Skinomics

Last month, I was in Seoul for the World Congress of Dermatology 2011, and amidst a slew of talks about aesthetics and plastic surgery, discovered some fascinating things about genomics going more than skin-deep. The science is in its infancy, of course. And there’s plenty of discussion over whether genomics can deliver on its promises. (Scientists […]

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I’m back

The Singapore General Election is over, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. I had to take rather a long break from this blog as I was part of the massive Straits Times team which covered the election – which I’m not going to write about as I’m not a political commentator!* You […]

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Reckoning

1. In stories about solar energy, readers need a handy comparison of power to something they immediately recognise. The comparison we typically use is ‘how many 4-room HDB flats can X megawatts power?’ Here’s the answer once and for all – Let’s say a 4-room HDB needs 4 kW of power – so 2 MW […]

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SBS puts the brakes on 3rd-party apps

No automatic access to data on bus routes for these, other programs Grace Chua The Straits Times, May 25, 2011 COMMUTERS who rely on mobile-phone applications to tell them when their bus is arriving have run into a roadblock. SBS Transit’s Iris (Intelligent Route Information System) now seems to have blocked third-party phone applications and […]

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High-tech tinkerers on the rise

From building robots to creating software apps, a DIY movement is taking root in Singapore By Grace Chua The Straits Times, May 05, 2011 REUSE. Repair. Repurpose. This is the rallying cry of a growing number of DIY enthusiasts here who put hands and mind together to make robots, phone chargers or 3-D printers from […]

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Economysteries: why are books so expensive in Singapore?

Why are books so expensive in Singapore? And is this true-er of highbrow nonfiction-type books, or of pulp paperbacks? 1. Highbrow hardbacks are more expensive. The pulp romance/ fantasy paperback is actually cheaper at Acmamall, an online Singapore bookstore. And the pulp book is the same price in ebook format! 2. Big bookshops in Singapore […]

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Grab bag.

1. The bystander effect for recycling, via the Nudge blog. National Environment Agency experiment time! 2. Carrots, the new junk food. 3. Want to change your behaviour? Try the Behaviour Wizard and Behaviour Grid (the latter is less flashy, much drier, but explains the former). Also you can request a guide to Purple Path behaviours (purple path? wizard? what is this, Oz? Not to worry […]

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Words to ponder

A brief one for today. The Jevons paradox, sometimes known as the Jevons effect, is the idea that increasing the efficiency of using a resource (say, energy) tends to increase the use of that resource. This could be true in some cases: ‘Wes Jackson, a plant geneticist and president of the Land Institute: “When the […]

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Coming full circle

Much has been said about the problem of electronic waste, or e-waste, worldwide. In many developing countries the situation is much direr than in the one tiny corner of Indonesia that I visited for the story ‘Zapping the ‘toxic’ out of electronic waste’ and ‘Old gadgets find new lease of life on Batam’. There are excellent articles here (from the […]

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links for the day, poo tracker/ v-day edition

Valentine’s Day is coming right up. To me that means half-price heart-shaped chocolates starting February 15. My sweet tooth spans the entire year and is not limited to a particular date or season, ergo it is wise to stock up on Feb 15 (until the day after Halloween, when fresher confectioneries are to be had). […]

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