Before You Can Reach for Space…


Read these first:-

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(Space exploration – this is where the future lies and we need to look beyond, move beyond our comfort zone. Image source: discovermagazine.com)

Well, let’s read this interesting piece of development when it comes to the direction of the nation:-

Malaysia now has a National Space Policy to allow the country to look into developing technologies related to aerospace and turn it into a new economic contributor.

With the policy in place, authorities can plan to develop this sector systematically and ensure it is well managed so that the nation will benefit from it.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that fields related to space science, be it research or creating new technologies, have vast potential and he was confident that Malaysia could become a significant contributor to the world in these areas.

The Prime Minister said he was happy to read about the success story of astrophysics PhD student Nurul Adlyka Ainul Annuar, whose discovery in the field of astronomy made headlines around the world.

(Source)

Malaysia does not have an organisation as big as or as well-run as or as well financed as NASA when it comes to the space and related studies. But we do have these organisations that ensured Malaysians do not missed out on the space race:-

ANGKASA – It is our own National Space Agency and their mission is to develop the country’s potential in the space sector to support the development of the new economy, generate knowledge and strengthen the national security infrastructure.

National Planetarium – It have shows about astronomy and the night sky and also handles training in celestial navigation.

National Science Centre – out of it’s many missions under it’s arm is provide interactive science exhibits and simplify the implementation of science and technology. In essence, helping to create a scientific society.

The above of course excludes the various Ministries and other lesser agencies related to the area of education, space, science and technology. Well, in conclusion, at least we do have something – which is better than nothing. And it is good that the Government is also looking into that general direction with the introduction of a National Space Policy.

The NSC, which was set up last year, was based on the rationale that the Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) agenda could be monitored and coordinated under one council only to avoid duplication.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI), Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said the formulation of the National Space Policy enabled the planning and development of the national space sector to be implemented in a more proper manner for efficient management.

He said the policy formed the basis for the formulation of the Outer Space Act aimed at supervising activities and operations relating to the space sector such as the launching and operation of satellites, registration of objects launched into outer space, the operation of an Earth station and related activities.

(Source)

Frankly speaking, it is a giant step for the nation, it is the right step indeed – we need the drive towards science and space explorations. We need more people who will be able to look beyond. That’s great indeed. However, this is the Bolehland that we are talking about and in the Bolehland, we have this ugly side of religion that seems to spook people from thinking aloud and even come up with silliest stunt. I mean if we cannot kill the monster on silly things, how we even going to look into the vast area called space.

Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his displeasure with the conduct of enforcement officers during the recent operation against traders selling the paintbrushes, saying they should have not been too hasty, The Star reported.

“I understand the issue with the paintbrushes with pig bristles but we cannot simply confiscate and compound the traders.

“We are living in a multiracial society, we have to respect other races in this country,” he said during a Chinese New Year gathering at SJK Chung Hua yesterday.

Earlier this week, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry confiscated paintbrushes suspected to be made from pig bristles and slapped traders with compounds.

Najib disagreed with the conduct of enforcement officers and said the ministry should have advised traders to label the paintbrushes accordingly.

(Source)

And it did not take long before other silly questions started to crop up – namely on the blood and organ donation of non Muslims and for Muslims. The comments on the social media on the above was less forgiving though – especially when one hand, paint brushes using pig bristles was eagerly confiscated and made headlines but on the other hand, blood & organs of people who probably had pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner their whole life was somehow acceptable. Personally, I agree that blood donation and organ allocation should not be based on race, religion, background, social standing and others.

And there is the picky issue of Science and Mathematics not taught in English. We are still doing flip flops on what language we want to drive this nation on excelling on these 2 key subjects that plays a big role when it comes to the science and space exploration. Mind you that the example that Najib used in his speech, the PHD student, Nurul Adlyka Ainul Annuar was a not a student in local university. She is in fact currently pursuing her PhD in Astrophysics at the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University in the United Kingdom where I trust the language of Science is not in Bahasa. And she was not alone in making the discovery – she was part of a team that made the discovery.

The point is that before you look up and look beyond into the space, you need to look down and see whether we have a more opened and matured society that is keen to work with others and doesn’t simply dismisses an argument or a theory without the notion of religion and race. We need more enpowered people who will be able to spur the nation to greater heights, to space and beyond.

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Reviewed: Star Wars: The Force Awaken


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(The first of the 3 under Disney – the world of Star Wars have moved on and rebooted with a mix of old and new characters and some dose of the old movies. Poster source: http://www.starwars.com)

“A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”

Those iconic words alone had my heart pumping hard and left me in a trance. The new Star Wars movie is THE movie that both me and my son have been waiting for ever since the rumors of a new Star Wars movie first started on the net a few years ago.

And when the day finally came, we wanted to book our tickets on the very first day but it was a good thing that my wife talked me out of it. After all, the cinema will definitely show it for weeks to come and we can pick out time to watch the movie leisurely. So why rush and get a screwed place in the cinema. But three days into the opening, we were at the mall for some shopping and whilst I waited for my wife to finish her shopping, I ventured into the Cineplex and noticed that it was almost empty and for the Star Wars screening, there were plenty of seats still left. That was interesting because I had friends who unable to get tickets for the movie. We immediately bought the tickets for the movie for the next day and on the day of screening, the cinema was only half empty – a number of them was elderly (must be diehard fans).

So, how was the movie?

In summary, the movie was awesome and was much better than George Lucas’ prequels. There is was less special effects and there was more meat in the storyline although killing off Hans Solo sucked. To be frank, the new movie almost mirror-ed the first 3 movies – still remember “these are not the droids that you are looking for?”. Yup, the same here but with cuter BB-8 and a very large Death Star.

Looper reported:-

Rey is an orphaned techno-wiz who lives on a desert planet called Jakku that looks exactly like Tatooine. She’s got mysteriously absent parents and the Force is strong with her. Sound familiar? There’s also the identical destruction of what is basically the Death Star on steroids, but more on that later. Chewy’s holographic chess set is back, killing your own father to fully embrace the Dark Side of the force is back—albeit with a twist—and there’s a cantina scene, complete with an array of new creatures run by, get this: Maz Kanata. Was Ms. Cantina too on the nose? Oh well, at least nobody shot anyone first this time.

Bingo!!

Seeing the huge crashed Imperial Star Destroyer on the desert reminded me of David Lean’s movies – the way JJ used the space and size to project the situation of the moment. Perfect! The first movie also seemed to be rushing to fill up the missing years between this and the Return of the Jedi. But there were plenty of questions that screams for answers and one hopes that we will get the answers in the next 2 movies. We did not get that in the first movie.

Questions like these:-

• If The Rebellion Won At The End Of Return Of The Jedi, Why Isn’t The War Over?
• Is The Resistance Part Of The New Republic?
• What Has Everyone Been Up To For The Last 34 Years?
• How Did The Lightsaber Get In Maz’s Castle?
• What Happened To The Shot In Teaser Trailer #2 Of Maz Handing General Leia The Lightsaber?
• Who Was Max Von Sydow’s Character? Why Did He Have The Map?
• How Does Rey Know How To Use Force Powers?
• How Do Rey and Finn Know How To Fight With A Lightsaber?
• Is Rey a Skywalker?
• Or Is Rey A Kenobi?
• What If Rey’s Parents Were No One We Even Know?
• What Happens In Rey’s Vision?
• Who Was Rey Raised By?
• Who Are Finn’s Parents? How Did He Join The First Order?
• Why Does R2-D2 Suddenly Wake Up? Why Did He Have The Map?
• Why Did Kylo Ren Turn To The Dark Side?
• Who Are The Knights Of Ren?
• Who Is Supreme Leader Snoke? Is He A Giant?
• Is Supreme Leader Snoke Actually Darth Plagueis?
• Why Didn’t Snoke Want To Find Luke Skywalker?
• Why Didn’t Leia Train As a Jedi?
• How Did Kylo Get Darth Vader’s Mask?
• Why Was Finn Unable To Kill?
• Why Did Luke Skywalker Disappear? Has He Turned To The Dark Side Of The Force?
• What Happened To The Clone Army? Could The Clones Return?
• Did Phasma Survive The Destruction of Starkiller Base?
• Did Hux and Kylo Ran Survive The Destruction of Starkiller Base?
• How Is It That Rey Understands BB-8 & Chewbacca’s Languages?

(Source)

And there was even more questions:-

Several glaring problems that are impossible to overlook, in no particular order:-

1. Orange Yoda has the saber Luke lost on Bespin, “but that’s a story for another time”? No. That seems pretty important. Tell us now.

2. We never find out how Poe Dameron survived the TIE fighter crash on Jakku and reconnected with the Resistance (all while completely abandoning Finn, his supposed new BFF). Dameron just shows back up flying an X-Wing, an odd thing for a dead guy to do.

3. Why and how was there a map to find Luke Skywalker? Shouldn’t it just be coordinates?

4. Why do Max von Sydow’s character (whoever he was) and R2-D2 share the two pieces of this map? Did Luke give it to them in case of emergency?

5. The Starkiller Base is used to destroy an entire planetary system, which we are led to believe is populated by the Galactic Senate. Or maybe it wasn’t? The aftermath of the First Order’s attack is not made clear. The First Order is also preparing to fire at the planet where the Resistance is based, yet nobody makes any attempt to evacuate? Leia just sits there, hoping the Resistance blows up the Starkiller Base in a battle that presumably takes place light years away.

6. The fact that those five planets were just wiped out by an opposing force doesn’t seem to matter to anyone once it’s done.

7. How were Finn and Rey able to use a light saber so expertly with no training? How could Rey fly the Falcon or use the Force? How were either of them able to take on Kylo Ren and not get killed within seconds? Clearly Rey is strong with the Force, yet we’ve always been led to believe someone has to receive training in order to wield it properly.

8. This also brings up the issue of it being unclear just how strong Kylo Ren is. When first introduced, he stops a laser bolt which was fired at his back from what essentially amounts to a sniper’s position. Ren then keeps the laser in mid-air — without even thinking about it — and while doing his mind-reading thing. We’ve never seen anybody do this before. Aren’t we to assume, then, he is very powerful and not to be fucked with?

9. If that’s the case, why is Ren then wounded by Chewie, whose presence was made as he screamed before taking the shot? Shouldn’t Ren have been able to stop that crossbow fire or at least block it with his saber?

10. The plot does not lead to its climax. The Starkiller Base is thrown in late and suddenly becomes the driving plot point, but prior to which the entire story revolved around the search for Luke. If you think about the rebels in A New Hope, their entire motive was destroying the Death Star. We don’t see all of it because we’re following Luke, but that’s their only goal. It all leads to the Battle of Yavin. The Force Awakens abruptly shifts from finding Luke being the most important thing to “Hang on, we gotta blow up this thing first. Shouldn’t take too long. No big deal.”

11. Han dies. Chewie cries. Leia makes a sad face. Then, five minutes pass and everybody moves on. Darth Vader got his own funeral scene! Han just falls off a bridge. More drama was felt when Han was frozen in Carbonite, no? Is J.J. Abrams video game-style pacing sloppy, or is it intentional so that the audience has little time to digest and scrutinize? (Chris Nolan is arguably guilty of the same with The Dark Knight Rises.)

12. “The Starkiller Base won’t detect you if you just haul ass directly into it at light speed! #yolo.” Remember the good old days when traveling at light speed required “precise calculations”?

13. What was the point of the Chrome trooper? She literally did NOTHING. If it was an effort to gender-balance, why not make the Grand Moff Tarkin Jr character female instead of casting Domhnall Gleeson?

14. What did the Starkiller being powered by the sun have to do with anything? How did that function as a plot point? And how was the First Order able to fire its weapon more than once if it drains the sun of its energy?

15. No Cliff Claven cameo.

16. It often felt as if Han or Leia didn’t give two fucks about their split-up or their son turning evil. Abrams’ spastic pacing may likely be the main culprit for why it was so difficult to feel sold on any characters’ motivations or despair, but you have to wonder if, in between takes, Harrison Ford was thumbing through a yacht catalog and thinking how he’s going to spend the big pay-day.

17. Another example of the audience’s emotional disconnect from characters: Were we supposed to care for Finn when he made what was an instant heel-face turn?

18. Why was General Leia’s military outfit called “The Resistance” when the Republic had been rebuilt after Episode VI? The First Order was not the dominant governing force, but an up and coming terrorist organization. They were more likely to be referred to as a “Resistance” or as “Rebels.” So why wasn’t Leia’s “Resistance” just called “the Republic Army” or “Republic Special Forces”?

(Source)

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(My 2 favorite characters in the movie – Rey and BB-8. Image source: http://io9.gizmodo.com/)

There is a mixed feelings on the new characters too…

The next “Darth” in this movie – Kylo Ren whilst had get potentials, he seems to be too emotional as compared to the Vader in the first movies where Vader (and even Darth Maul for that matter) is ruthless and all round powerful. And does he really need to kill his father (Hans Solo) to move on the next step towards the dark side? He sucks at saber fights as well despite able to hold blaster laser in suspense in the starting scene of the movie (that was brilliant!). He also highly over shadowed and down played by General Hux which should not be the case. I hope he redeems himself in the next installment of the new movie – a total failure in this movie.

On the other hand, the strong one in the movie, Rey was simply lovable and have plenty of promises and I can’t wait to see how she moves on with the Force in the next 2 movies. She is no nonsense Jedi in the making and it shows from the time she first appears in the movie. A scavenger, alone and away from family – she is tough and holds herself well. JJ made the right move in creating this character and wrote a good storyline to complement it.

The confused storm trooper, Finn is a big mystery here and is a complete waste of time and space. Firstly donning a storm trooper suit and unable to shoot and follow instructions is an insult to all that perfect, brave and efficient foot soldiers of the Empire and secondly it is clear from the start that Rey does not need Finn to save her. After all, she is more powerful, smarter and more prepared than him. I can still understand if they want to put Finn in the movie for comical situations but why he has to be a storm trooper! Further it seems like having Finn assisting Poe to escape seems to just an excuse to introduce the character. Blame it on Kylo Ren for having such a sloppy security guarding the most important rebel on the ship.

Poe Dameron suppose to be the best pilot in the galaxy but I don’t see him much better than Rey (when they escape from Jakku) or Hans Solo from the older movie. So once again, what is the point of having him in the movie again? The Death Star was destroyed from the inside by Hans Solo, Chewy, Finn and Rey and not be the pilot who managed to hit the bull’s eye (still remember Luke with the first Death Star?).

Maz Kanata is dubbed as the Orange Yoda in the internet and rightly so. She can speak better English than Master Yoda (get me, you do?) and I like her from the first time she appears in the movie. She is mysterious and aged but what she is doing in a bar? The new “emperor” Snoke is a still CGI, alien like character that still needs more screen hour. For now he is still a large hologram giving orders and promising to do this and that. This movie is not ready for him yet.

And finally, the star of the movie, BB-8. It is a mini R2-D2 but with less attitude than R2-D2. Just like R2-D2, it has a mission, very loyal to its master and critical to the plot and it is the droid that the new Empire is looking for. It is smaller and it is alone – no bugging C3-PO to question it’s actions. Now just imagine the dynamic duo in action in the next movie and C3-PO into the equation. It is going to be a blast.

Having said that, to be frank, the movie was worth the watch. It was great to see Millennium Falcon, TIE fighters and the formidable X-Wings again. Same goes to Hans Solo, Luke, Chewbacca, Leia, C3-PO and R2-D2. The next movie is scheduled on 26th May 2017 and the final installation in 2019.

A Long, Long Way from Pluto


We have passed the half way of this year and considering what we have gone through so far, one hopes that the year would end sooner than expected. But before that, when it comes to the topic of science and space, 3 things would have made the year 2015 very sweet indeed.

One would be the NASA spacecraft New Horizons

NHHopkinsPoster_posterSize

(Poster source: http://www.theplanetstoday.com/)

The spacecraft which had reached the planet Pluto (yes, it is a planet) is now one of the fastest man made craft with relative velocity of 49,600 km/h – the record is still held by Voyager 1, currently traveling at 61,720 km/h relative to the Sun. And frankly speaking Pluto never looked so beautiful before this and with radio signals taking four and a half hours to travel between the spacecraft and Earth, the spacecraft can only transmit data at 1 to 2 Kbps, which means that the transmission of all data (for last 10 years) will require sixteen months (source: Wikipedia).

And that 16 months is only on the download of data and not excluding the months, even years of data analysis. And if you had watched the documentary on New Horizons, the journey to Pluto is no small feat either – the journey itself took almost 10 years (to be more accurate – 9 years, 5 months and 25 days) and a journey of 7.5 billion kilometers and avoiding the various mechanical and debris that could have disabled the spacecraft on the spot.

This mission was a big success indeed and that is not the end of the story

Gladman said the chance of it visiting a third object after that is “pretty slim” as the density of objects in the Kuiper Belt falls off further away from the sun. However, there is one last thing scientists hope New Horizons will explore — one of the boundaries of the solar system.

The boundary of the heliosphere is where the sun’s magnetic field and solar winds lose their power. New Horizons is expected to reach that boundary in about 20 years, with a much more complete set of instruments than the Voyager 1 spacecraft did when it hit the edge of the heliosphere in 2013. While many of Voyager’s instruments had failed by that point, Green says, New Horizons’ instruments are “very healthy” and are expected to be able to take very good measurements of the solar wind as it exits the heliosphere.

(Source)

The next thing that is going to make this year really, really sweet is the next installment of the Star Wars and one that brings back very familiar faces (we will miss Master Yoda though).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to hit the local cinemas sometime in December 2015. It is set 30 years after the events in the Return of the Jedi. I am huge fan of Star Wars franchise and even though I missed watching the original movies in cinema, I made sure I watched them again when George Lucas released them again – the special edition ones. I lost count the number of times I watched the first Star Wars movie – probably more than 50 times over the years. And I have done the same for all installment of Star Wars movies todate. It is going to be the same coming December.

And finally, the discovery of Earth 2.0

earth 20 large

(Image source: NASA)

With more discoveries that we expect to make in the near future and planned man journey to Mars, we are going to have very interesting time sending spacecrafts and understanding of the universe.

Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered “the closest twin to Earth” outside the solar system, NASA announced on Thursday.

Working off four years’ worth of data from the Kepler space telescope, researchers from NASA, the Seti Institute and several universities announced the new exoplanet along with 12 possible “habitable” other exoplanets and 500 new candidates in total. The new planet, named Kepler 452b, is “the closest twin to Earth, or the Earth 2.0 that we’ve found so far in the dataset”, said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for Nasa’s mission directorate.

The research suggests 452b has five times the mass of Earth, is about 1.5bn years older, and has a gravity about twice as powerful as our own. About 1,400 light years away, Kepler 452b orbits a star similar to our sun, and at about the same distances as Earth orbits the sun, meaning it has a similar length year and exists in the “habitable zone” where liquid water can exist on a planet.

(Source)

I too have been traveling lately but I did not miss catching up on the latest on the scandal involving Najib & his wife (yes, the one who admitted that the account that had RM2 million belonged to her). Some politicians are claiming that it is nothing but attempts to bring down a democratically elected government. But seriously think about all the nonsense that the current government have done when it comes to management of taxpayers money and you will seriously doubt it’s innocence.

To be frank, there have been too many smoking guns – from Sarawak Report, the Edge, WSJ, opposition politicians and even from the Task Force themselves and one cannot simply ignore it. After all, despite of all the very damaging expose, Najib or his wife have yet to bring any civil suit against Sarawak Report, the Edge or WSJ. The request for information on the WSJ was rebuked by WSJ by asking the lawyer acting for Najib to go and read themselves the articles which they say is “self explanatory”. One only have to say “ouchhh!!”. There was plenty of psychological warfare at both ends and to some extent it did create plenty of confusion. There were even 2 bankruptees in the picture.

However, the fact that Najib & Rosmah neither denied that the accounts belonged to them or took swift legal actions, this seemed to imply that the allegations may not just be allegations. One just hopes that the investigators are hard at work to bring to bring out the truth. After all, no one is above the law.

And the latest expose came from The Edge and the media statement from the publishers of the The Edge nails the aspiration of the people who are tired with the rampant daylight robbery and abuse of taxpayers money & trust. Read the main report here

And for those people who like to use the Non Malays (especially the Chinese) as the bogeyman for all things wrong in this country, you need to re-read the media statement again and again to know that it does not matter if you are a Malay, Chinese, Indian or others, we are all in the same boat and in the same situation. We can close one eye to it and wait for it to come back and bite us on the back or take proactive action and this includes reading and getting all information in place and when the time comes to pick the right people, make your vote count for the right reasons.

And as expected, the reaction from the Government was lame and predictable. A number of people who had reported and questioned on the dealing have been barred from leaving the country and possibly under investigations themselves, possibly for conspiring to topple a democratically elected government under section 124 of the Penal Code. And The Edge now faces 3 months suspension for reporting on the 1MDB:-

A letter from KDN stated that the two publications’ reporting of 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest”.

Failure to stop publication for three months will result in the withdrawal of the publishing permits, the KDN letter said. The Edge Media Group publisher and chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat expressed disappointment with KDN’s decision.

“We don’t see how exposing the scam to cheat the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit can be construed as being detrimental to public and national interest,” said Ho. “This is nothing more than a move to shut us down in order to shut us up.”

(Source)

One have to wonder how one topples a democratically elected government or prejudicial to public order & security to by exposing what went wrong and who did wrong. Which is of the two the bigger evil – this needs to be answered.

And that reminded me of the movie “Sivaji The Boss” which I saw back in 2007 and saw again last week on my flight back. The opening scene is the hero is led to the prison by the police and with the face hidden and amidst huge protest from the public and anger from corrupt politicians & businessmen. In the prison cell, the man in the next cell asks why the hero is in the prison. He ask if the hero had murdered anyone or whether he had cheated the public or whether he had taken sex movies and released them in the internet. The hero will say no to all three suggestion. The man then ask why he is in prison then. The hero will say that he had try to do good for the public. The man then says that the hero deserves to be in prison.

We are going through the same predicament and one just hopes that Malaysians have a clear mind on what need to be done for the country and clean up the system from down to top and not be influenced or involved in cheap politics by people with wrong agenda and purpose. One case stupidity in play was the recent riot at Low Yat. It had nothing to do with race but a small incident of crime unfortunately turned into a major fiasco.

We already missed to boat for a developed nation by the year 2020. It probably will take another 50 years to make this dream to come true.

We already placed the wrong priorities on learning Mathematics and Science by not teaching them in English

We already thinking very little on national unity and the riot at Low Yat simply enforces that notion that people in this country remains divided on petty things

We already ranked up one of the biggest financial scandals in the country’s history and yet no one had resigned or made accountable (despite arrests and travel bans)

This country and its people deserves something much better than the sickening and cheap politics and scandals after scandals. We as humans are making good ways in science and space and this year alone, we had made big leaps in this area. But unfortunately we had hardly moved from our narrow minds in this country. There is a rule of law in this country and adherence to good governance and uploading of fair treatments for all. We may have lost out in picking the right people to administer this country in the last general elections but it should not stop us from making the right decisions in the next one. The country’s good name have taken a good beating in the last 2 years and it has seen it’s share of tragedy which included lost of 2 planes. It’s time to make things right and put things in order.

Snippets – 15 May 2015


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(It is indeed a tragic when an infant dies due to another road user who cared less of the safety of others but other than feeling sad & saying our condolences, what we are doing to ensure another person does not dies in the same manner? Image source: the Net)

Couple days ago, we celebrated Mother’s Day in a big way, thanks to my cousin who organised it. We grouped all the “Moms” to a corner and had the oldest – my grandmother (my mom’s mom) to cut the cake. It was memorable to see the grand lady leading the pack of moms in the celebration.

And whilst the ladies had their own activities, the guys had their own – drinking cold ice beer whilst catching up on the latest news on work, economy, politics, travel and on other times we had been drinking. It was something that I missed in recent times especially when everyone been so busy with their own family and work. I lost count of the cans of beer that I had but it was one of the few nights that I really had a good night sleep. And I did not have any hang-overs in the morning as well. I felt very fresh and was all ready to go to work.

And I think everyone deserves a good night sleep with the confidence that the country is in safe hands. Unfortunately it is not. The truth is the country is in a big bloody mess and we have a Prime Minister who is not only clueless but also thinks that a few show of support from his usual ball carriers means the whole country is squarely behind him. There was a big hoo-haa when Tabung Haji bought over the 1MDB’s land for a value that is much higher than what 1MDB paid for. But that is still fine, property price over time and with improvements made on the land, the price may have appreciated. But that is not why people got pissed off in the first place.

The real reason why people got pissed off was the fact that the people who was involved denied it at first until the evidences started to appear on the internet. Have they forgotten, these days, information flies faster than speed of sound and all information is available at one’s finger tips.

Anyway, as I had said, the country is in a big bloody mess and politicians are still trying to hide the crap under the carpet. And one is going to indulge the many reporting on 1MDB recently, it is going to be a never ending story. And despite the reporting and promises to “get to the bottom” of it, no one been caught and brought in for questioning. Even the fat guy is less worried and is on a shopping spree (hopefully with his own personal money)

One just hope that my fellow Malaysian will still remember this when it comes to the next general election. No matter what kind of “I help you, you help me” promise of better roads, sacks of rice, new schools, donations, new bridge or new houses pledged, it should be the last time that we want to allow something similar to happen again. It will take probably years to clean up the current mess.

Let come back on something that worth a good read and in a way inspirational – thanks this post:-

At the primary school level, up to UPSR, the Tamil schools are scoring the highest grades for science and mathematics. They are even beating the Chinese schools. They have left the sekolah kebangsaan behind. (Sekolah agama, sekolah pondok semua tak payah sebut lah ok.)

And now the Tamil schools are getting into the top league in the UPSR exams. As an example, for 2014 the SRJK (Tamil) Taman Tun Aminah in Johor Bharu produced the best UPSR results in Malaysia. 43 students scored straight 7-A’s and another 43 students scored 7-B’s. Another Tamil school in Johor the SRJKT Masai has also been hitting the big leagues in the UPSR.

(Source)

Whilst I admire and respect the good people behind ASTI (they are doing the right things at the right rime), the fact is there is still an imbalance of how we educate our kids as whole.

Tamil schools despite their shortcomings in terms of logistics and space is doing well due to their teachers and school administrators. And I am sure every types of schools have their own elite accomplishments and directions. For that, I salute them. It is not easy to achieve those things when your hands are tied. But in the end, it does not and will never represent unity. We are still segregating kids by the race, language and perhaps how much money their parents have in their pockets.

Of course, politicians and national policies plays a big role here. But they can only do so much. The other one third need to come from the schools & teachers themselves (as how the Tamil schools have been doing remarkably) whilst the remaining one third is from the parents. Failed to do your duties in any one of them and you will end up with a kid that weak in the command of the language (the one and only English) and subjects that matters most in the new millennium- Science and Mathematics.

No idiot is going to allow you to fly to Mars based on your qualifications in religion (we already having weird revelations in that area). We need more rationale and scientific thinkers in our society.

Then we had the tragic incident of the 2 MYVI drivers who have been “allegedly” racing and ended up causing an accident that killed an infant and her two parents. Whilst the MYVI driver have been hauled up for investigations and will probably be charged for causing death from reckless and dangerous driving which may see the driver jailed between two and 10 years, and be fined between RM5,000 and RM20,000 if found guilty, here’s the sickening part of the whole affair – there is no effective way of booking the drivers who speed on the road.

Still remember AES? Still remember the bunch of morons from the opposition who made so much noise that the Government decided to hold back the wider implementation of AES? The end result of this – death of an infant.

And if the Government promises a better enforcement (as they usually do whenever they have dead bodies on the road), save the trouble – it is not going to happen. They have been saying the same thing on the express buses and motorcyclists without helmet & license but nothing have changed so drastically.

We need to cut to the chase and implement measures that will see a stricter enforcement of the traffic laws and stick on the implementation even if there are unreasonable “noises” questioning the need for such measures. We need to make Malaysian roads safer than ever. After all aren’t we among the top 25 most dangerous countries in the world for road users. It is something we should not be proud off.

Next Stop: The Red Planet?


Read these as well:-

Given the state of the country as at now, you can safely say that when we celebrate the year 2020, this country would not have achieved the status of a “developed country”. So Dr M’s Vision 2020 will remain a vision and will not become a reality, at least in 2020.

For one, religion had taken precedent in key areas of the country and have caused a mismatch of priorities. Instead of us busy with human resource development and preparing the country for a “developed” status, we are busy on which law to use and how holy or religious one must be. And I saw this in play when I went to a shopping complex one fine day and decided to drop by a bookstore as my son wanted to buy a science book. We walked around and realised that there was more books on religion than on science and mathematics. I was hardly surprised – there were more people at the religion book section than at the science & mathematics book section.

Vision 2020 is also doomed to be nothing but fancy slogan because we still place high importance on racial based policies (we still calling ourselves as Malay, Chinese, Indian, etc instead of Malaysian) and on cheap politics. But come year 2020, all is not all lost though. Year 2020 would mark the start of activities that would eventually place humans on the planet Mars by year 2026.

Imagine a human colony on another planet and we don’t have to look another 100 – 200 years for that. We will see that in the next 10 years and it is very exciting news indeed. The company that is taking the exploration one step ahead is Mars One – is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that has put forward plans to land the first humans on Mars and establish a permanent human colony there by 2027.

NA_384397_MADD_mars

(It may not look much now but imagine a lot more people on the surface and with high end technology which allows them to come back to the Earth and back to Mars again? Image source: Mars One)

It may sound far fetching at first and Mars One have been on the receiving end of many as nothing but a scam. Some even question the USD6 billion budget of sending humans to Mars but remember India sent its spacecraft to Mars for mere USD73 million. But think of the feasibility. Think of the possibility.

Mars One lists out the mission feasibility of a human colony in Mars in the following manner:-

Permanent settlement

The Mars One crews consist of people that want to settle on Mars. Absence of a return mission reduces the mission infrastructure radically. No return vehicle, return propellant or the systems to produce the propellant locally are required. Permanent settlement also reduces the required technology development; vehicles that can take off from Mars and return to Earth are currently unavailable and untested. Since the vehicle returning to Earth and the accompanying systems are mission critical for a return mission, they will also require backups adding to the infrastructure that needs to be delivered to Mars. More importantly, to attain a somewhat acceptable risk level, the return mission would need to be tested in a complete unmanned return trip before the first crew even departs the Earth. Even after a full test of the return system is successfully performed, the risk for a crew that will ride the first return rocket would be very high: 126 rockets launched from Earth since 1990 failed to deliver their payloads in the correct orbit.

Permanent settlement also solved the challenge of the astronauts entering into Earth’s atmosphere after having spent about two years in reduced or zero gravity environments.

Use of In-Situ resources

Mars has resources that can be used for a sustainable settlement. Water is present in the soil and can be made available to the settlement for hygiene, drinking, and farming. It is also the source of oxygen generated through electrolysis. Nitrogen and Argon in the Martian atmosphere can be mined to be the inert part of the atmosphere inside the habitat. Martian soil will cover the outpost to block cosmic radiation. Carbon dioxide can be taken from the atmosphere if the plants take in more than the humans expel.
The systems to mine water from the soil and to mine Nitrogen, Argon, and Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere have never been tested in space. Mars is however not space because there is gravity and a thin atmosphere. Additionally, the processes are all more than 100 years old. The water can be collected from the soil by breaking up the soil with a drill and harvesting the resulting debris. Argon and Nitrogen can be collected from the atmosphere by removing the Carbon dioxide through a phase change.

Solar panels

The Sun is a reliable, robust, and plentiful energy source. Using solar panels is the best choice for Mars One since it takes away the requirement to develop and launch a nuclear reactor, thereby saving time and money while avoiding the risks and concerns of the use of a nuclear power source.
Thin film solar (photovoltaic) panels will power the Mars One settlement. These are less efficient than those more commonly used in aerospace, but have the advantage of being extremely light, and are thus easily transportable. The first settlement will install approximately 3000 square meters of power generating surface area.

Existing technology

No new major developments or inventions are needed to make the mission plan a reality. Established suppliers can build each stage of Mars One mission plan. While most of the components required are not immediately available with the exact specifications, there is no need for radical modifications to the current component designs.

Every effort was made to design the mission with as little complexity as possible. The choice to send permanent settlers removes the need for a heavy lift launch vehicle, which does not currently exist. Permanent settlement makes the landing module small enough to land with current technology. A pressurized rover will not be sent to Mars until large enough rockets exists. No water recycling in the transit habitat will be present because the trip to Mars takes only 210 days. Instead, all required water is stored in tanks that also function as radiation shielding. Storage of waste that is not easily recycled is available in the settlement until more technology is available.

(Source)

And just look at the number of people who shown interest in the Mars One project:-

Mars One applicants come from over 140 countries; the largest numbers are from the United States (24%), India (10%), China (6%), Brazil (5%), Great Britain (4%), Canada (4%), Russia (4%), Mexico (4%), Philippines (2%), Spain (2%), Colombia (2%), Argentina (2%), Australia (1%), France (1%), Turkey (1%), Chile (1%), Ukraine (1%), Peru (1%), Germany (1%), Italy (1%) and Poland (1%).

(Source)

The first 3 nations are well known for their eagerness and competition in space exploration. Out of the three, US and India already have rovers and space crafts orbiting Mars. And I am pretty sure the Chinese will do so soon as well although these guys are busy exploring the moon (hmmm, they know something we don’t?). And Malaysia is involved in Mars One in 2 areas – our own Angkasawan, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is an ambassador for Mars One and three brave explorers from Malaysia including a woman.

SPACE: India Mars mission

(It’s only cost USD70 million to launch a space craft to the Red Planet. Trim down the money spent on wars, religion conflict and corruption and you can send hundreds of the space craft to many part of the solar system. Image source: engtechmag.wordpress.com)

Mars One is an one way trip as there is no way (presently) to bring the space explorer back. The environment is harsh and there is no guarantee, despite the mission feasibility, that the colony will succeed, especially when the next human civilization is million kilometers away (230,000,000 km to be exact) and in case of emergency, one cannot simply dial up 999 and ask for help. Rescue mission if it is to be done, will take months to prepare and execute and by then, any rescue mission would have been redundant.

Mars One itself can go bankrupt and may not be able to bring the next set of explorers to add to the colony. Anything can happen. After all, it took a lot of research, time, risk and money to send man to the moon, so what more another planet and that too for one way trip. But there are good reasons to make this trio to Mars, namely:-

To give our kids new Hope, careers and Dreams — beyond merely surviving in a world of growing terrorism, more “police state” responses, with increasing resource and energy scarcity ultimately leading to endless global wars

By finally opening up unlimited solar system resources — be it exotic fuels, new planetary minerals or endless solar energy – dramatically alter the “have not” competition between the First and Third Worlds here on Earth … the ultimate source of increasing global terrorism

By greatly accelerating these radical technologies — from “black” energy systems and propulsion to autonomous robotics, from desktop “super computers” to their ultra-broad band communications (essential to conducting “routine operations” on the Moon and Beyond) – dramatically accelerate overall national and global productivity, with startling increases in GNP and GWP

By federally subsidizing the creation of a whole new generation of consumer industries — through pioneering a literal “Second age of Space” — dramatically increase the historical “return on investment” from past NASA spending … from 23 to one to more than 100-to-one; thus, for every billion dollars invested in this New Space Program, over a hundred billion will return to the national and world economy

By finally providing accessible new sources of raw materials and energy “off planet,” processed in lunar and orbital industrial facilities, naturally reverse over a century of planetary degradation and pollution … including global warming

By accelerating fundamental solar system exploration with human beings, return equally fundamental, radical scientific information – ranging from comparative planetary data which will assist preservation of the Earth’s environment through new space installations, to answers to the origin of the human race itself

(Source)

Yes, money and human resource is important but aren’t we been busy wasting them on wars, corruption and wastage as well. Save up on those and you will plenty for the science exploration, I am sure.

Many of us, including myself are from the generation that grew with science fiction movies like Star Wars and Star Trek. Still remember ” to boldly go where no man has gone before”? It is in our nature to explore and find new worlds and the more we explore, the more we will push the boundaries of technology, science and human endeavor. And there is the prospect of rich natural resources that could be mined for humans (there was even plan to start a mining colony in the moon).

For those reasons alone, Mars One mission should succeed.

Rendezvous with a Comet


Here’s one reason why religion should never drive a country’s future.

Religions, yes it is important to ensure we have some sense of humanity & morality (if you must) but what should drive us to the future must be high grade technology, space exploration, open minded and a great sense of adventure.

Watch this and be amazed!

And the making of…

This post is for my son who’s ambition is to be a great scientist!