Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nature is simple, but not too simple.

Heard there is another movie to scare people on the seriousness of deforestation. Yet, a co-founder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore explains that, rather than using less wood, we should use more wood and thus plant more trees because young trees are the natural, efficient and effective absorbing agent of CO2.

It seems to me, as in many issues, the obvious problem is trees were being over harvested, and therefore the obvious response was to stop the cutting of trees.

The expert suggest that harvesting should continue if not increase, and the problem is over-harvest, not harvest itself. Thus, it is not a must to stop harvesting, but to plant even more trees to have the rate goes from "over" to "under".

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How far is the nearest beach from you?

My wife loves to go to the beach. She is from PJ, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That makes me realize how fortunate Singaporeans are. The disadvantage of being so small an island nation has one of its advantages being that beaches are just a very short trip away -- a rarely mentioned feature of Singapore. Although sea views from beaches here are not so great since we are surrounded by lands of neighbouring countries, and many vessels (thanks to our very busy ports), it is much better when compared to KL, or those cities that are far away from beaches.

I don't tour a lot, but I still can recall the great feelings when I was at one of the small beach in Sydney. Looking out into the ocean with no visible lands, or vessels!

For those in UK who need to fly elsewhere to enjoy an exotic beach holidays, may I introduce to you Dialaflight. On top of the standard features such as cheap flights and holiday offers, it features a list of holiday ideas and one of them is beach holidays.

There are 33 destinations for beach resort holidays listed. None of them I've been to. I want to go to Penang for the beach and the yummy food, which, I heard, is very cheap by Singapore standard. Phuket is a destination that I offered a free trip I won to my friend because I didn't have buddy to go with then. Now it is in my list of destinations to bring my family to :)

Post Sponsored by Dialaflight.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

For Primary levels mathematics teachers

I'm delighted to find this site, which in many ways have similar views as I on problems and misunderstanding when learning mathematics.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Initially, I intend to write this post in neutral tone, just as requested by the company, Hotel Reservations. However, I guess my tone changed as I click on the various features, after writing the next two paragraphs.

It has been in business for 6 years, long enough for the website to be fully equipped, but I would consider it a late starter into online reservations and bookings. Although traveling businesses are usually at the worldwide level, not able to find any office or mailing address or official business registration information in the website seems unusual. At this moment, I can find only 4 toll free numbers.

Also, on the main page, only two languages available, 6 flag icons on the website, and 15 countries in the country drop-down list. Thus, the first impression was it doesn't seem to have worldwide coverage. As I click on the various features, then I realized that it does have worldwide coverage.

Although this is the first time I explore a little more thoroughly into online reservation websites, I guess its features are very nice and believe very few other competitors have something better than this. I shall mention 2 features that impressed me, namely Vacation Rentals and Vacation Packages.

I don't recall those other few similar websites provide Vacation Rentals, which probably is related to timesharing style booking, where a longer stay is required.

I tested Vacation Packages, which offer combined search for combinations of flight, hotel and car. This is a time saving features, yet you still can customize by selecting a different flight and such. I tried with an 8-day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore for 2. Typing in "Kuala Lumpur", the system searched and replaces it with "Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL-Kuala Lumpur Int'l Airport)". Then, I can select only 2 days within the trip where hotel stay is needed. One of the lowest price option is by JAL, staying at Harbour Ville Hotel @ average of USD262.03/pax after upgraded to Superior room @ additional USD6.99/night. Looks good to me :)

Post Sponsored by HotelReservations.

Pattern-recognitional mathematics

Another best answer by me :)


Asked by quantum_dot: Why do children make zero and decimal position mistake while dividing?
For e.g.: 21 divide by 2 is 10.5, but many times children end up with 1.5 as the answer

1 year ago - 6 answers
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

I suspect this error is possible because the child is not learning maths, but merely pattern recognition. If the child learns numbers and calculation the mathematical way, she (from my experience, higher chance is a she) will know 1.5 is very unlikely to be the answer, since it is so much smaller than what would be expected for when a value near to 20 is divided by 2.

However, if she were pattern recognizing, 1.5, 10.5, 15, 15.0 are similar patterns.

I recommend more focus needed on the 'feeling' of values and their representations using Arabic numbers. I think more practices on estimation might help. E.g. ask them to estimate, using their perception on the values that are represented by numbers to give rough descriptions of the answer. E.g. before applying method to exactly calculate the value of 21/2, ask them to describe the answer. Will it be bigger than 21? Will it be smaller than 2, will it be near to 0, 10, 20, 30, etc.? Will there be decimals? Etc.

Another advice, forbid the use of calculators! Lower the importance of getting the exact answer.

Just to share, I was amazed when a 20+ year-old working adult couldn't figure out why 3/2=1.5, but he can tell you in split seconds that a meal that cost $3.00 shared by 2 persons means each has to pay one dollar and fifty cents, or one-fifty, which in numeric form is $1.50! Why, 3/2 is so different from 1.5, and he probably find it complicated to rationalize the pattern-transformation in order to transform 3/2 to 1.5, but $3.00 and $1.50 are money to him, not numbers, and he has good sense of money :)

My second approved blog entry in PayPerPost!

Hooray! My second PayPerPost entry is approved! So far seems OK.

Indeed, it seems not too easy to grab opportunities. Need to improve and promote my blog more!

Who has been most sad all along?

Another best answer from me chosen by the asker.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Higher and higher

Is higher and higher good? It depends on whether a high value of the measurement is good. For example, salary is good, but blood pressure is not.

How about age? That depends on the context. Usually, we wish people long life, but there are jokes where wishing a 120 year-old person longer life might not be a good wish. That is an extreme. In general, when life expectancy gets higher, it has been deemed good, until recently more attentions are paid on the quality of life rather than just on the age.

Some controversial issues are:
Is it better to sustain the biological life of a person who is in coma with very little chance? Is it better to ask a considerably very old and unhealthy person to go for long term "treatments", that sustain instead of treat the health problem? etc.

What about extending the retirement age from 62 to 65? I would say to work 3 more years just because the need to survive is very sad. However, to be encouraged to contribute 3 more years is very nice. I think the former is a very sad situation. It reflects that either the person has failed in life economically, or the economical environment of the society has failed when the majority is the former.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When brain is too free..

An interesting puzzle posted in Yahoo!Answers
that I managed to solve, and gotten chosen as the best.

Let a, b, c be the lengths of the sides of a triangle.
Show that:

a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) + c/(a+b) < 2

Now see if you can describe the shape of a triangle
for which the above expression is very close to 2.

=== Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

Stop here for a moment, as this is your chance
to solve it before reading my answer below :)

Somehow, I started with the last part first,
when it is close to 2.

So, using limits, try a triangle
with one infinitely short side.
lim_a->0 (a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) + c/(a+b))
= lim_a->0 (0/(b+c) + b/c + c/b)
but in such a triangle, where a->0, b->c
it is actually
lim_a->0_and_b->c (a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) + c/(a+b))
= lim_a->0_and_b->c (0/(b+c) + b/c + c/b)
= lim_a->0_and_b->c (0/(2c) + c/c + c/c)
= 2

Ok, now for the main question,
to prove a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) + c/(a+b) < 2
Let a < b < c,
a/(b+c) < 1/2 because b+c > 2a
c/(a+b) < 1 because in a triangle,
sum of lengths of two sides > the other side.

What about, b/(a+c)? a < b, c > b but c < a+b,
so c < 2b, so a+c < 3b, and thus b/(a+c) > 1/3
(Oh oh.. no use)

Probably have to consider the first two terms together,
we have
a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) = (a^2+ac+b^2+bc)/(b+c)(a+c)
= (a^2+ac+b^2+bc)/(ab+ac+bc+c^2)
< 1
because ac=ac, bc=bc, a^2 < ab, b^2 < c^2

So, (a/(b+c) + b/(a+c) + c/(a+b)) < 2

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Anti-choice".. what's that?

In an article, abstinence lifestyle promoters is also equivalently called anti-choice activists.

If to practice abstinence is a conscious effort, how can it be considered not a choice? Since it is a choice to practice abstinence, to describe these people as "anti-choice" is wrong.

On the other hand, I guess many who oppose the promotion of abstinence feel uneasy to force people to force themselves not to just simply follow their sexual desires, and argue that such against natural desire attempts could be harmful. I think "just simply follow their sexual desires" doesn't sound like making a choice. Furthermore, it is more like admitting that there is no choice but just have to follow. So, who are the anti-choice activists?

Importantly, abstinence lifestyle doesn't mean you continue to watch spicy shows, visit sexy places, etc. but just need to control the final acts. Abstinence lifestyle is about making many choices on what to watch, where to go, etc. so that it won't lead to scenario where any effort is needed to control because the aim is to avoid arousing such "natural desire" at the wrong time.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Body language

Although I hope to get paid, I still do free ads :)

This site is interesting. I like it. First, it doesn't claim to be authoritative. This is good since I don't think any scientists and scientific findings should claim to be authoritative. Second, it start of with symptoms that most can easily identify with, rather than medical or clinical terms of the observed illness.

First payperpost approved!

Hooray! My first PayPerPost is approved!

So far seems OK. Only worry is it seems not too easy to grab opportunities even though recently they prevented people from using robots to auto grab.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Must Pythagoream Theorem be used?

This question is found in the Yahoo!Answers as one of the question designed to test knowledge of the Pythagoream Theorem.

1. Sam hiked 48 miles directly east and then 36 miles directly south. Find the shortest distance in miles from the point where he ended up to his starting point.
A. 60 miles
B. 36 miles
C. 48 miles
D. 72 miles

For me, MCQ question should not be solved by calculation because answers are suggested and the little time allocated, it is designed not to be calculated.

If it is used for training, it is better to demand students to think and explain briefly on all the 4 suggested answers, instead of ignore them, just work out an answer and search to see which of the suggested answer matches it.

Here, obviously, B and C are wrong because from the question, Sam travelled 48 miles in one of the direction and both directions didn't make an angle of less than 90 degrees.

Thus, left with two possible answers A and D. Since 72 can be nicely expressed as 2x36, and if it is D, then probably you should have learnt another theorem about this nice feature. Thus, it is unlikely D.

So, assuming the MCQ is not faulty, and by considering the time and marks allocated ratio, it is wise to choose A and move on. When all is done, then can return to do checking with the left-over spare time. If the MCQ is faulty, it doesn't waste your time too since none will get it correct :)

Now, for the purpose of learning, it is better not just to calculate, but to figure out any nice pattern if the distance were 72 miles. By Pythagoream Theorem,
a^2 + b^2 = (2a)^2 ==> b^2 = 3 x a^2 ==> b = sqrt(3) x a ~ 1.7a > 1.5a ==> 1.5a < b, but
1.5 x 36 = 54 > b, thus distance cannot be 72. Alternatively, similar can be derived in a circle when a chord has same length as the radius, the chord that joins the other two ends of this chord and of the diameter that touches of this chord, is of length sqrt(3) x radius. Lastly, just a quick note, when using the standard way, it is faster to use mental calculation: 36^2 + 48^2 = (12x3)^2 + (12x4)^2 = 12^2 (3^2 x 4^2) = 12^2(5^2) = 60^2.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Being selfish seems more acceptable

After the report of 1 HIV positive in 350 who don't know their HIV status came up, there were some ideas being raised.
One group called for compulsory HIV test. Some say this is tricky as individual rights might be harmed. Then, some suggested selective categories of people go for compulsory HIV test. Some say this is discrimination. Another technically very similar idea is being seriously considered, all patients at hospitals go for opt-out HIV test. Yet, this idea receive little objections.
I think this idea is put in a very smart way. First, although it is targeted at all patients, it is not compulsory. Second, although it is for certain category of people, it is not discriminating. Third, the main reason brought forward seems not to "catch" HIV positive people and to help them get treated, which may upset some who don't want to know, or don't want to get treated. Forth, the main reason seems to say, it is for a selfish kia-si purpose to have better protection for all the health care workers, with an expected appreciation by the public because of the SARs encounter just a few years back.
I guess, by suggesting that it is the rights of health care workers to have better level of protection, it is reasonable to request HIV test be done on all patients. Nowadays, when homosexuals talk about their rights to choose and others don't have right to tell them what to do, the majority one man one woman husband/wife family oriented people have to learn to be more "selfish" and argue about their rights being invaded by homosexuals asking to be treated as normal people.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The rights to choose

Personally, I am not familiar with the concept of holiday season. Still, for many people, the headaches that come with the coming holiday season is near. I didn't have much experiences in the joy of receiving gifts, less that of giving gifts. However, that little experiences is enough to know the trouble of choosing the right gift. On one hand, the most convenient way is just to send cash, but this is very lacking of sincerity. On the other hand, to buy the actual gift itself include the risk that your selection does not match the preference of the receiver.

Thus, I think vouchers and coupons provide the conveniency, but still allow the giver to show the efforts of selecting the appropriate type/brand/range of gifts for the receiver. At the same time, the receiver has the rights to choose the design/specifications that is preferred.

With online stores, it is more convenient and environmental friendly to give vouchers and coupons. E.g. getting coupons may suggest some kind of efforts to help in the lessening the problem of throwing away good and new products. Instead of sticking to a certain brand, you can also give a coupons of certain type of product, e.g. choose from many wireless products by getting net10wireless coupons.

So, its about time to choose your own promo codes!

My first PayPerPost for the PayPerPost!

The other day I just announced my blog being qualified for posting blog advertising entries under the PayPerPost. This is my first try on it! What I love best is the newness of it, being founded on June 30, 2006 (according to wikipedia entry), and I came to know about it while casually surfing some random blogs. On my first visit to its website, I sensed its simplicity and felt it should work, and immediately I signed up. Sadly, my blog was not qualified because it has not been active as it had just been revived at that time. This rather encourages me as it shows seriousness of them to have a working and meaningful system, by selectively including suitable blogs.

I think this is a win-win arrangement. Through it, I can get ideas to write on, besides the opportunity to earn some extra money, I believe it will also indirectly promote my blog.

By the way, it is simple too, which this posting will prove as it will be a one-go no editing submission.

I am looking forward to putting my out-of-box thoughts/views/reviews on products and services! I was raised up believing that all ads are lies to ask people to buy their products, but now I am going to advertise for others because in payperpost, true and neutral views and opinions are being sorted for!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Happy National Day

The radio DJs are asking audiences to call in to state why they love Singapore.
Many good reasons. Efficient, convenient, people are honest, government has integrity, etc.
All these to those who have not experienced other environments might not be obvious.

I observed that my wife would naturally sit down at the bus stop, while I'm too lazy to sit down just to stand up again in a couple of minutes. She has been used to wait for 0.5 to more than 1 hour for bus in her home nation.

My brother thinks that those long queues of people are happily waiting in the immigration and other government institution for various reasons. In their nation, just by queuing up usually do not get things done.

However, we have to learn how to love this nation without the need to compare, because, we also need to love our spouse without much comparison. Love is an initiative action/decision. It should not be a passive reaction triggered by our "feelings".

Friday, August 3, 2007

Does career support or kill your family?

Someone wrote to Today: "Are career demands killing marriages in Singapore?"
He pointed out the work-life unbalance issues that are killing marriages.

I agree, and would like to also point out another area of concerns. The over stressing on careers, and therefore academic education had left no time for many since their childhood to acquire necessary and sufficient interpersonal skills, appreciation for family values and ties, and sense of responsibility for the family and society.

PayPerPost qualified!

This blog has just qualified to host payperpost blog entry!
Actually, it is nothing great, yet.
Only that I've somewhat consciously waited for this day.
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