Sunday, May 27, 2007







Celer Actin...

Since my bike model: Merida MTA510 is getting more and more popular, it's more common on the streets of Taiwan. Good thing it's still hard to find one that looks totally the same as mine, since mine's an early model, with a gold/black paint that's not available anymore. Yet I still wanted to make my bike feel more "uniquely mine". Many people personalize by sticking on stickers of various parts brands, but that seems too commercial, and not very personal. I felt giving my bike a name would be cool, so here I go, and went writing the name on with a felt-tipped pen. Doodling on my bike sure is the way to go!

Many names went through my mind, such as that of fast animals or the like, which are all too commonly used on kids' toys. Then I thought, to make it special, I should put in some special sauce of my studies: Biology jargon. For speed and energy, the closest thing would defiantly be muscle related stuff or metabolism elements. Thus I went with the muscular protein: Actin. Then I looked up a Latin dictionary for the equivilant of rapid, and found: "celer". Thus there I got a name: "Celer Actin".

To top it off, and for fun, I topped it off with a label "ATP loaded", to "provide" the energy source need for actin activity :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007




Friday, May 25, 2007



Here's the>> photos
Wish a good luck and great future to everyone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Interesting notes from philosophy class

Taiwan is unique in the whole world, even historically, in the following ways:

1. No country has ever turned from a society of only impoverity and refugees into one of the most wealthy countries in the world.

2. No other society can be "classless".

3. We are in a country whose government's budget is not approved by the legislature.

4. No one is interested in politics.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shimano 零件詳細說明

Mobile 01 上有強者整理出對於 Shimano 零件等級的詳細說明
搞不清楚 Shimano系統的產品分級的人可以好好的去看看。

Vaio TZ | Building on 10 years of technology

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sony's Vaio series computer sells in Japan, the newest update of the ultra slim T series was announced today.
It's thinner, yet the DVD drive is still there. The beautiful design of the cylinder shaped battery bay with the power button on the side was brought back from previous models, and farther refined. And the weight is just about 1Kg. And of course, the better specs, such as a choice of 32GB flash memory in place of a harddisk; Intel's newest generation of the Core2Duo family; a better screen with more vivid colors, and much more.

What surprised me the most is the newly designed keyboard. It's got separate cubby (may I say eraser like?) keys floating out from a lower surface: how very MacBook like. I've saw on Wikipedia that this kind of keyboard design looks like the "chicklet keyboards" of more then 20 years ago, which has not shown up in computers for a long time. This design was the main reason that I considered the MacBook much better looking then the iBook G4, and consequently led to my purchase of my Mac. Seems like Sony is now getting on the going retro bandwagon. Yet, with making the base under the floating keys glossy, Sony farther refined this design and made it more like a work of art. They claimed that it looked like "stones on water". How very zen like...

Great, I am once again clamoring over a beautiful keyboard... This beauty definitely looks much better to me then my MacBook, as I always liked Japanese style zen like designs. Yet it's much more expensive then a MacBook, and my MacBook haven't even passed it's first year, which mean I should stick to it for at least 2~4 years to come. Maybe I'll get a Vaio TZ if someday I have money to get a 2nd computer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Packing bikes for air travel

After reading many sites, here's what I know:
There are 4 ways of packing:
Box: the most common, you could either get one at a bike shop, or buy one from the airline for about 10USD. Yet not much protection.
Clear plastic bag: very rare, lets cargo workers know it's a bike and treat it more carefully. No physical protection, though.
Bike bag: more expensive, little protection, yet convinent.
Bike hard case: too expensive. Max protection, yet heavy, massave and may need additional shipping fees due to the size.

Guess I'll go the box way. Some one said that Cannondell boxes are best because they are smaller and easier to handle. With a trip to the bike store, I realized that most boxes are rectangle, designed to fit bikes with the rare wheel still on: a little over sized for me who will be taking off the rare wheel. Cannondell boxes are said to be square, fit for my style of bike disassembly, yet as Cannondell bikes aren't all that common, so are the boxes. The shop I went to threw them out.

I should take off:
both wheels, seat (maybe leave the post in place), paddles, rare derailer, chain.
The handle, if needed

Let out the air from the wheels.

foam or Styrofoam for padding, tape for fixing everything in place to prevent damage, paddle wrench, hex wrench to detach derailer, hard paper tubes to strengthen the box sideways, spacer for fork.
And maybe a 2nd, larger box for protection.

*rare derailer should be taped to the rare triangle for protection. Throw in bags, sleeping bags and other gears except helmet, and try to fill up the box to provide padding for the bike.
*Baggage handlers handle boxex by throwing them around roughly, so make sure there is enough padding.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

First person sued for posting songs on blog

Yahoo 新聞 | 部落格貼歌違法!高職生判刑5月

這高職生太天真,笨笨的幫人家做免費宣傳卻被判侵權賠錢還要坐牢。台灣的 IFPI 已經很客氣了,目前為止只找了幾個代罪羔羊;美國 RIAA 曾經每個月找一堆「疑似抓MP3」的人庭外和解,不管你是否有抓歌的確實證據,反正你沒錢請律師就一定要付錢和解。


Savings account interest

An interest of 17 cents every month really equals to nothing. Big banks are all that wealthy, yet picks on every penny. 5% interest rates of local small banks are much better. I'll be looking for a small bank CD account with a high interest rate first thing after I get back to the US, I had enough with 17 cents per month (which was only 15 two months ago...).

Thursday, May 10, 2007





Monday, May 07, 2007

Postbac programs?

Nature | The places in between
I was just flipping through a copy of Nature at the library, this time not for research papers, but for job listings. And I came upon this interesting article. So there are programs for people (like me) in the gap between graduation and grad school, so called "Postbaccalaureate" programs. You prepare for grad school applications while having the full time lab experience before hand, and best of all, with pay. My hopes went high for a split second, as I excitedly opened my MacBook to look it up.
Okey, so the application deadlines are long past, just as grad school applications. And with the NIH program, only US citizens graduating from US universities can apply. Great, yet another chance turns moot.


Now what? Pester every herpes virus PI that I can find with email?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Get my new Sony Cybershot H9!

In preparation for my Hokkaido biking trip, I decided I need a good camera, so as Sony came out with their newest ultra zooms (the H7 and H9), their only models that feature manual shutter speed and aperture controls, I went to pick one up. I choose Sony mainly because it uses memory sticks, which my Clie can read, and I really like Sony's user interface designs. If I was using a Palm TX instead of a Clie TH55, I would considered a Nikon or Cannon, brands that use SD cards.

Not much time left to write a review of is today, so here's a short summary of my first thoughts.

First of all, I got a black model. The plastic case is jet black with a granny texture, similar to Sony's own Alpha A100 DSLR, gives a nice feel of good quality. On the other hand, there is a silver model which is downright ugly and disgusting, feels more like a toy.

I originally wanted a good camera. Yet I havent got much time to test it's photo capabilities yet. I was playing a lot with it's entertainment functions: It's got built-in photo retouch software, with functions such as making cross shaped shines, blur the background, make the background gray, and more. Sometimes these modifications make really hilarious effects on the photos. I had one mod that made me laugh more then 5 minutes. Also, it can play your photos as slideshows on it's huge screen, while playing music in the background. I just loaded some music on to the camera, and boy is it fun. The flip-up screen allows you to set the screen to a comfortable angle to watch the slideshow, and you can sit back and control it with the supplied remote.

Something that surprised me is that it can use a built-in gyroscope to determine the orientation of the camera when you press the shutter button, and save the picture automatically in the right orientation. No more flips required anymore.

The lens cap is quite loose but won't fall off unexpectedly. Yet, there was one time I turned it on with out removing the cap. The telescoping lens simply pushes the cap out of the way and stretches out. Yet when I leave the cap closed on purpose, the cap got stuck and the lens retreated back into the case when it struct the stuck cap.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Little Liuchu island biking trip - Day 2

Well, after a whole month of procrastinating, busy life and bad moods, I've finally found the time and am in the mood to continue some more story telling... :)
(Link to day 1 | All photos)

Apr 6

After a night at uncle's in Kaoshung(高雄), I planned to ride directly to Pingdong(屏東), Dongong (東港) port and off to Little Liuchu island (小琉球), yet uncle & aunt said they are going to Pingdong and could give me a ride. Considering that would save me some time, I once again disassembled my bike and hopped on their car. Interesting how disassembling my bike rapidly surprises people every time, though. I got off at Chauchu(潮州), where another uncle's house is. Nice that I could leave my clothes here and ride off to the island with a lighter load, yet, I stayed for an hour, had a chat and a banana, and got back on the road with 2 more bananas in my pack. Bananas are free and fresh since uncle has some banana trees of his own.

I like the feel of riding in Pingdong, typically feels like in a southern tropical place with all the rice paddies, betel nut trees, bananas and coconut trees. Yet in the cloudy day, it's not as hot as usual, quite nice and comfortable. I got to the port at about 10:30am, finding out that my speed isn't as fast as day one, and that I might have got there faster if I started from Kaoshung, saving that one hour's chat.

But oh well, I got there and quickly found the ferry terminal for the island. There was 2 ferry companies, with one of them working for the government with less frequent departures but a cheaper price. I bought a round trip ticket for only 350 and got on with my bike. I was told that a fee of 50NTD will be collected for my bike upon arrival at the island.

The ferry was much cleaner and the ride was much smoother then I expected. You could clearly see 2 kinds of passengers on board: the excited tourists and the island residents who sleep through the ride. And as you guessed, yours truly was one of the excited tourists who can't stay in his own seat for more then 5 minutes, walking around, looking here and there and taking pictures. And even more excited when the island comes into sight.

As we come to shore, I went aft to "rescue" my bike from the sea of scooters, took my bike on to the pier and some one directed me to exit in one direction. I went that way and was already outside of the terminal, wondering why no one came to collect my bike's 50NTD transportation fee... (In the end, I realized that under the direction of that mysterious "somebody", me, and several others exited from the entrance, bypassing the toll collection.)

Finally on the road circling this little tropical island. The sea air was clean and cool, free of polution, the same also with the surrounding sea water. Best of all, this place isn't as crowded as in the city, nor as tense the life style. Just by standing on this tiny coral reef island, I can somehow feel an atmosphere of serenity and relaxation.

Went down a route off the road leading to a rocky sea shore, and saw the sea water close up and personal this time. The water was so clean it was practically crystal clear, and the shore line so clean and pristine that it seemed untouched by humans. Never, have I ever saw sea water this clean around Taiwan. And the sea shore drift garbage that we all expect on most Taiwan sea shores are nowhere to be found in this natural environment. Ah, this is such a great place for a vacation, a clean and natural tropical island so close to Taiwan and the ferry tickets so affordable.

Next to the little route, on the side of the road, stands a resting post, where I was so fortunate to meet 4 other cyclers riding around the island. The 2 husband and wife couples were staying in bed&breakfasts on the island and planed to stay for 3 days, relaxing and taking their time. They told me that the seaside sunsets and sunrise were dazzling. At that instant, I started to regret leaving my clothes at uncle's house: I started to wish I had planned to stay on the island longer. Having seeing that the road around the island was only 20km long, I never though I would want to stay there. Yet, I believe now that a relaxing night on the clean beach would be like a dream. But then again, I set out on this trip to get a taste of solitary, not romance. So maybe next time, if I would ever want to goto a tropical island to have some sweet romance, this would be a great destination.

As the group of 4 planned to ride in the opposite direction, after a pleasant chat, we bid our goodbyes, hoped we'd meet on the other side of the island, and parted our ways. Soon I arrived at the main harbor on the island, the one where the other ferry company comes in. Now, this is where all the tourists are: gone with the serenity and the place filled with seafood restaurant, souvenir shops, snack stands, convenient stores, scooter rentals and even stores selling flowery beach trousers (yikes, only 60NTD each!!!), and beach sandals. So this is where I had my lunch, simple noodles and ride on.

Since there's not much cars nor buses on the island, most people get around on motor scooters. And thus, you see very interesting views of whole groups of tourists in cheep beach pants with flower paterns and slippers on their feet, on rental scooters forming a large group of young riders zooming by. Just can't help but laugh at the interestingly comical sight. This is truly a place where people come to have fun.

The main attractions of the island are mostly stones and holes of special shapes around the shore, all works of the power of sea waves. Many of those attractions require tickets, and those are the ones that I by pass. I just don't see the point of paying to see a stone. Yet the free ones are good enough.

There are several small dirt roads that lead out from the main road, which made me really want to try some offroad routes, although I only got road tires on. I initially hoped those dirt roads would cut through the grass bushes to the sea shore, yet, all of them lead to dead ends with tombs. Well, not a good place for "off road" riding...

The best part of the island was the beach, which I already saw on the ferry, and longed to go. The road to the beach was yet another obscure leading off from the main road. As with most of the shore of the island, is was a clean shore facing crystal clear sea water. But something made this beach stand out: it's not a shore of sand, it's full of coral reef and sea shell debris with all sorts of colors (mostly white, though), and a lot of sea weed. I took of my sandals and walked out to the near shallow part of the sea. I could see clearly through the water, my feet, the coral pallets and cute little sea weed that look like fur balls. Sometimes you step on one of those, and it feels, well slippery and furry. The dry part of the beach, on the other hand, is a great place to sit, since most of it were pallets, it's not as hard to clean off as sand. Even of you do get sand on your feet, you just walk in the clean sea water, and you're all clean again.

By the way, the 2nd banana tasted good on the beach.

Not long after leaving the beach, I meet the other cycling friend of 4 again, and they invited me to some coffee. Turns out they always bring coffee, a mocca pot and a little stove on trips. Although it's not the best coffee beans, it's still so nice to have coffee here outdoors. We talked more about coffee, bikes and more. Turns out we know the same bike store in Taichung(台中). The biking community in Taiwan sure's small.

Taiwanese people tend to like to give names to stones that look like faces from certain angles, and here I give you the "Indian stone" and the "budda stone". Well does look a little like it, but what's going on with all the fluffy green "hair" on the Indian? And why do I think that the Indian's mouth look more like Optomus Prime from the Transformers...

Next on, after a little climb, there's a century old tree

And as a very very old tree is like a miracle, people think it's kind of holy, and so as you would expect with Taiwanese, a "shrine of the old tree" would always be next to the tree, worshiping the "tree god".

"The White Lighthouse" was about 1km from the old tree, at the end of the up hill route. Well, it's a lighthouse alright, it's white alright. But I don't see anything special of it. I don't understand why I had to wait about 20 minutes to get a picture of it alone: waiting for 1 pair of newlyweds to get their wedding photos taken. And, after I released my shutter once, I had no chance to do it again, as another pair of newlyweds, this time with all family and friends came for the same thing... What a commotion!

Soon it was time to leave, as uncle was waiting back at Chauchu(潮州) was waiting for me for dinner. I got to the ferry terminal 3:00, and waited for the 3:30pm one . Yet the 3:30pm one came and said the water's too shallow and the other, shallower boat was on another duty. Thus it was not until 4 that I got on the boat. Yet in the one hour waiting time, I met another group of bikers from Kaoshung. I guess making new friend of all different walks of people is part of traveling alone, making it interesting in another way then that of traveling with old friends.

I got back to Donggong harbor at about 4:30pm. This time, yes, they did remember to collect that 50NTD fee for bike transport. I was back in Chauchu in about an hour, yet got lost in Chauchu city for a short while.

Dinner was at a "beef hotpots" restaurants' where you pick up the stuff you want to put in your pot your self, in plates and they calculate the price by the empty plates you left on your table. Usually when eating hotpots with friends, they'll argue what should go in first, what goes in next. But with uncle and cousin here, they just dump everything in and start eating, regardless of the danger of overcooking anything. Throwing food in the pot freestyle don't give you food cooked to the right point, but it still tasted good enough, and you don't worry about anything but eat till you're full. That's an interesting approach.