Mobility and how it affects Social Mobility

I am disappointed to have read this news. You see, I’m a Kelantanese and have owed a great deal to public transportation when I was a kid. Amid news of nCov virus that blighted our stream in the past few weeks, it is easy for us to read this article and discard it for irrelevancy to our daily lives.

Well for a segment of people in Kelantan that needed public transportation the most, I assure you that this is worse than nCov.

Mobility is the ability for people to move about (example Pasir Mas to Kota Bharu), and Social Mobility is the ability for people to move up in the social strata (example from Poor to Middle-class).

These two terms while distinct from each other, are tightly intertwined.

Ability for people to be mobile, easily & cheaply move from one place to another is one of key components to help them be self-reliant. A dependable public transportation system allows people at the far corner of the state to wake up every morning, pay a few ringgit and go to earning a living in urban areas. At the end of day, take the bus ride and be back home.

Public transportation connects two places with vastly different wealth opportunity. It closes the opportunity gap, enabling poorer people access to opportunities to create wealth.

Lack of public transportation impacts poor people tremendously. Their ability to work in urban centers & earn a living is immediately cut off. In Kelantan, that means this segment of population can no longer earn RM20-30 per day. That may not sound much to you, but this meagre salary gets their kids fed.

That meagre salary also helps put their kids to school. For maybe one day, one of the kids maybe end up becoming a teacher, or an engineer, or a doctor. This lone successful kid will pull up their entire family to better living.

Just like how I owed myself to my mom and my selfless Aunt.

Jepun berjaya mendaratkan dua robot perantau pada Asteroid Ryugu

Gambar yang menakjubkan ini menunjukkan rakaman dari Minerva-II-1A yang melompat semasa ia mendarat di atas Asteroid Ryugu pada 21 September 2018. Dibina oleh Agensi Penerokaan Angkasa Jepun/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), robot perantauan ini merupakan salah satu dari dua yang mendarat di permukaan Ryugu. Ia sebahagian daripada program kapal angkasa Hayabusa2 dan merupakan kali pertama dua robot perantauan mendarat di atas sebuah asteroid. Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Dua robot kecil yang dibina untuk program angkasa Hayabusa2 oleh Jepun telah berjaya mendarat di atas permukaan sebuah asteroid bernama Ryugu – dan robot-robot ini juga telah memancar kembali beberapa gambar poskad yang sangat mengujakan kita semua.

Robot-robot ini merupakan sebahagian dari misi Agensi Penerokaan Angkasa Jepun (JAXA) untuk membawa balik sampel galian dan mineral dari asteroid tersebut. Jurutera dan saintis agensi tersebut telah mendaratkan robot-robot ini pada pagi Jumaat (21 September 2018), dan mengesahkan kejayaan cubaan pendaratan ini pada keesokkan harinya.

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Misteri plasma, satu fasa bentuk jirim yang ke-empat

Semasa gerhana matahari penuh yang dirakam di Perancis pada 1999, cahaya merah ini adalah plasma yang wujud di bahagian korona Matahari. Gambar adalah ihsan dari Luc Viatour/Wikimedia.

Semasa saya di sekolah rendah, cikgu memberitahu bahawa jirim (matter) wujud dalam tiga bentuk/keadaan, iaitu pepejal, cecair dan gas. Mungkin beliau terlupa, atau masih belum diketahui umum, cikgu saya tidak beritahu berkenaan plasma, sejenis gas berelektrik yang unik. Kita sangat jarang menjumpai plasma secara semulajadi, melainkan jika kita bertuah dan mampu untuk melihat aurora borealis (Northern lights), atau jika kita melihat matahari menggunakan satu penapis cahaya khas, atau jika kita melihat kilat yang diselubungi ribut petir seperti yang saya kerap lakukan semasa kecil. Namun begitu, walaupun plasma jarang dijumpai dalam kehidupan harian, ia membentuk lebih dari 99 peratus jirim yang wujud dalam cakerawala (jika kita tidak mengambilkira ‘jirim gelap’ (dark matter)).

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Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram are secretly listening to your conversations

Its a devilish feature that hides in plain sight. A feature so flagrant and egregious in its abuses of privacy. A feature that is used to actively push advertisement content based on your daily conversations in the public, and private.

Im talking about ‘Access to Microphone’ permission requests whenever you install a social app. A request most apparent in Facebook-related suite of apps, which are Facebook app itself, Whatsapp, and Instagram.

People would just succumb to provide this permission without second thoughts. We would never have thought that these apps might record us while we are not using them.

Have you noticed that somehow Facebook cunningly push Ads about things that you have spoken just moments ago?

It happened so many times that I hate this will become a new normal in advertising. Brilliant? Yes. Creepy? Indeed.

I once mentioned in other FB post of a peculiar incident. I was dissing Trump (pretty verbose) and impact of his reckless tariff war, and to my surprise, ads for Harley-Davidson appeared soon in my social timelines. I have no interest in Harley, would never search for Harley, and had only spoken about Harley when I talked about Trump.

It happened again today. I was on the lookout for landed properties. I went to a property exhibition, and conversed with sales agents. Guess what? Advertisements on properties appeared on my timelines soon after. My Insta feed and FB feeds are now littered with property ads.

A couple of my close friends shared the same experience that I doubt this is a mere coincidence.

I already uninstalled FB app about a year ago, and relying only on its web app.

Next, I am disabling Microphone access to all FB-owned apps (Whatsapp, and Instagram). These apps will not be able to use the phone mic without my expressed permission and only when I need them.

If you are on iOS, go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone.

If you are on Android, go to Settings > Apps > (select each app) > turn off Microphone access.

Dont let this invasion of privacy become a new normal.

Apple iPhone X and Samsung Note 8 – A review after two weeks of use

After using iPhone X and Note 8 for about two weeks:

iPhone X wins in these areas:
– FaceID. Faster unlock and more reliable than Note 8’s Facial Recognition. Note 8 Facial Recognition tend to fail at night or when conditions are not optimum for capturing your face. I can feel the split-second delay to unlock Note 8 using Facial Recognition compared to iPhone X’s FaceID. That could potentially be caused by different type of implementations (iPhone X is using hardware, while Note 8 is using software for Facial ID). At the end, I had to rely on Note 8’s fingerprint more than its Facial Recognition.
– Ease of use. I would think that having no Home button is going to make me gone bonkers. Nope, after a day of use, the flow is pretty natural and easy to adapt.
– The notch at the top of the phone is not much as an issue that people bitch about.

Samsung Note 8 wins in these areas:
– Stylus. The stylus/pen that defined Samsung Note is a god-send if you value productivity. I find myself using it more and more to do work on-the-go. I once filled up a 60+ page tender document (PDF) in mere 5 mins without opening it on laptop, or printing it at all. Talk about efficiency. Top of my head; iPhone is a toy, Note 8 is a workhorse.
– Pictures. Photos taken using Note 8 tend to be more dramatic and consistently more impressive than iPhone X. This is subjective because some people tend to prefer iPhone’s natural tone.
– Android in general is cloud friendly, with machine learning and AI behind it leaving iOS in the dust. I can feel Google’s integration of its services is more wholesome which can be a bit scary at times. Apple’s cloud services are plain rubbish.

They are draw in these areas:
– Build quality.
– Screen. Although Note 8 has a slight edge due to its always-on capability.
– Battery. Both phones can easily go through a day of use, and can last 2 days for regular use.

I have no comments on these:
– Voice assistants (Apple Siri vs Samsung Bixby vs Google Assistant). I dont like these services, thus Ive turned off on all my phones.

USA and China, in the eye of the developing world

It has become apparent that USA and China switch places nowadays in all kind of areas:

a. Political – USA is now the laughing stock of the developed world, fallen from grace while China is picking up admiration for its push for global recognition. Democracy is now a popularity contest on who has the loudest voice for the lowest common denominator, while the harsh communist ideology seemed a perfect fit for capitalism.

b. Innovation – USA being a country that was built by migrants is now closing its doors for fear of job-stealing Mexicans and Indians (or bluntly, any non-whites), while China is steaming ahead with innovative products and services, churning out startups and companies that beat those in Silicon Valley.

c. Internal turmoil – Who could have expected that the victor of WWII now has budding Nazis in its own turf, championing white purity. This is simply madness. China on the other hand, has grown by leaps and bounds. Not so many years ago, she openly murdered hundreds of students in an open square, yet nowadays seem to put the people above all else (quality education, growing middle income, stronger government that put harsh penalty on corruption with emphasis on merit for political positions).

d. Green energy – China has already surpassed its 2020 renewable energy target while USA withdrew itself from Paris accord for ‘being unfair to the citizens of USA’, while conveniently forgetting that for the last 100 years, USA is the worst polluter in the world.

I believe China is at an inflection point in its civilization. Once they were perceived to be the barbaric far-east country that lacked norms and etiquettes that makes a civilization well, civil. Recent advances in technology, political will for global domination, its affection for renewable energy have helped China to jump a few steps forward.

One day, in the same way Japan leapfrogged the western world soon after WWII, I am expecting and sincerely hoping to see China and its population to be the beacon of civilized world.

Fuqaha
13 October 2017