You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

If you look at Singapore on the map, you’ll actually find that Singapore lies along the +7 Time zone yet Singaporeans always use +8 GMT instead. There’s actually a very interesting historical and geographical reason to this: Read this article for more details!

For this post, I’ve actually had inspiration from yesterday.sg which contains lovely posts on Singapore’s Heritage, Museums and other stuff. =)

p.s. For our non-singaporean friends, ‘salah’ is malay for ‘wrong’. In Singapore, Singaporeans often use a mixture of malay, english, chinese, hokkien and other dialects in our everyday conversation. We lovingly call this mumble-jumble of languages, Singlish.

Came across this really interesting blog post about Real-life Superheroes:

Real people with incredible ‘superhero’ abilities:

A boy with sonar vision like bats, another man whose body is magnetic and attracts pieces of iron.

Read more here!

I just came across David Wong’s article on monkeysphere. This is the guy behind the site: http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/
Hence I suggest you don’t take the article too seriously. Even so, his article does actually come from something ‘real’ called the Dunbar’s number plus it sounds plausable!
So what is monkeysphere? You’ll have to read to understand. =)

I was looking through Instructables.com and came across this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Noise-Maker/

I used to make this when I was really young. You just fold a piece of paper into that shape and flick it really hard. It makes really loud noises and scare the wits out of anybody nearby. Such fun!

And now for a bit of physics while we are at it: How does this work?

Basically, when the centre-fold of the paper gets flicked out, it moves at a very fast rate and pushes the air in front of it away quickly. This creates a shock wave which can be really loud.

In line with my previous post, here’s another trivia about romans courtesy of Choops – I’ll leave it to him whether or not he wants to be identified beyond his nick. =)

Ever heard of the term “pyrrhic victory”? It means you win, but at a devastatingly high cost. This term came from the Greek general Pyrrhus that remarked after a battle that “one more such victory would utterly undo him”.

Well anyway there’s another story connected with Pyrrhus. He was fighting the up and coming power in that region then, the Romans. Now one of the legacies of his cousin Alexander the Great was the introduction of war elephants to the Greek armies and Pyrrhus had quite a few of these in his army. The good thing about them is that opponents that have never encountered elephants before usually break and run at first contact.

But the problem is the Romans have encountered these creatures before. In fact, they actually won the battle by sending squealing pigs against them. The elephants panicked and ran, trampling Pyrrhus’ own troops. (There have been records of pigs smeared in fat, lit on fire and sent against elephants. This works just as well and takes care of the celebratory feast after the battle at the same time.)

The thing is this; captivity can bred a neurotic fear of small animals into elephants, so that a barking dog or, yes, even a mouse running across the floor can panic a circus elephant.

I just came back from an enriching tour at the National Museum of Singapore‘s new special exhibit featuring Greek masterpieces (statues, relics, pots etc) loaned from the louvre – probably the closest I’ll get to see things from the louvre for now.

The tour guide was very knowledgeable in about Greek history and presented a wonderful tour with stories about the greek gods, ‘gossips’ and history too. I do think the exhibit is worth visiting and if you can make it for their tour, even better.

The exhibition is on till 16 March 2008 and cost $8 for adults and $4 for students and NSmen.

A little trivia for us all:

During the 1940s Cardinal Pedro Segura y Saenz (1898-1957) commissioned to remove the ‘private parts’ of the roman statues of gods and emperors in the collection of the Archaeological Museum at Sevilla (Spain). The cut off parts are still preserved in a cardboard box, carefully labelled (Bosschart 1984).

for those who are curious, the ‘private parts’ of the greek statues featured are still pretty well maintained =p haha.

[ref]

I’ve gone meteor-shower-watching several times now and never did see anything. Not one ‘shooting star’. This year, I’m not quite sure if I’ll see any too. But nonetheless, according to British meteor astronomer, Alastair McBeath, this year is a ‘great year’ for the Geminid Showers. Maybe I’ll look up in the skies tmr. =)

Oh yes, for those interested, it is claimed that this fantastic showers will peak on the night of Dec 13 and 14th. That’s tonight and tomorrow night! Do take a look outside your window. =)

For more info, click here!

It’s the time of the year again and Orchard Road is bright and jolly with all the xmas decorations. Last year, during this same time, I posted a link to a post about the history of Christmas, this year, let’s talk about the history of Christmas trees.

The Christmas tree is a very popular form of decoration for the Christmas season and in Singapore, even the non-christians have trees at home and celebrate this festival.

Long time ago, in Germany and northern Europe, trees were pagan objects symbolising the fertility of nature gods. The practice of decorating coniferous trees was done during the winter solstice which occurs around dec 21. This practice was then adopted into Christian practice after the Church set dec 25 as the birth date of Christ. (Jesus wasn’t actually born on dec 25: read article here)

In the 13th Century, people used to hang the trees upside down – to symbolise trinity. When and why it became upright later I’m not too sure. But I’m guessing it’s alot easier for people to keep the tree upright instead of nailing it to the ceiling.

There are many legends regarding the origins of this practice of putting up the Christmas tree: read about them here.

But there’s one thing people should think about before putting one up – Trees take a long time to grow… If you want a tree, get a plastic one. Sure, it wouldn’t smell as nice as a real one, but at least u aren’t killing a tree just for one day. A plastic one can be re-used too and u wouldn’t be depriving a squirrel of a home. =p

Click here to read more

wiki has some stuff too

Yay, I just received an email I sent to myself last year!

Here’s to introduce all of you to this fun site: futureme.org. In this site, you have an option to send yourself (or someone else if you wish) an email which will only be received on a date which you set.

It’s sort of like a diary or a time capsule where you tell your future self about the things which you are thinking of right now, maybe your aspirations etc so that your future self could look back to what you were like in the past.

For example, if you are still studying, maybe you might want to send your future graduated self  an email to remind him of your current aspirations/ambitions and direction in life. Quite fun really. =)

Try it!