Archive for July, 2010

In the movies that count

Monday, July 26th, 2010

In Star Wars the Force is never explained (in the movies that count), but we accept that it works because the characters behave in a clear, believable manner

Aaron Diaz, in Batman the Least Believable Superhero []

…And not so much in the movies that don’t count.

Holey Parkinglots

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Parking lots here in Singapore don’t tend to be the horizon spanning monstrosities of the US, land being a premium and all that, they tend to be either fairly small or multi-story parking decks. One feature of the non-parking deck lots that they do have strikes me as something the US should consider.

Basically the parking spaces in Singapore parking lots are not paved with asphalt or concrete — they are paved with bricks, holey bricks at that:

Parking lots paved with holey bricks
Parking lots paved with holey bricks, detail

So why would this be a good idea: less runoff, less sewers-backing-up floods, more plants (questionable at best). I’m sure there would be a host of issues to be solved, like how much oil/gas is leaking into the ground because of this (cars in Singapore tend to be new, well maintained due to the exorbitant cost of owning them and various other government rules, while cars in the US run a wide gamut, old and new, lots of oil and gas leaking rust-on-wheels.), not to mentions the cost of the bricks and laying them compared to the cost of asphalt. Also grass grows like a weed here in the tropics not so much in parts of the US so it might just be dirt in the holes. But really it just looks so much nicer.

If Singapore Spied on US…

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The good news is that someone still wants to spy on us. The bad news is that it’s the Russians … If you had told me that 11 Singaporeans were arrested spying on how our government works, then I’d really have felt good — since Singapore has one of the cleanest, well-run bureaucracies in the world and pays its cabinet ministers $1 million-plus a year.

Thomas L. Friedman, in “The Spies Who Loved Us” [], New York Times Op-ed Column, July 13, 2010.

I ran across this quote in the local Singapore papers… unfortunately they fast and loose with the quote, they cut out the part where I have the ellipsis (…) where Friedman speaks about how good he would feel if the Finns sent spies to keep and eye on US schools. No problem, I cut it out too right? Yea but I used and ellipsis to indicate that I had skipped over part of the original quote.

That’s a minor thing, even if my high school English teachers would have marked me down liberally for misleading my readers. No the more telling bit of creative editing by the locals was the leaving out of the “and pays it’s cabinet ministers $1 million-plus a year.” They just put the period after “in the world.” That great salary for ministers is a sore point for a lot of locals, even if they won’t publicly say anything, but it is a big remuneration in a country where the average wage for the first quarter of 2010 was SG$4,310 a month (by their own numbers [].)