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Showing posts with label General Knowledge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Knowledge. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Shedding the weight of exams, my mind is once again allowed to wander and I am thus
reminded of one great example of evolution in progress.

Evolution comprises of a few concepts

1. Random mutation occurs in a species (occuring at a genetic level- unobservable)
2. the mutation gives rise to observable traits, features and characteristics
3. Some traits are beneficial to life, others have no effect whatsoever, some however are downright detrimental
4. Species adapt to the environment
5. Those that are suitably adapt to a particular environment by virtue of their traits survive, are able to produce more offspring and in the process pass their genes on to the next generation (which will inherit the traits)

Examples of the above are plenty
Including adaptive radiation among the Finches of the Galapagos, the change in the dominant colour pattern of moths living in industrialized areas

but what about humans?

This can be observed in the inheritance of the Sickle Cell Trait.
Sickle cell Disease

Sickle cell Disease affects the red blood cells where a genetic defect causes the formation of defective haemoglobin that causes red blood cells to be deformed (sickle shaped) (defective polymerisation)

sickle cell

There are homozygotes - having both defective alleles
And heterozygotes - having a single defective allele

Excerpts from the article in wikipedia:

"In people homozygous for HgbS, the presence of long-chain polymers of HbS distort the shape of the red blood cell, from a smooth donut-like shape to ragged and full of spikes, making it fragile and susceptible to breaking within capillaries"
This condition predisposes the patient to disease states called crises.

Carriers have symptoms only if they are deprived of oxygen (for example, while climbing a mountain) or while severely dehydrated.

One-third of all aboriginal inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa carry the gene because in areas where malaria is common, there is a survival value in carrying only a single sickle-cell gene (sickle cell trait). Those with only one of the two alleles of the sickle-cell disease are more resistant to malaria, since the infestation of the malaria plasmodium is halted by the sickling of the cells which it infests.

Thus the mutation causes the characteristic change in the property of red blood cells in the affected person.

This property while homozygous causes a marked reduction in life-expectancy and substantial morbidity

Whereas when heterozygous causes minimal ill effects while conferring a survival advantage in malaria endemic areas in Africa.

Thus those people with sicke cell trait are able to survive longer, produce nmore offspring and will successfully pass the gene on to their progeny...

Resulting in

One-third of all aboriginal inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa carry the gene

distribution of sickle cell trait
-distribution of sickle cell trait

-distribution of malaria

Simple and elegant example of the theory of evolution
applied onto humans!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Evolution X3 - My article was accepted, it seems.

DANIEL Vijayaruban Samuel’s letter The case against Mr Darwin (Your Say, Feb 15) provoked a strong reaction. Here are some of the views expressed.

PLEASE allow me to respond to Mr D.V. Samuel’s scathing attack on Charles Darwin.

Creationism has a legacy of persecuting its own scientists, only to later embrace their “heresies” as facts. Darwin was fortunate. Had he been born two centuries earlier, his persecution would have been horribly harsh.

The theories of Copernicus and Galileo are now accepted as facts (or are they still being considered as another can of worms by Mr Samuel?). Creationists should ask themselves: This about-turn from heresy to belief is for whose benefit? Isn’t it for survival?

Darwin’s theory doesn’t have a role for God. The process involves two stages. The first stage, mutation (variation) is a random process, and the second stage is non-random natural selection. His book, The Origin of Species, a masterpiece, is 150 years old. Even now, it is being aggressively attacked and ridiculed by defenders of the faith. They called themselves Scientific Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents. “Instantaneous Creation” is now “guided evolution” where (to quote from a science book) “God is smuggled in by the back door to supervise the evolutionary process”.

If we care to find out, there are creatures on Earth whose “designs” are so weird and bizarre that they violate our standards of morality. Would one call such creatures the work of God’s Intelligent Design?

Despite the relentless and vigorous attempts to discredit scientific works perceived as “threats” by the defenders of the faith, it is heartening to note that The Star continues to publish news items such as Hawking told not to study start of universe (by Pope John Paul II, June 2006), Okay to believe in aliens – Vatican scientist (May 15, 2008) and, Church of England apologises to Darwin over theories (Sept 15, 2008).

Thank you for celebrating 150 years of Darwinism.

Darwinist, Selangor

D.V. SAMUEL says Darwin had “absolutely no science degrees” and therefore had no “scientific authority”. He equates scientific aptitude and rigour with something that must be taught in a particular manner, yet cites Albert Einstein who was a very distracted student.

“Absolutely no science degrees” is not the same as no degrees at all. Darwin collected his degree from one of the most excellent universities on Samuel’s list, Cambridge. A very naughty attempt at discrediting him from the outset.

Thirdly, he cites Nobel Prize winners as having some special weight when it comes to forming arguments. Possibly, but I would like to remind readers that several prize winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, adhering to their false models of economics, ignorantly walked into the recent global banking crisis, while others, non-Nobelled, clearly more intelligent, predicted it in published form prior to its occurrence; eg, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Innate intelligence seems an excellent way of discovering, i.e. thinking out-of-the-box rather than that dull educational process where you come out the same as everybody else and possibly misinformed to boot.

Darwin “went outright against the Bible” because his explanation is much neater, accepts the utter randomness that surrounds us and doesn’t rely on what somebody taught him. He thought about it rather than just accepted. Galileo and Copernicus shook the religious world but hundreds of years later their ideas proved to be simply correct. Darwin will be vindicated too.

Next, and most importantly, Samuel takes Darwin’s “fairytale” and replaces it with the religious version where one is required to “believe that man is God’s work”. “Believe”? If one is fairytale, then sir, so is the other.

It is clear to me, that the arrogance displayed in calling humans the “supreme being” is beyond a science fiction fairytale and strays into that delusion where we are so much greater than the animals that there must be a more supreme “supreme being” who created us. Appalling. We are animals too, and we’re not very clever at that. Finally, this supreme being God creates a universe that “ultimately falls apart and disintegrates”. Not a great piece of intelligent design.

Adam Kopystynski, BSc MSc, Kuantan, Pahang

WRITING off Darwin’s credentials is a lowly tactic used by many pro-Creationists after they fail to refute evidence of the theory of evolution nor are able to, by any extent, prove their own.

Creationism was drilled into Darwin from the start and that he, by his own initiative, found proof to refute all he had believed to be true means a lot.

Indeed, after being provided with facts, figures and scientifically quantifiable methods to prove Darwin’s point – for example the carbon dating method that puts the age of the Earth at about 4.5 billion years old – pro-Creationists simply wave it all off.

When asked for a semblance of proof for creationism, no scientifically measurable methods are forthcoming leaving Creationism to be just a belief, a theory.

With the discovery of DNA, so much has been explained. Human DNA is also found to be 96% similar to that of many apes and 99% similar to chimpanzees. Man have been found to have originated from the continent of Africa and branched out from there, settling all across the globe. Proof that man evolved from another species can be found in the discovery of Homo erectus, Homo habilis and Australopithecus africanus.

In contrast, how does the Bible explain away the tens of thousands of prehistoric fossils if the Earth were only 6,500 years old? Unless you subscribe to the lie that the fossils are nothing more than plaster of Paris, made up by artists to beguile the faithful.

To all pro-Creationists out there, it is time you come up with proof for your theories instead of doing nothing but undermining the efforts of real scientists! Till then, I’m a monkey’s uncle.

Medical student, Muar, Johor

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Evolution X2

This letter was posted to Starmag, Dated 15th of February, 2009

and below it would be my response(s).

I WAS very much intrigued by the article Celebrating a revolutionary by Richard Ingham (People, StarMag, Feb 8). Charles Darwin who was a seminary drop-out with absolutely no science degrees or any scientific authority at all, is exalted to the same status as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Galileo.

Many eminent scientists say because of Darwin, many groundbreaking discoveries were made in the realm of science. A mere “theory” has evolved and made its way into today’s science books as the absolute answer to the origin of man.

On the contrary, what was regarded as the truth since the beginning involving the master designer and creator of life is now considered a religious belief and therefore not scientific.

As a believer of creation science, I reckon that Darwin’s theory is more of a fairytale than science. Darwin’s theory is no different from the fairytale of a frog that became a prince when kissed by a princess except for the added ingredientof “millions and millions of years”.

The “origin of species” requiring billions of years to support the plausibility of life’s emergence and of subsequent evolution from “amoeba” to man is considered science today!

Before I open the Darwin can of worms, let me make clear that creationists are not a bunch of religious evangelists who know nothing about science.

Many Nobel Prize winners in science and scientists from renowned universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale are great writers and contributors to creation science. Browse the following website to discover great creation scientists who have made significant contributions to science: http://www.creationinfo.com/list.htm.

Three major religions of the world believe that man is God’s work. Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe this awesome truth, that man was uniquely created and did not come into existence by chance or evolve from an ape.

Darwin’s theory advocates that out of nothingness came matter and life, which evolved from the most primitive single cell organism to a supreme being like the human. It advocates that billions of things are supposed to have developed upward, becoming more orderly and complex.

This totally contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics, where it’s partially a universal law of decay; the prime cause of why everything ultimately falls apart and disintegrates over time, and so does life.

Darwin went outright against the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah in presenting his theory and thus creating a religion called Evolution, luring many “weak links” into believing his folly.

Daniel Vijayaruban Samuel,
Kajang, Selangor

This is based on my limited knowledge on the subject.

I take special objection to the letter by Daniel Vijayaruban Samuel (Starmag 15th February)
He starts by writing off the credentials of Darwin, a lowly tactic used by many pro-creationists(As should be known, Darwin studied at a clergy. He was brought up with Christianity. That creationism was drilled into him from the start and he by his own initiative, found proof to refute all he had believed to be true means a lot) after failing to refute evidence of the theory nor able to by any extent, prove their own.

Indeed, after providing facts, figures and scientific quantifiable methods to prove Darwin’s point- for example the Carbon Dating method that predicts the age of the earth to be about 4.5 billion years old. The pro-creationists simply wave it off as “there may be possible mistakes in carbon dating”, citing the biblical flood as a cause of discrepancy.

When asked for a semblance of proof for creationism, no scientifically measurable methods are forthcoming leaving Creationism to be just a belief, a theory.

With the discovery of DNA, so much has been explained. Human DNA is also found to be 96% similar with many apes and 99 per cent similar with chimpanzees. Man have been found to have originated from the continent of Africa and branched out from there settling all across the globe. Proof that man evolved from another species can be found in the discovery of Homo erectus, Homo habilis and Australopithecus africanus.

In contrast, how does the bible explain away the tens of thousands of prehistoric fossils if the earth were only 6500 years old? Unless you subscribe to the lie that the fossils are nothing more than plaster of paris, made up by artists to beguile the faithful.

A side question here, following the discovery of human migration trails above, were Adam and Eve Black? To swerve away from responding to the question by questioning the accuracy of it would once again prove that pro-creationists have used the same outdated ammunition ever since 1857 over and over again- to brush off all new and fresh efforts made by the scientific community while having nothing new of their own. To agree with that statement would start a whole new debacle.

Starmag’s allocation of 3 pages for the issue is sorely inadequate yet in keeping with the limitations of a newspaper I will have to keep my respond brief.

Finally, a bid to all pro-creationists out there, it is time to come up with proof for your theories instead of doing nothing but undermine the efforts of real scientists! Till then, I’m a monkey’s uncle.

Pseudonym: Medical student
Yong Kuan Yew


My other article in support of evolution


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The real history of Bumiputras. Wow.

An excerpt Comment from the blog KTemoc Konsiders
An anonymous film maker researched an enormous amount of information before reaching this conclusion.

If you remember one comment of mine in the post Eco Film Fest I mentioned about the true bumiputras... It seems I am Wrong too! there are no real bumiputras!!!
well this is somewhat tedious but really very eye-opening.

This has nothing to do with race or religion. Peace!!!
Just an anthropological research into what is a very real misnomer.
I am living with 4 Malays! will post on this very soon! :-) and we're one big happy family!

I thank the anonynomous writer for his research and hardwork but he did not leave his name in the blog so I apologize for copying without permission. Anyway, here goes

been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on the subject of the Origins of the Malays. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled "Contesting Malayness - Malay Identity Across Boundaries" Edited by Timothy P. Barnard published by Singapore University Press?
Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore. It reflects the Anthropologists views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500yrs ago) (Dayak). They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Vietnam at 4,500yrs ago.
Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. To confuse the issue, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (see also "Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular")
Of course, we also have the Minangkabau's which come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3)
So the million Dollar Question... Is there really a race called the "Malays"?
All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO. (strangely, this includes all Malay Malaysian Anthropologists who are of the same opinion.)
Neither do the "Malays" who live on the West Coast of Johor. They'd rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as "Achenese"? or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a "Malay" and see what response you get... you'll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.
In an article in the Star, dated: Dec 3rd 2006
available for on-line viewing at:
An excerp is reproduced here below:
"The Malays – taken as an aggregation of people of different ethnic backgrounds but who speak the same language or family of languages and share common cultural and traditional ties – are essentially a new race, compared to the Chinese, Indians and the Arabs with their long histories of quests and conquests.

The Malay nation, therefore, covers people of various ethnic stock, including Javanese, Bugis, Bawean, Achehnese, Thai, Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak and descendants of Indian Muslims who had married local women.
Beneath these variations, however, there is a common steely core that is bent on changing the Malay persona from its perceived lethargic character to one that is brave, bold and ready to take on the world. "
The definition of "Malay" is therefore simply a collection of people's who speak a similar type language. With what is meant by a similar type language does not mean that the words are similar. (A native Kelantanese native speaker has no clue whatsoever what his Iban native brother is talking about; if both speak their own dialect) Linguists however, call this the "Lego-Type" language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such. Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this "Malay" classification and insist instead on being called "Indonesians" even though the majority of "Malays" have their roots in parts of Indonesia. They refuse to be called "Malay"…. Anyhow you may define it.
The writer failed to identify (probably didn't know), that the "Malay" definition also includes, the Champa, Dong Song, HoabinHian, The Taiwanese Alisan and the Philippino Aetas. He also did not identify that the "Orang Asli" are (for lack of a better term) ex-Africans. If you try to call any one of our East Malaysian brothers an "Orang Asli", they WILL BEAT YOU UP! I had to repeat this because almost all West Malaysians make the same mistake when we cross the South China Sea. Worse, somehow, they feel even more insulted when you call them "Malay". Somehow, "kurang ajar" is uttered below their breath as if "Malay" was a really bad word for them. I'm still trying to figure this one out.
Watch "Malays in Africa"; a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the "Champa Malays" by the same.
With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboroginies, as well as the Polynesian Aboroginies. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa 60,000yrs ago.

Getting interesting? Read on...
"Malay" should also include the Taiwanese singer "Ah Mei" who is Alisan as her tribe are the anscestors of the "Malays". And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese (Southern Province) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000yrs ago.
Try calling the Bugis a "Malay". Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa.
Ready for this?
The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Mongolian Chinese and the marauding Arab Pirates. Interestingly, the Bugis, (just like their Arabic ancestors) were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau Island areas. Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed as the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese! Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil) He is more than willing to expound on the Bugis heritage. Buy him lunch and he can talk for days on end. Let's not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous "Hang" family member... Hang Li Poh. And who was she? Legend tells us that she is the Princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won't that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline "Baba"? Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh? But wait a minute....

That's what legend says. Let's look at the proof. The solid evidence. There is a well next to the Zheng He Temple in Malacca which is supposed to be the well built by the Sultan of Malacca for Hang Li Poh. According to legend, anyone who drinks of it shall re-visit Malacca before they die. Hmmm smells like a romantic fairy tale already. But let's look at who Hang Li Poh actually is. Which Ming Emperor was she a daughter to? So I got into researching the entire list of Ming Emperors. Guess what? Not a single Ming Emperor's last name begins with Hang. In fact, all their last names begin with Tzu (pronounced Choo). So who is Hang Li Poh? An Extra Concubine? A Spare Handmaiden? Who knows? But one thing for certain, is that she was no daughter of any of the Ming Emperors. Gone is the romantic notion of the Sultan of Malacca marrying an exotic Chinese Princess. Sorry guys, the Sultan married an unidentified Chinese commoner.
Next question. If the Baba's are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of "Malay" are they not? Whatever the answer, why then are the Portugese of Malacca BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Baba's? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600's. Strangely, the Baba's were in fact once classified a Bumiputera, but some Prime Minister decreed that they were to be strangely "declassified" in the 1960's. WHY? How can a "native son of the soil" degenerate into an "un-son"? The new classification is "pendatang" meaning a migrant to describe the Baba's and Nyonyas. Wait a minute, isn't EVERYONE on the Peninsular a migrant to begin with? How can the government discriminate? Does the Malaysian Government have amnesia?
The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom making him of Thai origin. And what is this "coffee table book" by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim's signature name on the book. I'll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?
In pursuing this thread, and having looked at the history of Prophet Muhammed (BTW, real name Ahmad) we couldn't figure out which descendant line The Sultan of Perlis was. Perhaps it was by the name Syed, which transcended. Then we tried to locate which downline did the Sultan descend from of the 13 Official Wives of Prophet Muhammad named in the Holy Koran? Or was the Sultan of Perlis a descendant from the other 23 non-wives? Of the 13 Official Wives were (at least known) 3 Israeli women. Then you should come to this instant revelation, isn't Prophet Muhammad an Israeli himself? Yes, the answer is clear. All descendants of Moses are Israeli. In fact, the Holy Koran teaches that Moses was the First Muslim. Thus confirming all the descendants of Moses to be Israeli, including Jesus and Prophet Muhammad. But since this is not a Religious or a Theological discussion, let's move on to a more anthropological approach.
So, how many of you have met with the Orang Asli's (Malaysian Natives)? The more northern you go, the more African they look. Why are they called Negrito's? It is a Spanish word, from which directly transalates "mini Negros". The more southern you go, the more "Indonesian" they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50. You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really look like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake (north Perak). The Mah Meri in Carrie Island look almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.
Strangely the natives in Borneo all look rather Chinese in terms of features and facial characteristics especially the Kelabits in Bario.
By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu-Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said right… The Malays were Hindu (just like the gentle Balinese of today). It was known by its' old name, Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang. This Hindu-Malay Empire was 2,000yrs old. Pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt. Who came about around 500-600yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading Empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it. By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?
The Malaysian Government now has a serious case of Alzheimer's. Why? Simply because, they would accord the next Indonesian who tomorrow swims across the Straits of Malacca and bestow upon him with the apparently "prestigious title" of the Bumiputra status alongside others who imply have inhabited this land for hundreds of centuries. (prestigious, at least perceived by Malays) They also have a strange saying called "Ketuanan Melayu" which literally transalates into "The Lordship of Malays" The Malays still cannot identify till this day "who" or "what" the Malays have "Lordship" over. And they celebrate it gallantly and triumphantly by waving the Keris (wavy knife which has Hindu origins in Borrobudor. Ganesan is seen brandishing the Keris in a bass-relief sculpture.) during public meetings over National TV much like a Pagan Wicca Ceremony on Steroids. Let's all wait for that official press release to see who the "Malays" have Lordship over, shall we?

Of the 3 books listed, "Contesting Malayness" (about S$32 for soft cover) is "banned" in Malaysia; you will need to "smuggle" it into Malaysia; for very obvious reasons.... :( or read it in Singapore if you don't feel like breaking the law. Incidentally, the Professor (Author) was invited to speak on this very subject circa 2 yrs ago, in KL, invited by the MBRAS. You can imagine the "chaos" this seminar created... :( Fortunately the FRU was not called in.
The other, "Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsular" (about RM84) are openly sold at all leading bookshops; Kinokuniya, MPH, Borders, Popular, Times, etc. You should be able to find a fair bit of what I've been quoting in this book too, but mind you, it is extremely heavy reading material, and you will find yourself struggling through the initial 200+ pages. It is extremely technical in nature. Maybe that's why it hasn't been banned (yet)…coz our authorities couldn't make head or tail of it? (FYI, if I weren't doing research for my film, I wouldn't have read it in its entirety)
The "Sejarah Melayu" (about RM 50) however, is freely available at the University Malaya bookshop. I have both the English and Royal Malay version published by MBRAS. Alternatively, you could try reading the Jawi (Arabic Script) version if you are truly a sucker for unimaginable pain...... (may feel like circumcision)
There are actually many sources for these Origins of Malays findings. Any older Philippino Museum Journal also carries these migration stories. This migration is also on display at the Philippines National Museum in Luzon. However, they end with the Aeta, and only briefly mention that the migration continued to Indonesia and Malaysia, but fully acknowledge that all Philippinos came from Taiwan. And before Taiwan, China. There is another book (part of a series) called the "Archipelago Series" endorsed by Tun Mahatir and Marina Mohammad, which states the very same thing right at the introduction on page one. "… that the Malays migrated out of Southern China some 6,000yrs ago…". I believe it is called the "Pre-History of Malaysia" Hard Cover, about RM99 found in (mostly) MPH. They also carry "Pre-History of Indonesia" by the same authors for the same price.
It is most interesting to note that the Malaysian Museum officials gallantly invented brand new unheard-of terms such as "Proto-Malay" and "Deutero-Malay", to replace the accepted Scientific Term, Australo-Melanesians (African descent) and Austronesians (Chinese Descent, or Mongoloid to be precise) in keeping in line with creating this new "Malay" term.. They also created the new term called the Melayu-Polynesian. (Which Melayu exists in the Polynesian Islands?) Maybe they were just trying to be "Patriotic" and "Nationalistic"… who knows…? After all, we also invented the term, "Malaysian Time". While the rest of the world calls it "Tardy" and "Late". It's quite an embarrassment actually…. Singaporeans crossing the border are asked to set their watches back by about a 100yrs, to adjust to "Malaysian Time"…
In a nutshell, the British Colonial Masters, who, for lack of a better description, needed a "blanket" category for ease of classification, used the term "Malay".
The only other logical explanation, which I have heard, was that "Malaya" came as a derivative of "Himalaya", where at Langkasuka, or Lembah Bujang today was where the Indians were describing the locals as "Malai" which means "Hill People" in Tamil. This made perfect sense as the focal point at that time was at Gunung Jerai, and the entire Peninsular had a "Mountain Range" "Banjaran Titiwangsa", as we call it.
The Mandarin and Cantonese accurately maintain the accurate pronunciation of "Malai Ren" and "Malai Yun" respectively till this very day. Where "ren" and "yun" both mean "peoples".
Interestingly, "Kadar" and "Kidara", Hindi and Sanskrit words accurately describe "Kedah" of today. They both mean "fertile Land for Rice cultivation. Again, a name given by the Indians 2,000yrs ago during the "Golden Hindu Era" for a duration of 1,500yrs.
It was during this "Golden Hindu Era" that the new term which the Hindu Malay leaders also adopted the titles, "Sultan" and "Raja". The Malay Royalty were Hindu at that time, as all of Southeast Asia was under strong Indian influence, including Borrobudor, and Angkor Watt. Bali today still practices devout Hindu Beliefs. The snake amulet worn by the Sultans of today, The Royal Dias, and even the "Pelamin" for weddings are tell-tale signs of these strong Indian influences. So, it was NOT Parameswara who was the first Sultan in Malaya. Sultanage existed approximately 1,500yrs in Kedah before he set foot on the Peninsular during the "Golden Hindu Era" of Malaysia. And they were all Hindu.

"PreHistory of Malaysia" also talks about the "Lost Kingdom" of the "Chi-Tu" where the local Malay Kingdom were Buddhists. The rest of the "Malays" were Animistic Pagans.
But you may say, "Sejarah Melayu" calls it "Melayu"? Yes, it does. Read it again; is it trying to describe the 200-odd population hamlet near Palembang by the name "Melayu"?(Google Earth will show this village).

By that same definition, then, the Achehnese should be considered a "race". So should the Bugis and the Bataks, to be fair. Orang Acheh, Orang Bugis, Orang Laut, Orang Melayu now mean the same… descriptions of ethnic tribes, at best. So some apparently Patriotic peron decided to upgrade the Malays from Orang Melayu (Malay People) to Bangsa Melayu (Malay Race) Good job in helping perpetuate the confusion. And since the "Malays" of today are not all descendants of the "Melayu" kampung in Jambi (if I remember correctly), the term Melayu has been wrongly termed. From Day One. Maybe this is why the Johoreans still insist on calling themselves either Bugis, or Javanese til today (except when it comes to receiving Government Handouts). So do the Achehnese on the West coast of Kedah & Perlis and the Kelantanese insist that they came from Champa, Vietnam.
Moreover, the fact that the first 3 pages of "Sejarah Melayu" claim that "Melayu" comes from Alexander the Great and the West Indian Princess doesn't help. More importantly, it was written in 1623. By then, the Indians had been calling the locals "Malai" for 1,500 yrs already. So the name stuck….
And with the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals in page 1-3) naming the grandson of Iskandar Zulkarnain, and the West Indian Princess forming the Minangkabau. Whenever a Malay is asked about it, he usually says it is "Karut" (bullshit), but all Malayan based historians insist on using Sejarah Melayu as THE main reference book for which "Malay" history is based upon. The only other books are "Misa Melayu", "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa", "Hikayat Pasai", "Hikayat Raja-Raja Siak" and "Hikayat Hang Tuah" among others; which sometimes brings up long and "heated" discussions.
Interesting to note is one of the great "Malay" writers is called Munsyi Abdullah; who penned "Hikayat Abdullah" He was an Indian Muslim. Let's re-read that little bit. He was an Indian Muslim. How can an Indian change his race to be a Malay? He can change his shirt, his car, his religion and even his underwear, but how can anyone change his race? This must be The New Trick of the Century, which even David Copperfield will pay lots of money to watch (and perhaps learn).

"Mysterious Race Changing Trick"- created by The Malaysian Government.
Still, Malaysians are still only second to the Jews (who by the way, are the only other people in the world who are defined by a religion) So perhaps David Copperfield has yet to learn a few tricks on the mass deception skills of the Malaysian Government?
Malaysia Boleh...

I find this strange.
I also find, that it is strange that the "Chitti's" (Indian+Malay) of Malacca are categorized as Bumiputera, while their Baba brothers are not. Why? Both existed during the Parameswara days. Which part of the "Malay" side of the Baba's is not good enough for Bumiputera classification? Re-instate them. They used to be Bumiputera pre 1960's anyway.

Instead of "Malay", I believe that "Maphilindo" (circa 1963) would have been the closest in accurately trying to describe the Malays. However, going by that definition, it should most accurately be "MaphilindoThaiChinDiaVietWanGreekCamfrica". And it is because of this; even our University Malaya Anthropology professors cannot look at you in the eye and truthfully say that the word "Malay" technically and accurately defines a race.
This is most unfortunate.

So, in a nutshell, the "Malays" (anthropologists will disagree with this "race" definition) are TRULY ASIA !!! For once the Tourism Ministry got it right….
We should stop calling this country "Tanah Melayu" instead call it, "Tanah Truly Asia"
You must understand now, why I was "tickled pink" when I found out that the Visit Malaysia slogan for 2007 was "Truly Asia". They are so correct... (even though they missed out Greece, and Africa)
BTW, the name UMNO should be changed to UTANO the new official acronym for "United Truly Asia National Organization" . After all, they started out as a Bugis club in Johor anyway….
I told you all that I hate race classifications…. This is so depressing. Even more depressing is that the "malays" are not even a race; not since day one.

"Truly Asia Boleh"

"No point fighting for Nothing"

May Allah Swt Bless all of Us!


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene is a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976.

What it essentially states is that... this is a difficult concept to explain and I apologise if I am unable to do justice to the term.

What it means, as far as I understand is that a gene seeks to propagate itself, ensures that it is further replicated through future generations, ensure that it (i.e. a species) lives on.

Survival of the fittest, a quote by Darwin touts that in a competitive situation of limited food and adverse conditions, only the best adaptable will be able to survive and produce offspring to carry on the gene. Thus, only the best will go on living.

So essentially the best gene among a pool of genes- Ie one carried by the alpha male of a troupe of monkeys-the leader of the pack-usually the strongest and healthiest monkey among the group- will be the one being propagated into the next generation. It is indeed so, considering the fact that in certain animal colonies, (case in point-wolves) only the alpha pair have the right to mate and produce progeny.The rest of the wolf pack are childless for they serve as nannies to the alpha pair's cubs. This is nature's selection process.

Okok.. Enough of the preamble... This is actually a post about the intelligence of... I'll give the chance for all to warm up to this thought.... ready? Set? Go!

Has it sinked in? Or are you shaking your head in disbelief? Hopefully after the rather strainful paragraphs above you still have the will to read on.. keeping my fingers crossed!

(p.s.- I Just handed in my Case write up this afternoon at 5pm.. I slept at 3.30a.m. this morning and woke at 7.30am so pardon me if the quality of this article is off)

(p.p.s- I have never read an article on the same topic so i'll try my best here)

We usually think that plants have no intelligence. Structurally this is true as they don't have a bundle of nerve cells that constitute what we call a brain and technically they are just plain growers reacting to light, water and gravity-(tropisms)

We think that they are the silliest lot in nature... what?... producing fruits only to be eaten by others... They are at the mercy of everything else under the sun- the weather, insects, animals that eat the plant and fruits and leaving nothing behind.

but careful contemplation will reveal that plants apply the concept of the selfish gene and they have the intelligence needed to make sure they are passed on.

Consider the duku (ok, Langsat/ dukong) if you will... and recall the time you absent-mindedly chewed hard enough to break the seed. What follows next is a reflex action of wanting to spit/vomit. The plant wishes that you eat the pulp of the seed but not the seed itself. By being Sour and Bitter it sends the message ---" I AM NOT TO BE EATEN". So you end up eating up the pulp and tossing the seed behind your back.. just what the plant wanted. 'toing!' it lands on a soft spot on the ground and sprouts! (not so if youre living in an apartment la. what happens is your mum comes round and pulls your ears)

The same rule applies to citrus fruits. Then consider this. Ever tasted a green orange? Or a unripe banana? (I will explain the banana story later) They taste sour or in the case of banana what we chinese call "siap-siap"- it leaves a bad sensation on our tongue and mouth.

Again, the plant is trying to say "I AM NOT TO BE EATEN" or perhaps "I AM NOT TO BE EATEN, YET". Before the seed within the fruit is mature, animals (humans ARE animals) are not allowed to consume the fruit. What good to the gene there will be if the unripe seed is strewn around and allowed to rot? A waste of time and resources. Plants spend almost 80-90% of their energy forming flowers and then seeds. A immature seed is a season's toil gone down the drain.

-Bananas used to have seeds. Ask your granddad or grandmum and they will testify not all bananas can be swallowed whole without thinking. Human selection has selected or modified the plants that root sprouting has become the choice method of reproducing instead of seeds. A relief to many that used to chew hard onto the seed and regretted it. Try any jungle bananas- the ones allowed to grow on their own without human intervention and you may still find great big seeds inside, compared to the tiny-weeny seeds we see now.-

So the above illustrates how a plant protects its investment. There are more examples to come. Now. Certain plants "know" that their fruits are going to be eaten. In fact they come prepared for this. Some seeds of certain plants do not germinate unless they past thru the gut of some animals and the acid within the stomach breaks down the waxy coating over the seed allowing the micropyle to absorb water and expand, thus breaking the seed covering and allowing the radicle(root) to burst forth!

An extreme of this example is the the Australian eucalyptus whom seeds only germinate, after a fire. This is a product of generations of survival of the fittest, evolution at its best. Australian bushfires are notorious for the havoc they wreak. And plants living in the outback have thus grown tougher tougher throughout the generations, having roots that withstand fires or thick barks that can stand intense flame. The pinnacle of this form of evolution- being through the (to quote an archaic expression) baptism of fire is the fire-proof seed. The reason is simple. After a fire breaks out the entire landscape is burnt down and there is no competition. There is the added bonus that the ashes of the plants that once stood now become instant fertilizers! These flame-hardy seeds stand to gain the most from a fire. You can imagine them hoping for a blaze to happen soon so that they can sprout and free themselves from the confines of a seed.

Starting to believe that plants are smart and may have a brain or two tucked somewhere?

I hope to convince you even further.
Sometimes there are plants that depend solely on an animal for its pollination.
You would think "oh the poor poor plant, having only a sole pollinator... its entire species depends on a single animal... it's like having its life controlled forever"
But in reality it is the plant which controls the animal. It enslaves it with sugary nectar or delicate fruits. The animal is entirely reliant on that plant having adapted mouth parts uniquely suited to draw nectar from a unique flower, while the plant may have a host of pollinators to show off with.

An example of a superbly unique evolutionary relationship

The Angrecum Orchid in Madagascar.
A simple demonstration of the relationship between forest plants and animals comes from the night-blooming Angrecum orchid. The yellow-flowered beauty has a nectary at least 8 inches long -- meaning that its pollinator needs a snake-like tongue to reach the delicious, high-sugar nectar inside.

No less a naturalist than Charles Darwin, who saw the Angrecum in Madagascar in the 1860s, correctly predicted that a moth with a 22-centimeter tongue must exist in the forest. Fifty years later, the moth was found -- with a rolled-up tongue that snoots out like a Hong-Kong New Year's party favor.

For the explanation of symbiotic evolution refer the link below

Now... For the grand story... accelerated evolution- hard to imagine without the plant having a brain!

What is this?

Yup this is a Passion fruit. Recently being imported to Malaysia and planted here. This fruit has an unique taste like no other. If you want a sample ask one from me the next time I come back from Muar. I passed quite a few to a few friends and one to a midwife that allowed me to conduct a delivery. To my horror she said:

"Apa ni? ada jampi ke?"

Oh well.. I hoped she liked it!

The passion fruit comes from the...teng teng teng teng... the passion vine! No prizes for guessing it right! I have one of them at home and it is currently sprouting ten passion fruits!!! Hohoho...

Back to the story....
There is a strain of wild passion vines in the forests of...uh... I can't remember... south america maybe? that has the unfortunate luck of being favored by a particular species of caterpillar and gets eaten all the time. So the poor plant starts to think... of the available options...

1) have toxic stem and leaves! that should keep the moth away!
But the plant thought that wouldn't work. The caterpillar would soon grow resistant to the toxin. (Meerkats and Scorpions have this arms race in that the scorpion tries ever so hard to produce a new poison that the meerkat isn't resistant from. But the meerkat gets sick once, twice and if it doesn't die passes the immunity on to its progeny. So here's a super resilient baby meerkat. The scorpion doesn't concede defeat and rebrews its venom so that it is more toxic or works faster ... and the race goes on until today where same species of scorpions from different regions in africa have different toxic cocktails within their tails... evidence that they are adapting, changing the venom to counter the meerkat's immunity.) (Kinda like how the arms race between Russia and the US during WWII works)

So what do you think the plant do that doesn't involve cooking up cauldrons of toxins?
It starts to look like this!

Nope, that isn't a bud about to grow. In fact it serves no purpose but to trick the moth/butterfly into thinking that this plant has already been visited by many moths before and if she lays her egg on this plant... her baby caterpillars will have to compete with dozens and dozens of other caterpillars that will definitely hatch sooner than hers... so off she goes in search of a less tasty plant to lay her eggs on. Brilliant, isn't it?

I may not be a good story teller so here goes

"Interesting associations have developed between plants and insects like that of the Heliconid butterflies and passion flower vines of the genus Passiflora. Passion flower vines contain cyanide-based compounds for protection against predators. However, Heliconid caterpillars have adapted to these compounds and are able to eat the vine's leaves. Therefore, Heliconid butterflies lay their eggs directly on the passion flower vine, so the larvae will have easy access to their food source. Passion flowers have counter-adapted to the behavior by developing mechanisms to discourage Heliconid butterflies from laying eggs on their leaves. Some Passiflora have evolved structures (actually nectaries) that create housing and produce excess nectar for ants. In return, the ants attack anything, including butterfly eggs, that intrudes on their host. One- upping their predators, some Passiflora have structures that mimic the eggs of Heliconid butterflies. Since a Heliconid butterfly will not lay its eggs on leaves that already have (or appear to have) these eggs, she will move on to another plant. In this manner, Passiflora deter Heliconid butterflies without devoting any resources to the production of nectar for a guard of ants, a technique of protection adopted by many other plants as their primary means of defense."

So there you go! I hope I did justice to the subject... There are plenty of examples out there that I have no idea off... this is just a limited selection of "plant cleverness" that I know off. I hope my short article successfully piqued your interest in finding out more about the weird and wonderful world of nature that we are losing fast... please do your part to preserve this lovely story so that we can show them to our children!


Friday, June 13, 2008

why I always avoid supplements and pooh pooh those that do

Vitamins 'may shorten your life' Research has suggested certain vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death. A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying. Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body's natural defences. "Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," according to the review by the respected Cochrane Collaboration. The research involved selecting various studies from 817 on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium which the team felt were the most likely to fairly reflect the impact of the supplements on reducing mortality. It has been thought that these supplements may be able to prevent damage to the body's tissues called "oxidative stress" by eliminating the molecules called "free radicals" which are said to cause it. This damage has been implicated in several major diseases including cancer and heart disease. 'Just eat well' The trials involved 233,000 people who were either sick or were healthy and taking supplements for disease prevention. VITAL VITAMIN FACTS Vitamin A: Found in: Oily fish, eggs and liver; Good for: Thought to boost immune system, and help skin, sight and sperm formation Vitamin C: Found in: Many fruit and vegetables; Good for: Helps heal wounds and assists the body in absorbing iron, may boost the immune system Vitamin E: Found in: Vegetable oils, seeds and nuts; Good for: May help boost circulation and keep elderly people active Beta-carotene: Found in: Vegetables that are reddish-orange in colour; Good for: May boost vision and keep the mind sharp Selenium: Found in: Butter, nuts, liver and fish; Good for: May boost the immune system How many take vitamins? Between 10-20% of people in the West How much is the global market worth? About $2.5bn (£1.3bn)
After various factors were taken into account and a further 20 studies excluded, the researchers linked vitamin A supplements to a 16% increased risk of dying, beta-carotene to a 7% increased risk and vitamin E to a 4% increased risk. Vitamin C did not appear to have any effect one way or the other, and the team said more work was needed into this supplement - as well as into selenium. In conclusion, "we found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention," they said. It was unclear exactly why the supplements could have this effect, but the team speculated that they could interfere with how the body works: beta-carotene, for instance, is thought to change the way a body uses fats. The Department of Health said people should try to get the vitamins they need from their diet, and avoid taking large doses of supplements - a market which is worth over £330m in the UK. Vitamin supplements help and are not a substitute
Joel Kosminsky, London

"There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals," a spokesperson said. "Their impact on long-term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk." A 'stitch-up' But the Health Supplements Information Service, which is funded by the association which represents those who sell supplements, said many people were simply not able to get everything they needed from their diet. Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. Dr Rosemary Leonard's advice on vitamins "For the millions who are not able to do that, vitamins can be a useful supplement and they should not stop taking them," said spokeswoman Pamela Mason. Another nutritionist who has formulated supplements described the review as a "stitch-up", arguing it only looked at studies which examined the effect they had on reducing mortality, rather than other advantages. "Antioxidants are not meant to be magic bullets and should not be expected to undo a lifetime of unhealthy habits," said Patrick Holford. "But when used properly, in combination with eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking, antioxidant supplements can play an important role in maintaining and promoting overall health."


Read the Numbers on Your Fruit

I just found this out about a month ago and I've been an organic vegan for over four years,
go figure. That just goes to say that we must all remain as students and continue to learn
and learn — never stop studying and gaining new information.

Okay, so what did I learn?

I learned that sticker labels on the fruits actually tell you how the fruits have been grown —
whether they were organically grown or conventionally grown with pesticides and herbicides;
oh, and let's not forget about the genetically engineered fruits.

Conventional Fruit Labels
Four digits and does not start with 9
** mostly starting with the digit 4

Organic Fruit Labels
Five digits and starts with number 9

Genetically Modified Fruits
Start with the digit 8

** this is good to know because stores aren't obligated to tell you if a fruit has been
genetically modified (grrr….)

Okay, so if you come across an apple in the store and it's labels4922, it's an conventional
apple grown with herbicides and harmful fertilizers. If it has a sticker 99222, it's organic
and safe to eat. If it says 89222, then RUN!!!! It has been genetically modified (GMO).


by TV Smith

Improve your vehicle's fuel consumption - by as much as 40% - by changing the way you currently drive. There is a catch, though. You'll no longer qualify as a Malaysian driver...
Link to this artcle: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/130505_fuel.html
1. Pump More Here & Pump Less There
Don't wait until your car senget one side before inflating your tyres. Low tyre pressure forces your engine to work and drink harder. Driving on underinflated tyres also reduces the life of the tyres. A lose-lose situation.

2. Dig Your Nose
Digging your nose (patience ! ) is more economical than gunning your engine while waiting at traffic lights. Jack rabbit starts cost you even more. Never floor the pedal unless there's an express bus looming in your rearview mirror. Learn how to accelerate (and brake) smoothly for better fuel efficiency.

3. Pay It Again Sam
You may be using an alternative toll-free road as a sign of protest or as a means of saving money. If the the old route is perpetually congested and longer, you may end up burning more fuel than the toll saved. Sad but often true.

4. Go Look Stop
Are you one of those who frequently get stuck behind a stalled vehicle, crash into road humps or potholes? If you look further than 3 meters while driving, you can better anticipate obstacles and avoid fuel guzzling start-stop situations. Good reason not to tailgate too.

5. Make Up Your Mind
I don't know if it's kiasuness or indecisiveness that makes people drive with the other foot riding the brake pedal. A slight touch might not be noticeable to you but it strains the engine, wears out your brakes prematurely and confuses the poor driver behind. Make sure your handbrake is down all the way too.
Link to this artcl
6. Get Rid Of Freeloaders
The less passengers the less weight. The less load the better the fuel economy. If you want to car pool, pool the cost. Clear your boot by removing unutilised items like golf sets, prams, barbecue sets, scuba gear, etc.

7. Bear With Crow Shit
Park your car under the shade wherever possible. The hotter your car interior becomes, the harder the air-conditioning needs to work later, the more fuel the engine consumes as a result. The hot sun also increases fuel loss through evaporation.

8. Stay Safe & Save
Fuel consumption jumps dramatically after a certain speed. Keeping to the speed limit saves you more than traffic fines. Driving at 120 kph, rather than 100 kph, may increase fuel consumption by another 25 percent. The dangers of speeding far outweigh the travel time saved.

9. Get A Life
Stop pissing off your neighbours in the mornings and do yourself a favour. Most modern cars have no chokes or carburetors, so there's no need for long, noisy engine warm- ups. Hard revving a cold engine kills it faster than driving it.

10. Let The Bugger Go
There's no need to catch up with an offending driver just to show a finger or fist. You end up either paying more for fuel or a hefty hospital bill.

11. Learn From Your Mistakes
If your wife or girlfriend says she needs to pop into a warehouse sale for a quick look-see, find a parking spot and turn off the engine. Long idling wastes fuel and pollutes the environment.
Link to this artcle:
12. Don't Be A Drag Queen
Remove that empty showoff roof rack or that ugly ill-designed Ah Beng spoiler as it causes unnecessary drag. Smoking with your windows down at cruising speed also increases drag. Newer cars (except the Juara) are aerodynamically designed for fuel efficiency. Stop adding unnecessary external accessories such as jutting elbows.

13. Meter The Meter
Keep track of your car's fuel consumption by monitoring the odometer or tripmeter. A sudden drop may mean mechanical problems. Timely oil change and other maintenance can save you significant amount of fuel.

14. Try A Different Nasi Lemak
All petrol are the same except for the additives and advertising. Contrary to what most Malaysians believe, you can mix your fuel. There's really no need to waste fuel by driving out of the way just to fill up your favourite brand and redemption card.
Link to this artcle:

15. Get A New Boss
Use online banking or find a better employer. Stop driving to an ATM every hour just to check whether your salary is in.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Black holes Etc.

We know black holes as an entity with such great gravity that light itself can't escape its pull... hence the name (seen in the telescope)

Sometimes we see stuff spewing out of it and recently this phenomenon is explained>>

""While we may never know what it looks like inside a black hole, astronomers recently obtained one of the closest views yet. The sighting allowed scientists to confirm theories about how these giant cosmic sinkholes spew out jets of particles travelling at nearly the speed of light.

Ever since the first observations of these powerful jets, which are among the brightest objects seen in the universe, astronomers have wondered what causes the particles to accelerate to such great speeds. A leading hypothesis suggested the black hole's gigantic mass distorts space and time around it, twisting magnetic field lines into a coil that propels material outward.

Now researchers have observed a jet during a period of extreme outburst and found evidence that streams of particles wind a corkscrew path away from the black hole, as the leading hypothesis predicts.

"We got an unprecedented view of the inner portion of one of these jets and gained information that's very important to understanding how these tremendous particle accelerators work," said Boston University astronomer Alan Marscher, who led the research team. The results of the study are detailed in the April 24 issue of the journal Nature.

The team studied a galaxy called BL Lacertae (BL Lac), about 950 million light years from Earth, with a central black hole containing 200 million times the mass of our Sun. Since this supermassive black hole's jets are pointing nearly straight at us, it is called a blazar (a quasar is often thought to be the same as a blazar, except its jets are pointed away from us).

The new observations, taken by the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope, along with NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer and a number of optical telescopes, show material moving outward along a spiral channel, as the scientists expected.

These data support the suggestion that twisted magnetic field lines are creating the jet plumes. Material in the center of the galaxy, such as nearby stars and gas, gets pulled in by the black hole's overwhelming gravity and forms a disk orbiting around the core (the material's inertia keeps it spiraling in a disk rather than falling straight into the black hole). The distorted magnetic field lines seem to pull charged particles off the disk and cause them to gush outward at nearly the speed of light.

"We knew that material was falling in to these regions, and we knew that there were outbursts coming out," said University of Michigan astronomer Hugh Aller, who worked on the new study. "What's really been a mystery was that we could see there were these really high-energy particles, but we didn't know how they were created, how they were accelerated. It turns out that the model matches the data. We can actually see the particles gaining velocity as they are accelerated along this magnetic field."

The astronomers also observed evidence of another phenomenon predicted by the leading hypothesis — that a flare would be produced when material spewing out in the jets hit a shock wave beyond the core of the black hole.

"That behavior is exactly what we saw," Marscher said.

Stephen Hawking theorized the existence of white holes... and that...remains to be seen?

Starfruits are not Evil!

I so want to Post a comment on this topic... But since there's a better one out there..... From theSun newspaper

Starfruit is not the devil
by Kit Chan - Seri Kembangan

I CONGRATULATE theSun on its very concerted effort to report on the current concerns over starfruits in “Oxalate hazard in starfruits” (April 23). You have also created the perfect nightmare for any decent and innocent fruit farmer in the country.

The starfruit is the country’s pride and honour export product. We have just been devastated by the papaya ring spot disease and papaya farmers are still licking their wounds. You have wonderfully added salt to the wounds of the fruit farmers of this country.

Eating starfruit does not kill anyone any more than eating peanuts or MSG or sugar for the population who are sensitive or allergic to these foods.

Many people are allergic to one or many other foods. There is a whole range of natural chemical compounds in tropical fruits and vegetables that we have only just started to understand and to note.

If they are beneficial to the body, we glamorise them by calling these foods “functional foods” and nutritious. If not, we call them toxins.

Every day you can find a scientist coming out with a newly found co-relation between a food compound and the body’s functions. The commercial people have jumped onto the bandwagon by advertising these claims – a cure for cancer, for AIDS, for obesity, etc.

Ordinary consumers do not understand the rocket science of these findings. What then? Do we start a campaign to stop people from eating such and such foods? I am allergic to pomelo. Should I tell the whole world to stop eating pomelo? Such pronouncements are sensational.

There is oxalate content in starfruit. So has spinach and there is a lot more in rhubarb. These are natural contents in many fruits, nuts and vegetables. It is only bad when the oxalate forms calcium oxalate in the body that is insoluble and that accumulates to give you kidney stones.

That is also because the fellow does not drink enough water to flush his system. Rhubarb and spinach and starfruits are not the culprits, rather poor health science and ignorance is the devil. Take care not to demonise the wrong guy.

Kit Chan

Seri Kembangan

Sunday, April 27, 2008

You know... a few years ago... milk was just known as just milk
Well there is liquid milk and powdered milk, cow milk and goat milk
but nowadays It's really scary..

Milk is fortified with Probiotics lah, ARA, DHA, SHA, MAX-IQ, Taurine, Niacin bla-bla
Guaranteed to make your baby the smartest kid in class, the tallest kid in the neighbourhood and the only one left standing when the whole of Malaysia succumbs to the H5N1 virus.

What's wrong with that?
I have this aversion to supplements and it freaks me out.
It's just so unnatural. And they dress up common vitamins with all those fancy names purposely leaving out the descriptions.. and folks just go for the brand of milk with the most number of supplements with names they can't even pronounce.

Then theres the dettol advertisements. If you use dettol, your baby will be sort of a bubble-boy, forever protected in a bubble of anti-germ defense. People sneeze, the droplets get deflected away, he plays with soil and the bacteria evaporate on contact. If you ask me... the bubble case will even bounce off raindrops!!!

Whats wrong with this?

well...If the baby is shielded in this way... how will his own passive and actice immunity ever develop? An early exposure to pathogens is needed if your child is to develop any resistance whatsoever. Kids who roll around in dirt will be healthiest when they are adults. If you use disinfectants everywhere and the living conditions are totally germ free... he will face the consequences when he ventures outside the home.


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