Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cover version cds sold in Singapore

pu2, an Indonesian studying in one of the universities in Singapore, discovers dirt cheap CDs being sold here. The catch is it isn't the original artiste who is singing but some other dude who re-recorded his songs. From pu2:
Yesterday I went to one of Singapore's many shopping centres. At the ground floor, I couldn't help not to notice a very big, enticing sign. It said, "CD Sale - $3 each!" There was even a crazier price tag below it, "$1 each for 5 CDs!" Drawn inside by the very cheap price (as one CD would normally cost you $20 - $25 here in Singapore), I glanced over the plain of CDs, arranged on a very big table.

The names on the CD covers seemed promising: Michael Bolton, George Michael, ABBA, Coldplay, even Robbie Williams and Norah Jones to name a few. But then, I noticed something peculiar about the covers: I'd never seen any of them in any other CD store! All of them were also labeled as "The Best of" albums and I noticed that The Best of George Michael had a rather pixelated photo of the singer on its cover.

Asian Fried Rice

Winslow who lives in the U.S, talks about one of my favourite food, the Asian fried rice in his delightful food blog. From Seven Kinds of Soy Sauce:
A few nights ago, I turned my hand to Indonesian fried rice, or nasi goreng. Parenthetical note: I'm typing this post in MS Word before posting it on Blogger, and MS Word insists on automatically changing "goreng" to "goring." Me, I like to type words and have them stay the way I typed them. I guess it's a control thing.

Anyway, back to nasi goreng. Nasi goreng is the Indonesian method of using leftover rice to create a meal. It seems as though all Asian countries have their own versions of fried rice, i.e., a meal reusing previously-cooked rice. Thai fried rice has really captured my affection because the use of fish sauce adds a bracing quality to the dish. It ends up being very clean and simple, and puts the emphasis on the ingredients. On the other hand, if there's a Japanese version of fried rice, please enlighten me! I can't remember coming across such a recipe during my Japanese cooking excursions. The closest thing I can think of is salmon tea rice, which is not the same thing at all.

More iPAQ porn! Yeah!

Here are more photos of my new baby just like I promised.


HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger

The new HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger is one hell of a feature packed mobile device that is powered by Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition. It has tri-band GSM, GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Pushmail, Pocket MSN, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Philips LifeVibes 3D sound effects from dual-stereo speakers, a 2 mega-pixel camera, FM radio and PocketMusic MP3 Player. Phew, did I miss out anything? Oh and most important of all, damn it sure looks attractive.

Previously: Unwrapping my new baby

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Collection of banned vintage cartoons

This 1941 Tex Avery cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny is one of the many vintage cartoons banned from mainstream broadcast and distribution. These cartoons are from the 30s and 40s. You can watch more here.

(Thanks Richmond)

Sexy Chinese ladies playing football

This is how football should be played. More delicious pics here.

(Thanks xXx)

Cats love Macs

Even cats love their Macs. Why wouldn't they aye? Macs are such beautiful machines. Take a look at The Cats love Macs pool on Flickr. Meow.

(Thanks Fannie)

Why geography will always curse Indonesia

Earthquakes, tsunami, thousands dead. Some people may think that Indonesia is cursed. In truth, it is cursed but only by its geographical position. Scientists say that Indonesia's position on our planet will always make it vulnerable to earthquakes. They also say that the clashing of continents in Indonesia will go on and the region can expect to see more deadly earthquakes. From Yahoo News:
"The problem with Indonesia is that you have an area of intense seismic activity coinciding with a very densely populated part of the world," said Gary Gibson, professor of seismology at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

"It means there will always be some terrible loss to earthquakes in Indonesia."

The plates of the planet's crust that float on the molten core of the Earth smash against each other constantly, but while those plates usually move only a little bit each year, those that meet at Indonesia move more quickly.

"These are probably the most active plates in the world -- one is moving at around seven centimetres (nearly three inches) a year," said Mark Leonard, seismologist at Geoscience Australia.

"That's incredibly fast and as a result it produces a lot of energy that has to be dissipated somehow," Leonard said. "And that is usually through earthquakes."

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Sydney Harbour Bridge

Monday, May 29, 2006

World press chiefs discuss how to beat bloggers

Newspapers are taking bloggers and citizen journalism as threats to their industry and have sent their chiefs to discuss how to beat bloggers. From Today:
Krishna Bharat, a principal scientist for Internet search engine giant Google, warned editors that the web was going to reshape their industry.

"With each previous new technology, the face of journalism changed and we reinvented ourselves, but the heart of journalism -- the editorial process, editorial objectivity and values did not change," Bharat said.

He warned that bloggers -- people recording their lives, the events they witnessed first-hand and what they thought of it -- were going to grow increasingly significant.

Bharat said that as the number of bloggers rose, those churning out valuable journalism would too -- which editors had to take into account.
On behalf of my fellow bloggers, I say - Bring them on!

(Thanks Shy)

Hot new Firefox logo

In my opinion, the Firefox logo has just got hotter. I love the Firefox Lady! Ooooh baby. Love those claws. I mean the nails. Ahem.

(Thanks Sam)

Pepsi Japan's Break The Ice game

This flash game from Pepsi Japan is great for those days at work when you feel like you have to break through blocks of ice just to get what you want. For those of you who feel like you wanna kill your boss instead, well there's always this.

(Thanks Sam)

Death toll in Indo earthquake exceeds 5000

Indonesian authorities now say that more than 5000 people have died because of the earthquake that struck Yogyakarta on Saturday morning. From Reuters:
The official death toll from the 6.3 magnitude quake reached 5,136. The tremor early on Saturday was centred just off the Indian Ocean coast near Yogyakarta, the former Javanese royal capital.

Government figures put the number of injured at 2,155, but the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said there were 20,000 injured and more than 100,000 homeless.

"I am still traumatised, especially when it rained last night," said Sartoyo, who had come to Yogyakarta's main hospital from a nearby village. "I heard help is on the way," he added. "We badly need tents, please note that. Do not forsake us."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

" I thought Merapi just erupted..."

5 hours ago, I talked to reader razzi who is in the earthquake struck Yogyakarta. We talked about his experience during the earthquake.

Me: Hello razzi. Thanks for talking to me. Tell me what happened in Yogyakarta early this morning.

razzi: I was already awake at 5am to get ready to drive to Mount Merapi to take some photos of the volcano in action and then go to the Borobudur Temple nearby to Merapi. Around 10 minutes before 6, while I was taking a sip of my coffee, I noticed that some cats out of my home were acting weird. They were running around all over the place. And then my house started to shake.

Me: Cats? Interesting. I have heard of reports of animals that can sense an impending earthquake and other natural disasters. Maybe the cats you noticed were reacting to something only they can feel. Can you describe to me the shaking that you experienced?

razzi: My house shook really bad. This lasted for I think more than 5 minutes. It was really frightening. Parts of my ceiling dropped. There's a big mirror that was facing me and it cracked into hundreds of pieces. I thought Merapi just erupted. I quickly ran out of the house. I stay in a house that is two storeys high. It is one of the newer and better constructed homes in the area so damage was minimal.

Me: Were you alone?

razzi: Yes I was. I'm actually working in Jakarta. This is my father's house. Thank god that he was out of town.

Me: So you were back in Yogyakarta for?

razzi: I wanted to take some photos of Merapi for a story I'm working on.

Me: What do you see when you ran out of your house?

razzi: Panic. Lots of people running out of their house. Screaming. Crying. I heard some of them shouting, "Merapi! Merapi!" I tell you everyone thought it was the volcano erupting. We then realised only an hour later that it was actually an earthquake. There are many who then decided to run to higher grounds because they feared a tsunami.

Me: I'm sure the damage was incredible?

razzi: The area in which I'm at is not too bad. The worst is over in Bantul. Most of the houses there collapsed. Roads cracked. I saw bodies being pulled out of rubbles. People lying out of their homes, most of them in pain because they were injured.

Me: Reports I've read say that more than 2,000 people died. In your opinion, is this true?

razzi: I think the number of people dead will be close or more to 3000. I was with two men helping an old lady to the nearby hospital. I saw a lot of dead bodies. I saw ten people that I know dead. In the hospital, there were so many people being brought there. There are not enough rooms and beds for everyone. Hundreds had to be treated by doctors and nurses outside this hospital. I'm sure there are thousands more in other hospitals.

Me: What kind of injuries did you see?

razzi: I think most have head injuries and fractures of the hands and legs. I saw a lot people bleeding from the head.

Me: What is the situation now over there?

razzi: It is very quiet now. Very eerie. Electricty that was cut after the earthquake is slowly coming on again. People can also start using the phones now. I know many people are sleeping out in the open and under temp shelters because their homes were destroyed and some that are not destroyed, are too dangerous to get into.

Me: Has the government come to the aid quickly?

razzi: There are a lot of government officials and NGOs located in the northern part of Yogyakarta. They are already there for weeks now because of Merapi. I'm not sure how fast they came south to help but what I see straight after the earthquake are only locals helping each other and pulling bodies out of the rubble.

Me: There are reports of aftershocks. How many have you felt?

razzi: I felt a few. Nothing as scary as the actual earthquake. There's one aftershock I think at around 6 plus that is the strongest.

Me: Many of us who are reading this blog have not felt an earthquake before. Can you tell us how it felt to be in one?

razzi: It is like someone grabs the ground you stood on and shakes it violenty sideways. The shaking itself is not dangerous. What is scary is your house falling down on you. And only after the earthquake will the shock, horror and sadness start affecting you when you see the damage and the injured and dead people. I don't think I can sleep tonight.

Me: Ok mate. I know it's a tough time for you. I'm sorry about what happened. Do take some rest and thanks again for talking to me. Take care and keep in touch.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More than 2000 people dead in Indo earthquake

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake rocked Yogyakarta, central Java, Indonesia early this morning and so far it has killed more than 2000 people. From CNN:
The National Disaster Coordinating Agency said 2,091 of the deaths occurred in the area of Bantul, a district south of Yogyakarta near the Java coast. Deaths have also been reported in Yogyakarta and other communities.

Thousands of injuries have been reported, with 1,892 hurt in Bantul...

Search-and-rescue teams in Yogyakarta said they saw extensive damage to buildings and homes and noted that communications were down and electricity was out.

Weisman-Ross said he was "shaken rather violently from my bed with furniture flying and chunks of concrete falling from the walls of my hotel room."

Outside, Weisman-Ross said he saw large cracks in the walls of the hotel and other buildings in the area. As he rushed across town to check on his staff, he saw small, older buildings with collapsed roofs or walls.
The earthquake jolted the area where the active Mount Merapi is located. Scientists now say that the earthquake may intensify the volcanic activity of Mount Merapi. And if Merapi finally erupts within the next few days, I fear there will be more pain and chaos in Yogyakarta. The government of Indonesia may be overwhelmed if they have to deal with two natural disasters at the same time.

Update: Yahoo News has photos of the earthquake here.

Update: I will be talking to regular IZ Reloaded reader razzi who lives in South Yogyakarta, in 10 minutes time. Will post the interview with him later. Read it here.

Update: Channel NewsAsia says that one Singaporean woman is injured in Yogyakarta. Other Singaporeans there have been accounted for.

Unwrapping my new baby

I've always wanted a new PDA, preferably one that has Wifi, allows me to surf the net and check my emails, blog, open Microsoft Word and Powerpoint documents, listen to the radio and mp3, make phone calls and sms and take nice snapshots. Too much to ask?

Well, I guess Christmas comes real early for me this year. Look at what I got :o)

Presenting my new baby, the HP iPAQ rw6828 Multimedia Messenger. And I tell you it rocks! I'll post more real soon.

(Thanks Santa ;oP)

Javascript Tetris game with Mario theme

Dude made a really slick Tetris game using javascript and added sounds from the Mario theme. Go play it. Works with Firefox1.0+, Opera8+, Safari2 and IE6. I love my Tetris!

(Thanks razzi)

Girlfriend 6.0 vs. Wife 1.0

This is a hilarious take on what happens when you upgrade from Girlfriend 6.0 to Wife 1.0. Guys, take note before you take the leap. From the site:

Last year a friend of mine upgraded from GirlFriend 6.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little system resources available for other applications. He is now noticing that Wife 1.0 is also spawning Child Processes which are further consuming valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application.

Not only that, Wife 1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization, where it can monitor all other system activity. He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before). During installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-Ins such as MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw Beta release. Also, system performance seems to diminish with each passing day.

(Thanks GeekGod)

Postcards made from magazine cutouts

Dude has a gallery of postcards that he made with some cut-up magazines, a glue stick and crayons. Nice!

(Thanks San)

25 worst tech products of all time

PC World lists 25 worst tech products of all time. You may find a few familiar faces that you really hate. Coming at number 5, the Sony BMG Music CDs. From PC World:
When you stick a music CD into your computer, you shouldn't have to worry that it will turn your PC into a hacker's plaything. But that's exactly what Sony BMG Music Entertainment's music discs did in 2005. The discs' harebrained copy protection software installed a rootkit that made it invisible even to antispyware or antivirus software. Any moderately clever cyber attacker could then use the same rootkit to hide, say, a keylogger to capture your bank account information, or a remote-access Trojan to turn your PC into a zombie.

Security researcher Dan Kaminsky estimated that more than half a million machines were infected by the rootkit. After first downplaying the problem and then issuing a "fix" that made things worse, Sony BMG offered to refund users' money and replace the faulty discs. Since then, the record company has been sued up the wazoo; a federal court judge recently approved a settlement in the national class action suit. Making your machine totally vulnerable to attacks--isn't that Microsoft's job?

Friday, May 26, 2006

So dark the con of NUS

This is one of the new NUS Business School ads that is airing on TV (via Balderdash). American mum (to her daughter who got accepted into the school) said,"You know they don't sell chewing gum there...And I hear the boys are way too cute for my liking."

bakuretsu10shi is just one of many who thinks that the NUS ad is poorly conceived and suggested that it would be more believable if they used an Indian or African family instead. From bakuretsu10shi:
I can't believe foreigners (or to be precise, Caucasian foreigners envision years in drab boring air-conditioned Singapore as something to look forward to when they've got better business schools in their own countries. Note how the mother's eyes glaze over when the word Singapore comes to mind, as if she's trying to figure what the hell her daughter was referring to... Singapore... ? Oh, that's that island with the really clean toilets! I'm amazed at the mother's highly detailed and accurate knowledge of my island nation. I'm so proud of Singapore, tiny and gum-free, with boys so cute Caucasian mothers don't like them. *sob*
Vox Iuvenium looks deeper into NUS' marketing strategy. From Vox Iuvenium:
Advertising is advertising but this marketing campaign is poorly conceived, and a business school ought to know better: The top students who are considering an undergraduate business education are likely to prioritize placement statistics and salary ranges - they want to see how many from the current graduating class are in which firms, at what average salaries. They want to see lists of on-campus recruiters. They want to see summer internship and graduate school placement numbers. When the claims in the ads have very little correlation with those numbers, the campaign may even be counterproductive.
Everybody now: SO DARK THE CON OF NUS.

HIV from chimps

Finally, scientists have found the origin of HIV in chimps! The virus is called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus from chimps or SIVcpz. From BBC:
It is thought that people hunting chimpanzees first contracted the virus - and that cases were first seen in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the nearest urban area - in 1930...

This study, carried out alongside experts from the Project Prevention du Sida au Cameroun (PRESICA) in Cameroon, involved analysing chimpanzee faeces, collected from the forest floor in remote jungle areas....

Lab tests detected SIVcpz specific antibodies and genetic information linked to the virus in up to 35% of chimpanzees in some groups...

Chimpanzees in south-east Cameroon were found to have the viruses most similar to the form of HIV that has spread throughout the world.
Bloody chimps! It's them! Reading this made me recall a conversation I had with a friend many years ago. He was saying that some crazy and horny Africans went on a sex rampage with some infected chimps and that's how HIV spread to the human race. Funny. I kinda believe him.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Impressive Singapore

William Esposo wrote a column for Philippines' in which he raves about Singapore after his two trips here. From
You will catch many Filipinos expressing a wish that we here had a leader like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, the chief architect of the Singapore success story and now called the Minister Mentor. The worse it gets here, the more you will hear fellow Filipinos wishing that we were being led by Lee Kuan Yew...

In our country, people are desperately looking for jobs. In Singapore, people seem never to stop working. Singaporeans who are well into retirement age are all over the place engaged in post-career work. Many of them are driving taxi cabs while some are providing services in world-class Chiangi Airport...

What impresses me most about the leaders and citizens of Singapore is their drive to excel. Singapore is a country that is ready to compete globally, a country that will not rest on its laurels. Alas, this attitude is very much missing in our country. Filipino individuals here and there do manage to make their imprint on the world stage but by and large we as a people are plagued by that “pwede na yan” (“That will do”) mentality.
The article got some good response from readers. Here's one. From
I read your article regarding how impressive Singapore is. I've been here since November on an assignment basis with Deutsche Bank, and I'll be staying until the end of June. Sadly, I agree with your article.

Although I've been battling with homesickness ever since I got here, I can't seem to stop admiring how wonderful this place is. The transportation system is organized, the routes and directions are clear; heck, even their maps are accurate to a certain granular degree.

Some of it is really about basic attitude. Cross the streets on the proper pedestrian lane, wait for the signal to cross, don't block the intersection points, don't push your car when the street across is full -- some basic things that should be done.

I can't really say that the people here are conscious of cleanliness, because most of them are such "slobs," but the place is always in order because of the number of people they hire to clean up after people. Taxis are not picky with their passengers, they will bring you wherever you want, and some even will suggest routes that you might prefer.

It's so amazing that the unemployment rate is only 3.4 percent, and that a lot of elderly are still working, as fast-food crew or maintenance service personnel. We have more able-bodied personnel in the Philippines, and yet we deride the thought of working menial jobs, or maybe it's the pay. (My apologies if I'm drifting out of topic as I'm writing free-hand).

There are still a lot of things that I wish we could do back home, and I'm sure a whole day of ranting will not be enough. One of the more fascinating points that I've heard from a cab driver is that Singapore is so small that communicating development to the far reaches of the island is so easy, unlike in the Philippines.

But you're right: Attitude is the more crucial argument here. Singapore had to bridge cultural/racial gaps, which I think it has done successfully. Everything really boils down to having the right attitude.

OK I'm no electrician

After tonight, I realised something about myself. I don't think I'll ever be an electrician. One of my kitchen lights went dead earlier so I decided to try to fix it. Did I? Well, nope. Not only did I not fix it, I nearly short circuit the entire house, blew another light in the kitchen, broke one of the glass pieces from the light and the best of all, I stepped onto one of the broken glass bits and I didn't know about it until 15 minutes or so later when I saw drops of blood in the kitchen.

"What the hell?"

"Why are there blood all over the place?"

There was also blood in the living room. Apparently I was walking all over the house with a bleeding foot and I was too engrossed and occupied with fixing the light problem that I did not realise I hurt myself.

Damn it! I hate fixing lights! Arghhh!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

USSR propaganda and advertisement posters

Over at this USSR posters Flickr photoset, you can view a huge collection of propaganda and advertisement posters made in the old USSR. There are more than 1,400 posters in the collection so take your time and enjoy.

How to make a tape sculpture

This tutorial teaches you how to get started in tape sculpting/casting. Go grab some tape, add a little bit of creativity, follow the easy steps given in the tutorial and you can make your own tape sculpture like these Tape Men.

(Thanks finatiq)

Chocolate Russian Roulette

This definitely will spice up any drinking party. The Chocolate Russian Roulette! Twelve chocolate bullets. One contains spicy hot chilli! Bite the wrong one and you will probably need a whole jug of beer.

(Thanks Peter Foo)

Young Singaporeans want political freedom

I just finished listening to this mp3 of a news story by SBS Radio of Australia about the new generation of Singaporeans wanting more political and artistic freedom in the country. The reporter interviewed the likes of film maker Martyn See, Alex Au of Yawning Bread and writer Catherine Lim.

Here's a short transcript:

Rebecca Henschke (reporter) : She (Catherine Lim) says two forces have taken the PAP by surprise.

Catherine Lim: Globalisation and the internet. Ahhh, my goodness. You know, I think they have underestimated the impact of social .... (inaudible) of the young people here you know, chattering and so on. Young people suddenly alert. Young people seeing what's happening in the rest of the world and say, "Hey! Why is it not happening in Singapore? It is a democracy like in any other country but hey why is it accepted there and not allowed here?" So, you have a whole lot of questioning and I think this government knows that if they don't deal with this problem then they will be in trouble. So here are young people who will be now regarded as a force to be reckon with and I'm glad about that. I'm really glad about that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good luck sis for your LASIK

Looks like I will be the only one left in the family that needs glasses. Today, my sis will be doing a LASIK on one of her eyes. The other eye will be done tomorrow. All the best sis and enjoy your new and clear vision. Yesterday, she told me that she has been having problems with her eyes because of wearing contact lens. Well, hopefully after tomorrow, all her eye problems will be a thing of the past. This is a photo of her with her new MacBook Pro. Dang. That thing is a beauty! After the LASIK, she will be heading for a 2 weeks holiday at Abu Dhabi. Lasik, new MacBook Pro, holidays.... I'm beginning to think that SIA pays her really well.

Skeletal drawings of cartoon characters

Ever wondered how your favourite cartoon character may have looked like through an x-ray machine? Well, check out Michael Paulus' amazing art work. He drew the skeletal systems of cartoon characters such as Pikachu, Betty Boop, Charlie Brown and Hello Kitty.

(Thanks Mr Big)

How to take down lecture notes

Take down lecture notes using the Cornell Method. If only I had known of this back in my school days, I would have scored an A for my exam papers.

Guns N' Roses are back!

Guns N' Roses - whose shows at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom sold out in less than 3 minutes - have reclaimed the throne that was always theirs. From stellar reviews to audience adulation, Guns N' Roses' New York shows proved that they are back in a big way.

Concert goers weren't let down as Axl Rose and band mates Tommy Stinson (bass), Richard Fortus (guitar), Robin Finck (guitar), Chris Pitman (keyboard), Dizzy Reed (keyboard) and new guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thall (who has only been in the band for two weeks!) burned through Guns N' Roses classics such as "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," "My Michelle," "Mr. Brownstone," "November Rain" and "Sweet Child O' Mine." The final show at Hammerstein found the band joined by one time Guns' guitarist Izzy Stradlin on "Think About You," "Patience" and "Night Train," which also included an enthusiastic Kid Rock coming onstage to join the band.

Over the four nights, audiences were also treated to nearly half of the band's upcoming new album, Chinese Democracy, with live performances of "Chinese Democracy," "Better," "There was a Time," "Madagascar," "IRS" and "The Blues."

The four shows, which took place on May 12, 14, 15 & 17th, were the talk of New York City, with fans and famous faces such as Matthew Perry, Mickey Rourke, Drea De Matteo, Lenny Kravitz, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Fred Durst, Sebastian Bach, Ethan Hawke, Jay Z, Jimmy Fallon, Maxwell and Sean Penn to name a few, paying homage to one of the greatest bands in Rock n' Roll. Each night was a celebration on stage, which would then continue off stage with parties at Sixes and Eights, Bungalow 8, Butter, G Spa, The Marquee Lounge and The SoHo House.

The band ended their New York jaunt with a surprise acoustic performance at The Plumm for actress Rosario Dawson's birthday party. The band's scorching performance, which left the way beyond capacity crowd screaming for more and gasping for air well into the wee hours of the morning, had birthday girl Dawson commenting of Rose: "They've never played all acoustic, this is history in the making, how much does this man rock?!"

The N.Y. concerts were warm up shows for the European leg of the band's forthcoming tour, which starts May 25th in Madrid at Juan Carlos Arena.

For the upcoming tour, Guns N' Roses are playing a mixture of headline Festival appearances including Rock In Rio in Portugal, Download at the UK's famed Castle Donington, Rock Am Ring in Germany, Gods Of Metal in Italy, Novarock in Austria, Graspop in Belgium, Roskilde in Denmark, A Heavy Day In The Park in Holland as well as their own headlining indoor shows in Madrid, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Paris, Zurich, Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki, most of which have been instant sellouts.

But nothing beats the home turf of the US or New York City. W. Axl Rose commented, "We've just finished our 4 shows in New York and had an amazing time. New York has always been special and it feels great to be doing this again particularly in front of so many friends. I am very excited about Europe and getting back over here in September."

No official word yet on the release date for Chinese Democracy but Axl said in an earlier radio interview that the album will be out this year.

Here are some fan videos of the concerts: I Used to Love Her, November Rain (Live and acoustic at The Plumm), Welcome To The Jungle/Rocket Queen , Think About You with Izzy! (Live at Hammerstein) and lastly a video with photos from the Hammerstein show.

(Thanks Sanctuary Artist Management)

Googleplex in Sydney opens

Google has opened its doors in Sydney! Check out ZDNet Australia's photos of the Sydney Googleplex. Google sure knows how to build a office for their staff to work in. This pic on the left is their office kitchen!

(Thanks Andy)

Previously: I wanna work for Google!

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Real Da Vinci Code

Before you catch The Da Vinci Code in the cinemas, you have to watch this documentary called The Real Da Vinci Code. In it, Tony Robinson, the presenter goes in search of the Holy Grail based on the details in the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

I have nothing against Dan Brown's book. Like millions of others who have read the book, I love it. It's full of twists, mystery, adventure and conspiracies! But I do have a slight problem with a fiction book which claims certain info in it as fact. If you turn to the first few pages of the book, the page after Acknowledgements, Dan Brown writes:
The Priory of Sion-
a European secret society founded in
1099 - is a real organization.
In 1975 Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale
discovered parchments known as Les
Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous
members of the Priory of Sion, including
Sir Issac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo,
and Leonardo da Vinci...
If only Dan Brown did his homework diligently, he would have found out that the above is just a fiction, not a fact. And the Da Vinci Code? It is as real as IZ being the next saviour of mankind.

Women can tell which men want to be fathers by looking at their faces

Reader Giselle Loh sent me a Yahoo news story about a study published in a British journal which reveals that women look at men's faces to find out if they are suitable for a long term relationship or a short fling. From Yahoo News:
In the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, researchers looked at a group of 39 men, ages 18 to 33, at the University of Chicago. Each man was shown 10 pairs of photographs and silhouettes, one of an adult and the other of an infant, and asked to rate their preferences. Meanwhile, their saliva was tested to determine testosterone levels.

Photographs of the men's faces were then shown to 29 women, ages 18 to 20, at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The women were asked to rate the men on four qualities: "likes children," "masculine," "physically attractive" and "kind." Then they were asked to rate how attractive they found each man for short-term and long-term romance.

The study found women did well at rating men on their interest in babies, and those they rated masculine generally had higher testosterone levels than the others...

The higher the women rated the men for masculinity, the higher they were rated as potential short-term romantic partners. The higher they rated men for their interest in children, the higher they were rated for long-term romance.

The features that research has suggested denote high testosterone levels include a prominent jaw and a heavy beard.
Giselle also included in the email to me, my photo which I posted on my blog and Flickr sometime back with an analysis on how I would fare based on those four qualities. She wrote, "Nice jaw, nice goatee....highly attractive..... hmmmmm... I rate you high on masculine which means based on the study, you fare very well as a short term romantic partner."

Bloody hell! ;op

(Thanks Giselle Loh)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stunning artificial images of Earth

Over at Views of Earth, you can view stunning artifical images of our planet created using computer rendering techniques. This image on the left is the Himalayas of Nepal. Simply beautiful isn't it? You may want to email Christoph Hormann, the site's owner to request for an image of your country. Yeah Christoph, how about one for Singapore mate?

Blogger reports on Mount Merapi

Chad, a freelance reporter living in Jakarta, Indonesia is currently reporting the eruption of Mount Merapi and the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents. On Thursday night, he got a close look at the lava pouring out of the mountain. From Mount Merapi:
Last night, I closed in on the mountain to get a look at the lava. A group of students studying English at the school I’ve been attending offered to sneak me up to a spot about 6 miles from the crater. The outer edge of the predicted danger zone is 4 miles from the summit. The group was comprised mostly of Indonesian guys who like to play army with air rifles. Think paintball geeks, and you’ll have the right picture.
According to his latest post on Saturday, Mount Merapi is still throwing out a lot of smoke.

(Thanks Jason)

The Nintendo Amusement Park

The Nintendo Amusement Park is an idea by three dudes to replicate the fun that is Super Mario. Player will be attached to a power assisted harness while he jumps up and down in a real life obstacle course. The creators of the Nintendo Amusement Park is currently looking for collaborators, sponsors and investors for the next phases of the project. Those who are in New York can give the Nintendo Amusement Park a try tomorrow May 22nd, 2006. Check out their website for more details.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's not a rainbow. It's a moonbow!

Who says only the sun can create rainbows? The moonbow or lunar rainbow is created when light from a very bright full moon less than 42º high in the sky, is shining towards the rain opposite the moon. Moonbows are extremely rare. I've been doing astronomy since I was 10 and I have never come across one.

How to watch internet porn safely

All you porn addicts out there, go get the Eye Fi, the only way to download and watch porn. Hehe, now you can enjoy your porn at work and still keep your job.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Beware of Postural Syndrome

Those of us who are spending hours daily infront of our computers should beware of postural syndrome, a repetitive stress to the neck and thoracic spine, or the 12 vertebrae of the mid-back and chest area. From
A prolonged slouch over many years causes the disc space to narrow, which in turn can cause nerve irritation that spreads underneath the shoulder blades, down the arms and down the back...

Its concentration in the fourth thoracic spine leads some to refer to it as "T4 syndrome" because it can cause numbness to nerves in the back and arms, and radiate pain to the upper and lower back. Despite the differences in terms, all doctors and physical therapists agree: The human body was not meant for sitting or working in one position all day, and prolonged work at the computer can eventually cause the body to short-circuit.

"It's not a life-or-death situation," Palmer said. "It just sucks to have to live with it."

Password tips you can use

Passwords, passwords and more passwords. They are already becoming a part of our daily lives. With more applications (offline and online) requiring us to use a password, the question of security becomes more important. Should you use just one password or a few? gives you ten tips on how you can be more secure and how to manage your passwords more effectively. From
A password which consists of at least eight characters with a mix of upper case, lower case and numbers is a good start. If the minimum requirement is too long staff may be encouraged to be lazy and use repeat characters or obvious strings: ABCDEFG123456789.

However, a minimum with a reasonably high upper limit would allow staff to be creative. One suggestion is to use phrases rather than words. Certainly 'mYd0g1sCALLEDf1d0' is less likely to be guessed that 'Fido'. Again, it's a step in the right direction towards creating more secure passwords.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Time for the world to act on Burma

The military junta that operates Burma is terrorizing thousands of families living in the eastern part of the country with cruel and barbaric acts. From BBC:
The Khu family had arrived a day earlier trekking for a month from their village.

The father, Sawmaw, said Burmese government troops had burned every house and killed some of his neighbours.

The family then fled with a bag of rice and a blanket. Thirteen-year-old Sayploe helped carry his younger brothers.

Another man, Sawwysher, told me Burmese soldiers had ordered his village to watch them torture a suspected rebel.

They tied him to a tree and beat him to death.

In the past few months, government troops have launched a major new offensive.

That has triggered an exodus of civilians, perhaps as many as 15,000, who are either hiding in the jungle or heading for the border with Thailand.
I find it strange that the US, the UN and the world takes the global fight on terror so seriously but they do nothing to prevent the terrorist Burmese government and military from killing, raping and torturing its people. The ASEAN countries are also turning a blind eye towards the atrocities of their neighbour. Countries like Singapore do nothing but continue to invest heavily in Burma through joint ventures with the military regime. How many more people in Burma have to suffer and die before the world acts? Here's my message to the UN. Wanna fight terror? Let's do it in Burma before it is too late.

The Star Trek House

Dude redesigned his house to look like the Transporter Control Console featured in Star Trek The Next Generation. The only thing he needs now to complete his new home is a wardrobe full of Trekkie uniforms and costumes.

(Thanks Philly)

Chewy has a blog!

Our favourite Wookiee from Star Wars has a blog! Chewbacca, you're one cool cyber Wookiee mate. From Chewy:
HHHüürrRRRRRRRRn hhhh! HHHurrRRRRR RRRn hhhh. UUUHHH GGG-rrrr! UUUHHH GGG-rrrrRRR! RRRR RRR-DDDDD! HHHurrRRRRRUü HHHGGG-rrrr! UüüHHHGGG-rrrrRRR! huurrrrrr! uhhn.


I reckon that's Wookiee language.

(Thanks swoosh)

Jesus and Friends Action Figures

Grab the Jesus Christ action figure from Jesus Christ Superstore. Each Jesus figurine comes with a Ninja-Messiah throwing nails and a Death Killer-Cross pump action over-under shotgun! Not a big fan of Jesus? Don't worry. They also have the Dalai Lama, God Almighty, Buddha, Shiva and the Pope action figures.

(Thanks Mr Big)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The aborigins perform

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: The aborigins perform

Living with Mount Merapi

Ambar who is currently living in Singapore, recounts her experience living with Mount Merapi, the erupting Indonesian volcano which is triggering mass evacuation for the people living near it. From cerita ambar:
My first encounter actually in 1992 when Mt Merapi erupted with massive lava flow. I was just graduated from high school which I used to be a member of hiking club. I climbed Mt Merbabu where lied across the Mt Merapi. On that day I heard about Merapi. Like today's news, everybody flocked into Mt Merapi. But I decided watching it from far. I drove motorcycle went to the highest place I can find. Someone told me that the flyover (recently built) was a favorite for people seeing lava at night. Oh yes I was there. The beauty but deadly lava flew brightly. We were amused and wondered in same time.

Then about end of 1993 the University that I went moved to the new location -Jalan Kaliurang about 8km from the last village of Merapi. During that year I experienced so many volcanic earthquakes that I get used to it. Sometimes when you lying on the floor you feel the earth moving, but did not caused any destruction. I used to go to the villages for walking or simply get out from buzzy life as a student. Having noodle soup at the hiker warung (food stall) with my trusty Honda motorcycle. I experienced the 1994 eruption when most of the victims been carried through Jl Kaliurang with badly damaged skin from wedhus gembel ( pyroclastic flows- an extreme hot cloud that flew along with lava). In total 43 people of Mt Merapi died on that day.

BBC interviews wrong dude on TV

Here is the classic video of the BBC TV program in which they interviewed the wrong guy. editor Guy Kewney was supposed to be interviewed during the show but Guy Goma, who was at the BBC office to apply for an IT position, was mistakenly brought on air. Check out his expression when he's being introduced. I wonder what he was thinking. Maybe along the lines of, "Shit man, I'm not Guy Kewney. Oh nevermind, let's play along." HA!!! Seriously, you have to hand it to the guy. He did a fantastic job. I do hope he gets the IT job though. Come on BBC. Give it to him.

(via Boing Boing)

Monday, May 15, 2006

The person I want to meet in heaven

In the brilliant book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, the main character Eddie met five people in heaven after he died in a tragic accident while trying to save a girl. The five people explained to him why he lived and what he lived for.

I don't really believe in heaven. I have always thought that heaven is more of a fairy tale. But if there is really one and when I do die and if I get to choose the five people I'm supposed to meet in heaven, I'd choose my beautiful mum as one of them.

So this is how I want my own version of The Five People You Meet In Heaven to be:

"You have to live without love for many years, didn't you?"

I said nothing.

"You felt that it was snatched away, that I left you too soon."

I lowered myself slowly. Her lavander dress was spread before me.

"You did leave too soon mum," I said.

"You were angry with me."


Her beautiful eyes flashed.

"OK. Yes."

"There was a reason to it all," she said.

"What reason?" I said. "How could there be a reason? You died mum. You were taken away from me. I didn't get a chance to thank you for all you have done for me. I didn't get a chance to take good care of you and give back to you. You were the only person I think of everyday since you were gone. You died. You lost everything and I lost everything. I lost my mum."

She took my hands. "No, you didn't. I was right here. And you loved me anyway. Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, thats all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move then around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. Your nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it."

"Life has to end," she said. "Love doesn't."

I thought about the years after I buried my mum. It seems like only yesterday. It was like looking over a fence. I remembered my mum told me when I was a little boy, of another kind of life out there, even as I knew I would never be a part of it.

"It is so unfair mum. You shouldn't have gone," I said quietly.

"I know," she said.

"I miss you so much."

"I know." She nodded. "I felt it."

"Here?" I asked.

"Even here," she said smilingly. "That's how strong lost love can be."

She stood and opened a door, and I blinked as I entered behind her. It was a dimply lit room. There was no ceiling, only glittering stars above us.

"I was saving this one," she said.

She held out her arms. It was a small white tube that is roughly around a metre in length. The words EduScience was written on it. A telescope! It was the first telescope that my mum bought for me back then I was 12.

"I thought I will never get to see it again," I said.

"Well, you thought wrong. You did get to see me," she said.

"I never said this to you before mum but thanks for the telescope. Without it, I would have never grew up with a strong passion for astronomy. You know after your death, every night when I looked up at the night sky and when I gazed at the stars, it brought me closer to you. It's like you were looking down back at me, mum."

"Well," she whispered, taking my shoulder, "you always loved those expensive hobbies."

We both smiled.

"Can I ask you something?" I said.


"How come you look the way you looked like when you are young?"

"I thought you would like it this way."

I thought for a moment. "Can you change it?"

"Change it?" She looked amused. "To what?"

"To the end."

She lowered her arms. "I wasn't so pretty at the end."

I shook my head, as if to say not true.

"Could you?"

She took a moment and then she changed. The web of lines beside her eyes, the thinner hair, the looser skin beneath her chin. She smiled and I smiled and she was to me, as beautiful as ever, and I closed my eyes and said for the first time what I'd been feeling from the moment I saw her again: "I don't want to go on. I want to stay here with you mum."

When I opened my eyes, my arms still held her shape but she was gone, and so was everything else...

Happy Mother's Day mum, wherever you are now. I miss you badly.

Top 10 most stressful professions

A survey done in the US found that IT professionals are the most stressful as compared to other professions. Those working in the medicine and caring industry have the second most stressful jobs followed by those in engineering, sales and marketing, education, finance, human resources, operations, production and lastly clerical. From 33 News:
A staggering 97 percent of people working in IT claim to find their life at work stressful on a daily basis.

Four out of five IT consultants feel stressed before they even enter the workplace, in anticipation of another day juggling complaints, pressure from managers and daily targets.

And a quarter of IT experts are under such enormous pressure to perform at work they have taken time off suffering with stress.

The poll also revealed that a third of IT professionals say it is difficult to get the work done when managers are constantly on their backs.

One IT respondent said: “I spend most of my day fielding calls from people who don’t even have a basic knowledge of computers and printers.
The survey also revealed that workload is the number one work stress that these workers faced. Feeling undervalued came second, followed by deadlines, type of work people have to do, having to take on other people’s work, lack of job satisfaction, lack of control over the working day, having to work long hours, frustration with the working environment and targets.

How to show you are a physicist

Here are 20 ways to show you are a physicist even when you are not. Great for those who love play acting. From the site:
# Never answer your mail. 99 per cent of those who write to you are in an inferior position. Why else would they write? However, requests for reprints of your articles should be answered immediately to ensure rapid propagation of your brilliance.
# When reviewing a book be certain to find at least four errors in judgement or fact. Remember, as a book reviewer your superior position has already been acknowledged - it is your task to justify that trust.
# Never address an audience without a piece of chalk in hand. The listener's eyes are glued to this weapon waiting for it to strike.
# Never give a talk without a mathematical derivation.
# If anyone in your audience is not taking notes, glare at him unmercifully. the gems of your oral utterances deserve to be recorded for posterity.
# Learn the music of at least half a dozen early composers, preferably all before Bach.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Asian gambling syndicates are big winners in Spurs' defeat

Millions were made by gamblers placing bets on the Spurs vs West Ham game in which Spurs lost after their players suffered from a suspicious food poisoning. It is now revealed that there was a surge in heavy betting on West Ham to beat Spurs hours before it was made public that Spurs players were suffering from the food illness. Spurs was favourite to beat West Ham in their final game of the season and go on to take the fourth Premiership spot and an entry into the lucrative Champions League. From Times Online:
Bookmakers believe that even if a criminal gang did not sabotage the Spurs players’ food, there was a leak of vital information that gave the syndicates a head start...

A lawyer working for a London bookmaker, who asked not to identified, said: “The big money on West Ham started just before 8am. Serious chunks of cash were being waged, enough to win £1m or more on a single bet. Millions will have been won in Asia.

“We think it is suspicious because at that time there had been no public announcement about the illness. We don’t know if it was a gambling syndicate trying to ring the game or inside information.”
Previously: We were poisoned!!!

Singapore's legal system is an utterly politicized component of executive rule?

A court case in Canada between a Canadian oil and gas company and a Singaporean company will be damaging for Singapore according to analysts because it is highlighting a lot of apparent or perceived problems in the Singapore legal system. From International Herald Tribune:
A court of appeal in Canada is being asked for the first time to determine whether legal decisions made in Singapore are sufficiently fair and impartial to meet the standards of justice of other developed countries.

In documents tendered to the appeals court in the province of Ontario, Singapore's judicial reputation has been subject to scathing attack. Lawyers have alleged in court documents that the Singapore legal system is an "utterly politicized component of executive rule" in which there is no guarantee of fairness even in commercial cases. The Singaporean Ministry of Law rejects these claims.

The case, now before the Ontario Court of Appeal, has also become a forum for some critics of Singapore's political and justice system and served to resurrect grievances about old legal cases brought against opponents of the People's Action Party, which has been in power since 1959.

What's in your makeup bag?

Take a look at what ladies keep in their makeup bags at What's in your makeup bag? pool on Flickr. So what's in yours? Go add to the collection.

(Thanks Giselle Loh)

The Tetris Man

Dude went around town dressed up as a Tetris piece. I think he has a serious case of Tetrislitis.

(Thanks sandhillguv)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Using a webcam for macro photography

You do not need expensive macro lens and cameras to do macro photography. This dude finds out that he can actually take macro photographs using a Philips ToUCam webcam. This shot of a ballpoint pen and his hair was taken with his "new" macro webcam.

In love with Nicole

Gosh, I think I'm falling in love with Nicole. She's such a doll.

(Thanks mika)

Don't sell pirated DVDs to a minister

Here's an advice for those of you who might be planning to sell pirated DVDs or VCDs as a career. Do NOT sell them to a minister especially one who is heading the crackdown on piracy in your country. From Yahoo News:
A Malaysian peddler of pirated DVDs has been busted after unwittingly offering his wares to Consumer Affairs Minister Shafie Apdal as he sat at a popular restaurant strip, a report said.

Shafie, who is masterminding Malaysia's campaign to crack down on piracy ahead of negotiations with the United States for a free-trade agreement, was offered a range of the latest movie titles, the New Straits Times said.

He then organised a sting operation which saw the peddler arrested after he sold DVDs to officers posing as buyers, it said.
(Thanks Farid)

Attack of the birds

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Attack of the birds

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thanks for the Photobloggies nomination

The finalists for the 2006 Photobloggies have been announced. My photoblog Katoomba Syndrome is in the Best South East Asia Photoblog category. Yeah! This year's winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from photo magazines such as JPG Magazine, Gomma Magazine, foto8 and more. The winners will be announced on May 22.

I'm really honoured to be in the company of other wonderful photobloggers Imran from Singapore, Ziboy from China, Hayath from India and Leslie who is backpacking in China till Christmas, in the awards' Best South East Asia Photoblog category. If I'm one of the judges, I will give the award to Foto by Imran. Imran's works are simply stunning. Well done mate.

Lastly, many many thanks to all those who took the trouble to nominate my photoblog. You guys are the best! Here's something for all. Just click the play button, listen and enjoy.

powered by ODEO

Thanks again and lots of love.

The evolution of dance

Dude dances to various genre of music from the likes of MC Hammer's Can't Touch This to N'Sync's Bye Bye Bye. This dude is da bomb! I just can't stop laughing while watching him over and over again. Kinda reminds me of the dance steps I used to do and still do today. Ha!

(Thanks bloodtiori)

The OSIM iVibe

I'm beginning to believe that OSIM's product designers actually design their products to double up as a sex toy. Hot on the heels of the iGallop which I blogged in January, comes the OSIM iVibe. It is designed to provide quick relief for any form of muscle discomfort, such as sores, tired calf muscles, aching feet, stiff neck, shoulders or back. It is rechargeable and easily portable, you can indulge in a rejuvenating massage anytime, anywhere indoors. The product website added that the sensation experienced from the vibrating flexible head is like having a relaxing massage by a professional massage therapist.

Hmmmm. I don't know about you but to me, the iVibe looks like and acts like a vibrator. Crikey, what are they going to think of next?

Previously: iGallop Supreme

Mario Rubik Cube Wall Art

Dude made a mosaic wall art of the Super Mario video game character using Rubik Cubes. Take a look at how he did it on his Flickr set.

(Thanks don)

Health treatments in Tokyo

Chocolate spa, the human washing machine, Yomogi Mushi are some of the eclectic health treatments that are popular with the people in Tokyo. Metropolis takes a closer look at ten wonderful but weird health treatments. From Metropolis:
8. Yomogi Mushi

This centuries-old therapy is imported from Korea and basically involves wafting steam into the privates of females for the purpose of enhancing their reproductive capabilities. How does the steam reach its destination, you ask? Well, you sit naked, legs akimbo, on a chair with a hole in the seat. Then an assistant puts a small tent over your head and adds boiling water and herbs to a basin underneath you, whereupon steam billows up through the tent and poaches your accoutrements. Obvious, really.

“It cleans the uterus,” explains therapist Eiko Nomichi. “Women use it if they have a problem, or just to maintain good health.” Professor Keum Pang of Howard University in Washington, DC adds, “This practice enhances general homeostasis, circulation and vital energy, leading to healthy fertility with hygiene.” In the end, it made no difference to my homeostasis, but I’d certainly recommend it to any woman seeking an unusual way to dry-clean her lady-garden. Rakuzaya, ¥2,010 for 30min.
Yomogi Mushi for you ladies? Hehe.


Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Wheels

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Ten Commandments of Bangkok Bar Girls

Ladies and gents, presenting The Bangkok Bar Girls' Ten Commandments. "Thou shall not say how fat or ugly he is." Interesting read on how these girls really work. From FriskoDude:
1. At the end of the week, specifically Friday and Saturday, many locally employed walking ATM machines will come to your bar, choose carefully! Some have money, but others do not! If he is wearing a suit and tie, check that the tie is not a Pratunam special and check that he isn't wearing trainers. If he is, forget him because he is most likely an English teacher, and they will only give you peanuts, if they give you anything at all.

2. No matter how fat and ugly he is, no matter how bad he may smell, no matter how drunk he is, make sure you always tell him he is handsome. Sit close to him and run your hands over his body, arousing him. As soon as he has paid the bar fine, you can stand clear of him. Even if he knows that you despise him, he'll still pay you. The hard part is getting him to pay the bar, and as soon as he has done that, the rest is easy.

NASA 1970s Space Colony Art

In the 1970s, NASA commisioned artists to design space colonies that can hold at least 10,000 people. These artwork can now be viewed on the NASA website.

(Thanks D.D.)

The Ferarri Factory

Lucky writer from CanadianDriver, an online automobile magazine gets to walk into the Ferrari Factory in Italy to see how they build the world's beautiful cars. From CanadianDriver:
Walk through the Ferrari factory towards the end of the working day - its hours are like regular office hours, Monday through Friday - and it can seem almost like you're in Willy Wonka's candy factory. On the line where they make V8-engined F430s, young workers in full Ferrari-red regalia circle around their work stations, smiles on their faces, and a tune whistling from their lips.

Most of the people working on the factory floor are in their 20s and 30s, as a whole chunk of older workers - hired in the sixties - retired recently, all at the same time. So as if building Ferraris wasn't enough, the whole place buzzes with a lot more energy than your typical car factory. Workers have decorated their stations with Ferrari stickers, Schumacher posters, and other automotive memorabilia; they're free to wear what they want, but they're all wearing something red.
(Thanks Reed)

How to clean your cooking oil after deep frying

One thing I hate about deep frying is those disgusting looking black food particles left in the cooking oil. Draining the oil is such a chore so most of the time, I will just throw it away. Now thanks to this cool Japanese video, I finally found a brilliant way to clean the cooking oil so that I can reuse it for future cooking. You'll need to make a starch paste, put it in the microwave oven and then put it into the oil to attract the particles.

How to make beer

This amazing step by step guide teaches you how to make your own beer with a few simple pieces of equipment and ingredients. From Instructables:

Step 7 Cooling the Wort

Congratulations! At this point you have wort (pronounced wert). Wort is simply unfermented beer. Quicker is better when it comes to cooling. One method for cooling is to create a cold water bath in the sink to partially submerse the brew pot in. Adding ice to the bath will help accelerate the cooling process. Gently swirl the brew pot in the cold bath water. Once the sides of the brew pot become cool to the touch you're ready for the next step but first a word on sanitation.

Out for drying

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Out for drying

Monday, May 08, 2006

We were poisoned!!!

The dreams of my beloved Tottenham Hotspur football club (Spurs) were over last night in an almost unthinkable dramatic manner. Needing a win against West Ham to cement their fourth spot in the English Premier League which guarantees them entry to Europe's most profitable competition, the Champions League, Spurs lost 2-1 in the end. To make matters worse, their biggest rival Arsenal won their last game to take the fourth spot.

Actually I feel the writing is on the wall even before Spurs kicked a ball at West Ham. BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson who frequently predicts a lost for Spurs but they win anyway, surprisingly decided to pick a win for them against West Ham. A sign of bad luck coming from him maybe. Then just before the game started, news came in that 10 of Spurs players suffered from food poisoning. The game was in doubt but it did go on after Premier League officials told Spurs that they cannot postpone the game. From ESPNsoccernet:
Michael Dawson, is generally a pale faced individual, yet he looked close to collapsing on a couple of occasions. Trying to stretch out his hamstring, the centre-back collapsed head first into the pitch at one point and with Spurs officials desperately trying to administer bottles of fluid to their stricken stars, it was clear that this was no scare story. From the moment referee Chris Foy blew his whistle for the first time, their efforts their biggest league game in almost 30 years were doomed.

'I have never experienced anything like this in my career before,' stated Jol after the game. 'We have ended up finishing fifth, but this cannot be considered a fair situation. The Premier League said we could delay kick-off, but I wanted this match to be played on Monday. By then, the food poisoning would have been out of our system and we could have tried properly, but it wasn't to be.
The Telegraph has a better account on what actually happened. From the Telegraph:
At that moment, 10 first-team Tottenham players, including their leading scorer, Robbie Keane, and Michael Carrick were violently sick with food poisioning. For hours it seemed that Tottenham, who had a squad of 17, were not even sure they could field 11 players at West Ham. Indeed, when I arrived at Upton Park at 1.30pm, one Tottenham director told me: "We will have to field 10, have you got your boots?"

...Then, from about 1am, virtually Tottenham's entire team were violently sick: Davids, Tainio, Keane, Dawson, Carrick, Lennon, Cerny, the reserve goalkeeper, Davenport, Barnard and Lee. Carrick, the most ill, was hardly able to walk.
I'm no sour grapes. A loss is a loss but do think about this. 10 of our players mysteriously struck with food poisoning before the most important game of the season and our rivals, Arsenal needing a victory to claim the fourth spot from us, manage to win their game. This defeat is so hard to swallow. If we had our players fit and healthy and lose out to West Ham, I think most Spurs fans will admit we are not good enough and we will give credit to Arsenal for taking the fourth spot on the very last day.

To say that someone (maybe one of those Arsenal fans) deliberately contaminated pre-match meal that was given to Spurs is a serious allegation but if this is true, then I pray that the guy who poisoned the meal has a lifetime of diarrhea. And as for Arsenal, I hope Barcelona kick their asses come the Champions League final next week. Man, I'm going to be sick.

Britain's Ministry of Defence explains UFOs

The British military, apparently with way too much time and money in their hands, has been investigating reports of unidentified flying objects or UFOs for four years and recently they decided to release the report. The conclusion is UFOs are not from other worlds. From Telegraph:
Scientists at the Defence Intelligence Staff, part of the Ministry of Defence, reportedly described how glowing "plasmas" of gas were created by charges of electricity. Air flows then sculpted the plasmas into aerodynamic shapes which appeared to fly at extraordinary speeds through the sky.

The researchers were emphatic that UFOs did not come from alien civilisations, but equally did not dismiss those who claimed to have seen them as fantasists or hoaxers, the newspaper said.

Instead, they said such plasmas could play tricks on the mind, creating vivid impressions. They noted that "local [electromagnetic] fields...have been medically proven to cause responses in the temporal lobes of the brain."

As a result, people who thought they'd seen a UFO were instead suffering from "extended memory retention and repeat experiences" induced by the plasmas.
(Thanks seow)

Singapore General Election results in the eyes of the foreign media

The People's Action Party (PAP) has returned to power (not surprisingly) in Singapore's General Election, winning 82 out of 84 seats in Parliament. Opposition parties retain Hougang and Potong Pasir seats. PAP took 66.6% of the valid votes. This posting takes a look at what some of the foreign media is saying about the results.

The Voice Of America repors on Singapore's very small steps toward a more liberal society. From VOA News:
While strict limits remain on freedom of the press and assembly, his government now allows gatherings, in hotels, of more than five people. He has liberalized somewhat the ability of people born abroad to acquire Singaporean citizenship.

These are not the sweeping changes the government's critics would like to see. But Sinapan Samydorai, president of the Think Centre, which promotes greater political openness in the country, speaks favorably of Mr. Lee.

"So, I think, under him, he does want to open up a little bit more, and, I think, he wants to relate with the younger generation," said Sinapan Samydorai.
The Sydney Morning Herald puts out the headline "Opposition makes waves in Singapore" and highlighted the Prime Minister's apology to an earlier statement he made. From
It is clear Mr Lee expects to lead the country for many years to come, and comments he made last week showed he does not want a pesky opposition getting in the way.

"Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I'm going to spend all my time thinking what's the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters' votes," he said on Wednesday.

He later apologised, saying he had meant he would have to spend time countering the opposition rather than addressing issues of state...

"No party lives forever. The PAP's overwhelming dominance is making them less battle-ready," Sylvia Lim, chairwoman of the Workers' Party, said on election day. "The PAP has an arrogance towards the opposition. When we released our manifesto, they told us to change it because it was politically not acceptable."

The Workers' Party ignored the Government's demand. With its slogan "You have a choice", it tapped a new desire in Singapore for a more open, inclusive political environment. It won recognition in the electorate for the calibre of its candidates and the organisation of its campaign, polling 38.4 per cent of the vote in the seats it contested.
The Standard, a business newspaper in China talks about the doubts remaining in Singapore's political system and the arrest of James Gomes from the opposition, The Workers' Party. From The Standard:
"You have a political system where one-third votes for the opposition and yet only has two out of 84 seats," said Garry Rodan, head of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. "So one-third is under-represented in parliament and large numbers of those are probably losing out in the economic restructuring...."

An opposition politician was arrested Sunday for allegedly threatening the country's election officials, a day after he failed to win a seat. Workers' Party candidate James Gomez was arrested Sunday for alleged "criminal intimidation," his aide Jacob George said.

Gomez was attempting to leave the country but was stopped by immigration officials, who turned him over to the police.
The International Herald Tribune carrying a report by Agence France-Presse focuses on the hard-line campaign tactics and financial incentives that the PAP uses to retain control. From International Herald Tribune:
Before the election, the government - which denied buying votes - announced cash handouts ranging from 200 to 2,600 Singapore dollars, or $127 to $1,650, to adult citizens as their share of national surpluses resulting from economic growth under the PAP.

Despite this strategy, 44 percent of voters in a working-class district supported political newcomers fielded by the Workers' Party against a more experienced PAP slate led by George Yeo, a former foreign minister. As a result, the Workers' Party, which has attracted professionals to its ranks, is entitled to a nonelected seat in Parliament under a "best loser" provision, in addition to the one held by its re-elected leader, Low Thia Khiang...

Sinapan Samydorai, a human rights advocate, said the PAP's share of seats was not representative of popular sentiment because of the "winner take all" political system in Singapore.

"There is a sign of hope" that if the opposition "can get more than 30 percent of the vote," he said, adding, "People recognize that there is a need for an opposition, but they are not getting the seats yet."
How to win the General Election
Voting in Singapore is compulsory... really!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Photos of fish eyes

I never thought fish eyes can be this beautiful. Check out more stunning fish eye photos at Deborah's Fish Eyes set on Flickr. Now I know what to bring along the next time I head down to the market. My camera!

(Thanks T Mills)

Boob job may harm breastfeeding

Most women would like to have bigger breasts. Some will go under the knife to achieve the size they want but making your breasts bigger may not be better. According to a research, women who went for cosmetic breast enlargement may find it difficult to breastfeed their child. From The Observer:
Ultrasound technology has revealed that there are far fewer milk ducts in the breast than previously thought. As a result, experts believe the loss of only a few ducts in cosmetic surgery can seriously affect the capacity to breastfeed...

...the glandular tissue is concentrated nearer the nipple, not evenly distributed in the breast. The findings could change the surgical strategies for women who want their breasts either enhanced or reduced, as tissue is often taken from near the nipple area.
(Thanks Shy)

The first Superman comic book

Superman is the brainchild of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. During its early years, Superman was turned down by every comic syndicate editor in the US but then came along a DC Comics publisher who was looking for material for his new title, Action Comics. He immediately liked the idea and as they say the rest is history. This is the cover of the first comic book that Superman appeared in. It is the June 1938 Issue No.1 of Action Comics. You can view the scans of the comic here.

Create your own special doll

You can create your own special doll at Madame Alexander Doll Factory. All you need to do is to choose the skin, eye, hair colour and style. Your doll will be delivered to you in two weeks. The pic here shows the doll I created. My only complain with the Madame Alexander Doll Factory is that they should provide the customer with more options.

Street Light

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Street Light

Nominations for The 2006 Photobloggies is closing in 21 hours.
Do nominate Katoomba Syndrome for the Best South East Asia Photoblog category.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

100 million Chinese bloggers by 2007

Blogging is BIG in China. According to a report written by one of China's most prestigious universities, China will have 100 million bloggers by 2007. From Xinhua:
China expects 100 million bloggers to be writing about their life, love, angst and inspirations on the country's cyberspace by 2007...

The paper said there will be more than 60 million bloggers in China by the end of this year. The word "blog" was one of the most searched words on the Internet in China last year, the report said. A survey by, a major Chinese search engine, shows that there are 36.82 million blog sites in China that are kept currently by 16 million people.

Zhang Xiaorong, strategy development director of "Bokee", one of the first blog service suppliers in China, said his company adds about 100,000 blogs a day.

Manila breaks breast feeding record

3,738 mothers in Manila, Philippines have set a new world record for breast feeding during an event to raise awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding. From inQ7:
A total of 3,738 mothers simultaneously nursed their babies for one minute yesterday in Manila to break the world record for such an activity and to make Filipinos aware of the importance of breast-feeding and its health benefits.

The attempt to break the Guinness world record was successful.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the previous record was held by Berkeley, California, where 1,135 mothers simultaneously breast-fed their babies for a minute on Aug. 3, 2002.

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