Monthly Archives: August 2013

Freeman Dyson – Public Lecture in celebration of his 90th bday

For physics people, a chance to be in the presence of the rank #2 physicist Freeman Dyson, an early pioneer of Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED)  and many other fields (in rank #1 is Stephen Hawking). The man is truly amazing, for the range of his contributions, and for his energy level (even as he approaches 90 in December this year, he had a spring to his step that was quite inspiring!)

Two talks were given in his honour, with the first being about the story leading to the “Standard Model” . Prof Lawrence Krauss took the audience from Plato (story of the folks in the cave) to the discovery of the Higgs particle in July last year (Geneva, LHC). The second talk spelt out the Dyson’s life (from his times at Winchester School where he received nearly every prize that could be won, to his recent books and his being known as the environment heretic). 



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9.1 Went to court today …

… wanted to attend the CHC one (with CK and P) but entry tickets were apparently all issued at 7:15 (geez, that’s earlier than school starting!). Funny thing was how we thought we were early when we reached at 8:30 and did not see any queue!! It was only when we were stopped from entering the court around 9:20 by the security officer that we realised what had happened; everyone else was allowed in upon showing their ticket except the three of us!!  (haha, first takeaway is no queue does not mean no crowd; the early birds had long eaten and had gone to lim kopi by the time we arrived).

We proceeded to attend another session (luckily I had done some research of what else to attend, just in case …) and it turned out to be highly educational for all of us. Details of case not suitable for publication, except to say that the whole set up and the way the proceedings went was very interesting even though we did not know too much about the case. For the person in the “hot seat” being grilled by the “opposing” lawyer, it seems that every detail of past events and words spoken (then and now) will be scrutinised, interpreted, reframed in an effort to cast doubt on your “credibility” as a witness (e.g. “Mr ABC, I put it to you that you are lying”)

Overall, a morning well spent witnessing what happens in a court …


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Ouch!! First multiple injuries from bike …

Had my first session of Lesson 3 (emergency stop, crank course and figure-of-8 course) yesterday and got four minor bodily injuries! Fell at least 4 times, with the first and last being more “serious” and leading to my multiple injuries (inventory below: bodily, materially, psychologically!)

The first happened at the  figure-of-8 course. I think not enough instruction given for first timer – cannot use front hand brake, but I did not realize it at the start and used it to slow down to avoid kerb, next thing, kaboom, bike and rider on the floor!! and broke the strap on my knee guard. The other more serious fall was   during the crank course: totally my fault, lapse of concentration 😦  near the end of the lesson.

Injury Inventory: (bodily)  abrasion right ankle (medial, 5 mm), abrasion left elbow (2 cm), soreness left lateral hip area, soreness right knee lateral. (materially) small tear in left sleeve at elbow area of NEW uniglo shirt (sob), one knee guard strap and sleeve torn. (psychologically) small trauma immediately after fall but managed to pick bike up and continue each time : )

Lesson learnt: don’t use front brake!! and concentrate!! and wear good elbow and knee guards!!

Nothing serious though, went for 8 km run as usual this morning … followed by egg onion prata and mutton at Casurina Curry : P

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Inception-ish “Cloud sea” (yun2 hai3) landscape


Original scene as seen on teacher’s ipad, which then became image on my ipad, and now seen as an image on some other screen – rather “Inception-ish” …

Teacher's interpretation and demo of original scene Teacher’s interpretation and demo of original scene (class held on 15 Aug)


My outline of the scene done in class (b&w)

My version after adding colour (Thursday after class is my “colouring” night)


Another version, done two days later, after making adjustments to earlier one (e.g. make the tree in the foreground less prominent and have more “cloud”)

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Woohoo! finally passed Lesson 2 …

After 5 sessions for Bike Lesson 2, I finally passed today (Sunday 18/8, 1030 – 1230 session)!  Out of the eight learners, three passed; the rest who did not were first timers. I think it was very helpful that the instructor allowed the three of us to do the plank and slalom on our own while the rest were doing slope starts (not every instructor would take this risk though, from my experience with the instructors from the previous sessions).

The Indian guy who passed showed me his “chao da” forearm (btw, it was sunny at noon today and he is not fair of skin!). I thought, “heng ah, I have long sleeve t-shirt today”, and shared with him that I got my shirt from Mustafa!

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Lessons from the Bike: “The Plank”, Learning with different instructors, and “Failure”


The Plank – must stay on it in first gear for more than 6 seconds

Lesson 2 (taken three sessions already, Mon5/8, Wed 7/8, Mon 12/8) is not any easier to clear, but getting there hopefully! This lesson has 4 components: safety checks (“check back”, “blind spot check”), moving off from a slope, and navigating “The Plank” and “Slalom”. Consistency is a problem: in 2.2 I could do plank, but not slalom, while in 2.3, I could do slalom but not plank (even managed to miss going up the plank twice, and also fell off from the plank and bike, and broke the left mirror!).

It is interesting how the three instructors I have had for Lesson 2 all gave (slightly) different guidance for the various components. This has turned out to be very helpful for my learning because of the different perspectives provided (e.g. the rationale, and techniques). Hmm, maybe that is why it is hard for some students to learn some “school” stuff, being under the same teacher all the time … (actually, could be quite “fun” for both teacher/classes to be swopped around every now and then).

Another thing is, we are not allowed to progress to the next lesson until we have clearly mastered the current content, and “failure” is normal (e.g. nobody expects to pass in the first session of a Lesson).


Slalom – to do in under 6 s at second gear

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Horsing around …

"Looks like a dog" - SY's comments

1st attempt: “Looks like a dog” – SY’s comments

Origami horse made from brown paper wrapper

Origami horse made from brown paper wrapper

"Face is too long" - my own comment

2nd attempt: “Face is too long” – my own comment

Xu Bei Hong’s “Horse”

my attempt at copying another Xu Beihong horse

my attempt at copying another Xu Beihong horse

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