Monday, 30 January 2006

Why does ice melt faster in water than it does in air?

Air is in gaseous phase whereas water is in liquid (condense) phase. The number of water molecules surrounding the ice is much greater than the number of air molecules surrounding the ice. When ice melts, heat has to be absorbed from the surrounding particles in contact with it. Since there are more water molecules that could provide more heat, ice would melt faster when it is put in water, assuming that the temperature of water is the same as that of the air.

and in googling about that.. I also found this..
Hot water freezes faster than cold water under certain conditions among other weird properties of water

Do airplanes travel faster from east to west or west to east?
The rotation of the earth has no measurable bearing on time of flight. Inertially, we start out already moving with the earth. There is not force that wants to slow us down relative to the earth's rotation.

Airplanes travel faster from west to east in the United States. That's because the prevailing winds at out latitudes are eastward and they blow the airplane toward the east. When the airplane flies toward the east, it has a tail wind and travels faster with respect to the ground. When the airplane flies toward the west, it has a headwind and travels slower with respect to the ground.

Thursday, 26 January 2006


I really wonder how my seniors manage to take so many classes and be in labs at the same time. I feel that I don't have enough time to get everything done. Finally finished studying for metabolic biochem midterm tomorrow. Hope I do fine. Hope I do very well actually. I have an essay to write by next fri, a grammar test tmr, a evolution quiz which i can't screw up on mon and a chem midterm on tue + interviews.. hmm, I feel that I need more time..

Let's talk about my very very fun freshman seminars. Stargazing. Went to the cliffs last night to watch the stars, wow, the light pollution is so obvious from there, can see 1 BIG light shining from the RIMAC field. So hiked in the cold night all the way there, was very fun last night, cos only 7 people turned up for class, even though the class was so popular that it's way overbooked. Guess everybody decided to stay in their warm homes. Saw many many stars, I actually can picture why the constellations are named the way they are. Amazed at myself. Found out why the horizon is always always hazy/ cloudy, why it's so hard to see a good sunrise or sunset, actually good sunsets here are numerous, practically every day. Looked through binoculars and wow, there's really a sky of stars up there. Hope I still remember which is which next week. And I can't wait for us to go up to the mountains one day to freeze ourselves. I just can't wait. But now I can just wish that next wednesday will be a clear night.

My other seminar. A very uninteresting name of Revelle Honors Seminar. Quite fun actually. A totally stress free class, occasionally there's food in class. 1 great part about it is that there's actually complimentary tickets to professional performances on campus. Woohoo! So I think I'll go watch the Artemis string quartet next week. Another great thing, the main thing actually, is that people are invited to come to talk to us about their work. And today, this sociology professor who was part of the team that started Preuss School came. Can see he's really really passionate about his school, the crystal his hard work.. Makes me want to do something with the community too. A 3rd great part abt this is that I get to talk to the provost, though I haven't actually. and a 4th great part is can know more people cos people actually interact in the class, not like my Hum discussion where the 20 people just sit and wait for the prof to give a topic and then argue and siam immediately after class. (that's what I do actually.. haha)

"Scientists have to constantly think of new fancy names for things, like metabolome, so that they can get funding." ~ metabolic biochem prof

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

The bunch of us freezing on Brooklyn Bridge on New year's eve, nice Manhattan background

Cars trying to get into Manhattan


Dallas, Texas

Why does ice melt faster in water than alone in air?
Does it take longer for a plane to fly east than to fly west?

Anyone want to answer them?

Saturday, 21 January 2006

I'm being so nice to bao. Last time my friend sent me this and I didn't do it.. Ha. So anyway bao and xm, here it is.

1) fengzi
2) dolly (erm I don't really go by this but some people apparently think so)
3) fong (eew.. but people here can't pronounce my name, so give them some monosyllabic name to pronounce, only for students though.. I tell professors my full proper name.. shifeng)

1) Shifeng
2) Say_Yes (long long time ago, in the IRC age)
3) fengzi

1) hair
2) eyes, just the eyeballs, not the eye bags and dark circles
3) fingers (only part of my body which I exercise enough to be thin)

1) fats everywhere, thighs, calves, tummy.. eew
2) pimples
3) feet (but then I don't like any feet at all, chicken feet, duck feet, human feet..)

1) that no one cares if something happens to me
2) getting attacked by someone/ something some time somewhere
3) mice in house.. hope I won't have this prob when I move off campus

1) sleep
2) eat
3) going online

1) long sleeve t-shirt that says journey down to Mexico bought from Shenzhen
2) black woolen sweater from Shenzhen (wearing it cos I just went to watch whales, very windy out at sea)
3) jeans from Hong Kong

1) Yoshihiro Andoh.. hahaha
2) myself haha, and anyone who plays/ played anything with me
3) JJ

THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS: ( in no particular order )
1) Elan - Secret Garden
2) Something from LOTR, the theme thing
3) Dan Xiao Gui - Gigi

1) happiness (the greatest good right? so it encompasses everything else)
2) trust and freedom
3) growth

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
1) I live on coffee
2) I cook in my dorm room with no stove
3) I want to go home

1) smartness, someone who I feel I can learn from or say wow to
2) clean and shaved (can't stand shaggy guys)
3) not fat

1) sleep, seriously
2) go to the beach and watch the sea.. but I don't do this often though
3) play some musical instrument where I can play anything I want to or have some great score to play

1) kick everyone out of my room, pon the still thoughts cny dinner thing, stay in my room and study.. really need to study considering the quizzes and midterms coming up
2) sleep
3) play electone =(

1) er.. research?
2) tour guide
3) sound tech

1) Alaska (too bad no one in my stargazing class has a private jet plane to fly us all there to watch the aurora borealis.. would have loved it)
2) Australia, New Zealand.. (I lived so close and I've never been there much)
3) Somewhere in the tropical sea, go snorkelling and see corals and fish

1) Nicole
2) Jamie
3) Kiddo (haha)

1) see aurora.. I'm serious
2) do something significant so that at least one person will think of me as a good person
3) enjoy and treasure life

1) I don't show my emotions
2) My notes are mainly black and white and blue
3) I don't care about makeup

1) I choke up at slight things
2) I like receiving presents
3) I do my laundry every week and wash my sheets about once a month.. ok maybe twice in a quarter..

1) Jialing
2) Jiaxin Tan
3) hmm.. Hong King?
No stress people, don't do this if you've done it before or if you don't have time.. I received this thing a month ago and I am only doing it now.. =)
Day 3 of NYC (new year's eve)

Snow! First time seeing snow in a few years. Cold. Brr.. Wanted to walk through Central Park to Met, but got too cold, so ended up at Museum of Natural History. But didn't go in, cos xuxu and grace are leaving in the afternoon, so we went Chinatown to eat with them. Went to fifth ave after lunch to walk walk. Weather couldn't decide btw raining and snowing.. but was extremely wet anyway. I'm glad I brought an umbrella. Wet and dreary.. Can you imagine the people at Times Square waiting there at 3pm just to see the ball drop at midnight? Then met Shyh Chang and friends in this mall, I don't even remember the name of the place. They decided that we should crash Times Square, if we can't get in, must at least touch the walls (barricades). So we went there, and was diverted further away at every street we get to, quite crowded though.. until we finally gave up and went off.. to Ground Zero area.

Went into a Burger King and guess what? They have internet there. So the guys went to check out on a countdown party + fireworks in Brooklyn and we decided to go there, via the Brooklyn Bridge. Walking across the unsalted Brooklyn Bridge on a night after it snowed in the day. Not exactly the easiest walk but the view was great. And we could laugh at the cars trying to get into Manhattan. Found our way to the "countdown party", where there's no one around except for us and the performers, then realised that the thing doesn't start till after 11pm. So waited around and froze for some time while making crappy jokes. Was so glad when the concert finally started cos they provide free hot chocolate and hot apple cider. Helped a lot in warming me up. Still my toes were all numb and probably blue.. Songs were good and then there was fireworks. Woohoo! 10min of fireworks. Cool! But somehow ooi lost his phone some time during the fireworks and we spent half an hour combing through the area looking for the phone after the fireworks and after calling everyone to wish them happy new year. And guess what, miraculously the phone was found. Happy new year man..

hmm.. photos not coming on..

Day 4 (Happy New Year)
Slept till 10.30.. then went to Lihao's GP tutor's place. Ate at a americanish-jap restaurant, wanted to go Met finally BUT Met's closed on New Year. So walked through Central Park and saw some extremely cool roller bladers and freesbee players. They keep spinning the freesbee and make sure it stays in the air while doing acrobatic moves. Darn cool. Went to Wall Street and then Chinatown for dinner. In my personal opinion, it's a day spent slacking.. I could have gone back a day earlier and saved everyone the trouble. nvm.. went to the airport at night and spent the night at the airport before flying back to warm sunny San Diego.. I was really really looking forward to the Dallas, TX and San Diego weather..

Finally. End of trip blog. phew

Thursday, 19 January 2006

Introducing the 'shens' here.. whose legacies I feel necessary to live up to.. names are not mentioned to protect privacy.. but extremely obvious who i'm talking about. In no apparent order

Legacy #1. takes at least 5 courses every quarter, gets approval from college often to do more than allowed number of units.. In addition to her 22 units this quarter (max allowed is 22.5), she's in 2 labs.. Her interests are extremely broad.. art, music, literature, history, science, cooking =).. extremely interesting listening to her talk.. Ask her anything abt the arts scene here. 1 of the active arguers around

Legacy #2. Humanities shen. Shen in every way actually. Finished everything she need to graduate in 2 yrs +1 quarter. Tops most of her classes, maintain extremely good relationships with professors. A bit absent-minded, but extremely brilliant. Has very very strong opinions on things. That's why she's so fantastic in Hum. Usually starter of arguments, arguments used here as a neutral word with no negative connotation. I just wish for some of her brilliance to brush off onto me

Legacy #3. High rank member of many many clubs, I've lost count, since after 1 or less meeting of each, I somehow fell out of all of them.. Very nice guy who will always offer to help. The ruijie person here. Ask him for directions, for what to do, for help.. first one to turn to when i need anything

I could go on about the other shens around, but I need to sleep.. I WILL go see Dresser tmr and FINALLY decide if I should take a music class. Come on girl, decide!

Monday, 16 January 2006

Clock outside the Central Park Zoo, chimes and moves every hour. =)
jazz busker in Central Park
Empire State lobby

New York

night view from Empire State

Sunday, 15 January 2006

Day (oops I lost count.. 1st full day in NYC, whichever day that is)

Times Square (even the Macs is so fancy)

Times Square (this is the column where the giant crystal ball is supposed to be dropped on New Year's eve)

buskers we saw in the subway station.. This is what real breakdance should look like..

Day 2 in NYC
Visited Central Park since it's next too our hostels. Huge park in the middle of the city. Beautiful sunny day, but still a bit cold for park visiting. New Yorkers love dogs. So many people walking dogs on a weekday in the park.

Central Park


Had lunch at a bagel place. Yay bagel. Really filling but happy. Then went to see Statue of Liberty again cos the weather is much better. Super windy on the ferry and super crowded, so I spent most of the time hiding in the cabin. Luckily the ferry's free. Then wanted to go Empire State Building. Xuxu's friend came and Grace's friend came so they accompanied their friends, Sunny and I went to Empire State Building. Not very nice of us I know, to leave them, but.. nvm.

Empire State Building, extremely long lines. There was a line to get into the building, and after getting in, there's a snaky line to get through the security checks, and after the security checks, there's a snaky line to buy tickets, and after the tickets are bought, there's a line to get into the elevator, then there's a line to get to the 2nd elevator at the 83rd floor, and finally you're there. So queued for a total of 2+h to get up. Gosh. And guess what, saw Sunny's senior up there. Haha. Told you we meet people we know everywhere in NYC. The view from Empire State is really beautiful, even at night. I like the night view, it's just too windy. And I'm not paranoid about planes flying low or anything like that, so I enjoyed myself up there. Had a penny pressed. =)

Thursday, 12 January 2006

3rd post of the day.. haha.. high..

Went celebrate Dr Lim graduating at Thai restaurant with the rest of the gang. I am so glad I met these people. Entertainment with the people I was with in NYC is one thing, I enjoyed it a lot, this is a totally different kind of entertainment. It's absolutely fun to watch them throwing opinions, very strong opinions across the table. Fun watching how the different points of views can either merge into 1 view (very rarely) or end up with no resolution. But in this case the results are not impt.

Today's dinner topic is religion, how it started I don't recall. Maybe it's because of me and Hum, or me and evolution. Yup I think it's because of the compulsory evolution course I'm taking. Anyway as usual, I'm only a bystander in the discussion/ argument. I watch and listen and try to absorb something. Was observing them and realised that almost all of them have taken at least 1 religion related course, whether it's hum, mmw or a philosophy class on religion. And the other active participants of the discussion have strong religious beliefs. Maybe after this year I can join in their discussions. But I doubt cos I'm not one who keep myself updated with current views, nor one who thinks about issues a lot and constantly come up with new views.. I repeat, reiterate and restate the same things over and over again. Boring me.

Dinner topic was steered completely away from grad sch, graduating, working as a scientist. Power of these people. Each more brilliant than the next. Love them.

I'm still intimidated by Hum. The goddess of Hum flunked her first hum essay. shoots.
Have been blogging on trip and not on present life. Update, not blue any more.. quite busy actually. First week, hectic week, trying to get into classes, trying to decide which class to take, actually deciding which class to not take. After 2 Humanities lectures and 1 discussion, I've decided that
1. Humanities is scary,
2. There's no such time as spending too much time on Humanities, there's only too little time..
After I've decided those, I've also decided that I should do less stuff cos Hum is so crazy. So I've reduced my load a bit, but it's still quite crazy. Am I killing myself? I hope not. Hope Hum doesn't kill me too.

I should seriously stop thinking Hum is scary.. Think it's becoming a mental obstacle. 4 essays + a final + class participation + reading odyssey in 2 weeks, old testament in 3 weeks + I can't think.. nope not scary. I can do it.

"This is probably the most logical Biological course you're going to take" ~ Metabolic Biochem prof
The NY Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center

Big organ

Build a bear workshop, what a good place to earn money from kids

Pretty snowflakes on building

NBC news filming

Tuesday, 10 January 2006



Grand Central Terminal

Chrysler building

Day 7: chiong day

Raining, but we went as planned to South Ferry, to take ferry to Staten Island and look at Statue of Liberty. There weren't many people in the ferry but visibility was quite bad.

Statue of Liberty

Xu Xu, Grace, Sunny, me

Wall Street bull in the rain

NYSE on Wall St

Grand Central Terminal

Had a lamb gyro from a roadside stand. Tasted really good though the cart was really dark. Sunny had a hot dog. Went past Trinity Church. Quite strange how Gothic architecture appears suddenly in a big city. Wall Street, then went to Grand Central Terminal. The place is really pretty, like a real busy terminal inside and looks good on the outside too. Walked around the area to UN. Unfortunately non of the flags are up, so we just saw a whole collection of flagpoles. I'm really glad I have a guidebook with me, so I end up being the tour guide. Haha.

Went to Rockefeller Center after that and saw NBC news broadcasting, saw the huge NYC Christmas tree and ice-skating rink. Outdoor ice-skating. Cool! Chiong day, after that we walked to the church.. oops forgot name. Anyway wasn't particularly wowed by it cos I've seen similar ones in Italy, but the organ's huge! Which reminds me, I must go check out the outdoor organ in San Diego some day.

Then Chinatown for dinner with the astar people at Nyonya. Malaysian/ Singapore food. Very popular restaurant. Will be much more shiok if I didn't have a sore throat. ooi tried to order black pepper crab and the waiter immediately asked if we were Singaporeans, haha. Had a bit of prata, chicken rice, mango shrimp, some vege. Wasn't until we were trying to order dessert when I realised that they have yu tou mi fen. nvm. Met a whole bunch of Singaporeans there, for some reason, everyone's in NY at the same time in the same place, so people were saying hi to so many pple. It's a small world.

After dinner, everyone decided to go Times Square. I was quite tired and wanted to go home, but since everyone wanted to go, I went too. Good choice. It was really a Wow place. So many lights, so many people. On a normal weekday night. Much much more crowded than Orchard on Sat. Walked around, taking photos of "everything that's bright", haha. Walked around to locate Coldstone but walked the wrong direction, so by the time we found coldstone, it was 11.40 and it closed at 11pm. So got icecream from Macs and went home. Good thing NYC subway is 24h.

Sunday, 8 January 2006

Day 6 cont'd
Chinatown. Looks very Hong Kong to me.

A bakery in Chinatown. Sells yummy stuff like 菠萝包 and 鸡尾包 and 蛋挞
Old people hanging out. Feels so HK. This trip's a good chance for me to practise my rusty Cantonese too. I can live using Cantonese, buy stuff and eat and so on, but don't ask me to give a speech in Cantonese or ask my opinion.

Checked into our hostel. Columbus Studios Hostel. Quite a walk from the bus in Chinatown to the subway and through the interchange stop and from the subway to the hostel. Walked through this side street which I would classify as shady but xuxu and grace were like it's not so bad it's not so bad lah. So ok. If they're ok with it, I'm ok with it too. Hostel is bad. The room's fine, with an extremely primitive light, yes it's electric, but we took 2 minutes to find the light switch. The switch is the line hanging from the light. 3 people sharing 2 double decker beds. That's not bad at all and there's a sink in the room. But the corridors are tiny and the toilet on our floor wasn't working. Well, it's livable i guess, and I did stay there for 2 nights. Hostelling International is so much better.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

Day 3 Christmas Day
Harvard tour by Grace's friend and his African friend. Harvard looks very scholarly, like an school with long long history. But cos it was cloudy and there's no students around on Christmas, the place feels very dead. Harvard is huge, but that's because it has so many professional schools, med, law, business, govt, grad..

John Harvard, the fake one.

Can't remember what this is. A church I think.

Our tour guides

After Harvard we wanted to go see Harvard square, the area of shops and restaurants right next to Harvard, but no one's open and I was dying for fruits, so Chris brought me to a supermarket near our dorm. While walking there, I took a look at MIT.

MIT's latest addition. Looks like something from Disney or Universal Studios. Very creative, not sure how functional it is though.

MIT's obsessed with nos. Buildings are numbered instead of named, people refer to their courses using nos. too. MIT has their own bank (i'm jealous!! I want a credit card!) and own nuclear powerplant (erps). MIT doesn't look or feel like a school, more like factories or research institutes, feel very cold to me..

Day 4
Went Museum of Science in the rainy day. Fascinating museum, very educational. Watched the optical illusion show, went in tried very hard to be tricked, and wow-ed when we're really tricked. How interesting. But it's really a good show. Museums are meant to be visited when there's a lot of time, and it's really tiring to visit a museum. After that, met up with the rest accidentally at Quincy Market at dinner, then went to the frat house again. Watched Indiana Jones till really late and got driven home again.

Day 5
Spent the day at Harvard Square, looking for food and reading and looking at expensive Harvard merchandise. Walked back to MIT from Harvard, quite a long walk, but quite interesting looking at the change of atmosphere from Harvard square to central square and then to Kendall. People love to hang out on the streets, just stand there and do nothing. Aren't they cold?

Day 6
Went New York.

We do less things every day. First day quite chiong, then less things done every day.. Same with NYC too.

Friday, 6 January 2006

Day 2 continued..

After dim sum, went on the Freedom Trail with the whole gang of people, about 10 of us, cos it's free, haha, and we're poor students. Got a good glimpse of Boston's history.

Boston commons. Some people protesting silently.

Massachusettes State House

Granary Burying Ground in Park Street Church where John Hancock and the dad of Benjamin Franklin is buried.. or that's what I remembered, correct me if I'm wrong.

Quincy Market. Very touristy area, lots of shops and food, looks beautiful at night.

A busker, hitting jazz rhythms on upturned pails. Very professional.

Went to Boon Leong's frat house after the trail. Frat house is huge. It's really a big mansion. But I'm surprised that the frat people share rooms, as in 2 people share a bedroom and a study room. I would have just taken a room and make it into my bedroom and study room. Guess the other way's more sociable. Something which I need to work on. It's Christmas eve and nothing's open, so we ended up ordering McDonald's. What a Christmasy Christmas eve.. Anyway, played some floating bridge. Miss the game.. Met this Cambridge, as in Cambridge, uk, guy Matthew in the frat house, and he's an extremely good weiqi player. Tried learning weiqi, but brain's too tired to learn. Ended up playing trivial pursuit, ok, that's not an entirely brainless game, but we were not playing it seriously, just asking each other random questions from the pile. Real funny cos the question setters give extremely obvious hints at times and when they ask for a country, it's always Japan. Haha, called xh at my midnight and she was still sleeping.. piggie..

Thursday, 5 January 2006

Day 1: Flew to Boston via Dallas, Texas
Sat next to this guy. I was telling him that I think I'll freeze in Boston, then he said, "Really?" I said, "Yeah, I'm from san diego" and he said, "I'm from Alaska, temp in my place went from 30 above to 30 below 9 times the past month" erps
Went to MIT, stayed in Serene's room, which is opp Chris's room which is below rui jie's room. And it's all just coincidence. hmm. Anyway, the dorms really look like dorms, a corridor and rooms on both sides, a common room at the end + common kitchen. Not like my dorm. But the toilets are great. They are huge. 1 Toilet + 1 shower in 1 big room. Fantastic. Anyway, went Ruijie's room to eat ice cream. Haha, met kiat, then went to sleep.

Day 2: Walked to Boston, walked around the rich area, breathed the Boston air. It's not as cold as what I expected, and everyone says it's quite warm. Boston is pretty, very European, no wonder it's part of New England.

Boston streets.. a rather rich street

a classy looking (sunny calls it pirated cos the colour's not 7-11 colours) 7-11 sign

Boston public garden.. frozen lake

Boston public library

Inside the library.. Can you believe this is a public library? It's so scholarly
Anyway, we went Chinatown for lunch. Dim sum. My first dim sum meal in US. Huge restaurant, carts pushed around. Cool. Amazingly I'm the only one at the table who can speak Cantonese. Food's quite good. Met the rest of the AC people. So many of them.
Realised that for life of freshies to be comfortable, there must be a person who's taking care of everyone around. In my sch, it's quite obvious there's such a person, in MIT it's probably RJ and Boon Leong, in sunny's sch, there's someone else. In li hao's sch, i'm not sure if there's someone..

New Year Resolutions

  1. Be less passive
  2. Be nicer to all, especially to people closer to me
  3. Do more stuff, ie chiong!!
  4. Study like a proper uni student

Decided to have a less crazy timetable, but it's still quite screwy.. if I want/ can get a job/ lab.

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

East Coast trip

Been quite a good trip. But could have been better. Next time I go on a trip, I must find out more about who's going, what are we doing, what everyone wants to do.. "No need to plan so far" doesn't really work for me, even though it did get us to do some really good spontaneous stuff, and gave me the happiest night of the trip. But other times, this just cause too much unnecessary stress. Photos will be up the next entry or so..

Company for a trip really matters. Company for this trip has been great, and I'm sorry to say I'm not a very good company. Any time. Regrets for the trip: didn't get to watch Broadway/ any other shows like Boston Conservatory, NY philharmonic, ABC etc., booked air tickets at stupid times that inconveniences everyone, didn't go Met, didn't eat enough of local food.. Well, they can be added to the list of things to do on my next trip, if there's ever one.

We are spoilt. Seriously. Even though we complain of not having enough money, we have so much more than most on FMS, or local students..

Met a whole bunch of Singaporean students. And kept bumping into people in New York streets. Realised what a small world of Singaporeans studying overseas it is, everyone is linked to someone else somehow. Don't need 6degrees, 3degrees is probably enough. Quite amazing how so many people we know are in New York at the same time. Glad I got to know some people better..

Lastly.. Thank you to many people. Thanks to Xuxu, Grace for being wonderful travelmates and sharing acc with me in NYC and Xu Xu for the big warm coat! Thanks to Sunny for always helping me.. planning and navigating, and being our link to the other groups, and getting me acc. =) Thanks to Li Hao's GP tutor for being the "shen". Thanks to Li Hao for troubling her GP tutor. Haha. Thanks to shyh chang and junrong and ooi and lihao for being such entertaining companians.. Very very entertaining, I don't ever have such entertainment with the US pple, only with bao and siew and other Singapore people. Thanks to the ACS people for organising the trip. Thanks to everyone who picked me up from the airport at unearthly hours and sent me to the airport at even worse times. Really appreciated it. Yup that's it, I think.

More details up in the next post.. hopefully.

Monday, 2 January 2006


Outside The Venetian

Luxor mummies


New York, New York

Whoopi Goldberg