Jumat, 31 Oktober 2008

0 Shit! I am so late in posting!!


BFF challenge Part 4!

BFF challenge Part 5... Now you can to see the final two!


Kaykay and Paul guess the prices of objects.
And they get to keep the object! Hahaha!

Meet Paul's science project: A penis volcano.
He is so funny I swear!!!

Happy Halloween y'all!!!!!!!

I'm getting old so this Halloween imma go have dinner with Shuyin and Weili and after that, imma play mahjong again!

I know right? My life is so exciting!

(Am I a prude or what? I saw some of the costumes Singaporeans are wearing and I am seriously quite shocked by the level of skimpiness. Do you think it's ok to wear a bra top or panties bottom on Halloween? Is it just me? Am I getting old and narrow-minded????????)

Quit quoting Mean Girls, you fucktards. I heard that shit so many times I could implode if I see another comment spreading that dumbass quote as gospel.

Kamis, 30 Oktober 2008

0 Eight Ways To Increase Your Energy Levels

Day in and day out I hear the same complaints from the same people. I hear how tired they are, how stressed they are, etc. A week will go by and those same exact complaints will be repeated, by those same people. Complaining is natural and we all do it. The key is to correct the situation versus standing idle and accepting it.

One of the more common complaints generally comes right after lunch. Yes, we're talking about the afternoon slump that occurs because something has sucked out every bit of energy you had. This lunch coma can be a huge show-stopper for some.

However, the good news is, you don't have to feel like that every day. There are countless ways to raise your energy levels quite naturally and intentionally.
  • Sleep enough
    Duh! You might not think of the obvious cause, but if you consistently feel tired in the afternoon and lack energy, it could be due to lack of sleep. Often a small adjustment of your sleeping habits can already do wonders for your energy levels. Experiment and find out what your optimal sleep levels are.

  • Get juiced up
    Instead of eating a massive, greasy breakfast, try something quick and healthy. How about some fruit and vegetable juice instead? Not only will you get heaps of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but fresh juice will put vitality back into your life for sure.

    A heavy breakfast takes far too long to digest, while a juice is light and preserves your energy.

  • Curb your caffeine addiction
    If you are a serious coffee addict you might not be happy about this suggestion. I wasn't either 20 years ago. Back then I used to survive on about 7 cups of coffee a day and eventually my addiction became so bad that I started to experience nervous heart flutters in the afternoon.

    As a result, I did the radical and cut coffee from my diet for a while. I have to say it did work wonders for my energy levels and my nervous system. Today, I'm a coffee lover instead, meaning I have to have one good brewed coffee a day to get my fix.

  • Walk this way
    A quick 10-minute walk can do wonders for a sluggish metabolism. The combination of fresh air and exercise is ideal to get your heart pumping while the blood rushes to your brain, energizing those wary brain cells.

  • Say no to sugar and carbohydrates
    These are the devils of modern fast food. Even worse, they get us addicted to all the crappy low fat produce on the supermarket shelves. Natural sugar as it is contained in fruit is so much better for you, but even so, everything should be in balance.

    Biscuits, cakes, most cereal, lollies and other high carb snacks should be banned from your household. Not only will you feel better by cutting out those fake foods, but your waste line will also thank you for it.

  • Yoga or stretching
    I love to stretch. That is probably one reason why I love yoga so much. When we stretch and release our muscles, we allow the blood to flow unhindered through the body, allowing us to energize within minutes.

    A great way to refresh your energy levels in the afternoon is to do a 10-minute stretching session. Stretch your legs, toes, torso, arms, hands, shoulders and neck with gentle movements.

  • Deep breathing exercise
    Another great way to re-energize your body is with a quick deep breathing exercise. Sit on a chair with a straight back and breathe deeply while you focus on your breath going in – going out. At the same time use a powerful affirmation to invigorate your mind and body.

    I like this one because you can do this at work without being caught by your fellow workers.

  • Essential water
    Since humans are made up of around 70 percent water, we need water to keep our life sustained. If you feel sluggish, the first thing you should look for is dehydration. Our brain can only function at optimum levels with enough hydration and when there is lack of water, the first signs of warning from the body is often tiredness, as it tries to preserve our vital energies.

    Conventional suggestions tell us to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, but this has been the cause for many discussions, because people who live in a hot climate need a lot more water than those who live in colder regions. Remember the golden rule on this, if you are thirsty, drink water.
Repeating the same behaviors everyday but expecting a different result is a fool's game. If you get tired every day, shake things up a little!

What do you (or will you do) to kick your energy levels back into gear when the afternoon slump hits you?

Written on 10/31/2008 by Monika Mundell. Monika Mundell is a passionate freelance writer and pro-blogger. Her blog Freelance Writing helps new freelance writers to get started in this exciting industry. If you like to work with Monika, feel free to visit her Portfolio site.Photo Credit: littledan77

0 Can You Trust What You Read Online? Five Ways to Find Out

When it comes to the internet, you know that there’s a lot of misleading, inaccurate or downright false information out there. By now, most of you have heard the advice, “Don’t trust everything you read.” But how can you tell what to trust and what not to?

Here are some questions that you should get into the habit of asking whilst you’re reading anything (not just online): whether it’s a blog post, newspaper article, sales letter or brochure.
  1. What’s the Author’s Purpose?
    The most important question to ask, and one you should have in mind when you start to read, is “What’s the author’s purpose?” All writing has a purpose. It might be to:

    • Entertain you – make you laugh
    • Give you information
    • Sell you something
    • Encourage you to come back to a blog or magazine in future
    • Build up the author’s reputation in his/her field

    Some purposes are inherently more trustworthy than others. For example, if the author is trying to give you information, or build her reputation, then the facts in the article are likely to be ones that the author at least believes are true. But if the author is trying to sell something, then read with caution.

  2. Who Is the Author?
    Even if the author’s purpose seems laudable, you’ll want to ask yourself who the author actually is. Have you ever heard of him? If so, is he an authority in his industry or field – or is he a suspected charlatan?

    For example, imagine an article entitled “How to Become a Lifecoach”. You should trust this if it was written by Tim Brownson, a qualified and practising lifecoach, who has an entertaining and informative blog. But if I had written the article, you definitely should take what I’ve written with a grain of salt. I’m a writer, not a coach, and I’ve never so much as read the “Dummy’s Guide to Lifecoaching”.

    Of course, as a professional writer, I sometimes do write on topics I don’t know much about. When I do this, I need to undertake a lot of research. So if you’re reading an article by an unknown writer, it’s especially important to ask the next couple of questions.

  3. Are Sources Cited?
    Does the author give you facts – especially statistics – without any evidence to back them up? In an entertaining piece, this might be fine (it doesn’t matter too much whether the numbers are right, so long as the article is funny). But if you’re reading an informative piece about the economy, and the author says, “Ten million people will be out of work by Christmas” – does she link to a particular source that backs this up?

    And just because you’ve heard a fact before doesn’t mean you should take it at face value. Have you ever read about the Harvard Goal Setting study? It’s an oft-cited example of why you should set written goals, which is usually referenced as first appearing in the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack. This is how it goes (taken from Harvard Business School Story):
    In that year [1979], the students were asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

    Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
    But a couple of weeks ago, I read Fact or Fiction? The Truth About The Harvard Written Goal Study on SidSavara.com. It was an eye-opener. Sid looked for the original study online, and found no evidence that the study ever existed, despite it being cited in numerous books and all over the web. There’s a very similar story about a Yale study in 1953 – which again, can’t be backed up.

    So just because a book is cited, don’t assume that the information in the book is necessarily accurate.

  4. Are Examples Included?
    Does the author write very abstract, high-level information, without any concrete details? The article might still be true but it’s not likely to be very useful to you. The most trustworthy articles won’t just include general principles or woolly statements, but will give examples too. And the best examples include specific figures or facts, or quotes from people who aren’t the author and who don’t have a vested interest.

    What do you trust more, “You could make loads as an online copywriter” or an article including several stories from different copywriters who are making over $50,000 a year?

  5. Does the Article Contradict Your Prior Knowledge?
    Finally, ask yourself whether the facts in an article go against what you already know. If you read a sales letter for a new diet pill that claims you can “lose 20 lbs in a month”, you’ve got good reasons to be sceptical. Most people on a diet lose 1-2 lbs per week, and most diet pills are known to be notoriously ineffective and even dangerous (one, Acomplia, has recently been banned in the UK and was never approved for use in the US, due to its association with psychiatric problems).

    Any statements which seem “too good to be true” also fall into this category. You may not have prior knowledge of the exact area that the article is about, but you do know that most people don’t “make $$$ working from home” (or they’d all be doing it!)
How do you figure out what to trust and what to ignore when you’re reading online – or when you’re reading books and newspapers? Which of the above tips do you think would help you most – or which would you like to add to the list?

Written on 10/30/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.Photo Credit: CarbonNYC

0 Offshoring Audacity

[Image: Dubai's "carbon-neutral" ziggurat, designed by Timelinks].

I'll be in Chicago next week to host a panel on Saturday, November 8, as part of this year's Chicago Humanities Festival. The other participants are Joseph Grima, Jeffrey Inaba, and Sam Jacob.
More info:
    Look abroad: Whole cities are planned, built, and inhabited in less than a generation. Artificial islands, indoor ski slopes, and the world’s tallest this-and-that are being constructed, not in the West, but in the Middle East, China, and beyond. The result: a sense that the West’s cities are falling behind and, increasingly, watching from the sidelines. A dynamic panel will discuss the accuracy of this assessment of today’s architectural situation. What are the urban implications of so-called offshoring audacity and how can the phenomenon be described without resorting to nationalism, nostalgia, or even uncritical celebration?

    The panelists will be Joseph Grima, executive director of New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture and author of Instant Asia; Jeffrey Inaba, principal architect, Inaba Projects, and professor of architecture at SCI-Arc and Columbia University; and Sam Jacob, visiting professor at Yale University and founding director, Fashion Architecture Taste, a London-based practice. The discussion will be moderated by Geoff Manaugh, author of BLDGBLOG and senior editor of Dwell magazine.
The panel, called Offshoring Audacity, will begin at 2:30pm, lasting till 4:00, and it will take place at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street. It costs $5.
I hope some Chicago-based readers might stop by.

[Image: Park Gate, Dubai, by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture].

The overall theme for the Humanities Festival this year is "big ideas," inspired by architect Daniel Burnham's (possibly apocryphal) statement that one should "make no little plans." Since we're coming up on the 100-year anniversary of Burnham's urban plan for Chicago, not only does a "big ideas" – or "big plans" – Festival seem appropriate, but a panel about cities and urban design even more so.

[Image: New Songdo City, South Korea].

The specific goal, then, is to discuss the idea that the West has begun "offshoring audacity" – urban and architectural audacity – to places like Dubai, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and South Korea.
The United States, in particular, seems to have ceded its role as an architectural and infrastructural innovator. Every week, a new indoor ski resort or artificial island-city or hyperbolic "green" pyramid is announced somewhere, in a non-Western nation – or the Chinese government announces a program of urban weather control – leaving the U.S. a nation of failed levees, foreclosed suburbs, and collapsing bridges.
These examples of 21st-century spatial exotica are our era's new fantasy environments – instant cities rolled out across the desert like magic carpets, with all of their plumbing and services intact.
It is architecture at its most audacious (or so we're told).

[Image: RAK Gateway, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, by OMA].

The question becomes: How can we discuss all of this without resorting either to chest-puffing nationalism (it's not true, the West is the best) or to a kind of knee-jerk Spenglerian resignation (it's true, the West is over)?
Put another way: Is there really any purpose in celebrating the newest mile-high tower or solar-powered private golf community, as every architecture blog in the world seems to think we need to do right now – or, conversely, is cynicism in the face of mile-high towers really the most interesting or appropriate response?

[Image: Contemporary architecture's well-rendered visual overload, parodically assembled by OMA].

There's an interesting exchange in Joseph Grima's new book Instant Asia: Fast Forward through the Architecture of a Changing Continent. There, Qingyun Ma describes the trajectory of the Chinese architect as one of concentration: You start off huge, designing million-square-foot office complexes – if not whole cities from scratch – before gradually being established and respected enough in your field simply to design a house, say, or a single storefront.
With this in mind, is the steroidal grandeur of today's Chinese architecture simply the visible articulation of a different professional arc? Start fast – start big – then concentrate?
Are these architects building resumés, not cities?
On the other hand, if many of these towers continue to be designed, engineered, and built by western firms, are we actually witnessing a kind of bizarre projection of the West's own subconscious needs onto the blank slates of other nations? I'm reminded here of Marcus Trimble's quip that China, with its replicant Eiffel Towers and fake chateaux, has become a kind of architectural back-up harddrive for the French.
Are developing nations being used as blank spatial slates upon which the West will rewrite its own architectural history?
This also brings to mind Martin Heidegger's under-appreciated comment that American gigantism – Koolhaasian Manhattanism – is simply a grotesque reflection of intellectual tendencies within the trajectory of Europe itself. The U.S., he wrote, was a "concentrated rebound" of European thought, the camouflaged return of its own monstrous offspring.
Is this what we're now witnessing, then, taking architectural form abroad?
Or, conversely, is the presupposed difference here between the West and the Rest so impossible to maintain or to define rigorously that nothing's being "offshored" anywhere – because there's no outside to offshore to?

[Images: Waterfront City masterplan, Dubai, by OMA. It's worth reading counter-discussions of this project by Nicolai Ouroussoff and Lebbeus Woods, respectively].

In the end, then, how are we to judge these claims to architectural monstrosity made by 7-star hotels and indoor ski ranges – buildings that supposedly demonstrate alternative futures, or space on maximum overdrive?
Are these places really that extraordinary – or are they a kind of imaginative cul-de-sac, a sign that architects have resolutely failed to design a more interesting spatial future?
Have we mistaken sheer scale and algorithmic excess for formal bravery?
Has "audacity" in architecture really been "offshored" to other nations, after all – or is audacity something that architecture has lost altogether?
Where should we look to find the truly audacious?
Stop by the panel on November 8 to hear these and other questions discussed: Offshoring Audacity.

Rabu, 29 Oktober 2008

0 7 Important Fitness Tips For Web Workers

Web working and fitness usually don't go hand in hand. In fact, fitness is probably the last thing on a web worker's mind.

In front of a computer all day and constantly working on new projects, a web worker doesn't have the time to keep fit. As a result, their weight increases, mental stress levels increase, and frankly, overall health goes down the tubes.

This is the problem; without good health, productivity declines. When a web worker's productivity declines, output declines. Guess what's next? That's right, when output declines, income declines.

There's always an excuse when you are asked to take time off and do some exercise; there's always a tomorrow. However, consider making the change tomorrow morning - for real. Take a little time and do something that will break the ball and chain you call a job from your ankle.

Here are some steps to take:

First Step - Discipline
Absolutely. The road to fitness and good health starts off at being disciplined and organized. Unless you are disciplined enough to eat the right food, exercise on time, or even take time off on time, it wouldn't help. Being at home doesn't mean you've got to disrespect time. If you do it, it will kill you. So make sure you do things on time.

Now keep in mind that the 'time' could be different for different people. You might be sleeping at 3 AM and I might be working while taking a bite of a sandwich. That's cool if we both manage to stick to our schedules. It doesn't matter if I exercise at 5 AM or 5 PM. The important thing is that I do it regularly.

Take a Walk Everyday
I wanted to suggest a run but considering that most of us are born procrastinators, a run could have been intimidating enough to be scheduled for the elusive tomorrow. So, a walk is always a good way to start today. If it's not possible for you to do it everyday, then make sure you do it at least three times a week.

You might want to buy a treadmill and run on it, but I'd still insist on a walk. That's because apart from setting us in motion and providing the much needed movement to our legs, a walk also exposes us to fresh air, which believe it or not for a web worker, is one of the most important things needed to stay fit. Sometimes we don't realize that we haven't stepped out of the house for days. A walk everyday would give us the excuse to do just that.

Get the Right Chair
I think it would be to correct to say that the chair is second only to the computer as the most important part of a web worker's everyday work. And if it's such an important part, it's equally important to get it right. It should be nice and comfortable so that you don't feel the stress after sitting on it for hours.

Renowned programmer and blogger Jeff Atwood nicely explains why you should invest in a quality ergonomic chair. And if you've realized that you should go ahead and replace your chair with a new one, then this computer chair buying guide could help you to choose the right one for yourself.

Supercharge Your Brain
I just remembered Shilpan's article on 14 simple ways to supercharge your brain. It's important to keep not just physically fit but mentally fit as well. It's all about brains, isn't it? The more you can apply it, the better are the results. Hence it requires some extra nourishment, especially if you are a web worker.

In case you are looking to supercharge your brain with some good mental games then here are 5 great games to help you do it.

Don't Forget the Eyes
While talking about the brain, I almost forgot about the eyes. I don't think I need to explain why it is of utmost importance that you take extra care of your eyes if you are a web worker. Sitting all day long with your eyes stuck at your computer screen doesn't go great for your eyes, really.

A simple and effective way to take care of your eyes would be to take time off at regular intervals, splash your eyes with water and then lay down on the bed with your eyes closed for a minute or two. If you don't remember to take breaks, then there are tools like Workrave available which would remind you to do it.

10 Minutes Of Yoga
Yes, even if you do just 10 minutes of yoga everyday it could work wonders for your health. The simple breathing exercises could be a great way to consume those 10 minutes. If you diligently do it everyday then you'd soon find yourself less tired and more productive at your work.

Stop Procrastinating!
Believe me, this is a great fitness tip. Being a web worker myself, I can confirm that web workers are the laziest breed when it comes to getting up, leaving the chair and doing something else - be it exercise or some household chore. I know after reading this article you'd have a firm determination to start exercising or taking a walk tomorrow. And tomorrow, there will be nothing but another firm determination for the next day.

Well, I've got the right to ask you to stop procrastinating because I got rid of that habit myself a few days ago. I now take a walk (a run actually) everyday and I can't tell you how refreshing it is. So if you haven't started the process yet, go ahead and start it....now.

Written on 10/30/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps a nd online tools and how they can help you become more productive.Photo Credit:

0 Halloween Trick Or Treat With A Twist

With Halloween just around the corner, kids of all ages will do what they always do on the night of ghosts and horror, they trick or treat in their neighborhood.

To combat obesity problems in young children, it is important that we as parents look for alternatives. This way, our kids can still have fun while not being deprived of trick or treating the night away.

It is a known fact that lollies and sweets are not only bad for the teeth, but also for the figure. Sweets consumed in massive amounts (as kids so happily do when they are not monitored) can become more of a curse than fun and be responsible for huge dentist bills later down the track.

You owe your kid the responsibility of looking out for ways in which they can safely consume Halloween treats without the added sugar.
  • Hand out alternatives
  • Instead of handing out massive amounts of sweets to the children who come trick or treating at your house, why not give away some fun things that are longer lasting and less strenuous on their health. Things such as popular temporary tattoos, trading cards, stickers or sugarless sweets are a great alternative to the sugar laden stuff they usually get.

  • Cook your kids a healthy dinner on Halloween night
  • Kids should learn the importance of good nutrition at an early age. By cooking them a healthy Halloween dinner with lots of protein, fiber and vegetables, they will be ideally nourished for a night of trick or treating later on. When kids are less hungry they seem to develop less cravings for sweets.

  • Follow up by taking their candy bag hostage
  • This might sound cruel, but your kids will only benefit if you take responsibility and confiscate their candy bag once they get home. Responsible adults are aware that kids need to be supervised and that includes monitoring their sweet intake.

  • Buy “healthy sweets”
  • Buy healthy sweets (if there was such a thing as healthy sweets anyway). Nevertheless, you can control the damage in some ways by buying gummy bears made of natural fruit juices opposed to artificial ingredients. Even cutting down on the size and amount of the candy you buy for Halloween can make a huge difference for the health of your child.

  • Make your own
  • Another great way to counteract sugar addiction is to hand out some home made healthy mini muffins, made with wholemeal flour and honey or little chocolate treats. Even though these are sweets too, they are certainly healthier than the bought kind because you can control what goes into them. However, this does involve some preparations but it could be a lot of fun, and if you involve your own kids in the process they could even enjoy the switch.

  • Hand out candy points
  • To encourage awareness in your children about the damage excessive candy consumption can cause, why not present them with a neat candy point hand out. For every piece of candy they hand to you after Halloween, they can collect money to buy something they really want. Naturally, you want to stay reasonable and not hand out big dollars just for the sake of it.

    Alternatively, create a local candy point collection trade within your neighborhood.
    The collected candy can then be used for visiting sick children in a hospital and giving them a small treat (health permitting of course).

  • Change the trick or treat emphasis with craft bags
  • Instead of sending your kid out the door with a cheap, environmentally unfriendly plastic bag, encourage them to make their own trick or treat bag for the occasion. A bag that can be used for many other things and reused for years to come is the perfect solution.

    This will have two purposes: first, you will change your child's emphasis on Halloween by taking the focus from collecting sweets to creating something long lasting and furthermore, it gives you a chance to bond with your child if you take part in the creative process.
Halloween is an exciting time for children and perhaps some adults too but even so we should be responsible what we allow kids to snack on while still getting the maximum amount of fun out of the day.

Tell us your trick or treat tips and what you do to stop your kids from scoffing themselves with candy.

Written on 10/29/2008 by Monika Mundell. Monika Mundell is a passionate freelance writer and pro-blogger. Her blog Freelance Writing helps new freelance writers to get started in this exciting industry. If you like to work with Monika, feel free to visit her Portfolio site.Photo Credit: tomeppy

0 The Six Rules of Building Strength

Did you know that 50 to 70 percent of muscle gain (in terms of size) from body building style weightlifting is not actually muscle fiber at all? It’s actually a fluid called Sarcoplasm. As Sarcoplasm is a fluid and not muscle fiber it contributes very little to strength.

Many red-blooded men and women would like nothing more than to become stronger. The sense of achieving something of our human physical potential can be very fulfilling. Unfortunately modern bodybuilding has become a last refuge for lost souls with poor self-esteem and body image issues. This must at least be partly responsible for taking bodybuilding far from its original roots.

Bodybuilding has hugely influenced what people do at home and at the gym when they lift weights. Unfortunately bodybuilding has largely lost its way. It is now primarily just another arm of a profit driven “fitness” industry along with other sectors such as supplements and weight loss.

So today when we examine the following six rules of strength you may find that almost all the rules presented here are in direct contravention of commonly held body building “wisdom”. That’s because these rules are for iron athletes who want to become strong and be as strong as they look.
  1. Never go to failure
    This is as good a place to start as any. A long held tenant of bodybuilding is that you should go to failure (lift until you cannot lift anymore). Take a turn around your local gym and you’ll see all types of people working out half reps and assisted reps that help push them into complete muscle failure.

    Compare this behavior to the massive size and strength of phenomenal powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters and know that they never go to failure. Nor does the greatest fighter on the planet Fedor Emelianenko. This is because training to failure is training to fail.

    By not going to failure when he lifts, Fedor gets stronger while still remaining fresh enough to train fighting techniques. That means you can get a lot stronger without burning yourself out. No more feeling too exhausted post workout. No more feeling sore for three days after a workout.

  2. No more than five reps per set
    Completing no more than five reps per set caries on from the idea of never going to failure. Figure out what your one rep max for a particular lift is and set the bar at around 70 to 80 percent it. Use that weight to do low rep sets of one to five reps. There is nothing wrong with doing heavy singles.

    Also, while perhaps counterintuitive, lifting heavy for sets of 1 to 5 reps is the safest way to lift. This is because the stabilizing muscles get tired before the prime movers in high rep sets, which sets you up for an injury.

  3. Lift heavy
    If you want to get strong you have to lift heavy. This is dead simple. Sure, using light weights for high rep sets may give you some tone but doing so will never make you strong.

    Lifting heavy requires a large amount of tension. You will be forced to recruit muscle fibers in places not normally directly activated by the lift. Tension is strength. The greater the weight the greater the amount of tension required.

    Think of strength as a skill. The more muscle fibers you can recruit to a movement and the harder the contraction of those muscle fibers the stronger you are. Lifting with heavy weights should be approached as practice as opposed to working out.

  4. Lift often
    Many powerlifting and Olympic lifting teams work out as many as eight times per week or even more. This means they are working out more than once a day. They can do this because they are not going to failure and are working low rep sets. It has been found that completing five heavy singles per day for five days in a row is better for strength development than completing five sets of five reps on a single day.

  5. Take longer rest periods between sets
    To avoid failure, you will need to take longer rests between sets. This will allow your body to adequately recover for the next heavy lift. You also will not experience anywhere near as much soreness post workout as a result of extending your rest periods.

  6. Focus on compound movements
    Powerlifters and Olympic lifters do not train body parts. As discussed above with regards to tension, your body combined is far stronger than your body broken down by isolation exercises. Stick to lifts such as the deadlift, squat, benchpress, military press and the Olympic lifts – snatch and clean and jerk.
For more information check out Power to the People and Beyond Bodybuilding both by Pavel Tsatsouline and The Purposeful Primitive by Marty Gallagher. You can also read about the differences between bodybuilding and powerlifting explained in the articles Why Powerlifting and not Bodybuilding and Beginning Powerlifting.

Share your thoughts on these six rules of strength by leaving a comment. Also let us know what you have found works for you when it comes to increasing strength and becoming as strong as you look.

Written on 10/29/2008 by Stephen Cox. Stephen learned the vital importance of good health the hard way. Having overcome open heart surgery at age 7, chronic fatigue at age 20 and debilitating migraines in between. Today Stephen writes daily at Balanced Existence where he shares the knowledge and insights gained from his personal journey of holistic health and wellbeing.Photo Credit:

Selasa, 28 Oktober 2008

0 Slow Decay

[Image: By Yvette Molina, 2008; oil on 7" convex aluminum disc. Via Johansson Projects].

Opening at Johansson Projects in Oakland this week is a show by artists Katy Stone and Yvette Molina "that considers the ephemeral thrills and underlying decrepitude of the natural world" – it is "a nature walk through a mysterious and delicate landscape, where organic beauty blossoms in the midst of slow decay."

[Images: All works by Yvette Molina, 2008; all are oil on 7" convex aluminum discs. Via Johansson Projects].

These gorgeous paintings here, using layers of oil paint and glazes, are all by Yvette Molina, depicting "hazy forest scapes."

Senin, 27 Oktober 2008

0 The Atlas of Hidden Water

[Image: From the "atlas of hidden water." Check out the original PDF or simply view it

An "atlas of hidden water" has been created to reveal where the world's freshwater aquifers really lie. "The hope," New Scientist reports, "is that it will help pave the way to an international law to govern how water is shared around the world."
This prospective hydro-geopolitical legislation currently includes a "draft Convention on transboundary aquifers."

[Image: The "hidden water" of South America].

"What the UNESCO map reveals," New Scientist adds, "is just how many aquifers cross international borders. So far, the organisation has identified 273 trans-boundary aquifers: 68 in the Americas, 38 in Africa, 155 in Eastern and Western Europe and 12 in Asia." One of these is the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, whose waters are nearly a million years old.
According – somewhat oddly – to the International Atomic Energy Agency:
    The ancient system’s massive reserves, estimated at 375,000 cu km of water (equivalent to about 500 years of Nile River discharge), are confined deep inside the earth’s underground chambers – staggered, tiered, and pooled beneath the sands of the Sahara Desert, oasis settlements, wadis (dry riverbeds that contain water only during times of heavy rain), small villages, towns, and large cities.
If the surface landscapes there are already so beautiful, how exciting would it be to explore those underground staggered tiers and pools...
A more detailed map is due out in 2009 – meanwhile, several more can be downloaded here.

0 The immersive sculpture of linked voids

When you pull back the curtain of Manhattan, what do you find?

[Image: Photo by Andrea Mohin for The New York Times].

The so-called "birthmark of the World Trade Center" has been removed from the earth of New York City. These "colossal cast-iron rings," as The New York Times describes them, were "the last visible remnant of the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad" that once crossed through the World Trade Center site.
In an excavatory act that would seem to combine the best conceptual aspects of Rachel Whiteread, Michael Heizer, and Gordon Matta-Clark, what was once a tunnel – an underground space of air – has been strangely inverted, transformed into an object, freed from its terrestrial context.
Perhaps leading to the question: What if Michael Heizer had retired altogether from the art world – only to get a job, under an assumed name, as an engineer on the New York City subway system? What strange resonances might that mobile underworld now take?
An immersive sculpture of linked voids beneath the city.

[Image: Photo by Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times].

Meanwhile, as the construction work at Ground Zero continues, the whole site has become a massive archaeological site, exposing an earlier phase of planetary history.
Also from The New York Times:
    A fantastic landscape in Lower Manhattan – plummeting holes, steep cliffsides and soft billows of steel-gray bedrock, punctuated by thousands of beach-smooth cobblestones in a muted rainbow of reds and purples and greens – has basked in sunlight this summer for the first time in millennia.

    This monumental carving was the work of glaciers, which made their last retreat from these parts about 20,000 years ago, leaving profound gouges in the earth and rocks from the Palisades, the Ramapo Mountains and an area of northern New Jersey known as the Newark Basin.

    Plumbing these glacial features and souvenirs has been critical in preparing the foundation for Tower 4 of the new World Trade Center, being built by Silverstein Properties. The concrete footings from which its columns rise must rest on firm bedrock. Engineers need a clear understanding of the rock’s contours.
These "contours" form "an abstract canvas of swirling, concentric rings," we read, which help to reveal "a period far more ancient than the glaciers, about 500 million years ago, when the edges of the colliding North American and African continental plates got shuffled together."
Ground Zero has thus become a kind of horizontal stargate, a terrestrial windowpane pulled wider and wider in the landscape of Lower Manhattan.

[Image: Photo by David W. Dunlap for The New York Times].

In any case, what about those colossal cast-iron rings? Now that they've been pulled from the earth, they've been warehoused: "These have been taken to Hangar 17 at Kennedy International Airport, where large-scale trade center artifacts are stored."
But might I suggest that they be shipped upstate to Dia:Beacon, instead?

Minggu, 26 Oktober 2008

0 Five Productive Ways To Blast Through Your TV Addiction

America holds the prize for the highest density of potatoes - couch potatoes that is. Don't laugh at us, other countries will soon get there as we continue to send aid, televisions, and potato chips.

I think one reason we're so susceptible to this is because we either can't think of anything to do or because we just don't feel like getting up.

Just to have a running definition of smart, we'll say that it means "showing mental alertness and calculation and resourcefulness." When you're watching television you're actually dulling your alertness, and not utilizing calculation skills. You have no need for resourcefulness other than figuring out a way to not get pizza grease on your remote control and that doesn't always take priority either.

Television time in known as prime time. That's generally the hours of 8pm to 10pm every evening during which the majority of people are at home, on the couch, and totally vegging out. We all know that TV watching is not exclusive to this time slot, so in reality an average person watches much more than 2 hours of television per day.

I've personally beaten down the TV habit and on the rare day that I'll watch TV, it won't be more than 5-10 minutes. I mentioned earlier that I think the main reason people watch so much TV is for the lack of something better to do (i.e. boredom). After doing some thinking, I've come up with some ways that I can enjoy life more and/or be more productive towards reaching my life goals, in the time I would have otherwise been watching TV. Here are some of the ways I chose...

Treating The TV Addiction
  • Thirty Day Experiment. Take it upon yourself to start a 30-day experiment, in which you will not watch a single minute of TV. After this month is complete, feel free to analyze the results and make an informed decision. After the 30 days, it's solely up to your discretion if you want to go back to TV, or if you'll take on a new, more fulfilling hobby.

  • Journal Your Progress. In retrospect, it's not always easy to see day-to-day progress because we simply and easily forget our experiences. Your mission will be to take a few minutes at the end of each day to write about how you spent your TV-free time, how you felt about this, and any other ideas that you have during this time period.

  • Insert Good Habits. Whenever you're taking out a bad habit, it is important to insert a good habit into the void. Otherwise, this void, which works like a vacuum, will suck you right back into your bad habits. Below I will list 5 things you can do during your prime time, other than watching TV.

  • General Task List. Make sure you keep a general task list of things you can pick up and do at absolutely any time (much like the items you see in the list below). This way when you get a brain freeze and can't think of your next action, and your daily to-do list is empty or requires action from someone else to begin, you'll have something productive to do to fill in the time-gap.
5 Smarter-Than-TV Tasks
  • Clear You Mind (And Your Desk). It's common sense that when you're in a clean and organized environment that you're mind will be clearer and more focused on the task at hand, instead of the mess at hand. Take a few minutes to make a clean-task-list in which you'll categorize which areas of your work-area, or your home, need to be cleaned up.

    • Work Desk
    • File Drawers
    • Book shelves
    • Bathroom
    • Bedroom
    • Kitchen
    • Living Room, etc.

    I know it can be mind-boggling to look at the way you've let your area go, which makes it hard to get started. However, if you take 15 minutes a day in order to speed-clean a certain area, it will make it much easier, or unnecessary to clean on "cleaning-day." This is a task I love to do while plugged into an audio book or into some speedy techno music.

    Other than organizing your living area, you'll also want to organize your mind by having yourself a...

  • Mental Vomit (Onto Some Paper). One way to clear your mind and focus is to organize your physical environment. Another very useful way is to organize your internal environment. This includes sitting down with that ol' pen and paper (or in my case MacJournal), and doing some major planning. Some of the things you can plan out are:

    • Tomorrow's Task List
    • Weekly Goals and Task List
    • Monthly Goals
    • Yearly Goals
    • 5 and 10 year Goals
    • List of things to-do before you kick the bucket.

    At this point you must think I'm some kind of organization freak, even if I do only half of the things that are on this list. However, experience dictates a few very important facts about organizing your thoughts into task lists.

    1. If you trust your mind to remember what's important, you're going to forget.

    2. If you keep too many open-loops of things you need to be doing, you're going to procrastinate on getting them done.

    3. If you write it down, your much more likely to get it done.

    Remember, planning is a time investment that earns huge dividends. Without constantly setting goals that make you reach outside of your comfort zone, you're bound to settle into a life that is neither exciting nor anything greater than mediocre.

    While measured output is a great way to spend time, another productive skill set to adopt is...

  • Read For Fun and Profit. What are YOU filling your brain with today? Is it the TV junk that's all geared toward making you a top-of-the-line consumer, or hand-picked books that will improve your character, increase your knowledge, help you get some culture, and teach you skills that you've always wanted to have?

    Prime time is a huge chunk of time that you can use to read. Reading is much better for your brain than television, because it's 'usually' not full of commercial advertisements, and doesn't flip between images every 7 seconds or more. With reading, you really have a much better chance of monitoring your brain's input.

    You can read novels for fun, self-improvement books, or books that will help you make money directly or through your field of work. It's also a pretty nice way to unwind and relax after a long day of work while expanding your vocabulary.

    All this sitting around is highly productive, but once that's over with, it's time to get your butt up and...

  • Burn Baby, Burn! (Like disco inferno?) Okay, well, what I'm talking about is exercise. You've been watching TV for so long, and gawking/envying all the hard body actors and actresses, that you're practically an expert of what sexy is, and know just how sexy you'd like to be yourself.

    I don't want to tell you that you'll be happier if you get your body into stellar shape. It might, or it might not, that is really not of any consequence. What I can tell you is that you'll have an overall feeling of well being if you do daily exercise, which will strengthen your muscles, give you more energy, and invigorate and focus your mind. Some of the ways in which you can do this are...

    • Take up running. This is something that I just got into myself. If you're not in the best shape of your life, you can start out by walking, then walking faster, then jogging, until finally you're able to run. The key is constant and never ending improvement.

    • Pick Up Games. You can find a fun pick up game at your local park, gym, or social club. The key here is that the people and the fun will keep you coming back, and the sport will get your sweaty and feeling good.

    • Exploration/Shopping. You want to be active, and you need to do this no matter what. A fun way to do this is to walk around (or bike, or run), and explore a new area. Explore a new city, park, or even a shopping center if that's what you're into. Go at a fast pace that is comfortable, but challenging, so that your heart rate is increased and you're actually doing some work!

  • Bondage, bond... I mean family time. Someone somewhere gave family time a bad name. It doesn't have to be arguing, fighting, and hating on each other as often portrayed on TV. The difference between TV and real life is that on TV someone else makes the plot; in life our actions and decisions dictate how the movie will play out.

    Generally speaking, your family members are the group of people whom you can most trust and rely upon. On the other hand, these people can be the most critical of you as well, which could make them a less than ideal group to come to when you have problems.

    This creates a fun game you can play during prime time every day. Build the amazing relationship that you've always wanted with your family, while they're still around for you to enjoy them. You can do this in so many ways, that the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

    I'm talking about cleaning together, planning together, reading together, exercising together, and yes, even having family time together as a family. I know it's a stretch. You can make money together, pray together, accompany each other to social events, aid each other in fortifying your morality, ethics, and character.

    When you start thinking of your family as home base and strengthening this social foundation of your life, you'll notice a lot of magical things happening. You'll feel better in general, as well as get a lot of support in areas of your life. Next, you'll notice that your relationships with other people are getting exceedingly better as well.
This list represents just a few things from an infinite list of activities that are better and more productive than watching TV. I'm sure you can think of even better ways to spend your TV free time.

Written on 10/27/2008 by Alex Shalman. Alex is an avid reader and is constantly learning how to improve his life. You can catch him at Practical Personal Development . Photo Credit: Banalities

0 How to Get a $25 Gift Certificate for $2 (ends 10/31/08)

I would never forgive myself if I didn't take 2 minutes to tell you about this.

Restaurant.com is a site that allows you to purchase restaurant gift certificates at crazy discounts. For example, you can generally purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10 so under normal circumstances, this is a good deal in itself.

Today, I was surfing around and hit a CNET article written by Rick Broida. Rick caught wind of a promotion that allows you to buy a $25 gift certificate for $2. It sounds nuts but I just did it and it worked like a charm. I paid $20 and ended up with $250 worth of gift certificates. Not too bad, especially with the holidays coming up.

When you get to their site, simply search for restaurants in your area and add them to your shopping cart. Once your done, enter TREATS in the promo code box contained in your shopping cart. After I paid, I was able to print these certificates from my PC within minutes so I can actually use one for lunch today.

Please note that this deal expires on October 31st, 2008 and you have one year to use the certificates you purchase. It's also worth noting that most of these offers have minimum purchase amounts so be sure to check that out.


Sabtu, 25 Oktober 2008

0 Zones of Exclusion

[Image: The charismatic boundaries of an earlier worldview – here, the Hereford Mappa Mundi].

Note: This is a guest post by Nicola Twilley.

Another question for the topic of whether or not a “dense assortment of buildings” can ever be a real city: What is London for an eighteen-year old whose entire urban experience is confined to 200-square meters and who has never seen the Thames?

Researchers at the University of Glasgow, sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have spent the past two years asking young residents of Bradford, Peterborough, London, Glasgow, Sunderland, and Bristol to draw maps of their own individual urban experience in order to explore micro-territoriality as both a cause and a symptom of social exclusion. You can read the full PDF of their report here.

“In Glasgow, Sunderland and Bradford,” they found, “a recognizable territory might be as small as a 200-meter block or segment.” In Tower Hamlets, London, fifteen and sixteen-year old boys mapped their world into three streets, a football pitch, a barber shop, mosque, Indian restaurant, and – just beyond the clearly marked “Front Line” – an off-license, or liquor store.

[Image: From the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, "Young people and territoriality in British cities" (download the PDF)].

Some of the sketches even remind me of medieval maps: the known world is an island of familiarity, simultaneously shown much larger than scale but made tiny and precious by the monsters of “Terra Incognita” that surround it. In the case of a 15-year-old girl from Bradford, today’s dragons are “moshers,” “chavs,” “Asians,” and “posh people” – all “Enemys.” The researchers found that teenage boys display an even more complete ignorance of the world beyond their perceived boundaries: these two maps of the same area in Glasgow were drawn by young men in the same class at the same school, who live on different sides of the same road.

[Images: From the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, "Young people and territoriality in British cities" (download the PDF)].

The report’s authors examined the causes, nature, and impact of micro-territorialization. Their research uncovered Bristol’s “postcode wars,” where gangs spray-paint their postcode in rival areas as a form of aggression, as well as descriptions of the maneuvers involved in going to school in one part of Bradford that match the Schlieffen Plan in strategic complexity. “In some places,” they note with reference to Glasgow and Sunderland, “territoriality was a leisure activity, a form of ‘recreational violence.’” In other words, bored and economically deprived teenagers are transforming 1960s council estates and Victorian terraces into a real-world, multiplayer World of Warcraft.

Of course, excessive loyalty to the local, and the resulting lack of mobility, has a significant and negative impact on access to education, services, and job opportunities. In the words of one interviewee from Glasgow:
    If your horizons are limited to three streets, what is the point of you working really hard at school? What is the point of passing subjects that will allow you to go to college or university if you cannot travel beyond these streets? What’s the point of dreaming about being an artist, a doctor, etc., if you cannot get on a bus to get out of the area in which you live?
The report points out an interesting irony here: current policies in urban regeneration are dominated by strategies to increase “place attachment” as a means “to reinforce social networks and maintain the quality of an area through pride.” However, the areas that actually generate such loyalties are, in the authors’ words “often ones that have little that conventionally invokes pride.”
    It was difficult to say which was more depressing – the relentless defense of a featureless piece of open space on the fringes of a Glasgow housing scheme where there is nothing whatsoever by way of amenities, or the confinement to a socially isolated but densely populated and built-up quarter-square-mile of London of young men for whom the culture and wealth of one of the world’s great cities might as well be on another continent.
The report goes on to identify 244 anti-territorial projects (ATPs) currently in progress across the UK. Most use sports or other “hook” activities to encourage association and to teach networking skills. Disappointingly, none tackle the issue in terms of the design of physical space.

So what does the anti-territorial city look like? Some things to consider: unsurprisingly, the report found that most conflicts “occurred on boundaries between residential areas, which were typically defined by roads, railways, vacant land or other physical features.” The city center also becomes a venue for bigger showdowns: a youth worker in Peterborough explains that “the flashpoints are in the city center, the ‘big stage,’ the one place they all, you know, congregate on a Saturday.” Finally, the researchers found that micro-territorialization took place across the spectrum of low-income housing stock, from “high-density, flatted, inner-city estates; traditional, pre-1914 areas of terraced housing; and suburban, often council-built environments.”

As the authors rightly point out, lack of jobs and economic hardship are key structural forces contributing to “problematic territoriality.” But what role does urban planning, landscape design and the built environment have to play?

Can the design of the city itself generate – or mitigate against – territoriality?

(Note: Read the Guardian's take on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report here and here).

Jumat, 24 Oktober 2008

0 Canon scrapbook

Talk about photoshopping your ass off! I've been working on this the whole day!

Anyway I'm just gonna post random "cute" photos I took with my sponsored Canon Powershot E1. I'm not gonna go into product specs lah! Just look at the pics and judge the quality yourself!!

Eh... My initial plan for a cute scrapbook was to go to Ikea to snap photos of people's babies. Then with the second parent I asked, I was rudely shoo-ed away before I could even complete my question! So I gave up on that idea and so... No babies!

I hope you enjoy it anyway, and sorry for the lateness!

Click here to also see what the other bloggers blogged, and vote for whoever you think did the best, ok! :)

(I'm off to play MJ now!)
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