Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My new Asus Eee Box

Recently I bought a 52" LCD HDTV. One thing that I liked about this TV is that it can be used as a computer monitor. It has all the inputs for computer use. On the eve of Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday) I was browsing through Best Buy and Amazon - just in case I see something I might "need". It was at Amazon that I came across an Asus Eee Box. I had never heard of the Asus Eee Box before. It is a very small desktop pc, super quiet, about the size of a large novel and weighing about 1 kg. I read the reviews and found that people are using the Eee Box as a server and for a very mobile desktop.

I immediately thought how convenient it would be for me to watch my Malaysian web TV news on my new 52" LCD TV! I asked Doug if I should get it. I had already spent quite a bit on the TV, a new 19" flat screen monitor, and a new all-in-one printer. Doug said, go ahead and get it if I needed it.

Since I'd already got the green light from Doug, I went ahead and made my order. The desktop arrived yesterday and I couldn't wait to set it up! I had already ordered the DVI to HDMI cable that will enable the desktop to be connected to the TV.

Above, my little Eee Box sitting on my subwoofer in the living room. The mouse is small and you can see the size of the Eee box in relation to the mouse. It is connected to the internet via wifi.

The resolution on the large screen when used on full screen mode isn't all that great but when viewed from my sofa chair, it is quite acceptable! I am now able to watch the latest TV news that is available on the Bernama, TV3, NTV7 and TV9 websites on my TV and it feels like I am watching the news while in Malaysia! It's a great feeling!

The only problem is, I am still unable to get the speakers on the TV to work with the computer. I had to take my Altec Lansing speakers from my desktop to hear anything. I'll need Doug to look into this issue later!

I love this Eee box and might consider getting another one for the kids. I'll have to get an external CD-ROM/DVD drive so they can play their video games since the Box does not come with any.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sounds like Christmas!

I was pleasantly surprised when I turned on my favorite music station yesterday morning, while in the shower, to hear Christmas music! Last year this radio station only started playing Christmas music 24/7 two weeks before Christmas. The year before that, I think they started playing Christmas music the weekend after Thanksgiving.

I am not complaining! I am already in the mood for Christmas and it was hard to resist getting a pot of poinsettias while I was at the local supermarket this morning!

Right now I am focused on Thanksgiving and getting everything for the Thanksgiving meal ready! No, I did not get the turkey today even though that was my initial plan. The supermarket carries fresh turkey, that means I can wait till tomorrow to get it and get it primed for roasting on Thanksgiving morning or maybe the evening before Thanksgiving for a slow all night roasting.

I have already started my Christmas shopping though. I do not fancy the mad rush the couple of weeks before Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friends of the NRA Fundraiser

This year the County Line Friends of the NRA fund raiser was held at a barn in nearby Herald. The barn is a lot bigger than the hall we rented for last year's fund raiser. But the acoustic was horrible. There were about the same number of people this year when compared to last year's event.

Everyone on my table agreed that the bar-be-cued tri-tip, salad and beads were delicious. Simple but superb.

For twenty dollars, you get a mug where there were between $20 - $100 worth of raffle tickets in it. Of course it is a game of chance and you do not know whether you have more than $20 worth of tickets when you buy a mug!

Red necks clinging to their guns and religion? Heheh, the joke's on Obama!

Silent auction items.

Jewelry on silent auction. There were a few pieces that I really liked and found it hard not to make a bid on them!

There were some really interesting items on auction. A professional auctioneer led the auction.

This special edition hand gun was one of the items put up for auction.

This bronze deer sculpture was one of the items on auction.

I had hoped that I would at least win one item this year. I bought a $20 ticket on the Sarah Palin Freedom Board, for a chance to win this gun.

I bought a $100 worth of raffle tickets and had hoped to win at least one of these beauties. Alas, Lady Luck was not with me that evening! :-(

Maybe next year, eh?

"To disarm the people... was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
-- George Mason, speech of June 14, 1788

Friday, September 12, 2008

Discrimination in special ed services

I took Duncan for his first speech therapy session for this new school year last Monday. From what I observed during the session this speech therapist will be good for Duncan. She was firm and got Duncan to do what she wanted. Duncan is the kind of kid who finds it difficult to sit still for long and focus on the activity at hand.

The only disappointment I have over this speech therapy thing, is that Duncan is only entitled to 15 sessions this year. Why? This special ed service receives federal funding and one of the conditions that this service is offered is that the child must attend a public school. Duncan is in private kindergarten. I thought the condition was unfair and discriminatory. As a taxpayer, I have no choice whether or not I should pay the school taxes. Part of the taxes I pay goes to the schools in the school district that I live in.

I have a meeting scheduled with the therapist and another therapist the middle of next week, to see if there was anything they could do to fit Duncan into one group speech therapy session, that is, besides the 15 one-on-one session that he is entitled to.

I think my health insurance covers speech therapy, but who wants to drive 10 miles to go to a speech therapy that lasts half an hour when there is one offered just 2 miles down the road? I hope the therapists can work something out for us because I believe there shouldn't be any discrimination in the special ed services offered. It shouldn't matter if your child is in public school or private school.

A career in criminal justice

One of the people in law enforcement that I admire and hold in high esteem is Sheriff John McGinnis of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Under his leadership violent crimes in the county have seen a marked reduction because of the department's successful implementation of "a new effort to reduce violent crime and restore quality of life in the diverse communities" that the department serves.

Sheriff McGinnis's effort couldn't be that successful if he did not have a team of dedicated and trained men and women in his department.

I think in order to be successful in a career in law enforcement not only does a person need to have certain traits like trustworthiness, alertness, patience, diplomacy and a desire and willingness to help others, but a person also needs to have the proper training and qualification like a criminal justice degree.

You might wonder whether it is really necessary to have a degree in criminal justice just to be a deputy sheriff but if you want to go far and have better opportunities in a similar field, a degree in criminal justice can most certainly help.

Rasmussen College, a college that has been awarded Regional Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), has a program where you can obtain your criminal justice degree online, full-time or part-time. Among the courses in this program are Criminal Behavior, Victims in Criminal Justice, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, and Cultural Diversity and Justice.

Rasmussen College has several campuses in Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota and Florida but like I mentioned earlier, there are programs that you can complete online without having to be physically at a college campus.

Besides offering a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, the college also offers programs like the Paralegal Associate’s Degree, Professional Peace Officer Education Certificate, Accounting with Financial Investigations specialization Associate’s Degree and the Office Management with Legal/Criminal Justice specialization Associate’s Degree.

If you are in Illinois and would like to prepare yourself for a career in the field of law, Rasmussen's paralegal school illinois would the ideal place for you. You might want to check out the college's website for further information on what the course entails.

Back to where I started, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department have positions open and with the number of people being laid off due to the downturn in the economy, a person would be wise to acquire some qualifications, like a degree in criminal justice, as a back up if for nothing else!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kelantan Maghi Part 2

Last month before we made our way back to California, we visited Kelantan. It had been more than 25 years since I was last in Kelantan and I don't remember all that much about Kota Bharu. There were two things I remember most about that first trip. One, I couldn't understand a word of the Kelantanese dialect, and two, I enjoyed the different foods there.

This time around, I did not have difficulty understanding anyone, probably because they mostly spoke the proper Bahasa Malaysia except with their Kelantanese accent, and the food was as fabulous as I remembered! mrgreen Er, except for the tough squid that I had at the food market!

One of the things that surprised me most, something I never knew about Kelantan, was the number of Buddhist temples found there. And I am not talking about little temples! These are large temples with large statues of Buddha in them. I did not associate Kelantan with Buddhist temples. In Sabah and Sarawak, and even Penang, yes, but Kelantan?

This is the entrance to the Thai Buddhist temple called Wat Photivihan.
This reclining Buddha is huge. You would expect to see a Buddha statue like this in Thailand but this Buddha is found in at Wat Photivihan in Tumpat, Kelantan.

A pose with Zawi. Zawi was kind enough to take us around Kota Bharu and surrounding areas when we visited Kelantan.

This sitting Buddha is found at Phram Buddha Bharameedharm Charmruslok ... whatever that means!

I thought it strange that there were dragons in this Buddhist temple and statues of Chinese deities.

In the evening, after a day of sight-seeing Buddhist temples and being driven to some other attractions in Kota Bharu, we met up with a few bloggers and their friends and family at a restaurant serving Kelantanese cuisine. It was a popular restaurant and Doug was impressed by the food he ate.

L-R: Awin, Zawi, Pakpayne, Kamal, Doug and Captain Yusuf, and Duncan in the front. Wan Aziz is not in the picture.

Doug is now keen to see the other states in Peninsular Malaysia after that visit to Kelantan!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To Sibu in a Fokker

The first leg of our flight back to California was via Sibu. A blogger friend had just got married (we missed the church wedding) but we did make it to the wedding reception held at the Rejang Ballroom at the Tanahmas hotel.

I was quite nervous about flying in a Fokker to Sibu from Miri because it has been decades since I last flew in one! Days before the flight, I had been agonizing over the weather conditions. As it turned out, it was one pretty smooth flight with hardly a bump!

This was the plane that we flew in to get to Sibu. I do not know where it originated from before it proceeded on to Sibu. There were many foreign tourists getting off that plane before we boarded it to get to Sibu.

We let every one else get on first. Of course Doug couldn't resist taking pictures of the plane! He was a helicopter mechanic at one time and he loves everything to do with aviation!

More posings for Daddy!

Denice and Daddy sitting across the aisle from Duncan and me. The plane flew mostly along the coast of Sarawak before flying inland towards Sibu. Like I said, I was quite surprised at how smooth the flight was. The last time I flew in a Fokker, we hit several air pockets and that experience is burned in my mind! Hehe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kelantan maghi

We (Doug, kids and I) arrived in Kota Bharu yesterday. We flew in from Sibu (after a 2 nights stay there) to Kuala Lumpur and then onwards to Kota Bharu.

Zawi was on hand to greet us on our arrival. We had so much luggage (all of 91 kgs!) that we hired a taxi just to transport our luggage while Zawi drove us in his car to the hotel.

The last time I was in Kota Bharu was in 1981. I do not remember much of the city except for the old market which happens to be very close to the hotel we are staying in. One of the first things that struck me this time was the large number of swifts flying in the sky in the evening and the sounds of the birds. Later I discovered the loud bird noises were actually recordings. I don't remember where exactly I heard the same kind of recordings. It seems that some shop owners in Kota Bharu are using the top portions of their shop lots as places for the swifts to build their nests. A coffee shop owner told us this morning that there was much money to be made from the bird nests that the birds built on their property.

The other thing I found quite amusing was when I left Doug and the kids in the hotel this afternoon while I went out for a shampoo. I first went to a salon that I had seen earlier in the day but only to find out it was only a beauty salon. I asked the lady in the shop where the closest hair salon was, and she told me there was one in the next block. I walked along the kaki lima and looked up for a sign that showed a hair salon. I didn't see any. Then I asked a hardware store owned by a Chinese couple, and they had to think long and hard for the location. :-) It was actually a few doors down on the third floor. I had to ask some men sitting at the entrance of the stairs if there was a hair salon upstairs, and they all told me there was one on the third floor. Salon is too fancy a word to describe the place. It looked like a barber shop - the kind my father went to! I did get my shampoo, nothing liked what I got at the hair salon in Miri! The hair dresser did her best to style my hair the way I wanted it, and she told me most of her customers didn't bother with any fancy styling because they would put their tudung (head scarves) back on after the shampoo! The price of my shampoo today can't be beat! It only cost me six ringgit!

This morning we took a taxi to Kampung Kraftangan and then walked to the other museums close by like the War Museum, and an old palace. Er, can't remember what's it called! I enjoyed looking at the architecture near the place.

The wi-fi connection from our hotel room is not very reliable so I won't bother trying to upload any pictures just yet. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oil is NOT a fossil fuel!

I first heard the notion that oil is not a fossil fuel from a radio program. The people talking about it sounded pretty convinced of the fact and Doug thinks they had some valid points.

Read the following article and see if you are convinced that indeed oil is a renewable energy much like geothermal energy. The paragraph highlighted in blue seems pretty convincing to me!


Oil is NOT a fossil fuel and AGW is non-science

by Peter J. Morgan

We all grew up believing that oil is a fossil fuel, and just about every day this ‘fact’ is mentioned in newspapers and on TV. However, let us not forget what Lenin said – “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” It was in 1757 that the great Russian scholar Mikhailo V. Lomonosov enunciated the hypothesis that oil might originate from biological detritus. The scientists who first rejected Lomonsov’s hypothesis, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, were the famous German naturalist and geologist Alexander von Humboldt and the French chemist and thermodynamicist Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac, who together enunciated the proposition that oil is a primordial material erupted from great depth, and is unconnected with any biological matter near the surface of the Earth.

With the development of chemistry during the nineteenth century, and following particularly the enunciation of the second law of thermodynamics by Clausius in 1850, Lomonosov’s biological hypothesis came inevitably under attack. In science, a hypothesis is merely somebody’s attempt to explain something. It is merely that – an attempt. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is also an open invitation for somebody else to discredit it by using physical evidence to demonstrate that the hypothesis is flawed, or incorrect – that is how scientific knowledge is advanced. Einstein is reputed to have remarked that just one fact was all that was needed to invalidate his theory of relativity.

The great French chemist Marcellin Berthelot particularly scorned the hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. Berthelot first carried out experiments involving, among others, a series of what are now referred to as Kolbe reactions and demonstrated the generation of petroleum by dissolving steel in strong acid. He produced the suite of n-alkanes and made it plain that such were generated in total absence of any “biological” molecule or process. Berthelot’s investigations were later extended and refined by other scientists, including Biasson and Sokolov, all of whom observed similar phenomena and likewise concluded that petroleum was unconnected to biological matter.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev also examined and rejected Lomonosov’s hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. In contrast to Berthelot who had made no suggestion as to where or how petroleum might have come, Mendeleev stated clearly that petroleum is a primordial material which has erupted from great depth. With extraordinary perception, Mendeleev hypothesised the existence of geological structures which he called “deep faults,” and correctly identified such as the locus of weakness in the crust of the Earth via which petroleum would travel from the depths. After he made that hypothesis, Mendeleev was abusively criticised by the geologists of his time, for the notion of deep faults was then unknown. Today, of course, an understanding of plate tectonics would be unimaginable without recognition of deep faults.

Soon after the end of World War II, the Soviet dictator, Stalin, realised that the then Soviet Union needed its own substantial oil reserves and production system if it was ever again called upon to defend itself against an attacker such as Hitler’s Germany. In 1947, the Soviet Union had, as its petroleum ‘experts’ then estimated, very limited petroleum reserves, of which the largest were the oil fields in the region of the Abseron Peninsula, near the Caspian city of Baku in what is now the independent country of Azerbaijan. At that time, the oil fields near Baku were considered to be “depleting” and “nearing exhaustion.” During World War II, the Soviets had occupied the two northern provinces of Iran, but in 1946, they were forced out by the British. By 1947, the Soviets realised that the American, British, and French were not going to allow them to operate in the Middle East, nor in the petroleum producing areas of Africa, nor Indonesia, nor Burma, nor Malaysia, nor anywhere in the Far East, nor in Latin America. The government of the Soviet Union recognised then that new petroleum reserves would have to be discovered and developed within the U.S.S.R..

Stalin’s response was to set up a task force of top scientists and engineers in a project similar to the Manhattan Project – the top-secret US program to develop the atom bomb during WWII – and initially under the same secrecy, and charged them with the task of finding out what oil was, where it came from and how to find, recover and efficiently refine it.

In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analysed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims then commonly put forth to support that hypothesis. Kudryavtsev was soon joined by numerous other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, among the first of whom were P. N. Kropotkin, K. A. Shakhvarstova, G. N. Dolenko, V. F. Linetskii, V. B. Porfir’yev, and K. A. Anikiev.

During the first decade of its existence, the modern theory of petroleum origins was the subject of great contention and controversy. Between the years 1951 and 1965, with the leadership of Kudryavtsev and Porfir’yev, increasing numbers of geologists published articles demonstrating the failures and inconsistencies inherent in the old “biogenic origin” hypothesis. With the passing of the first decade of the modern theory, the failure of Lomonosov’s eighteenth century hypothesis of an origin of petroleum from biological detritus in the near-surface sediments had been thoroughly demonstrated, the hypothesis discredited, and the modern theory firmly established.

An important point to be recognised is that the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic petroleum origins was, initially, a geologists’ theory. Kudryavtsev, Kropotkin, Dolenko, Porfir’yev and the developers of the modern theory of petroleum were all geologists. Their arguments were necessarily those of geologists, developed from many observations, and much data, organised into a pattern, and argued by persuasion.

By contrast, the practice of mainstream, predictive modern science, particularly physics and chemistry, involves a minimum of observation or data, and applies only a minimum of physical law, inevitably expressed with formal mathematics, and argues by compulsion. Such predictive proof of the geologists’ assertions for the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins had to wait almost a half century, for such required the development not only of modern quantum statistical mechanics but also that of the techniques of many-body theory and the application of statistical geometry to the analysis of dense fluids, designated scaled particle theory.

To recapitulate, Stalin’s team of scientists and engineers found that oil is not a ‘fossil fuel’ but is a natural product of planet earth – the high-temperature, high-pressure continuous reaction between calcium carbonate and iron oxide – two of the most abundant compounds making up the earth’s crust. This continuous reaction occurs at a depth of approximately 100 km at a pressure of approximately 50,000 atmospheres (5 GPa) and a temperature of approximately 1500°C, and will continue more or less until the ‘death’ of planet earth in millions of years’ time. The high pressure, as well as centrifugal acceleration from the earth’s rotation, causes oil to continuously seep up along fissures in the earth’s crust into subterranean caverns, which we call oil fields. Oil is still being produced in great abundance, and is a sustainable resource – by the same definition that makes geothermal energy a sustainable resource. All we have to do is develop better geotechnical science to predict where it is and learn how to drill down deep enough to get to it. So far, the Russians have drilled to more than 13 km and found oil. In contrast, the deepest any Western oil company has drilled is around 4.5 km.

A team consisting of Russian scientists and Dr J. F. Kenney, of Gas Resources Corporation, Houston, USA, have actually built a reactor vessel and proven that oil is produced from calcium carbonate and iron oxide, as detailed on the Gas Resources website.

This is what Dr Kenney has to say about how he came to be involved: “In the first instance, the articles on this website are dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev, who first enunciated in 19511 what has become the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins. After Kudryavtsev, all the rest followed. Secondly, these articles are dedicated generally to the many geologists, geochemists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers of the former U.S.S.R. who, during the past half century, developed modern petroleum science. By doing so, they raised their country from being, in 1946, a relatively petroleum-poor one, to the greatest petroleum producing and exporting nation in the world today. These articles are dedicated specifically to the late Academician Emmanuil Bogdanovich Chekaliuk, the greatest statistical thermodynamicist ever to have turned his formidable intellect to the problem of petroleum genesis. In the Summer of 1976, during the depths of the cold war and at immeasurable hazard, Academician Chekaliuk chose to respond, across a gulf of political hostility, to an unsolicited letter from an unknown American chief executive officer of a petroleum company headquartered in Houston, Texas. Thenafter and for almost fifteen years, Academician Chekaliuk was my teacher, my collaborator, and my friend. [JFK] 1. Kudryavtsev, N. A. (1951) Petroleum Economy [Neftianoye Khozyaistvo] 9, 17-29.”

Needless to say, the last people to tell us the truth about oil will be the oil producers and oil companies, for they of course have a vested interest in perpetuating the myth that oil is a fossil fuel and that it will soon be exhausted, in order to ratchet up the price for as long as they can. And don’t look to the Russians to enlighten the world with the truth about oil either, for they are surely laughing now that the oil price is approaching $US150 a barrel.

A US Public Service Radio interview with Dr Kenney may be heard on the Gas Resources website.

Some may ask “How come all of this isn’t commonly known?” For the answer, one needs to consider what happened to Galileo when he first put forward the hypothesis that rather than the conventional wisdom that the sun revolved around the earth, the earth revolved around the sun. He was branded a heretic and locked up! You are invited to read an excellent article entitled “Cognitive Processes and the Suppression of Sound Scientific Ideas”, by J. Sacherman 1997.

Some may say “Well, even if oil is a renewable resource, mankind should not burn it because the carbon dioxide so produced causes global warming.” My answer to that is that the idea that mankind’s production of carbon dioxide causes global warming is merely a hypothesis, and this has been thoroughly discredited by Prof. Robert Carter and numerous other scientists.

You are invited to listen to a recording of a brief radio interview with Prof. Carter, where he succinctly explains that after spending billions on researching the topic, no climate scientists have ever succeeded in finding any scientifically valid link between man-made carbon dioxide and global warming.. He makes the point that whatever effects mankind’s production of carbon dioxide have on earth’s climate, they are immeasurably small and are swamped by the changes in climate that occur naturally.

You are also invited to view a video of Prof. Robert Carter’s demolition of the “mankind’s production of carbon dioxide causes global warming” hypothesis at where you will see Prof. Carter illustrate five examples of verifiable science that refute the hypothesis. Prof. Carter makes the point that truth in science is never decided by consensus, but if you prefer to believe the pronouncement by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that “2,500 scientists of the United Nation’s IPCC agree that humans are causing a climate crisis”, which is repeated ad nauseam by environmentalists, the press and governments around the world, including ours, then you are invited to read an article where Tom Harris and John McLean tell the truth about this deception and point out that “an example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that ‘hundreds of IPCC scientists’ are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.” In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”. Almost 60% of the comments received from the 62 expert reviewers of this critical chapter were rejected by the IPCC editors and 55 of the 62 expert reviewers had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial. In my view, seven does not constitute “a consensus of the world’s scientists.”

If it’s consensus you want before you decide on what the truth is, then go to http://www.petitionproject.org to read about the petition signed by more than 30,000 scientists, more than 9000 of whom hold PhDs. In addition, the International Climate Science Coalition has on its website the Manhattan Declaration and its lists of signatories, There are links there to enable you to view the lists of signatories. These two petitions, in my view, constitute consensus!

Knowing that carbon dioxide does not cause global warming frees us to resume building coal-fired electricity generating stations to meet our growing electrical energy needs. When the cost of eventual decommissioning the plants is factored in, coal is a long way cheaper than nuclear, and with the latest technology in exhaust gas filters and scrubbers, burning coal is much less environmentally unfriendly than it used to be.

We all know what has been happening to food prices, mostly as a direct result of US government subsidies for the production of ethanol from corn.

The current US energy strategy, driven by the erroneous beliefs that oil is a fossil fuel and that its supply will soon be exhausted, and that burning coal causes global warming, is illogical. Given the fact that oil is abiotic and is in continuous production deep down in the earth’s crust, at rates far in excess of what mankind could ever conceivably consume, it makes absolutely no sense for any nation to buy it from foreign sources if it is cheaper to drill for and pump its own – and that is precisely what the US should be doing immediately, without ever needing to go near the wildlife reserves in Alaska.

If the US switched from being a net consumer in the world oil market to becoming a net supplier, the price of oil would plunge, perhaps to around $US30 per barrel, with the result that the world’s economies would boom as never before. Most importantly, people would have confidence to invest in their futures, safe in the knowledge that oil would never run out. An extra bonus would be that the US military-industrial-political complex would no longer feel the need to use military force to control the Middle East’s oil supplies, and neither would any other world power.

A further bonus would be that all subsidies to producers of alternative fuels and energy supplies could be removed, with the result that such production would occur only if it was economically viable, which would mean that most such producers would either cease, or greatly scale down, their businesses.

Each of us in our own small way can now burn as much petroleum product as we can afford to put in our cars and boats, safe in the knowledge that (a) oil is never going to run out and (b) all the extra carbon dioxide we produce will not cause global warming, but will help plants, and hence food, to grow faster, thus helping to feed the billions!

Please feel free to contact your local political representative and urge him or her to put a stop to the lunacy of trying to reduce mankind’s carbon dioxide ‘emissions’, and put a stop to talking about oil as a ‘fossil fuel’.

The sooner people wake up to the non-science of ‘global warming’ and ‘oil is a fossil fuel’ and ‘burning coal and oil is an environmental sin’, the better off we and our children and our children’s children (etc.) will be.

Please feel free to copy and paste the text of this article to all those on your email address list. By doing this, you will help to ensure that so many people will tell their government that they will not put up with the ‘global warming’ nonsense any more, that the whole edifice will collapse, in much the same way that the Berlin Wall was brought down and the Iron Curtain collapsed – without another shot being fired – just as, I might add, I predicted to my high school students during my years spent teaching economics in the early 1980s. Several years later, in 1989, I was in Ludwigshafen, only two weeks before the Berlin Wall came down, and well remember the tears flowing profusely down the cheeks of my elderly East German companions at a ‘new wine’ festival as I told them that the Wall would come down in a few weeks and that there would be “one Germany, very soon!”

Peter J. Morgan B.E. (Mech.), Dip. Teaching, is a Consulting Forensic Engineer, Marine Designer, Technical Writer, Sub-editor & Technical Editor in Auckland, New Zealand. Peter can be reached at: forensic.eng@xtra.co.nz

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wifi Blues

I thought my internet woes were finally over ... what with the wifi booster that I'd built that allowed me to connect to the free wifi service provided by the city.

What I now realize is that anything that is "free" is not always reliable. Today is the fourth day where access to the internet is practically nil. Yesterday I was able to log on for a couple of hours and then it was gone. Today?

I had to borrow my brother's Celcom Broadband modem to log on to the internet. The same broadband service that I insulted much earlier! The Celcom Broadband connection was quite good today, much to my surprise!

My brother, in the next room, called on me to help him set up a dial-up connection on his new laptop. Ever since he opened an internet account with Celcom, and utilized the free wifi service, he did not bother with the dial-up service from TMNet. But today he had no choice, what with me hogging his Celcom Broadband modem, and the free wifi totally inaccessible! Fortunately, he never cancelled his internet account with TMNet. If all else fails, dial-up is still better than nothing. Unless of course you want to take the trouble to go to an internet cafe to get your internet "fix" for the day! mrgreen

I don't know what the problem is with the free wifi service. Congestion? Maintenance? The wifi signal that my computer picks up is strong except that there was no connectivity to the internet.

How did we ever get by without the internet? redface

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Improve your vision

I have always had good vision except now as I get older, I find myself relying more and more on reading glasses. Small prints are getting harder and harder to read without the help of my reading glasses.

If someone were to tell me that there are natural and proven ways to improve vision, I would be quite skeptical. If they were true, how come I have never heard of such a program before?

Well, in the first place, I have never had to worry about my vision, so it was only natural that I had never bothered to find out more about such natural vision correction if indeed they existed, right?

The all natural improve vision program that I am alluding to here involves special glasses and a computer software that work together to gently and effectively reduce eyestrain as well as correct other vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and poor vision due to aging.

The following is what a satisfied customer had to say about the natural vision correction program:
I’m writing to say that I’m glad to finally have found a natural vision correction system that works. I tried a few others, but couldn’t bring myself to follow the exercise routines no matter how easy they made them sound. Your product intrigued me, and since you had an excellent guarantee I figured I couldn’t go wrong. And I was right. The software and glasses combination makes it a breeze. I’ve never felt like I’m working at all. Even better, my vision has improved dramatically. Thanks ImproveVision!
Tom Deveroe, Gibsons, B.C., Canada.
Does that not make you want to find out more about how to improve your vision especially when the program does not involve surgery?

I would be interested to find out what those special glasses are and what sort of computer software are involved in this all natural vision correction system! I would love to do something about my long-sightedness!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We met!

This trip back to Malaysia, I managed to meet up with a total of three blogger friends.

Can you guess who that blogger to my right is? He wants to remain anonymous but I can give you a hint!

During Lee's big and fancy New Year Eve's party, he offered his own security detail to guard us ladies who were decked in our very best finery and baubles!

He took us to a very nice golf club and as it happened it rained heavily when we got there. So we sat down to have lunch and drinks until the rain cleared.

I also met up with two Iban bloggers over the Gawai holidays. I wrote about my visit to them in my Iban blog.

Doug and I have never been to Bintangor but we drove from Saratok to Sarikei first and took the ferry across the river in Sarikei to Bintangor. Cuthess, my Iban blogger friend met us at a gas station in Bintangor and we followed her in our car.

She's getting married to a Canadian in August, and we plan on attending her wedding reception in Sibu. Good thing Doug will be back in Malaysia during that time.

We also stopped to visit Grace and her brother, Fred, in Sarikei on our drive back to Saratok. Their house is along the road and it was easy to find.

There are other blogger friends in Kuching that I would love to meet but unfortunately we won't be passing by Kuching this time round. But a couple will be at Cuthess' wedding reception in August and it will be an opportunity to meet up with them.

We hope to meet Zawi in Kelantan. Doug and I look forward to meeting him and visiting Kelantan. It has been more than 20 years since I was in Kelantan!

Our stop in KL this time will be short and there won't be enough time to meet up with anyone. I'd love to meet up with a couple of blogger friends if we had the time. Maybe next time, eh.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Food, Friends and Family

One of the best things about being home in Malaysia is the time spent with family and friends over a meal.

My youngest brother invited us out to dinner a couple of days before we made the long drive to the longhouse in Saratok.

One of my nieces and nephew watching the food being served.

Clams, one of my favorite dishes!

Belacan kangkong, another all time favorite!

My second brother also took us out for seafood dinner after we returned from the longhouse. It was also the day Doug left to return to California.

A bunch of friends also invited us to seafood dinner. It was great to meet up with these friends and fellowship over a delicious meal!

Another group of friends invited me for Chinese dinner at a hotel restaurant. This time I left the kids at their cousins place. For once it was nice to eat in peace without kids interrupting our meal!

When it was time to pick up the kids, Duncan objected and cried. He thought that I was depriving him of a sleep over at his cousins' place! It was a school night and the cousins wake up early and it was not convenient for them to have Duncan and Denice for a sleep over.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To my mother, the woman who raised me, loved me and made sure I had the best. Now that I am a mother too, I appreciate your love and your sacrifice even more.

May God bless you, and grant you a long, healthy and happy life. I miss you and I love you! Happy Mother's Day!

Send this eCard !

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Identity Theft Protection

According to a Federal Trade Commission 2006 Identity Theft Survey Report about 8.5 million adults became aware that they were identity theft victims.

Identify Theft happens when an identity thief obtains some pieces of your personal information and use them, without your knowledge, to commit fraud or theft.

Identity theft has become so prevalent that many states have passed laws to protect consumers. On May 6, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed

* House Bill 46 - The measure, sponsored by Reps. Tim DeGeeter, D-Parma, and Jimmy Stewart, R-Albany, sets a $5 limit to block access to a consumer's credit history from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Public agencies also are blocked from releasing documents containing an individual's Social Security number, while consumers have the option of having information such as credit card or bank account numbers removed from public electronic documents.

Source: BizJournals.com

There are some steps that you can take protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft like immediately reporting lost or stolen credit cards and debit cards, not carrying your social security card in your wallet, never providing your personal information to anyone who contacts you through a phone solicitation, and checking your bills and bank statements as soon as they arrive.

Another option is to enroll with lifelock, a company dedicated to protecting your good name and who offers you a $1 million dollar service guarantee to recover your good name.

The best part about enrolling with lifelock is that it only costs $10 a month for complete identity theft protection. A small price to pay for protecting your good name.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Home for Gawai

Yesterday I called my friend who is working in Bintangor, Sarawak. Bintangor used to be called Binatang, and because of the meaning of the word in Malay it was changed to Bintangor many years ago. The only claim to fame that Bintangor has, as far as those of us who don't live there are concerned, is that it has one of the oldest teacher training colleges in the state.

I have invited this friend to join me and my family to the Gawai (harvest festival) celebrations at my parents longhouse which is located in Saratok. Saratok is not that far from Bintangor and she can easily take the bus and I will pick her up from the bus station.

The two little girls are my nieces who took part in the beauty contest for children.

I don't think this friend, who is Chinese, has ever spent the night in a longhouse before! It will most certainly be quite an experience for her especially with the noise and merry making that goes on all night during the Gawai celebrations.

Doug taking part in the blow pipe competition at the long house.

Gawai celebrations begin on the evening of May 31. My parents and my family will drive to Saratok from Miri on May 28. It will be a long drive but at least this time, we won't be caught in a bottle neck in Durin where in the past we had to catch the ferry across the river. There's a bridge over the river at Durin now. A few days before the 31st is the busiest time on the road because many people are also making their way to their various longhouses, and the bridge will most certainly help us arrive at our destination a lot quicker.

I am so looking forward to celebrating the Gawai celebrations with my kids. The last time the kids were at the longhouse, Denice had just turned one and Duncan was 10 months old. It was not a happy time for Duncan because he fell ill with a fever the day after we arrived there.

Hopefully, this time around they will be stronger and able to take the changes in the weather better.

Laser Eyelid Surgery

I heard a very funny comment over the radio recently. It had to do with face lifts and how those who are thinking about going for one should look at Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and use her as an example as to how not to choose a procedure that will give you that wide hollow eyes!

I think with Nancy Pelosi's case, a person has to have those deep set eyes to begin with to end up looking like her after an eyelid procedure. I do not have deep set eyes so if I did go for eyelid rejuvenation procedure, it is not likely that I will end up with eyes that are hollow looking.

I don't think I like the way my eyelids are sagging more and more as the years go by and I am seriously thinking about getting a laser eyelid rejuvenation procedure. This procedure causes minimal bruising, swelling, or bleeding and the end result is very attractive and natural looking.

One Detroit eyelid surgery clinic is called Accents Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Spa. I have browsed through their website and liked the before and after pictures of the women who had undergone the laser eyelid rejuvenation procedures.

I can imagine the number of years the eyelid surgery would take off my appearance! A pleasant thought indeed!

Food Supplements for a friend and family

Yesterday I ordered about a hundred dollars worth of products from my favorite online food supplement store to bring back to Malaysia.

I ordered a bottle of borage oil for my mother to add to the two I'd ordered earlier, and the rest of the stuff was mainly for diabetic care. I want to give one of my friends, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, something to help her better control her blood sugar, something like gymnema sylvestre and banaba. I bought a bottle each of the two products.

Previously, I love to give away Vitamin C and Vitamin E to friends in Malaysia, but this time since those bottles of stuff for my mother and friend already weigh a few pounds, I think I'll skip the gift giving to the others! lol

Hey, have you read one of my latest entries on my health blog? You should read about how diabetes could be the result of intestinal dysfunction and how diabetics who went through gastric bypass procedures had experienced remission in their diabetes! Great news!

You know, all these remind me of how priceless our health is, and how we should take good care of our health because when it is gone, no amount of money is going to be able to get it back for us! confused

Web Design

I love trying out new blog templates. I even have a blog that is meant solely for testing out the free templates I downloaded from the internet.

A few days ago I decided to use a new template for my health and beauty blog. This new template is Adsense friendly and I like the clean style as well as the ability for me to change the colors of the original template. I chose pink because I thought pink would be suitable for a blog that talks about health and beauty. Don't you think so?

However, I have one website (related to my home business) that is in dire need of a makeover. I did the design myself and because my knowledge of web design is minimal, the site does look a little pitiful.

A Web design blog that I just came across called Stylish Design has some really good tips with regards to the design of a web site. Three web designs basics that anyone with a site should consider are Contrast, Balance and Rhythm. Taking these basics into account, the word that best describes the design that I had come up with for my business website is "hodgepodge".

One of the posts on StylishDesign.com that I can identify with is called We are an Adsense addicted generation. Exactly! That was the main reason why I changed the template to my health blog! Not that I have made a lot of money from adsense, but I did receive my first check a few days ago! Woohoo!

I guess if anyone is trying to make some Adsense revenue from his site, content is as important as the web design, if not more. Check out StylishDesign.com for some tips and advice on web design and content.

Blogging Addiction

I can't believe that in about two and a half weeks we'll be flying to Malaysia! lol I, of course, am excited about the thought of being with my parents and other family members. We'll be going to my parents' longhouse for the Gawai celebrations a few days after we arrived in Sarawak, and will be Sarawak for close to three months. Just me and the kids. Doug will return to California after two and half weeks, and come back to fetch us some time in August.

What I am not looking forward to is being away too long from my computer and my blogging activities! Haha, is that a confession from a blogging addict? mrgreen

When we were at Disneyland about two weeks ago, we stayed at a hotel that had no wi-fi access. I brought my lap top with me, and I turned it on once. There was wi-fi access available from the neighboring hotel and even though my wireless modem intercepted the connection I couldn't get online because the connection required an access password! What a bummer!

The next hotel we stayed at, there was free wi-fi access and no password required either! Wished there was a hotel like that near the hotel we stayed at while in Disneyland! I managed to post one entry on one of my blogs while in Los Angeles. And Doug was able to get a fix of his news addiction while we were staying at that hotel too.

When we get to Malaysia I am thinking of getting an account with one of the cell phone companies that offers internet services. I don't really know how this works but I think Akmal has the answer to this question. I remember reading his recommendation to Daphne.

I don't feel like tying up my parents' phone line to get on the internet. Of course I don't have an internet account but my brother who still lives with my parents does. Where my parents live, broadband is still not available. Considering the amount I can spend on the internet, a broadband account would have been the best deal for everyone!

I toyed with the idea of getting a new laptop because the current one I have does not have a big hard drive and neither does it have a DVD writer. Doug just bought me a new desk top so .... no go with the new laptop!

For now, what matters is that the old laptop still works for my blogging and internet surfing activities, right? mrgreen

Saltillo Tiles

Doug and I have always been very partial to homes with Spanish designs. In fact, our plan is to build a home that is distinctly Spanish in design. It'll come complete with stucco exterior siding, low-pitched barrel tiled roofs, arched windows, raised entryways and a courtyard.

In the courtyard, we'll use outdoor saltillo tile which can be sealed with a sealer to extend its life-span. I would hate for my outdoor tiles to age and crack before their time!

Saltillo tiles will also look beautiful on the patio. A glossy looking patio with beautiful furniture and green plants. I can just see my Spanish style home!

I have been checking out SaltilloTileConnection.com and besides Saltillo tiles they also carry Talavera Superior Tiles. I can picture these beautiful and colorful tiles on my kitchen floor.

It will be a while before we can build our Spanish designed home but meantime I will continue to dream of that day!