Jack Neal's parents only discovered their son's successful bid when they received a message from eBay about the Barbie pink Nissan Figaro.

Rachael Neal, 36, said her son was quite good at using the computer.

Mrs Neal, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, said she had left her eBay password in her computer and her son had used the "buy it now" button.

She said: "Jack's a whizz on the PC and just pressed all the right buttons.

"I was just horrified.

"We now have the parental locks on - and we make sure we sign out of eBay!"
He may be a computer whizz kid but I'm not too sure about his choice of the PINK car. Dude, it's pink, Barbie pink! Ewwwww.

Floppy Disk Bag

Instructions on how to make a bag out of those old 3.25" floppy disks. I'm not sure if chicks will dig you carrying it but boy, this is so geeky cool! Now, where did I put all my floppy disks?

Cockroach Buster Game

Cockroach Dream is a simple flash game where the objective is to kill as many cockroaches as you can with a roll of newspaper. I hate roaches! And I've taken the lives of many of them. Yes, I'm a roach killer. They don't stand a chance when they cross my path.

Make your own Motivational Poster



I've just made this using the Parody Motivator Generator. Upload any photo and key in your title and motivational text.

(Thanks Johnny Q)

CHIJ 1 Sunday Times 0

The Sunday Times has apologised to CHIJ for its damaging article on CHIJ students. The paper also said that it retracted its remarks. From TODAYonline:
...the newspaper noted that in its Sept 17 article, "Singapore A-Z … once more, with feeling", that it had "made disparaging remarks" about girls from the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus schools.

"We retract those remarks. No malice or disrespect was intended. We are sorry for the distress caused," said the newspaper...

Today learnt yesterday that the case has been settled "amicably", and that the Infant Jesus Board of Management — which manages the 11 schools — has accepted the newpaper's apology and retraction.
(Thanks Myra Leong)

Previously:
CHIJ takes on the Singapore Press Holdings
CHIJ student angry with Straits Times

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nivea Creme Limited Edition Tins


Skincare company Nivea organised a competition to design their limited edition Nivea Creme tins. You can view all the winning designs here.

(Thanks Farrine)

Hypoallergenic cats go on sale

People who are allergic to cats can now have them as pets thanks to a US biotech firm. It has created specially-bred hypoallergenic cats and they are on sale now at US$3950 per kitten. From BBC:
US biotech firm Allerca says it has managed to selectively breed them by reducing a certain type of protein that triggers allergic reactions.

The cats will not cause the red eyes, sneezing and even asthma that some cat allergy sufferers experience, except in the most acute cases.

...It tested huge numbers of cats trying to find the tiny fraction which do not carry the glycoprotein Fel d1 - contained in its saliva, fur and skin - which produces allergies.

Those cats were then used to breed the hypoallergenic cats.

The company's Steve May told the BBC that it is a natural, if time consuming method.

"This is a natural gene divergence within the cat DNA - one out of 50,000 cats will have this natural divergence," he said.

"So candidates, natural divergent cats were found and then bred so there is really no modification of the gene."
You can buy one of these kittens here.

How God made heaven and earth

If God were to make heaven and earth using a computer... From God:
In the beginning there was the Computer.
And God said
C:>LET THERE BE LIGHT!
Enter user-id.
C:>GOD
Enter password.
C:>OMNISCIENT
Password incorrect. Try again._
(Thanks GeekGod)

The world's worst director fights his critics

Uwe Boll has been called the world's worst film director by his critics. And there are a lot of them. Recently, he had enough of those who are highly critical of his movies so he decided to take them on - in a boxing ring! From Time.com:
Mention German-born filmmaker Uwe Boll’s name in certain circles—especially those of the Internet geek variety — and you’re sure to be pummeled by an onslaught of negative adjectives and metaphors. Indeed, Boll is no stranger to criticism: when his film Alone in the Dark—based on the video game of the same name—came out in 2005, critics called it "overblown, amateurish gibberish," and used it as proof that Boll "belongs in the pantheon of inept directors." His follow-up film BloodRayne, another video game adaptation, was equally panned, and left critics declaring that he was "fast becoming one of the worst directors on the planet." Just this week in fact, TIME’s book critic wrote a pained reflection about a detractor who had dubbed him "the Uwe Boll of the book reviewing world."

So what does the world’s worst director do when he gets tired of such revilement? "What any successful filmmaker would do," his press release boasts: challenge his enemies to a boxing match. And so Boll, 41, a former amateur boxer with 10 years experience, has done just that. This weekend, on the set of his newest film Postal—you guessed it, another adaptation of a violent video game, set to open in 2007—he will enter a boxing ring with four Internet film critics, one after another, for a three-round slugfest that he hopes will teach critics a lesson about who they’re slamming. For their trouble, and their bruises, they’ll receive free airfare and hotel accommodations in Vancouver, and roles as extras in the film.
He may have been a lousy film director but he sure is good when it comes to boxing. From BBC:
Director Uwe Boll took on four of his critics in a boxing match, after he became annoyed at the barrage of abuse he received from them...

But it was the director, now dubbed "Raging Boll", who emerged victorious from a boxing ring in Vancouver, watched by a crowd of 600 people.

Critic Jeff Sneider of Ain't It Cool News did fight back, but not in the ring.

He said Mr Boll had told him the match would be a publicity stunt.

"I think he's a jerk," said Mr Sneider after the fight. "This might be PR, but I don't want to keep getting punched in the head."

Another critic said he did manage to punch Mr Boll in the face a couple of times, calling it revenge for Boll's latest film, BloodRayne, a vampire flick starring Ben Kingsley.

G.I. Joe: The Epic Saga



G.I. Joe: The Epic Saga is a series of short films made by the folks at RavenStake. The series featuring G.I. Joe figurines, are immensely popular and they are definitely one of the funniest shit I've ever seen online. Too bad the folks at Hasbro and their lawyers did not see it that way. RavenStake was sent a cease and desist letter by Hasbro because the use of the G.I. Joe toys and logos in the short films violates their trademark. Now, I've worked with the people from Hasbro once before (long time ago for a story on Furby) and I love the Hasbro folks but I feel they and their stupid lawyers had overreacted to the films. The films are parodies and they are in no way violating any copyright or trademark laws. In fact, they are promoting the long dead G.I. Joe toys in a way that Hasbro can never do. Watch the entire series here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

M&M'S Dark Chocolate's 50 Dark Movies

M&M'S Dark Chocolate presents 50 dark movies hidden in a painting. Your job is to find all 50 movie titles. I've been spending 15 minutes on this and only found 12 movies. Even if you're not a fan of dark movies, you should still check it out because the artwork on the painting is absolutely fantastic.

The Businessbib

The Businessbib is the perfect solution for those who do not wish to be fully suited for that video conference with a client or business partner. A note of caution: Not sign language friendly.

(Thanks Lord Kimbo)

Friday, September 22, 2006

1971 French Breast Feeding Commercial



This a breast feeding commercial that appeared on French TV in 1971. Don't click play if you are offended by breast feeding. Do click play if you enjoy (watching) breast feeding. Reader sorumi37 says, "I have never seen breast squeezing like this before." Ya righhhhhht.

(Thanks sorumi37)

Gross Anatomy

Ever wondered how you really look like inside? Well, the folks over at the University of Wisconsin Medical School's Anatomy Department are here to help. They have posted 27 high quality QuickTime videos of human dissection on their website. Gross! I've just lost my appetite for dinner.

Ben & Jerry's Nuclear Bomb Demo

Ben of Ben & Jerry's (my fav ice cream!) gives us an idea exactly how many nuclear weapons the United States currently has in this video demonstration.

Busty Mousepads

Busty Mousepads: "Your friends will love it and will poke at it when you're not looking." Ideal for those who need the extra support for their wrists.

(Thanks xXx)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The 60s music scene in Singapore and Hong Kong

Tofu Magazine has a short introduction of the music scene that flourished in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore from 1964 to 1969. You can also listen to some of the songs made famous during that era on MP3. I dig the song Love is Me, Love is You from the 1960s EP, Rita Chao with The Quest. Rita rocks!

(Thanks Bryan Ng)

A sunless tan!

Scientists have developed a cream that switches on the tanning machinery in skin cells. They have tested this new cream on mice and successful given them a tan without exposing them to the sun. From BBC:
The researchers genetically engineered fair-skinned, red-haired mice who did not tan when exposed to low levels of UV radiation, but did burn when the dose was cranked up.

They then treated the skin of the animals with a compound known to increase cAMP levels.

The compound, forskolin, is derived from the root of the forskohli plant found in India.

The mice turned dark, proving that melanocytes in redheads can make pigment if appropriately stimulated.

Further experiments showed that this sunless tanning process was virtually indistinguishable from that in dark-haired mice that tan naturally.

The researchers also found that the tans acquired through forskolin treatment protected the skin against cancer caused by exposure to UV light.

Steve Irwin Memorial Service



Bindi Sue Irwin speaks about her dad, my hero, Steve Irwin at the memorial service for him held at Australia Zoo. Steve was killed by a stingray two weeks ago. You can watch the entire memorial service on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

Previously: The day my hero died

World's first penis transplant reversed

Guys, if you are ever going for a penis transplant, do make sure that your wife or partner will accept your new body part. For this poor Chinese dude who became the world's first penis transplant patient, he had to cut off his new penis because apparently, his wife did not like it. From Mirror:
The 4in penis of a brain-dead student, aged 22, was grafted on to the 44-year-old after his own organ was badly damaged in "a traumatic accident".

But surgeons who carried out the transplant at Guangzhou Hospital in China yesterday admitted they have now removed the organ because the man's wife had "psychologically rejected" it.

Chief surgeon Dr Weilie Hu said: "Because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis regretfully had to be cut off.

"This was the first reported case of penile transplantation in a human. The patient finally decided to give up the treatment because of the wife's psychological rejection as well as the swollen shape of the transplanted penis."
Maybe it's because it isn't big enough for her. LOL.

Listening to BBC's Discovery

I'm listening to BBC's Discovery on the radio now. For the past three weeks, the show has been talking to ordinary people in the UK who are citizen scientists. The edition I'm listening to right now is about something close to my heart - amateur astronomy! You can listen to it on the BBC website. From BBC Discovery:
Every fine evening, when most people thinking of bed, a few hardy enthusiasts slip out of their back doors and down to a shed at the bottom of their garden. For the next few hours they become scientific explorers, scanning the sky for a big discovery that might bring them fame – though seldom fortune. In Discovery this week Sue Nelson joins these ‘Citizen Scientists’ as they patiently search the heavens for sights no human has witnessed before.

The late George Alcock was an example of the classic type of amateur enthusiast who made a real contribution to astronomy. In 1959 he discovered the first new comet found from Britain since 1894. Five days later he found another! Over 40 years as an observer he clocked up a total of 5 comets and 5 exploding stars or supernovae. He did so the old-fashioned way, by memorising the position and brightness of over 30 000 stars and scanning the sky for changes using binoculars.
It's really inspiring listening to my fellow astronomers on the show. I think I should take out my telescopes more often.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A holiday in Thailand, anyone?


Photo by Flickr user goshen42.

What do you do when your government is tainted with corruption and cronyism? Perform a coup d'etat, of course. That's what the Thailand military did last night. From BBC News:
Thai military leaders have begun consolidating their hold on power after staging a coup while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was abroad.

Martial law has been declared, with large gatherings of people and critical news reporting banned.

Mr Thaksin's deputy and chief aide, Chidchai Vanasathidya, has been taken into army custody.

Army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin said in a TV address that the coup was necessary to unite the country.

The military had no intention of holding onto power, he added.

The coup leaders have announced that regional army commanders will take charge of areas outside the capital, Bangkok.

They have also ordered provincial governors and heads of government agencies to report to them.
Flickr user goshen42 took a series of photos during the first two hours of the coup. He said, "Trying to provide a real picture of what is going on here. The thing to remember is that everything is calm and the soldiers are for the most part friendly and relaxed. Everything would seem as normal to an outsider...if you didn't notice all the tanks that is."

You can view his Flickr set of the Thai coup here. Bangkok Post has all the updates.

I guess now isn't a good time for a holiday in Thailand unless you have a thing for martial law and friendly soldiers and tanks moving around while you shop the streets of Bangkok.

CHIJ takes on the Singapore Press Holdings

On Sunday, I blogged about a CHIJ student who was angry with the Sunday Times because of a story it did on CHIJ students. Now, all eleven convent schools in Singapore are threatening to take legal action against Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for its damaging article. From TODAYonline:
Today has learnt that a lawyer's letter has been sent to the media company on Monday, demanding an apology and costs and damages to be paid for a "defamatory" article that was published in last week's Sunday Times, which described convent girls as being "easy" with members of the opposite sex...

The story upset many alumni and parents and the board members were believed to have received more than 50 phone calls and email messages of complaint between them.

Yesterday, The Straits Times letters pages published a letter written by Donne Marie Aeria — the board's chairperson — rebutting the story.

Ms Aeria called the article "an ill-conceived idea and done in bad taste".

"Was there a need to tarnish the image of thousands of students, past, present and future, including girls as young as six years old in Primary 1, with an image that they are 'allegedly easy when it comes to the opposite sex'?" Ms Aeria wrote.

"It has caused much distress, pain and embarrassment to ladies of all ages, that hail from our CHIJ schools."
CHIJ got balls (erm, guts) to take on SPH. I say, go for it mate! Sue the bloody paper. This should be a lesson for the punks in the Straits/Sunday Times. If they want to tell everyone that IJ students are easy with the opposite sex, they should do a serious article (interviewing students, teachers and those who made the allegations) instead of a piece done in tongue-in-cheek. It ain't funny anymore when you start offending schools, students and parents.

Previously: CHIJ student angry with Straits Times

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Flickr MiniCards

The Flickr MiniCards are the one of the cutest things. Thanks to the people at MOO.com, Flickr users now have a new way to share their Flickr information and photos offline.

Each MiniCard measures 28mm x 70mm (roughly half the size of a standard business card) and it is printed on heavy stock paper with a smooth satin finish. You can add your name, contact details and even your Flickr buddy icon on the back of the cards.

MiniCards cost US$19.90 for a pack of 100. For Flickr Pro users, MOO.com is offering a pack of 10 MiniCards free! And that includes free international shipping too. So what are you waiting for?

(Thanks LVeron)

Circus Museum

Circus Museum is a site in the Netherlands that has a delightful collection of circus posters, everything from clowns and acrobats to circus freaks. Some of the posters originated way back in the 1880s.

Breathing Earth

Breathing Earth is an interactive map which shows the impact different countries have on climate change. It provides real time data on the death and birth rates of each country. According to Breathing Earth, Singapore emits 1000 tonnes of CO2 every 9.1 minutes. It also says that 1 person in Singapore dies every 29.2 minutes while 1 person is born every 13 minutes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Male Restroom Etiquette



Hilarious video telling you everything you want to know about male restroom etiquette. Remember guys, never make eye contact while using the loo. Video made using characters and scenes from Sims 2 computer game and uploaded by YouTube user zsOverman.

(Thanks Zul)

Friendster wins social networking patent

Here's another example to show you that the world's patent system is deeply broken. Friendster has recently won a patent on, guess what, social networking. Now, they can finally take on MySpace and other social networking rivals. Expect to see lots and lots of lawsuits. From Red Herring:
Naming Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams, who has left the company, as inventor, the patent refers to a “system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.”

“It’s way too early to say” whether the company would pursue licenses and litigation from its competitors, Friendster President Kent Lindstrom told RedHerring.com. “We’ll do what we can to protect our intellectual property.”

...The new Friendster patent covers the basic steps involved in joining a social network: entering a personal description and relationships to other users, mapping relationships and degrees of separation, and connecting to others through these friends.

Mr. Lindstrom said that Kleiner Perkins had encouraged Friendster to file patents when it funded the company in 2003. Another eleven patents are in the pipeline.

The approved patent came as a surprise. “Frankly we’d almost forgotten about it,” Mr. Lindstrom said.

Over 340 years of landmark science available for first time

The complete archive of the Royal Society journals, including some of the most significant scientific papers ever published since 1665, is now available online. The archive will be free until December 2006 and, following this period, will be available as part of Royal Society journal subscription packages or alternatively on a-pay per-view basis. From The Royal Society:
Professor Martin Taylor, Vice President of the Royal Society and Chair of the Publishing Board, said: "The Royal Society archive is a unique source of information for practicing scientists, science historians and indeed anyone with an in interest history. The rich, varied and sometimes entertaining archive documents the earliest accounts of the seventeenth century's new experimental philosophy', through which an understanding of the natural world was acquired by experiment and observation. This provided the foundation of the modern scientific method."

The archive provides a record of some key scientific discoveries in the last 340 years, including Halley's description of his comet' in 1705, details of the double helix of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1954 and Edmond Stone's breakthrough in 1763 that willow bark cured fevers, leading to the discovery of salicylic acid and later the development of aspirin.
(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Sunrise over South China Sea

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Sunrise over South China Sea

Empower Singaporeans March & Rally

The stand-off between Singapore opposition leader Chee Soon Juan and the police at Singapore's "Speakers' Corner" is in its third day. Police have surrounded Chee and other activists who wanted to march towards the Parliament House, then to Suntec City, and ending up at the Istana. Latest report says that the police have allowed them to distribute flyers to the public. From Yahoo News:
Chee told Reuters that he had distributed about 500 pamphlets, and that the group plans to hand out more during the evening rush hour.

"We just wanted to register the point that we have been stopped, but we are not defeated," said Chee.

Chee said many people were afraid to accept the pamphlets as policemen were recording the scene with several video cameras.

"The reason we are here is because we are protesting against the denial of the rights of Singaporeans to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly," read the pamphlet.

Chee reiterated that he and his supporters will remain in the park until Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gives his speech at the IMF-World Bank meetings' opening ceremony on Tuesday morning.
Euro Techno Go was one of the many who went to the rally. He has several photos, video and a report on his blog. Euro Techno Go:
Welcome to Hong Lim park which is known as a popular venue for election rallies, political speeches and public performances. There was much hype about this place when it was first announced but soon died down due to strict rules that led to underusage. On this significant day which coincides with SM Lee Birthday, we are going to witness the first protest rally in our life, it maybe the first and hopefully not the last.

I am glad that 2 of my friends elf108 aka js & hongnehx2 are willingly to sacrifice their sleep and "risk" their life to come here. To acknowledge their efforts, i decided to give them a title - junior correspondent, promotion but no future because company will soon close down. When we reached here before 11am, there were only 2 guards on duty, later on we will be surrounded by an overwhelming force of police troops.

Estimated around 50 foreign/local journalism were present, video cameras, digital cameras, microphones, voice recorders and not forgetting my handphone were capturing every moments of the speech. Now i feels like i'm a reporter without any official pass.
Yawning Bread also has several photos and a report. From Yawning Bread:
As you can see, Chee Soon Juan was with a few supporters, wearing "Democracy Now" T-shirts (the back of which said "Freedom Now"), but they were quickly surrounded by policemen and prevented from moving any further.

Chee's sister, Chee Siok Chin, seemed to be separated from the main group, but was also encircled.

Other posts on the internet reported that the police interrogated people present on the field, demanding their identification and asking what they were doing in Hong Lim Green, which is really a public pack.

My friend Kelvin was in the vicinity at about 4 pm on Saturday. He reports:

"There was a huddle of people at the corner of North Canal Road and South Bridge Road, near the little police station. I'd say there were about 30 – 40 people, about half of whom were police, judging from their blue uniforms. Chee Soon Juan and his supporters were in the centre. It was difficult to see what was going on in the centre of the group.

"Across North Canal Road, there were another 20 –30 onlookers, but there were also policemen standing here and there, watching."
And Singapore Election Watch has all the updates.

Yumiko in U.S. Manga

Japanese artist Yumiko documented her first visit to the U.S. in Manga/comic book form. See the unfolding saga of the people she met and the places she went for the two and a half months she was here. Text is in Japanese with a few footnotes in English. Do check out her artwork here too. She's amazing!

Scrambled Egg Drill

MAKE: Blog has a video of a dude who uses a drill and a plastic fork to make scrambled eggs. Now, why didn't I think of that?

(Thanks terencekoh29)

"Pluto, we still love you" Ad

I love this ad by the dog food maker Pedigree. It uses the silhouette of what looks like the Disney character Pluto, looking at the the stars. The line, "Pluto, we still love you" is referring to the recent news that Pluto is no longer a planet in our solar system. The ad also includes "We are underdogs too" at the bottom. Cute aye. View the ad here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

IMF participant talks about Singapore

IMF participant blogs about the need for Singapore to search for freedom. From Ignatius:
Singapore is in good hands – or rather: in iron-firm hands. It practises absolute free trade on everything including labour, attracting immigrants and expats to keep its economy (threatened by ageing - like OECD countries) going, invests heavily in education and skills. But it is still very much a policed state. I bought a cheap mobile-phone and a pre-paid SIM card – I had to hand in my passport to the respective shop owners for them to scan/copy. The shop-owners apologised when seeing my shocked face expression, saying this is what was required from them. I am not commenting further on the mic-mac around the ban of activists for the IMF meetings, in which even Paul Wolfowitz intervened (coming from Wolfowitz, this is rather ironic). And Singapore’s practice of pure market-economics is also doubtful. Temasek Holdings, for example, is one of Singapore’s most pro-active, globalizing and dynamic investment firms - but it is owned by the Finance Ministry and run by Prime Minister’s wife, while controlling a huge chunk of Sinapore’s businesses...

With 28.000$ per capita GDP, it is maybe really time to embrace Stage Two in the process of getting rich: the practice of freedom (which I believe getting collectively rich is ultimately about). Once you’ve got freedom from want, the urge for other “freedoms to” starts stirring humanity’s restless soul. You can’t have an ultra-educated population and then expect it not to ask too many questions. Singapore is not longer a hard-core autocracy. It has elections, it has an opposition. But support for its leadership is no longer what it was. People want “imagination”, people want dreams, people want to speak out. Let me be provocative, snobbish and classist, Mr Goh, and say: that is what makes the difference between the “bourgeois” and the “nouveau riche”.

Police statehood taken to new levels

Elia Diodati on Singapore blaring its provincial, arrogant ignorance to the world. From e pur si muove:
I could live with stories of the none-too-subtle posturing and prettifying, from the four million smiles campaign (which has yet to reveal how many pictures were indeed submitted by the time the WB/IMF meeting started) to the sunflowers adorning downtown Singapore to the real-time shuttle bus informational displays to contingency planning for stoically going ahead despite the haze.

I could live with the need for heightened security in preparation for the WB/IMF conference.

But this? Stopping Chee Soon Juan again from doing his song-and-dance routine?

But this? Suing yet another international publication for defamation?

But this? Arresting Seelan Pillai, the guy responsible for the 400 frowns campaign?

But this? Stealing flyers from peaceful activists?

But this? Giving accredited protesters a woefully small space for demonstrations?

But this? Detaining people for questioning and confiscating their computers, just because they sent out a mass email with information on how to stage legal protests?

But this? Arresting and trying Falun Gong protesters, apparently under pressure from the Chinese government?

All this, in the full glare of the international limelight, with every major news outlet keenly following everything going on in the light of the World Bank/IMF meeting?

Well done, Singapore.

CHIJ student angry with Straits Times

CHIJ student had enough of Straits Times' portrayal of CHIJ girls as sluts/girls gone wrong. From Playground Love:
I'm annoyed. Have you read today's Life!? They did a feature on a 'Singapore Encyclopedia' and listed the A-Zs of Singapore. Under 'I', they featured IJ, short of of CHIJ, a school which has been around for 290382190381 years in Singapore, with 13 schools under it's belt right now. I thought it was nice and heartening to have us featured as being special enough to be featured as uniquely part of Singapore.

To my horror, I read the next paragraph:
Known for their hemmed up short skirts, belts which hang ridiculously low on their hips and allegedly easy with the opposite sex...

I'm sick of the media's attempts to continually hit at every opportunity to make us seem like sluts/girls gone wrong. It's like they have a sick and perverse obsession with it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Aquada

I definitely need one of these - a car that can drive into the water! The Aquada is the world's first high speed amphibious vehicle. Simply press a button and the car converts into its water mode. Life jacket not included.

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Top 10 Grossest Candy

Candy Addict lists the top 10 grossest candy. Coming at number 7 is this Harry Potter Cockroach Clusters. Each has a juicy gummy underbelly and is covered with a crunchy candy shell that has candy cockroach wings. I hate roaches and I'm definitely not going to eat any candy that looks like one.

Sith Abandon Ship Hoodie

I'm sure all Star Wars fans will love this Sith Abandon Ship Hoodie from Oddica. It's a hilarious take on what will happen when a TIE fighter crash lands on the sea. Poor Vader. Haha! Do check out other cool T-shirt designs from Oddica.

Singapore reversal a little too late

Singapore has now allowed 22 of the 27 activists who had been banned earlier, to enter Singapore for the IMF/World Bank meetings after criticism from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. From Channel NewsAsia:
22 of the 27 Civil Society Organisation (CSO) representatives will now be allowed to enter Singapore for the IMF/World Bank meetings.

The move comes after Singapore reviewed its decision based on input provided by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

However, the remaining five will still be subjected to interviews and may not be let in, if they attempt to enter the country.

In response, the World Bank says it is pleased with the Singapore government's decision.

It says it is notifying those affected of their change in status.

But it continues to urge Singapore to allow all persons accredited for the meetings to enter the country.
But this surprising reversal from Singapore has come a little too late. From Bangkok Post:
"Expensive travel plans have already been undone, and many CSOs are unable to fly to Singapore on a moment's notice," said Romilly Greenhill, senior policy analyst for Action Aid International.

"This gesture is, quite simply, too little too late," Greenhill said...

"The damage has been done," said Eric Gutierrez, international policy coordinator for the same group.

Positive reactions were also absent from the hundreds of activists on the Indonesian island of Batam, where CSOs opted to hold a forum after Singapore prohibited the gathering, as well as all outdoor activities, in the interests of security and preventing the violence that took place at the 2005 World Trade Organization Meeting in Hong Kong.

"I think the government really owes us an explanation for why there was a blacklist in the first place," Shalmali Guttal of Focus on the Global South said.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz had said earlier that Singapore's decision to ban accredited activists ahead of the World Bank and IMF meeting violated a previous agreement. He also called Singapore authoritarian. From Reuters:
"Enormous damage has been done and a lot of that damage is done to Singapore and self-inflicted. This could have been an opportunity for them to showcase to the world their development process," Wolfowitz said in response to questions from civil society organizations at a town hall meeting in Singapore.

"I would argue whether it has to be as authoritarian as it has been and I would certainly argue that at the stage of success they have reached, they would do much better for themselves with a more visionary approach to the process."
(Thanks Mr Big, piperlee)

Previously: Singapore breaks protest deal

Friday, September 15, 2006

Safeguard your marriage. Use Lysol.



Reader West sent me this really old printed advertisement. He says, "For the ladies, safeguard your marriage. Use Lysol!" So remember ladies, feminine hygiene is very, very important in marriage, ok?

(Thanks West)

Collection of Tobacco Ads

Dude has more than 300 pictures of tobacco ads on his Flickr set. This one showing a Chinese lady holding a Matamoa brand cigarette is a classic. There are a couple of sexy ones if you browse through the pics. What a fabulous collection!

(Thanks tobiii)

Singapore breaks protest deal

Singapore has been accused by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for going-back on an explicit agreement to allow activists into their annual meeting. From BBC:
The World Bank said it was "very displeased" with Singapore's decision to bar 28 activists from the country.

The Bank and IMF argue the presence of pressure groups is key to improving the work of financial institutions.

Singapore says it has banned the activists as they have taken part in "disruptive protests" in other nations.

"The most unfortunate thing is what appears to be a going-back on an explicit agreement," World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz told about 50 activists in Singapore ahead of the annual meetings...

The institutions added that they were particularly unhappy with the bans as they had signed an open access agreement in 2003.
Here's another statement by World Bank chief and Singapore's response to allegations that it broke an agreement with the IMF and World Bank. From Washington Post:
"We have accredited these individuals based on clearance by their respective governments and we believe they should be able to participate in our meetings."

Wolfowitz had said earlier that he hoped the ban on the activists was not a case of censorship, adding that it might be in breach of a 2003 agreement with the city-state.

But the Singapore 2006 committee said the memorandum of understanding signed between IMF/WB and the Singapore government "obliges Singapore to take all necessary measures for the safe passage of all persons in and out of Singapore."

It said the government takes this duty seriously in view of the international security environment.
Meanwhile, charities are now threatening to boycott the IMF and World Bank meeting because of the ban on Singapore protests. They have also blamed the World Bank for holding the meetings in Singapore. From The Independent:
Martin Powell, of the UK's World Development Movement, who was one of the 28 banned activists, said: "The World Bank and the IMF knew about Singapore's appalling record on dissent and public assembly and they ignored warnings as this is not the first time this has happened."

Max Lawson, a policy adviser at Oxfam, said it was joining 14 other bodies including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth International in pulling out of 40 public meetings. "The Singapore government should have allowed in those who were accredited," he said.

Olivia McDonald, a senior policy officer at Christian Aid, said: "I get the feeling that having it in Singapore is about the businesses and the banks and if there's not the same access for civil society groups that leaves a question mark hanging over the validity of the meetings."
Another charity, Christian Aid is also calling for a boycott. From Reuters:
'This is an extremely disappointing development by the Singaporean authorities,' said John McGhie, Christian Aid's Campaigns Editor. 'We are now keen to lend our full support to the international call for an immediate boycott of all formal talks with either the Bank or the Fund in Singapore. It would be a travesty to hold cosy chats with their officials while so many of our colleagues are being denied entry to the country...'

'It is farcical for the Bank and the Fund to meet and discuss human rights in a country where human rights are restricted. It shows how out of step with reality they are and underscores our argument that the UK government should withdraw funding from both the IMF and the World Bank. These organisations are illegitimate because they seek to impose damaging conditions on loans. It is high time they reformed, 'said Anna Thomas, Christian Aid's senior policy manager.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shocking Vintage Ads

'Smoking Is Believing' and other hilarious, shocking and creepy advertisements from the past century. Crikey! Text from the Smoking Is Believing ad: "During the Summer season of extra smoking - begin enjoying the cigarette of extra smokes! Everyone can afford the coolness, the true mildness, the ripe, delicate taste and fragrance of smoking pleasure at its best. More smoking for your money."

HK Disneyland celebrates 1st magical year

Hong Kong Disneyland celebrates its first magical year. More than 5 million people have visited HK Disneyland since its grand opening on September 12 last year. You can view photos and comments sent by some of its visitors here. Pic on the left was taken by Magdaline from Singapore. She writes, " It's a wonderful experience for me...it was wow wow wow all the way...we explored each and every corner of the park despite the blazing sun. Not once did we slow down to rest as there's just to much happenings around us. I felt like a little girl whom had her dreams fulfilled!"

(Thanks Myra Leong)

Arctic Ice continues to melt

The Arctic Ice is melting rapidly according to a new study by NASA. The study reveals that in the last two years, sea ice is shrinking on the surface of Arctic waters to record low levels. From NASA:
"This amount of Arctic sea ice reduction the past two consecutive winters has not taken place before during the 27 years satellite data has been available," said Joey Comiso, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "In the past, sea ice reduction in winter was significantly lower per decade compared to summer sea ice retreat. What's remarkable is that we've witnessed sea ice reduction at six percent per year over just the last two winters, most likely a result of warming due to greenhouse gases."

... According to Comiso, if the winter ice retreat continues, the effect could be very profound, especially for marine animals. "The seasonal ice regions in the Arctic are among the most biologically productive regions in the world," he said. "Some of the richest fisheries are found in the region, in part because of sea ice. Sea ice provides melt-water in spring that floats because of low density. This melt-water layer is considered by biologists as the ideal layer for phytoplankton growth because it does not sink, and there is plenty of sunlight reaching it to enable photosynthesis. Plankton are at the bottom of the food web. If their concentration goes down, animals at all tropics level would be deprived of a basic source of food."

In addition to climate warming, other factors can contribute to the observed retreat of winter sea ice. Hard blowing winds can compact ice, causing it to contract, making it thicker, but covering a smaller area. Wind direction may blow ice toward warmer waters, causing it to melt. Other processes can also affect sea ice, by way of warmer oceans to the south spinning up cyclones that will introduce warmer temperatures than normal that melt ice.

Lukas is new Rock Star!



I've been following Rock Star Supernova religiously over the past 11 or so weeks on TV and today, I'm so glad that my favourite, Lukas Rossi has won it. Congrats Lukas. You da man! You can catch a repeat of the season finale of Rock Star Supernova tonight on Star World at 8pm (Singapore). Video uploaded by YouTube user Craz1NF.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Brazilian Pay Phones

We got to have some of these in Singapore! Photos of uniquely designed pay phones found in Brazil. I dig the Leopard one. Fierce looking. I bet it will scare a lot of people who need to use the phone.

(Thanks haneoro)

Wearing a helmet puts cyclists at risk

All cyclists should wear helmets to ensure their safety on the roads, or so they say. Now, a new research suggests that cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be struck by passing vehicles. From University Of Bath:
Drivers pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than when overtaking bare-headed cyclists, increasing the risk of a collision, the research has found.

Dr Ian Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University of Bath, used a bicycle fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to record data from over 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol.

Dr Walker, who was struck by a bus and a truck in the course of the experiment, spent half the time wearing a cycle helmet and half the time bare-headed. He was wearing the helmet both times he was struck.

He found that drivers were as much as twice as likely to get particularly close to the bicycle when he was wearing the helmet.

Across the board, drivers passed an average of 8.5 cm (3 1/3 inches) closer with the helmet than without.

Open letter to Singapore PM on WB-IMF meeting

Participants at the SAPA (Strategic Action Planning for Advocacy) meeting in Bangkok have written an open letter to the Singapore Prime Minister to address their concerns about possible restrictions and threats (including caning for protesters) being made by Singaporean authorities regarding civil society actions at the World Bank and IMF meeting in Singapore. From FORUM-ASIA:
We consider statements such as the one reportedly made by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Singapore Home Affairs Minister, that certain civil society actions may “attract severe punishment, including caning and imprisonment”, as veiled threats towards civil society.

The World Bank – IMF meeting in September is not a meeting that concerns only Singapore. Its deliberations and decisions will affect millions of people in hundreds of countries. Hence it will bring thousands of activists from all parts of the world to Singapore, and the eyes of the world will be on this country.

This will be an excellent opportunity for Singapore to display its respect and commitment to uphold universally-recognised human rights standards, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Restrictions on peaceful civil society actions of any kind and threats of using cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments such as caning will only erode Singapore’s credibility in the eyes of global civil society.
(Thanks Alwyn Chan)

Singapore escort agencies love IMF

Escort agencies in Singapore are expecting good business thanks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) meetings here. From Bangkok Post:
Escort agencies were on a recruitment drive Tuesday to provide companionship for International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) delegates in Singapore for the week-long annual meeting.

Advertisements have sprung up in Singapore newspapers seeking women or "young, outgoing girls." The ads are also on the Internet.

Sought after are applicants from Singapore and other Asian women who are in their 20s, tall, "athletic" and "confident."

A check by The Straits Times found one agency looking for as many as 10 escorts, while most of the others sought five.

"With the IMF meeting in Singapore, we want to recruit more local girls to jazz up the 'Uniquely Singapore' factor among potential clients," an agency owner was quoted as saying.
(Thanks Mr Big)

Paying for the Army

Blogger Hidayat wonders how much it cost to equip a soldier in Singapore. From Hidayat:
You know, labelling your clothes, counting them to check whether all are accounted for. Redone my camo net for my helmet. Mine was broken and in dire need of medical attention.

While I was sorting them out, minding my own business, it suddenly struck me that at least 100,000 other NS man might be doing the same. With that much stuff just for army, I wonder how much does it cost to equip a soldier. $1000 perhaps?

Multiply that with 100,000, and you'll roughly guess how much it costs to equip the singapore army. Not forgetting the training, the extra equipment such as tonners, jeeps, bikes, etc etc. Man, they cost a lot of $$$$.

So that's why taxpayers are important...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Singapore bans 28 activists accredited by IMF

28 activists accredited by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have been prevented from coming to Singapore during the upcoming IMF/World Bank meeting. Singapore Police said that they are concerned that these people will undermine the securiy of the country. From International Herald Tribune:
The activists are members of eight civil society groups from the region and elsewhere, and have been previously involved in "disruptive activities," senior police officials said at a press conference.

Police did not identify the blacklisted individuals but Chief of Staff Soh Wai Wah said that one of the activists had previously broken into the World Bank's headquarters in Washington D.C. and stolen confidential documents while another demonstrator was involved in the takeover of a consulate in San Francisco.

"Among the people that we have raised objections to, there are characters who have been involved in disruptive activities in Seattle in 1999, Genoa in 2001, in Cancun in '03," Soh said, referring to anti-globalization protests that erupted in Seattle during the World Trade Organization meeting, demonstrations against the G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy, and the WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico.

"We are concerned about the things that they do, we're concerned about the activities they perform that will undermine our security and that may create law and order problems for us," he said.

The IMF and World Bank on Friday urged Singapore to reverse its decision to blacklist accredited individuals and allow the activists to attend next week's meetings in the interest of transparency and accountability. But Singapore said it had the right to determine whether a foreigner is eligible for entry into its territory, and that the city-state had to be cautious not to compromise the security of the high-profile event.
Singapore's decision has definitely angered the IMF, World Bank and political activists who may become unlikely allies in the fight for freedom of speech in Singapore. From Guardian:
Among the 28 banned is Walden Bello, a 60-year-old Filipino who heads an NGO called the Focus on the Global South. His 'crimes' according to the police, were to break into the World Bank headquarters to steal documents and occupy a consulate in San Francisco.

Mr Bello told Reuters he published a book in 1981, based on leaked World Bank documents and in 1978 staged a sit-in in the Philippines' San Francisco mission to protest the regime of the then dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Another activist denied entry is Antonio Tricarrio, a co-ordinator of the Italy-based Campaign to Reform the World Bank, which has been engaging with the two institutions for more than a decade.

"We have never been involved as an organisation or as individuals in undemocratic and violent behaviour, we have never been charged in our lives and we don't understand why this is happening," he was quoted by Singapore's Straits Times newspaper as saying...

World Bank officials, including the president, Paul Wolfowitz, have condemned both the banning of the activists and the restrictions on demonstrations.

"What makes us mad is the fact that people we've accredited are not allowed in," the World Bank's Indonesia country director, Andrew Steer, told Guardian Unlimited.

"This has forced the World Bank to clarify what it believes in, and what it believes in is freedom of speech."
Meanwhile in a related news, Indonesia has allowed activists to gather in nearby Batam island. From Reuters:
Indonesia will allow activists to hold a gathering on Batam island to protest against a World Bank and IMF conference in Singapore, Antara state news agency quoted the national police spokesman as saying on Monday.

Activists announced plans to meet on Batam after Singapore banned demonstrations, but local police had refused a permit, citing concerns about a possible negative impact on the economy.

"The anti-IMF seminar will not be banned provided its organisers report the activity to the police," national police spokesman Paulus Purwoko was quoted as saying by Antara.

He added that Batam police had been told to facilitate the meeting.

Pluto becomes asteroid number 134340

To add insult to injury, poor Pluto which lost its planet status recently, is now only a number. Astronomers have named it asteroid number 13430. From Space.com:
Pluto has been given a new name to reflect its new status as a dwarf planet.

On Sept. 7, the former 9th planet was assigned the asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), the official organization responsible for collecting data about asteroids and comets in our solar system.

The move reinforces the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) recent decision to strip Pluto of its planethood and places it in the same category as other small solar-system bodies with accurately known orbits.

Pluto's companion satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra are considered part of the same system and will not be assigned separate asteroid numbers, said MPC director emeritus Brian Marsden. Instead, they will be called 134340 I, II and III, respectively.
No wonder some Pluto lovers are really unhappy. They have even setup an online Pluto petition to save the planet. Go cast your vote. Currently, there are close to 6000 votes that say Pluto is a planet. The people behind the petition plan to present it to the International Astronomical Union and ask its General Assembly to consider the results.

Previously: Pluto is officially dead

Pimp my ride, Jeddah style!

Crikey! Look at what this dude in Jeddah did to his Honda Accord. The Lamborghini-like front hinges, the rear doors that flap like wings, the split hood, the trunk opening to the side and the tilted rear wheels.... I don't know about you but all this pimping to the car looks pointless. I was expecting it to transform into a robot or something, ala Transformers. (Link goes to an Arabic forum page called Jedah Boys. Nope, it ain't gay.)

(Thanks Mr Big)

Gallery of Optical Illusions

German Professor Michael Bach has a total of 66 optical illusions and visual phenomena on his website. Each optical illusion comes with a description telling you what to do and observe, and an explaination on how it works. I like the Stepping Feet motion illusion in which two similar sized rectangles, one in blue and the other yellow, moving together in an identical speed, seem to step ahead of each other like two feet walking.

The Miniature Earth

What if we could turn the population of the Earth into a small community of only 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today? The Miniature Earth attempts to answer that question with this nicely done flash video.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Steve Irwin Tributes at Australia Zoo



A moving video (with Sarah McLachlan's beautiful song, In The Arms Of The Angel) showing the tributes to Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, at his beloved Australia Zoo.

(Thanks finatiq)

Previously:
Steve Irwin Tribute
Send your symphathy to Steve Irwin's family
Steve Irwin loved Singapore Zoo
The day my hero died

Forgotten Faces: Chinese and the Law

Forgotten Faces: Chinese and the Law is an online education resource based on a series of nineteenth century photographs of Chinese prisoners held in Public Record Office Victoria's collections. You may spot some of your old relatives there.

Online alarm clock

For those of you who do not have an alarm clock, here's one that works pretty well (and irritating) on your web browser. It's a great tool to have, especially when you want to put a time limit on your blog surfing.

(Thanks NdI)

From famous paintings to figurines

Parastone Studios in The Netherlands have brought to live famous paintings done by artists like Escher, Ukiyo-E and Bosch. They used images depicted in the paintings and made them into awesome figurines.

(Thanks vince_ram)

10 reasons to drink more water

You know there's always a good reason why our mothers keep telling us to drink more water. Well, in this case, 10 good reasons. From The Ririan Project:
5. Get Energized And Be Alert

On average, most adults lose about 10 cups of fluid a day through sweating, exhaling, urinating, and bowel movements. Even minor dehydration can cause impaired concentration, headaches, irritability and fatigue.

Water is also essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because there are increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy.

Drinking more water everyday will help your think more clearly. Research has repeatedly shown that staying hydrated is necessary for the human brain, which is 85 percent water, to function at optimal levels. That is why many school systems throughout the country now encourage students to keep a bottle of water at their desks and to drink it throughout the day.
(Thanks Iggy)

Lessons learned from '80s cartoons

Cracked.com looks at 8 cartoons (Smurfs, Transformers, Scooby Doo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Popeye, Jem and Transfomers) from the good old '80s and finds that there are important lessons to be learned from them. From Cracked.com:
CARTOON: The Smurfs

LESSON: Communism works!
For naysayers who point to the Former Soviet Union as proof that communism is inherently flawed, may we merely direct your attention to Smurf Village, where everyone shares everything, wears similar utilitarian clothing, battles Gargamel and his turn-Smurfs-to-gold get rich quick schemes and obeys the dictates of a bearded, red hat-wearing, benevolent authority figure. Quoth Comrade Papa: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Really, he actually said that.

How it affected us as adults: Secret communist agendas ceased being dangerous, or really any adjective of consequence, years ago. The worst thing communism does these days is make Ivy League students waste a couple of years wearing ugly clothes and attending boring meetings. However, the sexual politics of Smurf Village, with its one female for every 30 guys, did go a long way towards preparing us for freshman year of college.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Test your lung capacity online!

For the first time, you can now test your lung capacity on the internet! Go to Lungtester, make sure your microphone is turned on and turn on the volume of your speakers too. Blow hard into your mic when you're being told to do so and wait for the results. The site says that u can then compare your results with the top athletes and your friends. Try it. And oh, make sure you brushed your teeth. You'll know what I mean when you try it out.

(Thanks Chloe Li)

McDonald's 1 McCurry 0


McDonald's McCurry in India. Photo by Flickr user Roop Chauhan.

A restaurant in Kuala Lumpur called McCurry, has been ordered not to use the word "Mc" in its name because it confuses and deceives customers into thinking that it is related to McDonald's. From The Star:
Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad also ordered that damages to be paid to McDonald’s Corporation to be assessed.

She ruled that “Mc” was distinctive of McDonald’s either singularly or used in conjunction with items of food and it could therefore claim goodwill and reputation in their business with reference to the prefix.

She added that the curry house by using the word McCurry and employing a signage which featured colours which were distinctive of McDonald’s was indulging in acts that could give rise to confusion and deception.

“The acts of the defendant was a deliberate attempt to get an unfair advantage to the detriment of the plaintiff.
More McCurry pics here and here.

(Thanks Suri)

Men are smarter than women

A new study reveals that men are smarter than women thanks to their larger brains. From LiveScience.com:
When Rushton and colleagues weighted each SAT question by an established general intelligence factor called the g-factor, they discovered that males surpassed females by an average of 3.6 IQ points.

The g-factor works like this. "If I tell you the last four digits of my telephone number and ask you to repeat them back to me, that's a low g-loaded memory test," Rushton explained. "But if I then ask you to repeat them back to me in the reverse order, that suddenly requires a tremendous amount more cognitive processing. It is a very high loaded g-item.”

So the g-factor "is really the active ingredient of the test," Rushton said. "It's the single best, most predictive part of the test."

Rushton suspects that the results are due to males having more brain tissue than females on average. "It's a very reasonable hypothesis that you just need more brain tissue dedicated to processing high ‘g' information," Rushton said.

Friday, September 08, 2006

'KFC Tortures Chicks' activists detained in Singapore

Two animal rights activists with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organisation in the United States, have been detained in Singapore by the police for planning a demonstration outside a KFC restaurant. From Reuters:
Ashley Fruno, a 20-year-old Canadian woman, had planned to protest at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet in downtown Singapore on Friday, wearing nothing but a banner reading "Naked Truth: KFC Tortures Chicks."

Fruno and Jason Baker, executive director of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), were questioned for nine hours by Singapore police on Thursday, Baker told Reuters. "We were detained for the whole of yesterday and we're going to be deported today," said Baker, a 34-year-old American.

"We can confirm that there was such a case," a police official told Reuters. He declined further comment.

Baker said the two had been told they would be banned from re-entering Singapore.
According to PETA, KFC has been torturing chickens that end up in its buckets. From KentuckyFriedCruelty.com:
Chickens are probably the most abused animals on the face of the planet—they are treated in ways that would warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges were they dogs, cats, or even cows or pigs. Because federal laws exempt chickens from the Animal Welfare and Humane Slaughter acts, sadistic and routine cruelty go unpunished, and it is up to companies like KFC to ensure that the chickens who end up in their buckets and boxes are not grossly abused. KFC has ignored this responsibility almost entirely, and its suppliers continue to abuse chickens—who are remarkable animals with distinct personalities, social orders, systems of communication, and intelligence as advanced as that of many other animals—in ways that would be illegal if dogs and cats were the victims.

KFC’s breeding birds have their sensitive beaks seared off with hot blades soon after they are born. "Broilers," or chickens raised for their flesh, are bred and drugged in order to make them gain weight quickly, which often causes their hearts and lungs to fail and their legs to become crippled under their own heavy bodies. Archaic slaughter methods and faulty machinery, combined with an absence of laws to protect chickens, cause millions of them to be scalded alive in feather-removal tanks or have their throats slit while they are still conscious.
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