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If Bill Gates could have just ONE wish… February 20, 2010

Posted by Wilz in Environment, Society, Technology.
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… it would be for zero emissions energy.

Nicholas and Calvin and I were just chatting on Thursday about how the world may be doomed and shit (for a Chinese New Year meet up lol). I mentioned that the one thing that can probably put a lot of problems in the world to rest is finding a solution to the energy problem, with a focus on replacing current fossil fuel based energy with cleaner energy. Added that fusion is still a far away dream, and massive optimizations on nuclear fission is probably the most immediate way to go.

This video came out on TED the very next day, and it’s great to know that Bill Gates agrees. :)

ZYXW: Global Warming June 10, 2009

Posted by zhiyuan in Environment.
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Inspired by XKCD… this is ZYXW. Enjoy.

Global Warming2

Earth Hour March 28, 2009

Posted by Will in Environment.
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It is currently a little less than three hours till Melbourne embraces Earth Hour, a global effort to switch of non essential lights and appliances for one hour starting at 830PM local time. There has been a bit of drama behind the idea for the past few months. To be succint:

Why is it important: To raise awareness regarding our impact on the environment and as a vehicle for global citizens to vote for the intention to improve the ecosystems and reduce stress on the planet.

Why it is awesome: It is an opportunity for us to unite as a species and vote for a common direction, something we are  somehow genetically predisposed not to do.

Who should really be excited about it: Everyone above the poverty line.

Who in reality are the most excited about it: Criminals, according to certain people(New Scientist). I’ll admit that is the first thing that popped into my mind when i first read about Earth Hour – it is a fanstastic opportunity for thieves to plan elaborate heists around the world. Heck they could even have a forum of their own and plan this months in advance and celebrate an early Christmas. I’m also certain its a fantastic window for a bit of snoosnoo in unorthodox locations.

That is, if we’re all idiots. The project did not call for us to plunge ourselves into pitch darkness, but to switch off non essential lights and equipment.  In the article linked above, business owners calculated the cost of participating and some comments were suggesting that it is more cost effective  if we spend the time on other green projects like changing lightbulbs etc. I do not think they get the spirit nor the scale of this excercise. This is about awareness and forging global unity, and there is no reason why we can’t both change lightbulbs and switch it off – they are not mutually exclusive. 

If your business can not afford the risk, just decline politely and perhaps support it on the personal level and do it at home. With doors fully locked.

Personally my uni will be honoring the cause and hopefully here’s hoping we’ll have satellite images of the planetary mexican wave popping up on the net soon.

Say NO to Shark Fin Soup March 21, 2009

Posted by Wilz in Environment, Personal.
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I actually wrote this in my drafts two years ago (around November 2007)

A couple of months ago, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry announced that it and its agencies will stop serving shark fin soup at all functions. Now if only the billion or so Chinese, actually more like the hundreds of millions who can afford it, start doing the same.

I’ve stopped taking Shark Fin Soup during Chinese New Year. It can be weird at the reunion dinner table, especially if your family insists on serving that dish. Last year I asked my parents not to buy shark fin when they went out for CNY shopping. They went ahead and bought it. They cooked and served it, I didn’t eat it. I think they got the message.

I wonder if they’ll insist on buying it again this year.

The happy news is that my family has been shark fin soup free for two years!

The unhappy news is that… there’s a lot of Chinese people, they’re getting richer (in the long run), and they’re a bunch of hard-headed blind culture-worshippers who won’t listen to Yao Ming.

SPORE: Intelligent Design or Evolution September 5, 2008

Posted by Wilz in Astronomy, Environment, Gaming, Society.
2 comments

I’m getting my copy of Spore on Tuesday next week! Woot! One of the ironies behind this game has been what it is trying to promote. In a lot of his presentations, Will Wright (the creator) have referred to the game as an excellent method through which one can explore and be familiar with the scientific concepts such as evolution, planetary properties and their balance, and the science of deep space exploration/travel. Spore’s logo by itself does a good job of making the spiral galaxy a ‘familiar’ image.

However, the ironic part (which is pointed out happily by many a religious nut) is that although the cell gene collection thing represents evolution, the actions of the cell (and later the creature and creatures) are controlled by an intelligent being, which is the player. In other words, even if it was evolution doing the work, it was still guided by intelligent design.

What a load of bull. Anyways, I made some quick lists to support the idea that;

the game is pro-science / evolution:

  • The game portrays the evolution of a single celled organism into a complex creature.
  • The game portrays how the creature grows into intelligence and civilization (much like our history).
  • The game respects many scientific principles (injecting CO2 into the atmosphere raises a planet’s atmosphere, etc).
  • The creator of the game says he loves science and wants to use Spore as a means of promoting it.

the game is pro-intelligent design (no, it’s not a science no matter how many papers you write) :

  • There is a ‘guiding intelligence’ that is controlling the being/beings (The player is God).
  • There is a trailer which sounds very much like it’s promoting intelligent design.

the game is just a bloody game:

  • Well if the game supports any kind of intelligent design, it probably supports polytheism/milliontheism more than  monotheism. The creatures/civilizations in the game were created by millions of different players, whose creations are seamlessly downloaded into your client as you’re playing. So many Gods om-G!

Therefore the conclusion is, what Spore truly represents is, are you ready for it – an alien conspiracy theory. Yep. A bunch of aliens powerful enough to affect things without actually being noticed by the creatures, manipulating everything for some sick purpose. They’re only as powerful as demigods, coz they can’t change the laws of space-time. They have only one power, to directly control the actions of their own species.

Oh wait that would make our CPU the proper God since it is creating and maintaining the universe, and running the AI of all the other creatures. But then again it connects to a server to donwload creatures so that would make the server some kind of God nexus… and since Maxis runs the server, they would be a multiple-staffed Godhead? Will Wright would be the equal but supreme member of the Godhead? OMG is model accurate for real life? Maybe a gaming company runs our universe! Nvm.

Can’t wait to play the game!

Fill ‘er up. June 5, 2008

Posted by Will in Environment, Personal, Society.
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A litre of unleaded petrol in Malaysia now costs RM2.70(~USD0.80), a 40% increase over the previous price of RM1.92. As per usual motorists could be seen making a beeline for the nearest petrol station last night to “take maximum advantage” of the old subsidized fuel prices as the revision will come into effect at midnight.

Much consternation aside, it is not as bad as it looks. The government has announced that they will be awarding an annual RM625 rebate to each vehicle with an engine capacity <= 2000cc when you pay your road tax effective this July 1st.

What this basically means is that you will be recieving RM12 per week to absorb the new hike in prices. For those lazy with maths this means that if you have been pumping RM30 worth of fuel per week this rebate will be paying for the 40% hike. Any lower and you will be gaining a positive income, any more and you’ll feel some heat.

I’m cozying up to this change as it will provide those owning economy cars with more incentives to use less and at the same time perhaps encourage Malaysians to pursue alternative fuels or to practice efficient power management. Here’s hoping that the extra tax income generated will be wisely spent on upgrading our public transporation systems. Better yet, fix the goddamn potholes all over the country with REAL asphalt that could withstand severe rain corrosion (I swear mechanics are making a killing everywhere fixing wheel alignments and whatnot. Maybe it’s a conspiracy :O). 

That’s not to say everything is fine and dandy however, undoubtly prices of almost everything else will escalate in tow and inflation was projected to hit 6% this year. Time to ask for those pay increments, or start carpooling.

Why not watch it later? May 6, 2008

Posted by Wilz in Entertainment, Environment, Society.
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I’ve fielded this question twice already so far. If the materials in the films to be aired on Pangea Day are so great and powerful, why not just watch it later? Why not download the shows say, a week later, and sit alone in your room and watch it? Why stay up at 2-6 a.m. (GMT +8) on a Sunday morning to watch the show with millions of other people all over the earth (who are physically sitting down at the exact same moment)?

Because at exactly 2-6 a.m., millions of people around the world will be saying, “I want to know.” I want to know about everyone else on this earth, I want to understand them, I want see what they see, and feel what they feel.

Because at exactly 2-6 a.m., millions of people around the world will be saying, “Let’s stop.” Let’s stop this relationship based on fear and lies and misunderstandings. Let’s stop stereotyping and assuming. Let’s escape our narrow mindsets.

Because at exactly 2-6 a.m., millions of people around the world will be saying, “Let’s begin.” Let’s begin changing our minds if not ourselves, let’s begin spreading the love and the understanding. Let’s begin making the world a better place for all of us.

Because on Monday, or Tuesday, or the week after that, those 24 short films will be just short films. And the reason anyone will be watching the show after that, will be because it was recommended all at once by those millions of people, who will be sitting down this Sunday, at 2-6 a.m. (GMT +8). Watching it after that by yourself will be like, as one of my friends put it, “sitting your ass watching some inspirational stuff and doing nothing.” Well the doing’s on this Sunday guys. We’re doing so much more than making a statement, but we are definitely making a strong one. We’re saying, ALL of us, collectively, that we care.

http://pangeadaymelaka.blogspot.com

4 hours. 24 films. A new way to see the world. May 6, 2008

Posted by Wilz in Entertainment, Environment, Society.
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This Sunday (11 May) at exactly 2.00 a.m. (GMT +8), millions of people around the world will be sitting down together at the first ‘global campfire’ in the spirit of unity and peace, to watch 24 short films made by the world, for the world.

Starting at 02:00 a.m. locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person’s eyes. Details on the Pangea Day films can be viewed here.

Myself and Ugendran are organizing the Pangea Day event for our campus. More information about our local event is available at http://pangeadaymelaka.blogspot.com. All staff, students, and alumni are invited!

What does a.m. mean to you? May 6, 2008

Posted by Wilz in Environment, Personal, Society.
2 comments

/fume

Here’s a conversation I had about 20 times in the past 5 days.

Me: “Are you coming for the Pangea Day event?”

Person: “I have to work the next day lah.”

Me: “…”

Person: “Wut.”

Me: “It’s 2.00 a.m. on Sunday. ON SUNDAY. It’s errr, Saturday night or Sunday morning. Not Sunday night.”

Person: “Owait.”

Me: “The clearest I can get is, 3 hours after the show ends, it’s 9.00 a.m. Sunday morning. You can sleep the rest of the day.”

Person: “Right.”

Really? It’s that hard to understand “11 May 2008 (Sunday), 2-6 a.m. ??”

/facepalm

10 ways the world could end October 23, 2007

Posted by Wilz in Astronomy, Environment, Personal, Science, Society, Technology.
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It is scary how many of the things on this list I have read about since childhood. They’ve been spoken of by scientists for nearly three decades now, and in most cases more. It is scary how practically no major advance has been made in most of these areas (in terms of policy and public awareness). And it gets scarier every time we are reminded how real these problems are.

We are long overdue (by magnitude of several hundred years) for at least two things – the reversal of the earth’s magnetic field, and a “Deep Impact” or “Armageddon” (the latter being one of the dumbest movies ever) style asteroid hitting the earth. Note what he says, “It is not a question of IF, it is a question of WHEN and HOW BIG.”

And we’re rapidly and still actively destroying our ecosystem, strengthening the resistance of bacteria and other harmful micro organisms, and spreading powerful uncontrollable experimental genes that defy natural processes into the wild.

All the effort and money put into stupid, pointless, dick-inspired wars and posturing and political campaigning… If nothing else, it would be a huge irony and lesson for the survivors on the day that 90% of the world population is suddenly wiped out. Perhaps, letting nature take its course is the only way to actually save mankind from itself. And perhaps, long from now, ASS (alien space ship) Anterprise would explore our world, and study with some degree of sadness the lost civilization of the Earth.