A collection of post on Science with a Malaysian focus

So you think English is the lingua-franca of Science…


I get annoyed when parent associations insist that the Government needs to teach science and maths in English. They argue that because English is the lingua-franca of science, teaching science in English will help students learn more effectively without needing them to translate scientific terms from the vernacular. They add that teaching Science and Maths in English is a great way to improve the...

Why you must ALWAYS question government


Today I read that our beloved Education Minister is ‘SHOCKED’ that Malaysian students are not on par with their foreign counterparts. 
Shocked? Really?
Just 2 years ago, the good Minister was proudly proclaiming that “The Malaysian education system is on track to becoming among the world’s best“, and this was backed up by a Government Transformation Project (GTP) report.

The Monty Hall Problem in Excel


I remember this problem from watching an episode of numbers. You’re a contestant on a game show–and you’re given 3 doors to choose from. Behind one door is a shiny new sports car–behind the other 2 are goats. Your goal is to get the sportscar, by choosing a door. But after you choose a door the host reveals one of doors with the goats. Leaving you with you just two doors...

Why do computers like to calculate Pi?


Pi has always held a special place in my heart and probably yours as well. When people ask me to pick a number between 1 to 10, I always pick Pi (or sometimes the square root of two), which hasn’t made me the life of many parties. And there’s an entire community of Pi lovers like me out there–people who are just fanatical about calculating pi to the trillions of digits? With...

My teachers day tribute to Mr. Vijay: Summing every number 1 to 100


Teachers day was last Friday, and I thought it would be good to make a small post in tribute to an interesting teacher I had in form 4. Imagine a 200 pound man, with a thick moustache, carrying intimidating rotan, and wore nothing but Chairman Mao style Bush-coats everyday–that’s Mr. Vijay, and he thought me Additional Mathematics. Mr. Vijay was interesting in many ways, including the...

Trust the science: Why mining pool water is safe to drink


Do a quick experiment: 1. Fill a glass half-full with water 2. Drop a couple of ice-cubes into the glass 3. Measure the water level before the ice melts 4. Measure the water level after the ice melts Now compare the water level before and after the ice melted, and you’ll find them to be the same. So if melting ice doesn’t increase the water level in your glass–why do melting ice...

Study shows Malaysian students can’t solve problems


The latest PISA 2012 results are out, and it comes with a twist. Instead of testing the usual ‘knowledge’ of the students, PISA crafted a new exam meant to test the creative problem solving skills of students in various countries. further explains: The assessment, which was the subject of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  (OECD) report released...

MH370 crashed our romanticized perception of technology


As our thoughts and prayers remain with the passengers of flight MH370, I think that as the search enters its 3rd week, it’s a good time to reflect on just how much our perception of aviation technology has changed as a result. It’s quite important to differentiate between what REALLY happens and what we THINK happens, an in some cases the gulf is so large, that our perception of what...

Is it Root-er or Rao-ter : The age old question for the pronunciation of the word router


Here’s an age old question, is it pronounced router (as in rao-ter) or is it router (as in root-er). A lot of people seem to think it depends where you are, if you’re in the US, it’s rao-ter, and if you’re in the UK it’s root-er. But the internet is global, it doesn’t care where you are, it doesn’t matter which culture you’re from, there can only be...