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Hey mothers (and fathers) [07 Nov 2012|10:42pm]
Someone linked me to this website.

I suspect some of you would want to do this.


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Come at me, bro [02 Apr 2012|07:01pm]
We can figure what an imprisoned octopus actually thinks through interpreting movements of her tentacles. A significant scientific breakthrough in human-cephalopod interactions.

You smell. You smell like mammals.
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Music Monday [19 Mar 2012|10:30am]
Taking a break from traditional Chinese music because I don't have as much time to do the research today. So today, Chinese (mainland) poprock. But not just any poprock, but a poprock that actually got really famous because 2 amateurs taped their version and put it on the web. You can see the number of hits it got. This "demo tape" landed the duo in some fame, and they now have a record deal and are touring.

What I really liked about the video though is how raw and natural they are in it. You see that small room? That's typical for a migrant worker, which both of them were/are. Migrant workers in China typically come from rural villages. They leave home to come to bigger cities to find work. They live with other workers in whatever housing the projects had scraped together, and they move from job to job, city to city, rootless, drifting, and severed from their family. It is the price of modernization.

Video and lyricsCollapse )
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Music Monday [12 Mar 2012|03:39pm]
We're still in the string instrument family this week, in our stroll through traditional Chinese instruments. This week we are looking at 二胡 (erhu) which literally means a boxed-string instrument with 2 strings. In the West, it's sometimes called the "Chinese fiddle" or the "Chinese violin," although from the wiki entry, you can see that they're really not all that comparable.

For one, the sounding is caused by the vibration of the strings over an empty box covered by python skin. For two, the 2 strings are controlled without fingerboards. For three, the bow is entwined between the two strings and is never separated from the strings.

Erhu is frequently seen in wuxia books and movies, because it is the poor peasants' instruments and favored by many traveling minstrels. While the typical songs suited for erhu tend to be forlorn, there can be some upbeat songs, too (see below).

The song I chose is called 賽馬 (Horse Race). It is a traditional folk song from, you guess it, Mongolia. It's upbeat, and it features both the bowing and plucking techniques of the erhu. The music conveys very well the vibrancy, the urgency, and the rhythm of a horse race across the open steppes.

I'm including 2 versions of the song. The first is the best version I've found on YouTube, performed by the renowned erhu artist Men Hui-fang. It was accompanied by another traditional Chinese instrument, the butterfly harp. The second version is an updated version by the artist Yang Ying, who is American (emigrant from mainland China). The interview at the beginning gave a bit of introduction to the instrument, as well (though the host made a minor gaffe referring to the Cultural Revolution as the Tiananman Square Massacre). I am not sure that the addition of guitar to the piece was that helpful, but your mileage may vary.

YouTube vids of 賽馬 (Horse Race)Collapse )
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Music Monday [05 Mar 2012|03:34pm]
So to continue from last week's entry, we will hit a second traditional Chinese instrument. It is another string instrument, more similar to a lute or a guitar, called 琵琶 (pipa). Here's the wiki entry on pipa. It is apparently a 4-string (I always thought it had 8, owing to the similar in sound to the number 8 in Chinese), with 12-26 (26!) frets.

Cut long background story to save your screen spaceCollapse )
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Music Monday [27 Feb 2012|10:33am]
This week I am bringing you a piece of music performed in the traditional Chinese instrument called 古箏 (Gu-zheng), called zither in English. You can read the wiki entry on this, which is certainly more than what I know.

The music that I picked is called 高山流水 "Mountain High, River Swift" (also translated in different ways as "High Mountain Flowing Water" and variations thereof). It is one of the pieces recorded in the oldest book of written music recovered, dating back to the 1400s. The version we have now has been updated since then, but it still follows the original form quite closely. It also has multiple parts/movements, but most modern rendition of this is limited to the shorter version in this video. For those into music, the main body of the wiki entry talked about the characteristics of the instrument and the differences between the instrument used for tradition versus modern compositions.

Oh, yes, it's a calming, peaceful sort of instrumental. It is supposed to evoke the images of a high, forested mountain, and a swift running stream. Enjoy.

Cut for embedCollapse )
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This is what makes me angry [05 Oct 2011|02:10pm]
People who are eligible for vaccines but who choose not to vaccinate, either for themselves or their children.

Just watched a broadcast from my professional society of a panel discussion on the outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in California, 2010, and which eventually spread nationwide. You can watch here: ASM video

This outbreak caused the death of 9 infants, plus hundreds of people becoming ill. When people who can be vaccinated but who don't, it endangers everyone because the herd immunity is lowered over all. The real efficacy of immunization is to deprive potential pathogens of viable hosts in which to colonize and propagate. It also protects the members in our society who cannot be vaccinated, like infants, the elderlies, and people with immune disease disorders. The vaccine opposition is endangering more than just their own health, but the overall health of everyone else around them.

Nine infants died, because of a preventable disease which went unprevented due to pseudo-science and mumble-jumble popularism. It's mind-boggling. Autism spectrum disorders are devastating to the parents of these children and it poses significant challenge to our medical science in terms of coming up with an explanation. But in the absence of a clear explanation (possibly, multiple explanations), we shouldn't cling on to made-beliefs, like vaccines being the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
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Music Monday [21 Feb 2011|10:16pm]
Well, I feel like posting this song. So much misogyny on the board lately. I totally sympathize with Balefont when she said that reading Res Ipsa Loquitur's post makes her wants to rip her own uterus out. I'd feel the same if I had a uterus.

At any rate, don't mind the hair and the costume. It's the 80's, no? The song is great. It's on constant rotation on my iTunes. And yes, it's the "C" genre (Country). You can deal.

He thinks he'll keep her, by Mary Chapin CarpenterCollapse )
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There is so much wrong... [03 Feb 2011|08:08pm]
.... in that one post by Lyreiania.

Is she WhyteBoar/QueenCercei? She's from NYC.

I was tempted to ask her if she owns a condo in midtown Manhattan and whether she has a genuine Picasso in her living room.

Seriously, it's just full of complete fail.

Didn't someone have a hosted image of the Rape Discussion Bingo card? If so, it's time we posted it, I think.
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Music Monday [19 Sep 2010|08:29pm]
Here's an entry: 張震獄 (Zhen-yu Zhang) 秘密 (Secret)

Only when I close my eyes,
do I see you.
This is what I hide in my heart,
I love you secretly.

Here be VideoCollapse )
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You know what's sad? [26 May 2010|06:57pm]
Watching the coverage of the ecological impact of the oil spill on PBS.

Holy shit. This is just a short report, not even that in-depth. I am nearly in tears watching this.

If I could, I would have called Agent Smith and told him that he's right: humans are the virus of this Earth.

Fuck us.
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Music Monday [12 Apr 2010|03:48pm]
Been a while since I did it.

Here's a before and after edition.

The song was made famous by a pop icon from the 70s, 徐小鳳 (Priscilla Xu). It's called 風的季節 (Season of the Wind). It was a popular song when it first came out, mid 70s. Then in early 80s, Anita Mui won the first big signing contest with this song, and the popularity of the song rose even more. Since there, there have always been 2 versions of the song, one from Priscilla Xu and one from Anita Mui. I actually prefer Anita Mui's version, but then, I think she's the best artist of my generation. So it's no surprise.

Recently, there's apparently a third version by the group called Soler, who did a cover of it. I thought it's a reasonable update. It didn't really add much, but it's not horrible either.

So under the cut, the 3 versions.

3 versionsCollapse )
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Haiku [25 Feb 2010|06:44am]
This bagel I bought
From Starbucks, is terribad.
Taste like week-old stuff.
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Music Monday [23 Nov 2009|07:30pm]
Apropos to my recovering the Queen CD set from my pile of stuff, here's one of my favorites. This is like mandatory song for Friday nights prepping to go out for a good night.

I'm a rocketship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite, I'm out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an Atom bomb
About to whoa, whoa, whoawhoawhoa explode!

Burning through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mr. Fareinheit
I'm travelin' at the speed of light
I want to make a supersonic man out of you!


Don't Stop Me NowCollapse )
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Oh, home [07 Nov 2009|05:32pm]
I'm not given to overly sentimental memories of home, especially since I'm really not that fond of many aspects of life in Hong Kong.

That said, once in a while, I do miss it.

On a whim, I downloaded the online streaming of one of the radio stations that I grew up listening to. I caught the 7:30 am news report, and in the 5 min segment, I learned:

1. Earthquake in Tibet in the early morning hours. Damage and death toll unknown yet.
2. Bank leaders meeting in Scotland with some sort of resolution to do better in the future.
3. Hilary Clinton's written statement on the up-coming celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, complete with a brief description on the programmed events for that celebration.
4. The collapse of a bridge in the small country next to Spain, and the death toll.
5. Traffic news for Sunday morning.

When I watch the local news program here in middle Illinois, I'd be lucky if any foreign countries are mentioned. Even on national TV like NBC or ABC, it's really difficult to find reasonable report, let alone analysis, of foreign issues. In reality, the celebration of the Berlin Wall's demise has little effect on the lives of people in HK, no? But still, it made the news, because it's a habit of keeping tab on what goes on in the world. The parochial nature of most of the U.S. has never ceased to grate on me. This international outlook on life is one of the things I miss about Hong Kong.
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Music Monday [02 Nov 2009|07:05pm]
An independent artist from the Canto-pop of HK who is a mixed-ethnic child of Taiwanese and Japanese parents? Get real!

But yes, she is one of the pioneering underground music artist.

This particular song was actually sort of mainstream, because it was the theme song of the movie called "The Tokyo Tower."

東京鐵塔Gulugulu by 有耳非文Collapse )
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Music Monday - Oldies Edition [26 Oct 2009|02:32pm]
Here's a classic song from the 30s. The singer, ZHOU Xuan was one of the earliest popular artist from records. She was also a movie star, and some of her best known songs were movie titles or soundtracks (including this entry).

In this song, the character is a singer working at a nightclub, which in the 30s, was a disreputable profession for a woman. Think a big dance hall, with tables lined in white table cloths and wealthy people gathering, while there's a band and a singer in the background.

夜上海 by 周旋Collapse )
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Promotion Fail [23 Oct 2009|02:51pm]
So I was reading Salon, and out pop one of those ads. This time, it features the Economist. So, having bought issues of it on and off on my own, I thought: "Hey, look, a promotion deal for a magazine that I actually have half-thought of subscribing to anyway."

So I looked at the deal. It says that first year (12 issues) is only $12. The regular newstand price is $6.99. So, sweet!

Then I looked closer at the fine prints. After the promotional period ends, you will be charged $27 for every 3 months. That averages out to $9 per issue.

So, perplexed, I did the math. Basically, you're paying $8 extra every 3 months for the magazine. So, if you subscribe to the magazine for 3 years, you will break even. If you continue to subscribe after 3 years, you will lose money.

Of course, they tell you that as a subscriber, you get the special annual issue, as well as a focus issue that comes out every 3 months (each focus issue focuses on a specific topic). So, I suppose you can call it even, all things considered.

But to me, that just does not seem like a good way to entice new subscribers (no, I didn't sign up).
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Music Monday [12 Oct 2009|12:15pm]
Another Taiwanese entry. This time from a gorgeous song and impeccable lyrics. It's been covered by so many artists in such a short time, and there's a Cantonese version, too.

哭砂 by 黃鶯鶯Collapse )
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Music Monday [28 Sep 2009|11:31pm]
A bit late. But the weather is chilly, and this song fits perfect the mood.

飄洋過海來看你 I sail the ocean to come see youCollapse )
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