Friday, August 31, 2007

Red eye again... part 2

I went to see family doctor yesterday. According to him, my red eye is not Conjunctivitis. It is the same as last time: Pupil Infection.

My family doctor even said that the eye drops given to me by walk-in clinic doctor was useless.

Just like last time, my family doctor gave me 2 eye drops:
  1. Cyclogyl (1 drop twice daily)
  2. Maxidex (1 drop 4 times a day)

When I look at my left eye in the mirror this morning, my left eye pupil is 5 to 6 times the size of my right eye pupil. Cyclogyl causes my pupil to be soooooo big.

According to site, Cyclogyl is used for dilating the eye before an exam or surgery and preventing the eye from focusing. Cyclogyl is an anticholinergic agent. It works by relaxing the muscle of the eye to cause the pupil to dilate or widen. Maxidex is used to treat eye inflammation caused by infections, injury, surgery, or other conditions.

I have to see doctor again on Sat. Hopefully, my left eye will be 100% fully recovered on Sat.


The human genetic code amounts to a 3 billion letter DNA book, but only one-tenth of 1 percent of DNA differs from one person to the next.

DNA 11 art has become one of the best-selling products at New York's Museum of Modern Art store. A person's DNA profile is printed on to a colored canvas chosen at Price is starting from $414.00 CAD.

CSI:NY has even used a piece of DNA 11 art in a recent episode where a suspect was caught after her DNA portrait was matched to a crime without the need for a warrant. In reality, this won't happen, but it is cool to have unique DNA painting.

New York company DNA Art Forms,, aims to personalize DNA portraits further. Artist Catherine Dapra paints -- rather than prints -- a DNA profile based on conversations with clients. She also fuses two DNA profiles, highlighting similarities and differences between siblings, couples and friends. Her portraits start at $2,000 US.

Personally, I prefer the DNA 11 prints. ;)
May be I am just not too artistic... :P

World’s first automated restaurant

's Baggers bistro in Nuremberg, Germany has became the world’s first automated restaurant.

In order to cut costs, there are no waiters. Diners' orders are placed via touch-screen computers. Dishes are delivered directly to diners on an elaborate spiral rail network that descends from the second floor kitchen.

It would be fun to eat in this restaurant! :)
The idea is similar to the rotating sushi bar.

What if I want water or coffee refill? The rail is just going to deliver a new cup to me each time? Well...If I drink 5 cups, the owner will have to wash a lot of cups... :P

Daily Times
The independent

How mothers cradle babies could show stress

The way a mother cradles her baby holds clues to her mental health. Those who cradle a baby with their right arm are more likely to be suffering from stress and can be at higher risk of depression.

79 new mothers are asked to pick up and cradle their babies while at home and then complete a survey quizzing them on their mental state. Scientists have found that of the mothers who showed no signs of stress or depression, 86 percent preferred to hold their babies to the left. Cradling to the right is more prominent among stressed mothers with 32 percent of them showing this bias.

In the past, scientists have found that most parents cradle children on their left-hand side, regardless of whether they are right or lefthanded.

If you know someone who is cradling her baby with right arm, you better watch out for her mental state!!

Daily Mail
Fox News
Scientific America

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Special spaghetti meat sauce - La Tomatina

After Cappacino Foam, we have spaghetti sauce... ;)
This is a special spaghetti meat sauce..... It's called "La Tomatina"!!

  • Meat - 40,000 people
  • 115,000 kilograms of ripe, juicy plum tomatoes

Cooking Structions:
  • Add all ingredients into a big pot (the size of main square of Bunol, Spain)
  • No need to boil
  • Need thoughtfully squeeze the tomatoes beforehand to soften it up before throwing at other people to cook them.

Serve: 0 person (Nobody wants to eat it afterwards!)

The Spanish tomato festival, La Tomatina, is the world's largest tomato fight.

The festival dates back to 1945, when two people at a carnival in Bunol, just outside Valencia, reportedly began hurling tomatoes at each other in a heated argument. The festival, which has officially been part of Spain's national heritage since 2002, takes place on the last Wednesday in August.

Herald Tribune
Syndey Morning Herald Blog
NZ Herald

Help desk warning sign

The following photo is from TechEBlog:

Make sure you check everything before calling the Help Desk... Otherwise, serious consequence... hahahahaha.... :P

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cappuccino Coast

Can you imagine swimming in the Cappuccino foam?
Well... All you have to do is to fly to New South Wales, Australia now!! :)
I wonder whether we'll get wet or not walking in the foam...
May be it's just like taking a bubble bath??

The shoreline north of Sydney is transformed into the Cappuccino Coast. Storms whipped the sea into foam, which swallows an entire beach and half the nearby buildings, including the local lifeguards' centre, at Yamba in New South Wales . The foam is so light that people could puff it out of their hands and watch it float away.

Scientists explain that the foam is created by impurities in the ocean, such as salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish and excretions from seaweed. All are stirred up together by powerful currents which cause the water to form bubbles. These bubbles stick to each other as they are carried below the surface by the current towards the shore. As a wave starts to form on the surface, the motion of the water causes the bubbles to swirl upwards and, massed together, they become foam.

"It's the same effect you get when you whip up a milk shake in a blender," explains a marine expert.

ABC News
Daily Mail
Yahoo News HK

Virtual police is there to protect or restrict netizens??

China authorities are sending out two virtual police officers to patrol the Internet to combat online pornography and other web sites that promote superstition, gambling, and fraud. The virtual officers, a man and a woman, will appear either on motorcycles, in a car, or on foot, at the bottom of users' computer screens every 30 minutes to remind them of Internet security. The two will monitor major news portals and all Web sites and online forums based in Beijing as of September 1. "Netizens" will be able to click on the icons to connect to the bureau's Internet Surveillance Centre, where they can report illegal activities.

I am not sure whether those two virtual cops are there to protect internet users or to restrict internet users. It really depends on what the China authorities consider as bad influenced web sites. Web sites talking about media freedom, religious freedom, Tibet, Taiwan, etc. are considered infractions? Web sites talking about made-in-China poisonous products are considered a violation as well?? (・_・?)

BBC News
Scientific America
China Daily

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Red eye again....

My left eye was very red yesterday. I was again sensitive to light, just like last time. But this time wasn't as serious as last time. I was able to drive home from Brampton office. Well, the left eye was closed most of the time during driving. really "只眼開只眼閉"... hahahaha...

After I dropped off my co-worker, I was planning to see a walk-in clinic doctor, but the stupid nurses at my family doctor's office gave me the address of a walk-in clinic that was not open on Monday!!! Why didn't I go to see my family doctor? Well, I couldn't get an appointment until Thurs. So, I just went home. I did sleep very early last night.

This morning, my left eye is not as red, only slightly pink. I decide to see doctor at another walk-in clinic. According to that doctor, I have Conjunctivitis or "pink eye". I have to use Fusidic acid 1% sterile eye drops twice daily for 7 days.

Since doctor didn't prescribe any antibiotics, I must have viral conjunctivitis.

What is Conjunctivitis?

Pink eye or conjunctivitis refers to a redness or irritation of the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes (conjuctiva) covering the whites of the eyes. It is usually caused by a virus, bacteria or allergy.

Viral Conjunctivitis is induced by viruses that spread from various ailments like colds, sore throats, respiratory infections

What are the symptoms?
  • usually affects one eye but can move to both
  • associate with more of a watery discharge, not green or yellow in color
  • the eyelids may be swollen
  • Sometimes looking at bright lights is painful
  • one site even mentions that the cause can be dry eyes from lack of tears or exposure to wind and sun

Viral pink eye is highly contagious.

While viral pink eye may not require an antibiotic, those affected should see a doctor, as occasionally this form of pink eye can be associated with infection of the cornea, (the clear portion of the front of the eyeball). This infection must be correctly detected and treated.

What is the treatment for viral conjunctivitis?
  • wash your hands frequently
  • avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • warm compresses may help soothe your eyes
  • contact lens wearers should remove them until the infection clears

Pink eye is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.

More about Conjunctivitis:
All About Vision
Medicine Net
EyeCare Source

Monday, August 27, 2007

Can cat's "Sixth Sense" predict death?

This is an old news... appearing in newspapers about a month ago...
I recently listen to 雲海's 《談談靈‧說說怪》show. It talks about this cat, so I decided to look at the news again....

A two-year-old cat, Oscar, has become a sign of death at a Rhode Island nursing home, curling up beside dying patients in their final few hours. Oscar was adopted as a kitten and grew up on the centre's third-floor dementia unit, which treats patients with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.

According to Dr. David Dosa (a geriatrician at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center), Oscar makes his daily rounds, waiting patiently outside rooms if the doors are closed. Once inside, the grey-and-white cat jumps onto beds and appears to inspect patients by sniffing the air. If Oscar leaves the room, the patient isn't likely to die that day. But when the cat curls up on the bed, staffs will start phoning family members because the patient usually dies within four hours.

Oscar's skills of death are beyond question - and have even been the subject of an article in as august a publication as the New England Journal Of Medicine. To date he has predicted the deaths of 25 patients, and done so with such accuracy that he has completely won the trust of even the initially incredulous medical staff.

"I think it was around the 13th patient," Dr. Dosa says. "Their breathing had changed, and their extremities were cooling. We'd already noticed Oscar seemed to have form in predicting when someone was about to die so I asked if he'd been in. Mary the nurse said, 'No' and I said, 'Oh, let's put him in there and let him keep his streak going.' So we did. Oscar went in, sniffed around - and promptly left the room. The next morning I asked how things had gone overnight and was told the patient had died at 2.30am - about ten hours after I'd predicted. And Oscar had gone back into the room, and stayed there, two hours beforehand. So he's obviously a better prognosticator than I am."

Animal Experts think that cats might be able to pick up the specific odors surrounding death.

Anyway, Oscar has recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care".

Daily Mail
CBS News
CBC News

Car digital keys are hackable

Well... Nothing is 100% secure.... Not even our cars' security systems...
Even if you have secure anti-theft digital key systems in your car, don't be surprised that people can steal it in a few seconds!! They don't even need to break your car's window and do the wires thing (as seen in movies).
All they need to do is sniffing the communication between the digital key and the car, encoding the key to a chip in a remote device, using the remove device to open the car, and driving the car as if he/she is the car owner.

Article from Wired:

Researchers Crack KeeLoq Code for Car Keys

By Kim Zetter
August 24, 2007

A group of Israeli and Belgian researchers found a vulnerability in the algorithm that is used to secure anti-theft digital key systems in numerous vehicles, including those made by such companies as Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Jaguar. With that information they were able to devise an attack to crack the code of anti-theft keys.

With just an hour of remote access to the digital key of one car made by a manufacturer, the researchers say they are able not only to crack the unique code for that specific key but can also determine the key initialization process used to code the digital keys for all of the cars made by that manufacturer. From there, it's pretty simple for them to crack the unique code of another car made by that company.

"There is one master key from which is derived the key for each car a company makes," says Orr Dunkelman, a researcher from the University of Leuven in Belgium who worked on the project with four colleagues.

The cipher the researchers examined, known as KeeLoq, is used to lock and unlock many vehicles that employ remote-control key-less systems and digital key systems -- key fobs and keys that are embedded with a chip that transmits a unique digital code. The devices not only lock and unlock car doors but can also mobilize or immobilize a vehicle and operate its alarm system.

The KeeLoq technology, which is licensed by Microchip Technology to car makers and other entities, has long been considered to be pretty secure. Each KeeLoq key or key fob uses a unique value, out of billions and billions of possibilities, to unlock a car.

But after proprietary information about KeeLoq was leaked to a Russian hacking web site (pdf) last year, the five researchers, from the University of Leuven as well as the Hebrew University and the Technion in Israel, began examining the system for vulnerabilities. Within three to five days Dunkelman says they developed their first basic attack, then spent months refining their technique.

The attack involves probing a digital key wirelessly by sending 65,000 challenge/response queries to it. Once the researchers collect 65,000 responses – which takes about an hour – they use software they designed to decipher that key's unique code. The deciphering currently takes about a day using a dedicated computer. But once they've cracked one key, they know 36 bits of the 64 bits they need to know. Those 36 bits are identical for every car model a manufacturer makes (different car models will vary only slightly).

This doesn't mean Dunkelman can just walk onto a parking lot and open any car that's the same model of the one he cracked. He still needs to crack the unique key used to open the other cars. But because he already knows the 36 bits that are common to all of the keys for one model of car, it takes only a few seconds to crack those other keys. He can do this by reading the keys wirelessly -- for example, while sitting next to a patron at a restaurant or standing near a car when an owner opens it and sniffing the communication between the digital key and the car. Once he has a key's unique code, he can encode it to a chip in a remote device (which he can do in a couple of seconds in the field) and use it to open and steal the car.

Dunkelman says an ideal scenario might be for a valet attendant to sniff the keys of cars in his charge to obtain the 36 bits for several different makes and models.

"If you go to a restaurant and leave your car with valet parking, the parking guy can probe your key while you're eating and enjoying your steak and by the time you leave he has all the information he needs," says Dunkelman.

Last week Dunkelman and his colleagues contacted Microchip Technology to report their findings. They also discussed the findings at the Crypto conference. But they say they won't release their research paper publicly until after they've heard from Microchip.

A spokeswoman for Microchip declined to comment on the researcher's findings.


Friday, August 24, 2007

No more chocolates for Kinder-squirrel

Remember the Kinder-squirrel?
The squirrel that is famous for shoplifting Kinder eggs in Jyvaskyla, Finland??

Finnish health officials have prohibited the squirrel from entering its favourite supermarket. The door of the supermarket has remained open all summer, but now it will be shut.

No more free chocolates for squirrel!! :(

According to Irene Lindroos, the store manager, almost all customers have asked about the squirrel. One customer has even donated 30 euros to service the squirrel's chocoholism.

NewsRoom Finland
Yahoo News

Big Mac is 40 years old!

Big Mac is 40 years old this year! Wow!!
Happy Birthday!!

The Big Mac was first introduced in 1967 by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchise owner in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. A year later, it became a staple of McDonald's menus across the country.

To celebrate the burger's anniversary, Delligatti, 89, and his family opened a Big Mac Museum Restaurant this week in Northmemorabilia, celebratory exhibits and the world's largest Big Mac statue.

Each year, approx. 550 million Big Macs are sold at McDonald's in United States, which is approx. 17 Big Macs per second.

Personally, I rather have a bowl of wonton noodles than a Big Mac.

Yahoo News

Lunar Eclipse on August 28

A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the early morning of Tuesday, August 28, 2007. The event is widely visible from the United States and Canada as well as South America, the Pacific Ocean, western Asia and Australia. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray.

An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the Sun's rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

If only part of the Moon passes through the umbra, a partial eclipse is seen. However, if the entire Moon passes through the umbral shadow, then a total eclipse of the Moon occurs.

Partial Eclipse Begins: 04:51 am
Total Eclipse Begins: 05:52 am
Mid-Eclipse: 06:37 am
Total Eclipse Ends: 07:22 am
Partial Eclipse Ends: 08:24 am

Visibility of the Total Lunar Eclipse
Map showing the global visibility of the Total Lunar Eclipse

For people in Ontario, the Moon sets while it is in total eclipse.
Anyway, we'll be able to see the first half of the eclipse.
I hope the weather will be good, so I can watch it clearly!! (^o^)

Discovery Channel

World's tallest LEGO tower

Canadian should be proud! We've broke the World's tallest LEGO tower record in the Guinness Book of World Records!!

A new Lego tower has been built in Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) by specialized engineers from Denmark with the help of CNE visitors. The new tower is 29.03 metres high, which is slightly higher than the previous best of 28.58 metres reached by a tower in California earlier this year.

This new landmark will stand on the west side of the Food Building until the end of the CNE on Sept. 3. Then, the Lego will be taken apart and shipped back to Denmark.

In May 2008, a new Lego tower is set for construction in Oslo, Norway.

Well... at least we can enjoy this "World's tallest LEGO tower" title for 8 or 9 months! :(

680 News

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Table Manner - finished position of knife and fork

When I was small, I read an article about the table manner. I was fasinated by the finished position of knife and fork. The finished position is different in different countries.

I've tried to find this information in the internet, but I couldn't find any good articles on this topic. None of the articles talks about the table manner for all countries in the world. Each article only talks about 1 or 2 countries.

What is the silence code that tells the waiter that you are finished?

  • cross fork and knife in the middle of the plate

  • knife and fork together at four o’clock
  • fork on the left and knife on the right
  • knife blade facing in
  • fork tines facing down

Canada, United States
  • place knife and fork (tines up) side by side on the plate at the 10:20 o'clock position, with the handles of your silverware at the four
  • fork on the left and knife on the right
  • the blade of the knife facing the fork
  • fork tines facing up

  • place the knife and fork horizontally across the plate

  • knife and fork on the plate together in the middle

  • place fork and knife parallel across the right hand side of plate

Italy, Switzerland
  • place knife and fork (tines up) side by side on the plate at the 5:25 o'clock position
  • fork on the left and knife on the right
  • the blade of the knife facing the fork

These are all I found so far....
If you know more, please let me know.

Family Education
Admin Prof

Forbidden LEGO

If you think Lego is for kids, then you are wrong!

A new book just came out called "Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against!". This full color book contains backroom projects that LEGO's master designers build under the LEGO radar, just to have fun. It teaches you how to build a catapult that shoots M&Ms; a gun that fires LEGO beams; a continuous fire ping-pong ball launcher; and more!

It would be fun to have a lego gun fight at work!! This is good for team building... You can even convert your negative feelings (toward a particular co-worker) into actions.... hahahaha....

Here is an example:


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cat pooh coffee - Kopi Luwak

Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee is a rare type of coffee made from the droppings of the civet cat. Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee and Luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) cat.

How is Kopi Luwak produced?

1) The Civet cats eat the red berries on a coffee tree.

2) Enzymes in the cats' stomach break down the proteins, that give coffee its bitter taste, and enhance its flavour.

3) The inner bean of the berry is not digested and comes back out as part of cat pooh.

4) Workers separate the greenish-brown beans from the rest of the pooh.

5) A thin outer layer of the beans is removed.

6) The beans are roasted to produce coffee.

A pound of their droppings yields less than 5 ounces of beans. Roasting reduces the quantity by an additional 20%. With just 500 to 1,000 pounds of the real thing coming on the global market each year. As a result, Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for up to $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and United States.

The British royal family is said to enjoy drinking this coffee. A single cup can sell for US $30 at a five-star hotel in Hong Kong.

I've never tasted this coffee since it is so expensive.
After knowing how it is made, I am not so sure whether I want to try it or not....

I've found a company "Coffee Break Gourmet" (based in Ottawa) that sells this coffee. It is selling 1/2 pound for $96.

Would you like to try cat pooh coffee??

Reuters <- This site has video.
Los Angeles Times

USB Powered Mini Greenhouse

Well... I've always been a plant killer... not intentional... but I keep forgetting to put water in plants... Oops!! :P

I guess there must be lots of people like me in this world, so USB Powered Mini Greenhouse is invented...

The USB Powered Mini Greenhouse features an adjustable growth light and an easy view window that offers maximum plant protection. It comes with a computer interface that monitors growth rate, and includes calendar, wallpaper and bookmark settings so you can take care and grow your own desktop plants. In the starter pack, Marigold seeds and artificial soil are included as well.

You can buy one at for US $19.99. This is a nice price. Unfortunately, shipping cost kills the deal. :(


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Everyone in the theatre is a sucker!

I've watched The Simpsons Movie in theatre last Saturday.

In the beginning of the movie, the Simpsons family is watching the Itchy and Scratchy movie in the theatre. Then, Homer complains about having to pay to see it on the big screen: "I can't believe we're paying to see something we get on TV for free. Everyone in this theatre is a sucker!" (his finger is pointing at the audience -- us!)

True... Why are we paying to see something we get on TV for free?
Well... The Simpsons Movie is a very funny movie. I've laughed from beginning till the end. It gives you 1.5 hours of fun and laughs. Is it worth the movie ticket??

Here are some of the funny parts... Don't read on if you haven't seen the movie!
  • After betting with Homer, Bart skateboards naked.
  • Homer plays with the lovable Spider-Pig / Harry Plopper.
  • U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger orders Springfield to be enclosed in a dome and, later, to be destroyed.
  • Tom Hanks acts as Tom Hanks in commercials.
  • etc.
Overall, I think the movie is too short. It mainly focuses on the Simpsons. Other interesting characters, like Mr. Burns and Krusty the clown, only appear in 2 - 3 scenes. Santa's Little Helper is not even in the movie. I wish the movie could be longer.

Official site of The Simpsons Movie

Transformers bearbrick

The foursome of Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee and Barricade were spotted at this year's Wonder Festival in Tokyo. The specialty toys from Japan come in various themes and colors, and this batch is to commemorate the Transformers Movie. They will be sold in packs of two, with the choice of Optimus Prime/Megatron or Bumblebee/Barricade.
These are Japan only, selling for 1,890 Yen (approx. Cdn $18).


Vote for the worst street in Ontario

CAA's annual "worst roads" campaign asks people to report the worst roads in Ontario by voting at

As of today, the top 20 worst roads are:
  1. Dufferin Street
  2. 401
  3. Canal Road
  4. Carling Avenue
  5. Steeles Ave.
  6. Cardwell Street
  7. Bancroft Drive
  8. Steeles
  9. Steeles Avenue
  10. Front Street
  11. Steeles Ave
  12. Bathurst Street
  13. Dufferin
  14. Kingston Road
  15. Bathurst St.
  16. Bradley Avenue
  17. Bathurst
  18. Dufferin St
  19. Gibb Street
  20. Princess Street
I think there is a problem with the form. Since the street name is a free text field, voters can enter any name. As a result, duplicate entries exist. For example, #1 #13, and #18 are refering to the same street "Dufferin". #5, #8, and #9 are refering to the same street "Steeles".

Anyway, what is worst than not fixing those roads with potholes and raised manhole covers??

Well, the government takes forever to fix the road causing traffic jams and accidents. For example, the government has been trying to fix the intersection of Leslie and Sheppard. Just a small part took them the whole summer. And, it is still not fixed yet. I drive by that intersection every other week during business hours, but I never see any workers working there. Lanes have been blocked off causing traffic jams. The new road lines are so confusing that I am surprise I haven't seen any car acident yet.

I guess the government needs to learn how to be efficient first!!

Gundam Lantern

This year's Moon Festival is Sept 25, which is a month away...
But a large Gundam Lantern is already showing in Japan...
Take a look at this 59-feet Gundam...


Red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables are good for you...

The compounds that colour most red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables -- anthocyanins (花青素) -- can slow down the growth of colon cancer cells (結腸癌細胞). Researchers at Ohio State University tested the anti-cancer effects of anthocyanin-rich extracts (from a variety of fruits and vegetables including grapes, radishes, purple corn, chokeberries, bilberries, purple carrots and elderberries) on rats and on human colon cancer cells.

Anthocyanin pigments obtained from black carrots and radishes slowed the growth of cancer cells by between 50 to 80%. Pigments from purple corn and chokeberries not only stopped the growth of cancer cells, but also killed roughly 20% of the cancer cells while having little effect on healthy cells.

Extract derived from purple corn was the most potent, in that it took the least amount of this extract (14 micrograms per millilitre of cell growth solution) to cut cell numbers in half. Chokeberry and bilberry extracts were nearly as potent.

BBC News
Science Daily

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jin Yong replaces Lu Xun?

When the new semester begins on Sept. 1st, Beijing high school students will use a new edition of a Chinese textbook that formerly featured ancient Chinese prose and classic works by famous Chinese writers. Some of these stories have been deleted and replaced by contemporary Chinese literature, including kung fu novels. Jin Yong's "Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain" (金庸的《雪山飛狐》) will replace Lu Xun's "The True Story of Ah Q" (魯迅的《阿Q正傳》) and Zhu Ziqing's "Retreating figure" (朱自清的《背影》) appearing in textbooks. The news has caused an uproar on the BBS of major domestic websites. People are arguing whether Jin Yong's book should be used in high school and whether Jin Yong can replace Lu Xun.

According to a web site's research, 23.6% of people think that adding Jin Yong's novel in textbooks is good. 16.38% of people think that it is bad to do so. 60% of people thinks that both Jin Yong's novels and Lu Xin's novels are good. They can co-exist.

"Lu Xun's works account for a major part of Chinese textbooks; it's no big deal to replace some of them," Zou Shouyuan, a Chinese teacher from the Affiliated Middle and High School of the South China Normal University, remarked. "And indeed, we need Jin Yong's knight works to teach students the difference between right and wrong."

This is not the first time Jin Yong's novel appearing in high school literature textbooks. Part of "Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils" (《天龍八部》) is used in some China provinces' textbooks as well.

I don't know why people are against using Jin Yong's novels in textbooks. I would rather read Jin Yong's novels than boring old Chinese literature. I am not an avid reader. I have a couple of old Chinese literature sitting at home collecting dusts. As for Jin Yong's novels, I have the whole set and I have read all of them. Some of Jin Yong's novels are even thicker than those old Chinese literature! If the work is interesting, students will spend more time on it. They will do a better job at school. They might even want to read the rest of Jin Yong's novels at leisure time instead of playing video games or surfing web. Isn't this what teachers and parents always wanted? Want us to read more books?

Yahoo News HK
People (Chinese)
People (English)

The 17th-century "Cosmopolitan"

An edition of a rare 1694 manual, The Ladies' Dictionary: being a General Entertainment for the Fair Sex, is going up for auction next month. This 300-year-old book is the 17th-century version of Cosmopolitan magazine. The author, identified only as HN, has some weird tips on women issues, such as diet, fashion, make-up, and adultery. Well, those tips might have been good suggestions at the time, but they do sound bizzard now.

This book was found in the private library of the late Tony Hattersley, a Yorkshire book dealer. His whole collection is believed to be worth £300,000 (approx. Cdn $630,934). The Ladies Dictionary is expected to fetch £2,000 (approx. Cdn $4,207).

For rapid weight loss, bathing in claret wine infused with "wormwood, calamint, chamomile, sage and squinath" is apparently best. This book also contains a receipe for unwanted fatty bits and for breasts that are beginning to suffer from southern drift: “Take an ounce and a half of oyl of foxes, oyl of lillies, and capons grease, and goose grease, each two ounces; pine, rosin Greek pitch and turpentine, of each two ounces.” Boil the brew in an earthenware pot, adding an ounce of oil of elder and “a quantity of virgins wax, as much as will stiffen the mass”. Wrap it in a cloth and let it cool before applying it as a plaster “to the place that languishes, or does not equally thrive”.

Anyone wants to try this ancient recipe?? You'll have a hard time finding all the ingredients...

Daily Mail News
Times Online

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Traveling faster than the speed of light??

According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, it would require an infinite
amount of energy to propel an object at more than 299,792,458 metres per second (speed of light).

However, Dr Gunter Nimtz and Dr Alfons Stahlhofen, of the University of Koblenz, claim to have forced light to overcome its own speed limit using the phenomenon of quantum tunnelling. Their experiments focused on the travel of microwave photons - energetic packets of light - through two prisms. When the prisms were moved apart, most photons reflected off the first prism they encountered and were picked up by a detector. But a few appeared to "tunnel" through a gap separating them as if the prisms were still held together. Although these photons had travelled a longer distance, they arrived at their detector at the same time as the reflected photons. This suggests the transit between the two prisms was faster than the speed of light.

Dr Nimtz told New Scientist magazine: "For the time being, this is the only violation of special relativity that I know of."

I still have my doubts about this. Science experiments are not always accurate.
Travelling faster than light, in theory, could turn back time. I guess it would be nice to travel back in time to uncover all the mysteries in the world. How did Egyptians build pyramids? How did dinosaurs become extinct? By the way, we'll also need some Timecops like Jean-Claude Van Damme so no one can change the past. :P


5-year-old boy can lift 30 kg

I don't think I can lift 30kg easily, but a 5-year-old boy can lift 50kg. Wow!! Amazing!!

The 5-year-old boy Li Shi Yong (李士勇), living in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China, demonstrated his "super power" in front of reporters. Wearing red T-shirt and deep-blue shorts, the chubby little boy lifted two bags of rice (10 kg per bag) easily. Then, he lifted a 30 kg stone grinder, which had the same weight as him. Everybody was amazed by him.

According to his father Li Shu Ying, Li Shi Yong had been a fat boy since he was a baby. Although he was only 114 cm tall, he weighted 30kg.
The Li family opened a rice store. Occasionally, Li Shi Yong would help out his parents by moving bags of rice with them. As a result, Li Shi Yong’s arms were strengthened from time to time. In his good state, he can even lift 50 kg of weights.

Yahoo New HK
Tianfu Morning Paper

Fun cubicle

My cubicle looks pretty much like a toy store... with a dog, a dinosaur, a potato head transformer, a Canadian flag, etc.... but it is nothing compared to Frank's cubicle.... All my toys are man-powered... no USB toys...

In the Frank's Cubicle website, you can make Frank plays with each of his USB toys by clicking on links. He has mini desk aquarium, hamster wheel, spy plane with usb camera, and many more.

I wish I have that many USB toys to play with in my cubicle!!