Thursday 29 September 2011

Message: Nesat Brings First Typhooliday In 2 Years?

Image from HKO

When you need one, it never comes; when you least expect, two come along at once.

Well, not really, just one for now, the other one is still spinning outside the Philippines.

Image from HKO
A typhoon to remember-- Nesat. A day to remember 29th September 2011. A word to remember -- typhooliday (typhoo-liday)!
Image from HKO

Image from HKO
No work for the morning, hopefully the afternoon and tonight as well. Why? Not because I dislike working, every working day is a money earning day for me, but I just missed the day which I can do typhoon-photography (some other guys even do time lapses of typhoon!)

What is time lapses of typhoon? I'm reposting this video to recall your memory a bit.

Let's hope that typhoon 8 will stay and I don't have to suddenly return to work. As for now, I'm getting back to my bed.

Culture: "Typhoo-lidays", Britons and Weather @ Locky's English Playground

Environment: Hong Kong Typhoon Chase @ Locky's English Playground

News: The Most Intense Tropical Cyclones Ever Recorded -- Super Typhoon Megi (Updated 2010-10-20)  @ Locky's English Playground

Timelapse Typhoon Nangka over Hong Kong

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Medical & News: New polio outbreak hits China

Polio (Poliomyelitis)
Image from cdn.sheknows

Read a CNN news about a week ago that caught my attention.

New polio outbreak hits China

Children are particularly vulnerable to the polio virus
Image from

Beijing (CNN) -- An outbreak of polio has been confirmed in China for the first time since 1999, leaving one person dead and hospitalizing another nine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The disease, a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death, broke out in the prefectures of Hotan and Bazhou in the country's western Xinjiang province.
Among the ten cases confirmed, six are in children under three years old and four are young adults.
The WHO said evidence indicates the virus is genetically linked to polio cases currently circulating in Pakistan, which borders Xinjiang. Pakistan has been affected by the nationwide transmission of the same WPV1 strain.
It also warned the virus could spread beyond the current affected area.
The polio virus can travel great distances and find susceptible populations, no matter where they live
Helen Yu, WHO
"Although other areas in China or other countries are not immediately at risk due to the geographic distance to the affected province, the polio virus can travel great distances and find susceptible populations, no matter where they live," Helen Yu, from the WHO's Beijing office told CNN.
According to China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health has dispatched a group of public health experts to the affected region to help treat the virus.
It said the local government had launched a mass vaccination campaign starting in early September. WHO confirmed initial vaccination campaigns carried out by mid-September had reached over 3.5 million children -- children being particularly vulnerable to polio.
Further vaccination campaigns will be conducted in the near future to ensure this outbreak is brought completely under control, according to the health ministry.
"No matter how long a country has been polio-free, as long as global polio eradication has not yet been achieved, the risk for importation remains and constant vigilance is required." said Yu.
Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is usually transmitted through contaminated food and water. It invades the nervous system and often leads to permanent paralysis. It can be prevented by immunization.
This is the first outbreak of polio in China since 1999, when a case was reportedly brought into the country from India.

Elvis receives polio shot
Image from abigailpadgett.files.wordpress
Polio made an impression when I watched House M.D. Season 4 episode 6 and I went to search for more information on that. In that episode, an insane candidate claims that he cured polio with high dosage of Vitamin C which House later pointed out that polio has no cure.


How bad is polio really?

Since polio is a virus that spreads by unclean food and water, we all better eat clean and live clean while we still can.

Let's not forget, there are still many other viruses around like the Legionnaire's Disease and parasites such as the Anisakis.


contagious -- (adj) describes a disease that can be caught by touching someone with the disease or a piece of infected clothing
paralysis -- (n) [C or U]  when you are unable to move all or part of your body because of illness or injury
vaccination --(n) [C or U]  to give someone a vaccine, usually by injection, to prevent them from getting a disease
vulnerable --(adj) able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt, influenced or attacked
outbreak --(n) [C] 
eradication -- (n) [U] the process of getting rid of completely or destroy something bad
transmit -- (vb) [I or T] to broadcast something, or to send out or carry signals using radio, television, etc.
contaminated -- (adj) made something less pure or made it poisonous
invade -- (vb) [I or T] to enter a place in large numbers, usually when unwanted and in order to take possession or do damage
immunization -- (n) [C or Uthe process of giving a person or animal protection against a particular disease by introducing a special substance into their body, usually by injection
insane -- (adj) mentally ill

New polio outbreak hits China @ CNN

House MD Episodes: Season 4 #406 "Whatever it Takes" @ House MD Guide

I have polio - Waxaan abaa cudurka dabaysha @ YouTube

Medical: Legionnaires' Disease @ QE  @ Locky's English Playground

Food, Dining & TV: Sushi, Sashimi & Monsters Inside Me @ Locky's English Playground

News & Opinions: A Big Day (News Digest) @ Locky's English Playground

Monday 26 September 2011

News & Education: What teachers really want to tell parents

Found a really good article from a Singapore ex-classmate teacher's Facebook Wall by CNN.
Teacher Ron Clark is pictured with his students.
Image from CNN

What teachers really want to tell parents

Editor's note: Ron Clark, author of "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck -- 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers," has been named "American Teacher of the Year" by Disney and was Oprah Winfrey's pick as her "Phenomenal Man." He founded The Ron Clark Academy, which educators from around the world have visited to learn.
(CNN) -- This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.
I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."
Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.
So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Please quit with all the excuses
The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone.
Ron Clark
And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.
His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete.
Can you feel my pain?
Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.
Parents, be a partner instead of a prosecutor
And parents, you know, it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.
This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!"
Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.
Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.
And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.
Teachers walking on eggshells
I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.
My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"
I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow's outstanding educators.
Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner.
If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.
We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.
That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.


orphan -- (n)[C] a child whose parents are dead
sentiment -- (n0 [C or U] formal a thought, opinion or idea based on a feeling about a situation, or a way of thinking about something
prevalent -- (adj) existing very commonly or happening often
stem (the tide/trend)  -- (vb)[T] to stop something unwanted from spreading or increasing, 
nanny -- (n) [C] a woman whose job is to take care of a particular family's children
see light -- If you see the light, you suddenly understand something you didn't understand before.
pet peeve -- (n)[C]  a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it.
demean -- (vb)[T] to cause someone to become less respected
chime in -- phrasal verb Informal to interrupt or speak in a conversation, usually to agree with what has been said
worth ethic -- (n)[S] the belief that work is morally good
vex (by) -- (vb)  [T] old-fashioned to cause difficulty to someone, or to cause someone to feel angry, annoyed or upset
helicopter parents -- (n)  parents who want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong.
swoop (in) -- (vb)[I] to move very quickly and easily through the air, especially down from a height in order to attack
prosecutor -- (n)[C] a legal representative who officially accuses someone of committing a crime, especially in a court of law
water sth down -- phrasal verb to intentionally make an idea or opinion less extreme or forceful, usually so that other people will accept it
handcuff -- (vb)  [T often passive] (informal cuffto put handcuffs on someone

I don't really have to deal with parents, but I do feel the disrespect for teachers from my colleagues' stories. When someone thinks they know more than you do, it is hard to take suggestions, that goes for me too, so the way to solve problems like this is to actually learn more! Because one only realises his insufficiency when one learns. The wisest man learns and knows how much he does not know. So everyone, keep learning! Parents, spend more time with your children!

What teachers really want to tell parents @

Thursday 22 September 2011

News: Apple iPhone 5 (Oct. 4) & Apple Store HK (Sep. 23)

Apple CEO Tim Cook has big shoes to fill.
Image from Fox, AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Could this finally be true? If this is so, it wouldn't be a bad news for my birthday, but I'm kind of getting tired of hearing the release date of the iPhone 5 being pushed from end of September to the end of October and now back to the beginning of October. I just want to know what iPhone 5 is like before I decide on getting it or a power-draining Samsung Galaxy S2.

I've been waiting for my first smartphone since the days of the iPhone 3. Could this be the right model for me?

One thing is for sure, you get to peek inside the new Apple Store in IFC2.

Let's see if I get to go inside to take some photos with my 7D one day. Until then, these photos are all I can offer. Want to see more? The shop is set to open TOMORROW!

fill sb's shoes -- Fig. to take the place of some other person and do that person's work satisfactorily. (As if you were wearing the other person's shoes.)

 Apple Set to Unveil iPhone 5 on Oct. 4, Sources Say @ Foxnews

Apple offers first peek at new Hong Kong retail store @ AppleInsider

Travelling & Living: First Time To Apliu Street

You must be laughing when you saw the title of this entry. Yes, it is my first time to Apliu Street, but everyone has his first time, even if it is a place not so difficult to get to.

Years I have heard of this place, never had I found the urge to pay a visit, until recently I began to search for  a Geiger metre online just to discover the unbelievably ridiculous price tags people set on ebay, I decided to give Apliu Street a go, since it is famous for all sorts of ridiculously rare-slash-cheap devices. (As to why I wanted to get a Geiger metre, please read the previous entries on Medical & News: What Causes Cancer? -- Part 1Medical & News: What Causes Cancer? -- Part 2)

Back to Apliu Street, I created a photography day on Facebook and invited a few guys to join. And to me, it was an amazing little trip. I give you -- 14 Wonders of Apliu Street!

14 Wonders of Apliu Street

First, I have never seen so many saws and power drills laid out on the ground.
Saws and power drills
Second, I had never seen a roadside store that will display the products as messy as the photo below.
Messy display of products
Third, I had no idea that Apliu Street sells fishing rod, since it is nowhere near the sea (except the sea water in the public toilet)
Fishing rods for sale
Fourth, even laboratory tech equipments such as oscilloscopes can be found acting as table legs.
Oscilloscopes on the floor acting as table legs.
Fifth, poorly-kept old vinyl records are sold regardless of weather.
Old Vinyl Records
Sixth, expensive LED bulbs and stripes are sold, forcing me to revert to shopping LEDs on Taobao.
expensive LED stripes are sold 
Seventh, useless remote controls actually has a value!!!! I will remember to sell mine next time.
Old remote controls for all devices
Eighth, look up and you'll see the unique old Hong Kong architecture -- Tong Lau.
Round-corner Tong Lau
Nineth, clean pans and woks that no one would buy are sold.
Woks and pans carefully spaced out
Tenth, dusty tripods that I wouldn't touch are displayed.
Tripods and more tripods
Eleventh, I was surprised to see someone actually collects circuit boards in order to find the right part to fix faulty VHS/CD players.
Circuit boards (broken or whole)

Twelveth, I can definitely buy super magnets here if I need to! I tried to pull out one of them out from the stack, I couldn't!!!!!! $6 a piece.
Super strong magnets
Thirteenth, Yashica twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameraRollei Mercury II, Voigtländer COMPUR folding camera can be found there!!!!
Yashica Twin-lens reflex camera!!!! Made in Hong Kong
Rollei Mercury II (made in 1945) Half-frame 35mm non-rangefinder
Voigtländer COMPUR folding camera
Fourteenth, lots of people needed help on filling tax forms???
Tax, tax, tax!!!!!
You see, walking around Apliu Street can also be beneficial! I learn a lot of terms, what about you?

vinyl record
Tong Lau
twin-lens reflex camera (TLR)
folding camera

Medical & News: What Causes Cancer? -- Part 1 @ Locky's English Playground

Medical & News: What Causes Cancer? -- Part 2 @ Locky's English Playground

Living: Lamps & LED @ Taobao  @ Locky's English Playground

Oscilloscope @ Wikipedia

Vinyl Record @ Wikipedia

Tong Lau @ Wikipedia

Twin-lens reflex camera  @ Wikipedia

Folding Camera  @ Wikipedia

Ollinger's Camera Collection