Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Books: Ansel Adams' The Camera & merican Grotesque : The Life and Art of William Mortensen

Image from Locky's English Playground

I really have not been writing my blog enough. All my focus has been put to writing my thesis draft and my own research. I ask myself, is there really nothing I can write about while I focus on my research?

Recently, I am trying to find clues of understanding the meanings of images, and where to look for these interpretations? I suppose no better than from the masters of photography -- if you want to learn something, learn from the best.

In 1966, Ansel Adams visited UC Irvine to photograph its distinctive new buildings as part of a project commissioned by UC President Clark Kerr to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the University of California. Adams took more than 100 photographs of the new Irvine campus. They were published in a commemorative book titled Fiat Lux, after the university’s motto, which means “let there be light.”
Caption and image from UC Irvine

Widely known as the master of black-and-white landscape photography and his work at the Yellowstone National Park, Ansel Adams is the definitive photographic role model for everyone. Whether you are a fan of Adams or not, if you have never heard of Ansel Adams, there is a good chance that you actually do not know photography.

Tetons and Snake River
Image by Ansel Adams, from National Archive
But after reading this book called Ansel Adams : The Camera, I sure have learned more about photography and a lot about older cameras, but little on how to read an image. Obviously, this book is not meant to teach the reading of photographs, but I was hoping he would leak a bit of his insights through his explanation of visualization. Too bad, the most relevant line was this,

"All such impressions are partly subjective, and there are no rules that must be followed. We should follow instead the dictates of our visualization." (Adams, 1995, p.106)

Image from Locky's English Playground

Coincidentally, I was reading another book called American Grotesque : The Life and Art of William Mortensen, and it was interesting to find how much hatred Adams had for Mortensen, another master but of a very different philosophy.

In terms of relevance to my research, Mortensen provided something more,

"Photography, like any other art, is a form of communication. The artist is not blowing bubbles for his own gratification, but is speaking a language, is telling somebody something. Three corollaries are derived from this proposition.

a. As a language, art fails unless it is clear and unequivocal in saying what it means.
b. Ideas may be communicated, not things.
c. Art expresses itself, as all languages do, in terms of symbols.

I am still trying to relate these information but I have a feeling I might be getting something.

Ansel Adams Gallery

Friday, 11 September 2015

Food & Dining: School Food @Time Square Causeway Bay

Interesting wall decor
Image from Locky's English Playground

My Dropbox has been stacking up too many photos taken of visits to new restaurants, now that my confirmation report has been submitted, it is about time to clear them up.

Back in late June, my wife, baby Muse and I visited School Food at Time Square. My wife had been wanting to try out the food for a long while, so after several persuasions stretching across several months. I think it was time to let her have her say. (I'm just joking, she always has her say).

Pork fried rice
Image from Locky's English Playground
One reason why I never really wanted to visit this restaurant, was the lack of amazing, wowing food on the recommended food board they place outside their restaurant. What's so interesting about sushi at a Korean restaurant? Or fried chicken that looks inferior to that of Pizza Maru's? Why would I want to try replicas and not the original? Then I tried to persuade myself that, fusion food is always worth a try, so what the hell, just try it.

Strawberry special
Image from Locky's English Playground
I only opted for the pork fried rice, for it is the only dish that looked filling to me. It was good. The strawberry special was baby Muse's favourite.

Image from Locky's English Playground
 Sushi was, well, sushi-like.

Sushi from a different angle
Image from Locky's English Playground
 The lack of soy sauce and wasabi but the presence of a few drops of salad sauce made the difference.

Carbonara Korean year cake
Image from Locky's English Playground
Carbonara Korean year cake was nice, but I have yet to try anything Carbonara that isn't nice. It is the safest sauce to go for if you know / don't know what you are doing.

Korean fried chicken
Image from Locky's English Playground
And we are near the last dish. (Really? That quick? Yes, really.) Korean fried chicken was better than McDonald's but still has a lot of work to do to catch up with those of Pizza Maru.

Well, these are just my personal opinions, my wife in fact is full of praises for them a lot and has recently said she wanted to visit the restaurant again. Though at a not-so-school-food price and really school-food quality, I wonder why there is always a waiting group outside the restaurant.

For more food and dining, click on the FOOD and DINING tags here.

School Food @Openrice

Food & Dining: Best Fried Korean Chicken and Pizzas by Pizza Maru Express!!!! @Locky's English Playground

Monday, 7 September 2015

TV, Medical & Science: Heart, Skin, Lungs, Sklungs? House M.D. Prophecy Of A Fluidless Organ Preservation Box!!!

Lung in a box, in House M.D. Season 8 Episode 2 Transplant
Image from Fox
You all know how much I love House M.D., hence my PhD research subject. That said, I used to always visit and revisit Polite Dissent after every episode to get some professional medical knowledge, so that I do not get carried away by the awesomeness of the show. One episode which I remember particularly well, Season 8 Episode 2 Transplant, carried a fatal "design flaw" in their production, and that was the printine plexiglass organ preservation box shown in the above photo.

Polite Dissent has the following comments which I highlighted in the screen capture below:

Screencap of Polite Dissent
Image from Polite Dissent
I agreed with Polite Dissent. How can an organ survive without blood and fluid around the organ to keep it from drying up? Until today, I realised I was wrong when I saw the image below,

Heart beating in the organ preservation box.
Image from IFL Science
Here's direct quotation of parts of the IFL Science article:

"In the short term they’ll open the field," commented Korkut Uygun, a transplant surgeon from Massachusetts General Hospital, to the Technology Review. Uygun thinks that one day we'll have the technology to restore other organs, such as livers, up to an hour after they have undergone circulatory death, not minutes. And so far, there are 15 cases of the "heart in a box" successfully reanimating a heart from a donor after they've died.

The system could increase the number of hearts that are transported, overcoming issues such as the time limit heart porters have when transporting a chilled heart. Typically, an organ is cooled to about 4°C (39°F) to slow down the tissue's metabolic rate and the rate of degenerative processes. Lungs, for example, only last three to six hours on ice – whereas the Transmedics device preserves lungs for 24 hours without needing to cool the organ down.

There is no blood flow around a cooled organ so it is susceptible to damage, and there is no way to test its function. This is especially critical for a patient about to undergo the invasive surgery to receive it, and the months of adapting to the new organ afterwards. 

So yeah, that House M.D. prophecy has come true, again!!! After that black president of the United States one, which I will share in the near future.

House — Episode 2 (Season 8): “Transplant” @Polite Dissent

New Device Could Revive Dead Hearts +I fucking love science

Auto & Environment: EV Numbers and Growth In Hong Kong As Of June/July 2015

EV Growth in Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground

According to data from the Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong, as of 30th June 2015, the total number of registered EV in Hong Kong is 2279, an increase of 146 since May. This is considered as a high increase month, ranking 6th in overall highest monthly increase. The total number of registered private EV is 2012, an increase of 149 since May.

Provisional number for the total number of registered EV is 2456, an increase of 186 since June. If the final data is exact then this will be the 2nd highest monthly increase!!! Really encouraging numbers! As usual, it is predicted that Tesla Model S constitute by conservative estimation 70% of the total, thus hitting 1719.2 (this estimate already excludes the 340 EVs before Model S arrives in Hong Kong, with the assumption that the number of Tesla Roadster sold is negligible). That means as of today, the total number of Tesla Model S could have reached 2000.

(Findings from a very personal and unofficial EV-road-sighting "research" shows that it is common to spot 5-10 Tesla Model S, 1-2 BMW i3 and 0 Nissan LEAF during a round-trip drive between Tai Koo and Central on weekdays and 10 Tesla Model S, 1-2 BMW i3 and 0 Nissan LEAF on weekends.)

That said, the total number of registered vehicles in Hong Kong in June has reached 776,702, which means that EVs only constitutes 0.293% (=2279/776,702 x 100%) of the entire vehicle fleet in Hong Kong. A great start for EVs, but still barely, barely barely a start.

BMWHK sold 19 i3 to HKJC
Image from BWMHK

BMWHK sold 19 i3 to HKJC
Image from BWMHK

Personally, I do hope that Charged HK will get to meet the government officials again before the FRT waiver ends because Tesla Model X and III delivery will surely be encouraged or hindered by the decisions of FRT waiver. From the numbers, we have just enjoyed a good start and whether the best is yet to come, FRT will be a determinant.

Here's a side note, according to official press release by Tesla Motors, the innovative EV manufacturer has delivered 11,507 Model S worldwide for Q2 2015, thus a new company record for the most cars delivered in a quarter and represents an approximate 52% increase over Q2 last year.

Promotion of Electric Vehicles in Hong Kong @Environmental Protection Department

Tesla Delivers 11,507 Vehicles in Q2 of 2015 +Tesla Motors

Tracking progress of EVs into Hong Kong +Tesla Motors Club

19 All-Electric BMW i3 Delivered to The Hong Kong Jockey Club Set to Drive Greener for Hong Kong
BMW i Fast-charging Station Unveiled at The Pulse, Repulse Bay @BMWHK

Friday, 4 September 2015

Science & Technology: What Do You Know About GPS?

Image from mihaeladanpress

GPS is really helpful, almost essential in our daily life, we have it in our phones, Tesla Model S has it and some other cars also have it, but how does it work? I find these two videos very informative and we can all learn something here. A nice break from EV talk, well, at least a bit. Enjoy!


How GPS Works @ YouTube

GPS Modernization Video @ YouTube

How GPS Receivers Work @ HowStuffWorks

Monday, 17 August 2015

Event: My ASIALEX Talk & One-ish Months Before PhD Confirmation

Photo by Dr.Vincent Ooi

My apologies for writing a little too much of Tesla and EV-related posts these days, but being my most concerned topic recently apart from writing my PhD confirmation report (which is boring to talk about), I just cannot resist the temptation.

On the 25-27 June, ASIALEX 2015 held at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, I presented the same research as I did at CAES Faces of English at the Hong Kong University, but unlike the last time when there were only less than 10 people attended (including 2 seminar helpers), this time I almost get a full house! Let's just say there were at least 25. I'll say most of the audience actually knew that House M.D. is a TV drama, and a number of them are even fans of Dr. House. What's more, they know corpus linguistics way better than audience at CAES. Still, I took precautions and played the videos first.

The next video is the best there is out there but since embedding is disabled, please click on the link below to watch it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLxsNTC5KGk

Photo by Dr.Vincent Ooi
I consider my talk was a success, in a way that my audience looked to have enjoyed it, there were a number of questions asked from the floor, and most importantly, I have got to know some fabulous people in those 3 days, including Dr. Vincent Ooi from The National University of Singapore who took these two great photos of me. It is very good when I didn't have to take photos of myself to prove my presence. 

And yes, this time round I got to be on the official photos! In fact, I am the person who managed to appear the most in the photo album, a total of 7 times!!!! Here they are below:

Where's Locky?
Image from ASIALEX
Okay, here's a larger one of me
Image from ASIALEX
That's my back
Image from ASIALEX

Larger head by cropped out
Image from ASIALEX
Full head but blurred
Image from ASIALEX

Can you tell this is me?
Image from ASIALEX
Finally a clear, recognisable photo of me my back
Image from ASIALEX
In summary, the back of my head must be really good-looking, much more good-looking than my face. Oh~~~ boy!

Well, at least I got this to cheer about

I'm very glad to know that my paper has been included in the conference proceedings!!! My first formal publication apart from those on my blog @ ASIALEX 2015 #ASIALEX #ASIALEX2015
Posted by Locky's English Playground on Wednesday, 24 June 2015


Message: Three Months Before PhD Confirmation & My CAES Talk @Locky's English Playground

All 3 House M.D openers/themes/intros (American, Singaporean and European) +YouTube 

House MD - The Funny Moments Compilation +YouTube 

ASIALEX 2015 Photo Album