Monday, December 12, 2011

You can never win a Chess game against Chuck Norris...'s chuckmate the moment you sit opposite him.

Thanks 9gag!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kate Upton teaches how to Dougie

Kate Upton dancing. I like Kate Upton here more than the photoshoots she's done so far. Why? Because it shows her personal, fun-loving side.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Funny interactive Skittles commercial

My only advise to you is this: Follow the instructions in the video :)

It is indeed challenging to be in the advertising industry nowadays. There are too many things competing for the consumer's attention now, so agencies have to come up with amusing, entertaining, and interactive ads to engage and influence the consumer.

Enough talk - view the commercial here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mind-blowing stuff

 1. Mind-blowing toughness in an animal: Water Bear
Yes, this is the water bear. Thanks to 
Water Bears, known formally as Tardigrades, are microscopic creatures that are tough as nails. They are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of −273 °C (−459.400 °F), close to absolute zero, temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals, and almost a decade without water. In September 2007, tardigrades were taken into low Earth orbit on the FOTON-M3 mission and for 10 days were exposed to the vacuum of space. After they were returned to Earth, it was discovered that many of them survived and laid eggs that hatched normally. (Wikipedia)

2. Mind-blowing idea espoused in a mathematical theorem: Banach Tarski paradox

The Banach Tarski paradox is a mathematical theorem that states that a solid sphere can be divided into pieces such that the pieces can be reassembled into two spheres, with each sphere the same size as the original sphere. Colloquially, it is also termed as a pea can be broken into pieces and reassembled to form the sun. It is mind-blowing because it just doesn't make sense! The key things to realize is that the sphere mentioned here is a mathematical sphere not a physical sphere, and the cardinality of infinite numbers.

3. Mind-blowing awesomeness in a human: Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table because he only recognizes the element of surprise. Chuck Norris counted to infinity twice. Chuck Norris's computer doesn't have the CTRL button because he's always in control. Kids wear Superman pajamas, Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.
For more proof, please refer to the true to life accounts below.
The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human Chuck Norris Collection (Delta Force / Delta Force 2 / Missing In Action / Missing In Action 2: The Beginning / Braddock: Missing in Action III)

4. Mind-blowing hotness in twins: The Davalos Twins

I don't know all the twins on earth, but I am pretty sure we have the hottest set of twins ever right here in the persons of Camila and Mariana Davalos.(pics thanks to

5. Mind-blowing violence in a book: 120 days of Sodom
120 Days of Sodom tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies, while locked away in a castle. As the days pass by, their activities become more and more violent and gross. Let's just say the novel involves a lot of s**t. I don't want to publish violence in this blog, so let me just refer you to this Wikipedia article.

6. Mind-blowing awesomeness in music: Soothsayer by Buckethead
A youtube comment said it best: "The True Story of the Origin of the Un­iverse: there were two all powerful gods of awesome who fought before the universe was created. Their names were Buckethead and Chuck Norris. They fought for eternity until Chuck Norris kicked his most powerful round house kick at Buckethead while Buckethead shredded the most epic solo ever and their two titanic attacks collided and ripped a hole in the fabric of time and then the most massive explosion ever recorded occurred. This event is known today as the Big Bang."

If you like the song, you might like the entire album.

7. Mind-blowing horror due to a disease: Fatal insomnia
Just imagine what it would be like one day to wake up and never fall asleep again, to be tortured in a twilight world of perpetual insomnia, lying in bed, exhausted but with eyes wide open, listening to the groans and whispers of the night -- sleepless, until death mercifully claims you. That is fatal insomnia. (MSNBC)

8. Mind-blowing sniper: Simo Hayha
Finnish sniper Simo Hayha killed 705 Russians in the Winter War of 1939. Consider these:
  • He accomplished this feat in 100 days
  • He did it in six feet of snow 
  • The temperature was 20-40 below zero
  • A task force, a team of counter snipers, and artillery strikes tried to take him (just him) out. But they all failed. Instead, the task force and counter snipers were all taken out.
  • He didn't use a scoped rifle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Foolishness is part of human nature...

Tim Jackson mentioned the following in a TEDTalk, and I paraphrase: We're using money we don't have (credit cards etc) to buy stuff we don't need, that don't make a lasting impact ("flavor of the month"), to impress people who don't really matter to us.

I believe this applies to life in general. People like to spend their energy doing things that don't make a lasting impact.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year song!

Happy new year everyone!

Let me share with you a song I discovered recently by a great band called Thanatopsis. The song is aptly entitled "New Year."

If you like their songs, you can buy them here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things to be thankful for in 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, let me look back at what I had done this year, the successes and the setbacks, and share some of my thoughts with you. I've never formally done this before (if a blog entry can be considered formal), but the pastor in Church last Sunday mentioned that thanking God for His blessings is the right thing to do, so here I am. 

Turns out, there are quite a number of things to be thankful for. In terms of...
1. Work, this year had been smooth sailing. I've had some pretty tough projects that got exponentially more challenging as the year ended, but it seems that these difficulties can be surpassed before 2011. I wouldn't have imagined this to happen 3 weeks ago. I have also gotten a small recognition at work this year, something that only happens once every few years. This year was also the year where I traveled the most - to China/HK twice, Korea, Singapore, even Boracay.
2. Work, I'm happy to be active in the recruiting space. It is mildly gratifying to know that you are helping people by giving them jobs. The key to this though is to balance the students' futures versus your goals, which can be a tough decision to make sometimes.
3. Life, I'm really glad I started going to the gym at the start of 2010. I do not go to the gym regularly, and yet I have gained around 15 pounds. But of course, the task of keeping yourself fit does not end after a year of work.
4. Family, I'm glad that everyone in our family is still in relatively good health and the family still has a strong bond though we don't deliberately create memorable experiences.
5. Life, what seems like a golden business opportunity has opened up for me and my friends (actually, the opportunity opened to him - and my friend invited me and another friend). I'm hoping and praying that this really is one.
6. Spiritual life, this is the year where I have begun to be more active in Church. In fact, I had been virtually absent from my Church since I graduated from college! Finally I'm getting myself back on track...
7. Life, it's great to have good friends. I'm not the emotional type, but it's great to have friends you can talk to about anything. Another reason I'm thankful is that the resulting circumstances in #5 actually led me to find an awesome friend, someone who wowed me the moment our glances connected.

And one more thing - it's awesome to receive a birthday SMS from a friend as the clock hit twelve midnight 2 days ago :)

In terms of improvement areas:
1. I've got to learn to be more flexible with my personality, and realize when to be deliberately more emotional in my dealings with people. I think from an all too logical perspective (thanks to my years of studying chess, math, and playing RTS games), and radiate a very neutral outlook (eg: hiding/tempering down emotion, which is actually a double edged sword.). These two things combined is often mistaken by others as a very cold demeanor, even though I do not intend it to be.
2. And yet, I need to be more rigorous at work. Managing increasingly tougher projects makes this all too critical.
3. I need to get more experience. I'm 26, and I still have a lot of things to learn and experience. The professional situation I end up with in 2011 can help steer this I think...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Even the Einstein of humans is still... just a human

Found the insightful comic above from abstrusegoose. You can just as easily substitute the monkey for a human, and the human as a "higher entity" (multidimensional beings? Read Clifford Pickover's hyperspace book for an explanation. God?)

Classical movies I have seen (and why) - part 1

I've never been a fan of classical movies until very recently. Black and white just didn't appeal to me, and I thought that the stories were too shallow. Not to mention that the camera techniques and effects back then are very primitive compared to the present - hence boring. 

But then I chanced upon a list of the best movies ever created and I was shocked to see majority of them being dominated by very old movies. How could movies created with ancient technology come through as being best of all time? That piqued my interest, and I began watching a few of them...

...and now I can say I am more or less hooked. This from a guy who's seen probably only Ten Commandments among the classical movies before. It wasn't the technology - it was the story and the storytelling that carried movies back then - no amount of special effects can substitute that. Every now and then, the technological breakthrough would happen, which would go on to become the standard for all succeeding movies. 

Without further ado, here's the list of the movies I have seen, in no particular order:

1. Ikiru (buy the movie in Amazon)

What it is about: A man - who spent the last three decades of his life dedicated to work - suddenly realizes he has stomach cancer and has only a few months left to live. He realizes he's been dead for the last three decades, and begins looking for ways to truly live his life.
Why did I watch this movie: Roger Ebert said it is the greatest movie of Akira Kurosawa. And Akira Kurosawa's movies are always among the top of the list of greatest movies ever.
Why you should watch this movie: Every person who's been working for a few years now should watch this. Before it's too late. Let me rephrase Ebert: Watch this movie every 5 years and inevitably you'll see how you're slowly transforming into the man in the movie.

2. Rashomon (buy the movie in Amazon)

What it is about: A priest, a woodcutter, and a passerby sit under a gate discussing the most bizarre experience they've had - a hearing about the murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife.
Why did I watch this movie: Because it is another highly regarded Akira Kurosawa work - in fact, this was the movie that catapulted him to international fame, winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival
Why you should watch this movie: This movie will make you think very hard about truth, justice, and people's motives. Listen to the testimonies of the priest, woodcutter, thief, wife, and (how did this happen?) the samurai himself. As Ebert wrote, "The wonder of 'Rashomon' is that while the shadowplay of truth and memory is going on, we are absorbed by what we trust is an unfolding story. The film's engine is our faith that we'll get to the bottom of things"
- is it clear I am an Ebert fan? :)

3. The Passion of Joan of Arc (free movie!)

What it is about: The last few days of Joan of Arc's life, starting from her trial in front of the priests until her execution. 
Why did I watch this movie: I watched this movie because many have said that the performance of the lead actress Renee Falconetti is widely considered one of the best - if not the best - performance ever caught on film.
Why you should watch this movie: The performance is indeed mind blowing. Many shots are taken close up, showing only the faces, but even these alone carry the emotion and tension of the movie very well. I watched this movie with Richard Einhorn's musical composition "Voices of Light" which makes the silent movie all the more haunting.

The whole movie is available on youtube!

This is a long overdue post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

If I delivered our graduation speech...

If I was the one who talked during our graduation ceremony 3 years ago,  I would have said something like this. I wrote the following note 3 years ago, a few hours after our graduation. The same idea was forming in my mind when I was asked to apply for the grad speech, but I decided not to write it down until after graduation. I will not edit this to reflect my current thinking :) I noticed the ending was abrupt - sorry for that.
The essay follows...

I am angry, but I am also quite happy. This would be the best way to explain how I feel right now, as a graduating student standing before you all, and soon, the Philippine society. I know this wasn't the type of opening you all were expecting from me at such a grand event as commencement exercises, so let me explain myself.


There are several reasons to be happy.

One. We are students schooled in ideas, concepts, and technology that will be obsolete in 2 to 3 years. We are schooled to find solutions to problems that don't even exist yet.

Now why be happy about this? Because there is one competitive advantage the Lasallian education gives us: the ability to adapt to change, and the discipline to attain success in the face of dizzying changes. And that means we can manage almost anything that the world may slap on us. We will soon find our way around these hurdles, thanks to the torture that our school training gave us. Do I need to elaborate on the "torture" part? On the "dizzying changes" part, I recommend you to watch "Did You Know" in youtube.

Two. The education that we have is not manifested in our diplomas alone. This is an education that is also deeply rooted in values. And that means we have a smaller probability of getting swayed by corrupt practices when we leave the University's four walls. We have a smaller probability of instigating the corruption in our areas. We have a bigger probability of putting an end to corruption and lead the country out of poverty, like Moses who lead the Israelites out of Egypt. But I will come back to this topic in a while.

Three. The third reason is us. There is unlimited potential in each of us, and we can tap these to affect our society. Whether or not we tap these potentials is outside the scope of the school. The school has equipped us with the two important things I have stated above, and  it is up to us to awaken our passions and awareness. That will be our foundation for our impactful contributions to society.


But why angry?

We are not special. We are not the only batch of graduating students of DLSU. To think in numbers, hundreds of thousands of Lasallian graduates have come before us. Scores of graduation speeches have been said. I bet all of them declare that we - the graduating students - are the future of this land. That we should help those in need, that we should not only look for bettering ourselves but always to think of the common good. The list of these grand ideas goes on.

People say this because these lines are proper, and at such a time when our egos are tremendously boosted by the attire, diplomas, and medals, why can't we? Having it any other way would seem completely stupid. But ask ourselves: If we hear these, do we take it to heart? Or are we already thinking of how we will spend the night in celebration of this "momentous" event? Or thinking of where you can find work? Or, as quite many scientific studies tell, thinking of sex?

Picking up from where I left off a few minutes ago, we should be angry because even after the hundreds of thousands of graduates that have come before us, many of whom carried a huge sense of idealism we currently (might) have, the Philippines has not progressed far. Some would even argue we have progressed in the opposite direction. Corruption is still the norm in most of our government. Worse is many of the people who occupy positions of power in our society are from the creme de la creme of Philippine Tertiary Graduates (like La Salle). What has happened? They have forgotten the speeches they've heard or written years back. They have switched off these ideals talked about so loftily.

But, being angry can sometimes be a good thing. Suppose someone tells you that you did a poor job, and you won't be able to bounce back. What do you do? Accept what you were told? Or will you get angry and tell the person, "I will shove your words up your rear." Then propelled by this anger, you deliver and make the person eat his words in the end.

There are other things we should be angry about, but as we are all graduating students, I believe we have the capacity to figure these out ourselves. This serves only as a spark plug.

Therefore we should be angry, and keep this anger in our hearts and minds.

These are the reasons why I am both happy and angry.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Please watch: Akira Kurosawa films screening at CCP/UP Film Institute

**Update: I just called CCP today. They confirmed this is free, but you have to be early as they don't accept any reservations and the maximum seating capacity of the theater is only 100. 
From Sept 14-19 and Sept 22-30, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and UP Film Institute respectively will be screening the movies of acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa for free. This is done in partnership with the Japan Foundation.

Akira Kurosawa is in my opinion one of the best directors who ever lived. Just look at what other directors have said about him:
  1. Steven Spielberg (E.T., Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, and a lot more)- "I have learned more from him than from almost any other filmmaker on the face of the earth."
  2. Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, enough said): "One thing that distinguishes Akira Kurosawa is that he didn't make one masterpiece or two masterpieces. He made, you know, eight masterpieces"
  3. Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Aviator, Shutter Island): "Let me say it simply. Akira Kurosawa was my master, and... the master of so many other filmmakers over the years"
For a list of his numerous awards, please refer to this resource.

He directed some of the best films I've ever watched - Rashomon, and Ikiru (I even wrote about Ikiru). So I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone to please go to CCP or UP Film Institute to catch some of his films!

Please see the schedules below:
See you there!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The deadliest, most terrifying diseases ever

Everyone of us hates disease. But there are some diseases that are utterly terrifying. Here's a quick list of the most terrifying diseases I've ever come across. 

1. Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva - Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is an extremely rare disease of the connective tissue. Essentially, this disease screws up the body's repair mechanism, causing fibrous tissue (including muscle, tendon, and ligament) to be ossified when damaged. Ossified - turn to bone! In many cases, injuries can cause joints to become permanently frozen in place. What's worse, surgical removal of the extra bone growths has been shown to cause the body to "repair" the affected area with more bone.

This is a terrifying disease because it restricts your life so much. You can't put yourself at risk of injury, otherwise you risk ossifying a part of your body, and losing movability of that body part. That effectively rules out almost all physical activity! Being careful/paranoid doesn't guarantee that you won't suffer some sort of injury, and the moment you do, you will probably be permanently disfigured. 

The best known FOP case is that of Harry Eastlack (1933–1973). His condition began to develop at the age of ten and, by the time of his death from pneumonia in November 1973, six days before his 40th birthday, his body had completely ossified, leaving him able to move only his lips.

Image thanks to this source.
Notice that the bone has "grown" irregularly, leaving a man stiff in areas where he should be able to move.

2. Naegleria fowleria - Ok, so this isn't really a disease. Naegleria fowleria is actually a free-living microorganism (think of something like an amoeba) typically found in warm bodies of fresh water, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and hot springs.

Why is it terrifying? Imagine that you're taking a simple, relaxing swim in a pond or lake. Then unknowingly, N. fowleri can enter your body normally via the nose. You can not detect it or shoo it away. And here's where it gets scarier.

The more common name of this organism is "brain-eating amoeba," and it's meant in a literal sense. While it rarely attacks, it almost always means death. How does a very small organism like N. fowleria do that much damage to a human?

In humans, N. fowleri can invade the central nervous system via the nose. The penetration initially results in significant necrosis of and hemorrhaging in the nose. From there, they climb along nerve fibers into the brain. The amoebae begin to consume the cells of the brain piecemeal by means of a unique sucker apparatus extended from their cell surface. It then becomes pathogenic, causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM or PAME). PAM is a syndrome affecting the central nervous system, characterized by changes in olfactory perception (taste and smell), followed by vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, and the rapid onset of coma and death in two weeks.

3. Fatal familial insomnia - This is by far the most terrifying disease I've ever come across. As you can probably determine from the name of the disease, it is fatal insomnia. So, one night, you realize that you can no longer sleep even though you're very tired. Then the next. And the next. And the next. Until you die.

Here's one story of a person who suffered from such disease:

Shortly after his 40th birthday in 1991, Michael Corke, a music teacher from Chicago, began having trouble sleeping. In the following weeks, the insomnia grew worse and his health rapidly deteriorated. Eventually he couldn’t sleep at all.

The doctors were baffled but could do nothing for him. Michael was physically and mentally exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to be able to fall asleep. But his brain wouldn’t let him.
Video footage of him appearing at a school orchestra concert revealed a frail old man - a far cry from the fit and healthy individual he was just months earlier. Eventually he was admitted to hospital and doctors diagnosed him with an extremely rare genetic disorder discovered just seven years prior: Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI).

Michael Corke died in hospital after six months from a complete lack of sleep.

Fatal Familial Insomnia strikes between the ages of 30 and 60 years, with no apparent trigger that the sufferer can relate to. Patients have been known to survive for up to three years, gradually passing through four stages of illness:
   1. The onset of insomnia, creating panic attacks and unfounded phobias, lasting for four months.
   2. Severe insomnia, worsening panic attacks and hallucinations, lasting for five months.
   3. Complete insomnia and rapid weight loss, lasting for three months.
   4. Dementia and unresponsiveness, lasting for six months. FFI is eventually fatal.

Why is this so terrifying? Have you ever gone for a week without sleep? Just imagine how much this pain/exhaustion/depression will be magnified, if this is to last for as long as you live (not long, actually).

Thanks to wikipedia and for the references.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WTF bus hostage by policeman game - why crimes end up in games

Barely a day after the deadly bus hostage killings by estranged policeman Rolando Mendoza, an online game about the event had been released.

The game was definitely done in bad taste, reminding me of the dreadful Atari ET game that destroyed Atari itself. No need to explain why, right?

On the other hand, this game reminds me of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG, wherein two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and one teacher. They also injured 21 other students directly, and three people were injured while attempting to escape.

I guess there are a few people who like to take advantage of bad times to make a few bucks.