New Horizons survives Pluto encounter

This is really exciting:

Data in its first call home since Tuesday’s flyby suggest the spacecraft experienced no upsets as it hurtled past the icy world at 14km/s,The signal came through a giant dish in Madrid, Spain – part of a Nasa network of communications antennas.The message took four hours and 25 minutes to traverse 4.7 billion km of space.

Source: New Horizons: Spacecraft survives Pluto encounter – BBC News

Ponies aren’t baby horses

I just came to this realization that ponies aren’t baby horses.


People who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a young, immature horse. While foals that will grow up to be horse-sized may be no taller than some ponies in their first months of life, their body proportions are very different. A pony can be ridden and put to work, while a foal is too young to be ridden or used as a working animal. Foals, whether they grow up to be horse or pony-sized, can be distinguished from adult horses by their extremely long legs and slim bodies. Their heads and eyes also exhibit juvenile characteristics. Furthermore, in most cases, nursing foals will be in very close proximity to a mare who is the mother (dam) of the foal. While ponies exhibit some neoteny with the wide foreheads and small size, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse.

You can read more on ponies in Wikipedia.

How much is a cleaner paid in Singapore?

ChannelNewsAsia reveals how much cleaners are earning in Singapore.

Cleaners in some sectors can expect to take home a bigger pay packet and enjoy higher starting basic salaries of between S$1,000 and S$1,200, as part of efforts to raise productivity through the Progressive Wage Model (PWM).

They make up more than half of the near 70,000 local and foreign cleaners in the industry here.

Currently, cleaners in these positions earn between S$675 and S$950.

So the answer is about 1000 SGD. Honestly it is hard to survive with a 1000 SGD salary in Singapore. Cost of living is high and with 1000 SGD, you will be deprive of many activities. I shan’t go into that.

Data plans in Australia

Thinking of travelling to Australia and getting data connectivity? Here are some things to note:

Australia is very well connected in the cities. Typically 3G speeds are great. One of the better data plans to get is Optus’ 2 AUD per day prepaid card. I own an iPhone 5 and they already have nano SIM card options. I purchased one for 15 AUD to last me for 6 days, having unlimited data, local voice and local SMS.

Now for the down side — Optus doesn’t allow you to create Personal Hotspots using iPhone 5. Once you plug the newly purchased SIM card, Personal Hotspots disappear from the Settings menu. Optus only allow post-paid to have this option. If you cannot create Personal Hotspots you basically can’t use your iPhone as a data modem with your newly purchased SIM card. You might have better luck with Vodafone although I highly recommend you to enquire the mobile data plan provider.

If you’re thinking of relying on free WiFi connectivity you will be disappointed. Free Wi-Fi is a rarity and so far the 2 Starbucks I passed by, one at Elizabeth Street and another around Pitts Street, doesn’t offer WiFi. Free WiFi doesn’t seem to be available in the airport too. The hotel that I stay in, Metro Hotel Sydney Central offers WiFi at 5 AUD per hour or 15 AUD per day.

I highly recommend you to get mobile data plans if you are traveling without a guide or alone like in my case.

Sydney is easy to navigate in the The Rocks and the City Centre with helpful signs all around. It’s easy to get lost while walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens though. You can rely on the kindness of others to help you. Most Australians are friendly and wouldn’t mind directing the tourist to their destinations. If you’re just going to be there for a day, just remember the full address of your hotel, including the area where it is located, you can generally be safe without a data plan.

Indulge lesser

Don’t overindulge. Share your gains. It’s a good reminder for me.

Don’t Indulge. Be Happy.

The value of underindulgence casts a different light on the current debate over restricting sugary sodas. Driven by the childhood-obesity crisis, many school districts around the country have banished soda from their campuses. Leaving aside the potential health benefits of these initiatives, banning soda for a large chunk of the day may actually improve its taste. Researchers at Arizona State University demonstrated that people enjoy soda significantly more when they can’t have it right away. (The effect doesn’t hold for prune juice, a beverage that rarely incites overindulgence.)

…rather than focusing on how much we’ve got in our bowl, we should think more carefully about what we do with what we’ve got — which might mean indulging less, and may even mean giving others the opportunity to indulge instead.

Source: NYTimes

Fox and grapes

From Aesop’s fables:

The Fox and the Grape

A hungry fox saw some fine bunches of grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, I thought those grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour.