Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wired News wants your Star Trek photos

Wired News is calling all Star Trek fans to contribute their Star Trek photos. They will then select the photos and use them for their front page gallery on September 8 as part of the Star Trek 40th anniversary. You can contribute your photos by posting to their Star Trek Submissions group on Flickr.

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

The Bubble Baba Challenge

Dang! Those Russians sure know how to have fun. Pictures from the annual Bubble Baba Challenge (link goes to a Russian page with links to all the pictures) where Russian men and their inflatable sex dolls challenge each other to be the first couple to swim across the cold Vuoksa river near st. Petersburg. Reader xXx tells me that the first prize is a night for two (man and sex doll) at a luxury hotel. Of course, he is kidding.

(Thanks xXx)

How to remember the planets in Japanese

Thanks to my mate kayanon who lives in Akita, Japan, now I know how to memorize the planets in Japanese. From Discover Japan!:
In Japanese there is also one way to memorize 9 planets. That is “Sui Kin Chi Ka Moku Do Ten Kai Mei (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)” It may sound like Okyoh, but every Japanese people learns this at school.

Sui Suisei(水星) Mercury
Kin Kinsei(金星) Venus
Chi Chikyu(地球) Earth
Ka Kasei(火星) Mars
Moku Mokusei(木星) Jupiter
Do Dosei(土星) Saturn
Ten Tennousei(天王星) Uranus
Kai Kaiousei(海王星) Neptune
Mei Meiousei(冥王星) Pluto

Little People

Little People is a tiny street art project involving little hand-painted people, left in London to fend for themselves. I love it! Can't wait for the next pictures.

RC plane made of beer cans

Some dudes built a remote control plane out of empty beer cans. Not sure if that thing can really fly but I do wish someone would do one out of Tiger Beer cans.

(Thanks GeekGod)

Remembering Katrina

August 29, 2006 marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which is one of the most destructive natural disasters in the United States. The following is a post dated September 5, 2005 taken from my old blog (now offline). It is worth reading again.

-Katrina Survivor Speaks-

Spencer Francis is an American friend that I got to know through work. It was four years ago when I helped to raise some funding for his start up company based in Silicon Valley. Spencer is also a regular reader of IZ Reloaded. He was on holiday in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. He talked to me a few hours ago via phone.

IZ: Howdy Spence. It is so good to hear from you mate. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

Spencer: Always nice to hear a friendly voice.

IZ: Can you tell me and share with my readers what you've been through?

Spencer: Oh man, it was hell.

IZ: What were you doing in New Orleans?

Spencer: I was taking a break from work. I flew to New Orleans 10 days ago with a couple of friends. I've always loved New Orleans and the previous time I was there was three years ago. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to New Orleans ever again.

IZ: Are you aware that New Orleans is going to be hit by Katrina?

Spencer: Well, it was all over the news. I've encountered hurricanes before and I thought it would be okay to just try to stay through the storm but the city of New Orleans ordered an evacuation when it realised that it will be hit bad.

IZ: Where did you go to?

Spencer: We were asked to take shelter at the Superdome. Initially we thought it would be just for the night or two until the hurricane flies past us. It was relatively okay in the Superdome until we start getting more and more people flocking in. By the second day, it was like hell.

IZ: Reports said that the conditions were very bad there.

Spencer: We had, I think more than 20,000 people in the Superdome. Maybe even much more. We had no air con, no water and no food! We keep hearing that the govt is coming to help us. It is the same thing everyday but no one came. Oh man, you would freak out if you were there. At night, there were no lights and everyone was afraid. Most of the people there are blacks. I would say 99%. Whites like me were stared at and abused everytime we walk to the toilet for example. There were also rapes going on in the Superdome, some people were stabbed, molested. I couldn't believe that I'm in America. It was like Somalia. And the toilets were disgusting. Smell of urine and faeces everywhere. We come to the Superdome to seek refuge but all we get is hell.

IZ: What about the police? Is there anyone to provide some sort of protection for the people?

Spencer: From what I heard, the New Orleans police officers were busy in the streets, having their own gun battle with thugs. Then, I came across a group of Australians and Britons. We decided to group together and watch each other's back. Man, everyone was crying. It was horrible.

IZ: So when did you leave the Superdome?

Spencer: Only on Saturday morning. All of the sudden the army finally showed up. We got into one of the first few buses. It was chaotic. I even saw a few dead bodies lying around the Superdome. We were so happy to get out of the place man. We were sent to Houston and we managed to get a flight.

IZ: Are you satisfied with what the govt did?

Spencer: Hell no man! Five fucking days. No help. Nothing. It is like they deserted the people of New Orleans. Even now, the govt isn't doing much. There are still people on the freeways and on the streets that no one is helping. I'm outraged with the people we put our faith to lead and protect us. We are Americans! Our own govt can't even help us as fast as possible. Five days! That's crap man!

IZ: Spence, I'm glad that you and your friends are fine. Thanks again for talking to me.

Spencer: I hope you in Singapore are having a more comfortable time than me.

IZ: Well, except for the rain. No hurricanes here. Talk to you again. Cheers mate.

- End -

Spencer has yet to vist Katrina again after his experience.

Update: Spencer tells me that despite the occasional Superbowl nightmares, he will be making a trip to New Orleans for the New Year. Good on ya, mate!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I have the power!

This rare music video of I Have The Power, taken from the soundtrack of the classic animated feature film, He-Man and She-Ra: Secret of The Sword, kicks ass big time! Secret of The Sword is my favourite animated movie of all time and I love that song! And Princess Adora (She-Ra) is so pweeeeeetiiiiii!!!

History of Kotex

On Monday, I blogged about The Story of Menstruation, a cartoon made by Disney and Kotex. Some of you then sent me the link to the History of Kotex. Thanks to you fellas, now I know that Kotex was created by army nurses who found that creped wadding which was used as bandages during World War I, was also suitable for feminine care.

(Thanks Liberati, Shy, queenie and diggerzak)

Previously: The Story of Menstruation

Why Chinese is so damn hard?

David Moser of the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies on why Chinese is so damn hard. From
At the end of three years of learning Chinese, I hadn't yet read a single complete novel. I found it just too hard, impossibly slow, and unrewarding. Newspapers, too, were still too daunting. I couldn't read an article without looking up about every tenth character, and it was not uncommon for me to scan the front page of the People's Daily and not be able to completely decipher a single headline. Someone at that time suggested I read The Dream of the Red Chamber and gave me a nice three-volume edition. I just have to laugh. It still sits on my shelf like a fat, smug Buddha, only the first twenty or so pages filled with scribbled definitions and question marks, the rest crisp and virgin. After six years of studying Chinese, I'm still not at a level where I can actually read it without an English translation to consult.

NTUC Income CEO on stolen vehicles in Singapore

Tan Kin Lian, CEO of NTUC Income provides us with interesting information regarding stolen vehicles in Singapore. From Tan Kin Lian's Blog:
1. NTUC Income received 300 claims for stolen vehicles in 2004, 387 claims in 2005, and 200 claims for 6 months of 2006. The number is increasing each year.

2. In general, the theft rate for Toyota RAV4, Toyota Harrier, Lexus and motorcycles are higher than other models.

3. We have settled about 95% of the claim, after the police has completed its investigation that it is a genuine theft case. We will settle the claim within 7 working days from the police investigation report.

Japanese ATM roulette game

A Japanese bank has created an ATM roulette game to woo customers to use its ATM services. From Reuters:
A roulette wheel pops onto the screen of automatic teller machines when customers of Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank Ltd finish transferring funds. A lucky spin and the customer wins 1,000 yen ($8.50).

"Using ATMs is impersonal and lacks communication," said a spokesman for the bank which is based in Gifu prefecture, central Japan. "We wanted to add some fun."

The new service will start from September 13 at 134 of the bank's branches.

The roulette game is Ogaki Kyoritsu's second shot at jazzing up its ATM services. It launched an on-screen slot machine game last August, in which customers may win prizes of an ATM fee waiver or 1,000 yen after withdrawing money.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How to create your own planet

Here's a nice tutorial that teaches you how to create your own planet using your panorama photos with the help of Photoshop. Crop your photo to make left and right border fit. Rotate it 180° and then rescale into a square image. Use "Polar" Filter and then do some digital editing to hide the stitch borders. Simple aye? Once you have created your own planet, you can post it on Flickr and add it to the Create Your Own Planets photoset.

First 100 days of National Service

A documentary made by Singapore's Ministry of Defence about the first 100 days of National Service (NS). A good watch for those preparing to do their NS. Good luck and have fun aye. (Thanks Harlem)

CLEO has a blog!

Reader pinkdior (and girlie magazine addict) informed me today that CLEO Magazine Singapore has a blog written by its cute columnists. Here's one of the latest entries written about the Emmys. From CLEO:
It seems like we have an action-dominated winners' list this year with 24, Monk and Law & Order walking away with a few of the biggies. I guess soppy drama series are deemed as "lesser" by the judges. It took the last season of Sex and City to finally clinch the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for SJP and Cynthia Nixon.

I don't understand why. The writing on these shows are just as excellent and personally, i feel it's harder to write and act in a comedy. You can't be overly slapstick - it's not a cheesy Hong Kong movie! - and you've got to nail the pathos of the situations that the characters are facing.

I guess these so called "soppy" shows speak more to me . Yeah 24 is absolutely gripping but it doesn't quite affect me like a thoughtfully written episode of Grey's Anatomy does, such as the recently aired eppy about a bomb trapped in the the body of a patient. Btw, Christina Ricci was brilliant in that too.
(Thanks pinkdior)

Switching off the tv can boost your memory

An Australian survey reveals that turning off the television, picking up a crossword and eating more fish could help in boosting one's memory. From The Age:
Dubbed the National Memory Test, the quiz attracted 29,500 people who were tested on tasks such as remembering a shopping list, recalling names, faces and occupations, long-term recall and spotting differences between two photographs.

Those who took part in the test were asked to fill in a survey on a range of habits, such as alcohol consumption, television viewing and reading habits.

The results found no differences between men and women, with the same scores for both groups on all the tasks. But it found television viewing had the main impact on results.

"Turn off the box, or at least don't view too much of it," the survey results said, adding those who watched less than one hour a day performed better at all memory tasks".

Those who drank less than two alcoholic drinks a day performed better at all memory tasks.

People who did crosswords were better at remembering shopping lists and recalling names, while eating fish once a week improved the ability to remember shopping lists.
Click here for the results and here for the actual test. Go ahead. Try it out.

(Thanks Ju)

The World's Shortest Man

A 14 year old Nepalese boy has been named the World's Shortest Man by the Guiness Book of World Records. From Nepal News:
With 20 inches height and 4.5 kg weight, Khagendra Thapamagar of Baglung, western Nepal, had his name registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest man leaving behind his competitor, a Jordanian, with 25.5 inches height, The Himayan Times daily said...

Khagendra’s mother Dhan Maya said her son started moving around only when he was 8 and his physical growth stopped at the age of 11, the daily said.
He also has a website put up by his supporters but it is currently down because it exceeded its bandwidth limit. This is what I can get from Google Cache:
Born in the country of Mt. Everest as most possibly the shortest and the lightest person in the world, Mr. Khagendra Thapa Magar was out of the mass media until Mr. Min Bahadur Rana Magar, an inhabitant of Sub metropolitan City Pokhara-8, got him exposed through the latter's tireless effort and perseverance. Whith the purpose of getting him exposed to the public, he had been exhibited for 20 days at wesern ……………. ltd. Business complex licated at Prithvi Chowk, Pokhara, from Falgun 25, 2062. With the special effort of Min Bahadur Rana Magar and the guardianship as well as care of Mr. Mana Bahadur Thapa Magar, Mr. Mohan Thapa Magar, B.B. Ale 'Sindhulia' and Dhana Kumari Rana Magar in order to protect and promote Mr. Khagendra Thapa Magar, an institution named Khagendra Thapa Magar Foundation has been registered in the World Record, Gul Mohammad, an inhabitant of India, is the shortest person in the world with his height 22.5" up to this date. However, this foundation, by breaking the world record set by Gul Mahammad, is set to establish two records in two genres: the shortest and the lightest person in the world.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Story of Menstruation

There's nothing strange or mysterious about menstruation according to this 1946 video by Disney and Kotex called The Story of Menstruation. It tells the story of the female puberty and the do's and don'ts.

(Thanks diggerzak)

Robot 1968

Robot 1968 is all about vintage toy robots. You can browse through the list of vintage and tin toy robots for sale on the site. The owner of the site also provides interesting information on the vintage robots such as this one, a 1960 Japanese made, Smoking Spaceman toy robot that walks, moves arms back and forth and breathes smoke from the mouth! How cool is that?!

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Hey you guyyys!!! It's The Electric Company!

Remember The Electric Company, an educational American children's television series produced by the Children's Television Workshop in the 70s? The original cast included the likes of Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby! Over at The Electric Company website, you can download wallpapers, watch clips and listen to the songs of the show. They even have a blog too. Oh, don't forget to blast your speakers when you reach the site because you'll be welcomed by their famous "Hey you guyyys!" theme.

Bad Album Covers Collection

Dude has a massive collection of bad album covers. Here are volume one and volume two, both on Flickr. I like the 'Music To Keep Your Husband Happy' album cover. The album comes with special instruction booklets too. Hehe.

(Thanks Pi Pi)

1/3 of China hurt by acid rain

A new report reveals that acid rain is affecting one third of China's landmass thanks to the rapid industrial growth in the country. From China Daily:
One third of China's land mass was affected by acid rain last year, Sheng Huaren, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said in a report to top legislators on Saturday.

Sheng told NPC Standing Committee members that in some regions of the country all rainfall was acidic.

His report was based on lawmakers' inspection of environmental protection efforts in 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities from May to June.

With 26 million tons of sulphur dioxide discharged last year 27 per cent more than in 2000 China has become the world's biggest sulphur dioxide polluter.

Acid rain poses a major threat to soil and food safety, he said.

Sheng said sulphur dioxide emissions were double the acceptable environmental limit, and coal-burning power stations and coking plants were the main culprits.

According to the report, nearly 650 out of 680 coking plants in North China's Shanxi, the country's major coal mining province, discharged excessive sulphur dioxide.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stick Man vs Stick Men

Reader Spluch writes, in response to my previous post about the cool flash animation of a battle between the animator and animation (stick figure), "In this game called Fight Man, you control a stick figure in fighting other stick figures with several interesting moves – punch, kick and throw. Watch as your character performs various stunts such as climbing up shelves, hanging on to a lamp shade while kicking the enemies and much more. Oh, and catch an enemy peeing by surprise too! All these action takes place around computer monitors and accessories. In addition to being able to kick ass, the animation is so cool and fun to watch."

(Thanks Spluch)

I am not a terrorist t-shirt

Try wearing one of these "I AM NOT A TERRORIST" (in Arabic) t-shirts at the airport, cross your fingers and hope the airport authorities do not stop you. It would be funny if they do, and then you try to explain to them what the word in Arabic really means. I reckon, they will then look for an Arabic translator to find out what's written on the t-shirt. Ha! Ha! Ok seriously, don't do it unless you want to miss your flight.

(Thanks Lord Kimbo)

How to count the stars

Over at NASA's Star Count, students from all around the world can learn how to count the stars and participate in this global project to find out if people see different numbers of stars. The results will then be displayed using Google Maps. Cool. From Star Count:
It is impossible to count every star in the night sky. The method you will use will allow you to get very close to the actual number. This method is like those used in surveys. Imagine that you want to find out how many of the students in your school would support a longer school day. It would be very difficult to ask every student in a large school. Your friends' opinions probably wouldn't represent all of the students accurately. If you stood at the door of your cafeteria and asked every 20th student, you could probably get an accurate survey. At a very big school, you might choose every 30th student. Each student was chosen at random (by chance) to help your survey represent everyone.

To count the stars you will choose 10 parts of the sky at random (by chance) and count the stars. Then you will find the average number of stars counted in each observation. (For example, if you observed zero stars in one count and 100 stars in another count, the average is 50 stars per count.)

But, the average number of the stars per count isn't the same as the total number of stars in the sky! Imagine that the average number of stars per count is 50. What fraction of the sky did you observe each time? If you observed 1/10th of the sky each time, then there are about 500 stars (10 times 50). If you observed 1/100th of the sky in each observation, there are about 5,000 stars (100 times 50).

September 11 Live, again

In a bid to boost the number of people using its Pipeline online video service, CNN is replaying its coverage of the events on September 11 2001, free of charge. From MSNBC:
Viewers can watch how events unfolded starting at 8:30 a.m., minutes before the first reports of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center. The feed will run in real time, as the network showed it five years ago, until midnight.

Online viewers will be able to watch live reports of memorial services through one of the feeds. So that viewers won’t accidentally stumble upon graphic footage from 2001, the replay feed will be covered with a notice instructing users to click only if they want to watch.

Presenting the world's first female space tourist

Anousheh Ansari will become the world's first female space tourist. The 39 year old American-Iranian is the Chairman of Prodea Systems and funds the X-Prize Foundation. From CNET:
"Anousheh Ansari has been officially named to the Soyuz TMA-9 primary crew," Space Adventures, working in partnership with Russia's space agency Roskosmos to launch space tourists, said in a statement.

"The first female spaceflight participant will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 14, 2006, en route to the International Space Station, along with the Expedition 14 crew members: NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mercy Relief joins forces with Nasi Lemak stall

Do remember to eat at the famous Selera Rasa Adam Road No. 1 Nasi Lemak stall this weekend because not only you can get to eat the best nasi lemak in Singapore but also contribute to a good cause. From
The famous Selera Rasa Adam Road No. 1 Nasi Lemak has kindly consented to donate $1 to Mercy Relief for every plate of nasi lemak it sells over the weekend. Get your nasi lemak from either

A) Adam Road Food Centre Stall 2, or
B) Sedapura Food Centre #01-12 at the Malay Village in Geylang Serai

You can even pre-order by calling 9843 4509 or 9622 5464!

The money raised will help Mercy Relief cover its operating costs. Mercy Relief devoted its efforts in 2005 towards the Asian Tsunami and the major earthquake in Pakistan. Other disasters that Mercy Relief has responded to include the Mount Merapi eruption, the Jogjakarta earthquake and the West Java Tsunami.
(Thanks Shy)

The Mouth Gallery

The Mouth Gallery claims that it has the largest collection of mouth pictures on the internet. Well, that's a lot of mouth pictures alright. Go submit yours now.

(Thanks dver)

World's most incredible knife

This is definitely the mother of all swiss knives! It has an incredible number of tools - 85 to be exact - from a nail file, nail cleaner, a corkscrew, adjustable pliers with wire crimper and cutter to a golf shoe spike wrench. You do need a huge pocket to carry it along with you though.

(Thanks Mr Big)

The crap that is Joakim Gomez

He is currently Singapore's most hated man but everyweek he survives the elimination of the Singapore Idol competition and now he is among the top 5! Presenting Joakim Gomez. Oh and did I tell you that he can't sing to save his life? Take a look at the video above (by YouTube user singaporebeauty). You may want to press stop once he begins to sing or maybe you should just fast forward to the end where you should listen to what the Idol judges have to say about his singing.

Even the local blogosphere hates him. Yasin is one of the many bloggers who are dissapointed with the results and especially with Joakim surviving the competition. From My Joyride:
relle relle hope by next wk, it ll b the last for me to c him on tv!! cos its relle hurting my ears n my eyes to actualli haf to see n hear him sing on national tv!!

manz.. donchu feel ashamed or embarrased aft all the media, the host, even the judges keep insulting u tat u cant sing for goodness sake, tat u still up there.. doing wat u do best?!!? which is to sing horribly?!?! (k maybe not sing..but shout or scream or mumble or wateva u call it monkey joakim)

can the tv producers DO SOMETHING BOUT TIS?!?! like jus kick him out of the show..tho he didnt get the lowest no. of votes, but HECK! JUS GET HIM OUT OF THERE PLEASE FOR LORD MOTHER CREATURE SAKE!!! urghhh!! in the name of SINGAPORE LOCAL MUSIC INDUSTRY..KICK HIM OUT ASAP!!!!
kickthestone agrees that Joakim can't sing but symphathizes with him. From kickthestone:
Actually I pretty much sympathize with Joakim. I mean hello try having almost the whole of Singapore scorning you for getting this far. Initially it's 'OMG he totally cannot sing, he's getting through with only his looks!', but after sometime you start to think 'this is afterall open to public voting, and so if he gets this far, he probably has thousands of people that love him enough!' Poor him, I think the critics and judges are a little too harsh. I'd have cried if I were in his predicament! Kudos for that anyway.
Look at Season 1 and you know Singapore is tone deaf and or goes for looks, at least for the majority of it. So what's new? Come next season, nobody even remembers or bothers about who you are anymore.
Cailing is super pissed that Joakim is still in the competition and she cringes everytime he sings and wants him to stop wasting everyone's time and money. From Sweet Sedation:
I'm like pissed that Mr Gomez is still IN the goddamn competition.

If he becomes Singapore Idol, I will join Singapore Idol next time. If HE can make it so far with his bad singing, I can too. Yes, I can't sing. But that's not the point right?

You can either sing or you cannot sing. Singing is something which comes naturally. You can't keep promising those poor gullible girls that you will improve. You can't keep stirring up so much hatred and angst in Singapore.Whenever it's your turn to sing, I cringe. Whenever I hear the bad comments you get, I feel sorry for you and your fans. Pathetic! And why do I say so? Because, for the very simple fact that YOU ARE WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME AND MONEY. You sickass. You actually believe that your singing will improve? It's like saying George Bush will stop the war. It's like saying that I can become an astronaut or a fighter pilot. It will never happen.
shasushimi thinks that the reason why Joakim is still in the competition is because Singaporeans are getting deaf these days. He feels everyone should vote for talent and not looks. From shasushimi:
joakim, i noe him personally...i have to comment him on having the balls to be on stage and perform. but his not the type of guy who can sing! his pitch is totally flat, he spoils almost every song he sing. 1st song, geek in pink, i dun even noe wtf is he singing la..2nd, tt "i'll be there for you" spoilt it too..3rd "calling" by gurmit singh, gurmit's not a professional singer, dun think he have professional training b4, but he bloody hell sang tt song better than joakim at least 10 times more..lastly, the song 'xiao wei' by wang pin yuan, i dunnoe wat to say la..juz wanna turn the volume to zero. i'm sorry if i offended u ppl out there by giving comments here on my blog but ur ears and listen.
And what does the most hated man in Singapore have to say? On his Singapore Idol blog, Joakim says he has had it with all the friends and family insults. From Joakim Gomez:
I've let people know and i sold it to national tv that i know vocally i'm still behind the rest but i love performing and i enjoy and in the vocal department i'm still trying my best to go out there and do it, even though it's shaky, and pitch - Shaky flat perfect kinda a thing, i've really just learnt to block myself off now from whatever they say.

So much for recording and listening to myself over and over again, so much for people saying that i actually have a tone but i always don't do well on performance nights.

ANYWAY , BIG NEWS I WAS IN THE BOTTOM 2 SO STOP COMPLAINING. lol, i'm just taking everything as a bonus now, i'm out there to enjoy myself.

I'm alright, i'm okay, i think i've endured weeks of spits, middle fingers, threats, boos, and laughter to actually give a damn about all this. i think i've finally grown up and i owe it all to the Singapore idol Team. and everyone in the media industry. I finally learnt what it is like to be in hell and actually live to tell the tale.
Dude, you are on national tv for goodness sake and if you can't take the insults and bullies, you should think twice about wanting to be a celebrity especially a singer in a singing competition who can't sing for nuts. You said you love performing but we don't want to see you perform. Dude, people hate you. It is a fact. Do yourself a favour. Next week when you come on stage, just stand still and don't sing at all. Better yet, quit. We have suffered enough.

Update: Joakim is out. Finally! You can still check him out at the Singapore Zoo though.

Previously: The crap that is Singapore Idol

Pluto is officially dead

It is official. Pluto is now no longer a planet, the International Astronomical Union revealed today after a historic vote. That means there are now only eight planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. From
The decision establishes three main categories of objects in our solar system.

* Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
* Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
* Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.

Pluto and its moon Charon, which would both have been planets under the initial definition proposed Aug. 16, now get demoted because they are part of a sea of other objects that occupy the same region of space. Earth and the other eight large planets have, on the other hand, cleared broad swaths of space of any other large objects.

"Pluto is a dwarf planet by the ... definition and is recognized as the prototype of a new category of trans-Neptunian objects," states the approved resolution.
But not all astronomers agree with the approved resolution. Some are unhappy with the wording for it, with one astronomer calling it "a farce". They are even calling the astronomy community to overturn the decision. Ah, astronomy is so exciting.


The widow of the Pluto discoverer said that her husband would have accepted the news with scientific detachment. She said, "Well, we had a job to do -- a position with the whole community, the whole world for that matter. We did our thing and now it's over, I guess." (Thanks Shy)

Astrologers meanwhile foretell no major changes despite the demotion of Pluto. One said, ""It's very interesting that Pluto's been downgraded in a planetary sense because he could never be downgraded in a mythological sense. I will continue to use Pluto because he gives me the ability to look into people's charts and see where they're coming from psychologically." (Thanks Sir Thomas)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bird's eye view

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Bird's eye view

The crap that is Singapore Idol

ClemCube thinks that the Singapore Idol judges should take the blame for the crap singers competing for the Singapore Idol crown. From Enter The ClemCube:
I'm dying to know how the Singapore Idol judges honestly feel about this competition, about the 6 remaining contestants being the '6 best singers' in the competition. They must be kicking themselves in their faces and asking themselves 'How did Joakim appear in the top 28?' Come on guys you gotta admit Joakim's singing is full of crap (If he could make it to the top 6 by singing like that I could make it to the top 12 at least), so the judges actually have themselves to blame for putting Joakim into the top 28 in the first place.
If I have my own way, I will get rid of all the remaining contestants and crown Hady Mirza the Singapore Idol right away. And oh, I will give Idol judge Jacintha the sack too. I have no idea what she's saying most of the time. She's like high on drugs or something.

For those of you who prefer to watch a REAL singing competiton with REAL singers, then I recommend Rockstar Supernova. It airs every Wednesday and Thursday on Star World and kicks ass bigtime! You will never ever want to watch Singapore Idol after you watch Rockstar. Trust me.

Batman and Joker in Singapore

The World Money Conference in Singapore attracts the Joker to our shores. Bruce Wayne (Batman) decides to pay us a visit too knowing that our Four Million Smiles campaign will attract not only delegates. Cool comic done by local artist Dan Wang. Read it here.

(via Tribolum)

Nuclear War starts 12 September 2006. Mark your calenders.

Jewish dude Yisrayl Hawkins predicts that the first nuclear war will begin on September 12 2006 based on biblical prophecies and it will eventually lead to the involvement of all nations. These wars will intensify in the thirteen months until the final burning blast that darkens the sun. From Yisrayl Hawkins:
I think the date was planned because of September 11th, 9-11, when they bombed the World Trade Centers with two airplanes. I think they planned it at that time and have worked all this time to bring it about. I think their exact date was planned. Think about it. 9-11, the day after. It's going to be a big joke on the Arab world, but I'm going to tell them about it before it takes place.

Now, if you still don't understand, we're going to have it in The Prophetic Word, Yahweh willing. It will be lined out there for you too. There are no doubts in my mind that this thing is right. I know it's right. I know these wars are not in a future day, they're in our day. Our job is to warn the world of what is going to take place.
I think Mr Yisrayl must have been drinking too much of this. And I thought Nostradamus was nuts.

(video via Boing Boing)

Transformers Movie Script

Transformers Live reports that a draft copy of the Transformers movie script has been leaked online. I'm reading it now (with lots of excitement). Here's an excerpt:
Sunlight begins to creep onto the screen, revealing a STRANGE SYMBOL. Like a complex glyph. Slowly, we WIDEN to reveal...

It's one of MANY. Etched onto a metallic surface. The symbols can only have come from an ALIEN CIVILIZATION.

We hear a VOICE: powerful, noble. Though we don't know it yet, it's the voice of OPTIMUS PRIME:

Our planet was destroyed by the ravage of war... a war waged between the legions who worship chaos, and those of us who follow freedom...
Go download it here (PDF file).

Eight planets? Twelve planets?

Astronomers are close to reaching a final decision on the definition of the word planet. New Scientist reports that this decision will be revealed to the public later today and it will spell the end of Pluto as a planet. From New Scientist:
Finally, astronomers could be homing in on a definition of the word planet. After a day of public bickering in Prague, followed by negotiations behind closed doors, the latest draft resolution was greeted with a broadly friendly reception.

If accepted on Thursday, it would be bad news for Pluto, which would no longer be a full-fledged planet.

The crucial change in "draft c" is that a planet must be the dominant body in its orbital zone, clearing out any little neighbours. Pluto does not qualify because its orbit crosses that of the vastly larger Neptune.
Planet doesn't need a scientific definition
Pluto may yet lose planet status
IAU planet definition Q&A sheet
And soon, there will be twelve planets

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Indian Gods are thirsty

Reports of idols of Hindu gods drinking milk in India have started a frenzy there. Now everyone is rushing to temples to feed their gods with milk. From Reuters:
Hundreds chanted hymns in the northern city of Lucknow and the eastern city of Kolkata and went into hysterics when the milk held against the idols disappeared.

"It is amazing, Lord Ganesha drank milk from my hands. Now he will answer all my prayers," said Surama Dasgupta, a middle-aged woman in Kolkata.

The frenzy began late on Sunday in some northern cities and soon spread across the country, including the capital New Delhi, even as rationalists and non-believers called it mass hysteria.

A similar mania gripped the country in 1995 when thousands of Hindus fed milk in spoons to marble idols of Lord Ganesha.
Even Indian Gods are thirsty. Must be the weather.

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón is a brilliant comic book style potrayal of the events of 9/11. The book is based on The 9/11 Commission Report. Slate is excerpting a chapter a day through Sept. 7. Go read it online.

Web 2.0 Logo Creator

Now everyone can have their own Web 2.0 logo with the easy to use Web 2.0 Logo Creator. Got Beta tag too!

(Thanks gurlaj765)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My Underpants

Dude takes pictures of his underwear collection (he models them too). I think he really needs to get some nicer ones, preferably boxers!

(Thanks primus)

Books he read since 1974

Eric Leuliette is one hell of a bookworm. He has kept an impressive list of books that he read since 1974 - a total of 2121 books so far! Over at his website, you can view interesting stats such as all the titles of the books he read, the authors, the number of pages he read per year, etc. Dang! I realised something after looking at his site - I have not been reading enough.

World Bank wants Singapore to waive ban on outdoor protests

The Singapore government does not allow any outdoor protest during the upcoming World Bank-International Monetary Fund joint meetings here but guess what - the World Bank doesn't mind them. In fact, they think Singapore should waive the ban on outdoor protests. Good on ya, World Bank! From Bloomberg:
``The bank's preference is that civil society groups should be able to peacefully express their views outside of the conference facility in a way that doesn't cause disruption,'' World Bank Singapore representative Peter Stephens said in an interview. ``We have our preference and Singapore has its laws, so we're trying to find an area that's acceptable to all.''

Singapore forbids the public assembly of more than four people without police permits and is unused to the mass rallies associated with global trade and finance summits. At the 2005 World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong, police used tear gas to quell crowds and arrested more than 1,000 people, while 600 were injured during IMF meetings in Prague in 2000 after cobblestones were pulled from the streets and flung at police.

``We have made maximum effort to facilitate the involvement of civil society organizations, within the framework of our laws,'' the Singapore government's committee organizing the meetings said in an e-mailed response to questions.

``We are unable to waive the current rules which prohibit outdoor demonstrations and processions, so as not to compromise the high level of security that will be in place during the conference,'' it said.


Drinking too much Mountain Dew while playing Counter Strike is no good mate!

(Thanks Josh)

Monday, August 21, 2006

National Day Rally experience

Vincent Tan, an engineer/scientist was one of the folks attending the National Day Rally. He writes on his blog about his experience at the rally and his thoughts of PM Lee's speech. From Scientist wannabe:
It was my first time at the National Day Rally. Indeed, it was an eye-opener to see so many high-powered individuals congregate at a single location. Normally at events, there's only one Guest-of-Honour. At the rally, in every direction you look, you see a minister, an MP or a senior civil servant.

It was a speech that somewhat cemeted the fact that we're firmly into PM Lee's prime ministership. That he wants to steady the ship. Instead of introducing several policies, PM's speech was more of a pep-talk this time, to explain some of the actions the government has taken and to chart the general direction of Singapore's future. Nothing concrete, yet entertaining and motivating as usual. Spoke to several of our nations political leaders. SM Goh commented that I look young for my age, certainly not an uncommon comment on me. I felt that Chris de Souza is an affable, young MP who's genuinely concerned about the inclusiveness about our society.

Two dicks better than one? Not!

Is having two dicks better than one? Not according to this man from India, who has two fully functional male organs. He intends to remove one before he gets married. From India Times:
Sanjay, 24, has lived with the condition since birth, concealing his shame from all. But now, the young man is contemplating matrimony and wants one of the organs removed.

Says a doctor in the hospital, "It is an extremely rare condition. More so because two fully functional penes is unheard of in even medical literature. In the more common form of diphallus, one organ is rudimentary."
Hmmm, maybe it is getting a bit too crowded down there aye?

What does your browser reveal about you?

Do you know that the choice of your favorite browser reveals a lot about your personality? From Terminally Incoherent:
IE 5.0:

You only use your computer for IM, email and Myspace. You stubbornly refuse to upgrade that ancient Win 98 box that you are using because you don’t need some fancy computer and in your opinion the one you have works just fine. You also probably don’t use antivirus or antispyware either. You just let your son/nephew/friend clean it out every month or so.

IE 6.0:

You probably don’t know what a “browser” is and you think Internet is IE. You have no clue about technology, and you are generally afraid of computers. You also use your machine only for IM, chat, email and myspace. Your friends keep telling you about that “Fried Fox” thingy but you don’t really understand this stuff and never really had time to look into it.

Icon War

On Saturday, I blogged about the amazing flash animation of a battle between animator and animation. Here's something just as cool. The Icon War: a battle between icons on a Windows desktop. I like it that Diablo wins.

(Thanks Damien)

The Condom Project: 30 Seconds

30 Seconds is a program by The Condom Project that engages young people worldwide to create 30-second video clips of condoms used in a non-sexual way. Each video features a story that can be told without dialogue, relying only on visual images to convey the meaning. This program is currently operating in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Thailand and USA. You can view the videos here.

Tammy has a blog

Remember Tammy, the Singaporean girl of the "Tammy NYP" sex video fame that hit the web and news earlier this year? Reader xXx tells me that she has a blog. xXx says, "She used to have an older blog but that was shut down after her sex video incident. This one is new. First entry is in April this year." In one of her latest entries, she talked about the pain that is menses. From Pretty Babe Me:
Argh! Why is it women to have menstration?! The pain is killing us! DarN!!! Why must it be a monthly thingy!?

Feel so weak. Whole body in pain. Cant sleep well. Hurts LOADS! GRRR! I hate to be woman! Rather 2 years of sufferings in NS than suffering from this pain from decades years!!

Guys are insensitive to our pain. It's not like tummy ache that kind ok! It's worst!

I feel like crying! *Sob Sob*
(Thanks xXx)

More on Tammy

Planet doesn't need a scientific definition

Michael E. Brown, a Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology disagrees with the International Astronomical Union's proposal that will eventually add hundreds of planets to the solar system. He feels that the public and our culture will be the ones that are most affected with any new proposal. Brown is the discoverer of 2003UB313, the "tenth" planet. From Michael Brown:
Is there a way out? Perhaps. There is one other reasonable option available to astronomers, and that is to realize that the word "planet" need not have a scientific definition. Consider it this way: if the word planet is suddenly redefined to mean either 8 or 53, how will it affect astronomy? Not one tiny bit whatsoever. Astronomers like me will continue to go to telescopes and study these objects to learn where they came from and what they are made out of whether they are called "planets", "Kuiper belt objects", or "batholiths." For astronomers, this argument is purely semantic. Who is affected, then? I would argue that it is the public, it is our culture, that would be affected, and, in fact, this is why this is the one astronomical argument, out of the many many many that are out there, that anyone actually seems to care about. In light of this realization, perhaps it makes sense to have a cultural definition of the word planet, rather than a scientific definition.
Pluto may yet lose planet status
IAU planet definition Q&A sheet
And soon, there will be twelve planets

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Animator vs Animation

This is what happens when your animation goes wild on you. This flash animation of a battle between the animator and animation (stick figure) took three months to complete. It is definitely one of the best I've seen. Who will win? Go take a look.

(Thanks Johnny Q)

Pluto may yet lose planet status

The debate on the definition of planets rages on. I have been blogging about the International Astronomical Union's proposal to increase the number of planets to twelve. Now, another group of astronomers have put forward a new proposal that will reduce the number of planets to eight. From New Scientist:
On Friday, another definition, put forward by a group led by Julio Fernandez of the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay, received some support. It includes the clause that a planet also has to be "by far the largest body in its local population".

So Pluto would be out, because the 2300-kilometre-wide body is similar in size to many other objects in the same region, the chilly Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune. There would be only eight planets in the solar system, unless someone finds another really big one out there somewhere.

Some scientists had qualms about the sheer number of planets in the original scheme. Many of the icy objects in the Kuiper Belt are probably round, so we would soon end up with dozens of planets. Eventually there could be 200, according to Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, who has discovered several of these objects.
IAU planet definition Q&A sheet
And soon, there will be twelve planets

Premiership 2006-2007 Preview

It is football season once again with the English Premiership set to kick off tonight. The Sun has a preview on all the clubs and predictions. Come on you Spurs! From The Sun:
Tottenham Hotspur

If Martin Jol can repeat even a fraction of the improvement he brought to Spurs in his first season as boss, then they could snatch a top four spot.

Right-winger Aaron Lennon and centre-back Michael Dawson are fast-improving England regulars of the future, while new £10.9million striker Dimitar Berbatov should be a much better targetman than Mido.

Michael Carrick's exit to Manchester United could be just a minor aggravation as Ivory Coast anchorman Didier Zokora and the all-round talent of teenager Tom Huddlestone have joined what is already a formidable batch of central midfielders.

Jermain Defoe is itching to displace 16-goal top scorer Robbie Keane in attack, showing the keen rivalry for places throughout the side.

But, despite the presence of England No1 Paul Robinson, defender Ledley King needs to overcome his injuries if Spurs are to at least match last season's fifth place - their first top-six finish since 1990.

Transformers robots revealed!

The writers of Transformers, the much awaited movie that will hit the cinemas next year, have revealed the names of the Transformers that will be in the movie. From Transformers Live:
- Mr. Orci said, "every society has that noble king. That King Arthur."
- Bumblebee is the "same underdog, same G1 character we know and love." and that despite being a Chevrolet Camaro "The clothes don't make the man." Be aware that Hasbro had approached BMW to make a Bumblebee Alternator/Binal-Tech toy but they declined as they did not want to be associated with war toys. I am betting that policy extended to the movie.
- Jazz's attitude is "can't do something with style it's not worth doing at all."
- Rachet continues to be the medic of the group but will not match is Gen One alt mode (good call, his alt mode was ugly even then).
- Ironhide remains the gutsy muscle of the group (hopefully new alt mode too) and make "any Transformer bust an O-ring just with his stare."
- Megs will be explored beyond just the usual evil, destroy this and that mentality.
- Starscream will continue to try "to best Megatron."
The full line up is as follows. Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ratchet and Ironhide. Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Brawl, Bonecrusher, Barracade, Scorponok, Frenzy and Blackout. My only complain so far is that the Decepticons outnumber the Autobots in the movie. Would be nice to see more Autobots.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The good wife's guide

Scan of an article in a May 1955 issue of Housekeeping Magazine on how to be a good wife. Ladies, do take note.

(Thanks Lukester)

Firefox Crop Circle

No. This ain't the work of aliens. Firefox fans created this giant Firefox crop circle that measures 220 feet in diameter. It took them two weeks of planning and they completed it within 24 hours. The folks behind the project have a nice documentation on how they did it and a photo gallery.

(Thanks Strog_wiest)

Star Trek: New Voyages

Star Trek: New Voyages has got to be the leading Star Trek fan production on the Internet. It first hit the the fan realm in 2004 and has become a continuing part of Star Trek history and future. The web series tells the story of the continuing voyages of Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701 as seen in the 1966-69 television series, Star Trek.

The idea for Star Trek: New Voyages originated in 1997 from James Cawley who worked with original series and Next Generation costume designer, William Ware Theiss. His goal is to produce a full year's worth (22 or more) web episodes per year maintaining Gene Roddenberry's philosophy and vision for the original 1960’s television show. You can download the episodes here.

I'm a Tenderheart Bear!

I seldom take part in online quizzes that ask me a set of questions to find out what sort of a person I am, or what kind of car or food I am, but when reader r'chelle sent me a link to Which Care Bear are you? quiz, I couldn't resist to find out. And guess what? I'm a Tenderheart Bear, my favourite Care Bear. Hooray!

Care Bears Stare! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

(Thanks r'chelle)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

IAU planet definition Q&A sheet

Yesterday, I blogged about the proposal by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), to increase the number of planets in our solar system from nine to twelve. The IAU has posted a very informative Questions & Answers sheet on their website to help us understand better what it all means. From IAU:
Q: The Earth’s moon is spherical. Is the Moon now eligible to be called a “planet”?

A: No. The Moon is a satellite of the Earth. The reason the Moon is called a “satellite” instead of a “planet” is because the common centre of gravity between the Earth and Moon (called the “barycentre”) resides below the surface of the Earth.

Q: Jupiter and Saturn, for example, have large spherical satellites in orbit around them. Are these large spherical satellites now to be called planets?

A: No. All of the large satellites of Jupiter (for example, Europa) and Saturn (for example, Titan) orbit around a common centre of gravity (called the “barycentre”) that is deep inside of their massive planet. Regardless of the large size and shapes of these orbiting bodies, the location of the barycentre inside the massive planet is what defines large orbiting bodies such as Europa, Titan, etc. to be “satellites” rather than planets.

Q: Why is Pluto-Charon a “double planet” and not a “planet with a satellite”?

A: Both Pluto and Charon each are large enough (massive enough) to be spherical. Both bodies independently satisfy the definition of “planet”. The reason they are called a “double planet” is that their common centre of gravity is a point that is located in free space outside the surface of Pluto. Because both conditions are met: each body is “planet-like” and each body orbits around a point in free space that is not inside one of them, the system qualifies to be called a “double planet.”
(Thanks phi824)

Previously: And soon, there will be twelve planets

How crayons are made

I remember asking my mum once when I was a kid, "Mummy, how are crayons made?" Unfortunately, she didn't have a clue but thanks to this 70's video from Sesame Street, now I know.

(Thanks dVeRve)

The Vegan Bento Flickr pool

Vegetarians will love this picture collection of vegan lunches packed to go in actual bento boxes, tupperware type, lunch jars, Laptop Lunches, etc. They are all so beautiful that I don't mind converting to Veganism. On second thought, maybe not.

How to make an Altoids survival kit

Here's an interesting guide on how to make your own survival kit out of an Altoids tin. I'm quite surprised at the amount of items you can stuff into such a small tin. And oh yes, don't leave home without it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dell Battery Return Program

Dell is recalling certain Dell-branded batteries after reports of Dell notebooks bursting into flames. From Dell Battery Return Program:
Dell has identified a potential issue associated with certain batteries sold with Dell Latitude™, Inspiron™, XPS™ and Dell Precision Mobile Workstation™ notebook computers. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies, Dell is voluntarily recalling certain Dell-branded batteries with cells manufactured by Sony and offering free replacements for these batteries. Under rare conditions, it is possible for these batteries to overheat, which could pose a risk of fire.

Potentially affected batteries were sold with the following models of Dell notebook computers or separately as secondary batteries:

* Latitude: D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810
* Inspiron: 500M, 510M, 600M, 700M, 710M, 6000, 6400, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 9400, E1505, E1705
* Precision: M20, M60, M70, M90
* XPS: XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170, XPS M1710

In addition, these batteries may have also been provided in response to service calls. The batteries were shipped to customers between April 1, 2004 and July 18, 2006. The words "DELL" and "Made in Japan" or "Made in China" or "Battery cell made in Japan, Assembled in China" are printed on the back of the batteries.
Affected Dell users in Singapore can call 1-800-394-7439.

(Thanks GeekGod)

And soon, there will be twelve planets

Get ready to rewrite all science textbooks and astronomy books because if the International Astronomical Union has its way, then there will be twelve planets in our solar system instead of the current nine. From
The proposal, which sources tell is gaining broad support, tries to plug a big gap in astronomy textbooks, which have never had a definition for the word "planet." It addresses discoveries of Pluto-sized worlds that have in recent years pitched astronomers into heated debates over terminology.

* The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme.

* Pluto would remain a planet and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets.

* A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313 would also be called a pluton.

Travel advisory for passengers at Changi Airport

Confused about the recent heightened security alert at UK and US airports and the new restrictions on what you can bring onboard your flight? Changi Airport has released its latest travel advisory. It says that passengers travelling from Changi Airport can bring along their hand-carry luggage on board ALL flights departing from Changi, including flights to the UK and the US. From Changi Airport:
There is NO restriction on the carriage of liquids, gels and aerosols in hand-carry luggage for all flights departing from Changi Airport. However, passengers should take note of the following restrictions:

1. Passengers travelling on US carriers (namely United Airlines and Northwest Airlines) must not carry liquids, gels and aerosols in their hand-carry luggage.

2. Passengers travelling on any airline to the US and Canada (either directly or via a stop-over in another country) must not carry liquids, gels and aerosols in their hand-carry luggage.

3. Passengers travelling to the UK and India to connect to another flight should note that there are restrictions on the size of hand-carry luggage (for the UK only) and the carriage of liquids, gels and aerosols (for UK and India) in hand-carry luggage when departing from airports in the UK and India.

Hence, passengers travelling on the above mentioned flights must check-in all liquids, gels and aerosols in their checked-in luggage.
(Thanks S. Min)

Hello Kitty Trance

I think only hardcore Hello Kitty fans can appreciate something like the Kitty Trance (don't forget to blast your speakers). Kitty Trance is actually a dance CD released by Sanrio. You can listen to some of its tracks here. Please god, don't let them play these in our clubs.

(Thanks jadepai)

Previously: New Hello Kitty Visa Credit Card

The Google Ice Cream

Google really knows how to treat their workers well. To beat the hot weather in California, they got their chef to work with an ice cream manufacturer to make their own Google Ice Cream! It has a scoop of ice cream between two old-fashioned oatmeal cookies dipped in chocolate. And best of all, it is trans-fat-free!

Googleplex in Sydney opens
I wanna work for Google!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

IZ Reloaded in Concert!

IZ Reloaded in Concert! For one night only. Hehehe. I'll be performing Gone (listen below) and other songs.

powered by ODEO

Make your own concert ticket here.

(Thanks Rickie)

NASA can't find historic moon landing film

NASA has built rockets, sent spacecrafts to the outer reaches of our solar system and sent men to the moon but it can't find the original film footage of man's first steps on the moon. From BBC:
The tapes appear to have been sent to the US National Archives, before being returned to Nasa, which stored them at its Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

"I just think this is what happens when you have a large government bureaucracy that functions for decade after decade," said Keith Cowing, editor of the website Nasa Watch.

"It's not malicious or intentional, but I think it's unfortunate that Nasa doesn't have maybe just one more person whose job it is to look back at its history."

A Nasa spokesman said: "We're trying to track them down through the paperwork created at the time - but it's 35 years ago, so it's a challenge."

Japan should face up to WWII facts

Japan marks the 61st anniversary of the end of World War II today by sending its Prime Minister to the war criminals-honoring Yasukuni Shrine and thus angered many people in the world including its neighbours China and South Korea. From The Australian:
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon has accused Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of showing "complete disrespect to our people" over a visit planned today to a controversial war shrine.

Mr Ban, who is in Australia for bilateral meetings, said he was frustrated and angry at Mr Koizumi's decision to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japan's war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals, despite protests from Japan's neighbours.

"It is going to be a complete disrespect for our people and our country," Mr Ban told The Australian in an exclusive interview in Sydney yesterday.

"It's against the wishes and appeals and urgings of the peoples of South Korea and China, and many others."
Australia too, had called the visit disrespectful to the dead from other nations. From The Australian:
"From Australia's point of view we understand the prime minister of Japan wanting to show respect to Japanese soldiers killed in the second world war, whatever the rights and wrongs of the second world war and we (Australia) have very strong views about that history," he (Australia Foreign Minister Downer) said during a photo-opportunity with the South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon.

"Our concern has been the presence of the remains of Class A war criminals also in the Yasakuni shrine and I said to the Japanese prime minister - that's what makes people around the region and around the world feel uncomfortable, not the paying of respect to soldiers who died in the second world war but the fact that included in the shrine are the remains of several Class A war criminals."

"He (Koizumi) told me, he understood that point of view but that in Japan it wasn't possible to separate souls in a way we might understand in our own culture.

"Of course what makes us uncomfortable about this issue, is the presence of the Class A war criminals."
The Japanese Prime Minister has said that his visit to the shrine was to express his condolences to all the war dead but critics see his visit as a failure for Japan to face up to its WWII atrocities. The shrine itself is a symbol of Japanese ignorance. From Reuters:
The shrine, which played a central role in the wartime state religion that helped mobilize the nation to fight in the name of a divine emperor, considers 14 wartime leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as Class A war criminals to be "martyrs".

A museum on the shrine's grounds depicts the Pacific war as one Japan was forced to fight in self-defense and has been criticized for ignoring atrocities committed by Japanese.
Japan should face up to WWII facts and learn from its past mistakes. Stopping the shrine visits in the future will be a good step in that direction. From The Japan Times:
In Japan, the anniversary of the war's end should serve not only as a memorial to the sufferings of the Japanese during the war years but also as a reminder of the sufferings inflicted on other peoples as a result of its wartime behavior. To accomplish this, Japanese leaders must demonstrate greater efforts to learn from historical facts.

It would not be unreasonable to deduce from Mr. Koizumi's repeated visits to Yasukuni a callousness toward the feelings of peoples who suffered at the hands of Japanese militarism. This attitude could just stem from his ignorance of the ideological role that Yasukuni played in mobilizing Japan for modern warfare. As for the remarks on a preemptive capability, they could be attributed to the lack of knowledge of what a real war was, is and would be like. The anniversary should be a day for pondering how best to turn Japan into a true peace-loving nation.

Monday, August 14, 2006

18 ways to stay focused at work

Dave Cheong has 18 ways for you to stay focused at work. I like number 17 on his list - limit time on blogs. From Dave Cheong:
17. Limit time on Digg, Delicious, news sites and blogs. I don’t think I need to say too much about this. There are so many sites on the Internet worth looking at, including this site ;) . Digg, Delicious, news and blogs are great from an interest perspective, but they can really take you away from the work you should be working on. Try to limit going to these sites during the working day. If you really have to, try doing it during your lunch time. No, you don’t need to have your finger on the pulse every single minute of the day…

New Hello Kitty Visa Credit Card

Sanrio's new Hello Kitty Platinum Plus Visa credit card. I'm speechless.

(Thanks r'chelle)

Related: Hello Kitty Trance

How the Back To The Future Time Vehicle works

Dude who owns a cool Back To The Future DeLorean, explains how the original time vehicle works. From Mark Shields:

80 MPH. Flux dispersal coils emit blue light as the car begins to phase-shift from standard space-time.

81 MPH. Spent plasma begins to vent from rear dispersal coils. Phase shift continues although vehicle still exists in standard space-time.

82 MPH. Phase induction array mounted on top of time machine aligns the phase shift with photonic energy. Dispersal coils are irradiated and bright blue.

83 MPH. Spatial interference energy begins to form as a result of focused photonic energy and the pending phase shift through space-time. Photons begin to encircle vehicle.

84 MPH. Spent plasma begins to vent from front dispersal coils (around tire area). Plasma emitting this low near the tires will allow the vehicle to pass through a temporal rift without damaging the tires...
(Thanks Rob)

Physics Flash Animations

Flash animations illustrating Chaos, Nuclear, Classical Mechanics and other Physics content. This one on the left is a demonstration of circular polarisation generated from a linearly polarised electromagnetic wave by a quarter-wave plate. And I have no idea what I just wrote.

(Thanks matty72)

Transformers 'Find Your Fate'

Over at Cybertron Alliance, you can read the classic Transformers 'Find Your Fate' story books (HTML version). I used to love reading these kind of books (also known as Choose Your Own Adventure or Pick A Path) when I was a boy. 'Find Your Fate books' are really exciting to read. You start off by reading a few pages and then the book asks you what you want to do next. You choose an option and then the books tells you to turn to a certain page and you continue reading from there to see what happens next.

Friday, August 11, 2006

NDP Parody

No disrespect to our National Day Parade but this is really funny. YouTube user xephris posted this video of some boys doing a parody of the National Day Parade filmed in a toilet!

(Thanks Lord Kimbo)

Star Trek Inspirational Posters

Remember the collection of inspirational posters that I blogged last month? Well, here's another one - a collection of inspirational posters featuring Star Trek characters. I'm sure you Trekkies out there will love it.

(Thanks GeekGod)

Previously: Inspirational Posters

Kim Jong-il's new blockbuster movie

North Korean leader cum "accomplished director" Kim Jong-il has just released his new film in his country called Diary of a Student Girl and it is a blockbuster hit! No. It is not porn. From Reuters:
Unlike the big movies from Hollywood this summer, there are no pirates, animated cars or mutants making a last stand in the North Korean movie billed as a "close companion of life".

North Korea's student girl works with her younger sister in pursuit of scientific endeavors. Through their work they overcome hardships, better understand their parents and are instilled with pride in the nation and its military-first policy.

Even before it was released, official media said it would be listed as a masterpiece.

Minister of Culture Kang Nung-su praised the film as "the fruit borne under the wise leadership of Kim Jong-il, a great master in art," KCNA reported.

Greenland Ice Sheet melting three times faster

The Greenland Ice Sheet which holds about 2.85 million cubic kilometres of ice - 10% of the world's ice mass, may be melting three times faster than previous estimates according to scientists from the University of Texas. From New Scientist:
"This is a good study which confirms that indeed the Greenland ice sheet is losing a large amount of mass and that the mass loss is increasing with time," says Eric Rignot, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, who led a separate study that reached a similar conclusion earlier in 2006. His team used satellites to measure the velocity of glacier movement and calculate net ice loss.

Yet another technique, which uses a laser to measure the altitude of the surface, determined that the ice sheet was losing about 80 cubic kilometres of ice annually between 1997 and 2003. The newer measurements suggest the ice loss is three times that.
If all of the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to melt, it will increase the average sea level about 6.5 metres and wipe out small low-lying islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Upside Downs

Designboom has a short history of upside-down optical illusions. Rightside-up and upside-down faces like the ones illustrated on this matchbox, are among the most popular optical illustrations in history.

Bitch about your boss!

Boss Bitching is a user driven social content website that allows anonymous postings of stories about bosses. Posts can be made about a current boss or someone from a previous job. You can rate posts and when the posts get the most ratings, they will be promoted to the front page, Digg style. From Boss Bitching:
For a year I worked my ass off for him. Writing reports and creating presentations, taking phone calles and leaving messages. After the first year, he said “great job”, but “my hands are tied”. I didn’t get the raise. About a month later, he got a new title and a new office. I moved with him so he coud “keep me close”.

The next two years were more of the same. Except after year three, I and all my co-workers were called into a meeting. The president announced that the presentation that my boss had “created” had caused quite the buzz. He was made Vice-President and was given a company car. 10 minutes after the meeting my boss took me for coffee and said “thanks for the help, but I’ve taken you as far as you can go. Here’s a cheque for one month’s pay, your stuff will be delivered to your home”
So what are you waiting for? Go bitch about your boss now!

OhMiBod, the ultimate iPod AcSEXsory!

For those who love music, iPod and *ahem*, the OhMiBod is definitely the ultimate toy to have. Plug it into your iPod and it automatically vibrates to the rhythm and intensity of the music. Now you can really be transported to a place where music, mind and body truly "come" together.

(Thanks Lady Lara)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Goggles, the Google Flight Simulator

Goggles has got to be the best Google Maps web application ever. It is a simple flight simulator that uses images loaded from the Google mapping service. With Goggles, you can fly a plane above cities and drop bombs. I just finished flying above Sydney and bombed the Sydney Opera House! My next stop will be Hong Kong and then maybe I'll wreck havoc on Mars and the moon.

Happy Birthday Singapore!

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Happy Birthday Singapore!

Ben & Jerrys in a bottle!

Ok, I'm getting excited again. My favourite ice cream Ben & Jerrys now have their three popular flavours in a bottle. Yup. Ben & Jerrys milkshakes!!! I can't wait to try their Chocolate Fudge Brownie milkshake. If it tastes half as good as the ice cream version, I'll be a happy man.

Opera Mini 2.0 beats China firewall

Asiapundit reports that Opera Mini 2.0, a tiny web browser for mobile phones can be used to view websites that are blocked in China. From Asiapundit:
While phones with WAP capabilities have built-in browsers, these have to go through the same firewalls that plague China’s conventional internet. The Opera Mini, however, “uses a remote server to pre-process Web pages before sending them to your phone.”

...the end effect is the same as what can be achieved using proxy servers or web-based services such as Anonymouse and Virtual-Browser. Unlike the Anonymouse service, which is disabled by the Great Firewall’s keyword filtering, the Opera Mini was able to load one particular banned website without any time-out errors.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Intergalactic Video Dating

Funny video by the folks at Galacticast shows us what happens when famous figures in sci-fi/fantasy go to a video dating agency to find a partner. And you thought superheroes have no problems getting a date.

(Thanks finatiq)

Mountain bike frame made of bamboo

Dude made a bamboo mountain bike in 2004 and he has been riding it eversince. He used bamboo rods connected with carbon composite joints to make the frame. The rest are normal bicycle parts.

Dark City banned by the National Library in Singapore

Malaysian author Xeus says that her book Dark City -an entertaining and creditable collection of short stories that draws on the dark and unsavoury sides of human nature festering in urban life - has been banned by the Singapore National Library. From Dark City:
Would you believe it? I've been banned by the Singapore National Library. They refused to stock my book in all their branches, citing 'It's too explicit and graphic" after reading a few chapters.

The outrage!

At least I haven't been banned here by our own Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka. They took 5 copies to keep as 'National Heritage.' I'm not sure I can quite call Dark City a national heritage, but at least I can count on my own countrymen/librarians to support me.
Too explicit and graphic? Ha! Here's another posting which describes best her book. From Dark City:
When I was browsing through magazines, my ex-boss came up to me and whispered, "I have read 10 chapters of your book. Ssssh. The wife is around. It's fantastic writing and I've told everyone at the office to get it. I really liked the twists. In Coup of the Century, you wrote about (someone we both know), didn't you?" (His wife won't let him buy Dark City for fear of contaminating their two teenage girls at home. So he's reduced to reading it from the racks at MPH 1 Utama.)
What are you waiting for? Go get Dark City now! I believe it is available in Singapore bookstores too.

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