Ab workouts - no machines  

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What's the best ab workout? Can you find them from late night shopping channels? (I'm sure that'd be fun and miraculous at the same time). But, no. No machines this time. In fact, it's good old fashioned exercise. Hit the link above for an ab workout that will get your heart pumping, quite literally. There are ab workouts for beginners, intermediates and advanced "students". I really think that as long as you're diligent and motivated to do this every other day, you'll see results in no time. No machines required.

So it's true, the web does make us dumber. Sort of.  

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What it's about:
The article makes a very important point - web usage rewires our brains to think in a certain not-entirely-great-for-mankind way and we carry that way of thinking into things we do. The web distracts us and interferes with our concentration.

Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains

During the winter of 2007, a UCLA professor of psychiatry named Gary Small recruited six volunteers—three experienced Web surfers and three novices—for a study on brain activity. He gave each a pair of goggles onto which Web pages could be projected. Then he slid his subjects, one by one, into the cylinder of a whole-brain magnetic resonance imager and told them to start searching the Internet. As they used a handheld keypad to Google various preselected topics—the nutritional benefits of chocolate, vacationing in the Galapagos Islands, buying a new car—the MRI scanned their brains for areas of high activation, indicated by increases in blood flow.

The two groups showed marked differences. Brain activity of the experienced surfers was far more extensive than that of the newbies, particularly in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem-solving and decisionmaking. Small then had his subjects read normal blocks of text projected onto their goggles; in this case, scans revealed no significant difference in areas of brain activation between the two groups. The evidence suggested, then, that the distinctive neural pathways of experienced Web users had developed because of their Internet use.

I was thinking the same thing just two days ago, whether the web makes us dumber, especially after I read that Obama opined that it did.

Go asian  

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If only I got a dollar for every weight loss or diet related post I wrote. HAHAHAHA. I hope you get the joke.

I know I write about it a lot. So much so that it has just hit me that you don't see a lot of weight loss pills in Malaysia. There's no Lipovox and whatnot; there's Herbalife and such. It could be because there is no market in Asia: to stereotype, there are less obese Asians than there are Caucasians. It could also be that import regulations for pharmaceutics are stringent, far too complex for me to even bother researching about.

I'm telling you, it's all about the diet. My cousin stayed with us for 9 months and he lost weight. The minute he got back to the States, he gained some. In Malaysia, you're more likely to get diabetes; and in the States, I think you're more likely to get a heart attack, right?

Anyhoo, I think that really is the secret. Go Asian with your cuisine and get on with your life. You're bound to see something work there.

Heads up: Facebook's newer simplifed privacy settings  

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How Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Work

Facebook’s privacy settings and users’ concerns have been debated and analyzed ad nauseum over the past several weeks. With today’s announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company hope to put the talk — and the fear and mistrust — to rest.

“We made a lot of changes at the same time,” Zuckerberg said regarding his company’s f8 announcements of the Open Graph API and other new Facebook features. “A lot of what we were trying to do got lost. We really need to simplify the controls… The feedback we got from users really resonated with us.”

I was writing an essay about Facebook's privacy settings for the past 5 days and I had a realization: with regard to the complexity of their privacy controls, I don't know what most users are doing but Facebook has given us comprehensive privacy controls and they're not that difficult to understand really. So what's up with that? (I do know that the general consensus is that they change their privacy controls and policies too often but that's not an excuse not to stay informed, isn't it?)

One thing I do know for certain is that Facebook is heading towards a more open and transparent future and we're being nudged toward that future whether we like it or not. If you refuse to participate, it's simple, remove that piece of information in question.

At that point, I think the question would become, are you willing to stay on Facebook with a barren profile (assuming you hold on to your privacy very dearly) or are you going to help Facebook achieve their mission?


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So, how does one lose weight fast? *I've been milking this new thing I learnt the other day, it should be a crime* Again, how to lose weight fast? The answer? GO TO UNI.

Seriously. Last semester, I lost weight (and my face actually LOOKED thinner!) because of some intense end of semester assessments to finish. It's also the end of semester now. The difference is, it's the beginning of winter, so I expect to put on some weight. Carbs and cheese are my kryptonite, see?

Just keep on working, don't stock your fridge too often, have Milo and oats at the ready, and you're bound to lose weight. No joke. Just make sure you get the occasional veggies and vitamins (juice).

Don't kill yourself over it  

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It's been burned into my brain that women gain weight easier than men. It doesn't help that they have to deal with image issues too. When marketers start to advertise the "best diet pills for women", most of them may conveniently exclude important information like side effects. Just because taking a pill is easy, doesn't mean you don't have to do your homework. No one cares about yourself more than you do, so you'd better be sure it's safe when deciding to take diet pills.

The light at the end of the tunnel  

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Four more assessments to go and I'll be free... to study for my last paper. They're all due in rapid succession, so if I slack, I may as well quit now.

With this thing about privacy and identity online and how it affects your prospective employer's impression of you, perhaps the only person who won't have to worry about this is one who's self employed.

In other news, I'm sleeping at 6am now. I am so screwed.

Winner of the 2010 Best Illusion of the Year contest  

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Check out the website for more tricks: http://illusioncontest.neuralcorrelate.com/

Damn, those Japanese are purdy smart...

Body image  

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I may have mentioned this numerous times but my cookies and starch is making me fat around the waist and thighs. Add in the fact that as students, you inevitably put on weight because of so much sitting. Yet still, it never crossed my mind to take weight loss products. Okay, maybe just once, last year with Herbalife. But that didn't work because my dad kept feeding me even if I told him not to. Now I'm sitting here thinking, "oh my goodness, it's so cold now it's inevitable that I'll eat to stay warm, which means I'll be blubbery. That means I'll have to exercise hardcore when I come back or start reducing meal portions". Being a guy and girl in today's society is tough.

[Funny] Stuck in a glacier with MacGyver  

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You all remember MacGyver from TV right?


The actor who played him, Richard Dean Anderson, also starred in this show called Stargate: SG-1, a sci-fi TV series. Here, he plays Jack O'Neill and is stuck in a glacier with his team mate. This is the prank that the crew played on him.


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Is hydroxycut really effective? That's what people wonder, don't they? Especially if you've never bought it before. If you're more of the research type, look at the ingredients they use. Wikipedia and Google is your best friend here. Alternately, search on Twitter for real time opinions of others about the product. On the other hand, if you think you're not one to be fooled by advertisements and fake reviews, go ahead and look for review sites which would have Cliff's notes prepared for you.

Traumatic scars  

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Trauma leaves its mark on immune system genes by Jessica Hamzelou

Traumatic experiences can scar for life, both mentally and physically. Now it seems they even leave chemical marks on DNA – in areas responsible for immune functions and memory.

The result could help explain why people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including some soldiers and victims of rape or earthquake, often have poorer physical health years later, as well as memory problems. It could also lead to a new method for diagnosing the disorder.

Well, well. Does this explain why I've never eaten a durian in years? Funny that after falling on a pile of durian, it didn't stop me from eating them until years later.

Scales will save the day  

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Not until I've been in Perth have I appreciated the importance of scales. Some of you may ask, "how are scales important"? Let me illustrate.

You're living away from home where you don't have everything you need, like a scale. You return home during study breaks and you've bought 20kilos of luggage allowance. Oh snap. You don't have a scale to tell you how much you've packed and you're really bad at estimating weight. At the airport, you cross your fingers and check in your luggage. Balls. You're exceeded your allowance and now have to pay a more-than-airlines-should-charge excess fee. You're peeved and realize this is going to keep happening as long as you don't have a scale handy.

I've found some DIY solutions but they involve water displacement, so that's not a very good idea for luggage. When it comes down to it, having a scale around is better, isn't it?  *spoiled urbanites*

Addiction to lipbalm? Noooo... yes?  

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A couple of months ago, I was back in Malaysia and I ran out of lipbalm. My parents and I were out so I told my Mum that I needed to get some lipbalm from the pharmacy before we left the area. She got concerned and was cautious about it when she asked, "With you using lipbalm like that, do you think you're... addicted"? (*paraphrased) It was pretty chuckle-friendly. I don't know if it's an addiction but hey, it helps keep my lips moisturised.

Talking about lipbalm, I found a website that showed us how to make home-made lipbalm. I don't know what the URL is right now, I think I've lost it. But apparently, you can easily get lipbalm tube containers online. Heck, after you've made it, print some designs and you'll get personalized lip balms! Then sell it. (Ah yes, ever so enterprising...) At least it'd make a great promotional tool for whatever cause you're promoting, say... yourself... or for abused animals, of course!


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I saw acne on my face without looking at the mirror. All I had to do was point my eyes downwards.

I really wonder how I got those because I've been sleeping really early for the past week. Damn, hormones?

On a totally related note, how does taking acne pills like Acneticin, stop acne? They don't suppress hormones, do they? Is that bad? But I read they also supplement our bodies with vitamins. (I have this sudden urge to suck on a vitamin C tablet.)

Honey, I think I blew up the microwave  

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Okay, I woke up at 7 this morning, and yes, I was shocked but not too much since I did go to bed very early the previous night. Then, I decided to feed myself first before using the laptop. I went into the kitchen and took out my $2 Bacon, Cheese, Tomato French Toast (awesomely reduced price!) and popped it into the microwave. I should point out that they're packaged in a foil-lined paper bag, and I did hesitate about them before putting it in. I start the microwave and two seconds later, I saw electricity or sparks, I'm not sure which, and what sounded like pops. Yeah, so that's what happens when you put anything metallic into the microwave.

The thing is, there was some exposed foil at the bottom of the bag, something I didn't notice before because I focused only on the inside foil. I thought if the foil is inside, it wouldn't really be the same as putting a spoon in. Suffice to say, there's a black splotch in the microwave that I can't quite remove. The plastic's slightly damaged but the microwave's still in proper working condition. It's really not that bad.

So what I'm thinking right now is, do I report it?

Love your butt  

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I think the body part that goes through most use and abuse is our butt. We sit on hard surfaces, uncomfortable surfaces, dirty surfaces, uneven surfaces; get hit, pinched and poked by other objects and humans; get jiggled with machines to trim that area; etc. Does that hit the message home yet?

If it does, the next time you're sitting on a hard surface, say on patio chairs, why don't you get some outdoor chair cushions to go with it? Your butt will thanks you. At least it won't hurt that much when you finally get up.


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What do you first look at when you see a man in a suit? Usually, their ties, yes? I've gotta say, mens ties are one of the things I find interesting and perhaps the most customisable to convey an identity. Did you know my brother couldn't/wouldn't do up his own tie in high school? Yeah, so I did it up for him and he never untied it since (he last used that tie). I tie a mean tie. That, and baby sizes are so cute, like baby shoes! In terms of tie designs, that's like tee shirt designs. You can pretty much print anything you want. Yet, unlike a tee shirt, you won't actually look good in every design. Ties with a fish print probably won't look good on everyone. Just sayin'.

Forgive the incoherence, I blew up the microwave today. More on that later.