Archive for December, 2006

Weird Webs: Spiders on Drugs

December 29, 06

This is a redo of one part of my second post ever, Cacacacaf-f-f-feine It’s mostly taken from a browsing of several websites on the subject, including sentences from this site.

The experiment involves injecting a fly with a drug and feeding it to a spider. The spider is then allowed to go off and spin a web. The spider’s behavious and the web pattern is observed.

First, a normal web spun by a healthy, drug-free spider for reference:

      WebNormal

Spiders fed Benzedrine (‘Speed’) spin their webs “with great gusto, but apparently without much planning leaving large holes”, according to New Scientist magazine:

      WebBenzedrine

Spiders fed caffeine (take note coffee-junkies) spin webs that seem strung together at random:

      WebCaffeine

Chloral hydrate, an ingredient of sleeping pills, makes the spiders sleepy:

      WebChloralHydrate

Hashish (cannabis), which makes one feel relaxed:

      WebHashish

LSD, the infamous hallucinogenic drug:

      WebLSD

Marijuana (ganja), similar to hashish/cannabis:

      WebMarijuana

Mescaline (peyote), another hallucination-inducer extracted from cactus:

    WebMescaline

And here’s a video, courtesy of hutchrun:

Conclusion: The more toxic the chemical, the more deformed the web is. The type of the drugs (depressant or stimulant) and its effects show in the way the web is spun. Imagine what drugs do to your life.

KIDS. DON’T DO DRUGS. ESPECIALLY YOU PHARMACY GRADS.

Night at the Museum

December 29, 06

      NightMuseumPoster

The trailer would have already given away the premise of this show – light hearted comedy involving things in the museum coming to life at night. Though to be honest, the posters made me think it was a horror flick.

Night at the Museum is good clean fun, with pretty amusing scenes and humourous happenings that made me go Adoiiiii! Some of the jokes are predictable, others are surprising.

The CGI effects are quite cool, especially the animated T-Rex skeleton and the Egyptian-tomb guardians (giant Anubite warriors, Kean!). Kids will love this show.

The various exhibits with their different quirks makes for amusement, particularly the tiny miniatures whose small size is often exploited for laughs. Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan and their Wild Western cowboys and Roman legionaires add the immature-arguing-rival/buddy-guys amusement.

Ben Stiller is commendable for not overacting. Although, in a latter scene with Atilla the Hun his performance reminded me of Adam Sandler’s older comedies (lovable slightly retarded underdog Sandler, not violent psychotic maniac Sandler).

…And I admit, I started out the show watching for Robin Williams’ appearance, only to forget he’s in the show and not realize who he played until almost the end! “Ah! It’s Robin williams!” “Dear, now only you realize ah?”

Overall, a fun and relaxing light watch. Good for chilling out to nothing serious.

Eragon

December 29, 06

      EragonPoster

I decided to blog about new movies that I watch, for the purpose of giving you readers a heads-up on whether those shows are worth watching. I’ll be tactful and not give away too much, and remember that these are just my own opinions about the films.

—————

Now on to Eragon, which I watched a while back… The trailer looked pretty cool (don’t they all), with dragons fighting and all. But what really sold me to go and watch this show was the brief glimpses of spellcasting! Fireball, booomf!

I thought: “Finally! A high fantasy movie! Hope they don’t botch it like they did Dungeons & Dragons.” FIY, the film Eragon is based on a series of successful novels.

The plot of Eragon seemed very standard fare. To wit, there’s: A young farm boy turned hero with mysterious powers and heavy responsibilities, his uncle who had adopted him and later dies tragically, a captive princess, an old gruff mentor, an ominous bad guy with dark powers, an Emperor who betrayed his kind to get into power, and desperate rebels fighting an evil empire.

…If it sounds like I accidentally watched a rerun of Star Wars, you’re not alone. When the Eragon book first came out, some criticized the plot as a rip-off of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and other established stories.

The actual show felt more like an adventure than an epic (epic = LoTR). Seemed rather like a children’s story. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe was based on a children’s book, but that film had a very epic, grand feel. Later I found out that the writer of the Eragon books is really a young fella like me, no wonder!

The character and plot building felt very brief, especially compared to LoTR: The Fellowship of the Ring’s one-and-a-half hours of touristing around the Shire.

The hero’s use of magic was pretty cool though, which somewhat consoled the high fantasy expectations I had. But the bad guy magic-man really stole the show with his varied spells, including a HUGE fireball! 25d6+10 AoE damage, anyone?

And there’s a dragon too, rather cute looking compared to Sean Connery’s fearsome Draco in Dragonheart.

Oh, and Kevin and Justin? Waaaaaay less mass-battle than even Narnia. Sorry.

Overall, a rather fun flick. Short by today’s standards, which contributes to its not-an-epic feel. But worth a casual outing with the Sunday School kids. (Just remember to tell them that it’s only a movie, real-life magic involves demons/fallen spirits and has horrible consequences!)

—————

PS. On the Dungeons & Drag-On-and-On film from long ago… The noobs who did it missed a golden opportunity to actually connect with fans of D&D. The scene is where the bad guy promises to leave the heroes alone, if the just give him the treasure. So they give him the treasure, and he immediately goes back on his word.

Hero: “I thought you said you wouldn’t hurt us so-and-so!?”
Bad Guy: “…I lied.”

LAAAAAMMMMMEEEEE-OOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Any real fan of Dungeons & Dragons or even games like Baldur’s Gate would feel that it really should have gone like this:

Hero: “I thought you promised you wouldn’t hurt us!?”
Bad Guy: “…Oh, sorry. I’m Chaotic Evil, not Lawful Evil.”

If you don’t get it, oh well… Very in-joke thing among D&D players. Guess that’s why even if the film producers had thought of it, they wouldn’t have included it. Because they don’t want geeky Dungeons & Dragons fans to clog up the cinemas I guess.

Earthquake Disrupts Net Connections

December 27, 06

There was an earthquake off the southern coast of Taiwan, last night 7.1 on Richter scale. The quake damaged some underwater cables, knocking off TMNet’s connections to overseas.

 TMNetQuake3

No wonder the Net’s been atrociously slow today! I haven’t even been able to access my main lifeline, Wikipedia, at all! Looks like it may a while before it’s fixed. Read the full text from TMNet.

Update 28 Dec – The Star’s report. Apparently, many bloggers were hung out to dry. Yours truly’s blogging was little affected however, heh heh.

But have you noticed… These past few Christmas seasons have brought many natural disasters. Tsunami, floods, quakes and more… Are these signs that the End Times are closer than ever?

Mystery Referral From Sejarah Malaysia Site!

December 27, 06

I have one referral from this address.

               MysteryLink

Following the link, I come to a section of the Sejarah Malaysia website by Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia and am greeted with this piccy: 

               Azhar2

The short article is about Datuk Azhar Mansor, which would explain the connection to my site (searches for him still get me a bunch of hits). But looking high and low on that page, I see NO WAY someone could possibly reach my site from it.

So how did it end up as a referrer leading to my blog? Spooky!

Graduan Website

December 27, 06

Hey juniors, apart from bugging your already-employed seniors, here’s some guidance for when you get to job-seeking.

Graduan

It’s a publication and website meant to help students and fresh grads to get into the working world. I’ve browsed some of the articles before, it seems to have pretty good advice.

For myself, I prayed, fasted and kept myself holy for a month as I sought the LORD’s specific will for my life (relationship and work included). Close every door except the one You want me to go through. Meanwhile, I applied to whatever writing/editing related job I could find in newspapers, JobStreet and JobsDB.

But hed my words of advice – Don’t be in a hurry to leave the wonderful and precious uni life!

Merdeka Stories From You in the Sun Newspaper

December 27, 06

Taken verbatim from Sun2Surf.

If you or your older family members have a personal recollection of those olden days, or you have a more recent touching story about nice Malaysians to tell, why don’t you give it a go?

—————

Your Merdeka stories

WeAreMy

We are Malaysians! That’s how we would like to celebrate the year ahead of us as we approach the 50th year of our independence.

If you have personal stories of pivotal moments in our history as a nation, please write in to us at merdeka@thesundaily.com or call 03-7784 6688 ext. 505 or fax us at 03-7785 2624/5, and include your name and contact details.

We would especially welcome your stories and photos of 1946 when the Malayan Union was formed, 1957 when Malaya gained independence, and 1963 when Malaysia was born, together with Sabah and Sarawak, and Singapore which left in 1965.

Let’s remember how we got here, and celebrate the potential of what lies ahead.

Lessons from May 13

Malaysians are often reminded of the communal clashes of May 13, 1969. We are warned that it could easily happen again because race relations can be easily frayed by “sensitive issues”. We are taught to fear that part of our history.

While there are indeed painful lessons to be learnt from May 13, and we should be wary of repeating past mistakes, we must not forget that many Malaysians also reached out to each other despite their racial differences during those difficult days.

If you have stories of kindness, of Malaysians acting as humane Malaysians first, of people who chose not to let race define how they treated others during May 13, we’d like to hear them.

Please write in to merdeka@thesundaily.com or call 03-7784 6688 ext. 505 or fax us at 03-7785 2624/5, and include your name and contact details.

Let’s start remembering that despite the horrendous clashes of May 13, there were also amazing encounters between Malaysians that display our strengths as a people.

The Editor
theSun

Multi Million African Business Deal, Hurray!

December 27, 06

I get a lot of this. Wow, I could earn 40% of 15 million USD! Yeah, it’s very professional and oh-so believable too! Where do I sign up???

Oops, my mistake. Sorry Mr. African Bank Manager, you’re too late. About a hundred other Internet scams have already robbed me blind after I gave them my bank account. Looks like there won’t be a holiday in Burkina Faso for me anytime soon.

Yeeeah! So unoriginal. Don’t these scammers take any pride in their work? The least they could do is to base their bogus stories around recent events, like the latest conflict in Somalia. But he’s still somewhat better than other attempts, where EVRYTHING IS IN CAPS PLEASE CONTACT ME URGENTLY.

I’ll give him this however… Online search reveals that ECOWAS, Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou even George Brumley’s entire family dying in a plane crash are all real. So with a little more polishing (and some adding lead to the water supply so we all become stupider), this offer might actually seem convicing.

Except that searching for “idris musa” immediately turns up websites debunking the whole thing as a hoax scam. And the link provided doesn’t work, although the parent site is legit.

In direct disobedience of his request to keep this confidential, I’ll let you can read the e-mail below (if you haven’t already read it in your own mailbox). Note the lack of even a basic spellcheck.

Note the very weird line breaks where he leaves one or to words stranded by themselves. It’s like he typed it out in Notepad before copy-pasting it into e-mail (which I do, so I recognize the weird line breaks).

I wanted to report the many spelling, grammar, punctuation and spacing errors, but gave up after 10+ spelling mistakes alone. So instead, I shall ruthlessly mock the poor writing skills of ‘MR.IDRIS MUSA’ by striking-through his plentiful failings. Spelling or wrong letter case or poor spacing, no typo shall be spared! Except the sudden line breaks, ‘cos they’re like, at every sentence.

Giving him my bank account: Earn USD 6,000,000

Making fun of scam spam: Priceless.

PS.  A commenter seems to think this is genuine and wants in on it!

—————

FROM THE DESK OF MR.IDRIS MUSA.
BILL AND EXCHANGE
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPT.
BANK  OF  AFRICA   ( BOA)
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO ,


           Dear friend,

Compliments,

I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance
department
of BANK OF AFRICA. I am writting to seek your coperation over this
business
deal.

In my department,  I discovered an abandoned sum of$15million
USD(Fifteen
million US dollars)only ,
in an account that belongs to one of our
foreign
customers who died along with his entire family in a plane crash that
took
place in Kenya,East Africa,the Late DR. GEORGE BRUMLEY,a citizen of
Atlanta,United States of America but naturalised in
Burkinafaso,WestAfrica
and  contractor with ECOWAS,(ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES)
.

Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his
next of
kin to come over and claim his money because it cannot be released 
unless
somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as
indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately , all his
supposed
next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash
leaving
nobody behind for the claim.

It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to makethis
businness
proposal to you and release the money to  you via your foreign bank
account
as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and
subsequent
disbursement since nobody is coming for it and this money Could  go
into the
Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.

The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money
remainedunclamed after four years, the money will betransfered into the
Bank
treasury as unclaimed fund.The request for your assistance and maximum
co-operation as a  foreign citizen  to stand as the next of kin in this
business is occasioned by the fact that the deceased customer was a
foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.
40 %
of this money will be for you as my foreign partner, inrespect to the
provision of a foreign account. 10 %will be set aside for expences
incured
during the business and 50 % would be for me.There after I will come
over to
your country for disbursement accoding to the percentages indicated.

Therefore to enable the immediate trnansfer of this fund to you as
arranged,you must apply first to the bank as the relation or next of
kin to
the deceased,indicating your claims and wherein the money will be
remitted .

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text
of
application which you will fill and submit to the office of the foreign
remittance director of the bank of africa. I will not fail to bring to
your
notice that this transaction is stricly confidential and i will use my
position in this Bank to effect a hitch free transfer of the fund.

You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.

Trusting to hear from you immediately.

Please , visit the website below for more informations about the Plane
Crash
and the tragic death of the deceased and his entire family, Late
DR.GEORGE BRUMLEY.

http://www.wral.com/news/2345844/detail.html

Your’s faithfully,

MR.IDRIS MUSA

The Star: Douse Inflammatory Words

December 26, 06

From The Star Opinions 24 Dec, my second printed Letter to the Editor since I started blogging (the first is found here). It took over a week to appear, so I thought it had been thrown out into the pile of ‘Dear Santa…’ mail.

It’s in response to a previous Opinion by someone else, that we should just ignore and forget about the firey speeches that some UMNO Youth speakers made (yes, those headline grabbing ones that stayed in the news logn after the occurance).

It was inspired by reading Lee Kuan Yew’s memoirs book 1, The Singapore Story, where he recounts that un-restrained blasting and inflammatory accusations led to the 1964 Singapore Race Riots. Proof from history that letting people keep shooting their mouth off will lead to shootings of a different, more literal kind…

     ScottOpinion2

————–

STICKS and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Men, however, will take up sticks and stones if words are incendiary.  

So while I agree that we should not pay too much attention to a couple of fiery speeches, we must also make it absolutely clear that such dangerous remarks will not be condoned. If the fire is allowed to be fed, it will grow into an uncontrollable blaze rather than fizzle out.  

If you think it can’t happen, then look at history. The last time provocative comments and slogans were publicly uttered, they helped trigger the May 13, 1969, Incident.  

Before that, harsh words uttered without restraint led to the 1964 Race Riots that contributed to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia.  

It is important that we are able and willing to voice our opinions honestly. 

But there is a world of difference between an honest opinion and an intentionally inflammatory remark. 

We can make our views known without having to be insulting, condescending, threatening or just plain rude.  

If anyone were to spout bigoted slurs in public – even in their own blogs – they would be open to arrest and litigation. 

Why should it be any different for politicians who are in line to be the leaders of our country?  

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword for words can grab men by the heart and incite them to take up arms against each other.  

Scott Thong Yu Yuen, Ipoh  

Blessed Christmas 2006!

December 25, 06

A very blessed Christmas to all!

2006 has been a year of great changes and amazing blessings for me. I got my first long term job that I’m still at, and likely still will be for a time more. I discovered that I really like blogging, posting to the point of overkill. And of course, God has blessed me with the woman I am going to marry.

Let me send my wishes to everyone on this, the day that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was sent down as a humble baby, bringing the gift of free salvation to us all. Have a blessed Christmas!

To Anne, my honey: You’ve brought imcomparable joy to my life. Not just the pelasure of your love and companionship, but also the comforting assurance of a relationship in God’s will. You truly are God’s gift of love to me. I love you, dearest! 

To the Leong family: Uncle Sea Fook, Aunty Irene, Beatrice and more… Thank you so much for accepting me into your hearts and home. I promise to take care of Anne at least as well as you’ve taken care of her all through these years.

To Kean: Hey, brother! Thanks for spurring me on to blog so/not long ago. Now it’s my turn encourage you to start again, if you have the time and the mood to. Ganbatte!

To Grace Oo: Hi sis! Keeping Kean out of trouble ya? (Or is it the other way around?) Thanks so much for all your help, it was really appreciated. Have a wonderful year ahead, full of God’s blessings!

To Yu Pei, Angeline and Fei Chieh: We’re so glad you are in Johor Bahru too! Life so peaceful, quiet and sane without your house. Who wants that? ;>

To the Young Adults of JBBC: You’ve really made us feel welcome in JB. After putting up a brave and responsible face at work, I’m glad to be able to be myself among people who care. I thank God for your presence in my life!

To Wenby: Whatever comes your way, I know you are able to face it. I’ll always be there to support you, promise. Praying for your happiness…

To Han-Yu: God has good things in store for you, you know it in your heart right? You’re a good and strong mui, always remember that! I’m proud of you, always.

To Kim: Ahhhhh!!!! Working life! And we complained about studying?! But we won’t let them drag us down, right? Do your bestest, and beat the system!

To Grace Woo: Congratulations, Grace and Joshua Ausley! May God bless you more and even more as you begin a new life journey together.

To Mary Ann: God has big plans for you, Miss Manager. Keep in touch with Him as He speaks to you. We’re all cheering you on Mary!

To Mei Yee: God knows your heart’s calling, and He gave you your talents and interests. It’s just a matter of time before your bosses admit it too! I’m glad for you, and hope for even better things to come.

To Joshua Hooi: Keep on with your ministry! Your writing inspires and encourages many, and I’m among their number.

To Emmeline: Congratulations, you beat us all to it. Haha! May God bless your soon-to-come family and raise them up to love Him as dearly as you do.

To Joshua Johnson: Thanks for the tumpang and rides. It’s good to meet up with you every now and then. So, regarding the greeting to Emmeline above… When’s your turn? :p

To Esther: How is it going over there? Nostalgic over uni days ah… Please say hi to your fishies for me! ;>

To Kevin Ho: Hey Kev! Don’t let the fire and noise die out in PKA! Influence the juniors and leave a legacy for them to pick up when their time comes.

To Alex D: Hey Pastor, how are you? May you leave a lasting impact on those you meet, even as they impact your own life. God bless, brother!

To Dan: Hey bro. Working life, huh? Luckily we’re meant for better things than this, eh?

To Sadat: Hey Dat, thanks for all the advice and comments. Hope you find what God wants you to look for. Too bad you don’t blog… I’m sure it would be a fun browse.

To Jon Chen: Hey, how’s it going man? Your plans moving ahead, or just taking it easy for now? Don’t let the funk leave you behind…

To Christine: Hey, how is working life? Bored already ah? Don’t forget your old friends while enjoying your new environment ah…

To Siao Ping: I’m sure you’re very happy lah, got soh-soh housemate to keep you company  :p  Glad that you found your place in Penang, don’t forget all about Ipoh ya!

To Yong Syn: Hi Yong! How is it out of the never-sleep pharmacy course? So glad you don’t have to deal with that any more right… Hehe…

To Yan Yi: How’s things going, gal? The world bowed to your obvious superiority yet? Don’t let it bug you if it hasn’t. The fools refuse to acknowledge me either!

To Melissa: How are you finding the working world out there? God has great plans for you, and He will strengthen you for them.

To Florence: Meeeeooooowwww! How kucing liar, tamed by the 9 to 5 already?

To Samuel: Keep on in the special and joyful ministry God has given you. Reclaim the world of magic for Him!

To Yun Leng and housemates: Continue to be good and nice juniors… I mean, seniors!

And to everyone else: No, I haven’t forgotten you. God bless us, everyone!


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