Friday, November 30, 2012

Singapore adults expect 35% pay raise after bachelor's degree

Year-end is coming fast like a bullet train. The 4-digit number is changing yet another time and very soon working adults would be expecting raise in their salary comes January. What's your expectation - 5%, 10%? I can bet all my money on you that you are expecting the highest possible.

How about a 35% pay rise? Sounds good?

In Singapore, money seem to be the biggest motivator for many to upgrade their education level. But then I suppose it is also the case in many other countries.

A quarter of Singapore adults believe they deserve 50% pay raise after first degree


Adult learners expect 35% pay raise after first degree

Singapore adult learners expect an average pay raise of 35% after attaining their first Bachelor degree, while almost one in four (23%) believed their first degree entitles them to an average increase of 50% or more in wages.

According to findings from the 2012 JobsCentral Learning Rankings & Survey, a similar portion of those surveyed (24.6%) expect to get a 50% increase and above in wages when they attain post-graduate qualifications such as Masters, PhD or MBA.

“Most employers acknowledge their employees’ new qualifications but will not automatically increase pay,” says Lim Der Shing, CEO, JobsCentral Group.

“Usually a pay increment will only be given if the employee is outperforming, underpaid or taking on new duties. So it is important to discuss wage expectations with your employer before you embark on a costly education programme,” he added.

The survey also found that the top course of study was business studies/ management, followed by finance/ investment in second place and accounting in third. Hospitality/ tourism/ F&B came in fourth position, while sales/marketing came in a close fifth.

Alright, nobody seems to like engineering courses in Singapore.


Source: Yahoo News

Samsung Africa launches Solar-powered Internet schools

Watch it Malaysia.

Because we can definitely do this and we can even surpass what they did in South Africa. We have the talents (experienced designers and installers), we have many remote areas, and most of all, we have the social obligation - and the leaders pledge - to extend similar services to the rural folks. The hilly terrain should not be too much of a challenge to transport stuff anymore nowadays. The implementation of the promised Internet Village should be intensified and do away with too much hassle.

We do not have to wait for Samsung to do CSR for us, do we?

A 40-foot shipping container-turn-school.


They did it in South Africa

Samsung has built the first-of-its-kind solar-powered internet schools in the remote rural areas of South Africa, with design specifically to thwart theft. The schools are understood to have been equipped with Samsung's tablet PCs, laptop computers, internet connection, wi-fi cameras.

Samsung reckon that, on average, less than 25% of rural areas on the continent benefit from electricity, resulting in isolated communities with limited access to education and connectivity.



The solar-powered schools are built for energy scarce environments, harsh weather conditions, and for transportation over long distances. The solar panels, made from rubber (not glass) provide enough energy to power the classroom’s equipment for up to nine hours a day, and for one and a half days without any sunlight at all. The selection of rubber material over glass is to withstand long journey into the rural areas.


KK Park, President and CEO of Samsung Africa, on the initiative:
    “We have set an ambitious goal for ourselves in Africa: to positively affect 5-million lives by 2015. We believe that this can most effectively be achieved if we connect our CSR initiatives with our history and core business. With the goal to grow our business on the continent, we also know that we have to sustain our level of innovation. This can only be achieved if we invest in education to facilitate African thought leadership and to ensure we have access to a large workforce of skilled engineers in the future. The Solar Powered Internet School is a great example of this strategy at play.”



The classroom can accommodate 21 student. It is also equipped with a 50-inch electronic board.


The classroom is equipped with a smart power consumption monitor that detects if people use the solar setup to power anything that they are not supposed to, such as television sets. I think this is a good idea but being in a remote area, Samsung should provide some socket outlets for the community to charge their electric lanterns, communication tools, etc. This should serve the general public even further.

If 'power theft' is a concern, Samsung can always password-protect the power sockets.


Source: designboom and Samsung Tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Big name brands embrace Solar Power

We have huge shopping malls around us.

While many of the popular stores and consumer brands in US embrace solar power, we seem to be more laid back about it. Even the US-based IKEA in Peninsula Malaysia have not initiated anything similar to what their sister stores back home did.

A recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in conjunction with the Vote Solar initiative, offers a snapshot of some of America's biggest companies and their varying committments to commercial solar installations.

Solar brands biggest installation
Most big brands in US have solar PV installed on top of their roofs. Image from www.seia.org


Why bother?

Energy costs make up a significant chunk of a business's operating expenses. A solar PV system helps to reduce these costs, improve the bottom line and allow a company to focus more energy and financial resources on their core competencies.

The rapidly falling cost of solar energy has made solar an increasingly appealing investment for American businesses. Between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, the average price of a completed commercial PV system fell by nearly 14 percent.3 The economics of PV have become so attractive that many of the best managed corporations, which are synonymous with low cost and efficiency, are adopting solar energy on a massive scale across the U.S. 

Walmart
Covered with solar panels. Walmart, Marina, California. Photo: seia.org


Source: Website of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) - report

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Apply green technology in development projects

It maybe too soon for some developers to aim for GBI rated buildings now, but it is achieveable and in a long run, it will benefit both the environment and the future generations. We already have our   first green building - the Art Gallery Conservation Centre located in Jalan Penampang which can save as much as RM400,000 a year in energy.

In simple terms, buildings will be awarded the GBI rating based on 6 key criteria, namely Energy Efficiency,  Indoor Environmental Quality, Sustainable Site Planning & Management, Material and Resources, Water Efficiency, and Innovation.


Datuk Hajiji Hj. Noor (centre) representing the Chief Minister at the conference. Photo: Insight Sabah


Let's go for green building

Recently, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman called on everyone, especially developers, to apply green technology in all development projects and programmes in Sabah so as to ensure a clean, safe and harmonious environment for the people.

Speaking at the launching of the Sabah Planning Conference, held in conjunction with the World Town Planning Day 2012, he said, the event is aptly conducted and in line with the government's effort to ensure development with a green technology concept.

"The conference also displays the commitment of the government through its agencies in implementing green development in Sabah," he said in a speech delivered by Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Hajiji Noor.

Development, he said, is a measurement stick to gauge the level of progress of a nation or state.

But, he said, apart from the various development programmes that were carried out, the green wealth and natural beauty of the State must be preserved.

It is for this reason, Musa said, that all professionals and researchers from the public and private agencies as well as NGOs should continue cooperating with one another in developing the State without sidelining the natural environment.

"I am confident and believe that if we create green towns in the State, and at the same time ensure the development that we are implementing are integrated, the people would surely live in an environment that is clean, safe and harmonious," he said.

Hence, he urged everyone involved to ensure the application of green technology in all development for the common benefit of everyone.

He said a well-planned and well-organised development must also provide spaces for leisure and recreation activities by integrating green technology into the project, be it housing, commercial and industrial development. - D.Express

Kota Kinabalu International Airport uses Wakid

This site carried a picture of the World's largest Wakid sometime in September this year. Although it was not really a wakid (a traditional basket), it resembles the cylindrical back carrier in many ways and to me, in a way it looks cool.

The Wakid is made of pieces of carefully split bamboo. The splits are tightly fitted at the base and widen at the top. The body is secured with rattan hoops at both ends and entwined with split rattan at different heights which gives it the curve and shape.

This support structure at Kota Kinabalu International Airport looks like an inspiration from the traditional basket:

A metal Wakid anyone? Maybe too big as a household ornament.


We have lots of use for it.


This is a life-size Wakid found on sale in Papar during the kick-off of the state level Harvest Festival. The two woven baskets on top are kind of variations to the back carrier.


APPRECIATE OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE.

Monday, November 26, 2012

41 young workers declared bankrupt daily!

Last year I posted about the number of bankrupt individuals in Malaysia which stood at 235,908 as of October 2011. [read about it: here]

Going by what you can read on the front page of one of the local dailies (pictured below) the situation did not seem to have improved. More worrying trend is that most of them are young people.

Grim facts about money habits
60% of young workers are seriously over-indebted! Daily Express, 26-11-2012.


Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad, ABMB, in an interview with Daily Express revealed the followings about Malaysians' financial management habits:
  • 41 young workers are declared bankrupt every day.
  • 60% of young workers are seriously over-indebted as a result of over-borrowing. Many have filed for bankruptcy.
  • 72% of consumers have no retirement plan.
  • Retirees are found to be using up their EPF savings within 3 to 5 years.

The interview did not elaborate in greater detail but these figures should give you a kind of heads up on spending habits of many Malaysians. If you a not part of the above statistics, congratulation! But if you fall under the over-borrowing/over-spending category, this should be taken as a reminder to you. If you must borrow, do so responsibly.

A piece of advice from ABMB: Parents should not have credit cards issued to their children but instead, use debit card or prepaid card. This will curb indiscriminate spending by the schooling children.

Related story: More Than 235,000 Individuals Declared Bankrupt

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shaking fur science: How animals shed water by shaking

When an animal shakes water off its fur, it may look like a simple instinctive action. But the hand of evolution has optimised fur shakes across the hairy mammals so they don't waste energy.

Shake it off!  Photo credit: AllPosters.com


Using a hosepice and spray bottle, researchers at Georgia institute of Technology in the US soaked 33 animals obtained from zoo, a lab and a local park, and use a high-speed camera to film at up to 1,000 frames per second as they shook away the water.

Mouse movement: Mice remove 70% of the water in their coats in less than 1 second.


Shake speed

Animal shake speed (frequency) shown in Hertz, is fastest in mice, i.e. 29Hz. To define it, a 1 Hz shaking speed means an animal shakes once every second. This means, a mouse can shake 29 times in a single second. The following list compares the speed of different animals:
  • Mouse      -     29Hz
  • Cat           -     9.4Hz
  • Pig            -     8.2Hz
  • Kangaroo -     4.9Hz
  • Lion         -     4.8Hz
  • Labrador  -     4.3Hz
  • Bear         -     4Hz

Removing water from fur restores its power of insulation. But to do this, an animal needs to overcome the surface tension between the water and the hair. So its shake must generate sufficient centrifugal force. In a shake, centrifugal force increases with distance from the centre of the animal, which means smaller animals have to compensate, shaking harder, to shift the same amount of water as large animals.


What's the benefit of knowing all this?

Isn't that seem a bit silly for scientists to study the way an animal shakes itself dry? Maybe, but it could help engineers come up with automated-cleaning techniques to use in devices we can’t easily clean ourselves, such as the insides of cameras or distant space rovers.

Also, a better understanding of the relationship between shaking and the removal of droplets could help engineers with the design of everything from washing machine to painting devices.


Source: Daily Express Discovery page, Nov 25., 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Treat every victim equally - Marina Mahathir

Another week has passed and weekend is fast approaching. And as you may have noticed, in addition to your local newsfeed, the news on the current exchange of mortar and rockets in Gaza is probably what you hear on a daily basis.

I like what Marina Mahathir wrote in The Star and I'd like to share it here with you:-


TREAT EVERY VICTIM EQUALLY

We should all, regardless of religion, protest at every act of aggression towards anyone because only then can we have any credibility.

AS conflict once again erupts in Palestine, I am confronted with questions about our responses to the conflict. Why is it that Malaysian Muslims are always quick to condemn Israeli aggression in Palestine, especially towards Gaza and slow to condemn similar aggression elsewhere?

It’s a question well worth thinking about. Why have we been quick to voice loud protests about Palestine and begin fund-raising for relief work there, and so much slower to condemn the aggressors in the Syrian conflict, or in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and many other countries in the world?

Do we only care when Muslims are attacked and not when people of other faiths face the same oppression?

Palestine has perhaps a special place in the hearts of Muslims because of the position of Jerusalem as the third most important city for us after Mecca and Medina. It’s also probably the longest ongoing conflict in the world and regularly features in the news.

Whether you sympathise or not, you cannot escape news about Palestine, most of which is violent and depressing.

But the most misunderstood thing about the Palestinian conflict, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, is that it is a religious war. Many people tend to forget that Palestinians are not all Muslims.

About 4% of Palestinians living mostly in the West Bank and 10% of those living in Israel are Christian. They make up about 1% of the population of Gaza.

The majority of Christian Palestinians, however, now live outside Palestine because, like their Muslim neighbours, they were forced to emigrate and into refugee camps when their lands were given to Israel in 1948. Many people do not realise for example, that Dr Hanan Ashrawy, the articulate spokesman for the late Yasser Arafat, is in fact a Christian.

That fact, that in 1948 Palestinians were forced out of their land by an exodus of Jews from Europe, is essentially what the conflict is all about. If immigrants from elsewhere take over land from people who have lived there for thousands of years, then it is bound to create conflict.

Most conflicts around the world are about land and space, rather than about faith. And when that original source of conflict is further exacerbated by more grabbing of land as well as other forms of discrimination in education, housing and jobs, then the conflict will not only continue but will escalate.

When we look at things this way, then we can see the same pattern in other parts of the world. In places like Kashmir, southern Thailand, Sri Lanka, southern Philippines, the roots of conflict are similar.

In Africa, colonial-era division of land cuts across traditional tribal lands, making people of the same tribes citizens of different countries.

The most useful way to look at these conflicts is to view them from a human rights angle. If a wrong is perpetuated on one people, then it must also hold true for all others. Therefore, if we show support for Palestinians because their land has been taken away from them, then we must surely show support for all other people whose lands have been taken away from them.

At the same time, if we show support for all other people who are subjected to violence from far superior forces, then we must surely show support for the Gazans right now, facing daily pummeling from Israeli jets and drones.

And unless we truly believe that all people should face such violence by doing absolutely nothing, then we should look with some sympathy at those who throw rocks and dispatch rockets in retaliation against much superior firepower.

The point is that there cannot be double standards on human rights. The support for Palestine from Muslims comes at least partly from a belief that nobody else cares about them. As the many demonstrations around the world show, this is not true.

There are Israelis and non-Zionist Jews who have protested against the attacks on Gaza. But we should all, regardless of religion, protest at every act of aggression towards anyone because only then can we have any credibility.

Thus while we might protest about American drones killing civilians in Afghanistan, we should also protest at the attempted murder of a teenage Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, for simply wanting to go to school.

What is more, we should be offering solutions for lasting peace, instead of complaining and shouting slogans that we know ultimately will do little beyond making us feel good.

How does it help the Gazans if we go and burn a few foreign flags and then go off to gossip about local politics at the nearest nasi lemak stall?


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HAPPY WEEKEND!

Note: Marina is the eldest daughter of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years. I read her blog - rantingsbymm.

You can find this article by Marina Mahathir in The Star Online, Nov 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SESB to upgrade power supply in Kiulu

This should be good news for Kiulu folks.

Utusan Malaysia reported that SESB is in the process of upgrading the power supply system in Kiulu, among others include replacement of existing bare cable to the insulated type. I presume ABC cables for distribution.


Via Utusan Online -  Nov 13, 2012


Last year SESB aimed to supply power to at least 95% of the state population by the end of 2012 and as expected, it was warmly welcomed by the rural folks. I was in touch with the People's Development Leader (Kiulu) earlier this year and one of the reason some of the villages not supplied with power is that the existing overhead lines were already overloaded and needed to be upgrade. I took his word at face value.

Let's hope the upgrading exercise will then enable SESB to fully supply to this area.

Out of the nearly 60 vilages in Kiulu constituency, there are two more that have not been supplied (or should I say deprived of their basic rights) with electricity in Kiulu namely [Source: UPKR Kiulu]:
  1. Kg Sinansag, 3.5km from the nearest pole & 4 km from Kiulu main road,
  2. Kg Bambangan Baru, 2km from Ranau (old) main road.
I understand that consultants and SESB personnel have visited, estimated and gave a good-to-go confirmation to the relevant government agencies. What is so difficult with the implementation? Why the overlook?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How do USB thumb drives hold so much data?

Do you know that Thumb Drive was invented by Malaysia's Phua Khein Seng? He currently helms Phison Electronics Corp., in Taiwan. Of course there is controversy about who actually created it first, but he is one of the pioneers.

Available in all kinds of size and shape


So, how does it hold so much data?

Some USB flash drives  can hold 128GB of data and it could go beyond 256GB in the near future.

Flash storage devices are based on chip technology called Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EEPROM). USB flash sticks use a refined version of EEPROM. In its earliest incarnation, individual bits of data on the chip had to be erased separately. It was like a vertically stacked library where getting at one book at the bottom of a pile meant having to move the books above it one at a time.

But now multiple memory cells can be addressed simultaneously, allowing entire blocks to be written and rewritten in one go, like moving a pile of books, rather than one book, at a time. It requires considerable on-chip processing and is a feat that has come about through recent advances in chip design and miniaturisation, ushering in USB drives capable of storing gigabytes of data.

Over time, the manufacturing techniques improves to the point that the components that hold the data can be made smaller and less power-hungry, and as such, information is packed more densely.

So, there's hope that a cheap 256GB tablet will be available sooner rather than later.

Reference: Sciencefocus

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poorly made PV modules hurting Solar PV industry?

If you are producing, say, Chevrolet vehicles, do you accept a one-in-every-100 defective cars or 1% defect rate? I bet not.

Renewable Energy World (REW) stated in its recent article that from a factory checks carried out, solar panels defect rate stands at 8.8% on average. That is almost one in every ten panels!

The checks are done immediately after the panels roll out of the plants and the spread is from 5.5% to 22%.  That is a very bad and worrying defect trend. As if 5.5% isn't bad enough, it is amazing that some manufacturers continue to produce panels at 22% defect rate! How is that possible, and how is that profitable?

Broken solar panels
Image: french.alibaba.com


This is tarnishing the reputation of one of the most exciting and interesting sources of renewable energy - Solar Power.

REW reported the common source of failures which include:

1) The use of substandard materials for:
  • metal contact lines,
  • backsheets and encapsulants for protecting panel from UV radiation,
  • encapsulants for protection from other environmental damage,
  • cable insulators.
2) Poor workmanship during the soldering process when connecting the cells together inside a panel.


Who will be on the losing end?

Common sense tells us that it does not require a second fault to discourage people from buying the same product. One failure is good enough (or bad enough, in this context) to keep a keen-head away from an uncharted territory. And solar PV industry is still 'uncharted' business venture until today.

Remember, people are still trying to chart the business model of solar PV and there's no curve yet that is acceptable to the majority.

So, not only the buyers (enterprises or individuals) will shy away from investing, but the industry as a whole will suffer. Financing will become harder to come by, and the only driving factor to push Solar PV forward is politics. Governments are forced to enforce unrealistic FIT schemes for a short term sustenance and it will become very expensive to maintain.


Where is my 20-year warranty on Solar Panel?

Until such time that corner-cuttings and the unrealistic governmental supports to every-tom-dick-and-harry manufacturers come to an end, we will continue to have a lot of 5-year rather than 20-year warranted panels.

On the same token we can ask our Malaysia Government on the currently on-going Solar-hybrid power supply for the rural folks. It is a known fact that many of the solar PV systems (hybrid or stand-alone) fail after only few years in operation. Was this due to poor maintenance or as a result of lousy solar panels/components?


Read the article by REW and the interesting discussion by industry players here.

Can animals be right- or left-handed?

Simple answer is Yes.

If you prefer complicated answer, read on. Animals can be right-eyed, or left-footed - some animals do not have 'hands'. In the 1930s, parrots were given slices of carrot or apple, which they picked up with one foot before eating. 75% used their left foot, and in some species every bird was found to be left-footed.

I think this Malayan tiger is left-handed. Lok Kawi wildlife park, shot with Nikon @70mm


Fish tend to dodge consistently either left or right when evading a predator, using their preferred eye to deal with the threat. Humpback whales prefer the right side of their jaws when feeding.

Cats and dogs have preferences, too. In one study, psychologists in Belfast played for weeks with 42 pet cats. Although the cats would use either paw for easy tasks they reverted to their favoured side for more complex ones. In females this was usually the right paws, and in toms the left. In a tricky task of fishing a piece of tuna out of a small jar, all 21 females used their right paw.

Dogs behave similarly until they are spayed or neutered (sterilised/castrated), when the difference disappears, suggesting hormones play a role in left- or right-handedness.

Reference: DE, November 18,2012. Q&A pp-13.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ten fascinating facts about Spiders

If you ask me which critters are better looking: the South American tarantulas or the Falling Sky's critters, I would definitely choose tarantula.

You may disagree with me and I can't really blame you because most people would not welcome spiders in their homes. But put aside their scary reputation, spiders are actually one of the most useful and friendly critters on earth. Here, take a look at this and let's appreciate the fascinating fact about them:

KSR spider
Kasih Sayang Resort spider, Kota Kinabalu. Taken with Nikkor DX lens 18-200mm
Focal length 200mm | f/5.6 | ISO-200 | 1/125s |

  1. The word “spider” comes from the Old English word “spinnan” which means “to spin.” Not sure if they spend their spare time spinning though.

  2. Spiders are not insects. They are arachnids. Insects have three body sections and six legs; spiders have two body sections and eight legs.

  3. Despite the fact that most spiders have 6 to 8 pairs of eyes, their eyesight is very poor. They use the fine hairs on their bodies to sense movement and signal when they should run or attack.

  4. Most spiders live for less than six months, but the female tarantula can live up to 25 years!

  5. Spiders digest their food before they eat it! They inject digestive enzymes into their prey which turns the captured critter into liquid and allows the spider to suck up the mush through a special “straw.”

  6. Each year, spiders eat so many insects that the combined weight of their pray exceeds the weight of the entire global population of humans.

  7. Despite its scary appearance, the tarantula is no more poisonous than a bee sting.

  8. The spider’s web is made out of protein. When it’s time to spin a new web, the spider will eat the old web.

  9. The golden spider spins silk that is as strong as a steel wire of the same size.

  10. The black widow’s venom is 15 times more powerful than the venom of the diamondback rattlesnake.  However, because only a tiny amount is injected when she bites, very few people die from the black widow spider’s bite.


Oh, and if you live in the UK, you are lucky. The UK tops the list of countries whose populations most fears spiders! Half of all women and one in five men have an aversion to spiders.

Friday, November 16, 2012

SOGO saves RM80,000 in energy by replacing old chillers

Attention hotels, shopping malls, universities. This has got to be a very interesting read, and action.

A departmental store in Kuala Lumpur, SOGO, will be saving about RM80,000 monthly in energy bill when the new chillers are fully operating. The store spent more than RM3 million to replace 4 chillers and qualified for a RM260,000 rebate. Going by the RM80,000 saving the simple payback should be 3 and a half to 4 years, excluding the rebate. Cool!

For more info, go to the website provided here.


Energy Efficiency, via SAVE Program

SAVE or Sustainability Achieved via Energy Efficiency, is a program spearheaded by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), to improve energy efficiency in Malaysia through several initiatives. One of them is the pilot initiative is to stimulate sales of energy-efficient chiller by providing rebates to qualified business owner to replace existing chillers with new energy efficient ones.


Objectives of the SAVE Program
  1. To create a culture of efficient use of energy among general public and business entities.
  2. To save daily energy costs by consumers from reduced energy consumption and manage growth energy demand.
  3. To accelerate the transformation of consumer electrical appliances market and increase the share of Energy Efficient models in the market.
  4. As one of the initiatives to mitigate GHG emissions reduction.

What's in store for those willing to take it up

The government of Malaysia has allocated the budget for the Chiller SAVE Program and funding will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to eligible business owners who replace existing chillers with new energy efficient chillers for their buildings during the rebate offer period.

The rebate amount will be RM200 per RT (Refrigeration Ton) which has been proposed and calculated based on total budget allocation and capacity to be applied throughout 2011 and 2012. This is not including the added bonus of saving through lesser energy consumption, and the lower maintenance for newer equipment.

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SOGO to save RM880,000 in electricity bills by replacing old chillers
Bernama, Nov 15, 2012

Kuala Lumpur. SOGO Department Store Sdn Bhd has managed to save up to RM80,000 monthly in electricity bills, by replacing its old chillers with new energy-efficient units. Sogo Building M&E Department Senior Manager Yong Yau Wah said the decision on the chillers was made at the right time as the government is providing a rebate to encourage the use of energy-efficient products.

"Our consultant informed us about this programme. At the same time, we are also in the green initiative programme," he told Bernama.

He said the company needed to undertake the replacement as the four chillers were already 20 years old.

When the government introduced the green building concept, SOGO also tried to obtain certification for its building, but could not, as the premises is considered old. "But we knew we can still support the green initiative. The first thing we took into consideration was the chillers, as over the years, technology wise, this is where we think we consume the most energy," Yong said.

For chillers, the government, through the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and under the Sustainability Achieved Via Energy Efficient (SAVE) programme, is giving a rebate of RM200 per RT (Refrigeration Ton) for companies for replacement. Yong said SOGO invested more than RM3 million to replace the four aged chillers and was entitled to a rebate of RM260,000.

He said currently, it took seven chillers to cool the shopping complex, and the other three are expected to be replaced in early 2014.

"On average, we expect to save between RM75,000 to RM80,000 in electricity bills monthly, which translates to nine per cent savings, when compared to previously. "The initial cost is high. But looking at long term planning, we can reduce the operations and maintenance costs. We hope the rebate programme can be extended to other equipment.

"It should be promoted broadly so that more people want to participate," added Yong. Meanwhile, SEDA Deputy Director of Corporate Communications, Nurdiyana Mohd Jonis said the SAVE programme was introduced, as chillers were found to consume the most energy.

"With this rebate programme, we encourage companies to replace their old chiller to energy efficient ones," she added.

Under the SAVE programme, rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the post-marked date of a complete application received by the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry during the offer period through participating retailers.


TheGreenMechanics: It pays to go green!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Honey bees to help 'sniff' drugs & explosives

If everything goes well, Malaysia will be one of the first few countries to use British biosensor technology to sniff out dangerous cargo - in particular, drugs and specific number of explosives. Thanks to the hardworking honey bees!

Vasor136
Roselina and John Boyd holding the VASOR136 device. Photo: The Malay Mail


Training the bees

To train a bee to recognise a particular odour, say a mixture of volatile chemicals or a single compound, all the researchers had to do was expose the bee to the odour for a few seconds, at the same time touching its antenna with a sugar solution, and then reward it with sugar when it extends its proboscis. After five or six rounds of this the honey bee responds by extending its proboscis as soon as it detects the odour – it is now fully trained. - inscentinel.com

Vasor136
It is very cheap to train bees. Credit: Inscentinel.com

Honey bees have 170 odour receptors in their antennae, compared with a mere 62 in mosquitoes and 79 in the common fruit fly. In their everyday lives they use these to identify a host of different smells so that they can find nectar sources at any time of the year. They learn to associate the smell of a flower with nectar, so that when they find a similar flower in another place they know they will find nectar there.

When a bee’s antennae is touched with a cotton bud dipped in a sugar solution, it automatically extends its proboscis, or tongue, to drink.

Bees to take ‘sting’ out of drugs, bombs

By 2015, Malaysia may be one of the first countries to adopt "bee sensory" technology to detect drugs and explosives for airport security.

Harnessing the acute olfactory ability of honeybees, UK company Inscentinel Ltd has been developing biosensors that can help detect chemicals found in drugs and explosives. The device, VASOR136, is a user-friendly light-handled detector containing 36 bees. Since last year, Inscentinel had also been working with the UK Home Office and various freight security companies to develop and test the system for cargo environments.

Malaysian security firm Independent Guarding Services (IGS) Sdn Bhd had come on board to licence the technology for Southeast Asia when the design was near-completion.

"The technology has an over 80% effectiveness rate," IGS chief executive officer Roselina Mahmood told The Malay Mail during the BIO Malaysia Exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

"When field trials using local honeybees are completed successfully in the UK and Malaysia, the system will roll out in both countries and will subsequently be marketed to other Southeast Asian nations."

Inscentinel Ltd general manager Ivan Hoo said a single honeybee costs only RM1 and takes only five minutes to train, or five hours for 500 bees using their prototype Automatic Conditioning Unit (ACU). By comparison, a sniffer dog would take six months to train and can cost up to RM380,000 a year to use.

"Via Pavlovian conditioning, the honeybees can be trained to associate certain odours with a food reward within five cycles," he said.

"Held within VASOR136 cartridges, they show a conditioned tongue-extension reflex when encountering learned odours. An optical sensor then records the responses, which are interpreted by the software that outputs a 'present' or 'absent' result."

IGS adviser and Independent Protective Services (IPS) Sdn Bhd CEO John Boyd said fundraising requests were being made to the Malaysian government for testing and refining the technology.

"The device is of much interest to the police, anti-drug agencies and the immigrations department. Bees can be trained to detect drugs and explosives just as effectively as dogs. However, they can be trained to do both, while dogs can only do either," Boyd said.

The VASOR136 cartridges can hold six bees each for six hours of use. After that, they are placed back into containment where they are free to roam for two days. - The Malay Mail


Sources: The Malay Mail, Nov 8, 2012, Inscentinel

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Create or print out multiple addresses on the same form letter

Let’s say you want to send invitation letters to multiple recipients, or you want to send 100 letters to different organisations soliciting for some event sponsorship. You are wondering if there are ways in Excel or Word to make a database of 100 addresses, and then print out all of the 100 form letters with each letter having one of the addresses at the top.

One of the ways is to type them manually at the top of each letter. But that would be time and energy consuming.

Why don’t you use the Mail Merge feature in Word 2007? The feature can be found in the Tools->Letters and Mailings menu item in early versions of Word, or on the Mailings tab on the ribbon in Word 2007. I am using the later version, the Word 2007.

For Word 2007, follow the simple step-by-step guide below:

Note: There are many other ways of doing this but this is the route that I chose for a simple, fast multiple addresses letters.
  1. Open the document (the letter) that you intend to send to 100 recipients.

  2. Click Start Mail Merge on the Mailings ribbon and select the type of document you’d like to create. For example, you can select letters, envelopes, or labels. Or, select Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard for more help creating your document. 

  3. Click Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard. A small column appear on the right side titled "Mail Merge". In my case, under Select document type, I selected Letters.
    Then click Next at the bottom of that column. 

  4. Under Select starting document, I selected Use the current document. Click Next 

  5. Under Select recipients, I selected Type a new list. Click Create… 

  6. In the New Address List box, begin entering your contacts. To add additional recipients, click the New Entry button. To delete an entry, select it and click Delete Entry. Click Yes to confirm the deletion. Continue adding New Entry until you have all 100 recipients’ addresses in the Address List.

  7. Adding and Deleting Mail Merge Field:.If you wish to delete or add field types to your mail merge document, click the Customize Columns button. Then, click Add, Delete or Rename to alter the field types. Click OK when done. I did not do anything to mine. 

  8. Once done with Recipient List, click OK and you will be prompted to save the list. Save it and click OK. 

  9. Click “Next: Write your letter”. Follow the instruction and place your cursor (in your document/letter) where you want the Address to appear. This is normally where you would manually type the address of the recipient. Then click “Address block…”. A dialog box appear. 

  10. In the Insert Address Block box, you can specify the address elements and you can see the address Preview changes as you tick and un-tick the elements. 

  11. Click OK. You will see «AddressBlock» at the specified block location you chose earlier. 

  12. Click “Next: Preview your letters”.
    When you have finished previewing your letters, click “Next: Complete the merge” 

  13. You can now Print your letters. But to avoid wasting papers, try printing one page first to make sure the setting and placement of the address block is correct. 
  14. Once you are satisfied with the placement, you can print your letters all the way!

  15. You are done!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World's first deodorant underwear: Deoest

The days of the embarrassing gas passing in public is numbered, so we hope.

Not really a 'first' as smell-neutralising undergarments have been around for a while now, but this one is claimed to be the best yet at doing the task. This should be good news to people with issues of unwelcomed odours - flatulence, feet smell, sweaty armpits, old age smell, etc.

Seiren DEOEST deodorant underwear
Deoest underpants made in Japan. Image from www.deoest.jp


Underpants which are claimed to neutralise the smell of flatulence are proving a hit in Japan, whose hard-working businessmen seem to like the idea of breaking wind without getting rumbled.

A Japanese textile company has developed a range of underwear which it says prevent unwelcome odours.

"It took us a few years to develop the first deodorant pants that are comfortable enough to wear in daily life but efficient in quickly eliminating strong smells," said Nami Yoshida, a spokeswoman for the company, Seiren.

"At first we thought about selling them to those who require nursing care and to hospitals.

"But to our surprise, lots of ordinary people, like businessmen who are in positions that require them to see people on a daily basis, bought them," she said. The underwear is manufactured with whiff-absorbing ceramic particles in the material fibres.

Seiren developed the technology after being contacted by a doctor who wanted something to disguise the regular parps emitted by people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The company's range has now expanded to 22 items, including socks that prevent feet from smelling and t-shirts that mask the odour of sweaty armpits. - AFP

Deoest by Seiren
Inodore explains how the revolutionary fabric works.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Greenhouse Gases: Australia to sign up for Kyoto 2 protocol

The Kyoto Protocol: is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that set binding obligations on the industrialised countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. - Wikipedia

Is Malaysia a party to the Kyoto Protocol? YES.

Greenhouse effect: Global warming, which is attributed to the greenhouse gases emissions, is the rise in global mean temperature due to an increase of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane in the atmosphere (CH4), see figure below - NPS.

Greenhouse effect

  • Left - Naturally occurring greenhouse gases normally trap some of the sun’s heat, keeping the planet from freezing. 
  • Right - Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are increasing greenhouse gas levels, leading to an enhanced greenhouse effect. The result is global warming and unprecedented rates of climate change.


Australia to sign up for Kyoto 2 Protocol
By Martin Parry (AFP)

SYDNEY — Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Friday said it will sign up for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol environmental protection treaty, but New Zealand opted out.

Climate Minister Greg Combet made the announcement in a speech to a carbon expo, saying: "Australia is ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol." So far, only the European Union and several smaller economies have signalled a willingness to agree to a second round of pledges.

Australia is among the world's worst per capita polluters, with a heavy reliance on coal mining and exports and most of its electricity coming from coal-fired power stations. Although Kyoto - the first global treaty to set binding obligations on wealthy countries to cut emissions - was negotiated in 1997, Australia refused to join for years.

It was only when Labor came to power in 2007 that it shifted course. Combet's announcement comes ahead of annual negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which this year take place in Doha, Qatar, from November 26-December 7.

The big issue is renewing commitments under Kyoto after the first round of cuts expires on December 31, although agreement on a new globally-binding deal is not expected until 2015 and will not come into force until 2020. Combet said Australia's decision was not a blank cheque and other countries must also step up.

"For Australia, there must be continued progress towards this new agreement by 2015, from both the developing and developed countries alike. The Kyoto Protocol is not enough on its own - it will cover less than 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and only from a number of developed economies," he said.

"So to be effective, the new 2015 agreement needs to cover all the major emissions sources." - AFP

What determines the brightness of an energy-saving bulb


CFL vs incandescent
Left     : Energy-saving bulb, CFL
Right  : Incandescent bulb (filament)

Energy-saving bulbs, also known as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) produce light more efficiently than their old incandescent counterparts. CFLs have done away with glowing filaments and instead contain a mixture of argon and mercury vapour.


A small electronic circuit called a ballast produces a rapidly oscillating current passing through the gas. The excited vapour molecules give off ultraviolet light that is converted into visible light by the coating on the inside of the bulb.


What determines it?

Like a conventional lamp, a CFL’s brightness depends on how much power it uses. Manufacturers vary properties like the volume and mix of the gas inside to increase or decrease consumption. For a given light output, CFLs use about a fifth as much power as their incandescent ancestors. As such, the lifetime cost of a CFL is so much lower.

The following table shows the comparison between LED, incandescent and CFLs. The figures are a year old and performance and cost may have since improved.

LED vs CFL vs incandescent
LED vs. Incandescent vs. CFLs. Source: iconnectdots


Reference: Sciencefocus

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BioDiesel: Terengganu mulls planting Jatropha

Not too long ago Jatropha became a bit of a talking point among biodiesel enthusiasts and researchers. At one point some suggested that this plant has enormous potential it could be the next big money spinner for Malaysia.

I remember reading one of the local dailies over breakfast that Jatropha's potential for biodiesel production could at least match that of or bigger than palm oil. That is a tall order for the un-tested commodity, but who knows.

Terengganu is considering such option to produce biodiesel - as reported by Bernama. I just hope that a full assessment would be carried out prior to granting of funds to entrepreneurs. You don't want another National Feedlot Centre blunder, do you?

Malaysian Business - April 2008
Wonder Plant? Cover page of the Malaysian Business, April 2008.


Terengganu To Study Frim's Application To Cultivate Jatropha For Biodiesel

KEMAMAN, Nov 10 (Bernama) -- The Terengganu state government will consider the application by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to plant jatropha on a large-scale to produce biodiesel in the state.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said stressed however, that the state government would scrutinise any high-impact project before approving it for the benefit of the people and the state.

"Many aspects need to be studied, such as the cost, returns, implementation approach and whether the investment is worth it," he told reporters when asked to comment on FRIM's readiness to carry out the project in Terengganu.

It was reported in the media yesterday that FRIM would submit an application to the state government to request for land along the coast for the project. Besides maximising Terengganu's coastal areas which had been categorised as unfeasible for commercial agriculture because of the extreme heat, the project was seen to potentially generate income for the local residents.


Credit: Cover page image of the Malaysian Business, April 2008 can be found at Dunia Tiger's blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Malaysia established Green Court to handle environmental cases

Read the title and one thing comes to mind:  Our very own polluted rivers in the Palm Oil heavily planted east of Sabah.

If you've been following the coverage on Daily Express the last couple of month or so, you will remember that palm oil factories are the biggest culprits in polluting the river. Is it a crime to, say, pollute the river? Or is it an offence to cut down the Trig Hill in Tawau to dig out stones to develop the area? I don't know. But we have the environmental enforcement agencies and we have the relevant acts.

I feel that we have enough enactment and we have enough officers to do the job. If that is the case, the more critical innovation in Environmental Law enforcement is not more money and personnel but a committed court!

Thailand and Indonesia have such courts so why can't we. The establishment of Green Court will show our commitment towards protecting the environment and wildlife. According to the Chief Justice, the courts would address cases, such as:

  • wildlife crime
  • pollution
  • illegal logging and fishing, and 
  • land clearing
So, there. We are well covered. It is up to us to implement the necessary.


Let the green stays green. Let the tree grows!
Virgin jungle in Pulau Tiga, Sabah. Shot with Nikkor 10-24mm at | 10mm | f/5 | 1/200sec | ISO-320 |


Read the Article: Malaysia Established Green Court Since September 3
Bernama, Nov 9, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The Green Court dedicated to hear cases related to the environment has been established since September 3, said Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria.

"The judiciary is actively training judges and magistrates in handling cases related to the environment in order to prepare them in terms of proceedings and meting out penalties. Judges and magistrates who handle environmental cases will also handle other cases but their specialty is cases involving the environment," he told reporters after launching "2012 National Seminar on Green Court" here today.

Ariffin said Thailand and Indonesia established such court earlier but it was still not too late for Malaysia to protect the environment. Enforcement of the Environmental Quality Act (Amendment) 2012 next year means that no one, including multinational companies, would escape the law. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas had said the Act gazetted on Aug 16 and effective on Jan 2 would address environmental issues.

Opening the seminar, Ariffin said that the Act has given the director-general of the Department of Environment additional power.

"This amendment paves the way for more effective enforcement. For example, a new section, 34AA is inserted, giving power to the director-general of the Department of Environment to arrest or issue stop work order to persons carrying out activities which may cause environmental damage."

He said under the Act, any non-compliance to the stop work order would be punished with a fine up to RM500,000 or with imprisonment up to five years or both.

"The power to arrest which was within the purview of police, will be extended to officer of the Department of Environment, who will have the power to arrest without warrant any person believed to commit or attempt to commit any offence under the Act.

"Most interestingly, investigation and enforcement which was usually hindered due to lack of information have been improved by the new section 49B where the informer, whose information or service or assistance lead to detection of any offence under the Act, will be rewarded and his identity will be protected and privileged under the new section 50A."

Ariffin also said that 76 Sessions Courts and Magistrates Courts have been established throughout the country. - Bernama

Friday, November 9, 2012

Page Rank 2

I advocate green technology and renewable energy. And I know I'm still green.

But by green, I'm talking about being new to blogging (a green horn) rather than Green Technology itself. So, early afternoon today I found out that the green portion of the horizontal histogram has grown longer. My PageRank has increased to 2. For many, it certainly is not a cause for celebration but personally it does give some sort of satisfaction for all the 'works that you've done'.


PR-2


So, what is PageRank?

PageRank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page. It's one of many factors used to determine which pages appear in search results. - google.about.com

It was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. The idea behind it is that information on the web could be ordered in a hierarchy by link popularity, i.e. the more links to a page, the higher the page ranking is.

There are ways and means to increase the PageRank of your site but we are not discussing that here. Besides, I am yet to start implementing them myself.


The Pull factor

I noticed that this blog started pulling more visitors when I posted an article about this year's Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan held at KDCA, Penampang in May 2012. Since then, page hit has been on increasing trend albeit on a relatively slow pace. It was a pictorial post and the title was timely, so, the increased traffic was understandable.

Photography is my passion but Renewable Energy is the focus of this blog and it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Sabah suspended Ayamas imports

Chick portrait
Hello, my name is Ayam.
My personal take: Rightly or wrongly, it is a necessary measure when public health and safety is at stake. The government of the day is duty-bound to safeguard the well being of the rakyat - you and me.

Just like what Sarawak did (earlier and promptly),  Sabah too has temporarily suspended importation of Ayamas poultry products following revelation that a banned antibiotic was detected in a sample of the brand’s chicken frankfurter.

The local print media reported yesterday that Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, Yahya Hussin said the Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry Sabah (DOVSAI) had immediately issued a directive to all operators in the state not to import and sell some of the Ayamas products suspected to be contaminated.


There was no immediate list of Ayamas products that were suspended though. To me, this would be the next critical piece of information after the ban announcement. If you are so sure of it, why keep the list wrapped?

Datuk Yahya Hussin:
“We have taken the necessary precautionary measures, which is to ban the products from being imported to Sabah. The authorities are dealing with the issue and necessary actions have been taken, including a thorough inspection of Ayamas products."


But Health Minister says no antibiotics found

Datuk Liow Tiong Lai:
“The laboratory tests showed that there was no Chloramphenicol in the products. If there were, we would have acted immediately to remove the products from the market."

That was prompt!

Similarly, we are expecting Sabah's DOVSAI to tell us what' next. We have not heard from them yet but I bet it's going to be a lengthy decision judging from Yahya's  statement that 'the ban would be enforced until the Ministry of Health had completed its investigation and cleared the products in question'.

Meanwhile, there's no harm going for alternative products if you have been buying Ayamas brand all this while. 

PREVENTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN CURE!


Source: The Borneo Post, Nov. 8, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

TGIF: Cultural differences

What a boring world would it be if we all share the same culture.


Cultural differences
Image: jrcanda.com


Japan
A man accidently tore a girl’s short miniskirt in Tokyo . Before the guy had a chance to apologize, the single lady took a 90 degree bow, then said: “I am sorry to give you trouble! The quality of the skirt is not all that good.” Then she took out a pin, put the skirt back together and left.

United States
At Times Square, New York , a man accidently tore a girl’s miniskirt. Before the guy had a chance to react, the single lady pull out a name card, gave it to him and said: “This is my lawyer’s business card. He will contact you about this sexual harassment. It is better that you prepare yourself, we will see you in court.”

France
A French man in Paris accidently tore a girls’ miniskirt. Before the man opened his mouth, the young single lady said with a smile: “If you do not mind, a red rose can represent your apology.” The French man bought her a rose, then they went to a bar, and lastly, they went to a small hotel discussing what was in the miniskirt.

England
In the Church Square by the Thames, an English man accidently tore the mini skirt of a young single lady. Before the English man opened up his mouth, the young lady covered her tore spot, then said with a blush on her face: “Do you mind taking me home sir? I live very close by…” The English man took his jacket off, put on her shoulders, call a cab, then took her home safely.

China
A man accidently cut open the miniskirt of a young lady in Chong Qing. Before the man said anything, the young lady slapped the guy: “You, the sex maniac. Dare to take advantage of me, I will send you to the labour camp…”

Taiwan
In Shimending, a man accidently tore a girl’s short miniskirt. Before the guy started to speak, the girl smiled and said: “We have not come up with a price yet, and you are going to inspect the merchandise?”

Hong Kong
In the Times Square of Hong Kong, a man accidently tore a girl’s miniskirt. She was only 18 years old. Before the man opened his mouth, the girl screamed: “XXX your XXX, you think I am the cheap close out item on the street? Watch out, I will find someone to peel your skin.”

Korea
On the street of Yinchong, a man accidently tore a girl’s miniskirt. Before the man speaks, the girl gave him a round kick, then said: “Don’t you know that I am a second degree black belt in Tai Kwan Dao.”

Thailand
In Bangkok, a man accidently tore the miniskirt of an 18 year’s old girl. Before the man start to apologise, the girl said with a Buddha hand gesture: “No worries honey, ……we all men.”

Malaysia
At a Nasi Lemak stall in Kuala Lumpur, a man accidently tore the miniskirt of a young girl. Before the man started to speak,.... (please complete the sentence LOL)

No more stupid Europe errors: Sir Alex Ferguson

The UEFA Champions League draw was made yesterday (Thursday) in Monaco, and as usual many still think that the draw was fixed. What a cry baby. It was shown LIVE on TV and you can see the person mixing the balls around randomly before picking one of the them without being able to have a glance. So, just leave the probability law do the job, shall we.

Controversy aside, let's look at the draw results:

English teams Manchester United and Arsenal got pretty straight forward draws while it's a tricky one for depending champions, Chelsea with Juventus in the same group. High spending Manchester City is in the "group of death" together with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.

Real Madrid will start their campaign on September  18, 2012



Manchester United and Barcelona to start their first matches on September 19, 2012


No more "stupid errors" for Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly (ESPN) told his Manchester United players they cannot afford to make the "stupid errors" they committed in during the group stage of the prestigious UEFA Champions League last season.

With the relatively easy CL group, United should qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with ease. They just need to remind themselves of the poor home display last season to drive them to perform better this time around.

Come on! No more soft goals and lapses in defense. With the addition of another world class striker in Robin van Persie, United's arsenal should have more than enough armour and bullets.

GO UNITED!


Note: Manchester United's first game is against Galatasaray at Old Trafford on 19/09/2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

India’s RE industry interested in Malaysia’s FiT system

My understanding (from the article) is that India is interested in doing RE business in Malaysia, rather than on "Malaysia's feed-in tariff system" itself. The report implied that India's renewable industry is interested to learn from Malaysia's way of implementing the FiT. It's a bit funny as India's RE industry is more matured than ours.

For instance, while we are struggling to register our first 50MW in cumulative energy generation from solar, India's solar power capacity has surpassed 1GW as of June 2012.

Seda logo


India’s renewable energy industry interested in Malaysia’s feed-in-tariff system
November 06, 2012 - Bernama

NEW DELHI: India's renewable energy (RE) industry is interested to partake in Malaysia's feed-in-tariff (FiT) system, said TNB Energy Services Sdn Bhd's head (business development), Mohd Azhar Abdul Rahman.“They are keen to know more on micro grid and FiT and are interested to be technology partners,” he said.

The FiT system is Malaysia's new mechanism under the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan and the Renewable Energy Act 2011 to catalyse generation of renewable energy, up to 30 MW in size.

This mechanism allows electricity produced from indigenous renewable resources to be sold to power utilities at a fixed premium price for a specific duration.

Mohd Azhar, who participated in the two-day Asean-India Workshop on Cooperation in RE, told Bernama that allowing foreign stake of up to 49% in FiT mechanism was among the attractions to the RE industry in India.

According to Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia, which manages and oversees the FiT system, a company incorporated in Malaysia having a foreign person, (alone or together with other foreign persons), holding no more than 49% of voting power or the issued share capital of such company may also apply for feed-in approvals.

Malaysia, Mohd Azhar said, could also tap into India's technology in RE.

“They are aggressive in RE. Their industry is matured. They have good RE equipment and manufacturers that we can explore and adapt too,” he said.

Among others, Mohd Azhar said, India's solar panels and modules were impressive.“We can explore them further and suit them to our needs,” he said. - Bernama

+     +     +     +      +     +     +     +     +      +

TheGreenMechanis: However, if India is interested in doing Renewable Energy business in Malaysia, we will be more than happy. In return, 49% ownership is not bad for foreign companies.

They are welcome to invest here. Why not.

World's tiniest digital camera

Tiny camera
Intelligent services often disguise a camera as pens, earings or spectacles.

But how about a camera small enough to be inserted into your blood veins? There is a digital camera called NanEye that measure just 1 millimetre by 1 millimetre, essentially smaller than the tip of a pencil.


The NanEye CSP

Rapidly evolving camera technology has made it swivel for AWAIBA, a Portuguese imaging technology company and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Germany to invent the world's tiniest digital camera, the NanEye CSP. The camera, which is built on a silicon chip and measures only 1mm x 1mm x 1.5mm, is smaller than the size of a wooden match. The camera is capable of providing clear high resolution images with its 250 x 250 pixel feature.

The NanEye sensor which can be used in endoscopic devices, will provide a smooth video leading to a more precise diagnosis. Patients will not have to worry about pain or trauma as the size of the camera allows for a safe and high quality medical probe to be produced.

Due to a new type of manufacturing process, the camera costs little to produce. Thus, this cheap new camera may soon pave the way for disposable endoscopy instruments. At the moment, the the endoscopy instruments in the medical field require exhaustive and time consuming cleaning procedures.


The world's tiniest camera, the NanEye CPS is smaller than the tip of a pencil


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Greenest Convention Centre in the world

Scheduled to host the UN Climate Change Conference starting November 26 this year, the Qatar National Convention Centre, QNCC, is considered as one of the greenest convention centers in the world.

Qatar national convention centre
The convention centre is designed by Japanese designer Arata Isozaki, and it features iconic facade of intertwining native Sidra trees, representing the place where poets, scholars and travellers gathered to take shelter from the fierce desert sun and interact.


Oil rich nation going green

It seem a little odd to mention Green buildings in this tiny Gulf nation which has plenty of oil and gas and, according to the International Energy Agency, has the highest per capita emissions in the world, closely followed by Gulf neighbors Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

But Associated Press said attitudes about energy use are changing across the Gulf. There is a growing recognition that the once seemingly limitless fossil fuels will someday run out and that these countries need to chart a more sustainable path. Buildings are a logical place to start.

Qatar
Amazing!


Qatar NC
Solar PV on the rooftop


The Qatar National Convention Centre

Location                             : In Qatar Foundation's 2,500-acre campus
Year built                            : 2011
Cost                                   : $720 million (estimates according to inhabitat.com)
Meeting room space            : 10,000 m2
Conference room capacity   : 4,000 delegates
Green buildings certification : U.S. Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED)
Solar power                        : 3,500 m2 solar panels provides 12.5% of the building's energy needs


Photos by AP via Yahoo Finance

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rebates for 3G Smartphones in January 2013

The government is ready to implement the granting of a RM200 rebate for the purchase of the 3G smart mobile phones to youths between the ages of 21 and 30 beginning Jan 1, 2013.

Smartphones
Take your pick!


The one-off rebate was announced by Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, when tabling the 2013 Budget on September 28th for youths to purchase a 3G smartphone to help them access the information superhighway.

In a recent report by Bernama, Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Rais Yatim said he was confident the programme could be implemented without any problem due to the well-planned preparations made by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

However, the ministry was scrutinising the actual meaning of the term 'smartphone' used and the price rate that would qualify the buyer to receive the cash rebate.

"When this has been carried out, I feel there is no problem any more (to implement the rebate). Many people have asked, so we want to give ample space for them to contact the MCMC directly or the shops and agents that have been registered," he said.


Prone to abuse?

It is a noble intention on the part of the government to help the masses - especially the younger generation - better access to information but I can see how people will try to abuse this facility. On a positive note, because of the possible loopholes, the RM200 rebate amount is just nice - not too small and at the same time not much such that it poses significant risk to the government's wallet. 

It is an open secret that the EPF Computer Withdrawal scheme some time ago was riddled with abuses. Contributors tried every means and ways to make the most to get cash rather than laptops. I got mine for RM3,999 and felt it was never worth it. The Compaq Presario was powered by a humble Celeron 600 MHz with many features at minimum specifications. In all honesty, even at that time, for that price you'd expect no less than a Pentium 1.5 GHz processor.

Without clear guidelines from MCMC, this rebate is just another accident waiting to happen. Both retailers and consumers would collaborate to create a 'win-win' situation.

Believe me, with a rebate of RM200, there is a lot to gain from the sale of a RM500/pc smartphone. The sooner you come up with the guidelines the better!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

IEM Training Centre to have green building features according to GBI

Another green building in the making?

The IEM Training Centre in Kota Kinabalu (KKIP) is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, and it will have both passive and active features of green building according to the Green Building Index, GBI rating system.

According to the rating system, buildings will be awarded the GBI rating based on 6 key criteria:
  1. Energy Efficiency (EE)
  2. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
  3. Sustainable Site Planning & Management (SM)
  4. Material and Resources (MR)
  5. Water Efficiency (WE)
  6. Innovation (IN)

According to IEM Sabah branch chairman, Ir. Lo Chong Chiun, the centre at the KKIP will have a 2-storey 16,000 square foot building comprising 6 classrooms and one auditorium. The building was planned to be utilised for capacity building and continuing professional development (CPD) at both the professional and sub-professional level.

Continuing professional education is important in view that the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) is in the midst of drafting amendment to the Registration of Engineers Acts with the indentation of accrediting, empowering, and at the same time regulating the sub-professionals to ensure specified quality and standard.

On the issue of globalisation, BEM had already made amendments to the Registration of Engineers Act to accommodate the liberalisation of professional engineering services and a road show of the amended Engineers Act 2012 would be held on Monday, November 5, 2012 at The Pacific Sutera, Kota Kinabalu.

Myself and few other colleagues will be attending the seminar entitled "Proposed Amendments to The Registration of Engineers Act 1967 due to Liberalisation"


The Green Mechanics: The setting up of a training centre is timely and is in line with one of the key result areas on human capital development. Making the centre a green building (well, almost) is a good gesture from the engineers towards preserving mother nature.

Let's hope that more private/government bodies and individuals will emulate such effort.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Download: Borang Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia - BR1M 2.0

Selaras dengan pengumuman kerajaan berkenaan pengagihan bantuan rakyat 1Malaysia, BR1M kali kedua, borang permohonan boleh didapati secara online di laman web Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri.

Muat-turun borang (PDF) anda di sini: Borang Permohonan BR1M 2.0 (Borang BK-01 [1/2012] )




Borang ini lebih kurang sama dengan borang BR1M sebelum ini, BK-01[1/2011] tetapi telah dikemaskini untuk memasukkan tandanama BR1M 2.0 dan syaray-syarat tambahan.

Permohonan yang sudah dilengkapkan boleh dihantar bermula kelmarin, November 1, 2012 ke semua pusat-pusat pengagihan borang yang telah diwartakan.


Syarat-syarat yang sangat mudah

Syarat kelayakan permohonan BR1M 2.0 (dipetik dari muka depan Borang BR1M 2.0):
  1. Warganegara Malaysia
  2. Lelaki atau perempuan yang menjadi ketua kepada isi rumah / ahli yang tinggal serumah dengan jumlah pendapatan kasar bulanan isi rumah RM3,000 dan ke bawah
  3. Warga emas sebatang kara (berumur 60 tahun dan ke atas) dengan jumlah pendapatan kasar bulanan RM3,000 dan ke bawah
  4. Bujang yang berumur 21 tahun dan ke atas dengan jumlah pendapatan kasar bulanan RM2,000 dan ke bawah
  5. Tidak termasuk pelajar yang menerima Baucar Buku 1Malaysia
  6. Sila kemukakan salinan MyKad / Kad Polis / Kad Tentera.

Sedikit nasihat: Sekiranya anda memenuhi mana-mana syarat mudah di atas, dan anda mempunyai soalan lanjut mengenai sama ada permohonan anda berkemungkinan ditolak, jangan berlengah. Kemukakan saja permohonan anda! Biar sistem yang menentukan layak tidaknya.

Anda juga boleh juga mendapatkan borang di semua Pejabat Daerah, kaunter LHDN, pejabat Jabatan Pembangunan Persekutuan, dan bagi anda yang tinggal berdekatan Kota Kinabalu dan Luyang, difahamkan LHDN ada membuka kaunter setempat di pejabat DBKK dan dewan DBKK Damai, Luyang.

Untuk pertanyaan, anda boleh menghubungi PUSAT KHIDMAT PELANGGAN (Nombor toll-free):

 1-800-88-5436

Selamat mengisi poket borang!