Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The hypnotic lure of Singapore cash

And you think, just because it's happening somewhere else, in someone else's backyard, it doesn't really matter. It's just going to come back and bite you in the butt one day.

Cambodia under the sandmen's spell
Since Singapore was banned from mining sand in Indonesia, the city-state – which surface area covers less than 650 km2 – is struggling to find the sand it needs for its gigantic land reclamation and construction projects. As a result, it turned to a much less discriminating country, where the buying cost of sand remains quite inexpensive, Cambodia. For the last year, the provinces of Koh Kong and Kandal have seen a heavy traffic of boats, which sometimes arrive in dozens to dredge the seabed or dig along the coasts to collect as much sand as possible and export it to Singapore...

Read the full article here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Biking at Beaver Damn%@#$$%^#

Stomp was performing within driving distance, so A and I thought it might be a good idea to drive up to Raleigh to catch the show, and get a ride in the surrounding area pre-show. Sorta a belated V-day thingy, if you will. As he has already biked Crabtree and thought it to be okay, but not too great, we decided on Beaver Dam, which has trails of decent length, rated from beginner to intermediate. Plus it's free entry before March ($5/car otherwise).

We were worried that it might rain all week, but Sunday dawned nice and sunny, cold (5-12 degC) but clear. The Outer and Inner Loops we did for a warm-up went rather smoothly, and my knee wasn't protesting too much from the strain I picked up a couple of weeks ago. A hearty lunch later, and we were raring to tackle the South Loop, all 7.3miles of it. Fell while trying to cross a log on an uphill which was off-camber, but just dusted off and rode on. Partway through the South Loop, we came across the entrance to the Drop Zone, which sounded rather intriguing, and so we checked it out. It turned out to be a series of steep downhills and rooty dips. Walked through the first double drop but decided to attempt the next steep downhill for the heck of it. You kinda have to throw yourself and the bike off the top and land somewhere in the middle not to endo. Scary as heck but I survived! heh. Was getting into the whole 'just lean back and everything will roll by fine' routine when I came across a dip with a thick network of roots at the upper lip. As I came up and out of the dip, hit the roots straight on and the bike just stalled. Unfortunately, couldn't unclip in time, and fell sideways, getting a mouthful of leaves and twigs and bashing my knee against a stump as I did so. Yowza. Tears actually sprang out of my eyes. That was the end of all mashing uphill for the rest of the ride. Which turned out to be also unfortunate, as the rest of the trail consists of numerous strenuous, rooty climbs! Argh. To top things off, my seatpost decided to wear out on me this ride and caused my seat to tilt upwards constantly, so every time I had to lean forward to climb over obstacles, the nose of the saddle would hit sensitive nether regions. Took to standing over the saddle whenever we hit rooty, rocky areas (which was often). Just as I thought my back was going to give out and my head was 2 inches from the handlebars, the sound of cars! The end of the trail! Oh joy :).

A hot shower never felt so good that night...Would I do it again? Abso-f***ing-lutely!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Was searching for mollusc photos for my class powerpoint and came across this website on Etsy. Knitted invertebrates!! They are simply adorable!! The completed versions are really expensive but the patterns are pretty affordable. Anyone out there who knows how to knit??? Check them out!

OMG! A nudibranch!! With exposed gills!
This is one of my faves- an angler-fish! Heehee