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Total Lunar Eclipse Observation Program(Program Gerhana Bulan Penuh) - ANGKASA and National Mosque TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE PROGRAM – 16 JUNE 20       There will be a total lunar(moon) eclipse in Malaysia on June 16, 2011. The eclipse will start at 1:25 a.m. until 7:01 a.m. On the 16th of June 2011, we will be able to observe a total lunar eclipse starting from 1:25 a.m. to 7:01 a.m. In conjunction with Total Lunar Eclipse, National Space Agency (ANGKASA) and National Mosque will be organizing a Total Lunar Eclipse Observation Program at the Main E … Read More

via Ahmad Ali Karim's Weblog

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My homegrown beansprout

Like many others who live in the city, we only have a small garden. Actually, it never did cross my mind of how small our garden is, until we decided to plant our own organic vegetables three years ago. Is there any herb or vegetable that can be grown without taking too much space for the city folk?

Last week, Mom soaked a bowl of green beans overnight for her ‘bubur kacang’. Anyway she was so busy the next day that she forgot all about them after straining the beans into a colander. The next day she found that her bowlful of green beans had grown tiny roots. So, instead of cooking them, she gave me the beans for my “experiments’.

And I decided to grow beansprout. I found out that growing green beans into beansprouts is certainly very easy. All I did was running tap water over the colanders (with the beans) every 4-6 hours or so. Don’t try to move the beans/seedlings around with your hands (you may feel tempted to do so, but you may pull out their roots). Put a plate under the colander to collect the water dripping from the colander.

The green beans had grown tiny roots! 😀

In a few days, the roots will be long enough to reach out of the colander into the plate of water below it. Even at this stage, I still ‘water’ the sprouts but I suppose you could leave it on its own. Another thing to remember is not to put too much beans in one colander. When that happens, the beans on the top couldn’t get enough water while the beans at the bottom may rot.

Roots growing out of the colander

Another good point in growing beansprouts is that you can plan when to start growing them so that the beansprout will be really fresh when needed. Soak the beans overnight about 5 days ahead and they should be ready to be harvested on time. And trust me, fresh home grown beansprouts are so tasty, crunchy and without that ‘commercial beansprout smell’ that even I who never like beansprouts before ate loads of them.

Fresh, homegrown, organic beansprout in mum's delicious fried noodle.

So with the price of vegetables rising up and the concern of the high level of chemical contamination in our vegetables, it will be a very good idea to grow our own vegetables. And if space is a problem, try growing beansprouts; you can even grow them in your apartment balcony, kitchen or even in your dining room! It is really cheap and easy while the result is absolutely wonderful. Maybe I should start a business selling tasty, fresh, home-grown, organic  beansprouts … after all fresh, organic vegetables can fetch a good price in today’s market!

Ready-for-harvest beansprouts (shoots)

Ready-for-harvest beansprouts (roots)

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I’ve always enjoyed playing with optical illusions. Optical illusion occurs when your brain misinterpret the messages sent by your eyes which resulted in making things look different from what they actually are. There are all kinds of illusions stretching from afterimages to colour adapting to impossible objects. The first illusion I’ve ever been introduced to was the ‘arrow illusion’ by my father.

Take a look at both arrows in the picture above. The line (a) looks longer then line (b) although both are actually of the same length. My father introduced this illusion to me when I was 7 from an airplane magazine.

Last week, my dad gave my little brother an ‘Illusion Science Kit’. Knowing the fun of illusions, he was very excited when he received it. He quickly opened the box and pulled out the contents. He took the booklet (from the kit) and started reading it. As a generous brother and a good boy, he shared them with all of his sisters and all of us crowded around him to take a look. There are lots of illusions shown together with the explanations on how they work. Here is my favourite illusion:

What you should do is to try saying out the colours aloud instead of reading the words.

Say out the colours, not the words!

Quite hard, isn’t it? Here is another one (not from the kit): How many f’s (the letter F) can you find in the whole paragraph? The answer is written below the passage (but don’t read the answer yet).

Count the f's in this paragraph.

Did you say 3? Count again… actually there are 6! Like most people, you might missed 3 f’s. Amazing, isn’t it? Our brain only processes important words that gives real meaning and only skid over less important words like ‘if’ and ‘the’. If you counted six in your first try, consider yourself as unusual and amazing 😉 .

There are many more illusions that on the internet. My favourite website is the Mighty Optical Illusions (http://moillusions.com). Illusions are certainly fun to play with and their effects are amazing.

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I found this very interesting article in Yahoo! News and thought of sharing it with all of you.

Heather Whipps
Special to LiveScience
LiveScience.com Heather Whipps
special To Livescience
livescience.com
Fri Jan 1, 11:05 am ET


The dawn of 2010 promises more amazing developments in the world of technology. Already, tourists can visit space, for a price, nearly everything and everyone is going digital, and medical science continues to test the boundaries of what makes us truly human. One full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind. As the clocks of 1909 ticked towards 1910, more exciting inventions were just around the corner.

The first decade of the 1900s was an exciting time to be alive, with inventors continuing to make major strides in all disciplines.
The early years of the century saw the general public finally able to enjoy the fruits of what was achieved in electrical engineering during the previous century. By 1910, many suburban homes had been wired up with power and new electric gadgets were being patented with fervor. Vacuum cleaners and washing machines had just become commercially available, though were still too expensive for many middle-class families. The telephone was another hot new commodity in 1910, with millions of American homes already connected by manual switchboard. Those who did not have a phone to call their neighbor still had to rely on the paper for their news, however; though radio technology was in its infancy, regular broadcasts were still several years away. In transportation, those first years of the 20th century began the age of the airship, marked by a craze for dirigibles such as the Zeppelin and the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Henry Ford introduced his landmark Model T in 1908, making automobiles available and affordable to the masses for the first time.
Chemistry also charged full steam ahead in 1910. Advances in the use of gases chilled the world out with the release of the first electric refrigerators and air-conditioning units, while French inventor Georges Claude harnessed neon in glass tubes and debuted neon lighting in Paris, changing the face of seedy advertising forever. Other new inventions, both influential and inane, that were making waves one century ago included:
  • Bakelite plastic
  • Escalators
  • Teabags

  • Cellophane

  • Instant coffee

  • Disposable razor blades
The best thing before sliced bread. The world was modernizing quickly by 1910, but some everyday things we take for granted now were then still just a glimmer in their inventors’ eyes. Men were still relying on buttons and women on painful corsets until 1913, for example, when clothing technology got a boost with the development of the zipper and modern brassiere. Unfortunate zipper accidents likely healed better with the invention of the modern Band-Aid, which came about seven years later. Steel turned rusty until mid-decade, when the stainless variety ushered in a new era of efficient gun barrels and, later, shiny appliances. Finally, though the pop-up toaster first hit the market in 1919, the public had to wait almost ten years for its practicality to be fully realized. The “greatest thing” of the modern age, the one invention against which all others are now compared-sliced bread-was born in Missouri in 1928.

We’re just so modernised now that it sounds funny that once a person invented sliced bread and teabags. I guess in another hundred years, computers are no longer thought as an invention but as a daily need.

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Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide which sublimates at room temperature and at atmospheric pressure. Dry ice is very useful as one can use it to keep things cold, to make carbonate drinks, making smoke effects, trapping insects. One can also use dry ice for lots and lots of fun science experiments.

On the 31st of December 2008, mum and dad bought us Baskin Robbins ice-creams. And as usual, there were lots and lots of dry ice packed in the paper bag to keep the ice-cream frozen.

Back home, I showed my brother and sisters how to make ‘clouds’ using dry ice. I put a small piece of dry ice in a bottle filled with water and ‘clouds’ started to flow out from the bottle. We tried all kinds of experiments to make ‘different kinds’ of clouds. We made cloud that went up high and also the sort of flooded the ground. And we did really enjoy ourselves very much.

The next day, I surfed through the internet to search for new ideas for new ideas of how to play with dry ice. I found so many sites that wrote about dry ice and how to have fun with them. Apart from that I learn a lot more about dry ice too. Such as the correct way to handle dry ice and safety rules. Dry ice is so cold that it could cause severe cold burns. Also one should make experiments using well-aired area for the carbon dioxide release as the dry ice sublimates could harm us.

Playing with dry ice is really fun but it can be very dangerous too. So, one has to learn about the safety rules and follow the rules carefully. Playing with big pieces of dry ice may not be a good idea without an adult to help us.

Playing with dry ice I not empty fun as we can have fun and learn new things too. In fact, it is a very  educational experience!

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I spent the last weekend attending a lot of Eid open houses. It was tiring but fun since I got to meet relatives and friends. Among the open houses we attended were Uncle Ali’s (Abah’s former SS classmate), Uncle Khairul’s (Abah’s friend), Atuk Zakaria’s (Nenek’s Yunan cousin), Tok Mok (Jaddi’s [Abah’s father] younger sister) and Uncle Zaini’s (Abah’s friend).

I also attended YM Pak Engku Raja Ahmad Aminullah’s open house at the R A Fine Arts Gallery in Jalan Damai where I had the chance to speak to Aunty Siti Zainon Ismail. Renowned artist Tuan Syed Ahmad Jamal was also at her table. Aunty Siti Zainon’s 15th solo exhibition, ‘Angin Si Pauh Janggi’ will be held at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia in Jalan Bukit Bintang until November 2nd 2008.

On Tuesday, I went to the ‘Preview Day’ of the Metrojaya Anniversary Sale at the Metrojaya in Jalan Bukit Bintang. Anyway there were not many customers at the store that morning; and even by 10 am the free breakfast prepared by Metrojaya for its card members was still aplenty. By the way, the fruit tarts and cream puffs served for breakfast were really delicious. The sale will go on until November 9, 2008.

The October 22nd 2008 was the first day of MPH Warehouse Sale. We reached the warehouse at about 10.00 am and spent over 4 hours at the warehouse sale. I really enjoyed myself that I almost didn’t feel tired at all even though I was standing for such a long time. It was a hot and sunny day and I was sweating; but honestly I could have spent the whole day looking at those beautiful books. I just love books and so do my siblings and my parents and we really enjoyed our almost half a day at the MPH Warehouse Sale. Even my little 5 years old blogging brother Ahmad Ali didn’t complain even though he was really tired after standing for hours. He read lots of books while waiting for mum and dad shopping for books. He wrote about the MPH Warehouse Sale in his blog. (Please click here to read his post on MPH Warehouse Sale.)

My parents bought us lots of books on Geography, Science, Arts, History, and of course storybooks. I was allowed to choose my own storybooks and I ended up with classic stories by renowned authors like William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Frances Hodgson Burnett. And I’m so proud that I only chose one Enid Blyton even though they had quite a huge collection of Enid Blyton’s books.

On a table, we saw a collection of ‘Herge’s Adventure of Tintin’ series. Mum was really excited as she used to read them when she was about my age. She has been looking for the books for sometimes and so was I, because I’ve been wondering what was so special about them. Well, mum had been telling me all about Tintin for years. They were rather expensive even during the warehouse sale; as what mum always told me. Mum bought us two books and said that once I read them, I’ll be asking for more… And she was right- not only that I want more but I wish that I can have the whole set! Now I understand why mum was so excited when she saw them and whenever she talked about Tintin.

And with all the books that dad bought us at the MPH sale; my siblings and I were kept busy reading. The books are so wonderful that it was hard to put them down. And that was one of the reasons why I did not update my blog for such a long time… Only my little brother was so disciplined and kept on updating his blog! He is such a good boy and I want to be a good girl; so I need to put down my books and write more often as I did before.

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