Strovek Writes

analytics


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aloe Vera - another Nature's Wonder

Nature provides a lot of wonderful gift to us and it is up to us to appreciate them. One such gift is the aloe vera plant. This is how the plant looks like:





When you cut the leaves, you will find within in a transparent jelly like substance. Many companies started discovering its wonders so you can find various skin care products containing extracts from Aloe Vera.

In fact, my parents occasionally use for minor cuts, help with hair growth and even make dessert from it. This is my observation but I do not have any medical background so don't take my word, just try it yourself. Only thing I can tell you that so far it works.

There are some write up the benefits here - I am not promoting their product!! Some more writeup also in wikipedia.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pandan Leaves - Miracle of Nature

One of the amazing plants we have in Malaysia is called the pandan. The plant looks like this:



If you look at Wikipedia, it indicates that this plant is used for cooking because of its aroma. Here are some other uses for it:
  • Natural air freshener (for the drawers, cupboard, car etc).
  • Natural insect repellent (some insects like roaches do not like the smell)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pigeons

Noticed some pigeons in my neighborhood. Thought I'd share there here:

Peek-a-Boo:



Others:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hibiscus - Malaysia's National Flower

For those who are unaware, hibiscus is Malaysia's national flower. It is also known as "Bunga Raya".

Here is how it looks like:



Monday, May 19, 2008

Night Scene from Equatorial



The following is a night view of the swimming pool in Equatorial Penang. The jacuzzi is in a man made cave (shown here).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting money from your Petrol - Update

I just received a flyer from Direct Access indicating that you can get 2 % rebate on your purchases from any of the petrol stations.

However, there are a few condition:
  1. The maximum expense on any one month is RM2,500/- (or RM 50/-) rebate.
  2. I did not see how long the offer will last.
With this offer, we can potentially get the maximum of 3.5% rebate from petrol (that is 2% from the card and another 1.5% from the Smiles card - Esso and Mobil).


This is an update to my earlier posts:

Interloper View: Getting Money back from your Credit Card
and
Interloper View: Getting Money back from your Petrol

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Penang Ferry Service

Before the Penang Bridge was built the only way for cars to travel between the island and the mainland is with the Ferry.

However, in recent years, there has been articles saying that this service will be retired since it is money losing operation. So if you ever come to Penang be sure to take the opportunity to use the ferry or you may never get the chance again.

Here are some nice pictures to share:

The ferries used to be all yellow but now they have different colors and each of them are named after an island in the country:





View from the ferry:



View of the island:



Oldest clock tower in Penang:




Approaching the dock:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Saving the environment with alternative fuel?

With the recent increase of oil prices, there is new incentive for searching for alternative fuel. Let us review what are the current alternatives:
  • Nuclear energy.
  • Hydro energy
  • Coal
  • Wind
  • BioDiesel
  • Solar Energy.
Nuclear Energy
When Nuclear energy was first proposed, it seems like it is the answer to all the power but as you know now those who are using them have to find ways of disposing all the radio active waste generated. True the generators generate immense energy but the waste is very toxic to the environment.

Hydro Energy
Hydro energy is great for countries that are blessed with hills and waterfall. However, the process of building the dam and the reservoir for this requires that we clear out vast forest and eliminate natural habitats of animals there.

The other problem has to do with the sludge that will accumulate over the years when the hydro electric plant operates which if not handled properly will cause the plant to be unusable.

Overall though this is still one which causes the least damage but only if the construction and maintenance is done correctly (like planting back some of the plants damaged in the construction process).

Coal
This may be a good option except that the burning of coal isn't very efficient and generates a lot of carbon into the atmosphere which will contribute to the global warming effect.

Like oil, it will deplete one day, also the burning process is not very efficient

Wind
Wind is a great source energy for countries with vast open space like those with deserts. However, this is not an option for a lot of countries.

BioDiesel
At first look, BioDiesel will be an answer to all our problems - renewable energy. However, look at the cost.
  • Huge areas are cleared to plant the crops used for biodiesel. Crops like Palm (for palm oil), corn etc.
  • Crops diverted to making biodiesel will not be available for food - thus contributing to the current food crisis.
  • The amount of energy needed to convert these crops to usable biodiesel outstrips the energy it produces.
Solar Power
This is another promising technology, we have a lot of sun and also the sand.

However, I read in the paper a few months back, the plants in China making the solar panels have generated so much toxic waste that it is starting to affect the health of the people living near these plants.

Also the manufacturing, large recycling pools need to recycle the waste water also means a lot of vegetation has to be cleared - again contributing to global warming.

Summary

We have a lot of promising technology but for now all of them are contributing to global warming and is not helping us save the environment.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Petronas Twin Tower

My wife was recently in Kuala Lumpur for a conference and took some very nice photos of the famous Petronas Twin Tower using a Nokia Handphone.

Day Scene:







Night Scene:



Friday, May 9, 2008

A Piece of Legacy

When you visit Penang, you will find a lot of pre-World War II house. Some of these ancient residence, due to the reality of economy, have been converted to commercial sites.


Tourist spot:





Here is one that has been changed to a restaurant:





Here is another converted into a food court:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Scenic Penang - Equatorial Hotel

One of the most picturesque hotel in Penang is the Equatorial Hotel. It has won the "Best Deluxe Hotel" award. See further description here.

Here are some scenic view from the hotel:

Scene from the top:





Sceneries within the hotel:



Saw this pretty insect on the hallway:



If you like to know more about the hotel, you can find it here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Nature coexistance

While visiting some relatives in a high rise apartment, I noticed the bird's nest near the elevator.

You can see the bird perched on the electric cable.



Here you have the nest:


Here is the bird looking out of its nest:



With all the development work going on throughout the country, we will see more and more birds making nest in our buildings as their original habitats are eliminated. This is an example of nature adapting.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Simplifying our lives

Have you seen children who will spend lots of time creating excuses or tricks just to avoid doing something they don't like?

For example, a boy wants someone else to bring him a cup of milk. He will scream and shout until he gets his way. The amount of energy wasted that could be saved if he just walks over to the fridge to get it himself (especially since he is like just 5 meters) from the fridge.

In another example, you can observe people jay walking to cross a very busy road. They are willing to risk their lives to cross when they could just easily just use the overhead bridge which is just beside them or even the zebra crossing which is just 5 meters away. They will even cut through the iron bars on the divider just to cross over. When you ask them why they do it, they say it is for convenience.

I wonder if it is, if you look at the risk factor or economic factors, it is like spending RM 50/- just to save 10cents. (RM0.10).

If we take the time to think, there is a lot of energy we can save by taking the simpler path. Many times, we see a lot of examples of "penny wise pound foolish". Why don't we start to simplify our lives? Unless of course it is indeed due to our wiring, some of the things that are covered in "A Mind at A Time".