Wednesday 27 October 2010

Health and Fitness: Supersize Me Add-ons

So you might have watched a video extra from the movie Supersize Me, a movie which I have recommended last week. Good! Have you tried the homework? Try it if you haven't. Answers will be released next Friday (5th November). How about a little more add on to this?

Once in awhile, I would like to have hamburgers too, and Burger King is my favourite choice, but I hardly ever order French fries/chips, just because they are too unhealthy (I guess you can tell from the movie), plus, they are expensive when ordered à la carte, and I don't like the sugary fizzy drinks. Why wouldn't mould grows on the chips? Would it be unhealthy to eat the chips that even the mould won't eat? Yes. Was it because there were just too much preservatives in the fries? Yes and no.

Here's an article that explains the reasons.

Moulding bread
Image from FlyBlackChick

Picking out the essence of the article above,

The truth is many processed foods don't decompose and won't be eaten by molds, insects or even rodents...Potato chips can last for decades...With meats, the primary reason why they don't decompose is their high sodium content. Salt is a great preservative, as early humans have known for thousands of years. McDonald's meat patties are absolutely loaded with sodium -- so much so that they qualify as "preserved" meat, not even counting the chemicals you might find in the meat...The real question in my mind is why don't the buns mold?

In short, chemicals and more chemicals.

Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.

I like the author's last few paragraphs the most,

chihiro: I'm hungry.
No face: Here you go.Just pick any mcBurgers you want.

No normal animal will perceive a McDonald's hamburger bun as food, and as it turns out, neither will bacteria or fungi. To their senses, it's just not edible stuff. That's why these bionic burger buns just won't decompose.

Which brings me to my final point about this whole laughable distraction: There is only one species on planet Earth that's stupid enough to think a McDonald's hamburger is food.

Sometimes, I will ask myself why more and more people are getting cancers. The most likely reasons in my opinions, the water, the food, the air and the home. Hang on, that is everything. Well, basically, yeah. You see, since the largest organ of our body is exposed to all these every single second, we are in fact in contact with a lot of chemicals.

Some people, particularly the doctors who see life and death day in and day out, consider there is nothing we can do, so we should just try to live a happy life. I think this is just semi-true.

If you know jumping down a building is dangerous, at least you should not stand too close to the edge. If you know the water is full of chemicals, shouldn't you at least get a water filter? How about staying away from chemical-packed food most of the time and only allow yourself to eat a little once in awhile? How about getting an air-filtering machine at home? (Though it is not eco-friendly) And how about using those eco-paints when you paint your apartment? Use less turpentine and smelly glue? Keep a few pieces of activated carbon at home to absorb the gaseous chemical?

Activated Carbon under microscope
Image from SMIAnalytical

Instead of waiting, I will always at least take some actions. Can't cover all of course, but at least I try to do what I can do (same as learning English). What about you?


  1. What is the largest organ of a human body?
  2. If 'soft drink' is 'fizzy drink' or 'soda', what is 'hard drink'? 
  3. What is the English word to describe a hard drink that is not sweet?

à la carte -- (adv) [before nounIf you eat à la carte, you choose each dish from a separate list instead of eating a fixed combination of dishes at a fixed price
fizzy drink -- (n) soft drink
decompose -- (vb)  [I or Tto decay, or to cause something to decay
rodent -- (n) [Cany of various small mammals with large sharp front teeth, such as mice and rats
preservative -- (n) [C] a chemical used to stop food from decaying
perceive -- (vb) [Tto come to an opinion about something, or have a belief about something
bionic -- (adj) humorous used to refer to a person who has greater powers of strength, speed etc. than seem to be possible for a human
distraction -- (n) [C] an activity that you do for pleasure


Monday 25 October 2010

Message: Way to Leave Message On My Blog

Step 1: Find the comment button at the end of each entry and press it
Step 2: Type what you want to say and choose account to log in, if you don't want to use your email account, select Anonymous.

Step 3: Preview first and then confirm by Post Comment button

Step 4: Post your comments often so that I can see your writing.

Friday 22 October 2010

Movie: Supersize Me

I thought I have recommended this movie Supersize Me before, and just as I was writing a follow up on this movie, I realised that I haven't actually done that, so here it is, a documentary of how a healthy man turns into a fatty by eating McDonald's meals 3 times a day.

Image from

There is a super detail review of this movie by Red Pub Magazine, so, I suppose I don't have to say much about it. If you are interested, you can read it here.

To watch this movie, you don't need to buy a DVD, but of course, it would be great with transcript. So, here it is!

Supersize Me movie transcript by Script-o-rama

Now, with the transcript, you can watch your movie, here!

Enjoy! Since I am recommending two things today, I will take my Monday off, unless I found something really interesting to write.

I have created a simple exercise here for you guys to do. It is very easy, many too easy for most of you, but it can be kept as a record of your knowledge. All the answers can be found in the introduction of the movie.

1.         Name the restaurants in the children’s song. (0:32)
                       i.              __________________
                     ii.              __________________
                   iii.              __________________

2.         Which is the fattest nation in the world? _________________

3.         From the movie, which 2 words are worse than the word “fat”?
        a)     overweight
        b)     serious
        c)     obese
        d)     supersize

4.         More than _____________% of all US adults are too fat.

5.         Which is the fattest state in America?
                       i.              Mississippi
                     ii.              West Virginia
                   iii.              Ohio
                    iv.              Utah

6.         How old and how heavy were the two girls who sue McDonald’s?
                       i.              ________ yr old – ___________ pounds
                     ii.              ________ yr old – ___________ pounds

7.         McDonald’s feeds _______ million people a day, more than the population of ________________

8.         McDonald’s are everywhere, even in _______________

9.         How many days will Morgan eat McDonald’s?  __________


Supersize Me movie:

Supersize Me movie transcript by Script-o-rama

Supersize Me movie review

Technology: Masking Your Ads on Office 2010

For those of you who bought your computer or laptop that comes with Windows 7, you don't need to be bothered by the dual-booting setup that I was previously talking about. And you have one more advantage over people who need to install Windows 7 by themselves, and that is, you probably have free Microsoft Office 2010 Starter that comes with the package. But let's not be too excited by this, because it is not a fully-functional version, it does allow you to read and save, but has an annoying button which you need to press every time you want to edit a file. Plus, there is a distracting advertisement box on the bottom right corner of the panel, so every time you were trying to stay focus and think about what you want to write, this ad keeps flashing and reminding you that you should pay to use the full version.

Microsoft Office 2010 Starter
Image from

Some people might go to some computer centre, pay $40 for a pirated Office 2010 and the problem is solved, but for those who want to save some cash, is there another way? Since we are still waiting for someone to crack this problem, we have to look for other solutions.

Well, I might just have one you might like to try. It is easy and effective!

"If you can't remove it, cover it! Like mascara on scars" -- Locky

Basically, Windows 7 comes with Windows Media Player 13, the mascara, which you can choose to run the miniature version, the version is so small that it is just big enough to cover that annoying flashing ad, the scar.

Image from

Run it, play your favourite song or just play it and then mute it, place it over the ad, and the last thing you need to do is set the player "Always Show Now Playing on top", to do that, Right click on the Windows Media Player screen and check Always show Now Playing on top.

Image from

$40 saved! Ka-ching!

HW: what is the meaning of "Ka-ching!"?


Thursday 21 October 2010

Environment: Hong Kong Typhoon Chase

Severe Typhoon Megi, a Super Typhoon-to-be-once-more, is presently (10pm) situated ( 18.6 N, 117.2 E,
about 520 km southeast of Hong Kong ). The fact that it is still Typhoon signal 1 sounds completely ridiculous, as Macau has already hoisted signal 1 last night. What the people in the observatory are waiting for? I have no idea. I personally went out to the harbour to check the force of the wind with my 60kg body, and it did feel like Typhoon signal 3 to me.
Image from Hong Kong Observatory

While waiting for Megi to hit Hong Kong, I kept visiting the Hong Kong Observatory website, and that woke up the Typhoon chaser in me. Since many has compared it with Hurricane Katrina in America (2005) and Typhoon Wanda (1962), I thought, exactly how similar and different are they?

Let's find out.

When comparing the strength of the typhoon, other than looking at the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) with Category 5 being the highest, we can also comparing using the maximum sustained winds speed (peak wind) and the lowest pressure -- the faster the speed or the lower the pressure, the stronger a typhoon or hurricane is.
Hurricane Katrina
Image from Wikipedia
    • Category 5 hurricane (SSHS)
    • Peak wind :         280 km/h (175 mph)
    • Lowest pressure: 902 mbar (hPa; 26.64 inHg)
    • At least 1,836 people lost their lives
According to Wikipedia, the Great Hong Kong Typhoon of 1937 was the worst in Hong Kong in terms of damage, killing 11,000 people.

Then other notable typhoons in Hong Kong are
  • Unnamed typhoon in 1874 -- 2,000 people lost their lives in 6 hours.
  • Unnamed typhoon in 1906
  • Wanda (1962)
  • Image from Wikipedia
Typhoon Wanda in 1962
Video from RTHK (Chinese video)
    • Category 2 typhoon (SSHS)
    • Peak wind :         175 km/h (110 mph)
    • Lowest pressure: 949 mbar (hPa; 28.02 inHg)
    • a total of 434 deaths
  • Ruby (1964)
  • Image from Wikipedia
    • Category 4 typhoon (SSHS)
    • Peak wind :         230 km/h (140 mph)
    • Lowest pressure: 963 mbar (hPa; 28.44 inHg)
  • Rose (1971)
  • Image from Wikipedia
    • Category 4 typhoon (SSHS)
    • Peak wind :         220 km/h (140 mph)
    • Lowest pressure: 952 mbar (hPa; 28.11 inHg)
    • left 130 people dead
  • Super Typhoon Megi (2010) 
  • Severe Typhoon Megi
    Image from Wikipedia
    Image from Wikipedia
    • Category 5 Super Typhoon (SSHS)
    • Peak wind :         305 km/h (190 mph)
    • Lowest pressure: 885 mbar (hPa; 26.13 inHg)
HW: So, which storm is the strongest?

I don't normally post Chinese videos, but since that is an authentic video, it is worth the posting. Finally, a couple of videos for you to enjoy!

Unnamed Typhoon in 1953
Video from Youtube by MichaelRogge

TimeLapse Typhoon "Nangka" over Hong Kong


Hong Kong Observatory

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) 

Great Hong Kong Typhoon of 1937

Typhoon (1953)

Typhoon Wanda 1962

Typhoon Ruby

Typhoon Rose

Typhoon Megi 2010

Pressure Unit Conversion

TimeLapse Typhoon "Nangka" over Hong Kong

Monday 18 October 2010

News: The Most Intense Tropical Cyclones Ever Recorded -- Super Typhoon Megi (Updated 2010-10-20)

Monday morning and a piece of good news or bad news? The Hong Kong Observatory reported,

"At noon, Super Typhoon Megi was centred about 350 kilometres north-northeast of Manila. It is forecast to move west or west-southwest at about 18 kilometres per hour across the northern part of Luzon."

Super Typhoon Megi
Satellite Image from Hong Kong Observatory

Super Typhoon Megi Track
Image from Hong Kong Observatory

 Image from Hong Kong Observatory

Super Typhoon Megi 17 October 2010
Image from Wikipedia

I'm sure some people are hoping for their very first typhoon holiday. Wednesday maybe? Or Thursday? Typhoons cause deaths, but also balance the eco-system by bringing in rain, washing away dusty particles from the air and bringing cooler temperature. Let's hope this one will do more good than harm.

Here's a news article for you.

Supertyphoon Megi Slams Into Philippines; One Missing

October 18, 2010, 2:04 AM EDT
By Cecilia Yap and Stuart Biggs

(Updates with storm makes landfall in first paragraph.)

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- One person was missing in the Philippines as Supertyphoon Megi made landfall in northern Luzon, the nation’s most populous island, dumping heavy rain and prompting authorities to order evacuations.

Megi, known in the Philippines as Juan, came ashore near Divilacan Bay, southeast of the city of Tuguegarao at 11.25 a.m. local time, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration said. The storm is forecast to cross Luzon by early tomorrow before heading into the South China Sea toward southern China.

Megi had sustained winds of about 270 kilometers per hour before the eye crossed the coast, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said, making it a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage. The government was criticized for its response last year when Tropical Storm Ketsana flooded Manila.

“We are better prepared now,” Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said at a briefing in the capital today. “Everybody is conscious about their jobs.”

Vicente Decena, a 53-year-old candidate in next week’s village council elections, is missing in Cagayan, the province’s police commander, Mao Aplasca, said in a mobile phone message to reporters.

Signal No. 4, the highest storm alert, was issued for the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Kalinga, Mountain and Ifugao, the weather agency said. Megi’s center was 70 kilometers east of Tuguegarao at 12 p.m.

Damaged Rice

The country may lose 600,000 metric tons of its rice crop, Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta said in a phone interview from Manila today. Half of the 157,000 hectares (388,000 acres) of land planted with rice in Cagayan and Isabela have yet to be harvested, he said. The Philippines is the world’s largest rice importer.

Cebu Air Inc. cancelled eight flights, the Philippines’ largest budget airline said in a mobile phone message. Philippine Airlines cancelled flights to Laoag north of Manila, spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna said by phone.

Megi may bring rains “similar” to Ketsana last year, Graciano Yumul, officer in charge of the weather bureau, said at a briefing in Manila today.

The Philippine agency said Megi’s winds were blowing at 225 kilometers per hour and the storm was moving west-southwest at 17 kph. The storm my dump as much as 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) of rain per hour.

Preparing Medicines

Food packs and medicines have been prepared in provinces that may be struck by the typhoon, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said in an advisory posted on its website today. Schools in affected areas were closed.

National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which operates the country’s high-voltage transmission network, said it activated command centers at its main and regional offices to minimize the impact from the storm. Megi disrupted power supply in Cagayan province, the disaster council’s advisory said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has more than 2,000 units deployed in northern and central Luzon, the advisory said.

Emergency services are on alert and ready to carry out evacuations, President Benigno Aquino said in a statement posted on his website. “We do not want to unduly alarm the public, but there is nothing lost by being prepared,” he said in the statement.

Almost 5 million people were affected by floods as Ketsana swept across Luzon in September last year, leaving about 460 people dead.

Catastrophic Damage”

Megi is a Category 5 storm, the strongest on the Saffir- Simpson scale. Such storms may cause “catastrophic damage,” according to the website of the U.S. National Hurricane Center. “People, livestock, and pets are at very high risk of injury or death from flying or falling debris.”

Storms in the northwest Pacific are designated as supertyphoons when their wind speed exceeds 241 kph, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Manila may escape last year’s levels of flooding as Megi passes to the north, Yumul said.

The Philippines is regularly battered by tropical cyclones that form over the Pacific Ocean to the east of the country. Typhoon Conson left 102 people dead in July and destroyed or damaged more than 70,000 homes, the disaster coordinating council said in August.

Megi will “severely” affect the south China coast, bringing heavy rains and winds after entering the eastern part of the South China Sea tomorrow, China’s National Meteorological Center said in a statement posted to its website today.

Megi is the name of a catfish in South Korea and is related to the feeling of getting wet, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names assigned to storms in the northwest Pacific. It is the 15th storm of the season.

--With assistance by Joel Guinto in Manila and Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore. Editors: Aaron Sheldrick, John Viljoen.

To contact the reporters for this story: Cecilia Yap in Manila at; Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at; Amit Prakash at

populous -- (adj) FORMAL A populous country, area or place has a lot of people living in it
evacuations -- (n) [C or U] the moving of people from a dangerous place to somewhere safe
sustained -- (adj) continuing for a long time
disrupt -- (vb)  [T]  to prevent something, especially a system, process or event, from continuing as usual or as expected
unduly -- (adv) FORMAL to a level which is more than is necessary, acceptable or reasonable
catastrophic -- (adj) describing a sudden event that causes very great trouble or destruction
battered -- (adj) damaged, especially by being used a lot


What's good to do at home on a typhoon holiday? Kids usually enjoy their computer games, Wii or Xbox Kinetic, some people might like to go adventurous and head out to chase some winds and test out the wind speed. I would prefer to go yum cha and have some nice dim sum and then return home to do some more reading through the internet, learn a few more new things, while at the same time, enjoy a nice cup of coffee. The TV programs or websites that I recommended would be some good choices for you, but the most important thing is spending time with your family, not everybody has the luxury to do so, so we should all treasure this.

See you guys on Wednesday.

Added Information:

Quoted from Wikipedia,

The name "Megi" means "catfish" in the Korean language. It is the first typhoon of 2010 in thePacific Basin to achieve "Super Typhoon" status, and the first in the Western Pacific since Nida in 2009. With a minimum pressure of 885 millibars, it is among the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded. It made landfall early on October 18 in northeastern Luzonat Sierra Madre, becoming one of the strongest storms in recorded history to make landfall anywhere in the world.


Friday 15 October 2010

IPA & Website: Peter Ladefoged's IPA Home Page

Peter Ladefoged (1925-2006)
Image from Peter Ladefoged's homepage
So, I know it is kind of too early to ask you if you have tried the ramen restaurant I recommended yesterday, but you guys can tell me after you have tried this weekend, and leave me comments. I also have to say that I have only tried the one in Sai Wan Ho, so the other branches, I have no idea how good or bad they prepare their noodles.

Okay, so it is weekend, what's the goodie this Friday?

For those of you who are keen on revising your IPA all the time, I have already written some articles on the methods, you are welcome to revisit those articles and refresh your memory.

Today, I have an extremely good website to recommend, with sound clips recorded by one of the best and most renowned linguists of all time, Peter Ladefoged. Here is the link:

What you get to make use of in this homepage, are some very useful sound files of which Peter Ladefoged recorded, so say, you are reading Chapter 1, you choose the IPA symbols you would like to listen to, and you choose consonants to listen. When you click on the left side of /p/, you will hear the pronunciation of /p/ combined with a vowel /a/, so you will here /pa/. When you click on the right side of /p/, you will hear /p/ in between 2 vowels, which is /apa/. Try it, shouldn't be that difficult.
Image from Peter Ladefoged's homepage 

There are also many amazing things to read and watch, such as the X-ray animations of the movement of the mouth when pronouncing words in Chapter 12 -- Making English Vowels, different languages (such as Thai and Hindi) and their vowel sounds in Chapter 13-- Action of the Larynx, and possibly the most useful of all, Chapter 3 -- Vowel Contrasts, in which American and BBC English vowels can be listened to.

This weekend, make good use of it.
For someone who has contributed his whole life to the study of English phonetics and linguistics, he should really be remembered. You are advised to read Remembering Peter Ladefoged as well as a way to thank him.


Thursday 14 October 2010

Food and Restaurant: Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho

Lazy? Nope. I have been so busy, but I have prepared something great to recommend, hope you will like it.

Our topic today is RAMEN!!! Japanese noodles!!!

Chuka Soba Inoue serves shoyu ramen (with soy-enhanced chicken broth) near the Tsukiji fish market.
Image from New York Times

I'm a big ramen fan, went to Hokkaido 2 years ago and became a bigger fan, went to Toyko in August this year and became an even bigger one! Having tasted various ramen in 2 places of Japan made me gastronomically picky, and the more picky and choosy I get, the easier I get disappointed by the ramen  in Hong Kong.

I have a few ramen restaurants on my never-go-again list:

  1. Ajisen Ramen @ everywhere -- aijisen soup with lots of Ajinomoto 味の素 (MSG) , "I-can-cook-better" instant-noodles-like ramen, lack texture and everything.
  2. Domon @ Causeway Bay and @ Langham Place -- hot soup but chokingly salty, original Hokkaido ramen? I didn't see any abalone ramen in Hokkaido. Chua Lam's recommendation? No thanks.
  3. Noodle House Ippei-An @ Miramar Shopping Centre - nothing special.
  4. Yachiyo Ramen @ Central -- my girlfriend doesn't like and she is twice as picky as I am.
  5. Fukuoka Noodle @ Sai Wan Ho -- the egg was alright, but the rest are just too plain.
  6. Daruma Ramen House @ Tai Han-- new shop, not opened too long ago, lots of people waiting, takes an hour to get in, first sip of the soup tastes rich and porky fatty, but lose taste right from the second sip. Corn-starchy soup is too thick for me, noodles resemble that from Ajisen Ramen. Long queue might look good, but quality told otherwise. Shop owner claimed that he learnt from famous Tokyo ramen? Not even 10% close to what I had in Tokyo!!!
As far as branches are concerned, Ramen Sanpachi offers the most consistent ramen, but if I have a choice, I would choose 2 other ones on Hong Kong island, one of which is Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho.

Image from

Image dated 2009-10-10

Apart from being close to where I live, one of this restaurant's owner has the passion to strive of improvement and perfection, and I like that. Look at the dates of the following 2 pictures of the same tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen I took, you can see the improvement.

Image dated 2009-10-10

Image dated 2009-10-25

The improvement in the soup colour and arrangements are obvious. Here's one more picture of miso ramen.

Image dated 2009-10-25

I went to Sapporo again yesterday and at the same time, pay the owner (who recently became my student) a visit. She told me that the soup is boiled for 10 hours every day with bones, chicken and fish, and added no MSG, the noodles are imported from Hokkaido and thus possess the quality to stay chewy and elastic even soaked in hot soup for a long time (it was proven to be true as we were mainly chatting and I had my noodles really slowly).

Too bad I didn't take my camera with me yesterday!

She recommended me various meal sets but I had too small a stomach and too strong a craving for ramen,  so I only ordered tonkotsu ramen ($60) with additional fried dumplings. The bottom of the dumplings were crispy and golden-brown, the pork filling was just the right amount for me.

She also invited me to try a home-dish of Okinawa 沖縄 -- scrambled eggs with bitter melon and tofu. I was most impressed by the "crunchiness" of the bitter melon and the smoothness and richness of the tofu.

Was there any bias in what I said? No, because she only became my student in mid-September, but I have been visiting the restaurant since the opening week.

Will I be back? You bet I will!

gastronomically -- (adj) relating to the preparation and consumption (= eating) of good food
picky --(adj) informal disapproving describes someone who is very careful about choosing only what they like
choosy -- (adj) informal difficult to please because you are very exact about what you like
craving -- (n) [C] a strong or uncontrollable want
crunchy -- (adj) describes food that is firm and makes a loud noise when it is eaten
bias -- (n) [C usually singular U] often supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way by allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment


Aijisen Ramen

Domon @ Causeway Bay and @ Langham Place

Noodle House Ippei-An @ Miramar Shopping Centre

Yachiyo Ramen @ Central

Fukuoka Noodle @ Sai Wan Ho

Daruma Ramen House @ Tai Han

Sapporo @ Sai Wan Ho