Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for December 2009

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
Dec 09

  stuloh Avatar: 4.5/5. Absolutely gorgeous-looking film. Fantastic worldbuilding. Deserves a full review later. Happy New Year!

  8:38pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Happy New Year Sydney! (And the rest of the world.) #fb

  8:08am  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Year in Review (Part 1)

As the end of the year, and indeed a decade, draws to a close, here’s a customary introspective post.

It’s been a very full year, so I picked out a few themes to write about and broke up the post under those themes. I haven’t written up everything yet, so I’ll be breaking the post up into multiple parts. Some will be posted in the new year.

1. Getting another piece of paper

2009 started with my second and final semester at Stanford.  By the time  my classmates and I had come back from Winter break, we had well and truly settled in and were now focused on making the most out of our remaining time. Spanning only 9 months, the time needed to complete an LL.M. is – unfortunately, in my opinion – the shortest time in which you can get a degree. So, after it all, what did I get out of it, other than another piece of paper and a large hole in my wallet? Did it meet my expectations? What did I learn?

» Continue reading whole article »

  12:08am  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09
Dec 09

  stuloh Did You Hear About the Morgans? 3.5/5. Not too shabby actually. A low-key romcom that mostly works. Hugh Grant furrows his forehead a lot.

  10:43pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Cities over the last 365 days (2009)

Reprising this 2008 post, here’s a list of cities and towns I’ve passed through over the last year.

San Francisco, CA*
New York, NY
Lake Tahoe, CA/NV
Sydney, Australia*
Crescent City, CA
Portland, OR
Seattle, WA
Eugene, OR
Yosemite, CA
Shanghai, China
Hangzhou, China†
Los Angeles, CA*
Laguna Beach (OC), CA*
Santa Barbara, CA†
San Diego, CA
Monterey, CA
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA††
Cambridge, MA
Boston, MA
Kiama, Australia

All places had overnight visits, unless marked with ††.
* Multiple entries, non-consecutive days.
†† Daytrip only.

  9:02am  •  Travel  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 
Dec 09

  stuloh Sherlock Holmes: 3/5. So much potential, but a bit of a let down. Downey & Law were good, story was not.

  11:10pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Invictus: 4/5. A great story but missing something that would have made it an "epic" movie.

  11:50am  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09
Dec 09

Merry Christmas!

May you have a day filled with joy and many of the same to follow!

  11:30pm  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Sitting at SFO listening to Christmassy stuff on Pandora :)

  7:39am  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

The Emu War of 1932

In 1932, military personnel were brought in to conduct a cull of emus which Western Australian farmers claimed were destroying their crops. The soldiers were armed with machine guns. However, the Australian army wasn’t as successful as they first expected:

“The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic. A crestfallen field force therefore withdrew from the combat area after about a month.”

On one sortie, a plan to trap and kill 1,000 emus resulted in only 12 deaths. On another sortie, the army used 2,500 rounds of ammunition to take out 50 birds. It became known as The Emu War. (Why did we not learn about this in school?)

  7:50pm  •  Culture  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Merry Christmas?

In America, people rarely say Merry Christmas like they do in Australia. Cards and greetings come in the more generic form of “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”. The easy answer is that it’s the politically correct thing to do. There are significant numbers of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and those of other religions in the community who may or may not celebrate Christmas. The American public appears to have a lingering fear that wishing someone a Merry Christmas who doesn’t celebrate it will, at best, cause them to be corrected and, at worst, cause offence and earn a rebuke. But Australia has great diversity in its community as well. Is it just political correctness gone mad as usual in America?

Humour me and let’s deconstruct this state of affairs for a moment.

Our starting point is the identification of Christmas as the Christian holiday which celebrates the birth of Christ. It’s the biggest holiday on the Christian calendar. However, over the years the spirit of the holiday has bled over into the general community such that Christmas is also celebrated by non-Christians who partake in traditional Christmas customs like putting up Christmas trees and lights, gift-giving, family dinners, carols, and misleading small kids about Santa Claus. However, they leave out the religious customs like nativity plays and church services. As such, Christmas in these two contexts – the secular and the religious – still essentially refers to the same thing. It refers to the same date on the calendar, even though the nature of what is being celebrated is slightly different between Christians and non-Christians – the overall feel-good themes are celebrated by both, but Christians have the extra, significant religious element.

Of course, you will now point out that Christmas had roots in a pagan holiday. Although that may be the case, it’s more a case of Christians co-opting a pagan festival and renaming it and re-purposing it for their own celebratory goals. It’s not much different to non-Christians co-opting Christmas for their own purposes.

One distinction is that the secular re-purposing of Christmas didn’t really lead to many changes in the way it is celebrated by them. They didn’t rename it and they didn’t really change any of the customs. And there’s really nothing wrong with this.

On the other hand, there would be problems if Christians celebrated a pagan festival in a similar way because there are religious undertones that would be celebrated in the process, which is not kosher (to mix metaphors) from a religious point of view. Secular people don’t have the same constraints, which means any religious “baggage” that “encumbers” Christmas is not much of an issue for them.

So an orthodox Jew will not celebrate any version of Christmas (except what is jokingly referred to as — I have been told by a Jewish friend — a Jewish Christmas, which consists of Chinese food and a movie, since Chinese restauranteurs don’t take Christmas off, and the cinemas are one of the few other things that remain open on the 25th). A secular Jew may, however, celebrate Hannukah and put up a Christmas tree.

So, is it wrong to wish someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas a Merry Christmas? Should you give them gifts?

In relation to gifts, the custom is really gift-giving, not gift-receiving. So by giving a non-celebrant a gift, you’re technically not involving them in Christmas as you would be if you made them belt out a few verses of Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. It’s analogous to donating gifts to charities for the homeless and destitute.

And if a version of Christmas has now formed which is secular, wishing someone a Merry Christmas – whether they celebrate it or not – should be okay because it is secular, which is similar to Thanksgiving. However, this might be a little touchy with other religions because the religious undertones of Christmas are still present. So maybe there is a valid argument to be made for being sensitive about who you wish Merry Christmas to.

However, the other side of the argument is that a celebrant, by wishing a Merry Christmas to a non-celebrant, isn’t seeking to impose anything on them. It’s a general greeting, a form of well-wishing which doesn’t require or impose any belief … like “peace be with you”. Reciprocating the greeting doesn’t connote any sort of belief either, as opposed to, “May the Lord be with you”.

But what about “Happy Holidays” as a replacement? As people left work for vacations this week, they were wishing others “Happy Holidays”. I find it difficult to understand what holiday could be referred to other than Christmas. Hannukah has come and gone. That leaves Kwanzaa, which I understand is an African-American holiday celebration. The only problem is that the people to whom “Happy Holidays” were being wished weren’t black. And secondly, Kwanzaa is not really mainstream. I know it has been featured on US postage stamps and all, but the other day I saw a Jewish person wish a black person a Happy Kwanzaa. There was massive awkwardness, silence, and a no reciprocation of the greeting. A festive holiday ain’t going to work when things are like that.

If you wish a Muslim “Happy Holidays” (plural), exactly what holidays are you referring to? There’s Christmas Day, a named federal holiday, and New Year’s Day, another federal holiday. And to continue the theme of overanalysis, that’s the start of a new year under the Gregorian calendar which has, of course, Christian origins (being established by papal decree) seeing as each major religion has its own calendar. But obviously no one imputes any religious belief to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

“Happy Holidays” still refers to holidays that someone might not celebrate, therefore a problem still remains. So I can only conclude that “Happy Holidays” is essentially a euphemism for Merry Christmas. Which is just ridiculous. But at the same time so very American.

Dec 09

Photos of Blizzard’s HQ

Someone posted a photo gallery online if you’ve ever wondered what Blizzard’s HQ in Irvine, CA looks like. Very awesome. Here are a few of them:

Cool realtime WoW map

  4:27pm  •  Computing  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 


The USB cable for my iPhone is starting to break at the point where the USB connector attaches to the wire. I could pay Apple $19 to get a replacement, or I could find a third party reseller and pay $3 + shipping. Or I could go to DealExtreme and get it for the all-in price of under $2.

DealExtreme is an electronics retailer based in Hong Kong that sells a lot of mostly computer-related electronics. They don’t really sell major components or whole computers like a company like Newegg does, but they’re well known for selling gizmos like memory card converters and readers, USB hubs and peripherals, cables, LED flashlights, and so on… which are all made in China by companies you’ve never heard of. Remarkably, they don’t charge for international shipping. This sounds kind of dodgy, and even though I was referred to this site personally by an acquaintance, I still felt the need to do some due diligence on the net to satisfy myself that they were legit. They must need to move a tremendous volume of goods to stay in the black.

  10:30am  •  Consumer Electronics  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 

Windows Live Writer

Although we have a net connection in the apartment, the wireless router we ordered a couple of weeks ago (that was meant to be delivered in 3-5 business days) hasn’t arrived, so we have to take turns plugging our computers directly into the modem. Pretty annoying. Consequently, I was looking for a solution to drafting posts offline in WordPress. WordPress supports Google Gears, but it just adds local caching functionality to speed up WP’s operation; it doesn’t permit offline blogging. I found Windows Live Writer, which is an impressive piece of software. It interfaces with WP (and a lot of other blogging platforms), and allows you to write and preview posts under the WP theme you’re using. It also allows you to insert pictures, and it will upload the pictures in the same way WP natively does. It also supports picture processing, such as cropping, resizing, effects, and so on. It’s pretty intuitive as well.

  12:46am  •  Internet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

New Digs

This weekend I just finished moving into a new apartment in Menlo Park. Found a real gem – about 1200 sq ft (110 sq m) and cheaper than what I was paying back in Sydney or on campus. Leafy, quiet neighborhood, free laundry, a Safeway and Trader Joe’s within walking distance, central heating, and a bunch of other stuff. But the real luxury is that it’s within walking distance of work.

And it’s incomparable to the “transit” accommodation I had for the last 2 months. I had to find a place in a rush and I paid the price. Let me say that living in a 2-bedroom apartment with 3 other guys (2 of them literally living in the living room with questionable hygienic standards) is not fun. Here’s a tip: if there are food chunks all over the dish drying rack, you haven’t washed your shit up properly.

  12:22am  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)  • 

New Photos on Facebook

This is a bit of a self-reminder to find out if anyone has written a plugin which takes Facebook wall posts and pushes them into WordPress. But for now, click through to see:

  12:20am  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)  • 
Dec 09

Survivor: Samoa post-season comments

Spoilers after the jump (sorry feed readers!)

» Continue reading whole article »

  10:16pm  •  TV  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Survivor: Samoa predictions

Finale is about to kick off for this evening, so here’s my thoughts on how it might go down tonight.

Brett came out of nowhere, and clearly he’s the biggest threat for the million. With the jury stacked with embittered Galu members, there’s going to be quite a bit of resentment there against Foa Foa. I don’t think Brett has put anyone on the jury offside, and he’s never had a vote cast against him. If he fails to win at the immunity challenges, he’s gone.

Foa Foa have had an amazing run, which goes to show how even if you suck at challenges, the social engineering side of the game is really the trump card.

They’ve all been under the control of Russell, who is one of my favourite all-time competitors (along with Yau Man and Yul). He’s the most impressive manipulator I’ve seen. The guy is cocky, but he’s not cocky to the point of being deluded – he knows when he’s in trouble. And you gotta hand it to him – three immunity idols with no clues. But even more impressive is he knew exactly how to use them. He played it when he should have. He displayed it when he should have. And the best part was in the last round where he was so confident he didn’t even bother playing it: “I’m keeping it as a souvenir, Jeff!”

I don’t know how he’d go down with the jury, but for sheer, “outwit, outplay, outlast” I think he deserves to win. So if I was Mick, Jaison or Natalie, I would be angling to blindside him if Brett wins immunity.

Jaison has been the biggest underperformer. I expected more from him physically and mentally. He’s pretty much been with Russell, which is fine, but it means he’ll get overshadowed by him when it comes down to the jury vote – unless Jaison gets Russell off first. If that’s his plan and he pulls it off, that’d be a masterstroke.

Mick is also nice, but he’s really part of the Russell coattails crew. He’s kind of in the same position as Jaison. Puppets – they’ve never really executing any gamechanging moves.

Natalie is nice… in all senses of the word. I’m not sure that she’s under Russell’s thumb as much as Russell thinks, especially as she has recently discovered that she and Brett are brothers and sisters in Christ. But the interesting thing is that Russell, Mick and Jaison are all pretty well off. Russell’s a millionaire. Mick is a specialist, who’s gotta be pulling in a healthy multi-six-figure income. Jaison is a law student at UChicago, and assuming he can find a job in this economy, will earn a healthy salary. I wonder if these things will play into the minds of the jury.

If I was Jaison, Mick or Natalie, I’d be seeking to ally with each other and try to kick off Russell and Brett. If either of those two make it through, it’s an uphill battle to get the most jury votes.

So, my predictions:

In a three-way with Russell, Brett, and one other, it’s a close call between Russell and Brett, but I think Russell can swing enough votes with that sweet talk of his. He’s a master manipulator, but he’s never really pissed anyone off except Laura and maybe Monica. He certainly hasn’t backstabbed any jury member in a way that would constitute betrayal (Shambo seems to be ok with what happened last week).

In a three-way between Natalie, Mick, and Jaison, it’s too close to call. I would be happy if any of them won.

In a three-way between Russell and two Foa Foa, I call Russell.

In a three-way between two Foa Foa (not Russell) and Brett, I call Brett.

I’m cheering for Russell.

  5:17pm  •  TV  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Videos from Shen & Xiao Min’s wedding

From last October in Sydney. Nicely edited together by Reuben.

Wedding Ceremony


Reception (I think there were at least 3 other speeches that don’t feature in the video, not to mention Reuben’s guitar performances… you might also notice that two members of the bridal party are pulling double duty as MCs)
  2:02am  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Cetera Audio Positioning Algorithm

The Cetera Algorithm is a sound algorithm that faithfully reproduces 3D positioning with stereo earphones or headphones. Although originally designed for use with hearing aids, if you have some earphones handy, you can hear some sample audio tracks (the barbershop one is great). The 3D positioning is pinpoint sharp and pretty startling. It doesn’t seem to be able to locate sounds in front of you though.

“Current hearing aids are miniature PA systems. They mainly amplify sound,” said Jerry Ruzicka, president, Starkey Labs. “However, while making sound louder, because of their physical presence in the ear canal, they obscure the clues needed by the brain to process sound. The results is that most hearing aids aren’t able to give the brain the data it needs to filter out background noise, to locate where the sound is coming from or to favor one voice over another in a crowded room.”

The algorithm is not new, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. I feel like getting a haircut now.

  4:35pm  •  Science & Technology  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)  • 

Time Magazine on the last decade

Time has an article called “The End of the 2000s: Goodbye to a Decade from Hell“.

Calling the 2000s “the worst” may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more. This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation’s entire history. Between the West’s ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience — trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world — it’s no wonder we feel as if we’ve been through a 10-year gauntlet. Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it’s in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer. …

Were we Americans alone in our troubles? Hardly. The Asian tsunami of 2004 killed more than 200,000 people. And our financial meltdown quickly spread around the developed world. Yet from our lofty perch overlooking the 20th century — the American Century, TIME’s co-founder once labeled it — the fall has been precipitous. Who among us is unscathed? Not many. Even if none of your family members died in combat, you had no money with Madoff and you own your house free and clear, you most likely still took a hit. To paraphrase the question Ronald Reagan posed years ago, Are you better off today than you were at the beginning of the decade? For most of us, the answer is a resounding no. …

There is no guarantee that the next decade (get ready for the Teens!) will be any better than this one. It’s likely that China will continue to grow faster than the U.S., and we may continue to see our global dominance erode. But very significantly, we still hold many of the world’s trump cards. We still have the world’s strongest military, which means we can and must lead in maintaining order and crafting peace. We are the leaders in technological innovation. And we are still the nation that most others emulate. If we remember those points and avoid the easy outs of deferral and neglect, then the next decade should be a helluva lot better than the last one.

It actually has been a pretty torrid decade, all things considered.

  4:02pm  •  Current Affairs  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

A sense of scale in the universe

Recently, there have been a lot of videos showing the relative sizes of interstellar objects like this one, and this one. Documentaries have also made similar videos. There’s even a video which brands itself as the “Ultimate Universe Objects Size Comparison“. Unfortunately, it’s been produced with spelling mistakes and trite comments.

This one, called “The Known Universe” was produced by the American Museum of Natural History (embedded at bottom of post). It’s easily the best one that I’ve seen. But can anybody explain to me why the image of the “galaxies we have mapped so far” covers two conic areas, instead of a more even distribution?

These renderings remind of a poster I had on my wall as a kid. When I was really young, my dad used to subscribe to National Geographic, and the issues often came with nice glossy posters of various things. One of the posters, published in 1983, was entitled “Journey into the Universe Through Time and Space” and dad stuck it on my bedroom wall. I loved that poster. It showed a 3D depiction of our inner solar system, and then zoomed out by orders of magnitude to show our local group of stars, then our galaxy, then our local group of galaxies, our supercluster of galaxies, and then the known universe projected on a 2D plane. I remember staring at it, being amazed, and trying to imagine the sheer scale of it all.

Nat Geo has since produced an updated poster called The Universe (which looks fantastic), but I found some people who are selling their copies of the old version that I had. I also had this poster of Earth on my bedroom wall.

My dad was, and still is, an astronomy buff, and those things rubbed off onto me. Even though I was only 4 years old at the time, I vividly remember him taking me outside in 1986 to look at Halley’s Comet through some binoculars. I remember him showing me the landmarks of the night sky – Orion’s Belt, the Southern Cross, Sirius and Canopus (the two brightest stars), Venus (the brightest object in the night sky other than the moon, distinguishable from the stars as an non-twinkling reddish point of light), and the band of haze that stretched across the sky, from horizon to horizon like a cloud: a side-on view of our Milky Way. We used to drive out into the paddocks, far away from the town light, and lie on the car bonnet with binoculars, or set up a telescope in the field, and he’d point out the Pleiades, the Jewel Box, and Jupiter and its moons. He was a pretty hardcore amateur astronomer too. Back in the 80s, without the help of a computer, he’d pore through charts looking for obscure stellar phenomena. He’d calculate where and when they would appear in the sky, and then go out and find them. It was definitely under his influence that I developed my interest in astronomy.

Continuing on with the theme of this post, here are Discover Magazine’s Top 10 Astronomy Photos of 2009.

  12:06am  •  Science & Technology  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Laptop shot three times

A few weeks ago, a part-Jewish American tourist was crossing from Egypt into Israel and was being questioned by Israeli border authorities. The authorities got a little suspicious of her and in particular her laptop, so they took it away. And shot it three times. Amazingly, the bullets, which each left huge gaping holes in the Macbook Pro, all missed the hard drive. The Israelis apologized and will be reimbursing her for her laptop.

  8:48pm  •  Current Affairs  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Saw a Panamera Turbo and bright lime green Lamborghini in the car park on the way to lunch. I have to say that the Panamera is ugly.

  12:40pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Splitting the cost of large group meals – a calculator

I have been told that one of the benefits of being allergic to alcohol is that I end up saving a lot of money. This is not always the case. In large group dinners where most people order alcohol, but some don’t, the non-drinkers occasionally end up subsidizing the drinkers. This is because it’s a major pain in the neck when you have to factor in sales tax and tips, and sometimes it’s just easier to split a bill evenly. It also sometimes makes practical sense, if the alcohol spend is relatively low. It’s similar to splitting a bill evenly despite some people’s mains costing slightly more than others. People often remark that working out the bill is the “worst part of the meal”.

However, sometimes it is a little painful when the spend is high. After being shafted – a little rudely, I might add – at a dinner a couple nights ago with about 20 people where around 80% had wine, I thought there must be an easier way. (I realized later that night that having to pay for wine I didn’t drink almost doubled what I should have otherwise paid.)

There are heaps of tipping calculator apps for the iPhone but, surprisingly, I couldn’t find one that solved my particular problem, where you have a subset of people in a group who order something additional (be it an appetizer, or dessert, or alcohol).

So this morning, I hastily cobbled together a javascript app which calculates group tips. It’s terribly ugly and the coding is atrocious, but that doesn’t matter because it’s functional. It works like this:

  1. You set your tax rate (I have presets for LA, NYC, and Santa Clara county, where I am), your tipping rate, and the number of people in your party.
  2. You input the pre-tax subtotal of the bill.
  3. Then, for each course (eg, desserts, drinks, alcohol, etc), you enter the subtotal for that course, and the number of people who had it. The app automatically calculates the subtotal for the “mains” course, which is the course which everyone shares (although you can tweak this and specify that not everyone had a mains).
  4. The app calculates totals for all the combinations of courses, and spits out how much a person should be paying. So for example, if you have a mains and alcohol, then it will tell how much a person should be paying if they had mains only, or if they had mains and alcohol (or even if they had alcohol only). Easy.

Screenshot on iPhone

A useful thing would be to add would be a calculator on screen so you can easily tally up the subtotals for different courses. The calculator also drops trailing zeroes of the currency amounts. Maybe when I have some spare time I’ll tidy it up.

Not sure when I’ll get a chance to test this out in the field next, but if any of you use this, let me know if it works out for you. (You can go to the url on an iPhone, and “Add to Home Screen“)

And if anyone wants to help me convert this into an iPhone app or into a mobile-friendly webpage, let me know. There are a lot more features that could be added (bill emailing, other methods to split bills, etc), and the value proposition is clear: I’d pay a couple bucks for this app if it saved me the time it takes to work out group bills (not to mention the money some people might save from paying their fair share). One day, someone will design an app that will transfer funds between people’s accounts to settle these bills as well.

  1:06pm  •  Food  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Google Wave invites

Have some Google Wave invites. Send me your email address if you want one.

  12:01am  •  Internet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09
Dec 09

The 56 ethnic groups of China

This page shows family portraits of each of China’s 56 ethnic groups. There’s great diversity there – there are well-known minorities such as the Uighurs and Tibetans; there are spillovers from neighboring countries, like the Russians, Koreans and Kazaks; and there are obscure groups like the Lisu, Va, Oroqen, Ewenki and Salar. Wikipedia has more information on some of these groups. But despite this apparent cultural richness, the ethnic Han Chinese (汉人, Hàn rén) comprise 92% of all mainlanders. Their photo is the last to appear on the page. There are over 1.3 billion of them (or should I say, us), with around 40 million being overseas migrants.

Ethnic Manchu

  9:29pm  •  Culture  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh ran 3.99 km on 12/13/2009 at 5:02 PM with a pace of 6'06"/km http://bit.ly/8W97Of

  5:47pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Portfolio now online

I finally finished and uploaded the Portfolio section of this website! It’s a bandwidth-intensive page due to the number of graphics on it, but I wanted everything to be on the same page.

I had fun putting this together — for me it was a pleasant trip down memory lane, pulling out old files from the dusty corners of my hard drive, including something things I had totally forgotten I’d done.

Does anyone still visit this website? Please leave a comment with this post if you’re out there… I hope I haven’t managed to lose all my visitors over the last year of non-posting.

  10:00am  •  Site News  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (5)  • 
Dec 09
Dec 09

  stuloh It's that time of week again... they've fired up the Wii in the office for some Mario Kart.

  4:24pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Unusual citations

These are all legitimate, published journal articles:

  • Annette Kuhn, “Adverse events of injectables, what kind of jet-skiers should be informed about serious vaginal injury, and what Kant thinks about it”, 19(8) International Urogynecology Journal (August 2008)
  • Márcio Martins Pimentel & Reinhardt Adolfo Fuck, “Neoproterozoic crustal accretion in central Brazil”, 20(4) Geology 375-9 (April 1992)
  • Wilhelm Fucks, “On Mathematical Analysis of Style”, 39(1-2) Biometrika 122-9 (1952)

Yes, Professor Reinhart Adolfo Fuck is a real person.

  11:14pm  •  Humour  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

What’s happening to Tiger Woods’ sponsorships?

As the number of women claiming to have been with Woods continues to tick into the double-digits, what’s happening to his money-making capacity? While I find it difficult to believe that, come the New Year, this whole affair wouldn’t have affected his golf game in one way or another, Woods makes most of his money from sponsorships. Bloomberg reports that he has endorsement agreements with Accenture, Nike, PepsiCo (Gatorade), Tag Heuer, EA, Upper Deck, NetJets, TLC Vision (where he got Lasik done), and P&G (Gillette). Apparently none of those deals have been affected yet, even though he’s all but disappeared off the TV.

The article also mentions a couple of interesting metrics that they use in the entertainment industry:

Before the reports, Woods ranked just below Oprah Winfrey on the Davie Brown Index, which tracks 2,800 celebrities. The index was created by Los Angeles-based Davie Brown Entertainment to provide a way to measure the use of celebrities in campaigns. …

Woods is the best-known active athlete, based on a September study by Marketing Evaluations, a Manhasset, New York- based research company that publishes the Q score, ranking entertainers by their appeal to consumers.

Among U.S. consumers over the age of 6, 86 percent recognized the golfer, with 28 percent saying Woods was one of their favorite personalities, giving him a +28 Q Score.

The average celebrity is recognized by 32 percent of the U.S. general population and has a +17 Q rating, according to Henry Schafer, the company’s executive vice president.

Update (12/14): Accenture drops Tiger Woods. Gillette has started phasing him out from their ads.

  2:06pm  •  Current Affairs  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Site Updates

For those of you who do follow my Twitter stream, I have created an RSS Feed which strips out any Tweet posts on Hear Ye! It’s right here (and also in the sidebar).

I also put in a captcha in the comment forms. Hate them, but they’re practically necessary due to all the spambots roaming around WordPress blogs.

  10:19am  •  Site News  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (3)  • 
Dec 09

  stuloh ran 3.36 km on 12/9/2009 at 6:40 PM with a pace of 5'32"/km http://bit.ly/8qnqJC

  7:43pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Going for a run. It's 3 degrees outside. Folly?!

  6:17pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

  stuloh Blog-Twitter interface: two-way posting now operational.

  4:23pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)  • 
Dec 09


How’d it get so damn cold here? Yes that’s a layer of frost on my windscreen!

  12:20pm  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Australia’s World Cup 2010 draw

Germany, Ghana, and Serbia. There are no easy names among those. Australia has already been been pegged as the underdog in its World Cup group, and the odds at the bookies agree (at the moment $1.14 for Germany to progress to round 2, Serbia $2.15, Ghana $2.25, Australia $2.85). Some even think that we will emerge with zero points.

But the scene in 2006 was familiar, when we confronted Brazil, Croatia and Japan. Our opening game was with Japan. I remember the elation, standing in the chilly early morning air with 5,000 screaming fans in Circular Quay, for the result. We won’t be expected to win the opener this time around, but even a draw against Germany would be taken as a victory. I expect Australia to have a few surprises in store for all the naysayers in the world.

Some comments from a few mates…

“We should take down Serbia, the key game is Ghana. Sure they have Essien and an amazing track record (haven’t lost a game in 18) but have they got the Aussie spirit. Germans will kill us as [simile deleted for political correctness].”

“Our group is tough, but not impossible by any means. We can take down Ghana … if we’re on song. The efficient schweinhunds will be very hard….but not out of the question. With names like Hitzlesperger and Schweinsteiger they really deserve to do well. Who adapts best to South African conditions will play a part.”

“I think we’ve got a reasonable group.  We’ve beaten Ghana a few times (I saw the game in Sydney last year…though we weren’t pretty) and know them well.

“Germany is probably one of the more dangerous teams out of the seeds to draw.  Would’ve preferred England any day. We’ve gone through Asian qualifying without conceding much, but this was mainly due to Schwarzer’s heroics and a lack of clinical finishing by the opposition – there were some games we should have lost by 2 or 3 nil.  The Germans won’t make the same mistakes in front of goal.

“Serbia will be interesting.  In the last World Cup they went through qualifying without conceding a goal, but then absolutely imploded once they got there.  Remember that one game where 1 of their players got sent off and then the whole team gave up?  They lost 6-0 to Argentina and didn’t get any points from the group stage.  So I think our mental toughness could get the better of them.”

Of course, if Australia progresses to the second round, we will most likely face England. The prospect is absolutely delicious.

Start countin’ down the days!

  11:04pm  •  Sports  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

Portraits of Power

Platon, a photographer for the New Yorker, set about gathering as many portraits of world leaders as he could during a UN conference. The snippets of audio attached to each photo are interesting to listen to as well. Of Ban Ki-Moon:

“This was the first shoot we did for the project … I really liked him and everytime he and his entourage passed me, often when he was walking with another head of state, he would always raise his arm to me as he walked by and shout out, “Platon! Hello!” So, y’know, when an important person like this does that everyone else around looks to me and thinks I’m suddenly more important than I really am. And that’s all I needed, often, to get people to sit for me.”

The Berlusconi clip was amusing, the comments for Mugabe were fitting, and the mistaken President of Madagascar was embarassing.

  4:51pm  •  Current Affairs  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

Hear Ye! is back online

I’ve now made the transition over to WordPress. Pretty time consuming trying to export posts from my old database to WXR, and then importing them back in, while trying to preserve all the extra metadata (timezones, locations, etc). I think it’s all in good shape now. Hopefully this change means I’ll get back to posting a bit more.

There are still parts of the site that I’m going to be filling out over the next few weeks/months, but since I have the core functionality up for now, that’s all lower priority.

  2:37pm  •  Site News  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 
Dec 09

  stuloh Got sworn in as an American attorney!

  7:22pm  •  Tweet  •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment  • 

2024: Jan
2023: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2022: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2021: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2020: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2019: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2018: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2017: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2015: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2013: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2012: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2011: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2009: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2007: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2006: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2005: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2003: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2001: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1999: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1998: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec