149 Reasons & Reasonings

149 Blog Posts

58 "Re-" Post Titles
23 Months, 25 Days
1 Author
This is what happens when you have watched one too many episodes of Numb3rs....
There are a few things I wish to accomplish with this post, which is what could be the last post of my most prolific blogging month .
1) Re-
There is really something going on with the "Re-" prefixes in the posts, and it's because, well... is a lexicon challenge I've set for myself. The challenge: To rack my brains for a word beginning with RE- that fits the content of the post. You see, I get bored if I don't get any intellectual challenge frequently enough, so I derive fun from making up this rule, and playing along with it. So, please, there is nothing weird going on with the blog titles... and certainly no conspiracy theories... like my girlfriend's name starts with Re- or anything like that. And no, I just made that theory up about 2 minutes ago, it's not a Freudian Slip.
2) Reasoning - The Average Game's Problem
What's the problem? Now, let's try this out together. If you were outside the group of people playing the game, you would note that if everyone chose a number between 0 to 100, half the average of all the choices made is definitely less than 50. So far, so good?
Of course, the kids know that too, and so no one would choose a number more than 50... but if that happens, half the average of the numbers chosen by them is now never more than 25... isn't that true?
So, no one in their sane mind would choose a number larger than 25, but that would cause the half of the average to be always less than 13. And the same line of argument will continue until we reach an average very close to 0, so will everyone choose 0?
The answer, in practice is no. Using Game Theory, like in the case of the Prisoners' Dilemma, we would rationally choose a number that is significantly larger, since we know that if one or more person in the group chose a non-zero number, those who chose 0 will be at a loss. So, it's a better gamble to assume that someone will betray the logic for their own gain, than everyone sticking to the logical line of argument and losing out (since the prize will be greatly reduced due to distribution).
3) Reasons - Question Marks
Why is it that a doctor call what they do 'practice'?
Sometimes, actually, most of the time, the word practice implies that since someone is not good at something, he must do it repeatedly to become better. However, the real meaning of the word 'practice' simply means 'to perform' from Greek Praktikos.
Why is lemon juice made from artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made from real lemons?
Of course, not all lemon juice is made from artificial flavour, but it is, because it saves costs and better still, no one is stuck with the unenviable task of squeezing lemons as a career. Dishwashing liquid, on the other hand, requires the use of real lemons because of a natural substance found is its juice called limonene that has oil-removing properties, and also, the sweet smell of the esters in the juice.
Why is the man that invests your money called a broker?
One of the ironies of life, isn't it? But, to be realistic, the roots of the words broke and broker are completely different. Broker comes from the Anglo-Norman word Brocour, meaning trader. Broke comes from Broc, Old English, meaning misery.
Why is the time of the day with the slowest traffic called Rush Hour?
Actually, the rush in 'rush hour' is not directly referring to the speed of the traffic. It's actually referring to the commuters boarding, say trains, MRT, buses etc. That's because, everyone's a little kiasu deep down inside, aren't we?
Why they are call apartments when all the units are stuck together?
The confusion lies in the question of what is being kept apart. Apartment stems from French appartement, meaning "private rooms for the use of one person within a house". So the 'Apart' refers to' keeping people 'apart' within the same building'.
Why do they sterilise needles used for lethal injections?
Not exactly sure, but here's an educated guess... it is possible that if the lethal fluid is tainted, it could interfere with the supposed effect of the drug, or it's just a standard medical procedure.
If con is the opposite pro, is progress the opposite of Congress?
A very funny joke, if get what the question is implying... and as much as I want to say yes to the question... I must resist. "Con" of "pros and cons" is short for "Contra", Latin word for against. The "con" of "Congress" is actually a corruption of the prefix "Com-" meaning together in Latin, likewise in Constitute and Conglomerate.
Why isn't the material used in blackboxes used to make the plane?
I assure you, the aeronautical engineers aren't that silly. Black boxes are usually made from stainless steel and titanium. An alloy of titanium and aluminium is used for making aircraft bodies, while stainless steel is far too dense to be used for the aircraft. However, if the same amount of protection given to the blackbox were given to the plane, the plane would be too heavy to lift off.
Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food?
I think cats prefer fish more anytime, but otherwise... no idea....
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitos?
Do I seriously have to answer this?!
Thanks Shean, for letting me answer these questions... you've really made my day...

148 Reasoning

I'm waiting for the MU vs. Barca match to start, and I got a little bored, so I've decided to present a Maths problem that should be rather interesting and puzzling at the same time. Here's a small idea of the problem you may encounter.. Do you know Zeno's Paradox?

And as we all know, the guy will never catch up to the tortoise, because the distance between them will reduce to half, and half again, ad infinitum and ad nauseam...
But Zeno's Paradox was so last millenium, duh...
Sorry, I just had to do that. I was wondering how Valley Girl talk would sound like in the middle of a Math conversation, but really, I digress...
So, back to the Math Problem I was talking about earlier. This is known as the Level-k Thinking Problem, but I shall rename it, The Average Game's Problem. Go, Google or Wiki it if you're free, but let me present the problem in the most entertaining way possible...
Remember The Kindergarten Teacher's Addition Problem. Well, since you did a great job solving that puzzle, the Principal decided to transfer you to the local Primary School. As your luck would have it, you wound up teaching Maths again. Well, the Maths still isn't too hard and all in all, you're pretty contented. So, one day, you were teaching averages (Average, as in, the average of 5, 7 and 9 is (5 + 7 + 9)/3 = 7) , and to reinforce the concept, you came up with a game...
The rules were simple, everyone in the class would pick a number from 0 to 100, and the person whose chosen number is closest to the HALF the average of all the numbers picked will win a nice gift... But in the middle of the game, you realised that you had just created a very big problem... What was it?
PS: Assume that the kids in your class are actually quite intelligent....

147 Reportedly

I've just visited Google Trends, a Google application that tracks the most commonly searched words on Google, and the current number 1 most searched word is... wait for it...





(I know what you're thinking...)
Yeah, what the... The rat's quite surprised too...
But I figured out why...
It's currently number 3 on my last check, and here's why... House M.D. Season 4 repremiered after the hiatus due to the Writers' Strike, and it's one of the possible diagnoses Dr. House and his team came up with, during the treatment of a patient who is just too nice... And when I mean too nice, I mean, getting deliberately hit by someone else and still let it pass off as an accident.
Of course, Dr. House can't believe that there is anyone that nice in the world (he used evolutionary psychology to explain it), and takes it to be a symptom of a disease, neurosyphilis among others... but it was Chagas' Disease in the end.
But here's the thing, not many people believe the pathogen responsible for an STD (well, if you didn't know syphilis is an STD, go... I don't know...), can actually travel up to the brain causing strokes, and in this case, emotional disorders. So, I guess after the show, all the audience run to the nearest computer they can find and Google all the diagnoses in the show to learn more about it. That's good, at least people are getting educated about diseases that infect one out of every 10000 people or more. But, I doubt anyone actually remembers it a year later. Except maybe neurosyphilis, or lupus, because it could be lupus...
PS: ...but it's never lupus, or some other autoimmune disease...
PPS:...and suddenly letting sex get to your head takes on a whole new meaning...

146 Reference

What do you get when you mix moles, apples, avocados, rams and an otherwise bored tutor together in a test tube and shake well? You'll get this as a part of the students' notes...

The tooth refers to Molar Volume, if you didn't get it at first glance...

I spent the better part of the morning making this chart, and hopefully it would be put to good use.

Chapter 3 of SPM Chemistry can be quite a drag to teach and learn, since it is very mathematical and the students have to, first, understand all the new and wonderful Chemistry terms, and secondly, get their minds around the reason why it's divided in one way and multiplied in the reverse... and I hate saying Avogadro's Number, 6.02 x 10^23 becomes quite long when read out in words.

And I have very bad memories of how much I struggled with the relative atomic mass numbers when I first started out. It seemed the reference book I was using back then conveniently left out the R.A.M.s, (I'll admit, that I was a bit kiasu and started reading Chemistry and Physics during the December holidays). I thought I had to memorise the R.A.M.s and the first 20 elements of the Periodic Table, which I did...

...and I didn't even have charts like this to help me out, it wasn't until much later that I realised how useful such a chart would have been when I just started out. So, I'm helping them out by making a colourful, and a bit humourous chart, so they can get the whole thing better, faster and with less pain.

Oh, I love to use the analogy of the Dozen Apples as the mole... since 12 is an easier number to relate to (and, say out) than 6.02 x 10^23, so my Number of Particles is represented by the apple, and by the way, they look like a lattice when they're arranged in the chart, making them really do look like particles.

145 Release

Coming up later today...

144 Readability

I woke up this morning thinking about flour bombs, but I decided not to say much about that here because I don't want to sound like I'm about to kill someone, but just to let you know, flour is not as harmless as you think, because of it may combust if there are large amounts of it suspended in the air. Go read it up in Wikipedia, if you want to know more...
And no, I'm not talking about those silly bags full of flour and egg white thrown at random people...
But that was an unrelated point, which you could have guessed from the lack of relationship between the title and the paragraph... Did you know that there is a test known as the Flesch–Kincaid Readability Test available in later versions of Microsoft Word. The formula is as follows,
206.835 - 1.015 (total words/total sentences) - 84.6 (total syllables/total words)
... and the higher the score, the more readable your document is. If this equation is used, then I'm lousy at writing highly readable documents, since I have a penchant of writing long sentences and long words, which, if your Maths isn't too rusty, decreases the score... (and yes, that was a very long sentence). So, I should really shorten my sentences and words, bt shud I do it 2 dis extnt?
OK, actually the main reason I wrote this post was because I sometimes get upset when ppl blog like dis. Most people write full words and sentences, and for that I'm very grateful, bt there r sum, lckly few, hu shrtn der wrds so mch tht I get upset. Sure, SMS typing is all abut reducing length of words, syllables and sentences, and maybe using the eqn abuv, increase readability Bt, tell me, iz dis srt of wrting d bst way 2 save time, n wrds, n ultmtly increase readabilty, bcoz i find it barely redabl.
Nw, if onli dis prob was ltd 2 SMS and e-mels, tht mayb I cn ovrlok, sins ppl say d hndphon has x space, n wst moni, 2 send more dan 1 SMS, bt tri doing it wth blgs... d idea of blgs iz mstli 2 infrm n 2 snd a msg 2 redrs, bt y do it wth shrtnd wrds... if u wnt 2 gt ur msg aX, y obscur it til lik dis, i noe u thk tht oders r so usd 2 redng shrt frms in SMS, bt pls don let it sprd 2 blg. U c, nw redrs hav shrt attn spns, n if u tortre dem w dis type of wrds, dey wil b anoyd n stp reding. Do u wnt dat 2 hapn? N btw, Im nt refrng 2 ani prticlr prsn/blg.
Of coz, thts nt my onli cncrn. In dis mdrn day n age, wrting wth pen n ppr iz bcumng rarer, evry1 iz usg comp n hndphn 2 snd msgs, memos n othr thngs. Whn wrting in ink, mst of us r stl able 2 wrt in ful sntences and gud gramr. Bt, 2day we dun snd ltrs/ntes animor. Mny frms of media r replced by comps, especiali d rols of blgs. Dey hav bcum our news, diaris, n ltrs. i drd d day dat ur newpprs uz wrds like dis. Wld u like it? N dis is oso 1 of d fw places tht we "wrt" outsd sch n wrk, n here, we wrt like dis. Dis mins tht, mor dan hlf d time, we use dis typ of wrds. Schchldrn r alr usng mr of dis dan norm Eng. N, if dey blg like dis, mtrs wil onl bcum wrse. Im sre dis typ of lang wil leak in2 der schwrk n esys, n tht iz d end of lang s we noe it. So, pls st a gd eg 2 dem n uz propr Eng in ur blgs, bcoz nw d mst pop mins of comunictns iz d Intrnt, n dis iz prob d main tng dey red evryday. If dey thnk dos typ of lang iz acptabl, dey may oso bgn 2 wrt like dis.
4 d sake of ur redrs n ur chlrn, pls uz ful sentences in ur blgs n in ani othr biz, OK. TTFN
PS: I'm sorry if I got some of the words wrong, I don't use them often enough for them to be second nature, but enough to be able to use them decently well.

143 Rebound

This song is an example of how someone can fall in love with something that he once hated. "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, first hit me when my sister used it as her phone ringtone, but anything that gets to become her ringtone is decidedly irritating because when the phone goes off on an otherwise quiet morning/afternoon/evening it gets on me and my mother's nerve. And the fact that the ringtone is usually edited to start in the middle of the song (using Audacity, which I introduced to her) didn't help much other...

But, accidental over-exposure due to repeated play from radio music, and would you believe it, piped-in music at shopping centres and fast-food joints (McDonalds, to be exact), suddenly got me addicted to the song... talk about songs getting stuck in your heard, now even piped-in music can do that, that's dangerous...

So, this should be my first documented case of getting subconsciously addicted to a song, after initially expressing hatred for it... the mind can be so strange sometimes... usually one gets addicted when he likes the song after listening to it for the first time, not hating it...

Oh, and I'm downloading the second half of Numb3rs Season 3, so I can watch the Premier of Season 4 on AXN, without getting confused, but true to the style CSI-like shows, it doesn't hurt too much to watch random individual episodes. However, they also contain underlying storylines, so, watching the episodes in chronological order helps a lot with the entertainment.

...and I recommend Numb3rs for those who would love to understand how sometimes, simple mathematics underline everyday phenomenon and technology, but, paying attention is absolutely neccessary, along with follow-up research. Not to mention, being able to surprise others with knowledge of practical usage of all that A-levels/STPM Maths, which, if not utilised, will disappear into the depth of the brain. After all, we use math everyday, and it's good to keep some of that knowledge afloat before going to university, especially if you're addicted rather badly to Science subjects.

PS: Yes, real shame that MU lost on a last minute penalty, but that's life... At least now, I've got good reason to watch the remaining 180 minutes of the BPL, and in the process annoy myself greatly... you should really watch me watch football some day, I'm never acting like myself... I missed the match though, because I was rather busy comparing Apples to Moles (see last post), but more on that later...

142 Repast

It really isn't that hard to do C(12,6) or C(11,2) in your head...

I will confess that I'm a real lousy artist, and I can't even draw stick figures properly, but what the heck...

This post will be oddly short, due to the fact that I'm typing in a thin strip of time between dinner and my Weekend Tuition /Chelsea vs. MU on TV/shutting down this computer. How I will accomplish performing the first two actions, which are occuring simulataneously is still beyond my comprehension...

Just a note on the comic... One particular reader may remember a variation of this particular episode, that is, without the snide remark by the other stick-figure person. But, for those who require more context... 220 happens to be the number of combinations of side dishes orders possible at Kenny Roger's. The customer has to choose 3 side dishes out of 12, hence the C(12,3) solution, bet you didn't know that...

Some others will remember the that I created the problem of the probability of all the 4 English teams in the Champions League playing in separate quarter finals... so yes, it's definitely one of my hobbies...

141 Reconsideration: Tagging

I've been spending the whole evening, reconsidering my "tagged" policies, and I realised why I don't usually do tags...

The Ecology of Tags

I had subconsciously divided tags into two species, Taggus Generalis (General Tags) and Taggus Nominalis (Named Tags). The Taggus Generalis are tags that the previous taggee, who is now a tagger, doesn't state a specific taggee(s), but usually leave a general condition, such as, "whoever is bored" etc. Since I hate admitting that I fulfill a general condition, rather than a specific one, I usually condone these types of tags.

The Taggus Nominalis (Nominalis meaning Name in Latin), are generally more common than the Taggus Generalis in the blogosphere, since the idea of a tag is to leave specific name(s) at the end. However, since I don't usually humour the Taggus Generalis, it leaves the impression that I condone the Taggus genus altogether... Of course, it is also quite obvious that the Taggus Nominalis doesn't find me easily, since its "prey" is usually never more than five for a single "predator".

Pre-Tag PS: The output of an overly-active but idle mind is usually more interesting (Read: A study of Tags, before actually doing a tag) than that of an overly-idle but active mind.

Disclaimer: I'm not referring to anyone, that's just the output of an overly-active but idle mind.

A Captured Specimen of the Taggus Nominalis
- courtesy of Chia Wei

1. Real name : See post 133 Replies, FAQ no. 1 in this blog for help
2. Nickname : Usually the first 3 or 4 letters of my real name
3. Married : If it's legal to be married to Science, yes... otherwise, no
4. Male or Female : Male, but if Karl Jung is right, consciously male, subconsciously the other one
5. Highschool : What people in Seremban call Sekolah Pancing Ikan
6. College : The JC that believes praying can change a lightbulb
7. Short or long hair : Short, though long if we're talking about hair-brained-ness
8. Are you a health freak : House MD... I'd like to be him one day...
9. Height : About 10 cm taller than Mas Selamat
10. Do you have a crush on someone : I'm less than 0.5 DP (which is an S.A. unit)
11. Do you like yourself : "The only philosophical consideration in life is suicide"
12. Piercings : Definitely not my choice of COD (cause of death)
13. Righty or Lefty : Bad names for pets, aren't they?

14. First surgery : Umbilical Cord, I was told
15. First piercing(s) : Not in this lifetime (see 12)
16. First person you see in the morning : The Marie Curie (Curium) on my Photographic Periodic Table
17. First award : Birth Certificate
18. First sport you joined : Sarcasm
19. First pet : the mouse on my first computer
20. First vacation : Sailing down the Birth Canal
22. First crush : Broke a few toys, I believe....

23. Eating : humble pie
24. Drinking : never, ever, drink and blog at the same time
25. I'm about to : answer the next question, thanks for your concern

26. Want kids : Not planning on rearing goats
27. Want to get married : to the pursuit of knowledge
28. Careers in mind : Nope, not that interested in psychology
29. Lips or eyes : "Tell me what you don't like about yourself?"
30. Hugs or kisses : Free Hugs from Seremban
31. Shorter or taller : You heightist!!!
32. Romantic or spontaneous : Spontaneous Romance is the coolest, and in accordance to the Second Law of Thermodynamics
33. Sensitive or loud : The only difference between "WHO CARES?" and "...who cares" is the punctuation
34. Trouble maker or hesitant : One who has trouble hesitating

35. Kissed a stranger : CPR? Not yet, closest I got to that was a dummy...
36. Drank bubbles : Carbonated drinks? Of course
37. Lost glasses/contacts : Lost glasses - Closest I got was the hostel cup. Lost contact - Wrote a poem about that before.
38. Ran away from home : Evening Jogs...
39. Liked someone younger : My cute hamsters
40. Liked someone older : My parents, but not in the Oedipus Complex sort of way
41. Broken someone's heart : I have not killed anyone by chest-stabbing
42. Been arrested : Nope, my heart's still quite healthy, no cardiac arrest
43. Cried when someone died : Yes.
44. Liked a friend : Who doesn't? Check "Friend" in a dictionary, please...

45. Yourself : I think, therefore I am., and if I don't think, I wouldn't have reached no. 45
46. Miracles : I loved David Archuleta's rendition of the song
47. Heaven : It's lonely up there, I heard... there's only Mother Theresa and God
48. Santa claus : No chimneys in the typical Malaysian home
49. Angels : Cupid's randomness disappoints me

50. Is there one person you want to be with right now : I won't answer "person"al questions
51. Do you believe in God : Kind of...

I tag: Michelle, and my sister, Jasmine... and
Optional: Everyone in the McNair Blog Network

Post-Tag PS: This is a cross breed between the Taggus Nominalis and Taggus Generalis

140 RE-Using

Well, if that guy in "V for Vendetta" can talk like that, so can I...

The picture is mostly self-explanatory, isn't it? And if you're wondering, I really mean what I wrote in the picture...
The format, of course, is inspired by xkcd.com, the webcomic that is unsuitable for children, adults and liberal art majors. Go read it, and you'll have a reason not to forget what you learnt during your Physics and Math classes.

One of the reasons why it's unsuitable for children and adults with an Arts Major

I think I lost quite a bit of the writing momentum after the Re-return to Singapore, hmm... I hope it returns soon... once again Pleeb you M1,

PS: I've decided to replace the (SHIFT + random numbers) word, with an anagram of Bleep, making it even less harmful to little children, those who are unfamiliar with keyboards, and those who can't play Scrabble...

139 Re-Re-Return

Yes, I guess life keeps playing games with you... I must learn to expect the unexpected from Singapore.

The Good News:
We have noted your excellent academic achievement in the sciences and you are therefore a potential candidate as a CN Yang Scholar. We would like to invite you to an interview at NTU in May 2008.

The Bad News:
The interview will be scheduled on the 5th to 9th of May, 2008 in the School of Biological Sciences, NTU. My Kinabalu trip is from the 5th to the 8th May...

The Good News:
There is still one possible day, i.e., the 9th of May, for the interview... that is, if the scheduling is possible...

The Bad News:
I will be travelling Sabah-> Seremban -> Singapore in less than 24 hours, making it the furthest distance travelled in under 24 hours in my life... and I'm not sure how I'll feel after the climb, and also, why all the places begin with the letter "S"...

The Good News:

Human manipulation of space-time is still theoretically possible, thanks to Stephen Hawking... and I have a pantry full of optimism...

The Bad News:

Where did I leave that primordial black hole?

138 Rewritten

I actually have quite a number of things to post, but once again I forgotten that WiFi is undependable, so, @#$% you M1 (that's not the F word, L word, or S word, if you're wondering, it's a harmless little bleep).

So, there'll be very little on-the-spot typing, and a lot of last time-last time writing.

In some obscure Internet subcultures in Malaysia, it is considered good luck to post essays written for interviews on blogs, before attending the interview itself. Although I don't usually wish to subject myself to every interesting belief I encounter, there's no harm in doing this, is there?

The USP (University Scholars' Programme) essay

A Life's Entanglement with Quantum Physics.

“There is only one philosophical problem, and that is suicide”
- The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus -

We have to concede that ultimately, it is only the choice to live that matters, but to do that is to consider reality itself, which is an inseparable part of life. Hence, I believe, if there is one theory that would affect a person’s thinking in a profound way, it must be a theory that describes reality. There are a few fields of knowledge that attempt to understand reality, but one stands out in contrast to the others, and that is the field of Physics. Physics itself has undergone several revolutions in attempting to explain the nature of reality, but the most interesting and intriguing of all is the Quantum Theory of Reality.

When I was first learnt of the Quantum Theory, I was taken in by the sheer difference of the theory compared to conventional Science. It challenged my worldview greatly, and I began to accept that we are not to believe all that we know by habit. At the end of the 19th Century, most physicists believed that the Physics was nearly complete, as Lord Kelvin said, “All that was left was to fill in the fifth decimal place”. Little did they know that beneath the sheaths of the common perception of our macroscopic world lies a whole new reality that defies both logic and imagination. For instance, it may initially seem logical that we should be able to measure everything with precision, but quantum theory tells us that it this is impossible, and that we can never know the momentum and position of a particle with absolute certainty. It shows us that we must never be as arrogant as to believe that we know all there is to anything and everything, thus continuing the spirit of inquisitiveness and discovery that has brought us to the knowledge of this day and age. It is the lessons learnt from the pre-quantum scientific revolution days, which remind me that apathy towards the acquisition of knowledge cannot be adopted.

Other counter-intuitive aspects of quantum theory, such as the quantum measurement problem, encapsulated by the renowned Schrödinger’s Cat paradox and quantum entanglement, has convinced me that human knowledge is by no means complete, and it is humbling and exciting experience to realize that there still remain areas and aspects of reality that still remain out of our reach. It is humbling in the sense that we, humans are not accustomed to leaving stones unturned in the development of knowledge, and yet, even today, we still must accede that we still have questions about the quantum reality, which is indirectly part of the beauty of reality that provides the meaning of life. However, there is a silent excitement in that I could be part of the process of discovery and play my part in the expansion of human knowledge at the frontiers of human knowledge, if not our imaginations. This motivates me to do my part in our pursuit to reduce the gray areas of our knowledge, and pursue a programme that would enable me to play this part.

The Quantum Theory is indeed a departure from the tradition of classical physics by postulating a whole new concept and perception of reality. The crux of quantum theory, which is the introduction of a limitation to knowledge and measurement through the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, shook the long-held and intuitive ideas of the layman’s reality. The audacity, tenacity and boldness of the founders of the theory to go beyond conventional theory and defy commonsense intuition about reality are an inspiration to aspiring scientists such as myself. Furthermore, the formulation of this theory has shown that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of reality is guided by neither convenience nor simplicity, but by whatever data and observations we collect and make. This fundamental principle that governs the processes that scientists, and humankind in general, should always be used in the construction of our knowledge of the reality, and I have adopted it as a life’s principle.

In conclusion, the introduction of quantum theory to human thought and subsequently, my own thinking, is an event that is life altering. One cannot help but wonder of the possibility that even after the efforts of decades and centuries of human inquiry, we may still only be scraping the façade of the true reality. With many more lacunae of knowledge hidden in worlds, if not dimensions unknown, the consideration of suicide seem distant, as I constantly tell myself, “Why end my own life, when there is so much more out there to learn.”

137 Replacement

Roger, do me a big favour, please! Build this for me! Please, pretty please...
You know how I'm mechanically challenged, and I may end up killing a laptop or two if I ever attempt to do build it myself. It would be a great companion when I leave home for university, and it can even be programmed to blog and make friends with other inanimate electronic devices...
Now, if only I can convince Hector (my current hamster) that he shouldn't be jealous or teach him how to blog, whichever easier....

136 Resolve


This, ladies and gentlemen, may look like total gibberish to you... but I assure you, that I haven't gone a little crazy from whatever electromagnetic waves the computer in front of me emits. The 97 (or 98 characters, including the question mark) is the world's most well-known unsolved code, the Kryptos...

To be more specific, these characters are known as K4, or in long, Kryptos Part 4. Kryptos is a sculpture in the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, US (I know, the irony is killing me too) created by James Sanborn. After nearly 18 years since its installation, 772 out of the 870 characters of Kryptos, has been solved, (i.e. K1, K2, and K3) while the last 98 characters remained unsolved to date.

Kryptos: The Sculpture, and all its mysteries...

The whole sculpture has two parts, the ciphertext section and the tableau. The tableau, which is on the right side in the picture, is a Vigenere Tableau, with the letters shifted to the key "Kryptos", which is used in encoding and decoding Vigenere ciphers, a type of polyalphabetic substitution cipher, which I use to encrypt secret messages in my blog sometimes. However, even with the tableau, to decode a text encrypted using a Vigenere cipher, a passkey is still required... and without the key, well, let's say reading the message becomes more difficult than spelling "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" backwards in 5 seconds.

K1 and K2 were encrypted using the Vigenere tableau, using two different passkeys (hence, the separate designation). They were Palimpsest and Abscissa respectively, and the following is the plaintexts that were revealed:



NB: The spelling errors that you see in K1, K2 and as you will see in K3, are intentional, along with the Xs which denotes the end of sentences for aesthetic purposes.

K3 is a transposition cipher, that is, simply rearranging the letters in the plaintext, using a certain algorithm, to form the ciphertext, without changing the letters in plaintext to any other letters (unlike the substitution cipher, where the letter order is not changed, but the letters are substituted with another letter), revealing this message...


NB: We are not sure whether the question mark, in brackets, belong to K3 or K4, hence the disagreement in the number of characters that remains unsolved.

Ah, after K3, is K4, the final unsolved part of the Kryptos message. Nobody knows what type of cipher or combinations of ciphers was used to encode K4, and many people across the globe are trying attempt after attempt to decode the greatest cryptography mystery in modern history. I still attempt to break it every once in a while, but unfortunately, it would seem that it would require a lot more luck, skill and knowledge, for a layman, like myself, to decode Kryptos.

If you too want to try, be my guest... because if Lady Luck happened to be sitting on your lap the day you got the answer to cracking the code, you will be world-famous. That is guaranteed...

135 Recon-template-ion

A four-columned blog template was definitely an experiment, but the need for a change was becoming imperative. Newer widgets are suited for the new Blogger HTML, and the old template used what was called the "Classic HTML", creating a lot of problems when adding in page elements. It's not that I'm not adept at HTML codes, it was getting a little annoying with respect to certain widgets, such as the C-Box that wouldn't function in Classic HTML, despite me trying desperately to reconstruct the old HTML to fit it in. After many weeks of trying, I finally gave up and change the template to one that is compatible to the new Blogger HTML. I must agree with Chia Wei that fooling around with Blogger HTML is definitely a harrowing experience.

I wanted to change the header, but I guess that won't happen in the near future since I have to return to Singapore and prepare for my Mount Kinabalu climb, combined with attempts to continue to, as quoted from the sub-header, "persistently dish out daily doses of quirky humour, sarcasm and esoteric information". So, it would seem that you'll be stuck with different shades of blue for the time being, but it's still nice, isn't it?

So, here marks the beginning of a new chapter of this blog, which should also mark the beginning of a new chapter of my life... but the previous chapter was so grippingly exciting that I still want to add few more words, if not paragraphs, to it... so, here's me joining the chorus of people who want a trip to Redang, or some other place as interesting as Genting (or, Gentings, depending on the person you ask)...

PS: ...as long as it's not on the 3rd to 8th of May, I would be climbing THE Mountain then...

134 Remaking...

No, nobody hacked into my blog, so don't get upset. This is only a temporary layout, I'm working on findng something nice... and but of course, I'll update....

133 Replies

I've been accumulating interesting queries over time about this blog, and finally I've gotten round to answering most of them in the most informative way possible. So, here's a list of FAQs (Frequently Answered Questions)...

Why is your name CY Azhar?
Well, if you haven't figured it out yet... here's a step-by-step guide on how to get it solved:
  1. Take out that box with the word "Scrabble" on it. If it's really dusty, I suggest you clean it first.
  2. In the box, you'll find a dark green bag with lots of lettered tiles in it. Take out the letters A, A, C, H, R, Y and Z.
  3. Place them on one of the dark green racks, which should also be in the box.
  4. Rearrange them on the rack until you get a familiar name. There are 2520 ways to do it, so, good luck!

Oh, and do inform me if you managed to find the Ultimate Question of Life, Universe and Everything while you're at it. The answer, it seems, is 42...

What's with the URL, ambiguitytheories?
The First Theory of Ambiguity states that it is impossible to acheive a probabilty of 1 in the measurement of any event, because there always lies an inevitable degree of ambiguity in any observation. Not bad, considering I haven't learnt the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle when I formulated it. My first "scientific" formulation... and it motivates me to make up even more as I go along.
There are others, but they are too vague, and I guess I will never be able to work out the details... but they did cause me to pluralise the URL.. (it was previously ambiguitytheory)
Are you really too free? / Do you have too much time on your hands?
On the surface, yes... since I'm currently messing around with things that people normally do when they are really too free. But, actually no... because the seemingly "strange" things I do now, are actually things I do when I actually HAVE free time... and the things people normally do when they are free, are things that I do when I'm too free...
If you don't get it, I suggest you return to this post when you're too free, and that is when you could try to understand what I've just written...
Well... I don't believe what you just said. Where's your proof?
I just sprained my left ankle. Explain to me how that happened while blogging, sitting in front of the computer, scribbling on whiteboards etc.
What exactly is The Junyi (Jy)? I don't want to ask him...
I'm not that sure either, and I'm sure he doesn't want the "studyphile" answering that for him...
However, I have a feeling it is related to either the amount of time it's required for him to take over the world or the amount of time you have to spend being a slave to him after taking over the world.
You were in Singapore when a man named Mas Selamat "Golden Safety" was on the loose. Any ideas on his whereabouts?
Indeed, I will confirm that I did attempt to look for him while I was in Singapore, by walking from Novena to Ang Mo Kio at 4 am in the morning. But, unfortunately, I didn't find him...
However, I recently heard rumours that he is in Malaysia conspiring with N. War E. Brahim to take down the BN gahment. He was sighted at the recent Keadilan rally at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kuala Lumpur, fuelling gossip that he is indeed involved in the whole "take over the Gahment" affair. But, please don't quote me here...
Did you really die in a blogging and knitting accident recently?
What if I didn't? You people didn't even sound shocked...
I Googled Carpe Diem, and the Day of the Carp explanation didn't come appear. What's going on?
Here's an idea. Go check the definition of "gullible" in the closest dictionary you can find. You won't find it...
Why are you answering all these questions?
Why are you reading all these answers?
Doesn't FAQ stand for Frequently Asked Questions? Why did you type Frequently Answered Questions in brackets?
...and I thought you didn't notice. Good for you... you were actually paying attention and I am very grateful you were.
If you missed the deliberate error, please write/type "I shall pay attention to such errors the next time I read a blog" 500 times, and e-mail it to me. My e-mail address is horatio89@hotmail.com, and do leave the definition of gullible in the PS section of that e-mail.

132 Rethinking

Despite what this looks like, and whatever this looks like to you, I give you one assurance, this post is written by myself, the author of this blog, so please don't dismiss this as one of those things you get through your e-mail... oh, and for the record... you'll never catch me placing any of those here...
Hey, everyone... I really hope that you would read this all the way to the end... and share this with your friends and family, and every one you care about, because writing this down made me find hope in life again, and I sincerely wish reading it will do the same to you too...
To Dream or not to Dream
...as I quietly trudged downstairs, in the wee hours of the morning, with the hopes that I do not wake the denizens of the mostly dark house, there was only one thing on my mind. Dreams...
Before I start pouring out the contents of my mind, please forgive me for leaving the usual tone and style of this blog, I know many find the light-heartedness here a departure from the outpouring of emotions, commonplace in this part of the cyber world. But I too, am human, and there will always be waves plaguing even the most placid lake...
" The height of self-deceit is when a man mistakes what he wishes for, to be true"-Demosthenes-
This line has been disturbing me for a better part of tonight, as I, along with most of my counterparts, stand at a major crossroads of life, wondering where our dreams will take us. But, as these words of wisdom suggest, it is possibly dreams that lead to misery. There is no problem in dreaming, it is, by far, a harmless past time almost every human being take up, as perhaps, a source of happiness and bliss. However, sometimes I fear that we, without realising it, let this innocuous hobby become an obsession. When we blur the line between our dreams and reality, it becomes a tinder box for disaster... it becomes self-deceit, self-denial and fear, all at once. How I would love to say that dreams are merely psychological phenomena, and never translate into real belief, like the sweet dreams of carefree days and blissful moments we have snug under blankets.
They always tell us to "Dare to Dream"... and I will frankly admit, that dreams are great motivators. Every great invention has certainly started out as a dream, but once again, reality is harsh... the successes we see are merely the sum of the dreams that have come true, and we ignore the thousands of dreams that never did. The vast graveyard of dreams unfulfilled always makes me shudder, because I've been there and I always wonder whether I want to go there again. The ignorance, in this case, certainly is bliss, but the fear of ending up there makes us think twice before even daring to take the first step... Some may be thinking that if this "kiasu" fellow sticks to what he just said, is never going to amount to anything in life, but let me assure you, even I dream high, and that troubles me deeply...
You see, it is basic human instinct to shy away or avoid any activity that brings harm to the self, be it physically or emotionally. But dreaming is still among the many activities the mind engages in, and so it would seem that over the ages, that dreaming has been proven to bring more good than harm, and I truly take solace in this fact. Perhaps, it is true that every time a dream fails to launch, we try again. We, humans, are relentless creatures that will try every single alternative before calling it a day, and even then, that idea or dream still lurks in the subconscious, waiting for the day the eureka moment arrives. Optimism, is truly one commodity that is never in short supply throughout the human race. People still fight for their dreams, despite the odds that are stacked against them, hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion.
"Emotion - Logic = Faith" -Eureka (TV Show)-
That's true, isn't it? I daresay that the only thing that keeps most of us running back to our dreams despite whatever storm is blowing us away is faith. Many have lambasted faith as an unfounded, unjustified belief. With my experience in etymology, I, for one, understand the weak foundation that "knowledge" based on faith is built on. It simply is illogical to a detached individual for a person to trust anything which is based on faith, and many a sceptic have put such people under fire. But through all the fire and dust we have kicked up, we all need a little faith, and as much as I hate to admit, I too trust faith in justifying my dreams.
After all these words I have typed out, I realised at the beginning where I expressed my cynicism towards dreaming, that it would be hypocritical of me to say that we shouldn't dream. As much as I dread having my dreams crash and burn to the ground in front of me, and as much as I hate ending up deceiving myself, I still believe in dreaming. However, I still know that I must prepare myself for the worse, for the fall that comes with the pride. I'd think that this isn't pessimism, it's just cautious optimism.
So, to everyone out there, my friends, don't ever, ever stop dreaming. Sometimes the only thing that keeps us going, even on the darkest nights, is our dreams. As someone said once "it is still possible to drive all the way from New York to San Francisco only looking at the road in front of you". Life will always hand you lemons, but as I always remark in reply, I like lemonade...

131 Really Short but Shocking

I really can't believe you people do really feel this urge...

... and also, still do this, when no one's looking...

...I am really, really flabbergasted. So many people out there who get entertainment out of tessellations on the path you are walking on. At least now I know, certain forms of eccentricity are secretly universal...

PS: The last time climbed up a down going escalator was in Genting Highlands after the 3D dinosaur show, but you guys weren't looking... otherwise, I just get on down-moving escalators, and then pretend that I didn't know you planning on staying on that floor...

130 Reversal?

This is an example of how Science has evolved over the ages...

We are really getting somewhere, aren't we?

For those who have forgotten their Chemistry:

  1. Ball - John Dalton model adapted from Democritus's atomism
  2. Christmas Pudding - J. J. Thomson model after the discovery of the electron
  3. Cooler version of nothing much - Bohr model with electron orbits of fixed energy levels, and later Chadwick model after the discovery of the neutron
  4. Probably nothing at all - The Quantum Mechanical Model with the electron probability cloud
After centuries of scientific research, we finally decide that the basic building blocks of everything is a tiny speck of nucleons surrounded by electrons that may or may not be there... and the ball actually looked so promising at the start, didn't it? Now, they suspect that the most fundamental entities are strands or loops of string that no one can actually hope to observe directly... go figures...

129 Recently Part 2

Telling time can get really complex...
Since, in the end, we still use seconds, minutes and hours, introducing units that describe very small or large units of time will barely make it into everyday usage. So, I've proposed alternate measurements of the minute, that relates to common events, where we wonder whether the minute really is 60 seconds...
  • The Universal Minute (UniM): 1 UniM = 60 seconds
  • The Hold-on, Please Minute (HopM): 1 HopM = 6000 seconds or longer
  • The Procrastinator's Minute (ProM): 1 ProM = The 60 seconds after the next 60 seconds
  • The Malaysian Minute (MyM): (any number, n) MyM = (30 + n) UniM
  • The Singaporean Minute (SgM): 1 SgM = 59.999999... seconds
  • The Just a Minute (JaM): 1 JaM = anything from 15 seconds to 1 HopM
  • The Corporate Minute (CoM): 1 CoM = about 45 seconds and still decreasing
  • The Salesman Minute (SaM): 1 SaM = definitely more than 60 seconds
  • The Baker's Minute (BaM): 1 BaM = 61 seconds, thanks for waiting...
  • The Wait a Minute (WaM): 1 WaM = depends on the person's intelligence...
That's it for these few minutes, may be back later today if I'm in the mood....

128 Recently

So, how many moments have passed since recently?

How long ago is recently? How long would you have to wait if you have to wait a moment? Measuring time doesn't necessary always have to be in seconds, minutes or hours... there are other lesser known units of time in case you are sick of seconds, or outraged with hours, or simply no longer yearn to say years...

The Jiffy
  • In quantum physics, a jiffy is the time taken for light to traverse one fermi, equivalent to 3 x 10^-24 seconds.
  • In electronics, it is the period for one alternating current power cycle
  • If you happen to be making noodles, it's 0.01 seconds...

The Friedman

  • Six months in the future, inspired by the famous author, Thomas Friedman.

The Helek / Halakim (plural)

  • 1 hour = 1080 halakim
  • 1 halakim = 10/3 seconds = 1/18 minute

The Tithi and the Paksa

  • 15 Tithis = 1 Paksa = approximately 14 days

The Nychthemeron

  • 1 Nychthemeron = 24 consecutive hours

The Shake

  • 1 Shake = 10 ns = 1 x 10^-8 seconds

The Lustrum / Lustres (plural)

  • 1 Lustrum = time period between censuses = approximately 5 years

The Svedberg (S or Sv)

  • 1 Sv = 100fs = 1 x 10^-13 seconds

The -yr designations

  • 1 kyr = 10 centuries = 1000 years
  • 1 Myr = 1000 kyr
  • 1 Gyr = 1 byr = 1000 Myr

The Saeculum

  • 1 Saeculum = 1 complete renewal of the human population = approximately 90 years

The Moment

  • 1 Moment = An indefinite period of time, so stop complaining, why don't you?!

The Junyi (Jy)

  • 1 Jy = Go ask him, please...

127 Real Deal

There are many things I want to type out here, but the topics are so far ranging that it is difficult to accomodate them together in a single post without making it very messy, but I'll try...
Part One: Re (Rhenium, atomic number 75, named after the Rhine River)

The Periodic Table of Elements in pictures

This came in the post yesterday, after about 11 days of waiting. However, the cylinder cardboard tubing that was meant to protect the poster was smashed up at one end, so the bottom part of the poster was a little spoilt. Malaysian postals services, I tell you, cannot be trusted to send a perfectly good poster without the customer receiving it with some defect or another. That's the bad news... the good news is the cylinder contained not one, but two posters. I first suspected that it was a double transaction, but the records and the money spent showed that they was only for one... so, either there was a packing error or the posters come in pairs. Since almost nobody sells posters in pairs, I suspect a counting error. Must be packed by one of the contestants of "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?"... And what am I going to do with a second Periodic Table? Any ideas, folks, and no, I'm not giving it away for free, but I could sell it for a nominal sum, if anyone's interested...

Part Two: Review (Kite Runner and The Bucket List)

The Kite Runner: "For you, a thousand times over"

I've read the book, and watched the movie twice, and I still can't get bored of it. The Kite Runner, started off as a book by Afghan born author Khaled Hosseini, and I read the book in one evening and night, partially because it's a good book, and also because I'm a fast reader. A story of how a friendship between two childhood friends of different social classes, were broken but rekindled in the most unimaginable way possible. It's not action-packed, and not overly fantasy, just the right mix of real world elements and fiction, to make a touching and poignant story... but the best thing of all is that the movie follows the storyline in the book, without adding in any artificial taste and colouring. Plain and simple literary beauty brought into the big screen, it's adaptation at its best... unlike The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Harry Potter, which lost its literary beauty to Hollywood CGI and attempts to appeal to the wider audience.

The Bucket List: "I want to see something majestic"

The Bucket List, which is a list of things to do before you kick the bucket, i.e. die, becomes the center focus of the show. It follows the themes of the Mitch Albom book, Tuesdays With Morrie, since it deals with how we face death, and dying... A millionaire and a working class man meet in a hospital room, both dying from cancer, and together they draw up a bucket list... the story of how the completed every task in the list is a touching story, since we realise that the means to achieve our greatest dreams, sometimes lie right under our noses... I realise that my greatest fear was never Death itself, and I have always maintained that I never did mind having to live a life that would end... but my fear is living a life that ended without changing the world in a way that only I could do... Oh, and I cried at the end of the show, a rare phenomenon, I must tell you... so take this is a sign that this is a show worth watching.

Two different things have been said already, and I don't want to add anymore things to the jumble. So, I leave as it is for now. Ta Ta!

126 Reality Redefined 2

Have you heard of a neurological condition known as synesthesia? There have been many reports of people with this, such as Richard Feynman, the well-known physicist. Synesthesia, from the Greek roots, syn- meaning together and -aisthesis meaning sensation, is a neurological condition where some people in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. One well-documented form of synesthesia is sound-colour synesthesia, where a person perceives certain sounds as having colours or shapes...

This, like the previous Reality Redefined post, contains photographs of everyday objects taken in a way that we don't normally see them, and this set of photographs is titled "Synesthesia: Rainbows in the Dark", because it roughly resembles images that sound-colour synesthetic people perceive sound as...

As I was uploading the photos, I was watching a recitation of the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe on Youtube, though the poem itself is beautiful, to act out the narration while reciting the poem is an even tougher job... well then, let these be my parting words... "Nevermore..."

(Five cubed) Rectus

...has got nothing to do with the wrong end of the alimentary canal (or, digestive tract). In actual fact, it's referring to the right point... (no, I'm no longer talking about odds and ends here... wait, there may be odds later, but no ends, especially wrong ends)

Rectus is Latin for right, not as in "Correct! Correct! Correct!" (but I must confess, Linggam is ANAL) , but the rect in rectangle, which actually means right angle (90 degree angle). Now, I hope I have got off on the rectal foot, as wrong as that sounds, because this is a post about Maths...

Did you know....

  • ... that I once walked up to an information counter, and asked the person there whether she knows where she kept the square root of negative one. Of course, she didn't... and I didn't go on to inquire how it's possible that a shopping complex have no complexes.

  • ...that Wiener sausages are the only sausages in the world that cannot be eaten. Someone later claimed to have grown an Abelian Grape, but it was dismissed as a joke.

  • ... that March 14th (3.14), is celebrated as World Pi Day... and to commemorate it, some people bake pies with the numbers in pi as the icing... also, MIT sends its acceptance letters on this important day.

  • ...9 appears six consecutive times in the exact value of pi, at a point known as the Feynman Point... i.e. 3.14159...999999..., leading some of the uninformed to believe that pi could be rational due to recurring decimal places...

  • ...that most mathematicians are sexually deprived? They have resorted to naming numbers using adjectives that are usually reserved for human beings... We now have sexy primes numbers, friendly numbers, amicable numbers, sociable numbers, deficient numbers, weird numbers and frugal numbers.

  • ... that Murray Gell-Mann, the discoverer of the quark, once reported that he had been given an errata page that accompanied a list of random numbers. It's counter-intuitive, since we cannot tell that a number in random sets of numbers are wrong, or can we? See next point...

  • ...that "random" number generators (in Microsoft Excel, Calculators, and the like) are not random... they use pseudo-random software, i.e. an algorithm that is so complicated that the strings of numbers it produces seem random enough for practical purposes and...

  • ...that remote car keys have pseudo random generators in them, but the car key and the car lock have the same algorithms, so even though the password from the key seems random to you, the lock can anticipate the pseudo-random password the key will emit...

  • ...that the "Six Degrees of Separation Theory" was possibly started, by Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, who calculated that it required 5.83, rounded to 6, radio stations to cover the world.
  • ...that a person's acheivements in Academia, can be measured using the Erdos Number, which is an extension of the "Six Degrees" theory, by counting the number of collaborations links a person has to make before reaching the matematician Paul Erdos.
  • ...that the phrase "Infinity and Beyond" is nonsensical since there is no number larger than infinity. The Grand Hotel Paradox shows that a hotel with infinite number of rooms all filled with people, can still accomodate any amount of new guests, including an infinite amount of new guests.
  • ...that according to the Pigeonhole Principle, there are at least two people in Singapore with the exact same number of hairs on their head.
  • ...that you didn't have to write down all the ways to add to 10 to solve the Kindergarten Teacher's Addition Problem. The answer is 11 posters, with a total number of 511 ways to add to 10.

The solution: Treat 10 as 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1, there are exactly 9 gaps between the 1s. To add to 10, treat each gap as a choice to place an "+". Hence, it could be 1+1+11111+111 (1+1+5+3) or 1111111+1+11 (7+1+2)... Since there are 9 gaps, there are 2^9 = 512 different ways, and ignoring the case where no + sign is placed, the answer is 512 - 1 =511.

124 Revolving

Guess what, people? (in this case, actually, "people" refer to the authors whose blogs links are specially hosted in a separate page, which is accessible from the "Other Scholars' Blogs" link in the sidebar). I just finished creating the BLOG WHEEL!!

A blog wheel is essentially like the Friend Wheel Application of Facebook, where your friends' links with other friends are shown. I liked it so much, that I had to create an analog that I can call my own, and ta da!!! A colourful wheel, that shows each of the blogs' links to another... and it only took me the time span of one movie, i.e. "Vantage Point", and I still understood the movie plot, despite its complicatedness. Here it is...
Now, for the Hitchiker's Guide to Comprehending The Blog Wheel:

  • Nodes, or the big round dots, represent a blog page, with the URL written right next to it.
  • A line without an arrowhead indicates a two-way link, i.e., one can go from blog A to blog B, and back to blog A again.
  • A line with an arrowhead indicates a one-way link in the direction of the arrow, i.e., one can go from blog A to B, but there's no direct link back to blog A.
  • The colours of the nodes and the lines are completely arbitary, and doesn't indicate my preference for one blog over the other, although I gave mypurpledaze.blogspot.com purple for completely obvious reasons.
  • All the links are true as at some unknown time today, i.e. (12 April 2008), and all the nodes are linked to mcnairblognetwork.blogspot.com
  • This blog is not included in the wheel, because, well, I made it...

Well then, good night!!!

123 Read this....

Ah, the MRL members know this code, so if you happen to be here and want to know a little something-something, remember this line from the Bard...Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer...

Km ghbvjx, Q sz qvcvvvgef vqmylgu xltr cvp hrhalvk xmmnmp avty-lvphmq, Lm ksm ywycu h wxymvl wx pcjygzlrgjie iag t pan tk meplpepkvgkw, nbe lpjw ghv qgku iksw nnri, kdhx B kitblwq hp Rsfoyx lzqzlrgs'k vqtk LNS xh ziv ppwgvfc xyml tyi nmvqz gwwwjxzrl sk usk... ppwa W teydjyxk ybwa d pstmnyi bjvag hw Sewytse, hlzku bz e ntbj lsslhm iecprx alrm lgrg nzvv butu kudr bhi oiwiw, zp nmolw phc hbgu emktrl asa. Buh ifgvqjq zo, oi wphe'm sfbk usek pvl ipao jdl zamyjh fj alx zirkkz rbhtrv, iaw ome xbvmg slj qirgprz vyk bvlb hip tljybj wxwjor, ofx ymek shw ff jctaz bt jywgqetamav. Gkx djigqid shw moek mpw fcvcgv eruzmfm, v.h. mvw iqi YIH del zxzet uuisymeo axd taagv bbli ymi jahvvo iezqfr, kitgy qf bttaafluzw fjfhzjn qx as kaqfx hilx kpr ibdltr obsk cs ylv ybvklrk icrmzf aexm. V zbiea frfslcrjw Z jliw alv dqux wo elv jraprp bb jh ggfaj e gqgdel, avet Krbh Jie avgji kwh'ux hzy tspp kui pos ttv jroe elza, V momzs... Gktbc stz jfn alta fchwvl kbvi-lx ptsp, U vrhwsv cy... Fru em xal aibbwe cg elrb cngdxm pdg fwui ylzo, P atz tctgaau zzy fv ZLU aubu was aurgmt llrmhkitu jvrewi...
Kpl wpwbtnb iwunzwi ykshl h zzmid pzvp,
Rfvr ubx avr ngcom, xt xya xyxzxzhv af "Kiz?"
Xym ahipqz dxxglcts me poml smex, qk us;
Cfx ym xgvae buh dsq nmfx zo brdusng bg ls.
Nj hzacehc bqpwnfw qfx xywa sy zxrbvwq umlwj evgksia nqw hzy "stfcay unlwkbwf" vg usi cqax almb srezgq "Yt fv ky rha xf um" aa Vbxpvb... V zbiea lrn yfib blvnl xapw zl ogvbh...
(L vvkrga ipqg) SL: Gwhl Die, ovvkf jfk bzr rfwepmq kltxg gr rcml htqdaux, B dej t taghmp flal ppxt buh Uzga Bmivh... hrw hpjh agefz qsi bux vjrtvqx awmxfkvo, tc fbq nta mfwor xym phttgbru lc A wtzpuj'a iqwvvla el synmkmzxux qieobsj...

122 Remember, remember...

... the exact phrase to complete the line is, "The Fifth of November". It's the famous first line from the children's rhyme that describes a certain Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up the British Parliament quite a long time ago. But, don't worry, there's no Parliament around here that requires blowing up, just one that needed its leaky roof fixed quite some time ago. So, don't charge me for sedition, OK...

"Remember, remember, the 13th of April..." is the line I had in mind. A quick check with that wonderful calendar at the bottom right corner of your monitor, would show that this date, last year was a Friday. Yes, it's Friday the 13th, and the fear of the date is known as paraskavedekatriaphobia, and I'm sure a lot of people I know suffer from this phobia, beginning from last year. We all know why, so I won't mention it explicitly. And now, for some number crunching...

Because there are 365 days in a year, which is 52 weeks and 1 day, mathematically, the dates move forward by a single day, i.e. (13/4/06 is a Thursday, 13/4/07 is a Friday). But since 2008 is a leap year, 13/4/08 is a Sunday, a two-day jump. Since the MOE likes releasing results on Fridays, just to make us upset, the closest Friday is 11/4/08, which was yesterday... and guess what, they did just that... And more numbers are coming your way...

109 people got As in SAJC, compared to 6 people last year, which implies an increase of 103... Simple math shows that,

(103/6) x 100% = 1717 %,

which is a very large percentage increase, and I'm sure there has been much rejoicing.

Here's a little bit more, last year's percentage with As is:

6/888 x 100% = 0.68 %

And this year's percentage with As is:

109/850 x 100% = 12.8 % +/- 0.7 %

... since I don't know exact number of students in the cohort.

But it can be said that there is an increase of 12.1 % +/- 0.7 % in the number of students getting As... which is relatively good...

However, as I was browsing the Internet, these percentages popped out for other colleges...

Taken from the Straits Times, April 12 2008

NB: TJC has 87%

... quite some way to go, huh? But, let's not complain and move on, and be happy that finally... finally, we are on the right track.

PS: "It's the 2008 SAJC PW results analysis"

121 Reminiscence

Remember this song? 525,600 minutes, precisely the number of minutes in one year. The actual title of the song is "Seasons of Love", taken from the musical turned movie, "Rent". Although, I didn't watch the movie. this song found me in another way.

It serves as the reminder of my last days in the hostel, I first heard it on the 5th of December 2007, when it was played during Grad Night. The song stuck so badly that I downloaded it on the following day, the 6th of December from the "Rent" soundtrack, and the song kept playing into the 7th of December, the last day for me, and most of the others staying the hostel.

Two years, or slightly less than twice of 525,600 minutes were spent in that place, and the love for that place and the people there is irreplacable, just as the song suggests. The best measure of time gone past is not daylights, sunsets, midnights or cups of coffee, it's LOVE. Seasons of Love, as the song goes.

To be honest, it was this song that took me through the withdrawal period. The lack of people constantly around me, and the voices, and fun things, oh... it was all too depressing. I was really glad I took one thing from the last few days, and held on to it as tightly as I could, until the hostel-sickness all went away...

And just a few hours ago, the song found me again. I was watching "Idol Gives Back", the American Idol charity show on 8TV, and they sang the song. Oh my God! You should have seen the look on my face when Ryan said those words. I found myself tearing, I stared at the screen during the whole three minutes of the song. I couldn't believe it, it just came back to me all of a sudden. The song... oh, no... that song, it was pain, joy, excitement all at the same time. I really didn't know what to think... and now, I can't let it go again. It's playing again and again as I'm typing this post. It's just so... oh, I don't know. It must be human nature to hold on tightly to something that makes you so... so... happy, and sad, and emotional.. once you found it once again... This is the one song, I can sing with so much emotion... Ah, memories... Sometimes it makes you wonder why we keep them, if they can bring so much confusion when it jumps out at you again... Life is so funny sometimes....

120 Relapsed, once again

The more grammatically meticulous may note that "Relapsed, once again" has committed the sin of redundancy, since the re- prefix of Relapse, already implies "once again". But that's what happens when one has an ongoing "re-" obsession.

I'm still trying to find a way to touch up the current MSN Circadian Cycle graph, because a drawing on a whiteboard looks aesthetically unpleasing. Based on monitoring for the last 20-odd hours, the trends are more or less accurate. The basic monitoring is based on my own MSN, but I'm also collecting data from my sister's MSN, to gain a larger sample set, to iron out the idiosyncrasies of my own sample set and her sample set. Lastly, I also want to avoid incurring the Observer Effect, in which my act of data-collection throws off the readings by itself creating trends. The figure is here once again, for easy reference.

But today is Friday, in which the trend curve for the one curve converts to the other in some way. I know that the Friday curve will start as a weekday curve and end as a weekend curve, but the transition period will be worth studying, but Fridays only come once a week, much to the chagrin of most of us. I'm not sure whether ultimately, this will be another mere triviality in the study of Internet trends, having limited practicality, and based on quite a number of assumptions. However, I'm quite convinced that this could be the first of such a study conducted.
On a side note, I know not many of you have seen the Kindergarten Teacher's Addition Problem, and so I'm posting it here once again, with a hint. You don't have to write down every possible number combination that adds up to 10, there is an easier method...

Let's say you are a kindergarten Mathematics teacher, and all along you've been faced with math problems that never does exceed two digits. Life is easy, OK fine, little kids can be quite a handful, but mentally, it's barely challenging.

But, one day, the Principal, noting that you have an A-levels, STPM, or some other equivalent certificate for Maths, asks you to solve a problem for him. He plans to place posters around the kindergarten that contain all the possible ways to add up two or more integers (i.e 1 to 9) to make a sum of 10, e.g (1 + 9),(2 + 3 + 5), (1+2+3+1+1+2) etc. He also adds that the arrangement of integers matters, and hence (1+9) and (9+1) are considered two different sets of integers.

So, your question is: How many posters should the Principal order to accommodate all the sums, given that at most 50 sums can be fitted into one poster?

One final side note, I'm still waiting for the delivery of this: The Photographed Periodic Table, it's the most beautiful Periodic Table of Elements I've seen in my life. It's supposed to be my A-Level Present, I think, and it's scheduled to arrive 10 days after April 3, i.e. next Monday. Isn't that nice?

119 Relapsing

Do you know what a circadian cycle is? It has nothing to do with a chart on the life cycle of chirping cicadas (not circadas, as some people might think it's spelled) or the life cycle of any other insect, plant or animal.

Circadas? Close, but no cigar....

The Circadian Cycle is a compound word, made from two different Latin roots, Circa which means around, and diem meaning day. So Circa + Diem = Circadian, which means "around the day". You may also note that the Latin phrase Carpe Diem means "Day of The Carp", and people in Ancient Rome used to go to the River Tiber on this auspicious day in droves to catch carp (which is a fish), with their hands. And so it was, that Carpe Diem became to mean "Seize the Day" in the modern English Language.

Carp Diem!: You're right to think something's fishy around here

The Circadian Cycle in actual fact, is a biological cycle that affects most animals on a daily basis. Some of us call it the biological clock, and we usually complain that once we miss some sleep, we mess that thing up.

Biologists have tracked certain physiological statistics in humans and animals, such as temperature, and have noticed that it varies throughout the day, in a regular fashion. Also, certain hormone glands are more active, for instance at 1 -2 am, than at other times of the day. Body temperature seem to hit daily low at 4 am, when sleep is usually in its deepest stage, and a secondary low sometime in the evening, causing some of us to crave for forty winks in the late afternoon.

The circadian cycle has definitely got something to do with the biological clock, since it is influenced by, among others, our sleeping time. Dozing off at the wrong times has been shown, in the long term, to be detrimental to our health, and has been linked the increased risk of cancers, such as breast cancer.

But, I'm not interested in all that. After an afternoon of contemplating and drawing back on some past data, I've been trying to construct a rough sketch of a graph to tabulate a Circadian Cycle for MSN Messenger. It will show number of people online on MSN against the time of the day, for two different situations, i.e. the typical weekday and the typical weekend. This could effectively be an online biological clock, and I speculate that it could show a decent correlation to the probabilty of a person being on the Internet, at a certain time of the day. However the graph is very crude, and I'm still testing its accuracy using my MSN statistics combined with my sister's to see whether my graph is correct.

I can already extrapolate uses for the study if it is proven correct and further researched. The values taken from the graph can be treated as a statistical mean, which can be used in a Poisson Distribution to predict the probability of a certain number of people being online at a given time. It can also be further approximated to a Normal distribution for a particular strata of the population, i.e. students or even an age group. Wow, excess free time can be put to good use...

PS: Did you believe that "the Day of the Carp" is an actual festival? Unbelievable, huh? Here's another bit of trivia... did you know that the word "Gullible" is not an actual English word? It is actually a fictitious word created in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", used by the Lilliputians (there were very small creatures) to describe Gulliver. I think you can hazard a guess on the meaning of the word...