Thursday, March 29, 2007

Circumcision reduces HIV transmission risk

"Countries with high rates of heterosexual HIV infection and low rates of male circumcision now have an additional intervention which can reduce the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men." So says Kevin De Cock, director of HIV/AIDS of the World Health Organization.

With a name like that, there can be no one better to spread the message...

Friday, March 23, 2007

51 weeks on...

Three hundred and fifty eight days ago, I wrote about how Tim managed to find the plans for the proposed F1 street circuit in Singapore.

With rumors of the plan now being set in motion, the interest now is greater than before. That post is now the most-accessed on this blog, with most of the traffic coming from overseas. Perhaps having an F1 here is not such a crazy idea after all.

Friday, March 16, 2007

To win, everyone else must lose

What is it about Chinese business mentality, where everyone else must fail so that one is able to succeed? Winner by default... that's the way Sam described it. He gave an example where he went to several Parisian souvenir shops selling mini Eiffel Towers for 20 Euros. And he was startled to see one store selling the same souvenir for just 5 Euros. Run by none other than a Chinese.

How did this practice come about? Can we trace it to some apocryphal tale where ancient Chinese got ahead by lowballing the competition to their bankruptcy?

Talking about competition. Recently, the cars known to frequent the workshop were called up for an LTA inspection as they were reported in by an anonymous source. It's pretty apparent that it is motivated by competing business interests because the dates on the letters were identical, and the only time they are ever seen together is at the workshop. Of course there was nothing wrong with the cars. And LTA allowed itself to simply be an instrument of such shallow schemers. As BK puts it, the basis of an open society is to afford the accused the opportunity to face the plaintiff in court. At least reveal the identity of the person who submitted the report. I wonder if LTA has any mechanism to review this process in a more objective manner.

As if that weren't enough, customers themselves contribute in inciting discord among workshops. Casting aspersions of incompetence or even blatantly lying about events. Spreading rumors. Backstabbing. Badmouthing one another.

With such a state of affairs, is it any wonder that our local motorsport scene is unable to raise itself to a higher standard?

HDB parking confusion

There's an interesting thread on MyCarForum about the wording of the HDB car park regulations, ostensibly causing some confusion. It motivated me to look up the rules on the HDB website, where I found this...

Night Parking Scheme

Car parks that allow night parking by visitors are identified by signboards bearing the parking times and charges. For easy identification, the signboards are lighted up after 7pm.

For night parking charges at night parking car parks, motorists who park between 10.30pm and 7.00am can pay the half hourly rate of $0.50 up to a maximum of $2 or a flat rate of $2.00 depending on their parking needs.


Always thought the full $2 had to be paid if parking was after 10.30 pm! UGH! :(

So the algorithm should be as follows:
  1. Pay $0.50 for every half-hour.
  2. If parking for more than 2 hours, but not beyond 7 am, and if the next day is not a public holiday/Sunday, pay $2.

Wag the dog

So it appears that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to being part of the plot to destroy the twin towers and commited various nefarious acts. Is it pure coincidence that the revelations come at a time when the Bush administration is besieged by various charges of wrongdoing? Anyone willing to bet that Osama bin Laden will somehow be found and brought to "justice" as 2008 draws nearer? Conspiracy theorists, get to work!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jack is Back!

No, not Jack Sparrow, the other one!

You Don't Know Jack ranks as one of my all-time favorite games. For those unfamiliar with the genre it's basically a quiz with a witty yet discombobulating presenter. And now, it is available as a Flash game... so turn up your speakers and check it out!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Absurd Singaporeans

The typical Singaporean psyche to problem-solving is unique. Any difficult situation or social ill should first be addressed by taxes, tariffs and tolls. Thus, the running joke about Singapore as a "fine" city.

Recently the ever-controversial topic of car prices and their effects on traffic flow patterns came up in conversation. Apparently some of the commentators believe that the current low prices of cars have led to an increase in car owners, therefore contributing to road congestion. Their solution? Why, raise car prices of course! The reasoning is that with the higher price of cars, they will be able to out-spend their competitors and thus assure themselves of a "rightful" place on the road.

I was incredulous that these highly intelligent and well-regarded individuals would suddenly lose their minds and come up with such a stupid idea.

It is not unusual for an individual with high net worth to be the registered owner of 5, 10, 25 or even more cars. So you're Joe Shmoe who needs to commute from Loyang to Tuas every day, and you're up against Richie Rich who is angling to complete his Ferrari collection. There's one COE left on the market. Guess who's getting it?

Car prices in Singapore are already artificially inflated through customs duty and taxes. Additionally, the COE system has proven to be flawed as a way for controlling the car population, since that does not address usage and is simply a flat tax, as explained in the paragraph above. Thus the raison detre and implementation of the ERP scheme, which is sound in theory. The only problem is that existing car owners have been subsidizing the ongoing costs without reaping the benefits of the ERP system, leading to discontent.

In the meantime, in typical fashion, the powers-that-be have, you guessed it, raised ERP prices on congested roads during peak hours. So existing car owners are screwed over twice, a problem that is essentially created by ourselves (because we're the ones who asked for the COE and ERP system in the first place. *ahem*).

So there you have it, the current state of commuting in Singapore. Surprising? Hardly. We're just a nation of pampered whiners.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ferrari F50 GT

Meant to be raced in the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, only 3 were ever built. Here's a dyno run...

More info on Wikipedia.