Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I set the camera to open the shutter in the dimly lit theater room for 10 seconds. Deb using a flashy light lapel pen writes my name backwards while I count 1001, 1002, 1003...
Here is the same shot with no ambient light. I think we'll try this next time outside, with more shutter time and bigger words! BTW, try to write in cursive backwards sometime. I tried and I have no idea how Deb does it! I will stick to running the camera.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Chungking Mansions is a building located at 36-44 Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. The building is well known as nearly the cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong with a single bed of US $8 one night. Though the building is supposedly residential, it is made up of many independent low-budget hotels, shops, and other services. The strange atmosphere of this building is sometimes called by some "the scent of Kowloon's Walled City".
Chungking Mansions features a labyrinth of guesthouses, curry restaurants, African bistros, clothing shops, sari stores, and foreign exchange offices. It often acts as a large gathering place for some of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, particularly Indians, Middle Eastern people, Nepalese, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nigerians, Europeans, Americans, Pakistanis, and many other peoples of the world.
The building was completed in 1961, at which time Chinese residents predominated. Now, after more than four decades of use, there are an estimated 4,000 people living in the Mansions.
Chungking Mansions is 17 stories tall and consists of 5 blocks, A, B, C, D, and E.
There are two elevators in each block, one of which serves even-numbered floors, the other one odd-numbered floors; there is often a queue for this lift.
The price of a flat in the Chungking Mansions ranged from HK$1,000,000 to HK$2,000,000 as of August 2006.
While the Chungking Mansions are nominally intended for residential use, there is a large variety of commercial establishments in the building.
Chungking Mansions contains the largest number of guesthouses in Hong Kong in one building, with 1980 rooms in total. The rent ranges from HK$60 to HK$380 per day (as of 2006). Since it offers some of the cheapest rates in town, it has become a legendary haunt for backpackers and budget travellers.
The age of the building, the diverse ownership, and management structure are the cause of the building's reputation for being a fire trap. The unsanitary conditions, security, ancient electrical wiring, block staircases contribute to the hazards.
On February 21, 1988, a fire broke out in the building. A Danish tourist who was trapped inside was killed. The fire in this building, as well as a blaze in a similar building provoked a review of rules and regulations concerning public safety.
CUHK anthropologist Prof. Gordon Mathews revealed that there are people from at least 120 different nationalities who have passed through Chungking Mansions in the past year.
With this lively mix of guest workers, mainlanders, local Chinese, tourists and backpackers, the Chungking neighbourhood is one of the most culturally diverse locations in Hong Kong. Chungking Mansions was elected as the "Best Example of Globalization in Action" by TIME Magazine in its annual feature The Best of Asia, although racial tensions are known to boil over occasionally.
It is also known to be a centre of drugs, and a refuge for petty criminals, scammers, and illegal immigrants. For example, in a Police swoop in June 1995, about 1,750 people were questioned, 45 men and seven women from various Asian and African countries were arrested on suspicion of offences including failing to produce proof of identity, overstaying, using forged travel documents, possessing equipment for forging documents, and possessing dangerous drugs. In "Operation Sahara" in 1996, 52 men and seven women from 14 countries were arrested for violating immigration regulations.
Kowloon Walled City, situated next to the old Hong Kong International Airport, was an incredible megablock of urban/architectural configuration occupying an area of approximately 200 by 150 metres. Most of the 500 buildings in the City, housing almost 50,000 residents, were built between 1965 and 1985.
Don't forget to click on the title for a PDF history of the now demolished city.
- Skyscraperpage.com forum thread devoted to Kowloon Walled City, information, pictures and videos Site will ask for a user name and password... just click cancel.
- Kowloon Walled City, introduction
- Related page on the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website
- Photographs and brief overview of KWC in historical, personal, architectural and political terms
- Kowloon Walled City Park - Photographs
- Kowloon Walled City Park - Pictures
- Story of a team exploring Kowloon Walled City
- My father lived in Kowloon Walled City
- Kowloon Walled City: The Modern Pirate Utopia
- The Kowloon Walled City Vanished before the Handover
Saturday, March 21, 2009
For cats, DEFCON 2 means that Mishra now comes down and hangs with the kittens. Now this does not indicate any kind of friendship. Get within 2 feet, and you get some really spooky growls and hisses!
Friday, March 20, 2009
This refers to maximum readiness. It is not certain whether this has ever been used, but it is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on US military forces or US territory by a foreign military power.
For cats, DEFCON 1 is reserved for bringing in new kittens without permission from the Queen of the house.
This is not an actual photo of Mishra. She is under the guest bedroom bed and has requested that I NOT photograph her! The face of this cat however, pretty much sums it up!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
At the beginning of the computer era, people died with passwords in their heads
and no one could access their files. When access to these files was critical, companies could grind to a halt. That’s when programmers invented death switches.
With a death switch, the computer prompts you for your password once a week to make sure you are still alive. When you don’t enter your password for some period of time, the computer deduces you are dead, and your passwords are automatically e-mailed to the second-in-command. Individuals began to use death switches to reveal Swiss bank account numbers to their heirs, to get the last word in an argument, and to confess secrets that were unspeakable during a lifetime.
Old age is often blamed for causing us to misplace car keys, forget a word or lose our train of thought.
But new research shows that many well-known effects of ageing may start decades before our twilight years.
According to scientists, our mental abilities begin to decline from the age of 27 after reaching a peak at 22.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Fish Wildlife and Parks officials used a tranquilizer gun on the 150-pound male bear after several attempts to get the animal down failed Tuesday.
Minutes after being shot, the bear dropped out of the tree. During its fall, the animal hit the springs of a trampoline under the tree and catapulted high into the air before landing on the ground.
Officials said the bear is fine and will be released into the wild in the morning.
"My theory is this bear just got lost," wildlife biologist Jamie Jonkel said. "I honestly think he came up from the river -- maybe from Kelly Island or Frenchtown -- and started making his way along the river into town."
Thursday, March 12, 2009
It's widely accepted that friendships are invaluable to the soul but few of us were aware that they could also boost the bank account.
A study of 10,000 US students over a period of 35 years suggests the wealthiest people are those that had the most friends at school. Each extra schoolfriend added 2% to the salary.The researchers said this was because the workplace is a social setting and those with the best social skills prosper in management and teamwork.
If a wide circle of friends is taken as a popularity indicator, does that mean the more you have the more successful and happy you are? Or can you have too many? What is the best number?
The average number is about 150, says leading anthropologist Robin Dunbar.
Daylight saving time, which began this week in most of the United States, has long been promoted as a way to save energy. Whether it does is still a matter of debate. But it does seem clear from studies that a one-hour time adjustment can have unintended health consequences.It seems that when the clock is moved forward or back one hour, the body’s internal clock — its circadian rhythm, which uses daylight to stay in tune with its environment — does not adjust. In a study of 55,000 people, for example, scientists found that on days off from work, subjects tended to sleep on standard time, not daylight time: their waking hour followed the seasonal progression of dawn.