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Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The dark art of David Ho

I didn't realise it, but OriginalFake is a legit brand. Of course, here the products may well be OriginalFake - fakes. One can't be too careful these days when it comes to supporting our mass-commercialisation overlords.
Buy pirated goods & support local entrepreneurship.

Only in Malaysia

Spirulina & pineapple cake
~ found in Secret Recipe near Times Square

Spirulina & oats breakfast drinks
~ found at Malaysia supermarkets, everywhere!

spirulina - super food!

Hari Raya sand art
in the foyer of our office

Australia has a new Prime Minister!

A jubilant Kevin Rudd has claimed victory for Labor in the federal election after voters turfed out the 11-year-old coalition government.

read full story at smh

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

  • 4 watts of solar power for fast charging
  • Included battery pack which stores power until you need it
  • 11 adaptors for easy connection to handheld electronics
  • Fabric: 600D shell made from recycled PET (soda bottles), UV resistant PU, and sandwich mesh back, inside pockets use PET mesh
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs (1,300 grams) including battery and solar panels
  • 4 Watts of Solar Power: From three tough, light weight, waterproof solar panels.
  • 4-6 hours of direct sunlight produce enough charge to fully charge a typical cell phone

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Team building weekend in Port Dickson

This weekend 30-something members of the Systems department of our company travelled to Port Dickson for some team building exercises. The good folks from my department met up at 8am Saturday for breakfast first before heading off on the hour and a bit drive to PD. I haven't had chicken porridge very much, but I'm sure having it again. Delicious!

Once we arrived in PD we checked into the Palm Springs resort, had some lunch and then hit the track for some seriously non-serious go-carting. This was only the second time I've carted, and it was a blast.

After a bit of a break we headed down to the pool area for some team games, which was surprisingly fun, considering that the descriptions of the games provided made it sound like we had all been invited to a 6 year olds birthday party.

After dinner we subjected ourselves to drinks and apparently singing, though I'm not so sure how my rendition of 'Easy' contributed to team morale at all.

Some partied all night, I crashed exhausted. Sunday we had a bit more of a relaxed time and went to the beach for a bit before making our way back to KL.

All in all, a great, though exhausting weekend.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Robotic roaches to change insect behaviour

Roach-sized robots that scientists introduced into real roach colonies were able to change the bugs' group behaviour, a new study has found.

"While this kind of behaviour has been seen in groups of living animals ranging from insects to vertebrates, this study shows that autonomous robots can be used to study and control group behaviour," said Jose Halloy and colleagues in the study published in the November 16 issue of Science.

Halloy, of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, and his co-authors used robots similar to cockroaches in size but not shape, and which were coated to mimic a natural cockroach exterior cuticle.

They introduced the minority robots which, with the majority cockroaches, together determined the choice of shelter.

The scientists said robots controlled the collective decision-making process and yielded a behaviour - the choice of an inappropriate shelter - not observed in groups of cockroaches alone.

"These results demonstrate the possibility of using intelligent autonomous devices to study and control self-organised behavioural patterns in group-living animals," Halloy and co-authors added.

from smh

Thursday, November 15, 2007

for the geek girl in your life..

found here

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I touched a UFO: ex-air force pilot

A group of former pilots who have recounted seeing strange phenomena in the sky has demanded the US government reopen an investigation into UFOs.

Several pilots offered dramatic accounts of witnessing UFOs - including a transparent flying disc and a triangular craft with mysterious markings - as they insisted their questions needed to be taken seriously more than 30 years after the US file was closed.

"We want the US government to stop perpetuating the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth, conventional terms," said Fife Symington, former governor of Arizona and air force pilot who says he saw a UFO in 1997.

"Instead our country needs to reopen its official investigation that it shut down in 1969," Symington said.

"We believe that for reasons of both national security and flight safety, every country should make an effort to identify any object in its airspace," said a statement from the 19 former pilots and government officials from around the world.

The subject of UFOs came up in a recent debate among US presidential candidates, with Democrat Dennis Kucinich saying he once saw a UFO - making him the object of ridicule and jokes by late night television comedians.

Sceptics say UFO sightings are merely aircraft, satellites or meteors re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

But the retired pilots spoke to a sympathetic audience of UFO "believers" who heard them recall their encounters with seemingly other-worldly objects appearing out of the sky.

"Nothing in my training prepared me for what we were witnessing," said James Penniston, a retired US Air Force pilot, as he described seeing and touching a UFO when he was stationed at a British air base in Woodbridge.

He said he saw an inexplicable triangular craft in a clearing in the woods with "blue and yellow lights swirling around the exterior".

The UFO was "warm to the touch and felt like metal," Penniston said. One side of the craft had pictorial symbols and "the largest symbol was a triangle, which was centred in the middle of the others," he said.

Then after 45 minutes the light from the object "began to intensify" and it then "shot off at an unbelievable speed" before 80 Air Force personnel, he said. "In my logbook, I wrote 'speed: impossible'."

Rodrigo Bravo from Chile's air force said UFOs needed to be studied but lamented that the media often belittle the sightings.

"Sadly the UFO subject has been contaminated with false information, out of touch with reality, provided by unqualified people to the media," Bravo said.

"One of our most important civil aviation cases occurred in 1988, showing that unidentified flying objects can be a danger for air operations," he said.

"A Boeing 737 pilot on a final approach to the runway at the Puerto Montt airport suddenly encountered a large white light surrounded by green and red."

The pilot took a sharp turn to avoid a collision, according to Bravo.

The panel included a former Iranian fighter pilot, Parviz Jafari, who said in 1976 he tried in vain to fire from his jet at an "object which was flashing with intense red, green, orange and blue light" over Tehran.

But when he approached, "my weapons jammed and my radio communications garbled".

A former Air France captain, Jean-Charles Duboc, said in 1994 he and his crew saw "a huge flying disc" near Paris with a diameter of about 300 metres that left no sign on radar.

The disc "became transparent and disappeared in about 10 to 20 seconds," Duboc said.

The former pilot said like other major airlines Air France was mindful of its image and it was difficult to raise the subject of UFOs.

A former official with the Federal Aviation Administration, John Callahan, said government agencies discourage inquiries into UFOs.

"'Who believes in UFOs?' is the kind of attitude of the FAA all the time," he said.

"However, when I asked the CIA person: 'What do you think it was,' he responded 'a UFO'."

When Callahan suggested the government tell Americans about a UFO, the CIA official allegedly told him: "'No way, if we were to tell the American public there are UFOs they would panic."'

from smh

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Googles 'Android' mobile OS ~ first demo video

Googles Linux-based mobile Operating System, Android SDK (Software Development Kit) demo released. Check out the below video. First device using this should be released 2nd quarter 2008. An Open Source iPhone?

...full details

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ceramic soft-drink cans

I know nothing at all about these, but I found them here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Unearthing Sydney's underground bar scene

The City of Sydney council will investigate mapping the central business district's network of underground retail arcades in search of hidden spots suitable for small bars.

"Unlike most cities, we have an absolute labyrinth of underground shopping arcades but they basically pull the shutters down after the 5pm commuter exit. There's an opportunity to activate those places after dark," said Jeff Lewis, a spokesman for the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.

Mr Lewis pointed to the arcade that joined Town Hall station to Pitt Street Mall, the link from the corner of Liverpool and Elizabeth streets to Museum station and Park Street, and a stretch from York Street to Wynyard to Hunter Connection to Pitt Street.
"Who knows what's down there. I know Wynyard had a number of levels they used for storage and there's a whole World War II storage area under [St James]," he said.

Andrew Dodds, a bar reviewer from the website Where is the Pub?, remembers Wynyard's Hunter Arcade packed full of drinking spots in the '90s.
"That building had about eight or nine if you counted them. There was the 747 bar where the windows and seats were styled like you were inside an aeroplane. The Porthole was fairly small but the Jungle Bar was a reasonable size," he said.

Mr Dodds said he was more pub patron than bar fly but welcomed the liquor licensing reforms proposed this week.
"If the pubs had listened more to what the people wanted rather than just the pokie punters, then they wouldn't find themselves in this situation," he said.

The former Hunter Arcade bars, owned by the nearby Menzies Hotel, were closed in the early '90s after the Menzies' owners decided to focus on the hotel.
"I do remember the Jungle Bar was a very hot R'n'R bar during the Vietnam years," said one long-standing Menzies worker, who asked not to be named.

A City of Sydney councillor, John McInerney, said he would rather have a tipple in the sunshine than underground but said "there are a few little nooks and crannies in that area that are left over from warehouses and funny little subdivisions running down to Darling Harbour".

Cr McInerney also pointed to the underground public toilets at Hyde Park, Wynyard and Macquarie Place that were filled in when the former lord mayor, Frank Sartor, was in office. "Something I would like to do is unfill them and put them back as some other use. The designs were very nice," Cr McInerney said.

He also floated the idea of bars in disused train tunnels at St James station. But a spokesman from the Australian Rail Historical Society, Graham Thurling, said public access to the tunnels was banned after September 11, 2001. "Those tunnels are heritage protected and they won't even let you do tours since the terrorist thing came up," Mr Thurling said.

found on smh

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The perfect Poached Eggs

After many a poached egg disaster, I decided to scour the web and see how the pro's do it. I was surprised by how much variety there was out there. I decided to experiment, and here, below I present to you the most effective method I have discovered.

you will need:
  • eggs [i use two]
  • medium sized saucepan
  • vinegar [i use rice vinegar, but i think any low flavour will do - probably don't use brown vinegar]
  • a spoon
  • one of those ladle things with holes in it [not shown]
  • bread and margarine
  • salt & pepper
Bring a little more than half a saucepan of water to the boil, adding about four dessert spoons of white vinegar. It's the acidic vinegar that stops your eggs from separating and turning into a boiling egg and water soup.

Remove your boiling water and vinegar from the hot stove top so it stops bubbling, and stir it. Now stir it as fast as you dare without splashing boiling water on yourself.

With the water spinning around in the saucepan, crack your eggs into the centre of the water.
The water should quite quickly lose momentum at this point, so gently use your spoon to keep it in motion. This stops the eggs from sitting in one spot in the pan and sticking there.

Turn the heat down on the nearby stove top [our saucepan should still be sitting to the side at this point].

Now add your bread to the toaster and get it on it's way. The toast is our timer here. Keep those eggs spinning, then slowly add them back to our hot stove top. The trick here is that we want our water to stay very hot, but we don't want the bubbles associated with boiling, as they will rip through our perfect eggs spheres like an iceberg through the Titanic.

When our toast inevitably pops, remove the eggs from the heat again, turn off the stove, and butter your toast. What part of the loaf you use for your toast is entirely up to you, but I save my crusts for my regular poached egg adventures, it just seems to suit the soft eggs with the brittle crust of toast.

Now the most important step, remove the eggs with the ladle with drainage thing, pop them onto your toast, garnish with a pinch of salt and pepper and a sprig of parsley & voila!

Perfect poached eggs. Enjoy.

The Secret History of Video Games: Pac Gentleman

“When this game was first released in 1880 it was so hugely popular in taverns and inns that the bank of England was forced to mint more threepenny bits to keep up with demand. The game was created by messrs Nam & Nam and Co. as a novelty pastime for the masses. Outdoing the previous top public house game of Shove Ha’penny. “

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"China is building from scratch a city the size of Brisbane every month."

Odd Search