Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Midweek sh*ts & giggles

Put on your earphones/speaker and enjoy.

Maths rule!

Okay, I flunked maths. A lot. But there is no denying that the universal language is really numbers and mathematics. If you go to the Andromeda, only earthlings speak English/Arabic/Malay/Mandarin/whatever. But all over the universe, 1 + 1 + 1 will always equal 3. When it comes to numbers and equations, there is no need for a translator, the meaning doesn't change across linguistic acrobatics.

The wave equation explains why some sounds are pleasing to our ears and why some just makes us grit our teeth (nails down the chalk board, anyone?). It is also modified in studying earthquakes to let us understand the phenomenon and predict little stuff like tsunamis.

Maxwell's equations are the base of our communication technology: from the old telegraph to our mobile phones. Schrodinger's cat may or may not be in the box (or both dead AND alive), but his equation translates quantum mechanics into things like your DVD player and smart phones. As for Fourier transform, suffice to say that you can thank him for removing unwanted noise from your recording and the manipulations to make your digital photographs prettier.


Equations make the world go round.

Vive le numbers!

*All stolen from newscientist.com.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Girls who are boys

This movie is unlikely to make it to our shores. Watch it and you'll see why.



I went to an all-girls school from Year One to middle secondary. Tomboys are not uncommon; many show this tendency right from Standard One. These are usually the scruffy girls with really short hair who takes the boy's roles in drama enthusiastically and are commonly athletic. Some become that way because their family encourage it; these girls are like substitute sons. Many are like so because something deep inside them say that they are not girls.

Bear in mind that I am not discussing athletic girls who like being rough and tumble and yet enjoy feminine pursuits as well. Those are tomboy-ish, but they are not true tomboys. I climbed trees and picked fights, but I have never had any desire of wanting to be a boy or feeling wrong in my own body. I've dreamt that I was a man (and boy was it fun being that physically strong and able) but that's not the same thing.

Unlike in an all-boys school where effeminate boys get bullied and are made miserable, tomboys in an all-girls school are often looked upon positively*. The teachers may rebuke them and ask them to be more lady-like (or something like that) but in general, the other students do not seem to mind their behaviour. The tomboys could be depended upon to do stuff that require strength and often take it upon themselves to do dangerous chores like putting up buntings in high places. You usually would want a tomboy in your sports team because they are more likely to help you win.

You may hear some people say that tomboys will outgrow their behaviour. Some do. Many don't. Some go the penultimate way and modify their bodies to appear masculine. Breast binding is not unusual; many chose weight training to increase muscle mass and widen their shoulders. Out of school, they dress like men and some of them carry it off so well you wouldn't believe that they are female. Most of the tomboys are sexually attracted to girls; they often date really feminine girls whom they court ardently.

Valentine's Day in my school was a perfect way to rake in the moola what with the song dedications, chocolates, candies and flowers that you could order/buy and send to the girl of your dreams. Some of the popular girls would go home with their arms laden with flowers and schoolbag bulging with assorted dedicated goodies. Do bear in mind, however, that in an all-girls school, sometimes the one doing the courting is not the tomboy; but the feminine counterpart. One of the most popular tomboys in my school was a prefect who often walked home on Valentine's with quite a haul. Also, girls have no problem expressing platonic admiration with gifts like candies and flowers, hence the majority of the gifts given are among "pet sisters".

The last time I went to Penang, I was quite surprised at the large number of tomboys who are openly walking about with their girlfriends, being affectionate and all. In fact, I think there are more of them there than there are in Kuala Lumpur.

Last week at a meeting I met a couple of transwomen (transgender man to woman) representing a civil society. They spoke of the difficulties for transgenders to get a job and many became sex workers because no one wants to employ them. From what I observe, tomboys (or transmen) have it easier because most that I've seen appear to hold decent jobs and can support themselves, but I have not seen any who are in upper management.

I think it's more than about time that we stop discriminating people based on their gender and sexuality. Nobody wants to be out of step with what is "normal" in something so basic about their self identity. Nobody asked to be challenged with attraction to their own sex, nor does anyone want to feel wrong in their God-given body. Please stop blaming the victim and try to accept them as they are. If you can't make their lives better, don't make it worse.

We are all God's creation who strive to do our best in this life that He has given us. He gave us different challenges, to prove our steadfastness and strength. How can we trivialise the trials of others? If you have not walked in their shoes, denigrate not their path and choices. Do we know if we are worthy? Are we aware of how well (or not) we dealt with our own trials? Only God has the right to judge each and every one of us.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

*All above are from my personal observation only; I did not conduct a scientific study on the phenomenon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Be careful what you ask your Dad ...

... he might just tell you.



And your life will never be the same again. MWAHAHAHAHAH!

Steam punk romance are the H-bomb!

I have always enjoyed reading Meljean Brook stories in anthologies. Her short stories are tightly plotted, well-paced with peopled with awesome characters you fall in love with. However, I found her Guardian series disappointing, but who cares when her steam punk romances are like totally awesome?


Hero: 5/5 stars
Heroine: 5/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 5/5 stars
Fun Factor: 5/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 5/5 stars

Basically, it's about two damaged people drawn together in an adventure fraught with megalodons and kraken monsters, zeppelin airships and nanoagents. Can't say much more without massive spoilers, but seriously, read this. Guys will enjoy the adventure and technology aspects, the romance addicts will be swept away but the grand passion. 

All in all, a fabulous time was had while reading this.

Ear candy

I grew up listening to Madonna way back when she was still the Material Girl. Her poppy songs were the anthems of my younger days but I quit listening to her when she went overboard with the auto tune and got too hip hop for my taste. I love her songs in that they are easy to sing along to, even if you don't have a distinguished voice. I've never fancied myself as a Celine Dion and won't attempt her songs at a karaoke, but give me the Madonna 80's and early 90's catalogue and you'll pry the microphone from my cold, dead fingers.

It made me rejoice that Madge appears to be returning to her musical origins in her latest single. Maybe I will want to buy this album after over a decade of turning up my nose at her output.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Zombiepocalypse!

Zombie apocalypse: even vegetation can't escape it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Drums of war

"We go to war to teach Americans geography."

-- paraphrased from someone or other --

I grew up during the last dregs of the Cold War. Unlike most of my classmates, I watched the news (cos news time is sacrosanct to my Dad) and read the newspaper (I ran out of fun things to read), so I had an idea on how the West and Eastern bloc have a hard-on for each other. Hollywood's depiction of bumbling Communist spies also fed this idea. It was only while I was watching a Bruce Willis movie featuring the cold-eyed Eastern European baddie that it made me wonder: how do the filmmakers in the Communist Bloc feature Western spies?

I was 12 when the Berlin Wall came down. It was a severe buzzkill when you go to school telling people about this awesome event and most of them don't even know what is the Communist Bloc.

*head desk*

For a while the world was giddy with the thought of real world peace. It shouldn't be an impossibility, right? Now that everyone are friends and democratic-like. But we forget greed and human ambition has a way of changing the best laid plans. Yugoslavia imploded thanks to historical resentments and ethnic disputes. The states in the former Soviet Union began demanding autonomy and re-drawing of the borders; now we hear of exotic locales like Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan and the knowledge that there is another Georgia outside of the US of A. Warring factions in Africa never really stopped killing one another and the unfortunate civilians who occupy their disputed lands. The Dark Continent feeds our need for the minerals that adorn ourselves and run our electronics; turmoil ensures that the supply flow never ceased at a price that we can('t) afford.

In other words, business as usual.

September 11, 2001 changed the game plan yet again. The West have a new boogeyman and it is the Muslims who are out to destroy them cos the Muslims "hate their freedom" (paraphrasing George W here). Which ever theory subscribe, even those who say that the attack was a conspiracy by the Americans themselves to expand their strategic influence, there is no denying that the world is no longer the same as when the WTC was upright in Manhattan.

Iraq and Afghanistan was invaded in the name of rooting out the nasty Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations that are out to get the West. Hundreds and thousands of civilians are dead, maimed and displaced in the name of American freedom. As bad as things were under Saddam Hussein's regime, I wonder if the Iraqis would trade him for life under the Americans. It is nice that the American troops are withdrawing, but after near everything that made life bearable (like water treatment system, sewage management and electric plants) was reduced to a rubble by uranium-depleted shells, with nothing but a shaky government that has yet to show real ability to unite the people and move the country towards positive development and progress, I wonder if it is any different than the US abandonment of South Vietnam.

And now there is all this talk about attacking Iran because the nasty Mullahs are building nuclear weapons and not just developing alternative energy sources. First, the sanctions and trade embargo by the US and some of the other Western countries.  In retaliation, Iran is refusing to supply oil to British and French firms. Reports are coming in about how dangerous it is to be an Iranian nuclear scientists. Apparently, if the car bombs don't get you, dudes with guns/killer cars will.

*sigh*

I was privileged to have had an opportunity to visit Iran back in the 90's. My impression was of a country frozen in the 70's, manic drivers, and air perfumed with thousands of years of history. It was there that I see what military presence in the capital looks like (men with AK-47s at street corners and in front of strategic buildings). These were left over from the war with Iraq. Nearly every Persian men have gone through national service and know how to bear arms. The Persians are almost one and all friendly and proud of their historical and cultural heritage. They can tell you which king was ruling Persia in 789 AD. They are not Arabs and do not speak Arabic. They have excellent desserts. Pistachio is cheap there.

The government is repressive, women can't wear bright colours and the people worry about who is eavesdropping on them. But they don't hate the West, or the Sunnis (unlike Sunnis who think that Shiites are no better than heathens) nor do they want world domination. The Iranians want to join the rest of the world and be able to progress just like everyone else. They won't abandon religion altogether in the pursuit of moderation and liberation.

I think that an attack on Iran would be a terrible mistake. It would definitely be a costly and protracted one, and the only winner will be those with oil and gas interest who will take this opportunity to rape the country.

This song encapsulates the feeling of the ordinary citizens at the height of the Cold War. I think the sentiments are still the same right now for all of us the world over. Let us hope that the rattling of the sabres remain just that and that no weapons get unsheathed (except for your friendly neighbourhood flashers).



Freddie, I am sure this song brings memories of your youth, no?

Zombiepocalypse Valentine

Friday, February 17, 2012

Captain Obvious

Don't we wish we have the mental agility for such elegant and witty responses in the face of Captain Obvious when they cross our path?

Cat Font

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New stuff I've read this year ... so far

It has been 7 weeks and I have only read 8 books! Been so busy, so slow down a lot. Yeah. Right.

I read mostly romance and I don't apologise for it. I don't care if I don't know who won the Booker Prize, I don't want to read 'em. If it's a Nobel Laureate of Literature, please don't pass it to me. I am a Phillistine and I am okay with it.

Once I fall in love with the work of an author, I obsessively search out her/his catalogue of work and read everything I can get my grubby hands on. I follow them and urge (silently) that they type faster and publish more to keep feeding my reading habit. Hence, 6 out of the 8 authors below are authors I have been following, some since my teenage years. 

Since I am a creature of habit, I keep gobbling whatever it is they write even after they shifted style or had become plodding or whatever. Hey, we all evolve, right? Hopefully for the better, but if not, whatever. So even if they have shifted style into something that makes me go "meh", but I will continue to read them until they no longer write. Or I no longer have money to rent. Or the books really just swerved into "Do not go there!" territory. Whichever comes first.

Under cut because of loads of pictures. Not in chronological order.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Your online privacy is ephemeral, kids

If you have kids and they have Facebook, it behoves you to check out what they are up to online every so often.



I felt for this guy, I do. Heck, his kid and I aren't too dissimilar, except I'm not stupid enough to bitch about my parents on Facebook when my Dad works in IT.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

DON'T BE MY VALENTINE

Especially if you got crazy fathers/mothers/siblings/ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriend/spouse/what-fuckin'-ever.

Midweek Sh*ts and Giggles - The Scientific Life


Y tu mama tambien.


Reason why drowning fatalities were pretty high in Netherlands.


It's okay if it comes in a prescription.



A sweet disposition doesn't come easy.


Ballistics experiment in parlour games.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Greatest love of all ...

In my blog-hopping adventures, I was privileged to find all kinds of interesting stuff: from amateur Malaysian porn (freely available with no passwords, mind you) and how to make tiramisu cake as well as semi-fictitious accounts of life in the armed forces.

No, I am not going to share the porn sites. You can look for it yourself. It's easy.

But today I found a most profound observation about naughty children and us. Who of us have never given the lethal evil stare to children who ran over our feet with their roller sneakers in the shopping mall? (I freely admit to a burning desire to stick my foot out and see them fly over the Center Court ballustrade at Midvalley). Or the screaming running children in the mosque/temple/church before/during/after prayer times? What about the kids who stole the semi-ripe mangoes from your tree, ate half of it and threw the rest away where you can see it?

Do we ever recall that we were once pain-in-the-arse-little-shites ourselves?



Okay, perhaps some of you were perfect little angels who never questioned the authority, get dirty or done something that felt so good at the time but later regretted. But the point here is that we all evolve.

There have been students from religious schools turned whore-monger and drunkard when they experienced the bright lights of the big city for the first time. There are those who used to raise hell, found God and is now living an examplary life. We all capable of change as well as being agents of change.

Let's show a little more compassion to the naughty little ones and show them the better example of being the best that they can be. In a good way, of course.



And not follow Whitney Houston's crash and burn. Keep remembering that we all live in glass houses; no one can afford to throw the first stone.

Friday, February 3, 2012

One of the most retarded ads I've ever seen.

Sorry for not being politically correct but I have no other of expressing how I feel.

Stuff to watch in 2012

Guys, when these come out, let's go! Let's go! Let's go!

One: Where Liam Neeson kick wolf ass.



Two: Where we get our hearts broken and mended again.



Three: We need to read the books for these!


Four: Edgar Allan Poe! Edgar Allan Poe! Edgar Allan Poe!



Five: Animated ginger girl kick ass.



Six: Old men kickin' ass and taking names.



Seven: Would I actually watch this? I may scream the cinema down. :p



Eight: I don't care if the movie is lousy. It's got Taylor Kitsch.