Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This is about a news article in The Star (published on November 12, 2009) that turned out to be a fake news fabricated by a supermarket tabloid 6 years ago.
To save myself the trouble of telling the whole story again, let me attach the complaint letter I wrote to The Star here:
Dear The Star Editor,Let us see how The Star responds to the hoax story they have published.
I am writing with regards to the news on "a study in the US showing that women with bigger breasts were found to be smarter". For your information, this is a fake news which was reported in World Weekly News back in Nov 4, 2003. Yes, from six years ago. The original news is available here. You can verify that this "news" is identical to the one reported in The Star.
Evidence that this news is fake:
I am absolutely appalled by The Star's negligence in verifying the authenticity of the news before the publication. This fake news has now been disseminated widely over the Internet, and your company's negligence is responsible for the misinformation. It is mentioned that this news is compiled from Sin Chew Daily which in turn is quoting from a Singaporean paper, but I have not been able to find the articles in Sin Chew or any Singaporean paper. I would like you to point me to the original article in these papers, so that I can forward this email to them as well.
- World Weekly News is a supermarket tabloid renowned for its outlandish cover stories often based on supernatural and paranormal themes and an approach to news that verged on the satirical.
- Note the informal language this article is written with.
- Read the previous and subsequent pages. Note the trivial and exaggerated writing.
- A search in Google Scholar (Google's academic journal search engine) for published articles by Rossdale in chicago returned no matching result. Google Scholar is a comprehensive academic search engine so the lack of matching result implies the non-existence of the study.
- A search for "yvonne rossdale" in Google shows only copies of the original article from World Weekly News. If you browse through some of the results, there are many websites in which people have pointed out that Dr. Yvonne Rossdale does not exist.
- A search in Google News for "chicago breasts" shows that only The Star and Hindustan Times (which in turn copied The Star I believe) are reporting on this news. No other major news outlet is picking up on this "study".
More importantly, I would like The Star to publish a correction in a conspicuous corner as soon as possible. I fervently hope that in the future your employees remember to verify all news with primary sources (isn't that in Journalism 101 by the way?) before publication lest your reputation deteriorates.
Chang Yang Yew
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I am sure this is not new to geeks like See Hua, but I discovered this convenient trick to get rid of one of the many annoyances in Windows. If you have spent some time with Windows (any of the recent versions including XP, Vista or 7), you would most likely have come across this lovely dialog:
Now, imagine that this happens in the middle of watching your favourite movie, or presenting your powerpoint slides. Should we let Windows take us hostage for its "restart now" compulsion? Of course not. There's an easy way you can kill off this nagging dialog when it appears.
Here's what you do. The following instruction is for Windows XP only, for Windows Vista or Windows 7 please refer to this page.
1. Go to Start --> Run
(for those who like keyboard shortcut, you can also use the combination "Win + R")
That's it, a public message by CY.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
1. Melbourne Cup is an annual horse-racing event held in Melbourne on the first Tuesday every November. The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861.
2. It's widely known as the race that stops a nation. It's also gazetted as a public holiday in Victoria state.
3. About 100,000 people attend the cup day every year. 100,000 dressed-up people.
4. Fashion is a main focus for the attendants at the Melbourne Cup race. Apart from their best dresses, women often wear elegant hats or fascinators (pictured above) as an accessory. It's quite a sight to behold. However, many of these people get drunk and the ground is full of rubbish after the event. It's an eyesore not to behold.
5. 80 percent of all adult Australians population are said to place a bet in any given year's race. The total bet often goes up to 100 million dollars throughout Australia. Australia's population is 20 million, so it comes up to everyone in the country placing an average of 5-dollar bet in the race.
6. The winner this year, Shocking, came first at a 11-1 odd. It means that if you bet $10 for a win, you would have earned $110 at the end of the day. One punter took home $440,000 on a $40,000 stake. If you bet one of the other 22 horses in the race you lose all your money. Apart from winner you can also bet for places (top three), quinella, trifecta, first four, big 6 and so on.
7. Melbourne Cup is one of the races where a handicap is placed on the horses based on their previous performances. The handicap is in the form of weight they are stipulated to carry during the race. For example, if a horse has recently won a race, it might be "penalised" and be required to carry an extra one kilogram. This is meant to "equalise" the winning chances of all participating horses.
8. As a result of the above, jockeys need to be extremely light. Since the stipulated handicap weight is usually around 55 to 60 kilograms, and this includes the jockey's weight, the jockeys have to weigh in at somewhere in the low 50 kilograms. As part of the job jockeys would do almost anything to keep their weight down. Some turn anorexic, restricting their diet vigorously and purging routinely to lose weight. In fact some racecourses have specific "heaving bowls" in its toilets for the purpose of purging. Amongst other drastic methods to lose weight include the use of illegal drugs, diuretics, wrapping themselves in a hot bag and sweat off the weight. All these are detrimental to health and can cause death in severe cases, and they can make jockeys look older than they are. It's an ugly scene not widely known behind the glamour of the whole industry.
9. In exchange the jockeys can earn a considerable amount of money if they are successful. A top jockey can earn more than one million dollars a year.
10. I went to the 2009 Melbourne Cup and burned my ears and nose.
More photos will come later. This photo is courtesy of Wee Loon.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
A day before his 15th birthday, the son of a wealthy family was asked by his father, “Well my son, what would you like for your birthday?”
The son hesitated a moment and his father’s thoughts leapt ahead to a new computer and similar things. However, his son had had a new computer only recently and could have a new one any time he wished.
Finally, the son said, “Father, I have everything a boy could wish for, but there is one thing I would really like. I would love to have a pink ping pong ball.”
The father was rather astonished at this wish, but said, “If it is a pink ping pong ball that you want, a pink ping pong ball you shall have.”
And so, the next day, the son was given as his bithday present a pink ping pong ball.
The boy took the ball to his room and the next morning the pink ping pong ball was gone. The father was mildly surprised but decided not to say anything. The pink ping pong ball, however, was never seen again.
The next year, a day before his 16th birthday, the father asked his son what he would like for his birthday.
“Father,” replied the son, “I have everything a boy could possibly wish for, but there is one thing I would really, really like. I would love to have a tenpack of pink ping pong balls.”
The father was more surprised than the year before, but kept his curiosity at bay, for he knew that his son had a right for privacy. he said therefore, “If it is a tenpack of pink ping pong balls that you want, a tenpack of pink ping pong balls you shall have.”
And so, the next day, the son was given as his birthday present a tenpack of pink ping pong balls.
The boy took the tenpack of balls to his room and the next morning, not a single ball remained, merely the empty husk of the tenpack.
The father wondered where ten pink ping pong balls might disappear to, but decided not to say anything. The pink ping pong balls, however, were never seen again.
The next year, a day before his 17th birthday, the son was asked by his father what he would like for his birthday.
“Father,” said the son to this, “I have everything a boy could wish for, but one thing would make my happiness complete. I would dearly want a carton of pink ping pong balls.”
The father was beyond surprise, but decided to make sure he had not misheard. “A carton of pink ping pong balls?”
“A carton of pink ping pong balls,” the boy confirmed.
“I can’t understand your fascination with pink ping pong balls,” said the father, “but if it is a carton of pink ping pong balls that you want, it is a carton of pink ping pong balls that you shall have.”
And so, the next day, the boy was given as his birthday present a carton of pink ping pong balls.
The boy was delighted and took the carton to his room. The next day, miraculously (as if by magic, even) the pink ping pong balls had all disappeared.
“Dear son,” said the father, “I must ask now, what do you do with all those pink ping pong balls?”
The son, however, was reluctant to tell him. “Please humour me, dear father.”
The carton of pink ping pong balls, however, was never seen again.
The next year, it was clear that the son would get a car, but the father felt that, perhaps, his son also had some other wish apart from the obvious. So, one day before the son’s 18th birthday, the father asked him whether he had a special wish for his birthday.
“Dearest father,” the son started, “I have everything a young man could possibly want, but there is one craving in me. I would, more than anything, want a warehouse full of pink ping pong balls.”
One of these years, his father thought, I should get to the bottom of this. However, he decided to humour his son’s wish. At least he had been wise enough to buy shares in a pink ping pong ball factory.
The next day, the son was given the address of a warehouse where all his new pink ping pong balls were stored. The son was delighted and decided to spend the next night in the warehouse rather than at home.
The following morning, the son stepped out of the warehouse, but it seemed to be empty otherwise. The father had a closer look and indeed, apart from empty cardboard boxes, nothing was left inside the warehouse. No pink ping pong balls were left.
The following year, one day before the son’s 19th birthday, the father braced himself for another warehouse of pink ping pong balls. He asked his son what his deepest desire was and he had not been entirely wrong.
“Father, you have made me very happy these last years and this year I ask of you a shipload of pink ping pong balls if at all possible.”
It was possible, if only because the father had by now bought each and every factory of pink ping pong balls in the country.
The next day, the father took his son to the harbour and showed him a huge tanker and told his son that there were millions, billions, trillions of pink ping pong balls in there.
“Father,” the son said, “You’ve made me very happy yet again.”
That night, the son spent on board the tanker.
The next morning, not a single of the pink ping pong balls could be found, but the son was happy.
A few days before his 20th birthday, however, the son had a terrible road accident and was taken to the hospital.
His father visited the young man in hospital. “My dear son! Can I bring you anything to make you feel better?”
Weakly, the son sat up in bed. “Father, dearest father, grant me this wish; just one tenpack of pink ping pong balls.”
The father held his son’s hand tightly. “Whatever you wish my son, but I have to give you one condition. Even if it may be embarrassing, I must know what you did with all those pink ping pong balls.”
“Very well, father, but please indulge me first. I will tell you whatever you wish to know after you have given me the ten pink ping pong balls.”
The father thought that was fair enough and the next day brought his son the ten asked for pink ping pong balls. The son smiled weakly but seemed too weak to talk.
“Son, I leave these pink ping pong balls with you and shall come back tomorrow to ask of you what you have done with all those pink ping pong balls.”
The son nodded weakly.
The next day, less than surprisingly, no pink ping pong balls could be found in the son’s hospital room.
“Now, my dearest son, apple of my eye, treasure of my life, please tell me what you did with all those pink ping pong balls,” the father requested.
The son nodded and the father gripped his hand tighter.
“I-” the son started and sat up a bit, swallowing with a dry mouth.
Then he died.
Posted by changyang1230 at 10:17 PM