30 September, 2009

Traffic Jam in Shanghai

traffic jam -B
Originally uploaded by mari781008

This picture shows the interaction between different types of vehicles at a junction. Not sure what type of junction this is. Since it is a four way junction, I think it should be a traffic light junction. But, there are traffic conflict between crossing traffic causing a little bit of gridlock.

It seemed that traffic from all directions wanted to enter the junction. It must be a scary experience for the bicycle riders since they have to cross this junction. Usually, if the road is this big, bicycle is banned from using the road to prevent severe accidents from happening.
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Tourists Attraction

London Double Decker Bus

In Malaysia, double decker buses are gaining popularity among the tourists to tour the city areas especially in Kuala Lumpur and recently in Malacca. As reported, Malacca is in the process of acquiring several more double decker buses, both air-conditioned and roof-less.

Personally, I enjoyed using the double decker buses because it give me the opportunity to scan through the city for any interesting places which can be visited later.
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29 September, 2009

Cyber Cafes

Roller Coaster Enthusiasts Flock To Cyber Cafe...Image by respres via Flickr
Due to the prevalent gap of digital divide, most users are dependent on cyber cafes to get connected to the internet. Cyber cafes managed to pay for the internet connection by imposing fees to the users. In major cities, the cyber cafes are being licensed and being monitored closely from conducting illegal activities by the authorities.

The cyber cafes are required to stop operating at certain hours of the day. Local authority will impose severe penalties to the operators for failing to obey the stipulated rules. Also, the cyber cafes are prevented from conducting online gambling games.

Due to the intense enforcement effort by the authorities in the urban areas, illegal cyber cafes are mushrooming in the rural areas. The operators are targeting youth to frequent their cyber cafes by offering them the illegal online gambling games. The operators of the illegal cyber cafes are interested only on gaining huge profits and they do it through the illegal online gambling games.

Thus, the authorities need to beefed up their efforts in battling the illegal cyber cafes in order to prevent youngster from wasting their time and money on such illegal activities.

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28 September, 2009

Interesting Development in the Area of Education

King Abdullah University of Science and Techno...Image via Wikipedia
According to this report, Saudi Arabia has set up a new multi-billion dollar research university, The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The research university will run as a co-educational nature on the promise of scientific freedom.

According to the report, KAUST is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, the world's 14th fastest supercomputer, and one of the biggest endowments worldwide.

The campus is located along the Red Sea coast about 80km north of the commercial centre of Jeddah.

KAUST will have a 'Mixed-gender' classes. The new university also will not require women to wear veils or cover their faces, and they will be able to mix freely with men. They will also be allowed to drive, a taboo in a country where women must literally take a back seat to their male drivers.

All of this seemed to be made possible in Saudi Arabia only in the name of scientific quest.

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27 September, 2009

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Funicular Railway of Penang Hill, from Viaduct...Image via Wikipedia
The Penang Hill railway recently experienced twice shutdown due to some technical glitches. The shutdown is the result of the failure of two switches, one switch that control the train speed and another that control the censor at the upper station. The disruption of the railway services causes a number of tourists to be disappointed because they cannot fully utilized their visit to Penang.

Several years ago, the Penang Hill railway experienced a major breakdown as the cable used to move the rail snapped. It took the railway out of service for several months in order for the cable to be replaced.

The recent problems might not occur if the Penang Hill railway authority has a periodic maintenance mechanism in place. Not only that, the relevant authority should provide enough allocation to the Penang Hill rail authority to carry out the periodic maintenance.

Through periodic maintenance, the initial problem will be spotted or rectified earlier before it become a major failure.
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26 September, 2009

Close Call

Close Call

Last weekend, we were traveling to our home town to celebrate the eidul fitri, a muslim celebration. Along the way, the traffic is heavy in both directions.

Suddenly, there is a car overtaking a long queue of vehicles in front and as you can see, the car seemed unable to overtake the bus within time. So, if you were traveling in the opposite direction of that car, what would you do to compensate for the drivers immature behaviour.

I had to press the brake very hard and direct the front of our vehicle far away from the middle of the road to give way for that unruly driver. For me, it was a really close call and luckily there was no untoward incident happened during that trip.

Most accident happened because other drivers don't have time to give way to the overtaking vehicle because the overtaking vehicle performed the maneuver at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
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25 September, 2009

Erosion Control

Retaining Structure

The river bank of the Lupar River in Sri Aman is always being eroded due to the high flow rate of the river especially during tidal flow. Tidal flows occur twice a day and the current is very swift resulting in the constant damage being done to the rive bank.

In an effort to prevent further erosion, retaining structure such as using stones gabion is being used to protect the river bank and the adjacent road from being damaged. Based on experienced, the structure will soon be consumed by the flowing river and the erosion will recur. So, it is just a matter of time before the retaining structure will be able to withstand the force of nature.
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24 September, 2009

Coldest Spot in the Solar System

01 The Solar System PIA10231, mod02Image by Image Editor via Flickr
Is it at the North Pole, South Pole, or somewhere in Pluto. According to this report,  the coldest spot in the solar system is on our moon. It is in the moon's South Pole in the crater that is never being exposed to the sun. It is colder than far away Pluto.

Temperatures there were measured at 397 degrees (minus 238 Celsius) below zero. That's just 35 degrees (2 Celsius) higher than the lowest temperature possible.
NASA is making the first ever map of the moon. I am not sure whether, NASA has managed to cover everywhere in the solar system. If not, there might be some other locations that will be the coldest.
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23 September, 2009

Community-Based Childcare Center

Pusat Anak Permata Negara
The dilemma of working parents is to find a professionally run place to send their children for day-care. This problem is becoming more critical as current spate of issues related to Indonesian maid such as freezing of employment of new Indonesian maids and the proposal to increase the minimum wage to RM800.

One possible solution to the problem is by running a community-based childcare center. The characteristics of the center should be as follows:
  1. Employers need to have a special unit to supervise it so that everything is in order.
  2. Ensure that all of the conditions are being met such as building standards, security, the children’s curriculum and nutrition, and the child-minder’s skills.
  3. Ensure on time payment of rent, workers' wages, and other operational costs.
  4. Due to the prohibitive costs as listed under items 1 to 3, each center should be shared and managed by several companies instead of having the centers in each organization.
  5. In order to achieve item 4, the facilities should be located near the participating companies or organizations so that the mother can visit their children during lunch break or other convenient time without jeopardizing their job responsibility.
However, the proposal will work best if the location has several organizations that are willing to participate. There should be some kind of incentives given to the participating companies in order to ensure the success of the idea. Also, an agency should be created to ensure the center will runs smoothly without any untoward incidents.

I am not sure whether the idea can be implemented at very small community areas. However, for the small community sites, the working mother can easily visit their children since their work place may be just a walking distance from their home.

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22 September, 2009

Water Rationing

HARBIN, CHINA - NOVEMBER 23:  Local residents ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
It is hard to believe that some part of the country is still under the dry weather spell and water supply is less than demand causing water shortage. Referring to this this story, Labuan is currently hit with water shortage and I can feel the sentiment of those who were affected by the water rationing since we were once experiencing similar problem due to prolong draught period. The disruption in water supply requires all people that were affected to change their daily routine in order to conserve the available amount of water.

Coincident with the current flu pandemic, the need of clean water is really needed in order to prevent the virus from spreading. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal since festive season is just around the corner. Also, hopefully the relevant authorities will continue to provide assistance to those affected.
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21 September, 2009

Burst of Anger

Australian Open-Serena WilliamsImage by Jayegirl99 via Flickr
In the early 80's, it was John McEnroe who let off steam on court. Recently, it was Serena Williams who had been reprimanded for smashing her racket on court. According to his report HERE, due to the intensity of the game, all tennis player suffer from burst of anger that they ultimately have to keep under control.

The level of intensity threshold beyond which the outburst is beyond control varies from individual to individual. Everyday training that they carried out is to control their emotions in order to make them as a professional player.  The burst of anger is not peculiar to tennis alone; other games also suffer from the same predicament and   read HERE for the reasons why the respective games are prone to have those symptoms.
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20 September, 2009

Local Delicacies for the Festive Season

Popia Simpul

Popia Simpul is a fried anchovies or shrimps wrapped in a thin layer of prepared flour. During festive season, the popia simpul is very popular and if you are unlucky you will not be able to place any order due to a very high demand. The picture above shows several workers preparing the popia simpul in order to meet high demand during the Hari Raya Aidil Fitr celebration. Popia simpul is a unique product of Kota Semarahan.

Iwould like to wish all muslims Eid Mubarak.
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19 September, 2009

Another Move to Ensure Passengers Safety

Integrated Transportation Hub

As usual during festive season, the demand for public transport  is very high. Thus, the Road Transport Department are undergoing stringent check on all express buses before giving them permit to transport passengers. Tyres, brakes and lighting system of the buses are fully checked to ensure passengers safety. The checked are carried out at depots and terminals statewide to avoid inconvenience to the passengers. Previous years, checked were carried out at roadblocks throughout the countries. Checked through roadblock will inconvenient the passengers since the passengers will be stranded in case that the buses did not fully conform to the Road Transport Department specification.
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18 September, 2009

You Might Lose 10 Years of Your Age

heart with coronary arteriesImage via Wikipedia
According to this report, if you are a middle-age male smokers with high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels face dying about 10 years before healthier counterparts.

If you are over 40, it is important to have your heart health check. Thus, you can prevent the on-set of heart disease by stop smoking, reducing cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure. Reducing blood pressure and reducing cholesterol can be achieved through changes in lifestyle. Thus you can expect to make a decade of difference to your life.
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Toll Free Rides During Raya Celebration

img 084e
As part of an initiative to encourage users travelling using their highways, the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway and the East Coast Expressway can drive toll free from September 18 to September 24 from midnight to 5am. According to this report, the toll-free hours are applicable to all classes of vehicles, including commercial vehicle. Users can saved up to RM29 in toll for a one-way trip using the East Coast Expressway.
I totally agree with the intention of the concessionaires of the Expressway, MTD, to introduce the toll-free initiative. However, the timing of the toll free period is quite misleading since there are not many vehicles travelling from midnight to 5 am except for commercial vehicles. The commercial vehicles will fully utilize the timing since it will be very beneficial to them for doing so. May be with the announcement of the toll-free period, more private vehicle users will start travelling from midnight till 5 am in the morning and that will introduce another set of problems such as increase in the rate of accidents. As reported somewhere else, the period which has high accident rate is from midnight till 5 am in the morning may be due to drivers fatigues, drowsiness etc.
I think, the concessionaires should decrease also toll rate during other off peak period in order to allow different categories of drives to travel at different time of the day and not necessarily from midnight till 5 am in the morning.

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17 September, 2009

Extension of LRT Stations


Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, is proposing to construct an extension of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang Light Rail Transit (LRT) line. According to the report, the RM7 billion project includes 13 additional stations each for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang line, including an interchange station at Putra Heights. The Kelana Jaya extension comprises of a 17-km track whereas the Ampang Line extension comprises of 17.7-km track. The extension projects are expected to be completed in 2012.
Currently, the documents and proposed plans related to the project are available for public review at Petaling Jaya City Council, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), City Hall headquarters, Shah Alam City Council and Department of Railway at Menara Dayabumi. The documents can be reviewed from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. The public inspection ends on Dec 14.
However, the developers of the extensions projects should consider the following areas of concerned:

  1. The most important aspect is to ensure the choice of train system that can be easily maintained and easily upgraded in the future. For example, due to popular demand, the capacity of each train need to be increased by adding additional coach to the train and make sure that the procured train system allows such an extension. As an alternative, the number of trains need to be increased in the future (to increase train frequency) to meet the travel demand. Make sure that the cost of adding additional train in the future are included in the procurement cost. 

  2. For the nation, there should be a Transport Masterplan to cater for future developments of all public transport facilities. For the rail transit system, there should be a masterplan which will indicate which lines that need to be constructed in the future. For example, currently there are no such lines as circumferential lines which could be used for users travelling along the outskirt of the city center. Also, there is no such line as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to transport high passenger volume at a very high speed for certain distances. Additionally, there should be other LRT lines to reduce the loading on the existing LRT lines to ensure that the level of service of the facilities is within reasonable limit during peak periods.

  3. Several stations should be constructed at properly located growth area in the future in order to save future construction costs. The proposed future developments will be in popular demand as the results of the availability of the LRT station in the vicinity of the development. The construction of the stations, even though it will not be operational sometimes in the future, will ensure proper land used and transportation planning being carried out along the LRT line. Furthermore, the cost of constructing the stations in the future will be prohibitive and also will affect the operation of the existing line.

  4. Ensure proper allocation of Park-and-Ride facilities at the LRT stations. In order to attract more users using the LRT facilities, users must be able to easily find available parking places. The management of the park-and-ride facilities must provide a very high security services at the parking places. Private vehicle users will be readily switched their mode of transport to the LRT based transport given that their level of comfort and security are being addressed properly.

  5. Proper traffic impact assessment (TIA) needs to be carried out at each of the park-and-ride facilities in order to reduce congestion around the area. Congestion occurs if the number of available parking facilities is limited causing vehicles to be parked surrounding the vicinity of the park-and ride facilities which can cause nuisance to the community.

  6. Feeder bus and taxi services at the park-and-ride facilities should be provided at appropriate capacity and frequency. This will further attract users to use the LRT services. If the feeder system is very poor than the overall level of service of the LRT system will be compromised. Thus, planning of the train frequencies should be synchronized with the feeder bus services frequency to provide a smooth free travel from one location to the other.

  7. Social and environmental impact of the project should be carried out. Sensitive residential areas need to be screened using properly designed sound barriers.

  8. Congestion level in term of number of passengers in a train at any particular time and number of passengers queuing at train stations at a particular time need to be taken into consideration. The management of the LRT system should be able to deploy additional train in case that the level of service of the facilities dropped at certain level of service. In order for this to happen, the operators must have enough number of train available during peak hours.

  9. With the extensions of the LRT line, more passengers will use the line for long distance travel. The extreme case will be that most users will use the train to travel from one end of the line to the other end of the line. Or most users will use the LRT to travel from the Suburb to the city center thus depriving other users along the line of their place (the users have to wait longer for available place) in the train. Thus, for LRT to operate properly, the distance covered for each line should not be too long. In order to overcome this issues, additional line should be constructed to accommodate the various users need. Also, the Government should consider constructing a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) for the purpose of carrying large number of passengers at a very high speed for long distance travel. The MRT line only allows passenger to disembark at certain interchange stations along the line.
I am sure that any readers interested in this topic will have some other ideas or concerns regarding the LRT services. I really appreciate and very thankful if you could provide your inputs by commenting on this post.

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16 September, 2009

Out of Fuel

Electric Grid: Pilons and cables distribute powerImage via Wikipedia
Soon the reserve of world's fossil fuel will run out and most countries will be in crisis in searching for an alternative energy. In order to maintain similar level of energy consumption not so long in the future, alternative sources of energy are urgently desirable. Most countries are experimenting on the use of greener energy such as wind energy, tidal energy, solar energy, etc. The greener energy usually created from Mother Nature and it has to be sustainable.

However, another issue arises is the amount of such level of energy capable of replacing the current energy consumption of the world population. For example, according to this report, U.K. will face energy crisis by the year 2016 as the green energy is not coming fast enough. Those are the stories from the developed countries.

So what about the developing and the third world countries? How are they going to compensate for the alternative energy not too long in the future? Will there be more famine, calamities, and wars as the result of the scarcity of the available energy. Hopefully, the transition of the crises will be tackled smoothly by all of the nations in the world.
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15 September, 2009

China Also Needs High Speed Train

France's TGV technology has been adapted for u...Image via Wikipedia
With the extra ordinary number of passengers wanted to travel throughout the country especially during festive season, China will reveal its own high-speed train in the future. The trains are said to be able to travel along normal track which give it an advantage to utilize the existing rail network. Most of the high-speed rail could only travel along a dedicated high-speed track.

I think, in this modern world, all countries that can afford to have it, need such kind of train to transport passengers efficiently. The total travel time being saved by traveling using the high-speed train can be used for other economic growth usages. The availability of the high speed train will ease the chronic congestion along major highways throughout the country.
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14 September, 2009

Recession Contributes to Less Congestion

:en:Traffic congestion on northbound :en:Inter...Image via Wikipedia
According to the reports, congestion in the UK has dropped by almost a third in two years because of the recession. It is the first fall in congestion on motorways and trunk roads for 20 years. The drop is due to the rising unemployment and more people are saving money during this difficult time. Some are opting to work from home and thus the number of vehicles on the road is decreasing.

The findings also found that congestion is on the rise during weekend since more are taking holidays within the country instead of abroad. However, the situation is only temporary and once the economy is picking up the previous trend of increasing congestion will be getting worst because the lack of emphasis given to infrastructural development during the crisis period causes the existing system unable to cope with the increasing traffic demand.

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13 September, 2009

Wi-Fi to Attract Public Transport Riders

A sign in Columbia City, Seattle, Washington i...Image via Wikipedia
In order to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and thus reducing the level of congestion, public transport need to be more attractive to the people. One way of doing this is by installing free Wi-Fi wireless internet connection on board of trains and buses.

The Scottish Government through Transport Scotland is already developing a business case for wireless provision on Scot Rail services and later will include bus services to promote the level of usage of the public tranport services. Read HERE for more news about the initiative.

In Malaysia, similar initiative had been proposed by the Penang Rapid, local bus operator, by installing free Wi-Fi internet in their buses. However, I am not sure about the current status of the project, Not sure whether the buses has been installed with Wi-Fi or not and if the buses had been installed with free Wi-Fi, it would be interesting to know about the users perception of the services.

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12 September, 2009

Relaxing Your Mind

After a tiring day of hard work, you can relax your body and mind by sitting on a swing. The swing is a seat slung by ropes. Let it swing back and forth until your mind is in sequence with nature. Let the breeze kind of massaging your face.
However, the swing is the favourite of kids. They will help each other to ensure that each one of them enjoy the swing of their lifetime.
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11 September, 2009

Fastest Man in The World

BERLIN - AUGUST 20:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica cel...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Usain Bolt is currently the fastest man in the world. He set new world records for the 100 and 200 metres at the World Championships in Berlin a few weeks ago. For the 100 m event, his world record is 9.58 sec. Nobody expect that the previous world record, 9.69 sec in 2008, can ever be smashed.

Is it because of his towering height which is at 6ft 5ins (1.96m) which is much taller than other Olympic sprinters who are normally between 5ft 9ins (1.75m) and 6ft 3ins (1.9m). With such a height, he has that longer stride than others. Usually, for athletes any taller it had been thought that any additional benefit from a longer stride would be outweighed by their greater bulk.

Usually, people with those height never interested in this kind of athletics sport, and most of them prefer to devote themselves to more lucrative sports such as basketball or American football. Thus, after the success of Usain Bolts, I think more tall powerful athletes might now be inspired by his example and be drawn to sprint events.

What about future records, can any human being run faster than the current record. In order to do that, the person must sort of flying instead of running to achieve those kind of feat.

Actually, that was what people have been thinking before that no human being can run faster than 9.6 sec until Usain Bolts beat the record. So, in the future, I believe that a new world record will be achieved due to the more sophisticated training equipments available to the athletes. Read more about this HERE.

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10 September, 2009

Happy Day for McCurry

McDonald's advertisingImage via Wikipedia
McDonald’s lost an eight-year trademark battle to prevent Malaysian restaurant McCurry from using the ‘Mc’ prefix. In the case of McCurry, 'Mc' refers to 'Malaysian Chicken'. McCurry serves Indian food not competing with McDonald's western food.

McCurry is a popular eatery in Jalan Ipoh on the edge of Kuala Lumpur's downtown.

I think, McDonald insist on pursuing this matter because they also one day would roll out their new product called McCurry. Since they also lost the battle, they have to give their dish another name, may be "McDonald Curry".

According to the news McDonald will also have to pay RM10,000 to McCurry, a popular eatery in Jalan Ipoh on the edge of Kuala Lumpur’s downtown. McDonald’s lawyers refused to comment, except to say the company will abide by the judgment.
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09 September, 2009

090909: 09:09 AM


I am thankful to be able to witness this current moment in this part of the world as it is already on Wednesday, 9th September, 2009 at 9:09 in the morning. To cut it short the current moment in Malaysia is 090909:  09:09 AM.

I wish everybody a very happy morning. There are a lot of events to be remembered by everyone occurring at this particular moment of time.

Once again. Wish everyone a very good luck.

Contraceptive Myth

Half-used blister pack of Levlen®EDImage via Wikipedia
I am quite surprised about the outcome of a UK survey which revealed that myths about contraception may be widespread.

The survey found out that one in five women said they had heard of kitchen items, including bread, cling film and even chicken skin, being used as alternative barrier methods.

Others had heard food items such as kebabs, Coca-cola or crisps could be used as oral contraceptives.

The survey questioned 1,000 women aged 18 to 50 and was carried out by market research company Opinion Health, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma.

The survey indicates that appropriate information needs to be readily accessibly to the public about the availability of different methods of contraception, about their advantages and disadvantages.

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090909: Honouring Your Pledged

Honouring Your Ledged
About 250,000 Malaysians are expected to honour their pledged today, from 9am till 9 pm, as part of the Malaysians Unite for Road Safety (Mufors) 090909 campaign organised by PLUS Expressway Berhad.

They made their pledges on how they can contribute towards reducing accidents and saving lives, and honouring these pledges on Wednesday, Sept 9, 2009, between 9am and 9pm. By honouring the pledged, it is the hope of the organizer of the campaign that these pledges will transform into a lifetime change.

Wish everybody a safe trip to wherever your destination.

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