Light and Easy Talk Conversations the Matter Not en-us Wed, 08 Apr 2020 19:18:15 +0000 Sett RSS Generator Solar-powered Plane Takes First Trip Round-the-world

First Solar Power Plane Circumnavigate the World

A solar-powered aircraft took off successfully from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015 in its first attempt to fly around the world without fossil fuel. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg of Switzerland will take turns to pilot the plane dubbed Solar Impulse 2 (Si2). Piccard and Borschberg are the co-inventors of the Si2. The will take her for a spin to India, China and America before flying back to Abu Dhabi through South Europe or North Africa. The activities of the Si2 will be monitored by her control center at Monte Carlo of Monaco the Xinghua reported. Conor Lennon, communications manager of the Si2 project, told Xinhua that the control center is in charge of "meteorological data monitoring, air traffic control, mission control and flight strategy control", adding that many promotional activities would take place during the aircraft's stopover in Nanjing, China.

Si2 takes off at Abu Dhabi

Plane's Specifications

With a width of about 72 meters, the Si2 is wider than a Boeing 747 jet. She only weighs 2.3 tons which slightly heavier than a sedan. She employ more than 17,000 solar cells on her wings to power up four electric motors. Solar Impulse 2 is expected to complete the 35,000 km journey within five months.

Si2 project team at Monaco

Attempts to Fly

This first attempt to fly using power from the sun reminds me of the first successful attempt to fly by the Wright brothers. While Orville and Wilbur are always depicted as a two-man team chasing a crazy dream, Piccard and Borschberg had a great team to support them. As long as their communication do not fail, the Swiss would be rescued if there is any failure. Nonetheless, it is still a courageous project that these two Swiss are taking. Their success would make air travel cheaper in future. It may pave the way for Gene Roddenberry's USS Enterprise. Leonard Nimoy should had seen this before departing.

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Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:07:45 +0000
Ivey's Baccarat Edge Sorting Case with Crockfords by SavySeph Note from SavySeph:

Professional Gambler's Tips

Three Tips from a Professional Gambler is base on quotes taken from Ivey versus Crockfords. Phil Ivey sued London casino Crockfords Club for denying him £7.7m which he won in August 2012. The casino withheld the money on the grounds that Ivey cheated.

Ivey and Kelly

Edge Sorting

Ivey used a system known as edge sorting to win the money at the baccarat table. The casino claims that this method is not a legitimate strategy because it defeats the premise of the game to nullify the gaming contract.

Kelly Cheung

Cheung Yin Sun (Kelly) assisted Ivey to edge sort the cards by asking the dealer to turn the key cards for baccarat upside-down. The casino referred to Cheung as the unidentified woman.

Casino's Case Unsustainable

Justice Mitting was impressed by that professional conduct Ivey maintains that he said the casino's case was "plainly unsustainable". The case is still on going. At this juncture the case points favorably to Ivey.

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Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:25:05 +0000
Disfigured Teenager Gets Chucky's Looks from Jealous Rivals by sophialogica Note from sophialogica:

Getting Chucky's Looks

Julia Alvarez, 15, was left disfigured after jealous pair slashed her face. According to her statement two girls aged 18 and 16 pulled out knives and said: "Everyone says you are pretty. You won't look pretty when we have finished with you. People will call you Chucky (a heavily scarred character from a horror movie)."

Julia Alvarez

Suicidal Post-Attack Effect

Alvarez was walking home after visiting her friends when the incident occurred. She was left on the ground covered in blood. Passers-by called an ambulance to her rescue. One cut on her back alone required 20 stitches. Yeni, Julia’s sister, said "She says she wants to kill herself because when she looks in the mirror she so ugly now."

Reluctant Police Involvement

The attackers were not named and it also not surprising that the police in the town of Juan Domingo Peron, in the northern Argentinian province of Formosa, initially refused to get involved. Yeni posted the images on facebook which quickly went viral. This caused a mass protest at the failure to act against the pair. The police interviewed two girls over the attack. They released the 16-year-old because she was too young. The 18-year-old is still in custody. The detained teenager claimed that they had been insulted by the Alvarez and had decided to get revenge, the Mirror reported on 1 Oct 2014.

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Sat, 04 Oct 2014 21:17:51 +0000
Non-smoking Policy Chokes Macau's Casino by jackomnitrade Note from jackomnitrade:

Smoking Complements Gambling

The Ravel Casino in Atlantic City did not believe that smoking is a complimentary product for gambling. Macau is following this footstep to put test this consumer preference theory. Market Watch warns investors in their 3 Oct 2014 report that strict curbs on smoking laid out in a recent statement by Macau's government information bureau will have a negative impact on share prices for casinos in Macau.

The Streets of Macau

No Smoking Ruling

This recent announcement would completely ban all smoking in "mass areas," although some VIP lounges will still allow it. According to Barclays Research's latest forecasts the smoking rules are stricter than most economists had expected. Barclay initially interpreted the ruling to allow smoking at partitioned premium mass areas on the mass floor. "While previously we had expected just a low-to-mid-single-digit percentage impact to overall gross gaming revenue from the smoking ban (if premium mass areas can still smoke), we would now expect a higher mid-to-high-single-digit impact to overall Gross Gaming Revenue if smoking is not allowed in all premium mass areas as well," the firm said.

The Ravel Story

The Revel Casino opened in April 2012 and had struggled since it started operations. It started out by trying to achieve its niche market by branding itself as an upmarket resort-class casino. This posh concept of no smoking, expensive food and drinks did not appeal to the typical gambling crowd of Atlantic City. The $2.4 billion resort suffered badly from poor patronage. After operating for 10 months, it incurred a debt of $1.5 billion. It filed for bankruptcy on March 2013. In May 2013 the casino got out of bankruptcy by clearing $1.2 billion of debt in exchange for an 82% equity to its lenders. It is unfortunate that Macau had not learned from Ravel.

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Sat, 04 Oct 2014 21:06:02 +0000
Casino Regulators Ruled Unshuffled Cards in Mini-baccarat Legal

Golden Nugget Casino

An unshuffled card game for mini-baccarat played at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City on 30 April 2012 was ruled illegal under state casino rules because the cards had been unshuffled. Superior Court judge James Isman had vindicated the Golden Nugget in his ruling on 14 June 2014. It should be noted that the New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement fined the casino for the unshuffled cards.

The Incident

Gamblers capitalized on it by increasing their bets from $10 to $5,000 per hand after seeing the same sequence of cards being dealt over and over again. Gamblers rode on a forty-one consecutive winning streak on this day. They were surrounded by casino security that was eager to find evidence to show that they were cheating. The security personnel was unable to spot the unshuffled cards because they were all focused on the wrong thing.

Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta

New Jersey's Consistency

The New Jersey casino regulators recently ruled that the game in which gamblers won $1.5 million did not violate any rules or laws, the Associated Press reported on 24 Sep 2014. The consistency with the New Jersey casino regulators and the Division of Gaming Enforcement should be applauded.

Timely Ruling

The call by the New Jersey case had been timely as the case had been reinstated the CBS Philly reported on 4 Sep 2014. Isman recently retired and a different judge granted a motion to reconsider the decision. Judge Allen Littlefield said that the gamblers can continue the discovery process and argue their case at trial this fall.

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Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:00:45 +0000
States Use Gambling to Save Economy by philandows Note from philandows:

Gambling Addiction

Policymakers resort to gambling as a panacea to be the cure for all economic ills but gambling addiction it the ugly side of the coin. USA Today is in the view that gambling states are addicted to easy money in its report dated 25 Sep 2014. The Editorial Board cited New Jersey are the prime example of the worst offenders in the world of gambling. "They are both addicts and pushers. They throw temper tantrums and upset settled policy when their fix of gambling revenue runs low."

anti-gambling protest, picture USA Today.

Save the Economy

New Jersey began offering online gambling last year to bring in more tax revenue as Atlantic City casino revenue took a sharp dive. Since the revenue from the online gambling was not much of a help, the state will come up with more gambling products. Governor Chris Christie has given the green light for casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting. A federal judge will hear Christie's argument on Oct 6 as a 1992 federal law banned the practice in all but four states where it previously existed.

Gambling Expanded Widely

The good days are gone. Christie can't expect gambling to be the savior. New Jersey is no longer the gambling mecca of the East Coast. Adjoining states - Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware - have all opened casinos recently. As of 2012, America had 513 state-licensed casinos, plus 466 on tribal lands. With more players, it is obviously going to be less share for the same pie.

Gambling Destroys Lives

There is a deadly social cost for gambling. Compulsive gambling habits from 1% to 2% of gamblers are known to destroy lives. People lose their jobs, families and self-confidence due to heavy losses. A study done by Baylor University in 2011 estimated the cost of gambling ill at $9,393 per compulsive gambler per year. The state should explore alternatives instead of always relying on gambling to bail them out.

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Mon, 29 Sep 2014 03:49:49 +0000
China Corruption Blitz Hits Macau Junkets by SavySeph Note from SavySeph:

Laundering Money


Rotten gamblers, especially the whale bettors, could be mistaken for money laundering. This may be the outdated assumption of Chinese President, Xi Jinpin. His crackdown on corrupt officials and tycoons is starting to drain China. This almost 2 years blitz had caused the sale of luxury good to dwindle and the VIP rooms at Macau casinos to slow down. It had driven rotten gamblers to other gambling destinations. This is like sending away the goose that laid the golden egg to your neighbors. The claim of coming by a windfall from the casino is not that easy to justify with the generous amount of surveillance camera covering the casino. Coming up with the bankroll to make the amass the extraordinary win would be a great question mark.

Macau's Casino Junket Squeeze

The prolonged crackdown is now starting to squeeze the junkets in Macau. As the Chinese economy dragged its feet, the whale gamblers shy away. In Macau, whale gamblers will punt HK$1 million without second thoughts. Junkets who lend them money and settle their debts are not longer as flexible as debt recovery is not as easy. Authorities are digging junkets for information on Junkets are had left the industry. Chinese officials suspected of corruption who may be laundering money through Macau. The pressure is too much that, "I can't sleep at night. There are just too many problems," said one 54-year-old junket operator who didn't want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. "I'm not optimistic for the future of the VIP junket industry here." Of Macau's 220 licensed junket firms, at least 15 have shut up shop in the big casinos this year the Reuters reported on 24 Sep 2014.

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Sat, 27 Sep 2014 05:33:21 +0000
Funny and Confusing City Signs

City Signs are Fun

Guardian Cities asked readers to share photos of the most silly, confusing and dangerous signs. They posted the good ones on GuardianWitness. I have commented on some of the photos.

1 - You will be the big garbage dump when that happens.

2 - Berlin loves this park so much that they wanted everybody to know it!

public toilet
3 - I wondered about the source of the water.

no cats
4 - They made one sign for the cats but these stray cats can't read.

5 - This sign was intended for the police.

6 - Tennis on this court is played without balls.

car park
7 - Car park with a penalty for parking: make up your mind!

8 - Two linguistically independent ways to Brussels.

pedestrians drive
9 - On this planet the pedestrians drive.

10 - This must be the place for stress relieve.

Cave in Malta
11 - Sign in a cave near Valletta, Malta.

Dog head
12 - Recyclables in the small bin. Dog heads in the big bin. Sign in Milford, Connecticut, USA.

moving plants
13 - The plants may catch you.

14 - Carrying reptiles must be a common thing on this street.

15 - A slightly puzzling street sign in Luxembourg.

16 - This was painted on a road on the East Coast, Australia.

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Wed, 24 Sep 2014 01:40:49 +0000
Laggard to the Casino Industry by xingcaitang Note from xingcaitang:

Casino Industry in Asia

Singapore is considered a laggard to the casino industry in comparison to her neighbor, Malaysia. To make up for being half-a-century late Singapore decided to have two casinos. Other Asian countries - Vietnam, Korea, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Japan - are joining the bandwagon to intensify the fight for gamblers patronage. Like good foodies, gamblers will also travel the extra mile for a wager.

The Singaporean Stunted Growth

Macquarie, a leading financial services provider in Australia, "think the Singapore gaming market cannot grow." They noted that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the nation had plateau around $6 billion a year since 2011. "After three big years, tourist arrivals in Singapore have started to decline (down 3 percent year-to-July) and most importantly, Chinese visitors who form more than 50 percent of Singapore VIP volume have fallen by 29 percent year-to-date," Macquarie said. VIP volumes make up around 80 percent of the city-state's total gaming volume, it said [CNBC 23 Sep 2014].

Resort World, Singapore

Singaporean Senseless Optimism

Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC, is optimistic about the situation. He sees the drop in overseas visitors to be temporary as it is partly due to China's economic slowdown and corruption crackdown. He said, "Once things die down, we'll see the return of these high rollers," he said. "From an Asian perspective, Asians will gamble regardless of good times or bad. It's different from a Western perspective, where gaming is more for leisure." Wong does not seem to make much sense when he claimed that economic slowdown was the cause of decline in Chinese visitors yet advocating that bad times will not stop Asian gamblers. Singapore's strong currency and lack of tourist attraction in their tiny island is more likely the cause for their failure to attract foreigners.

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Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:41:18 +0000
Sex Change Surgery in the 18th-Century by philandows Note from philandows:


Hermaphrodites is the biological term for an organism that has reproductive organs of both female and male sexes. Hermaphroditic plants are called monoecious, or bisexual. Hermaphroditic animals are mostly invertebrates and usually parasitic or slow-moving like snails. In humans, hermaphroditism is an extremely rare sex anomaly. A true hermaphrodite is an individual who has both ovarian and testicular tissue [Encyclopædia Britannica]. Today we have a rich knowledge on the subject but back in 1997 it was a different scenario.

Thomas Brand's Report

Thomas Brand Paper

A 7-year-old girl came to the Soho Square Dispensary for the Relief of the Infant Poor with her parents for treatment. The doctors' opinions differs. The first doctor's opinion was hernia but the second doctor's opinion was hermaphrodites. This case was documented as "the case of a boy who had been mistaken for a girl; with three anatomical views of the parts, before and after the operation and cure." The paper was sitting in the college's rare books library in the University of Kansas. In the early 2000s, Carol Warren — then a professor of sociology of the university — stumbled upon the report.

Thomas Brand's Surgery

According to Brand's report, published in 1787, he noticed an "irregularity" in the patient’s "external parts." After further examination, he concluded that the child’s "part, which had the appearance of the labia pudenda, was in fact the scrotum," and suggested an "operation to free the penis from its confinement." He went ahead and made some alterations, enabling the child—whose name is unknown—"to urinate standing up, wear trousers, and enjoy the privileges of being a male." Brand, who practiced at the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, was "not a quack," according to Mary Fissell, a professor of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins [Alice Robb, New Republic]. This may be may describe one of the earliest instances of sex-change surgery. For Dr Brand he actually corrected the child's gender. Was it possible for Dr Brand to correct the child sex to female?

Hermaphrodite Anatomy

Gender Roles

The child that Dr Brand operated was a girl for the first 7 years of her life. After having his penis liberated from its confinements, this child led a life of a boy and goes into manhood. It show that gender roles can be trained or taught. In am curious about the initial gender adjustment period that this child went through.

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Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:31:59 +0000