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Saturday, May 14, 2005
I is dumb.

Someone said,
"Maybe I should give more scholarships to non-Singaporeans who are bright, eager and hungry, and then help them get Singapore passports. The rest, I give to the A-level girls at 19 years old."

"I don't want whining Singapore boys. They are not mature even though they have national service and are over 22 years old when they take up undergraduate studies. They give me so much trouble and waste our precious time."

"Of my top scholars, 23 are girls and 13 boys. Four of the girls and four of the boys are non-Singaporeans. As can be seen, the Singapore girls outperform the Singapore boys."

original article
I'm so glad I finally realize that I am stupid and immature. Well, at least I am smart enough to figure out that I do not have poster good looks like these model scholars here.

You know what they say, knowing your weaknesses helps you to improve. Oh wait, I'm only halfway through National Service. I guess that makes me supremely childish. More room for improvement. Whoohoo!!

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Yiheng made
8:15 AM


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Friday, May 13, 2005
The hardest riddle available on the internet!

Check out this link
This is the hardest riddle available on the internet, or so it claims. It's actually a series of riddles. Solving each one gets you to the next level, which is another page with a slightly more difficult riddle. By riddle, I don't mean "why is a raven like a writing desk?". You really have to try everything to solve the riddles here, e.g. examining the page source code, modifying the URL, looking closely for hidden clues, search Google for information etc. I just started playing the game this afternoon and I only got to level 8 due to technical problems. You need quite a bit of general knowledge and computer knowledge to get through some of the levels. I heard from Shuquan, who introduced the game, that the higher levels are so insanely difficult that you have to do things that you would never even dream of to be able to solve it. Have fun.

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Yiheng made
2:02 PM


lvl4 was all it took to get me switching off my
By Blogger Trinetra, at 8:19 AM  

come on lah, level 4 is still pretty easy, the title of the page says it all - look in the dark.
By Anonymous Yiheng, at 3:18 PM  

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Monday, May 02, 2005
Recent Books part 2

I noticed that a while ago I posted a blog entry entitled Recent Books part 1. Therefore, I feel obliged to write a Recent Books part 2. No, no, I didn't plan to write it in two parts. I only included part 1 in the title because I received an email from my future self, which I sent yesterday, telling me that I was writing a part 2.

So anyway, I am going to talk about Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. As much as I like to see many of my non-science-oriented friends get impressed by antimatter and all the cheem cheem physics stuff, Dan Brown's antimatter physics is really ridiculous. And since I am not a physicist or a physics student, I think it is fair to say that some of the science-that-went-wrong must be pretty fundamental because a quasi-layman like me noticed it.

First, a character in the book mentioned that antimatter would make a clean and efficient source of energy. That is all very nice except you don't just dig antimatter out from the ground. You have to make it with lots and lots of energy. The efficiency in creating antimatter is probably much less than one percent, which means using antimatter as an energy source is like a person blowing on a tiny windmill to power a light bulb to shine on a solar panel to generate electricity to charge a battery which can be used as an energy source. Or if you want a more realistic analogy, it's like saying electric cars are environmentally friendly because they don't produce greenhouse gases. But you then charge the car batteries with electricity produced by power plants that burn fossil fuels. And of course we all know power conversion is always less than 100%.

Second, a quarter gram of antimatter is freaking insane. If you use the formula, E=mc squared, you can calculate how much energy that is. I didn't bother to calculate but I won't be surprised if that's more than a thousand nuclear warheads. Now, since efficiency in making antimatter using particle accelerators is much less than one percent, the energy required to produce a quarter gram of antimatter would be at least a hundred times a thousand nuclear warheads. Seriously, how the heck can Mr Vetra use up so much electrical power without CERN questioning what he is up to?

Last, the most fundamental mistake any secondary school kid can point out. According to the character Vittoria, they manage to produce a "liquid plasma of containing millions of positrons". Millions of positively charged particles cramped into a space smaller than a drop of water. Unless Vittoria had also included nuclear fusion batteries for her antimatter containment canisters, there is no freaking way the forces exerted by the canisters can overcome the electrostatic repulsion (or shall I say positrostatic repulsion) between the positrons. The positron plasma should have just exploded and CERN should have become a beautiful crater.

But besides that, I rather enjoyed the book.

p.s. in my opinion, the universe was almost definitely not created by a simple matter-antimatter annihilation.

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Yiheng made
10:29 AM


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Countries Visited

I came across a site some time ago that allows one to generate a map of the countries that one has visited.
Here's the area I've covered myself.
Visited Countries

Actually, it seems kind of dumb that the entire country gets shaded when you only visited one city. Hmm, perhaps I should go to Moscow after all, then I'll get Russia shaded too!

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Yiheng made
9:30 AM


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