Oct 31, 2009

Dust devil

USGS Dune Database Entry

Got this pic from HiRISE.

Take this as a psychological picture test. You know, those kind of test where the psychologist flips a card with a blot of ink on it and ask you tell him/her what cross your mind in the first spontaneous minute.

Usually, if you're answer is butterfly, then you'll be assessed as someone who is innocent or happy or both. If you saw a devil in it, you'll probably just born to be wild or evil or perhaps, both.

Anyway, just take a look at the picture above.

What is your first impression? And yeah, no, this is not a psyche test, so please don't scroll down or look back and front for the psyche interpretation.

For a minute, it looks like a great artwork. Some abstract kind of beautiful art.

Then if you look closer, maybe it is body art, with the skin like texture over the right side and the ?buttcrease or ?cleavage over the upper left.

Honestly it is an artwork. An artwork of nature.
But not on our planet.
In the neighbouring Mars

Those aura-like blue rays are actually caused by dust devils.

see caption

A Martian dust devil spins across Gusev Crater just before noon on March 15, 2005. Photo credit: Mars rover Spirit.

Thanks to Phil Plait & Dr. McEwen, here's the down-to-earth overview explanation of the making of the artwork.

But what this picture so spectacular are the graceful blue-gray swirls arcing across the dunes. These are caused by dust devils, which are a bit like mini-tornadoes. If the ground gets heated, rising air can punch through cooler air above it. This starts up a convection cell, with warm air rising and cool air sinking. If there is a horizontal wind the cell can start spinning, creating a vortex like a dust devil. I’ve seen hundreds of these on Earth, and they are wonderful and mesmerizing to watch.

The important thing to note here is that the sand in the craters of Mars is actually dark grey in color, since it’s made of basalt. The reason it looks red in pictures is because covering the sand is a thin layer of much finer dust, and the dust is what’s red. When a dust devil moves over the Martian surface, it can pick up the very light dust particles, but not the heavier sand grains. So those blue-grey swirls are tracks where the dust devil has vacuumed up the dust, revealing the darker sand underneath. If you look carefully in the tracks, you can see the sand dune ripples are undisturbed. Only the dust is gone.

Oct 23, 2009

Is credit card the new sin?

My House
boy! my house gets something in the budget.

From the budget:

A SERVICE tax of RM50 will be imposed on each principal credit card every year beginning Jan 1.

For every supplementary card, a RM25 service tax will be charged yearly.

The move to impose this tax is to promote prudent spending as the use of credit cards is extensive. The number of cards increased from two million in 1997 to 11 million as of August this year. They exclude the 285,000 charge cards already issued.

Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Dr Ma’amor Osman said it would encourage consumers to limit the number of credit cards they hold.

This is a personal blog.

Budget 2009 is a national thing.

But it can be pretty personal, at times.

Unlike budget of the yesteryears, in the midst of crisis, some decisions can be pretty important. Though, some decisions can be just as petty and unimportant, yet manage to hog the limelight.

It is just like a cartoon strip of Dilbert that was to me, rather amusing.

It was the boss, upon discovering the global economic on the recovery track and quickly send out memo to ask all employees to wear mickey mouse nose to work. And all the employees started praising the boss for such a ‘creative’ method of stimulating the economy.

Main thing on everyone’s mind is about the taxes. Just like how in the fairy tales of olden days, when the king would stand out of the balcony of the tall huge castle and just after the trumpets alerted all his people, his loyal servant would shout “Hear ye, hear ye, the tax raise/reduce by x numbers of gold/silver (or whatever currency)”.

If one is myopic enough, one will prematurely hold themselves in a joyous mood as numero uno announced the tax reduction and rebates with a smirk on his face.

The endorphin rush proves to be just temporary as the new (correct me if I am wrong) tax on credit card was served up on the table.

Previously, we have what we called as ‘sin’ taxes, where usage of alcohol and cigarettes are indirectly discouraged through the increase of their price indirectly through the increase in tax. It is something that those who shun those substances would cheer about. But then again, how far it really crunches down the number of alcohol or cigarettes sales or how far it has deter people from ‘sinning’ is something else to ponder upon. If it backfired, probably it is creating a chain reaction of sinners creating more sins to gather enough wealth to support those sinful activities.

But this year, there are no sin taxes, except for credit card taxation.

Smoke Kills

sin tax. it is a sin to own to many credit cards

Is credit card the new sin?

Come to think about it. Having a credit card and using it every times, we’re creating mini debt. And by owning multiple credit cards, it is like having debts all around us. A familiar phrase comes to mind – kad kredit keliling pinggang, hutang keliling pinggang.

Then, comes the 2nd question.

Why Bank Negara did not stop the issuance of the astronomical numbers credit cards in the first place, when they have perfect autonomy to do so, rather than making us cancel now by imposing taxes?

If you go shopping in the mall, or go to Tesco, or any public places, I am sure you’ll see armies of credit card sales people, from different banks, offering different types of free gifts and wearing attires of different level of sexiness.

And the application process is faster than passing a toll with Touch n’ Go. OK, I am exaggerating. Nevertheless, it is really easy. Photocopy IC, previous credit cards, fill few particulars – you’re done. Almost like the Drive-through McD.

Some people may be wondering. The economy is bad. Everyone is saving up the bucks.

Why do banks want to keep giving people loan in the form of credit cards?

Alright, before the 2nd question is over, another question arises pulak.

First, we must understand the reason behind our economic crisis. Actually, we don’t have one. The US has it, therefore as trade partners or simply being in the same earth and all the borderless shit trading, our country suffers some collateral damage. The main problem in US is the big companies, giving out too many big housing loans and majority of the house owners default those loans, ending with those financial institutes holding up only worthless rows of houses.

Not wanting to be end up like the US, housing or corporate loans are being given out only with extreme caution or strict criteria. This means less business for the bank.

Therefore, the other way for the bank to cari makan is through credit cards.

A bit, a bit from a lot, a lot of people remain a very profitable business.

There are several reasons why one would want to have a credit card, or in this generation, few credit cards.

Unlike olden days, credit cards are markers of high status. Everyone around you look at you like you’re a walking beefcake, selected target for robbery. They know you’re rich. Some say, the more credit cards you have, the more wind you have blowing behind you.

Now, it is a norm. And only an idiotic moronic burglar would mug you because those cards can be cancelled instantaneously (1 phone call away) and with the credit cards, you’re definitely not obliged to carry your whole bank account cash with you wherever you go.

In addition, the latest trend, the credit card seconds as loyalty card, promising rebates after rebates. Hence, one pays less with cards, pays more with cash. Shell, Giant, Tesco – just to name some of the giants associated with credit cards promoting smart consumerism.

Not only that, furnitures, electric appliances, electronic equipments, jewellery, gadgets and etc can be paid in installment with discount or zero interest through cards.

To the middle class, paying in full can be easily done. But lower income group with liabilities all around, at times, depends on the cards, to get necessary furnitures or appliances.

What’s more, credit card also seconds as bait. Yes, bait.

Now that 11million credit cards is finally out, it is time to tax each of them.

Like I said, a bit, a bit from a lot, a lot of people remain a very profitable scamming of the rakyat.

Make Road

making highways into the pockets and purses of rakyat.

The astronomical increase in numbers of credit cards being issued doesn’t equal to bad credit management of the rakyat.

Besides, I really don’t see how adding another nominal fee to it would make it any better. Yes, I can cancel my cards to avoid paying them, but what about people, in the midst of their installment of their refrigerator, washing machine and other appliances.

Sudah berhutang kepada bank, sekarang kena berhutang kepada kerajaan.

(insert your favourite foul language, here), right?

Oct 22, 2009

Square one

If we follow close enough, this kind of news appears like those celebrity news where a couple fight and get back together just to boost their popularity of publicity.

First the cold war, then the hot war.
Then the VERY VERY hot war.
Then it's back to square one.
Or perhaps they realized, as they sunk their teeth into one another's neck, others will just watch this beautiful 18SG drama and just treat it like a comedy.
Or perhaps the fishermen/women will come in.

I do not have words to describe all this bloody BS, but please...

once and for all, DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING!!
epic fail pictures

Oct 17, 2009


For the people who tune in to this blog entry, will be wondering, or perhaps interested to know how the brand of '1malaysia' got franchised into the medical field.

Like it or lump it. Najip is the top guru in branding. He will definitely be remembered as Bapa 1Malaysia or perhaps the well-antagonized Bapa 1BlackMalaysia. Along with 1Bananaleaf and 1toilet, I guessed it is time that the govt, or at least the PR state govt, should come up with the concept of 1hospital.

Before they don the stets, every MDs took the vows of equality. Will treat everyone equally, give similar attention to every patients, and prioritize the more severe ones, no matter what race, creed, religion and bla bla bla and all that shits. Maybe we can call it 1patient in 1hospital.

But in the real world, a VIP or YB with a small abrasion wound on the little finger gets the attention from the whole wide world (which probably should be called as 1universe) while a beggar with a renal contusion (that may bleed to death in the next few hours) takes the back seat.

The concept of having 1st class and 2nd class beds in public hospy also bowled me over. If you're willing to pay more, then go to the private hospy. Public hospy is for the public. Full stop.

The luxurious deco, separators and upgrades of the 1st or 2nd class beds can definitely creates more 3rd class beds.

Maybe the idea of 1hospital is just simply way over my league.
Maybe some values are destined to be thrown out the window in the real world.
Just maybe.

There no such thing as 1patient, or 1hospital.
It is just 1bloodyBS that you simply can't get enough from TV dramas.

Oct 15, 2009

Heavyweights | Heavy heads

As I look through my blog entry list, I realize that I had been blogging less and less nowadays. If in utero, equating to reduced fetal movement, it would definitely be a bad thing, so much so that I would probably be subjected to countless daily CTGs or Doppler one or two.

Yes, I have lots of stories to tell, lots of frustration to vent, lots of gossip to spread and definitely lots of secret to expose. But then again, there are simply things that could not stand the heat of public exposure, plus, the flame may just scorch me back.

Negatively, one would have called it as bottling up. Positively, I would say it is simply self-restraint. Being selectively self restrained does not equal to bottling up. Rather, it prevent one from the damage, be it directly or collateral. The repercussion may just hit back. Who knows.

The second reason as to why my blog entry is on the decline, most probably because I currently have less time to kill. On the contrary, it appears that time is killing me – slowly. I know it is no big deal, as it does that to everybody. Perhaps it is just another understatement that I make. Or could it be the midlife crisis kicking in prematurely. Nay, I don’t care that much anyway.

One big part of my personal time is being sacrificed looking into the house officers’ affairs. To date, I do have pretty solid amount of regret thinking about the day I took this portfolio, although at that moment, was meant to be a temporary thing. Regret is regret. Work is work. I will do my best, but not pressure myself. I tried to be as fair as possible, as helpful as possible, and as resourceful as possible to them. I am beginning to realize that there are simply things that I couldn’t change, no matter how hard I try, because some people are simply too hard to please, while others are beyond help. They have a scientific word for this kind of condition. It is called palliative.

Big Head

Although I can sense that sometimes, my head is getting heavier, more strands of white hairs on my head, more wrinkles on my forehead, more neurons short-circuited, so far, it had been a rather challenging worthy experience outside my clinical duties. No extra pay, no extra benefits, just extra headache.

And yes, I am still alive, and I made a promise to myself to blog more often. It’s just recreational to me. It recreates me, rejuvenates me and keeps me going.