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Click for San Francisco, California Forecast

San Francisco, USA

 

New York U-Lock

I'm shopping for a new bicycle U-lock. If a regular U-lock is not strong enough for you, there is a product line known as the Kryptonite New York U-Lock. These are extra heavy U-Lock made of hardened steel. Presumably people who need extra security would go for this. It also cost about double compare to a regular U-Lock.

I find it amusing that the product line is called New York U-Lock. Customers apparently know exactly what New York stands for, a high crime, dangerous kind place where you must heavily lock down your properties or it gets eaten alive. The mayor of New York must gets really offended by their branding :)

2014.07.10 comments

 

Automation and Safety

The National Transportation Safety Board release a draft report on the Asiana Airlines plane crash last year, which result in 3 death. Commenting on role of the autopilot auto throttle system, they said,

"in their efforts to compensate for the unreliability of human performance, the designers of automated control systems have unwittingly created opportunities for new error types that can be even more serious than those they were seeking to avoid."

I think this is a cautionary tale for the designers of self-driving car. When we have a system that is almost prefect but not completely infallible, it induce a new kind of risk because the operator becomes complacent and overly rely on automation.

2014.06.24 comments

 

我的六四回憶

六四已經過了二十五年了。一九八九年我十九歲,香港中大三年級生。回看昔日的激情,轉眼已經是一代人之前的事了。可悲的是傷痕還未痊癒,受害人的冤案還沒有平反。

我記得那一天是六四前五月左右的一天。那時學生在天安門駐紮了一段時間,政府突然變得強硬,晚上宣布戒嚴預備鎮壓。香港聽到消息又驚又怒,半夜有人立即跑到灣仔新華社抗議。我舊居就在新華社附近,媽媽早上告訴我半夜被吵鬧聲弄醒,我恨睡了不知道,不然定會跟他們跑去抗議。

當日是星期六,市面聽到許多不滿聲音,人們準備到維園聚集抗議。我相約了幾個同學加入,一齊步去維園,到場的人出人意表之多,把幾個球場都擠滿了。那天下午香港刮起八號風球,然而颱風和暴雨也阻擋不了熾熱的心,強風把雨傘吹翻了,我們索性不理,照樣在大雨之下集會,雙腳一直被球場的積水浸著。

然後我們成千上萬的上街去,擠到利舞台附近有人宣布政府退讓取消戒嚴了。我們都有種勝利的感覺,幾萬香港人冒雨上街遊行也有點功勞吧。回家後才知道全無此事,不知是誰散佈的謠言。這是我上的第一課,在亂局中人是太急切想知道訊息,謠言就應運而生。這種情況以後還會不斷遇到,像911即日流傳了不少謠言。上了一課,我以後對這些未經證實的消息就有所戒心。

我濕透的回家,母親問我跟人去「噓」嗎?我很不高興地說我們是去了抗議,不是去「噓」。一邊說一邊脫鞋,鞋子足足倒出一杯水來。不過無論我怎樣糾正母親,她始終也改變不了「噓」這個說法,跟她說話真沒趣。

這一天是香港上街回應北京民運的序幕,以後的遊行一次比一次大。不過我印象最深還是這一天,那次遊行是年青時浪漫的一幕。

2014.06.04 comments

 

日出日落

日出日落,月缺月圓,一數原來已經活了16305天。

年月匆匆,有幸的話繼續12921日。

潮漲潮退,暴雨天晴,礁石間眾多魚蟹浮虫和海藻。一代完末又換來另一代。

2014.05.26 comments

 

New Office

new office

We moved from a ghettoish office to a stylishly designed new office. Still need to get use to the surroundings.

2014.05.19 comments

 

Tatchee Photography

tatchee photography

Tatchee is using my camera to shot pictures. There are whole bunch of random pictures but also a few good ones. This big head shot of Hanghang is one I really like.

2014.05.18 comments

 

秘魯懷古徒步印加古道(2009)-下編

Arequipa

離開馬丘比丘,馬不停蹄乘夜車轉到Arequipa。這裡雖然是有百萬人口的秘魯第二大城市,但並不覺得擠迫繁囂。在舊城區內,美麗的歷史建築物圍繞著市中心廣場,市內的景點都可以從廣場步行到達。一會在廣場閒坐看遊人,一會到附近行人街購物喝咖啡,甚為寫意。在Arequipa見到的人是本地人為主,不像庫斯科滿是遊客,所以這城市亦更有實感。


Plaza de Armas

El Misti火山聳立在市外

在Arequipa我最期待的景點是Museo Santuarios Andinos。九十年代在Arequipa附近的Ampato火山頂發現了幾具被冰封的印加兒童木乃依,這項發現令人開始了解印加以活人祭祀山神的風俗,揭開了研究活動和以後一連串的高山考古發現。這具木乃依就隨發現她的考古學家的名字命名為Juanita,現在存放於Universidad Católica de Santa María的Museo Santuarios Andinos內展出。我讀過考古探險家Johan Reinhard九十年代在國家地理雜誌發表的一連串有關木乃依的文章,對她早有印象。今日有機會一睹Juanita之面目,所以特別期待。


Museo Santuarios Andinos

參觀時先看一套國家地理雜誌製作的紀錄片了解背景。祭祀通常是因為發生了大天災後,祭師以小孩作貢品以息神怨。祭師通常要挑出身貴族,完美無瑕的小孩子,被選中的家庭相信會感到榮耀而非悲傷。祭禮從庫斯科的大遊行開始,從那裡祭祀隊伍展開漫長的征途,最後登上如Ampato般高達6300公尺的高峰。祭師在峰頂設立祭壇作祭禮,就在那裡把人間最珍貴的貢品小孩子獻給天神。

放映紀錄片後學生導遊在幾個展覽館向我們介紹展品,有從陵墓出土的陪葬品,又有從木乃依身上小心解拆出來的上等衣物。不少是我曾在相片見過,似曾相識的物品。Juanita放在最後一個館一個雙層玻璃隔著的冰箱裡面,她的軀體比我想像中細小,在昏暗的燈光下實在看相片還要比看實物清楚。無論如何,從當初登上高山,經歷了五百多年後才下山回到城裡,Juanita實在經歷了一段不可思議的旅程。

Colca Canyon

在Arequipa悠閒地過了兩天,又要再活動了。Colca Canyon位於Arequipa西北約160公里,是世界最深的峽谷之一。我們深入峽谷一千多公尺,渡過Colca河對面,在與世隔絕的小村留宿,然後一鼓作氣從谷底爬千多公尺出來。Colca Canyon氣候乾燥,沿途多見仙人掌之類植物,與馬丘比丘的茂林相比又是一番不同的景象。


遊客聚集在Cruz Del Condor期待看到禿鷹飛越

深入Colca Canyon

行吊橋渡河

即使在簡陋的農村,伙食也不能隨便

上來時偷懶,僱了一頭驢子幫我們背行李上來

早上在峽谷還是熱騰騰的,下午回程時竟在山上下了一場雪,也不顧天冷下車賞雪去

秘魯懷古徒步印加古道(2009)-上編

2014.05.16 [] - comments

 

秘魯懷古徒步印加古道(2009)-上編

原載於旅遊人生討論區


第一次到南美旅遊,剛剛從秘魯回來。徒步從印加古道(Inca Trail)走了四天去迷城馬丘比丘(Machu Picchu)朝聖。又遊覽了遍地都是古蹟和殖民式建築的庫斯科(Cusco)。然後去了富歷史色彩的城市Arequipa,還爬落世界其中一個最深的峽谷Colca Canyon。短短兩星期上山下山跑了多處,又受盡高原反應影響,這次旅程可算是辛苦。不過這亦讓我更切身地體驗壯麗的安第斯山脈和見識南美古文明的遺跡,使我得到一個難忘的經歷。


利馬市中心的行人商店街Jirón de la Unión

La Casa Courret

這次旅行可謂出師不利,臨出門前染病在家躺了幾天(我猜是染了豬流感),幸而上機前及時病愈。COPA/Continental機票是我用很平的價錢買到的,但代價是一個極差的行程。從三藩市出發到利馬,再轉Taca機到Cusco前後一共用三十小時,更甚的是當中包括連續兩晚通宵。在我多年旅遊經驗當中這航程算是最差的,直可與我在中國坐硬坐火車之苦相比。原本我是一個很易入睡的人,預算在三十小時之中會盡量去睡。但是不長不短每程三四小時的航機共有四班,美國機場候機室的長凳又用乞人憎的扶手隔開,令人無法躺下。第二天半夜到了利馬,入境竟然要大排長龍,入境以後清早起飛的Taca又未開始Check-in。所以第二個夜晚只能糊糊圖圖在機場Food Court熬過。明早到了Cusco以後倒頭就上了旅店的大床睡,睡到中午才勉強跑出去活動。


從Miraflores觀懸崖和海灘

印加帝國以庫斯科為首都,於十五,六世紀驟然擴張,版圖包括今日的哥倫比亞、厄瓜多爾、秘魯、玻利維亞、智利、阿根廷等地,成為一個綜橫南美州的龐大帝國。然而其全盛時期只有百多年,十六世紀被西班牙人入侵,印加帝國又驟然滅亡了。

印加國土主要在安第斯山脈,四處盡被崎嶇的山嶺阻隔。為了統治這遼闊的領土,印加王國建設了一個四通八達的道路網絡,使人和貨物得以跨越山嶺流通。又在途中設立不少驛站,以便通訊。印加的工程技術非常高明,這些在陡坡上用石頭鋪成的道路和梯級,經歷了幾百年的使用和暴雨沖擊,到了今天有不少路段仍在。其中一段路通往馬丘比丘,每年有不少遊客專誠到裡,跟隨古人的腳步用數天時間徒步往馬丘比丘探訪。


The Temple of the Sun, Písac

高原缺氧,上這段梯級甚為吃力(Písac)

這段印加古道長約43公里,高低起伏的路徑最高點達到4200m,而最低點是高於2400m的終點馬丘比丘,全程分4日3夜完成。除了地勢外,更因為高原低氧的氣候,對體能有一定的考驗。古道沿途經過不少村落和印加遺跡,盡覽壯麗山色,這可算是一條數一數二的遠足路線。


印加古道高度示意圖(from Llamapath)
旅程頭三天在古都庫斯科渡過,一方面四處遊覽,另一方面讓身體慢慢適應高原氣候。印加的建築技術實在精巧,庫斯科四處可見印加遺下的石牆地基。西班牙人摧毀了印加建築物,在遺下的地基上蓋上自己的房子和教堂,那些地基到了今日還是很穩固。Sacsayhuaman的建築實在令人嘆為觀之,石牆由一塊塊龐然巨石切成,居然可以做到天衣無縫,更不需用水泥連結。

庫斯科街景

Sacsayhuaman

庫斯科菜通常都由一度美味的湯開始,主菜總有各種不同的粟米和馬鈴薯。我吃過羊駝肉,味道有點像羊。連特產天竺鼠也吃過,只是可吃的肉並不多。其實我在庫斯科幾天受高原反應影響胃口都不好,每餐都是勉強地吃完。

庫斯科海拔3310公尺,初到那裡的人可能會有高原反應,但每人反應不一。我和我朋友算是受影響大,那幾天一直都覺得有點頭痛,食慾不振。我們已盡量慢慢的走路,其實想走得快也走不來。過了兩天我覺得已漸漸適應了,怎料第三晚才來大發作,頭痛得厲害,一點飯也吃不下,只有回旅店睡,希望明早出發往印加古道時可以應付得來。

本地人推薦以古柯葉coca製品來對抗高原反應,最常有的是古柯茶,亦可以嚼古柯葉,還有用古柯製葉成的糖。這些所有製品我全都試過,對我是否有用就不可已知了。


Coca candy味道苦澀

向印加古道出發

第四日清早,帶了輕便的行裝和睡袋到廣場集合,從那裡開了兩小時車到Ollantaytambo。印加古道的起點就在Urubamba河谷旁。吃過早餐,外面早晨天朗氣清,踏過鐵路走到磅礡的Urubamba河岸,河水流過連綿的山巒。這裡的美景令我的心情大好,昨晚的頭痛已消去,而且這裡的高度只有2700多公尺,所以暫時沒有因高原空氣而不適。


Urubamba河

遊客到此必須參加合格的遠足團,團費雖然是貴一點,但是待遇很不俗。營幕和煮食用具等重擔都由挑夫運送,自己只要背著衣服和私人用品,沿途聽導遊介紹風光歷史。一身疲勞來到營地時,挑夫早已把營幕豎立好,還預備好茶點款待,三餐豐富的飲食也包括在內。我們一團共有11人,另有15個挑夫和兩個導遊,比遊客還要多一半。


出發前先來一張團體合照

開始時我們沿著河岸而行,途中經過數處印加古蹟可以隔河遙望。沿途亦經過一些小村,甚至有茶寮向遊客賣汽水。中午我們在一條小村落腳,由隨團大廚給我們煮一餐美味的午膳。休息過後向第一晚的營地進發。


在營幕內豐富的膳食

途上遇上一隊羊駝

照導遊所說,第一天的行程算是熱身,路程長度和攀登高度都比第二日少,海拔亦較低,應該不難應付。但我覺得這山路越行越陡峭,人越走越慢,費盡氣力捱到營地是已是黃昏,真擔心明天是否能應付攀越4200公尺山口的挑戰。


筋疲力盡

沿印加古道而行,每隔不遠就會遇到一處遺蹟。這些建築物多數是建在山崗上或是懸崖邊,堅固的厚石牆大都保存完好。身處高峰之上雲霧飄渺之間,這些古建築大有天空之城的感覺。它們通常都是多用途建築,既是用於通訊和住宿的驛站,儲存糧食的倉庫,也是可觀察軍情的瞭望台。大規模的遺蹟還有房子作長期定居和有梯田作耕種。


Runkuraqay

Wiñay Wayna之門

我們第二天的行程是最長最有挑戰性,首先要攀越全程最高點4200公尺的Dead Woman's Pass,從離營地出發大概要爬1000公尺。本來我平日有適量運動,爬1000公尺並不難。但在4000公尺的高山空氣稀薄,行動特別吃力。偏偏我們這一隊人除了我和我朋友外,其他人都是二十來歲年青力壯的小伙子。他們一早就遠遠超前,我們殿後的就隨自己的步伐緩緩向上爬。我們也不知用了多久居然也爬了上去,更可幸是今天我沒有被我最擔心的高原反應影響。本來我們全隊人準備在山口慶祝一番,但就在我們到達時天下了一陣大雹,大得打到臉上也覺得痛。於是大家連忙下山去,甚麼慶祝拍照也不管了。


向Dead Woman's Pass進發

這段印加古道多數用石頭鋪成,上下山坡則建了大級的石級,人們就是靠這些建設才可翻越陡峭的安第斯山。今天的問題是一場雨後石級變得濕滑,在這段下山路我跌了十來次。這還是靠我有一支行山棒支持,否則可能連山也下不了要召救兵。其他朋友如果有興趣這段徒步旅程,行山棒是必備用具。


在雨中沿印加石級下山

Dead Woman's Pass只是今天的第一關,午飯後我們還要翻越高4000公尺的第二關才可到達營地。我只是憑著一股耐力,一步一步向上爬,每隔一小段路就坐一坐休息。印加古人可能一輩子習慣在山道跑上跑下,見我這些外人來到,在笑我們真不濟。走到下午五點,我終於到達營地完成今日一整天的行程。


營地

踏足馬丘比丘

第四天早上大家四點鐘起來用早點,再拔營向馬丘比丘進發。今天大家不知為甚麼都好像在賽跑,走得特別快。走到檢查站還要等到五點半才開門,我們是第二隊到達的隊伍。從檢查站再走數公里就來到Sun Gate,在雲霧之間馬丘比丘第一次展現在我們眼前了。


Sun Gate之團體照

馬丘比丘之絕景,嘆不枉此行

馬丘比丘建於十五世紀印加王朝的高峰期,其建築和佈局都是精心設計建造。學者認為那裏是進行宗教典禮的場所,亦是王族的離宮,還有可能是印加精英的學院和研究農業技術的實驗農場。然而它在建立一百年後西班牙人入侵時候被人遺棄了,這座山城慢慢被森林掩沒,此後逐漸被人遺忘。多年來西班牙人亦沒有發現此城,因此馬丘比丘才沒有像其他印加遺蹟一樣被劫掠和破壞,至今還保留得完好。1911年歷史學家Hiram Bingham來到這裡探險,他原意是尋找歷史中記載的另一個迷城Vilcabamba,那是印加失陷於西班牙軍隊的最後據點。但他卻在村民引導之下發現馬丘比丘,就是這樣這座宏偉的山城才被世人認識。


糧倉和梯田

馬丘比丘的面積頗大,我們隨導遊參觀幾個主要的建築群和宗教祭祀的場所。馬丘比丘當地有一個石礦場,從那裡我們對印加石匠破石和打磨的技術有了一點了解,亦可見馬丘比丘當時是個一仍在建造中的城市。城中有一條貫通全城的長樓梯,樓梯旁有一條用石鋪成的水泉,泉水源源不斷地流出。我常奇怪一個文化怎麼會在險峻的崇山之中發展起來,其中原因可能是那裡有肥沃的土壤和充足的水源。


馬丘比丘水泉

第一部分在印加腹地的旅程在此結束,以後幾天轉到秘魯南部城市Arequipa和Colca Canyon遊覽。

秘魯懷古徒步印加古道(2009)-下編

2014.05.15 [] - comments

 

Bye Bye Bay Bridge


Bay Bridge demolition

Bay Bridge demolition has started! [more...]

2014.05.07 comments

 

Bliss - the picture of dreamy green hill on every Windows XP

This is the familiar picture of a rolling green hill. Most of us have seen it because it is the default background image on Windows XP. It is such a dreamy picture that I always assume it is a computer generated image. [more...]

2014.04.17 comments

 

 

Walk To Work Day 2014

Today is the Walk to Work Day! Usually I go to work by bike, which takes about 15 minutes. But sure I could walk too. This is my 6 km journey to my work place in downtown. It is an 1 hour 24 minutes long walk, during which I spending plenty of time taking pictures. See my slide show here. [more...]

2014.04.11 [] - comments

 

Bill Gates was 30 years old

Here is a great interview with Bill Gates in 1986. He was 30 years old then. Microsoft was making software for personal computer, still a fairly small company and somewhat of a rebel compare to big corporate computer makers. [more...]

2014.04.03 comments

 

In Support of Brendan Eich

I am disappointed about Eich's support of prop 8 in 2008 and I disagree with his view. But what is truly appalling is his critics is pushing for ousting him as Mozilla's CEO base on his view. Isn't people allowed to have different value? This is not even a fringe idea. Majority of votes has voted for prop 8. What is the moral to deny people the job base on their political believe? What sort of world is this when we do background check to bar 52% of voters who has supported prop 8 from employment? This is far more chilling than prop 8 itself. [more...]

2014.03.29 comments

 

 

Minimum Wage Raise and Gentrification

A poll has shown that there is a strong support for raising the minimum wage in San Francisco by 40% to $15 per hour. I feel mixed about this proposal. On the one hand I like to see most people making more money. They need it to survive in this expensive city. On the other hand, these kind of direct intervention of economic often causes unintended consequences like lower employment, or business exiting to lower cost locations. Strangely in this case I side with conservative Ron Unz's idea that higher minimum wage is a preferred alternative to the reliance on public assistance. Although it is remain to be seem how public assistance can be reduced. [more...]

2014.03.16 comments

 

Paul Graham on Cities and Ambition

I was rereading Paul Graham's article on Cities and Ambition. His idea is each city project a specific message to the people. The message attracts and motivates people to a specific kind of enterprise. New York is about making more money. Boston is about becoming smarter. Silicon Valley is about to become more powerful (by means of innovation). Paris was a about intellectual but today it is more about arts. This is fairly consistent with Richard Florida's thesis that location has great influence on what people do and what they could achieve. [more...]

2014.02.27 comments

 

Mathematical Intuitions

During my online course study, sometimes the instructor would say, intuitively, the reason go such as such. We spend a lot of time doing proofs that are the primary insight and knowledge. But the instructors also speak of developing an intuition on the subject. [more...]

2014.02.25 comments

 

Make Useful Charts

Having been with Bay Area Bike Share for a few month, I am glad with their green bikes available around downtown. I also appreciate Bay Area Bike Share's openness in sharing their system metrics. However the system chart on their web page do not provide much useful information. [more...]

2014.02.24 [] - comments

 

Why I Hate Whatsapp

Whatsapp's was sold for a jaw-dropping price, with more 0s than any normal people can count. I have no idea if this price is reasonable. As a user, I just want to talk about why I hate Whatsapp, as well as the entire class of mobile only proprietary messaging apps. [more...]

2014.02.21 comments

 

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Israel steps up bombardment of Gaza (29 Jul 2014)

 

US and EU expand sanctions on Russia (29 Jul 2014)

 

China investigates ex-security chief (29 Jul 2014)

 

Child malaria vaccine 'milestone' (29 Jul 2014)

 

Last Hiroshima bomb crew member dies (29 Jul 2014)

 

Migration changes 'to put UK first' (29 Jul 2014)

 

West Africa flight ban over Ebola (29 Jul 2014)

 

Jewish Museum suspect extradited (29 Jul 2014)

 

Death threats to Amazon tribe leader (29 Jul 2014)

 

Deadly attack hits China's Xinjiang (29 Jul 2014)

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Slashdot News for nerds, stuff that matters

 

EA Tests Subscription Access To Game Catalog (2014-07-29T22:54:00Z)

 

Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus? (2014-07-29T22:32:00Z)

 

A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video) (2014-07-29T21:50:00Z)

 

seL4 Verified Microkernel Now Open Source (2014-07-29T21:08:00Z)

 

Enceladus's 101 Geysers Blast From Hidden Ocean (2014-07-29T20:28:00Z)

 

Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond) (2014-07-29T19:45:00Z)

 

Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance (2014-07-29T19:03:00Z)

 

Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory (2014-07-29T18:20:00Z)

more »

 

TechPsychic Tech Rumors and Invented News

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SF Gate

 

Bay Area News (7 Jan 2012)

 

City Insider (11 Feb 2012)

 

Crime Scene (13 Feb 2012)

 

C.W Newius Column (10 Jan 2012)

 

C.W. Nevius Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

Education News (10 Jan 2012)

 

KALW (11 Feb 2012)

 

Matier and Ross Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

Communications platform would link electric cars, utilities (29 Jul 2014)

 

Medical marijuana users link to delivery services with Eaze (29 Jul 2014)

 

Dollar Tree spending .5 billion for Family Dollar Stores (28 Jul 2014)

 

Dollar Tree buying Family Dollar for .5 billion (28 Jul 2014)

 

23andMe helps make new Parkinson's disease discovery (28 Jul 2014)

 

Fliers love Virgin America, but will investors love its IPO? (28 Jul 2014)

more »

 

Asia Times Online

 

Russia told to pay in Yukos case (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

Vietnam buckles under Chinese pressure (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

CHAN AKYA An era of thugs (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

Why no Arab state cries for Gaza (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

COMMENT The resistance will not be crushed (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

The Pashtun factor in Pakistan's insurgency (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

JOHN PILGER Palestine, war and lethal reporting (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

Central Asia clash mars China gas plan (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

 

THE BEAR'S LAIR Business and free markets (Tue 29 Jul 2014 11:00:00 GMT)

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