What is the meaning of “lorem ipsum”

What does the placeholder or filler text “lorem ipsum” mean?

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…

— De finibus bonorum et malorum (a treatise on the theory of ethics written in 45 BC)

And so it means “There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain…” More from StraightDope.

History of April Fool’s Day

Here’s how April Fool’s Day begin, or to be precise, some possible reasons how April Fool’s Day come about. We pass by this day without knowing the origin of this day. Well here are some possible reasons:

When did April Fool’s Day begin?

A giddy spurt of practical joking seems to have coincided with the coming of spring since the time of the Ancient Romans and Celts, who celebrated a festival of mischief-making. The first mentions of an All Fool’s Day (as it was formerly called) came in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Some trace April Fool’s Day back to Roman mythology, particularly the story of Ceres, Goddess of the harvest, and her daughter, Proserpina. Pluto, God of the Dead, abducted Proserpina and took her to live with him in the underworld. The girl called out to her mother, but Ceres could only hear the echo of her daughter’s voice and searched for her in vain.

Such “fool’s errands,” or wild goose chases, became a popular practical joke in Europe in later centuries.

The most widespread theory of the origin of April Fool’s Day is the switch from the old Julian to the Gregorian calendar (now in use) in the late 16th century. Under the Julian calendar, the New Year was celebrated during the week between March 25 and April 1, but under the Gregorian calendar, it was moved to Jan. 1. Those who were not notified of the change, or stubbornly kept to the old tradition, were often mocked and had jokes played on them on or around the old New Year.

In France, this took the form of pranksters sticking fish on the backs of those who celebrated the old custom, earning the victims of the prank the name Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish.

But the theory can’t explain why the pranking tradition spread to other countries in Europe that did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until later.

In Scotland, the butts of April Fool’s jokes were known as April “Gowks,” another name for a cuckoo bird. The origins of the “Kick Me” sign can supposedly be traced back to the Scottish observance of the day. (Source: MSNBC)

This is the day you shouldn’t believe the news.

Did you know today is lantern festival?

Well, today is Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节) also known as Lantern Festival. It’s something that China celebrates and Singapore doesn’t because we combined them and celebrate it on this mid-autumn festival somehow. I don’t know how that came to our traditions. Lantern festival is celebrated as it is the first night (15th on lunar calendar) of the year with a full moon.

The Lantern Festival (traditional Chinese: 元宵節; simplified Chinese: 元宵节; pinyin: Yuánxiāojié or traditional Chinese: 上元節; simplified Chinese: 上元节; pinyin: Shàngyuánjié; Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên tiêu; Hán tự: 節元宵) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is also sometimes known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as Singapore, Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns (simplified Chinese: 兔子灯; traditional Chinese: 兔子燈; pinyin: tùzidēng) and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year. (Source: Wikipedia)

I guess most would be having a good meal at home. This day marks the end of lunar new year, I hope my friends would have a good year ahead. Happy lunar new year, one last time!

Google releases Google Earth 5.0

With Google Earth 5.0, you can now travel back in time to see historical imagery, dive below the surface of the ocean and record a tour of your journeys.

And here’s what’s new:

  • Historical Imagery: Until today, Google Earth displayed only one image of a given place at a given time. With this new feature, you can now move back and forth in time to reveal imagery from years and even decades past, revealing changes over time. Try flying south of San Francisco in Google Earth and turning on the new time slider (click the “clock” icon in the toolbar) to witness the transformation of Silicon Valley from a farming community to the tech capital of the world over the past 50 years or so.
  • Touring: One of the key challenges we have faced in developing Google Earth has been making it easier for people to tell stories. People have created wonderful layers to share with the world, but they have often asked for a way to guide others through them. The Touring feature makes it simple to create an easily sharable, narrated, fly-through tour just by clicking the record button and navigating through your tour destinations.
  • 3D Mars: This is the latest stop in our virtual tour of the galaxies, made possible by a collaboration with NASA. By selecting “Mars” from the toolbar in Google Earth, you can access a 3D map of the Red Planet featuring the latest high-resolution imagery, 3D terrain, and annotations showing landing sites and lots of other interesting features.

[Source: Google Blog]

Introduction to Prolog

Prolog is a logic programming language. It is a general purpose language often associated with artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. It has a purely logical subset, called “pure Prolog”, as well as a number of extralogical features.

Having its roots in formal logic, and unlike many other programming languages, Prolog is declarative: The program logic is expressed in terms of relations, and execution is triggered by running queries over these relations. Relations and queries are constructed using Prolog’s single data type, the term. Relations are defined by clauses. Given a query, the Prolog engine attempts to find a resolution refutation of the negated query. If the negated query can be refuted, i.e., an instantiation for all free variables is found that makes the union of clauses and the singleton set consisting of the negated query false, it follows that the original query, with the found instantiation applied, is a logical consequence of the program. This makes Prolog (and other logic programming languages) particularly useful for database, symbolic mathematics, and language parsing applications. Because Prolog allows impure predicates, checking the truth value of certain special predicates may have some deliberate side effect, such as printing a value to the screen. This permits the programmer to use some amount of conventional imperative programming when the logical paradigm is inconvenient. (Everything above is from Wikipedia)

Jud and Mike, get into character as they play the inventors of the programming language known as “Prolog”, in the “Introduction to Prolog”

Intoruction to Prolog *updated

I don’t know why someone would do this. But I was looking for some prolog videos and found this.

Five common misconceptions

Okay apparently the article exists. I was feeling kinda bored today so I start my bad habit of reading trivia on the internet. There’re tons of them and I’m probably completed 0.01% of it.

Here’re some of the more interesting misconceptions (probably controversial) regarding history:

  1. The belief that gunpowder, even though it was a Chinese invention, was first used for war by the Europeans is a misconception. The Chinese used flamethrowers and gunpowder arrows for military purposes from the 900s onward.
  2. Al Gore never said he invented the Internet, rather he stated: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”. Vint Cerf, often called ‘the father of the Internet’, has defended the statement: “VP Gore was the first or surely among the first of the members of Congress to become a strong supporter of advanced networking while he served as Senator. As far back as 1986, he was holding hearings on this subject (supercomputing, fiber networks…) and asking about their promise and what could be done to realize them.”
    (So sorry I made more than a thousand Al Gore jokes.)

And health of course:

  1. People do not use only ten percent of their brains. This myth is thought by some to have emerged after the discovery of glial cells in the brain, or it could have been the result of some other misunderstood or misinterpreted legitimate scientific findings, or even been the result of speculation by self-help gurus.
  2. There is no single theory that satisfactorily explains myopia—in particular, studies show that “eyestrain” from close reading and computer games does not explain myopia. There is also no evidence that reading in dim light causes vision to deteriorate.
    (That’s what I keep telling my mom, she doesn’t believe me!)

And this made me check Humpty Dumpty lyrics again:

  1. Nowhere in the actual nursery rhyme is Humpty Dumpty referred to as an egg.

It’s a slow news day.

2000-year-old Antikythera comes back to life

Curator Michael Wright shows off his model of the Antikythera mechanism. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek clockwork machine found in a shipwreck, that has taken more than a century to decipher. Wright’s handmade reconstruction is the first to include all the known features of this complex device.

Antikythera mechanism working model