Friday, 16 December 2016

Netflix Binge: Lying and Disinformation

So I'm binge watching documentaries in Netflix (worth the monthly subscription!), and there are a lot of my top picks that I want to share! This post features films about lying and the spread of disinformation in the digital age.

(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the human tendency of lying, interweaving social experiments by behavioural scientists Dan Ariely and his team, with interviews of (remorsed) people who were in scandals of varying notoriety. It follows the art of deception from animal evolution to human creativity; from individual rationalization to conformed social acceptance; from guilty white lies to numbed and distant criminal activities. Perhaps understanding the science of being dishonest can explain why people are still capable of spreading lies, despite access to information and technology should make it easier to prevent lying...

...Which leads us to Merchants of Doubt from the book with the subtitle "How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming". The subtitle says it all, but perhaps it's worth noting that despite exposes on propaganda and other sinister disinformation tactics, the art of lying also gets more sophisticated and its consequences more widespread.

I guess the best way to shield oneself from the lies and deceit is to fight ignorance coupled with a strong moral code. Even if the smartest person can know everything, if he falls back to basic human flaws and tribal norms, he becomes a victim and a tool for The Spread Of Ignorance.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

9/11 Truth (And Materials That Makes You Less Ignorant)

Published and peer-viewed paper "What Did and Did not Cause Collapseof WTC Twin Towers in New York" done by structural engineers. Basically, they are saying that yes, it was the airplanes.

Popular Mechanics also published a book on 9/11. (I may buy it ^_^ Amazon wishlist?) (by my idol Michael Schermer) has a comprehensive article about 9/11. The author, Chris Mohr, also has a YouTube playlist to go together with this article, so go check it out!

Finally, confessions of a "Truther" in and I quote: "I cracked and broke down in tears. It was the true human emotion of a mother who lost her kid that changed me. The others believed it was a fake recording and that she was in on it. It was the monstrous ugliness of the other theorists which set me on edge. I'm made to believe they're all a part of the 10,000-man-strong Illuminati? I said to the producers on day five, 'I've changed my mind.'"

Respect victims. The world is not obligated to make sense to you, and have to make you smart and know everything.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

ArcGIS Error: Number of shapes does not match number of table records

Oops! You cannot open your shapefile and cannot repair using "Repair Geometry" tool. The specific error message says "Number of shapes does not match number of table records", and the steps listed in the official ESRI site does not help you. Also, the scripts for other tools cannot be found in the ArcScripts webpage. What to do???

It's not the end of the world yet, coz someone uploaded a 1999 year-old tool THAT STILL WORKS! Go to this support forum and download found at the end of the page:

Good luck and breathe normally!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Massage at Healing Touch Spa

Nice Birthday Treat for Myself:

There is no denying that spa and massage in Singapore is expensive compared to neighbouring countries, so I already expected the 50+SGD price tag to splurge for my birthday. It was a nice surprise for me that the 1-hour Asian Fusion Massage was of different style from the Thai or Swedish Massages I usually get, and I admit I prefer this type of massage for my mild scoliosis. My therapist, Alice, applied enough pressure to my liking, and she was also kind enough to pause whenever I flinch. The ambience of the place is soothing and clean which certainly made the impression of relaxation and professionalism. If the Orchard branch is located nearer to public transport then it would be perfect. Despite that, I would still recommend Healing Touch Spa for satisfying massages! Thanks so much! 

Visited August 2016

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Better, Less Expensive Chilli Crab?

Visited my Trip Advisor account and I almost forgot I reviewed a restaurant when I visited Singapore as a tourist 3 years back: No Signboard Seafood: Expensive, but very good chili crab. Since then, I never went to other restaurants for chili crab. The Vivo branch is still the most comfortable for me, I hope the space have not changed since 2013. I went to Geylang branch a year after that, and boy was it crowded! I couldn't remember if the price are cheaper since it's an open-air restaurant. Last year, I brought a huge group of friends in Clarke Quay branch, and after that I started to get disappointed - they charged for every pack of wet tissue which were already placed in the tables. It wasn't much compared to the huge bill for the chili crabs, which made it more annoying.

Maybe this year, it's high time to explore other places for cheaper menu?

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Do not hijack democracy by voting mathematically

I admit I got a little bit snarky when I said to the tune of "voting is not gambling" in a supposedly light-hearted group chat. To my friends, I apologise for my language and allow me to step back for introspection.

Remember the failed presidential campaign of Dick Gordon in the last election? The only thing worse than losing because of supposedly young age (another then presidential candidate, Gibo Teodoro, retired from politics at age 45 after his loss) is losing because of supposedly lack of numbers. Poor guy was branded a loser before he got the chance to play ball, and in the real world, there's no Sandra Bullock to save you and live happily ever after. No no, the democracy in Philippine Oligarch Emirates is of a different brand.

And I blame the middle class for the prevalence of this erroneous thought. In Democracy, every citizen is supposedly given a chance to serve in politics, including the highest political office. When someone says "he/she has no chance", then that person actively abandons the fundamental political philosophy our country was built upon. We might as well admit we are in Plutocracy, a system based on no ideology other than wealth (not only by money but by resources as well). I would concede to the elites' vote, after all this investment scheme has not failed them on the empires they have amassed, and a 180-spin would be risking a multi-generational collapse. As for the impoverished masses? Who could blame them, when the only name they recognise is that of an actor, or of a dictator, or whoever has their name plastered in "projects" and "donations"? The people in the extremes are at the mercy of numbers. The middle class though, armed with enough education and practically risk-free, confuses me.

My dilemma now is, should we allow these polls and surveys during the campaign period? I say no, it warps the minds of the electorate, and reducing the election process as jumbo clearance sales. These polls are killing the chances of the Dick Gordons of every election, and drives the Defensor-Santiagos (v. 1992) to conspiracy-crazies. Pre-campaign surveys are the worst offenders for me. How can someone already "win" before the campaign even began?

But sad to say that will remain a dream, it won't even be taken as a serious consideration. I guess the takeaway from this is going back to simplicity: do not overthink. I recall my supervisor said, "a thesis with too many numbers means the person doesn't understand the subject matter". So when you decide to vote "intelligently", step further back and ask yourself, is it really intelligent, or just pretending to be? That's introspection.

Monday, 22 February 2016

The First 2016 Presidential Debate

So I just got to watching the replay of the first 2016 Presidential Debate...

Round 1: First Impressions
  • Mike Enriquez and Jessica Soho are very good emceeing the Miss Universe... oh wait this is the presidential debate?! -My bad
  • Very soon-to-be ex-VP Binay is the very caricature of those evil rich-political villains in our telenovelas, so comically corrupt, that we are already used to their brand of logic so we just watch the show to laugh at the plot.
  • Miriam Defensor is that bombastic speaker hungry for the best debater prize: aggressive during her turn and the devil's advocate during rebuttal. Might have been brilliant in UP Diliman, and still tolerable in the Senate (though it's getting, ehem, "shrilly high voice"), but maybe not that effective for the Office of the President?
  • Mayor of BAMFao Duterte lives up to his reputation. His rebellion with the traditions of a debate was shown by his answers that sounds suggestive but otherwise made no sense, rebuttals that somehow makes their way to drop Miriam Defensor's name. I have only one question, if you outlawed smoking, what the hell were you smoking before the event?
  • WAIT WAIT Mike Enriquez don't you understand only 1 question per turn??? 
  • Oh I believe Grace Poe when she says she's a motherly teacher. She's incredibly boring, delivers a nauseatingly patronizing voice tone, and throws cringingly awkward teen pop culture. Supreme Court should check her Birth Certificate and make sure she's not born in 1948.
  • Mike Enriquez: Only two females are running for President, and the bitchiest of them all is Mar Roxas. Seriously Mar, lessen the sass!
  • Wait, where's the opening statement???
Round 2: Sayang Moments
  • Poe (vs Binay): Girl, it's not your turn to answer the question! She should've asked why CARP needs to be scrapped or continued (seriously I can't make out if he's for or against it) and what's wrong with the current irrigation fees. And for bonus she should've inquired where the palay and farms in Makati went, were they accidentally cemented in his 1-billion parking lot? hahahahaha
  • Defensor (vs Poe): nice counter from Sen. Poe. Note she didn't answer the question (where will she got the funds for her promises?), but instead taking out her "I'm young and have new ideas" defense tactic that turned the rebuttal back to the sour whining old woman in the other side. Sadly, with the power of Youtube we are able to replay the question, where will you get the money?
  • Roxas (vs Defensor): STUPID ROXAS RUINED THIS DEBATE. This is the closest in the history of the 5th republic we get to talk about class warfare. Sen. Miriam proposed appropriating most of the budget to the basic needs of the rural poor, BUT also in favour of tax cuts by abolishing Real Estate taxes and/or Property taxes - obviously leading to the "trickle-down economics". This would've been the best opportunity to ask economic conservatives how, instead of raising the tax which would directly increase government funds, they would rather wait for the private sector to expand, "trickling down revenue to the poor" by giving more jobs with less tax burdens. Mr. EPALengke spent his rebuttal advertising the current Daan Matuwid instead (the question was the rise of GDP was clearly not felt by most Filipinos, dummy), prompting the most controversial quote from the Sen. "should we tax the rich just because they are richer?"
  • Duterte (vs Roxas): Two lovebirds dancing in the same old song. This would've been the best opportunity to discuss Climate Change and what were the agreements and further actions at COP21 in Paris late last year. Shucks, even the mining industry that is supposedly supporting Mar's aerial transpo would've been a pollution and lumad-bullying trump card for Duterte here. Of course I doubt his knowledge goes in that level, so his only talking point totally destroyed the original question, where the hell are the fishes???
  • Binay (vs Duterte): These are Beavis and Butthead over here. We all know we wanted it to stop you dufus duo. Why not discuss the current foreign trade policies where we stupidly import rice while we have a plethora of our own? And how come we cannot compete with the produce from Vietname, China and Thailand? Will this worsen when we join the ASEAN integration and Trans-Pacific Partnership? And will the popular Full-Foreign Ownership really kill the oligarchs, but also the farmers? And HOW HOW HOW will you....?!?!?!?!? Or you know what, maybe they are under the protection of this businesses, so in that case, well-played, you dufus duo.
Round 3: Not-really-about-Mindanao Issues
  • A round of applause for Mayor Duterte for opening the possibility of Federalism, which is supposedly more polarizing and alarming school of thought than China and US or whatever... Don't you get it, Manila, we are trying so much to separate from you!?!? After this, it would be a call for secession, or destruction of the imperial capital like what happened in Phnom Penh. At least give us the dignity of acknowledging our grievances, which was the total opposite of what Manila-boy Mar Roxas did. Wow, that was anti-climactic, and a little condescending too. "Hey we gave you more money than before, and sure we'll get that bridge WHEREVER TOWN THAT'S IN"... Oh and by the way Mar Roxas, that Laguindingan Aiport was under construction since 10 years ago by Lord Voldemort, I mean Pres. Gloria Arroyo. So you don't get to count that in your 260 Billion Pesos.

Friday, 19 February 2016


DISAPPOINTED in the Filipino youth, for despite being provided with all the information and global connection at our fingertips, we still cannot treat people equally without prejudice. Remember when we are outraged that richer nations views all of us as only fit to be Domestic Helpers, or people with fairer complexions calls us monkeys? And that just came from an unfortunate uneducated Twitter or Facebook post. Imagine if you are considered less than animals the moment you are born, or the moment you form sexual preferences or identity, or the moment you stepped in another country with an unfortunate circumstance of being poor and less knowledgeable. If you have no empathy on what it's like to be the "lesser person" in your lifetime, then you don't get to be on the high horse and think you are justified in your bigotry.

DISAPPOINTED with Nike, the nation's LGBT community and anyone calling for boycott. Our country (and US's) is a democracy and freedom of speech is a facet of our national identity. Intolerance of intolerance is just that, and YOU ARE PART OF THAT INJUSTICE. Everyone has the right to their opinions and beliefs no matter how stupid or gross. Everyone has the right to make fun of you. Everyone has the right to be offended and provide a counter argument. Everyone has the right to vote whoever represents their stand on issues, and equally everyone has the right to run for office even if their platforms and foundation are opposed to yours. What you have no right is to take away their livelihood, be a sportsman or a comedian, because of what they are or what they believe in.

DISAPPOINTED in my fellow countrymen, for not understanding the importance of separation of Church and State after more than a century of theocratic colonisation. We should evolve to wise voters where our politicians make decisions using legal precedence, scientific facts and fairness to all constituents. If one invokes God or whoever idols you put in the pedestal today, any debate is basically over. Is their religion, lifestyle, hometown, and parentage still the basis for our election? And we ask why our government and society is failing?

- these are my grievances on this issue

Thursday, 28 January 2016


*UPDATE* Season 3 is here! So far I've watched in-depth episodes on Climate Change, wars, drugs, the environment, and a horrifying show of "baby farms".  In one episode, My idol Rand Paul speaks on the dangerous effect of police militarization and the drug war. Going against the Republican/Conservative dogma, we are put into perspective that political machismo is not only dangerous but stupid in modern society.

*UPDATE* Season 2 is up, and it kicked off with the controversial money-mill of US Rehabilitation programmes in Afghanistan. No doubt this season will not disappoint - so check out the playlist below!

VICE News is an independent international news organisation tailored for our internet generation ( VICE on HBO are 30-minute features (produced by one of my idols Bill Maher). Currently, they have uploaded their first season, with Episode 1 featuring The Philippines: "Assassination Nation" alongside Afghanistan - both countries using kids for political wars. This episode is, of course, very intriguing and shocking to me as it hits close to home (very close, as one of the politicians shown is Rufus Rodriguez, my city's congressman). Episode 10 culminates the season with an interesting visit to North Korea and finally meeting their leader face-to-face.

Please watch the entire season in YouTube and continue the support for independent journalism! (Some of their journalists are detained, so our support is very much needed).

Vice on HBO: Season 1

Vice on HBO: Season 2

Vice on HBO: Season 3