Interesting discoveries #05

It’s been a while since I did this. Been busy needless to say. Here’s a list of random discoveries that didn’t make into an individual blog post.

1. The meaning of Empire State of Mind

God I love this song. I sang this song at karaoke in Topone KTV with Terence and totally ruin the rap parts. But what’s the meaning of the song? Rap Genius explains it here. Very useful. Know what you sing.

2. Accessories for Backbone.js framework

It doesn’t just stay there does it? Backbone.js already an established JavaScript MVC framework has accessories and frameworks built atop it. Let’s see. For a short list there still is:

  • Aura.js – A scalable, event-driven JavaScript architecture for developing widget-based applications.
  • Chaplin – Web application framework on top of Backbone.js.
  • Marionette – Backbone.Marionette is a composite application library for Backbone.js that aims to simplify the construction of large scale JavaScript applications.
  • Thorax – Strengthening your Backbone. By Walmart.

I’m currently exploring Marionette and seeing how it can be adopted to an existing Backbone.js application.

3. What’s wrong with airports

BoardingArea has an interesting article written in response to Seth Godin’s writes about 10 things organizations can learn from airports.

Both articles are interesting reads.

4. Tesla’s thorough assessment on The New York Times review

This marks a new kind of fact checking really. The New York Times and Top Gear reviewed the new Tesla Model S negatively and Tesla is able to provide evidence that both papers haven’t done their tests fairly at all. Read more about it here.

Tesla left little out and this time both publications ought to examine their review process. On a separate note, Tesla cars supports REST API used by their Android and iOS applications. The Atlantic Wire gave a review of Tesla’s review of The New York Time’s review. And there’s also a response from The New York Times.

Now that’s the journalism we are proud of. Great work from everyone. People make mistakes but people are also willing to forgive.

5. Opera is moving to WebKit

So Opera announced that they are moving to WebKit. This is a good thing for them. They can concentrate on the user experience of the browser itself. The browser itself has really matured to the stage that progress is just about integrating features with the cloud basically. That’s not unwelcomed though.

I love to see what would be of the Opera that no longer has to care about their rendering engine Presto. Perhaps more interesting bits of technology would emerge to improve on the browser and services that they support.

Random observations during Chinese new year

I’m always a little slow in blogging. As you already know, it’s lunar new year or Chinese new year or maybe the super long weekend for some.

I visited some of my relatives and made some random findings and observations.

  1. Everyone’s playing Candy Crush Saga
  2. Kids call my red wine Ribena
  3. Shoes can get stolen while you’re doing visiting
  4. BMW cars need to be opened twice from the inside

1. Everyone’s playing Candy Crush Saga

Oh my god, really? I have so much to talk about this game I could spend 20 minutes just babbling how truly lame the game is. I cannot reiterate how much I hated this game’s weariness factor. Today’s games have this terrible formula of tiring you out and eventually getting you to pay some pennies to make your life easier. Your life could very well be easier had you not started on the game. The motive of the game itself is profit and the moment I learnt of this I feel manipulated.

Candy Crush Saga is a Bejeweled-like game. I will get you a screenshot soon, I couldn’t figure out how to get the screenshot thing done in Windows and I have a degree in information systems and ignorance. Here you go:

Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush Saga


I was stuck at level 35 for so long I uninstalled the game in spite (of?). Chloe advanced my level past that only to have me now stuck in level 37. Well done, KahWee, well done.

2. Kids call my red wine Ribena

The kids are adorable. They call my red wine Ribena. I nodded, red-faced.

3. Shoes can get stolen while you’re doing visiting

I shan’t reveal the name of the victim but my brother lost his shoes during the visit to my uncle’s house. Everyone felt terrible and he was sulking over his loss.

Listen, if you bring expensive new shoes, beware of losing them. Don’t leave them outside the gates. Monsters steal shoes, not the ones from Pixar, the fucking horrible ones which looks human. You would think — or I imagine you would think — who would steal a pair of shoes during Chinese new year?! We stopped brooding over the question as it’s time to move on.

As I suck at cheering people up, my brother went home with slippers and major sadness.

4. BMW cars need to be opened twice from the inside

WHY does the door take two times to open? Okay here’s my theory.

It’s to make sure the owner has a chance to say oh it’s the first time you been in a BMW, BMW always requires you to pull open the door handle twice.

What’s up with that distinction? Some secret code?

The only right reply to people who say that to you is: Sorry, I always had my BMW doors opened for me, I’m caught ignorant again!

Google self-driving cars deemed ready

I’m all for this:

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Complete 300K Miles Without Accident, Deemed Ready For Commuting

Google’s self-driving car project is probably one of the most audacious experiments the company has embarked upon. Today, Google announced another milestone for this project: its fleet of about a dozen autonomous cars has now driven 300,000 miles without a single accident under computer control. While this is obviously very positive news for the project, Google warns that “there’s still a long road ahead.” The cars still need to learn how to handle snow-covered roads, for example, and how to interpret temporary construction signs and other situations that could throw its systems for a loop.

Google also announced that it has added the Lexus RX450h hybrid car to its self-driving car family.

Source: Techcrunch

People can be affected by the emotions when they drive, with driver-less technologies this can be circumvented. I’m waiting for this, it puts back the auto in an automobile. I can’t wait for this to be in Singapore one day. We could very well have our first accident-free day.

[And meanwhile, I am hearing some rumors about Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.]

Chrysler will be filed bankrupt

Next week, the Treasury Department prepares to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for Chrysler as Fiat moves to complete its alliance with the waning company.

Treasury preparing Chrysler bankruptcy: report

The Treasury Department is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for Chrysler LLC that could come as early as next week, The New York Times reported Thursday on its Web site, citing people close to the situation. Union pensions and retiree health care benefits will be protected under the filing, according to the Times. Also, the Times reported that Italian automaker Fiat would complete its alliance with Chrysler during the bankruptcy. (Source: Marketwatch)

How does a gas pump at a petrol station know when the tank is full

How Stuff Works explains how a gasoline pump at a filling station know when the tank is full.

How does a gasoline pump at a filling station know when the tank is full?

Near the tip of the nozzle is a small hole, and a small pipe leads back from the hole into the handle. Suction is applied to this pipe using a venturi. When the tank is not full, air is being drawn through the hole by the vacuum, and the air flows easily. When gasoline in the tank rises high enough to block the hole, a mechanical linkage in the handle senses the change in suction and flips the nozzle off.

Here’s a way to think about it — you’ve got a small pipe with suction being applied at one end and air flowing through the pipe easily. If you stick the free end of the pipe in a glass of water, much more suction is needed, so a vacuum develops in the middle of the pipe. That vacuum can be used to flip a lever that cuts off the nozzle.

The next time you fill up your tank, look for this hole either on the inside or the outside of the tip. (Source: How stuff works)

Now you know.

Grandma never gives up: fails driving 771 times

Fail your driving test before? This grandma failed the preliminary written section 771 times. She wants to get a car for her business.

Woman fails driving test 771 times

A dogged South Korean grandmother has failed her driving test 771 times but is determined to keep trying to pass.

The 68-year-old, identified only by her last name Cha, has taken the test almost every working day since 2005 in the southwestern city of Jeonju. She failed again on Monday for the 771st time.

Choi said that Cha cannot pass the preliminary written section of the test, averaging scores of 30-50 whereas the pass mark is 60 out of 100.

Local media said that Cha sells food and household items door-to-door at apartment complexes, carrying the items in a handcart, but wants to get a car for her business.

Police estimate she has spent almost five million won to take the written test, with each test costing 6,000 won (£2,980) in addition to other expenses.

“I feel sorry every time I see Cha fail. When she passes, I’ll make a commemorative tablet myself and give it to her,” one officer was quoted as saying. (Source: Telegraph)

She spent almost SGD$5488 or USD$3645 and she has a lot of patience!

A Cadillac WTF

Interesting car but with a lousy name. The WTF has been created to last 100 years without maintenance. OMG!

Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept

Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept

Here’s another one from the world of unlimited conceptual design: the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel concept. Otherwise known as the Cadillac WTF. Created by Loren Kulesus, everything about the WTF has been created to last 100 years without maintenance. That’s the reason for the element number ninety, thorium: to act as a nuclear fuel powering batteries that would power the car.

Elsewhere, every major system is redundant in case of a failure. And the wheels don’t have individual tires – in fact, what’s located at each corner is one combined unit made up of six individual wheels. That gives you 24 wheels in total, and each wheel has its own induction motor. Said Kulesus, “The vehicle would require the tires to be adjusted every five years, but no material would need to be added or subtracted.” (Source: Autoblog)

Auto correction perhaps? Interesting concept.

The most important car since its invention – Honda FCX Clarity

Top Gear reviews the Honda FCX Clarity: the most important car for 100 years. This is pretty cool:

Top Gear Honda FCX Clarity review

The Honda FCX Clarity is an electric car runs on a hydrogen generator. The only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe is water.

Cars move without pressing the accelerator

Today, after 10 lessons, I realized cars can move on engaging the first gear without the accelerator. It was a eureka moment for me. I smiled, slightly amused. I was scolded for driving too fast when I suppose to go really really slow.

I still can’t listen to the instructor and drive normally. A couple of times I felt like telling him to be silent for 2 minutes.

Another interesting feature I discovered is that you can get the air con to cool your legs. It makes me happy when I get cold feet.