Thursday, February 24, 2005

      The Expotential Progress of the World

"I bring it up because I've been hearing more references lately to Kurzweil's Law, otherwise known as the Law of Accelerating Returns. Coined by futurist Ray Kurzweil, the theory states that building on past accomplishments, the pace of technological change doubles every decade--leading to a Moore's Law vision of progress.

"Early stages of technology--the wheel, fire, stone tools--took tens of thousands of years to evolve and be widely deployed. A thousand years ago, a paradigm shift such as the printing press took on the order of a century to be widely deployed. Today, major paradigm shifts, such as cell phones and the World Wide Web, were widely adopted in only a few years time," Kurzweil wrote in the original essay outlining the theory.

"In the 19th century, we saw more technological change than in the nine centuries preceding it. Then in the first twenty years of the 20th century, we saw more advancement than in all of the 19th century," he added.

Venture capitalists love this kind of thinking, because it implies that something huge is just about to emerge."

- Micheal Kanellos ( - CNET)

Well, another article that validates my observation on the progress of the world today. What this implies is that for many of us, those futuristic gadgets will just become a reality in the near future. Looking at this article about next-generation displays, I can't help but link it to those seen in the movie "Minority Report". Can we say that the future is already here?

More importantly, underlying this thrend is the expotential growth that results when we humans work collaboratively, building on other's past achievements, and not reinventing the wheel. I have eloborated on this point in this blog.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

      The Problem is Not Out There. It's in Our Mind

"The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing everything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove"
- Samuel Johnson

      Do You Want to Watch Video on 3G Phone?

Finally, M1 is also launching their 3G service. This launch is way overdue, after all the hype and marketing. Then again, the adoption of this initiative will very much depend on the bringing down its pricing. Just look at MMS's adoption as a classic example.

How willing are you to pay and watch streaming video on your mobile, when you can download it from the Internet?

      Will the Kyoto Protocol be Succuessful?

Finally the Kyoto Treaty is effected, but sadly this initiative is not supported by the world's largest polluter, the USA.

Althought this is a momentous event, it's too early to rejoice. I am skeptical about how ratified countries are going to cut their greenhouse gases emission, in accordance with this Treaty. People are just too comfortable with their life style and governments need to industrialise further to improve their economies. Moreover, with a lack of a central governing body to enforce this Treaty, it's hard to foresee any tangible results.

Monday, February 14, 2005

      Anti-spamming Laws to be Passed in mid-2005

"Microsoft and drug giant go after spam

They file 17 suits against spammers and websites selling fake drugs

WASHINGTON - TWO corporate giants, Microsoft and Pfizer, have taken unprecedented coordinated legal action against Internet spam - also a growing problem in Singapore.

Both companies filed a total of 17 lawsuits in courts in New York and Washington state targeting various alleged spammers and website operators that peddle fraudulent versions of drugs, particularly the sexual-performance drug Viagra.

Lawsuits by Internet service providers (ISP) such as Microsoft, EarthLink and America Online have become commonplace in the United States since the passage of federal and state anti-spam laws. But this is the first time an ISP has joined a major retailer to attack the supply chain of online scams.

The lawsuits will strike a chord with e-mail users in Singapore. According to a 2003 survey by the Infocomm Development Authority, 94 per cent of an estimated 1.4 million e-mail users in the Republic received unsolicited e-mail advertising.

However, Singapore's ISPs will soon also be backed by a tough law to help them fight the spammers. The anti-spam law, expected to take effect by the middle of this year, proposes to give ISPs a statutory right to take civil action against spammers.

It may also require senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail to provide an opt-out mechanism, whereby recipients can choose whether they want to continue receiving such e-mails.

As many as one in every four spam e-mails advertises fake versions of Pfizer's blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug, Microsoft and Pfizer said...

'This is the first time that we've had this cross-industry partnership to target the entire spam supply chain,' Mr Aaron Kornblum, Microsoft's Internet safety enforcement attorney, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The two companies filed separate lawsuits against the unknown people behind the CanadianPharmacy site at, and the operators of E-Pharmacy Direct at, The New York Times said yesterday. A 'communication problem' was encountered during failed attempts by The Straits Times to access the two sites late yesterday...

...Microsoft and Pfizer jointly hired private investigators to track down the two sites' operators, but those who run such shady online businesses are adept at concealing their true identities.

Filing the lawsuits allows Microsoft and Pfizer to subpoena ISPs and credit card payment processors for information that will help them trace the defendants..."

Microsoft and drug giant go after spam - Strait Times Interactive (14 Feb 05)

It's about time that someone takes actions against spammers. It's causing a lot of loss in productivity; my inbox is often flooded with spams.

The anti-spamming laws debuting in mid 2005 is worth looking forward to, but more importantly, how is Singapore going to police this new policy? After all, what good is a policy that is not enforced? In addition, what repercussion does the enforcement of this policy have on civil rights and personal privacy?

Definitely, policy as this is a double-edged sword; Let's see how this unfolds.

Monday, February 07, 2005

      Alterative Energy Source Needed to Evade Global Warming

"RISING sea levels due to climate change are not just a concern in remote areas. Some low-lying parts of Singapore could also be affected if water levels rise, say experts.

'The sea level rise, with a minimum of 10cm and a maximum of 90cm by 2100, will impact Singapore as it's an island nation with a lot of low-lying reclaimed land, ' said Dr Matthias Roth, a climate scientist at the National University of Singapore....

...The last 10 years have already been the warmest on record, with four of the hottest years ever between 1998 and last year.

In the last four years, temperatures rose by an estimated 0.58 deg C, and some climatologists believe it has caused some natural disasters and freaky weather.

One is worth highlighting - the first hurricane developed in the South Atlantic Ocean, where conditions were believed unsuitable for such a formation."
- Global warming could affect S'pore - Straits Times Interactive (5 Feb 2005)

It is reassuring to hear that world leaders are taking note of the need for action to address the climate change issue. However, till date, no credible efforts can be seen in this direction.

What's disturbing is that US and Singapore are not signed up with the Kyoto Protocol, which is a treaty targeted at industrialised countries, aiming to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. Ironically, US is one of the top greenhouse gases emitting countries in the world.

At this point in time, the impetus to change will not come from concerns about possible human extinction, for all that is too remote to justify any actions. Skeptics will question the pausiblility of such projections, in favor of maintaining status quo.

Most advancements in technology and human society are largely driven by demands that results in monetary gains (either in form of cost saving or increased revenue) to the provider of that demand. And if we fail to arrive at such a practical situation, the global climate warming issue will not abate.

To illustrate my point, take for example, people who are driving cars; How many will be willing to scrape their cars in favor of taking public transport because of global warming? Or how many is willing to change their cars to CO2 friendly cars which are more costly, yet has lower cap speed? Not many, I'm afraid.

So until the day, where we can have alternative energy source that is more effective and yet cheaper, I'm afraid the road to global warming is an inevitable path. And perhaps the road to our extinction is guranteed, the only question is when?

Alas... the nature of human kind, always wanting cheaper and better, even till the end.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

      The Coming of End of Time?

"THE signs are dire - a huge Antarctic ice sheet previously expected to be stable until at least 2100 has started to fall apart. If it goes completely, sea level will rise by up to 4.5m. Low-lying areas, including Bangkok, Bangladesh and London, could be covered by water..."
The Great Antarctic Meltdown, Straits Times Europe Bureau

Another article termed Global Warming Likely Cause of Worst Mass Extinction Ever, which
suggests the possible cause of extinction for dinosaurs was not an asteriod, as what many may believe; but it was due to global warming. The article advocated the idea that the deaths for the dinosaurs were not abrupt, but a slow and gradual one, as the earth slowly heated up like an oven.

Global warming has always been a remote issue for me, yet after reading these articles, that idea doesn't seems so remote anymore. Have you noticed how much hotter the weather has gotten in the last couple of years? I remember today sitting outside Kopi Tiam for lunch, and it was literally scorching hot. At this rate, it wouldn't be long before the heat becomes unbearable.

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him."
REV 16:8

How apt this phrase from the Bible seems in this context. So are these signs that the End of Time is near?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

      The Responsiblity of One's Learning

"You are responsible for your self-development and learning. Never leave the responsibility of your learning and exposures into the hands of others, your company or your superiors. For then, you are as good as leaving your personal development and worth into the hands of others".

Cyrus Crypt