My Rambling Thoughts

A 3.47s Rubik's Cube

I bought one Rubik's Cube earlier this year. Now I have five. :lol:

The chromed one is magnetized with 48 magnets.

The one on top left is the Moyu RS3M Super (MagLev). It has 60 magnets. It is a very cheap — but also a pretty good — speedcube. It costs S$15 from TaoBao, including shipping.

The one on top right is the Moyu HuaMeng YS3M (MagLev). It also has 60 magnets. It is designed by an ex-World Record holder at 3.47s (the WR is now 3.13s). You think the RS3M Super is smooth? This one is even smoother! However, unless you can solve in sub-30s, it won't make a difference. It costs S$3 more.

The others are normal non-magnetized cubes. But really, there is no going back after using a magnetic cube. They just snap into position better.

A basic magnetic cube with 48 magnets is good enough. MagLev uses 12 more magnets to replace the springs, so you don't hear spring noises. I prefer this, though many people feel springs are better. There is a recent innovation, called "ballcore", that uses 16 magnets for corners-to-core (so 76 magnets altogether). Opinion is divided whether it actually makes the cube better.

In terms of instructions, YS3M beats the others hands down. It comes with both Beginner's Method as well as CFOP!

The stickered cube with black base and RS3M Super comes with Beginner's Method.

By Beginner's Method, I mean they solve the first two layers with it. Then they switch to a simplified 2-step OLL (Orient Last Layer) and PLL (Permutate Last Layer). You just need to remember one case each, but repeat it several times.

My favourite instructions, which I'm using today, come from the cube on the bottom right. It handles more cases for 2-step OLL and PLL, so it is potentially faster. I termed it "intermediate" 2-step. I bought this cube from a local shop for S$5.

Number of sequences you need to remember:

Simple 2-step Mid 2-step Adv 2-step 1-step
PLL1 + 12 + 22 + 757
OLL1 + 11 + 22 + 421

I'll stick with intermediate 2-step (total 7 sequences to remember) until I can get sub-30s! My current timing is around 180s! :lol:

The incredibly pragmatic electorate

Singaporeans are incredibly pragmatic. This is reflected in the 2023 Presidential Election.

TKL got a mere 13.88%, even lower than NKS at 15.72%. Tharman, of course, got a 'landslide' at 70.40%.

The results surprised me, to be honest. TCB and TJS had no or little effect at all.

What can we see here?

The hardcore anti-PAP faction is 30%. Those who refused to vote for TKL voted for NKS.

In 2011's election, TT got only 35.20%. That's the hardcore PAP faction. There is a significant group that is willing to vote in quality candidates such as TCB, but the keyword being 'quality'.

Quality in this context has a high connotation of 'pedigree'. TCB was a well-liked Doctor and an ex-PAP MP. TJS was even the principal private secretary to then DPM GCT at one point of his career.

Tharman is considered very likeable — he just looks that way. :lol: If anyone bothered to dig any deeper in terms of the policies that affected their livelihood, they might change their mind.

Elections are popularity contests. Presidential Elections are worse because you have to appeal to the entire nation.

Non-PAP candidates need to start their awareness campaign right now. Not 14 days before the election. Yes, it's a gamble (they may not qualify), but when the fight is unfair, every little thing counts.

3 Tans vs PAP

In 2011, four Tans contested for the Presidential Election. Tony Tan won with 35.20% of the vote, a narrow win over Tan Cheng Bock with 34.85%.

If the other two Tans had the sense to withdraw, TCB would have won.

There is no doubt that PAP fears TCB. They made the 2017 election a "reserved" one, then raised the eligibility rules for the 2023 election.

Despite the changes, Tan Kin Lian still qualified. :lol: And he ran.

I found it surprising that Tan Jee Say was his Seconder. TJS also ran in the 2011 Presidential Election and gotten 25.04%. Former "enemy", today's ally.

One week later, TCB also announced that he endorsed TKL (in his personal capacity, of course). I was quite surprised by this.

Sometimes you got to set aside differences and see the bigger picture. TKL is extremely imperfect as a public figure, but he is the only choice in this election that can make a technical difference.

The Presidential role is extremely limited (and mostly ceremonial), but it can voice its concerns and override the Government in little ways. It'll be a thorn in their flesh.

TKL is not a public figure. He speaks his mind. He has a few strikes against him, people spare no effort to dug up his dirt. :lol:

First, he is pro-Singapore. This means he is anti-FT. No, Singapore must welcome FTs. I'm bemused by this. Do they vote?

Second, he is pro-CCP. China communists, communists bad. No, we must be pro-USA.

Third, he is said to be pro-Russia. No, Russia is the invader and is clearly the bad guys. Everyone must side with Ukraine. The Russia-Ukraine conflict really shows how things can be whitewashed and facts be twisted.

Fourth, he wants to be merciful towards drug mules. This directly steps on PAP's red line. Anyway, just fly a drone in. No need to risk any life. :lol:

Fifth, he told gays to 'do it privately'. If you want to lose the LGBT vote, this is how to do it. No, they will shove it in your face and you must accept it.

Sixth and most serious (IMO) is his "pretty girl" comments. ST did their research and said he made 20+ such comments in the past two years. TCB dismissed it as gutter politics, but it is not entirely true because he did make such comments. It is inappropriate as a Presidential candidate, but I won't say it "objectifies women". He just shared his thoughts on what he saw. In response to criticisms, his old boss the ex-PM Mr Goh made two posts captioned "handsome man".

The other two candidates either echo the mainstream view or give safe answers. Basically, they pander to you to avoid losing your vote.

The Man versus the State

There are some people who are very afraid of Trump... so afraid that they are willing to go to any length to convict him... of anything!

Two things come to my mind.

First, they have become the very evil that they are trying to eradicate. Any means is justifiable, all laws be damned.

Second, "useful idiots". So many people in power are blinded by their hatred or bias and helped one way or another, and they will pat themselves in the back for doing "God's work". Little do they know they are just pawns.

The most ironic thing is that because they have set the precedence, what they have done to others today, the others can do the same to them in the future. This has happened in the past. And they would cry foul over it. When they do it to others, it is justice. When others do it to them, it is abuse of power. It is amusing.

GTO 1998 on blu-ray

GTO (1998) got a blu-ray release on 26 July 2023 in Japan. Was it any good? No idea, didn't want to pony up 25,434 yen (S$240) for it. There is no mention of remastering, so my guess is that it is not very good.

I found an existing HD transfer, dated a couple of years back.

Web HD, resized to 480p

Compare to the R2 DVD:

2002 R2 DVD (626x480)

The HD version is only very slightly better. The details are about the same, but without DVD compression artifacts.


I also looked for another favourite show of mine, Messengers (1999). I found a 720p version.

Web 720p, resized to 480p

2003 R2 DVD (852x480)

It looks a little better than the DVD version, but nothing amazing. It looks more natural cos it has not been sharpened.