Friday, April 30, 2010

Shanghai World Expo 2010

I quite wish I had the luxury to visit the Shanghai world expo. It would be the most amazing thing ever. But, most unfortunately, I can't.

My CCTV9 channel has been missing recently, replaced by CaribVision, a pointless channel with stuff I care nothing about. It must've returned late last night or this morning because it still wasn't there yesterday. And, I missed the expo's opening ceremony.

I hope I can get another chance to see it. From what I see on the news, it looks like it was superb! Many of my favourite artists and musicians performed and I'm sure everything else was simply wonderful. The Chinese know how to put on excellent shows. Few things capture my attention the way Chinese performances do.

An opportunity to visit the Shanghai expo (and I must say, it certainly won't be for Barbados) would be one of the most amazing things I could ask for. Travel into Shanghai is difficult at this point. I can only imagine what it would be like to visit. My friend in Wuhan will be going this summer...I'm a little envious!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Here comes another Nokia

The Nokia N97, the N97 mini, the N900 and, now, the N8.

Nokia introduces a new touchscreen baby in the N-series, the Nokia N8. This one, unlike my N97 mini, has a capacitive touchscreen and no slide out keyboard. It's about the size of the Nokia N97. I could deal with the width but it's a little thick for my liking. It comes in different colours (which would vary by region, of course).

If I were to get one of these, I'd take it in blue.

Sneak peak at the N8. The question: What will you do with it?
My answer: certainly not freestyle with it.

To be honest, I just thought this video was adorable.

This phone has gone high-def with an HDMI-output, HD videos, a 12 MP camera and 16 GB internal memory and up to a 32 GB MicroSD to hold it all in. A 12 MP camera phone? My oh my. I'm quite happy with my 5 MP. It takes such exceptional photos that no one would believe was taken with a cellphone. The size doesn't matter so much to me as the quality, and 5 MP is enough size for me.

Maemo 5 and Symbian S60 5th generation run on the N900 and N97/N97 mini respectively. What runs on the N8? Symbian 3 - Nokia's first Symbian 3-based phone to come out.

It's aesthetically pleasing, to my eyes at least. If I didn't have my N97 mini, would I buy this phone instead? I probably wouldn't. I like having a physical keyboard separate from the screen. Given the choice, I would have chosen the N97 mini anyways.

When is this little one releasing? I have no idea, but would you get it?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Some parents just don't get it. Studying isn't as simple as just...studying. It takes a lot of mental effort to be able to repeatedly read and retain vast amounts of information.

The more active the brain is, the more energy it uses. We become mentally exhausted, take breaks, eat and nap in order to replenish our energy reserves. Then to psych ourselves up to repeat the cycle over and over until exams are over.

It can be so hard to readjust your thinking processes from relaxed to memory and recall. Reading is more than just looking at a page and seeing the words. It's analysis of the words we look at and the sentences they create to come to an understanding of what is being said in the sentence, paragraph or chapter.

Once I get started with studying, I can seriously go on for awhile, take some bathroom breaks and some naps and get right back to it. But once the flow is disrupted by, say, a phone call from a parent telling me to do this, that and the other, I'm completely knocked off my axis and cannot possibly continue. Having to perform other actions that I have to psych my mind up to then to go back to studying right after? Difficult. I'm busy, let me concentrate. When I bother my Mom when she's busy, she bites my head off. I express a little frustration because I'm busy, she gives me a lecture about how I should just do what she asks and stop complaining (I don't actually complain, I merely grunt).

It's not fair to be busted like that just because I'm not the one who pays the bills and makes the money. I can't do it yet, duh. I just wish parents could be so much more understanding of how not-s0-simple studying is. It's more than merely reading a few books and making a few notes. So many mental processes are conducted that we can't even imagine.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Study Sleep Study

In just about 9.5 days I'll be setting my Neuroscience II examination. Until then, it's study study study! With some sleep thrown in there somewhere.

Everyday I'll study something different and, if all goes well, I'll have finished all the major topics by Monday so that I can spend the last few days before my exam reviewing. Lots to study though, so I'm hoping for such a result.

So, I'll be spending my days on campus (except for the two public holidays we'll be having this week + Sunday) studying my brain away. I've been allowed to study in the lecture theatre since it's no longer in use and couldn't possibly be used as an examination room. It's perfect and cold and comfortable. I love being able to use my own building. =)

Everyone's out and out with their books. Everyone looks like a nerd. People are studying wherever they can on campus. If I didn't have the Medical Sciences building, I'd be in the Law Library because it's the quieter of the two on campus. The main library is a noisy little buzz of a place because they actually tolerate moderate noise. I can only imagine how full it must be.
In the gazebo behind the Medical Sciences building, these three have found a peaceful haven to study in. =)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

That Time Again

It's that time of the semester. When teaching comes to an end and everything comes to a close, the semester draws to it's final days: examinations.

These are the days that arrive twice an academic year for most people. The days every student dreads. The days every student looks forward to seeing the end of. Once these days have gone, vacation is upon us. And who doesn't love vacation? Some of you will be finishing your studies and moving into a new era of your life: work.

Examinations at my university begin this week and run to the 12th of May. This semester, I have just one single final exam: Neuroscience 2; a dreadful 9-credit course whose exam is set to run for 3 hours. This shall be conducted May 6th, after which I will proceed to enjoy the much needed vacation time.

This summer will be a somewhat shortened one, having a summer semester which begins June 21st and runs till August 20th. I'll have 2 weeks of pure vacation to enjoy before the next semester begins. During this summer semester, we will be doing a research elective. Fun fun fun.

So, for those struggling along with your studies, keep your head up and get enough sleep! Take care of your bodies during this time but always remember to never give up! I wish you all the best! Good luck!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

I hope you're all doing what you can to please Mother Nature, not only on this day but with every passing day.

Be good to our planet. There's only one of it and we need to take care of it.
"The poetry of the earth is never dead."
~ John Keats

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Big 2-0!

Yesterday I hit 20...on the 20th! All in all it was a most magnificent day. I've been truly blessed with amazing friends to celebrate with. Truly.

I started off the day with going to class at 10 and leaving just after 11. Paid some bills, bought my cake and went home. Opened up all the windows in the house and hoped for some good breeze to keep it all cool. It was still too hot. Oh well. Then my guests started arriving! The day just kept getting better from there.

Normally, when I have my little get-togethers at home, we play Rock Band. It's of the main things happening at my house. Eventually the guys end up playing Fifa as well (boring!). For this one, I decided that we would have no XBox games. None. So, we went old school. Board games and whatever we could do. I wanted to have a super interactive day with everyone and, to be quite honest, that was only more possible without the presence of the grand XBox.
Taboo, Clue, Uno, Jenga, Sorry, Dominoes, Mafia and classic boardgames like chess and backgammon helped make my birthday an amazing day.

An amazing day with amazing people. I hope everyone had a huge blast like I did. =)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Qinghai Earthquake

Have you heard of it?

If I didn't watch CCTV9, I wouldn't have known
about it. I don't watch much TV but my Mom watches CNN on occasion and she never heard anything about it there or on the BBC. But we did find out on CCTV9. Why is it that it hasn't been broadcasted worldwide? Or has it? We haven't heard about the news elsewhere.

The Qinghai Province of China was hit on Wednesday April 14 by an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 followed by 18 aftershocks measured over 6.0.

The death toll has been rising as the days pass and currently stands at 1706. Over 200 people are still missing. Tents for shelter were erected in time for survivors to make it through a snow storm that occurred on Saturday. Yushu County has been disinfected as a preventative measure against disease.
Various countries have been expressing their support and condolences to the victims of the earthquake and South Korea has offered US $1 million in emergency relief aid and relief supplies.

As always, my prayers are with the victims of this devastating earthquake. I know China is a strong nation and is already well on its way to recovery.
[Images from CCTV]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going 3D

3D movies

So many great movies are coming out on 3D this year! Clearly, it's the trend for the year 2010.

Not that I would know their 3-dimensional greatness. Here, in Barbados, we are deprived of a 3D cinema and so all our movies are well enjoyed in 2D. How sad. I'd like to see at least one movie in 3D for a change.

I saw the trailer for a movie coming out September 24. It was mesmerising. At the end it said "Take flight in 3D" and I was slightly bummed. Would I like to see it in 3D? Of course, I'd love to. It would be quite lovely to have that option.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rain Rain, Come This Way!

It's been raining intermittently almost everyday from last week. And it's been lovely. But only while the rain falls. The temperature cools down, the sun is hidden behind the grey clouds. It also gets quite humid, but I think I prefer that to the burning sensation the sun's rays send to us.
Yesterday, I went to the hospital for a lecture and my usual drive took twice as long with the little bits of flooding occurring here and there on the way. Barbados is a small flat little island whose roads were not constructed for proper draining. So water collects fairly quickly with rain that would fall for only 15 minutes and the result can below. I was driving slow enough to snap some photos.
Taken in the same area on the same road. Sidewalk? Not visible.

The rain was still falling when I went into the hospital and I exited about 1.5-2 hours later into bright sunlight once more. If I hadn't been in the rain, I wouldn't have guessed that it rained at all in same places. Where lots of water collected, it was either completely dried up without a sign of water or there was a small puddle left. Any other indications would have included some excess mud on the roads. Of course, the sun was shining brightly and it was as hot as ever.

Sun + high humidity = Not cool

Some of the water would have drained off from the roads. But to see how dry the sidewalks and roads were, is a pretty clear indication of how hot our sun is to have dried everything so quickly. As said by a friend of mine:
"The sun that shines over Barbados is the sun that shines on Hell."

Oh, yes. No sun burns like ours. Believe it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One Day Without Shoes

Today was the day to walk barefoot. Could you walk a day without shoes? Many children around the world do it, and not by choice.

Unfortunately, today was not a day in which I could walk barefoot, having to go to the hospital and all. Instead, I'll be virtually barefoot today while I'm not home. How? By blogging about it. Today was the day for the recognition and awareness of unfortunate children around the world who are merely hindered by being shoeless.

April 8th: One Day Without Shoes. This is a challenge sent out by TOMS to people around the globe to be, for as long as possible, shoeless. TOMS shoes has been, not just a shoe company, but a movement to provide children around the world with the shoes they need. Check it out:

Their tagline: "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One on One."

What have you done to support the cause?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Animal Testing

Today we had a lab on local anaesthetics. It was awful. It helped me realise something about myself that I never knew about before but I can't say that I'm surprised about the discovery.

Experiments that will undoubtedly hurt an animal should not be carried out! Especially not by a bunch of second year medical students who don't know how to hold a rodent and inject it!

Today, our experiment on local anaesthetics was carried out on baby hamsters. These tiny little things were only just over a month old. Why didn't we use the adult hamsters? I didn't like the idea of having to purposely cause pain to the animal by pricking it with a needle multiple times. Over and over again. For about an hour. The anaesthetics did eventually work, after they were injected, but until they worked, they were being pricked, poked and prodded with a needle.

What annoyed me the most, though, was the attitude some people had towards the hamsters. They're not "just hamsters. So prick them." No, no. They're baby hamsters that were born over a month ago, barely grew then had their backs shaved, to be moved out of the cage where they are comfortable into the hands of a bunch of students to be pricked with a needle multiple times and injected with some drug. For a little creature that's only 3 inches long, that's a lot to digest in one day. Truly. And that much pain? Torture.

I did not take part in this lab. In fact, I got sick of listening to people talk down on the hamsters just because they don't have as high a level of thinking that humans do. They have personalities of their own and feel pain just as we do. They're not "just hamsters". They were terrified. The little creamy white one was timid and after being pricked, it balled up in a corner of the tray in a defensive position. Eventually, I left the lab for long periods of time and returned near the end of it all. Got my results and left.

So, basically, these are experiments that I personally cannot condone.

I know the lab with the toads had its entertainment, but it didn't involve a lot of pain. Just a single injection into each toad and they got to sit in water. I felt a little bad about having to use them in our experiment just like that but at least we didn't do anything to purposely cause them any sort of pain. And they were set free back into the wild afterwards.

I know my view won't be shared by many others. I have a high respect for animals...some get way more respect from me than some human beings I know.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ching Ming Festival

The Ching Ming Festival, as it is known in Hong Kong, is a public holiday that takes place on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox.

This is the day for families to remember and honour their ancestors. It's often known as Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day in English translation. Families visit and tend to the graves of their loved ones and pay their respect and well wishes. They clean the graves and place offerings of foods, drinks and, of course, incense.

This year, the Ching Ming Festival falls on April 5th. It's still the 4th where I am, but in Hong Kong it's currently the 5th. I don't believe I'll have much time to post about it tomorrow so I figured this would make a fairly good compromise.

I don't live there so I'm not accustomed to the usual things in Hong Kong. I learn of these things from my Mom. I remember visiting my grandfather's grave in China when I first travelled there. We cleaned the grave, placed our offerings and incense and prayed. I figure, this is basically all that happens on the day of the Ching Ming Festival. We weren't able to make it to China to do so on recent trip to Hong Kong, unfortunately.

How do you pay your respects to your ancestors?

Happy Easter!

'nough said.

I'm continuously grateful to God for sending a gift as wonderful as His son and to His son, Jesus, who died for our sins.

Have you ever wondered where the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs and little yellow chicks came from? I didn't. I'm the kind of person who doesn't wonder why things are the way they are and just take them as they come. Probably not the best thing. Regardless, I recently discovered that all the fluffy, chocolatey stuff came from pagan roots that probably go as far back as the 13th century in Germany.
  • The cute furry little bunny: Eostra, the Teutonic deity, was the goddess of spring and fertility. Her symbol was the rabbit since it has a high reproductive rate.
  • The eggs: spring = new life and rebirth so eggs = fertility.
  • The chicks: bunnies don't make eggs. But chickens do!
Chocolate eggs? That just developed as time went by.

No matter how you celebrate, I wish you all a very
Happy Easter!