Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mystery woman at the centre of CPIB probe finally revealed!


I know I could get into trouble for defamation by revealing the identity of the woman at the centre of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau's (CPIB) probe on the ex-heads of the Singapore Civil Defence Force Peter Lim and Central Narcotics Bureau Ng Boon Gay. The two top civil servants were linked to a woman working in the IT industry, who is alleged to have slept with both men. Oh well, I'm going to take a risk and reveal the mystery woman. According to my very reliable sources, it's Miss Piggy. There you have it. That slut!

How to do the Spiderman Dance by DJ Ozma

Japanese pop singer DJ Ozma (yes that's him in that white Spiderman outfit) and friends teaches us how to do the Spiderman Dance from his hit song Spiderman. Please don't ask me where to buy the underwear like the ones they wore. I don't know!

Mastered the moves? Now watch his MTV. The Japanese are so strange.

Is there student freedom at NUS? Yes? No?


Two overseas students who studied in NUS debate about the academic freedom at NUS. Walker Vincoli is a senior in the UNC-NUS (University of North Carolina-National University of Singapore) Joint Degree Program. He studied in Singapore in the fall semesters of 2010 and 2011 as a Phillips Ambassador. He wrote a letter to Yale Daily News about his experience studying in Singapore claiming that there is no student freedom at NUS.

He writes: "Singapore is not a free country and NUS is not a free university. The litmus test for academic freedom, to me, is the ability of students and faculty to engage their own country’s politics. In Singapore’s case, this happens in PS2249 at NUS: 'Government and Politics of Singapore.' I sat in stunned silence week after week as the professor recounted anecdotes of People’s Action Party interference in previous iterations of the class. Lower your criticism of the PAP, he had been told. Reduce your coverage of opposition parties. These little comments peppered the lectures as he covered the basic function of Singapore’s political apparatus.

When writing my midterm paper on press freedom in Singapore, I toned down criticism of the courts’ decisions in successful lawsuits against The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, partly due to a fear of retaliatory grading and partly because I worried my paper broke the law against scandalizing the court."


Another foreign student disagrees. Joseph Daniels studied at NUS in 2011. He is a junior in the UNC-NUS Joint Degree Program. He counters that academic freedom is alive in Singapore.

He writes: "Singaporean students I talked to when I studied at NUS never said they felt unduly restricted or pressured in their speech or votes. The May elections revealed some Singaporeans’ deep-seated dissatisfaction with growing inequality, the high cost of housing and general disconnect between the state and the people.

Singapore’s ban on spontaneous or non-permitted protest is a legitimate problem, but just because there is an apparent limitation on freedom does not mean that it is a debilitating limit or that Singaporeans do not have other avenues to express their concerns. December train breakdowns that left thousands stranded combined with a general economic slowdown triggered an uproar of dissatisfaction that led to a major review of ministerial salaries at the insistence of the general public.

Singapore, while by no means perfect, is not a country wholly without freedom. Freedom isn’t defined in a world of black and white but in a world of gray that lacks universal logics of societal comparison."

How they did the tilted building scene in Transformers 3

Industry Light & Magic (ILM) Visual Effects Supervisor, Scott Farrar and Animation Supervisor, Scott Benza, gives us a behind the scenes look at the Tilted Building sequence in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Three quarters of the film's effects were made by ILM. Digital Domain made the rest.

Jim Henson made a creepy robot short film in 1963

The Muppets creator Jim Henson made a short film called Robot in 1963 for The Bell System. It was shown at an elite seminar on data communications organised for business owners. The short film was found in the AT&T Archives. It was verified by Henson Archives to be a Jim Henson production.

Star Wars Uncut now showing at a galaxy near you

Thousands of internet users were asked to remake Star Wars: A New Hope into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted. The crowd-sourced project then stitched all the scenes together into a full 2 hour long movie. Watch Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut now!

Dash lets your iPhone be your smart phone car stereo

Dash is a simple two component system that is the convergence of the car stereo and your smartphone. Connect your iPhone to Dash and it becomes your car stereo. It also charges your iPhone and gives you access to all your phone's features. Dash has 4 x 50w to power your car speakers and 2 preamps running at 2V.

CNN doesn't know where London is on UK map

CNN on Sunday showed a graphic of the UK map with London at the wrong location. Ouch! Looks like someone from the CNN graphics department is going to get fired. The graphic shows viewers where the London phone hacking arrests had taken place. The map points to London but the correct location is here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Game of Thrones get the minimalist poster treatment

Thomas Gately loves Game of Thrones so much that he created these minimalist posters based on the HBO series. He writes: "I became slightly obsessed with each of the House's and their identity or sigil. Having found the houses and their representative sigils, I set about creating a vector for each one of them and creating a poster."

Army dude sets Lego World Record for most Lego sets

Marine Corps Captain Kyle Ugone has an astonishing 1,091 Lego sets making him the Guinness world record holder for the most completed Lego sets in a private collection. He got his first set as a gift when he was 5 years old and he went on collecting more and more sets as he grew older. High res pic of his collection here.

Hubble Space Telescope Power Supply goes on sale on eBay

If you have US$75K to spare for your space museum, then you should bid for this Vehicle Power Interface Console (VPI) for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) on eBay. The VPI Console provided power to the HST and performed tests to its batteries and solar panels as it was undergoing final testing before it was launched in 1986.

Star Trek Enterprise Coffee Table boldly goes where no coffee table has gone before

Barry Shields works for AT&T but making things with wood is his passion. And I bet he is a Star Trek fan too. Check out his Star Trek Enterprise NCC 1701-C Coffee Table. He writes: "This Star Trek table is made from ash, poplar and cherry wood. It took me a month to build it. The base was designed to portray the ship in orbit over a planet."

Superhero portraits made from antique photographs

Product Placement, Alex Gross' next solo exhibition will feature 19 new works on canvas, paper and panel, as well as over 20 mixed media pieces involving antique photographs that are transformed into modern superhero and supervillain portraits. You should check out his other paintings too here. They are really good!

Scavenging for Charcoal Fuel in the Rubbish of Manila

The plight of charcoal scavengers in the Philippines is captured by award winning documentary photographer Lisa Wiltse for National Geographic. These poor people make a living by making charcoal from wood scavenged from nearby garbage dumps and construction sites.

Moby Dick typed on toilet paper is a toiletry classic

Dude is trying to sell his one of a kind creation. He typed the entire Moby Dick on several rolls of toilet paper! He says, "There are four full rolls, one roll (epilogue) is about 1/5 of a roll and one half-roll. I've kept this mod oddity in a box in a cool, dry place for the last 10 years." I think this deserves to be kept in some museum.

Cam Crate protects your DSLR from the harshest conditions

Cam Crate is a water proof, mud proof, crush proof and drop proof carrying case for DSLR cameras. It even floats! The case fits a full body DSLR with a telephoto lens. Its outer shell is made out of a composite material that is hard to break making it a perfect case for your precious DSLR when you take it out to the most hardcore of places.

The Force is strong with these Star Wars Minimalist Posters

Travish English makes lovely minimalist movie posters. You can check out all his works on his Tumblr. The ones that I like the most are his posters of all the 6 Star Wars movies. Interesting choice of scenes. He also has a different set with only the prequel trilogy posters. He is selling all of them on Etsy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

World's Largest Scrabble Game also hangs on your wall

This is the world's largest wall-mounted Scrabble game. 5 times the size of the original game, there are only 9 of these in existence. It is meticulously constructed from Russian birch plywood. Comes with tile racks and 100 tiles made from rare earth magnet sandwiched between two pieces of birch plywood.

Made in Japan anti ageing mouthpiece keeps you young

It's not surprising that this crazy product comes from Japan. The Anti Ageing Mouthpiece was developed by an ordinary housewife who was concerned about her own age and wanted an easy way to keep looking young. She claims you can reduce all those ugly lines on your face by puffing out your cheeks or sucking them in while breathing through the mouthpiece.

Justice League wants you to be heroes and save Africa

Join the Justice League in raising awareness and funds for three nonprofit partners who are delivering aid to countries in the Horn of Africa that are facing the worst drought in 60 years. DC Entertainment will match donations 100% and 50% of the purchase price from We Can Be Heroes products will go to saving lives.

Affordable flying robot camera platform for cinematographers

eye3 is a project started by a husband and wife team to create a professional quality yet affordable flying robotic camera platform for. The platform comes in a low cost kit that can be easily assembled. The eye3 team is raising money for the project on Kickstarter but unfortunately funding was cancelled. They will still complete their project on their own. Updates here.

Miniature classic vehicles made to look like classic wrecks

Classic Wrecks is a collection of handmade wrecks in 1:24 scale. The talented guy behind them will even do custom orders upon request. Pictured here is two miniature SUVs: "Both have detailed engines and white letter tires. Both have body rot with lots of mud. These two have some parts strategically missing like lights, drive shafts, wheel covers etc."

The Facebook Bed even Mark Zuckerberg will sleep on

Tomislav Zvonari─ç designs this conceptual Facebook Bed, a conceptual multipractical bed design that allows you to always be up to date and close to your online friends even when you sleep. I think this is perfect for all you Facebook addicts.

DIY Zombie Customizable Action Figure Kit

Now you can build and paint your own zombie invasion. The DIY Zombie Customizable Action Figure Kit comes with 3 zombie action figures with extra replacement body parts - all decayed of course. Put them together, mix and match their clothes and the included instructional DVD will even teach you how to paint the zombies.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vintage cameras converted into beautiful nightlights

Jayfish felt sorry for these beautiful old cameras from the 50's and 60's collecting dust, hiding in attics, and sitting unused on shelves so he modified some of them to be the perfect nightlight. The shutter, film transport and other internal parts have been removed so that it is light enough to plug into a standard outlet.

Life-size Stormtrooper Cake is world's most epic cake

600 lucky folks at the Arisia Sci-Fi Convention got to eat a life-size Stormtrooper cake standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing at least 300 lbs! Made by Amanda Oakleaf Cakes, it took ten people two full weeks to make it. The Stormtrooper cake has two beautifully sculpted Rice Kripsy legs. Ok, I want this for my birthday.

Movies reimagined for another time and place

I love movie posters and these reimagined movie posters created by Peter Stults are really creative. He asks: "What if movies we were all familiar with were made in a different slice of time? Who would be in it? Who would direct it?" I think Avatar starring William Shatner will definitely break all sorts of box office records. In 3D some more!

Pita Bread Toaster lets you toast your bread in bricks

Adi Zaffran's Pita Bread Toaster is a very simple oven that uses the same concept of the traditional brick oven. He writes: "The pita bread as a staple food led me to the use of simple and basic building materials. Here is a brick oven which is elementary while taking advantage of the cement block's morphology."

Holga toy camera to get an open source digital remake

Saikat Biswas plans to build a Holga digital camera and he intends to make it an open-source camera platform. The Holga D is inspired from the popular Holga toy cameras. He writes: "The biggest 'feature' of the Holga D is lack of features! It has absolute bare minimum feature set that you need for unobtrusive photography."

GNR singer Axl Rose is a hungry time traveler

This has to be one of my favourite blogs! Axl Rose: Hungry Time Traveler documents all photographic evidence of Axl's time traveling adventures. Besides singing for Guns N' Roses, Axl also time travels! I don't know how he does it but apparently he has been spotted with some of history's greats like Bruce Lee, Elvis and The Beatles.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

North Korea releases documentary of Kim Jong-Un

North Korea's state television recently aired a documentary of the young Kim Jong-un on his birthday to rally support behind their new leader. The documentary, Suceeding the Great Work of the Military First Revolution is set to soaring patriotic music and it shows Kim Jong-un watching a military drill, touring factories and even relaxing at an amusement park. Good life!

Dude goes to North Korea and takes a lot of photos

Mark Fahey took a trip to North Korea in August last year. Here are all his photos on Flickr! This slightly foggy pic was taken inside Air Koryo. He says, "There was so much water vapour that the attendants had to mop up droplets forming on the air outlet nozzles before the drops fell onto passengers. It was as if they had a fog machine running in the cabin."

Female Superheroes doing self breast examinations

Maisa Chaves created these illustrations of female superheroes doing their own breast examinations to to raise awareness about the importance of regular breast exams. Yes ladies, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, She-Hulk and Storm all do their own breast exams because nobody is immune to breast cancer, even superwomen.

Faces of real clowns painted on eggs

Luke Stephenson was privileged enough to be allowed to photograph a selection of Clown Eggs from the collection held by Clowns International, the oldest clown society in the world. He says: "When you are a clown and you join the society you get the chance to have your face painted on the egg."

Make Your Own Papercraft Back To The Future II DeLorean

Kryptonian Warrior posts two links to PDFs of a papercraft Back To The Future II DeLorean Time Machine. He writes: "Now I've found a better Delorean that's worth your time and effort if you're a fan. I'm getting my glossy photo paper ready for the printer as I type this now!" I've printed mine! Now where did I put my glue?

Dude builds a mini town complete with trains with Lego

Matthew Lawrence is extremely proud of his new Lego home train layout. Why shouldn't he? It's fucking awesome! He says, "I use 2 9v loops, each with it's own siding. 7x12 of 32x32 baseplates in size. I have yet to do any landscaping, streetscaping. I have done a small amount of track ballasting and put some sleeprs on also."

Ultimate Speaker Vest comes with 8" Subwoofer

I have a perfect solution for those of you who want to do a one of a kind mobile party. This Speaker Vest with 8" Subwoofer connects to your mp3 player. The main sound comes from a set of two amplified motorcycle speakers just off your shoulders. The bass comes from a low-profile amplified 8" subwoofer.

Superhero Gingerbread Cookies

Sugarswings made these cute Superhero Gingerbread Cookies. There's Batman, Robin, Superman, Wolverine and friends! She writes: "I just used a gingerbread cookie boxed mix, then sketched them out so I knew what colors went where. All the detail is done with wilton candy melt/wafer."

Twine lets you connect things to the web without a degree

Twine is a wireless module tightly integrated with a cloud-based service. Just hook it up to the things in life that matters to you like your washing machine and Twine will send you a tweet when your laundry's done. It has WiFi connectivity and internal and external sensors. You can configure Twine to speak using Twitter, email and even SMS.

Little Printer is so cute, you want one at home

Little Printer holds a compact, inkless, thermal printer and connects wirelessly to the Web. Just subscribe to your news, gossip from friends, to-do lists and other publications using your iPhone. The Little Printer will gather them together to create a timely, beautiful mini-newspaper once you hit the print button.

Friday, January 06, 2012

National University of Singapore website hacked, still have many holes


A group of hackers known as Team Intra have hacked into the website of National University of Singapore (NUS) to prove just how weak their website security was. They made staff usernames, domain information and hashed passwords public. A hacker from Team Intra then had the following to say:

"This hack was NOT targeted, it was simply a demonstration of how weak their security was. In no way do we have any problem with the University.

We could have defaced the University's homepage if we wanted to, by writing a backdoor onto their server. They try to prevent hackers by sending out a simple statement: 'If you're trying to use the SQL error message to dig for juicy information, get lost.' However they do nothing to actually ensure that they are safe. It only took 5 minutes of WAF bypassing to get past their weak security.

Yeah their passwords WERE hashed. But let me remind you, it took our team less then 4-5 hours to decrypt all staff hashes. They were not MD5 but rather mysql hashes. All passwords were very easy.

Just clearing this up, it is not our intentions to LEAK any private data to the public. We are just here to show the poor security standards some websites have. We have our best intentions. NOTHING was changed on the server, and NO ONE was harmed.

A hack is still a hack. Someone at sometime, did have access to the same database and god knows what they did with it. This is known as we searched for one of the hashes and the whole dump of hashes were posted on a password cracking forum, known as InsidePro. No one on that server is safe, if this is absolutely the case. National University of Singapore had and still has many more holes in their website."

Asia's safest bank DBS got hacked, now no longer the safest


So Asia's safest bank and the pride of Singapore, DBS just got hacked. As of 8pm Thursday, about 200 customers have informed the bank of unauthorized withdrawals made in Malaysia through their DBS/POSB ATM and debit cards. This is the largest case of bank fraud in Singapore with about $200,000 of unauthorised withdrawals made. It's still early days but I suspect many more people in Singapore are affected.

Official statement from DBS: "Any customer who believes their ATM/Debit card(s) may have been compromised, should contact the bank immediately on 1800-220 1111 or visit any DBS/POSB branch. We are treating the matter with utmost priority and would like to assure customers that they will be fully compensated, for any fraudulent transactions, within 24 hours of notifying the bank.

Investigations are currently underway and we have started to proactively contact all customers whose account transaction history indicates that there has been an ATM transaction made in Malaysia, over the past few days, to double check and confirm that indeed such an ATM transaction was made."

It is not known how the people behind these unauthorised withdrawals carried out their actions. How do you withdraw money using the ATM when you don't have the person's ATM card and PIN number? Strange but very worrying.


It's funny that DBS prides itself with being the safest bank in Asia. Oh btw, they were named Safest Bank in Asia by Global Finance three years running in 2009, 2010 and 2011. I guess they can forget about calling themselves the safest bank in Asia after today when all the aunties and uncles storm into the DBS and POSB branches to withdraw all their savings from their accounts and keep their money under their pillows instead. Asia's Safest Bank? Not anymore.

Update: Here's a video of the Ch 5 news report. (Thanks Mr Big)

Update: This is how the unauthorised withdrawals looks like on your bank records. (Thanks Andrew Y)


The $5 is the transaction fee because the money is withdrawn in Malaysia.

Update: DBS says "Hi" to me on Twitter after I tweeted that someone from DBS was reading this blog post. (Thanks Pricias)


They want me to follow them on Twitter but I don't like to follow someone who will only be on Twitter on Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm. Heh. Maybe they don't pay the poor chap overtime.

Update: POSB and DBS Bank customers rushed to check their bank accounts this morning. One lady even de-activated her ATM cards linked to bank accounts with larger amounts. (Thanks Shy)

Update: Another example of bank transaction record showing unauthorised withdrawal. (Thanks Rickie)

In this record, you can see that cash was withdrawn from a place called City Bazaar which I checked is the largest bazaar in Malaysia. It is located in Kuala Lumpur.

Update: Affected DBS and POSB cardholders are advised to lodge a police report via the Electronic Police Centre or at any neighbourhood police centre. Include the date, amount, location and transaction description for each unauthorised withdrawal. (Thanks Ang)

UpdateLong queues at POSB and DBS branches islandwide on Friday morning.

Update:  An overseas banking security expert tells me unauthorised DBS and POSB withdrawals could be due to mass ATM skimming or even something more serious like an insider job but Agagooga says on Twitter that we have anti ATM skimming devices installed on ATMs in Singapore. On its website, DBS says they have installed card security devices throughout its ATM network.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Singapore Prime Minister, President and Ministers take pay cut, still very rich


The Committee to Review Ministerial Salaries has proposed that the Prime Minister's annual salary be cut by 36%, the President's annual salary be cut by 51%, the Minister's annual salary be cut by 37% and the salary of a new minister be benchmarked to 60% of median income of top 1,000 Singapore citizens. Everybody hates pay cut but even after this proposed pay cut, our PM will still earn a whopping S$2.2 million a year and that is still more than what any other world leader is earning.

So what is enough to attract political talent in Singapore then? Is it all about the money? Grace Fu, the Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts, and the Environment and Water Resources writes this on her Facebook: "When I made the decision to join politics in 2006, pay was not a key factor. Loss of privacy, public scrutiny on myself and my family and loss of personal time were. The disruption to my career was also an important consideration. I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. So it is with this recent pay cut. If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering political office." Go figure!

Unsafe Pedestrian Crossing outside Bugis MRT station

Uncleyap thinks that the pedestrian crossing outside Bugis MRT station is unsafe and he has a video to prove it. He says, "About 200 pedestrians were tidily packed at high density in middle of busy road. Average 4.5 person/sqm. Spilling out to traffic lanes on both sides. People forced to jump railing to Jay-Walk. Danger of vehicle impact at dense crowd." Someone needs to show this to LTA and get them to remove that stupid "island".

Choosy Thief caught on CCTV camera at Hougang Street 21

It's hard to be a HDB thief these days. There are so many things to steal. Hard to make up your mind. Cecil installed a CCTV camera outside his flat in Hougang Street 21 and caught this thief in action. He says, "You're busted, sucka!!! You don't come to my flat in the dead of night and think you can get away with stealing MY stuff!!" Watch the video. It's funny. Looks like the thief couldn't decide what to steal.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Singapore Premiere of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


I was invited to the Premiere of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at The Grand Cathay last Wednesday by the nice people at Sony Pictures. Directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara as the two leads, the movie is an adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Swedish-language novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is the first book in the Millenium series trilogy. The other books being The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tells the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced financial journalist played by Mr James Bond, Daniel Craig who investigates the case of a woman who has been dead for 40 years. He was aided by a tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander played by Rooney Mara. Watch the trailer above. Rooney last acted in The Social Network also directed by David Fincher. She played Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend who broke up with him before he started Facebook. Remember her?


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the best movies that I've watched recently. Brilliantly directed by David Fincher and acted by the two leads, in particular, Rooney Mara who I think should be nominated for an Oscar for her work in this movie. Wow! She's really that good. Remember that name - Rooney Mara.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has all the ingredients of a very good thriller. You have mystery, rape, torture, bigotry, murder, sex and yes, even lesbian sex! And if you're a geek and you're into computer hacking, you will also love this movie. Rooney's character is one hell of a computer hacker, doing some things I thought wasn't even possible. But then again, what do I know? I'm not a computer hacker.

The movie takes its time to introduce the two leading characters, giving us a thorough understanding of what the characters have been through. This is good but I feel it takes far too long to do this. 20 minutes into the movie, I was wondering if I was watching a movie that that has two different storylines but once the two leads finally meet, the movie really kicks off. And what a movie this is! Absolutely must watch! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens tomorrow and it is rated R21. I give it 4 out of 5 dragon tattoos.

You can watch an 8 minutes preview of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Enjoy!

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