sustainability

Is sustainability a malleable concept? I know that we should aim to cultivate sustainable habits and processes, but I also feel that nothing is sustainable forever as our goals, priorities and life circumstances change. And that is ok. It is ok for the systems to fail once in a while and we need to accept it as a by-product of growth.

period

Haven’t been writing lately. Can’t think of anything to write about. Or at least have enough material for a proper post. This is a brain dump.

Self-worth

Capture

Is this something inherent in you, something that grows organically within you and you slowly realize? Or is it bestowed upon you by others?

Capture

What is the difference between self-esteem and self-worth? From looking at the definitions, it seems that esteem is determined by your actions and how you and others perceive them. It’s feelings and perceptions, ego and humility.

Whereas, self-worth refers to how valuable you are. But the question is to whom? How do you quantify a person’s value? Is this value based on the appraisal of others or your own?

Average

Is being average a bad thing? We are always told to strive to be better than average, that a mediocre life is not worth the effort.

Some might say that in our efforts to escape the shackles of a “normal” life, we become too fixated on the goal and forget to enjoy the process. What’s the point of being successful if there’s no one to share it with. Why try so hard to be successful when we’re all going to die anyway. Why not settle for being average and take things easy? Is this just justification for not wanting to leave our comfort zone or sage advice?

Who decides what is average anyway? Statisticians? Average of what? Your entire country? Group of friends? Would you want to know if you are above or below average? What would you do with that knowledge?

To me, it’s not about wanting to be average, or trying to be something more than a punctuation in the annals of history. Rather, it is that I want to leave this world knowing that at least I tried. That I have done myself right, and have not short-changed myself. Ultimately, only you will know how meaningful your life was, only you will know the true effort it took to forge it. I don’t think anyone is living an average life. Every one of us is experiencing our own unique reality.

 

 

 

 

do insects have feelings?

Do insects have feelings?

This is a question I have been obsessed with the last couple of days. I was out walking the other day when I came across an overturned Carpenter Bee struggling to upright itself. I used the tip of my umbrella to flip it upright and continued on with my walk. But I begin wondering, did the bee feel grateful or irritated that I poked it with my brolly? Was it panicking when it stuck on his back? What was going on in its mind as when it felt the tip of my umbrella press up against him?

So I went a-googling.

The first search result was this – Do Insects have emotions and empathy?

The article defines emotions as a learned response that our brain develops when we experience stimulation that deviates from the norm. And emotions have an affect on our behavior (eg. feeling embarrassed or excited), perception (eg. is this dangerous or safe?)  and resulting action (eg. fight or flight).  With this definition, it then goes on to explore a few experiments involving insects.

The first study was on how honeybees react after being thrown into a vortex for a minute and then presented two different tasting chemicals – Octanone which is sweet tasting and hexanol which tasted bitter.

Bees that had been shaken became pessimistic, glass half-empty characters that were more likely to react to the nasty smell in the mixtures and recoil as opposed to being attracted to the yummy smell — a result of presumably being pretty irritated. Unshaken bees on the other hand remained their more optimistic, glass half-full selves and were more likely to see the mixtures as half-appetizing, as opposed to half-disgusting like their bad-tempered counterparts did. Moreover, there were emotionally relevant changes in neurotransmitter levels in the shaken up bees, like serotonin and dopamine.

The second study was about how fruit flies react to a simulated predator attack. And the final study was on emphatic woodlice.  It appears that “calm woodlice reduced their more excited neighbors causing them to also become calm.” Which is a very human thing isn’t it? Like if there’s a fire and one person freaks out, everyone else will tend to freak out. We humans tend to follow the most vocal reaction and hence we are often advised to try and remain calm during an emergency.

The next search result that I felt was interesting is – Do insects feel pain by Relax I am an Entomologist

The author raised many interesting questions that I’m still trying to work out on my own.

But nociception is not pain. The current definition of pain requires an emotional response. Humans can feel pain without any physical stimulus and are capable of emotions associated with pain; like suffering and terror. Are insects capable of conscious or unconscious experience of emotion? Is consciousness required for emotions? This is where it gets controversial; because how do you quantify if an insect is experiencing an emotion or if insects are conscious? I usually tell people that insects are hardwired with predetermined behavioral responses to external stimuli, but this is a simplification.

So do insect have emotions and feelings?

Singapore – 15 random facts

Since the 9th of August is Singapore national day, here are some rando facts.

 

  1. If Massachusetts Were A Country, Its Students Would Rank 2nd only to top-ranked Singapore in global measures of science competency.
  2. Singapore is home to the world’s first vertical commercial farm.
  3. Singapore became an economic success despite having no natural resources and a divided population.
  4. Singapore’s name comes from ‘Singa Pura’ which means Lion City in Sanskrit. According to the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), a Sumatran prince called Sang Nila Utama landed on Temasek (Singapore’s old name) and saw a Lion which is called ‘Singa’ in Malay. Thus he gave the island a new name, ‘Singapura’.
  5. Singapore had a Koro Epidemic in 1976

    A koro epidemic struck Singapore in October 1967 for about ten days. Newspapers initially reported that some people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with a vaccine for swine influenza. Rumours relating eating pork and koro spread after a further report of an inoculated pig dying from penile retraction. The cases reported amounted to 97 in a single hospital unit within one day, at five days after the original news report. Government and medical officials alleviated the outbreak only by public announcements over television and in the newspapers.

  6. Chewing gum is banned in Singapore, unless for medical reasons.
  7. The Merlion is the national personification of Singapore.
    1024px-rear_view_of_the_merlion_statue_at_merlion_park2c_singapore2c_with_marina_bay_sands_in_the_distance_-_20140307
    Source
  8. Singapore is the only country with a hybrid as the national flower
  9. Singapore is not in China.
    singapore-map
    Source
  10. No, Singapore is not a part of Malaysia.
  11. Suicide is illegal in Singapore. Those who attempt suicide can be imprisoned for up to a year.
  12. The National Trades Union Congress is also involved in several businesses such as  supermarkets and insurance.
  13. Singapore hosted F1’s first ever night race in 2008
  14. Singapore is in the wrong timezone.
  15. Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations, a report in 2015, by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed.

Riding the Bishan-Kallang PCN to Gardens by the Bay

lekowala!

Today I cycled the Bishan-Kallang PCN from Bishan to Gardens by the Bay.  It took me about 50 mins to reach the destination.  Not too bad considering how its all the way in Marina South.  The pictures say it all and since I am going to work, I need to think about the alternative routes there.  Its either I cycle and enjoy the quiet park connectors (there was no need to go on the road at all).

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Or hère below are the alternatives.

Crowd in MRT stationBishan-Kallang PCN

 

After the entire recce trip, I wondered why I haven’t been cycling more.  I really felt great and could feel how happy my circulatory system was.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

I was pleasantly surprised that I was on the PCN most of the time.  For some stretches, due to repairs, I had to go on the pavement for just a bit.  The nicest stretch of the PCN was by Kallang…

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