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Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Way: Frank Sinatra

The first quarter of 2004 was one of the hardest experience in my life ever. It was then that I cried and cried until I felt like collapsing. My knees were all wobbly and my body shook like it never had with too much sorrow and pain. It was when I had this major dispute with my old supervisor. I could say that I was in a real deepshit of my life so to speak. I am not one who easily breaks down and cry, but when it really hurt me inside, cut me deep inside my heart, i just could not get a grip of myself anymore but to just shed those tears almost endlessly. I even cried in the bus on my way home from my college. I cried while carrying out my experimental works. I was at one of my lowest points of my life. It was indeed a matter of life and death to me somehow. I cried over the phone with my mum, my lecturer colleagues in malaysia and most of all, I cried in front of my college mates. They were like my rock there. Without them, i felt like going insane honest to God. It was rather embarrassing but hey, it's either cry or die.

Then, that was also the time when i got hooked up with Frank Sinatra's song: My Way. Its lyrics and melody literally speaks to my soul and has touched my innermost feelings.


A videoclip showing Ol' blue eyes performing one of his signature songs, a truly evergreen song: My Way


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSlp6LgJ-u0



Alhamdulillah, with a lot of prayers from my family and friends, such overwhelming episode ended with a triumph and "monumental" relief. And a year ago, I attained my PhD.


Now, it is still one of my classic numbers. Last year, i found out that he also shares his likeness towards this particular song. Anita Sarawak loves it. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad loves it. I reckon those who've had their shares of highs and lows in their lives would definitely resonate well with this song. And especially the way Frank Sinatra sang it that makes it rather soothing and captivating. A motivating song that alleviate fears and anxieties, which leads to the rising of one's own dignity, confidence, determination and self-esteem.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

news round-up 1

It has been a while since I sent some newsbits on my blog.

It is just a way of sharing some of the news of the world which I found rather interesting, mind-stimulating, or simply something I read and found it interesting enough to be shared with others.

I should make a proper indexing to this subject title, so it will remain part of the active archive list of postings.

So here it goes:

- Islamic-finance grows in the USA (click source)

- Nobel peace prize winner 2006: Mr. Muhammad Yunus, an economy professor of Chittagong university turned Grameen Bank Founder became this year's Nobel Laureate for inventing microcredit schemes to help the poors in Bangladesh. More news at:

  • An impetus to battle poverty: Reuters
  • Bangladesh celebrates first Nobel Prize: AFP
  • Nobel for anti-poverty pioneers: BBC-1
  • World banker to the poorer: BBC-2
  • Banker wins Nobel Peace Prize: Guardian
  • Champion of the poor: The Times

- Another Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Parmuk from Turkey who was tried last year over charges of insulting turkish national identity (click source2)

- Headscarf is compulsory for non-muslim students at a new Islamic school in Leicester, UK (click source 3 , source4)

- To the moon and Beck: Surprise, surprise, but after a dismal performance having lost to Croatia 2-0 on a Euro2008 qualifying match, the resigned captain and ousted England player, David Beckham's service is once again in need. Not long ago, he was completely thrown out of Steve McLaren team (possible clash of opinions apart from Beck's sissy , overblown metrosexual image). Now, many English are inquiring for him to be recruited back to his old team, which is now captained by John Terry, a Chelsea club captain. Yet, some people did lick their own filthy spits so to speak, boohoo shame on them! But on second thought, english football fans can be a bunch of psycho lot. They worship those who scored the winning goal but if that footballer slacken a bit (or they say that chap has lost his marbles) or the whole team kept losing, they definitely will find something/someone to be blamed for. And man, they can be very harsh on putting down someone's spirit or shaming him in public. OK, it's not just the english football fans, it's whatever sport with huge-followers and from whichever countries around the world, like baseball and american football for the americans, football for italians, english, brazilian for eg, and so on. Further reading at:

Fart machine and air pollution.

A recent report in BBC has put a blame on cows for emitting hazardous amount of methane (CH4) gas to the atmosphere (click news source) from their nether region. It was found out that one cow produces approximately 400 litres of methane due to farting.

Methane, a greenhouse gas, also known as the primary component of natural gas source (read more at wikipedia) is one of the prime reasons for ozone layers depletion and global warming. Nevertheless, methane is also the prime source for the biomass renewable energy as one of the cheaper and renewable alternative to fossil fuel. Extensive research have also been carried out using methane potential in fuel cell applications as means to produce hydrogen through catalytic steam-methane reforming process. Compressed methane is also used as a clean fuel alternative in many vehicles nowadays and is known as NGV (natural gas vehicle).

Now, why must they blame cows for becoming one farting machine when we have never heard of a farmer who died because of that? It has to be as the result of some sort of a chemical fertilizers in the grass meadows where they let the poor cows chomping throughout the day among other things. Other possibilities could be through feeding the cows with beans and a lot of other grain/seed produce apart from letting them grazing leaves, which of course is their staple food.

Not only do the cows fart methane, they also burp methane. This actually affect the growth rate of a cow. BUT somehow, this seemed to be the worry of those farmers in the UK. What about other places around the world where they have huge cow farms like New Zealand, Switzerland and India?

Speaking of cow fart, i had a worse but funny incident with horses farting. That was like a year ago during my istanbul tour. I was with my turkish friend, fatma the day we went to an island nearby istanbul called Princes Island, or locally known as Buyuk Ada (translated as "big island"). No fuel-based vehicle is allowed there to retain and preserve its natural ecology. Therefore, only horse and donkey carts and carriages, as well as bicycles are the only means of wheel-vehicled transportations. That applies to tourists as well if they wish to tour around that island.

Fatma recommended that we should get on the horse carriage ride as it is a must there. So off we went to a vacant carriage at a special station meant for tourists. At first we both sat in the carriage while the driver sat alone manouvering two healthy horses named Phyllis for the mare and Morad for the male one. After a while, i got excited on the thought of doing a "cowgirl" stunt and asked if i could sit next to the driver while we were on the course. Without further ado, he stopped the carriage to let me climb onto the seat and off i went riding directly facing two horses' behinds.


Yeeee...haaawww...!!!!!! Posted by Picasa


It was all fun watching the beautiful sceneries on the ride until one of the horses started to break out one long, powerful wind followed by dumping some craps on a special crap sheet hanging underneath them. Unbelievable! How rude was that! Not long after that, the second horse did the same thing. Boy, i wish you could watch how they lift their long, bushy tails up and let out those awful gas. That time i began to imagine if those people in hollywood have had such experience like me while filming on a horse carriage...or even worse, Queen of England and the whole royal family lot during their royal excursion in the public and so on....

Nonetheless, i was just laughing all the way seeing how capable those horses, one by one emitting that pungent-smell fart, but nobody was harmed (as in fainted to say the least) during the journey. Not even the horse driver who has been doing this job for ages.

Ironically, farmers normally have longer life than those city-dwellers. And some people have the cheeks to blame those herbivorous animals (cows, horses, sheeps, etc) to be one of the causes of air pollution? In spite of that, some people still do research on this cow flatulence or belching effect to the environment. Go read it at:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Belasungkawa

We Malaysian may have not yet fully recovered on the bereavement for dear Hani Mohsin Hanafi, actor and Roda Impian game show host, who passed away just over 2 months ago, and now, we had had to mourn for another dearly beloved singer-turned entertainment show host, Seha, yesterday (wednesday, 11/10/06). I was 9 years old when she and her duet partner, Shuib belted that evergreen song, Mulanya Di sini (lyrics below, source: Imnogman).
Mulanya Di Sini

( P: )
Tibanya di sini
Bagai terulang lagi
Kisah yang indah
Di antara kita berdua

( L: )
Sehingga di sini
Tiada berpaling lagi
Kita berteman
Seiring jalan dan sehaluan

( L: & P: )
( korus )
Sama sama menjejak mimpi
Sama sama mencari dan menanti
Segalanya direstui cinta sejati
Sama sama gunung didaki
Sama sama turun ke lembah sepi
Suka duka bersama dirasai

( P: )
Mulanya di sini
Ku kenali dirimu
Sehingga kini
Sehingga ke akhir waktu

( L: )
Akhirnya di sini
Ku kenali hatimu
Sehingga kini
Kita akan terus berlalu

( L: & P: )
( korus )
Sama sama menjejak mimpi
Sama sama mencari dan menanti
Segalanya direstui cinta sejati
Sama sama gunung didaki
Sama sama turun ke lembah sepi
Suka duka bersama dirasai

( L: )
Di hadapan kita ada jalan
Menuju di kejauhan ada sinar menanti
Di penghujung perjalanan ini

( P: )
Oh... sambil bernyanyi
Mendendang senandung yang syahdu
Riangnya hati dan indah duniaku

( L: & P: )
( korus )
Sama sama menjejak mimpi
Sama sama mencari dan menanti
Segalanya direstui cinta sejati
Sama sama gunung didaki
Sama sama turun ke lembah sepi
Suka duka bersama dirasai


Seha's life has shortlived due to chronic lung cancer which was diagnosed a few months ago. She has two daughters from her first marriage and is survived by her second husband of three years marriage. I have always seen her rather bubbly and smily face on the telly. Somehow i wasn't aware of her divorce with her former husband as she seemed to shun her life away from the limelight. Or probably i missed reading it somewhere on the news. Semoga dicucuri rahmat ke atas roh al-marhumah seha dan almarhum hani mohsin.

Monday, October 09, 2006

human circle of life: from birth to death

Last night, i received a text message telling me that we have just lost one prominent faculty member, Prof. Madya Dr. Zainol Abidin Abdul Rashid. He died due to brain hemorrhage as a result of him slipping down from his own home water tank. He intended to do the DIY on the water tank himself but at the detriment of his own life. I was really, really saddened by the loss. Even though I have not known him for a long time, it was enough for us to share some good laughs together.

He was responsible for the creation of Muslims in Space, a tool to assist in determining the prayers time as well as the qiblah (kaabah orientation) while in outer space. Such was a brilliant discovery in time with the first malaysian space voyage program where Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor was selected among thousands of malaysian applicants to join the russian astronaut team to be trained as the first malaysian astronaut.

Dr.Zainol has left such an important legacy which in turn would be an inspiration for muslims worldwide for further aerospace explorations without neglecting the islamic practice.

Below is his last email to all of us engineering faculty members:

TiungSAT-1 tidak berkubur, now is orbiting to death (possibly reentry and burst sometimes in the near future), battery has malfunction.

We have gain a lot of knowledge and experiences through TiungSAT-1.Not only the team has benefitted from the program, many universities and school has incorporated and activitely involved in space activities, the Malaysian public are now aware of the space program. The TiungSAT-1 programme has enable Malaysian to embark with confident into the challenging space technologies and business.

There are a lot of publications in local and international conferences and journals by Malaysian on the space technology.

Innosat is the programme that bridge the industry (ATSB) and universities into long-term programme for educating, training, critical mass development, and knowledge development in space programe.


***********************************************

About 30mins after that heartfelt text message, i received another one and this time bearing a good news from my friend, Azizah, who has just given birth to a healthy baby boy, weighing 3.0kg at Hospital Serdang. She was already at 5.0cm dilation when she got admitted to the hospital, a week earlier to her predicted due. The second baby delivery experience for her was much more easier than her first born.

***********************************************

One man gone, another man is born. Still, Dr.Zainol will be terribly missed. May he rest in peace with a lot of blessings during this holy month of Ramadhan.

This morning, we received another news that AlMarhum Dr.Zainol's head of department, Professor Azah has just lost her mother. Two losses in that Electrical, Electronic and System Engineering department in less than two days.

Additional info: For those in Malaysia who are available on the 27 Oct, 3 Nov and 24 Nov, you can watch a program entitled "Ilmuan Islam" on TV3 that will feature Dr.Zainol.

*******************************************************************

Monday also the day we lost one of the brilliant british snooker players, Paul Hunter, who died of some sort of a rare stomach cancer called neuro endocrine. Known for his sleek and flamboyant appearance and sporting shoulder length blonde lock, the Yorkshire man (he was from Leeds) has left a hole in the professional snooker arena. He was given a year out to undergo the cancer treatment last July but unfortunately, he did not survive that long. Hunter leaves a wife and a daughter, who was born nearly 9 months after he was diagnosed with the disease in March 2005.

This is really devastating, especially as most of the snooker players are down right fuddy duddy fellas, with only few exceptions: the late Paul Hunter himself and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Not only that, both these two fellas are also very cheeky and creative on the snooker table with their spontaneous ability to perform some "daredevil stunts" with their cue sticks.

As shocking as it is, he will always be remembered as one of the great snooker legends for many more years to come.

World University Ranking 2006

It has been the talk of the academicians of higher institutions in Malaysia of how Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has toppled Universiti Malaya to become the Malaysian premier university based on the report of the world university rankings by Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) and QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

To me, it's also personal as my alma mater reached the 9th while the university i am attached with leaped from the 289th position to 185th. A remarkable achievement, i have to say. It is by far a great feelings for me to have the opportunity to be part of the best in malaysia and among the ten world best. Obviously such an achievement is the result of a mutual cooperation and commitment from all the staff both in the academic and non-academic lines.

Table below shows the result of the 2006 world university rankings:


2006
RANK

2005
RANK

NAME

COUNTRY

1

1

Harvard University

United States

2

3

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

3

4

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

4=

2

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

4=

7

Yale University

United States

6

5

Stanford University

United States

7

8

California Institute of Technology

United States

8

6

University of California, Berkeley

United States

9

13

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

10

9

Princeton University

United States

11

17

University of Chicago

United States

12

20

Columbia University

United States

13

11

Duke University

United States

14

15

Beijing University

China

15

14

Cornell University

United States

16

23

Australian National University

Australia

17

11

London School of Economics and Political Science

United Kingdom

18

24

Ecole Normale Supérieure

France

19=

22

National University of Singapore

Singapore

19=

16

University of Tokyo

Japan

21

24

McGill University

Canada

22

19

University of Melbourne

Australia

23

27

Johns Hopkins University

United States

24

21

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Switzerland

25

28

University College London

United Kingdom

26

32

University of Pennsylvania

United States

27

29

University of Toronto

Canada

28

62

Tsing Hua University

China

29=

31

Kyoto University

Japan

29=

36

University of Michigan

United States

31

37

University of California, Los Angeles

United States

32

26

University of Texas at Austin

United States

33=

30

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

33=

41

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

35=

44

Carnegie Mellon University

United States

35=

38

University of Sydney

Australia

37

10

École Polytechnique

France

38

33

Monash University

Australia

39

88

University of Geneva

Switzerland

40

35

University of Manchester

United Kingdom

41

40

University of New South Wales

Australia

42

46

Northwestern University

United States

43

56

New York University

United States

44

42

University of California, San Diego

United States

45

47

University of Queensland

Australia

46=

52

University of Auckland

New Zealand

46=

73

King's College London

United Kingdom

48=

73

University of Rochester

United States

48=

58

Washington University in St. Louis

United States

50=

38

University of British Colombia

Canada

50=

51

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

52

69

Sciences Po Paris

France

53

114

Vanderbilt University

United States

54=

71

Brown University

United States

54=

66

University of Copenhagen

Denmark

56

141

Emory University

United States

57

50

Indian Institute of Technology

India

58=

45

Universität Heidelberg

Germany

58=

43

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

Hong Kong

60

109

Case Western Reserve University

United States

61=

117

Dartmouth College

United States

61=

48

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

63

93

Seoul National University

South Korea

64=

49

Bristol University

United Kingdom

64=

34

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Switzerland

66

54

Boston University

United States

67

70

Eindhoven University of Technology

Netherlands

68

84

Indian Institute of Management

India

69

58

University of Amsterdam

Netherlands

70=

103

School of Oriental and African Studies

United Kingdom

70=

105

Osaka University

Japan

72

92

Ecole Normale Supérieure Lyon

France

73

77

University of Warwick

United Kingdom

74

95

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Mexico

75

127

University of Basel

Switzerland

76

88

Catholic University of Louvain

Belgium

77

58

University of Illinois

United States

78

111

Trinity College Dublin

Ireland

79=

186

University of Otago

New Zealand

79=

73

University of Wisconsin

United States

81

101

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

82=

67

Macquarie University

Australia

82=

105

Technische Universität München

Germany

84

88

University of Washington

United States

85

97

University of Nottingham

United Kingdom

86

53

Delft University of Technology

Netherlands

87

65

University of Vienna

Austria

88

193

University of Pittsburgh

United States

89

133

University of Lausanne

Switzerland

90=

143

University of Birmingham

United Kingdom

90=

138

Leiden University

Netherlands

92

57

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Netherlands

93=

79

Moscow State University

Russia

93=

88

Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie

France

95

120

Utrecht University

Netherlands

96

95

Catholic University of Leuven

Belgium

97

108

Wageningen University

Netherlands

98

55

Universität München

Germany

99=

112

Queen Mary and Westfield College

United Kingdom

99=

64

Pennsylvania State University

United States

101

124

University of Southern California

United States

102=

159

Georgetown University

United States

102=

150

Rice University

United States

102=

143

University of Sheffield

United Kingdom

105=

80

University of Adelaide

Australia

105=

112

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Germany

105=

100

University of Sussex

United Kingdom

108

114

National Taiwan University

Taiwan

109=

136

University of St Andrews

United Kingdom

109=

85

University of Zurich

Switzerland

111=

133

University of Maryland

United States

111=

180

Uppsala University

Sweden

111=

199

Wake Forest University

United States

111=

80

University of Western Australia

Australia

115

217

University of Twente

Netherlands

116=

72

Fudan University

China

116=

62

University of Helsinki

Finland

118

99

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Japan

119

77

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel

120

215

Keio University

Japan

121

103

University of Leeds

United Kingdom

122

180

Lund University

Sweden

123

143

University of North Carolina

United States

124=

68

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

United States

124=

109

University of York

United Kingdom

126

138

University of Aarhus

Denmark

127

61

Purdue University

United States

128=

222

Kyushu University

Japan

128=

129

Nagoya University

Japan

130=

164

Tufts University

United States

130=

105

University of Virginia

United States

132

83

University of Durham

United Kingdom

133=

149

University of Alberta

Canada

133=

259

Vrije University Brussels

Belgium

133=

157

Hokkaido University

Japan

133=

168

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

United Kingdom

137

177

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Netherlands

138

86

Vienna University of Technology

Austria

139

119

University of Liverpool

United Kingdom

140

234

Cranfield University

United Kingdom

141=

159

University of California, Santa Barbara

United States

141=

228

Cardiff University

United Kingdom

141=

219

University of Ghent

Belgium

141=

206

University of Southampton

United Kingdom

145

147

Georgia Institute of Technology

United States

146

82

RMIT University

Australia

147=

166

Chalmers University of Technology

Sweden

147=

188

Tel Aviv University

Israel

149

172

Freie Universität Berlin

Germany

150=

184

Korea University

South Korea

150=

125

Texas A&M University

United States

152

179

University of Notre Dame

United States

153

130

University of Bath

United Kingdom

154

178

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

155

184

McMaster University

Canada

156=

101

Curtin University of Technology

Australia

156=

114

Universität Göttingen

Germany

158=

194

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Israel

158=

240

Universität Ulm

Germany

158=

202

Waseda University

Japan

161=

121

Chulalongkorn University

Thailand

161=

131

Université Louis Pasteur - Strasbourg I

France

163

121

Michigan State University

United States

164

219

Saint-Petersburg State University

Russia

165=

76

Université libre de Bruxelles

Belgium

165=

93

University of Science and Technology of China

China

165=

175

State University of New York at Stony Brook

United States

168=

199

George Washington University

United States

168=

136

Tohoku University

Japan

170=

206

University of California, Davis

United States

170=

260

Universität Tübingen

Germany

172=

172

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen

Germany

172=

157

University of Maastricht

Netherlands

172=

196

Royal Institute of Technology

Sweden

172=

254

Yeshiva University

United States

176

261

Queen's University

Canada

177

138

University of Oslo

Norway

178

228

University of Bern

Switzerland

179

169

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

China

180

150

nanjing University

China

181=

172

Kobe University

Japan

181=

132

University of Montreal

Canada

183=

192

Jawaharlal Nehru University

India

183=

186

Free University of Amsterdam

Netherlands

185

289

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Malaysia

186

165

University of Innsbruck

Austria

187=

213

Brandeis University

United States

187=

142

Universität Frankfurt am Main

Germany

187=

150

University of Minnesota

United States

190=

240

University of Barcelona

Spain

190=

248

University of Reading

United Kingdom

192=

169

University of Malaya

Malaysia

192=

118

Queensland University of Technology

Australia

194

154

Technical University of Denmark

Denmark

195

267

University of Aberdeen

United Kingdom

196

308

University of Wollongong

Australia

197

125

Università degli Studi di Roma - La Sapienza

Italy

198=

254

University of California, Irvine

United States

198=

143

Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology

South Korea

200

305

Universite Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV)

France