Google Street View .hk

真是後知後覺!原來香港的 Google Maps 亦已有 Street View(註) 了!害我今早花了半小時到全港各處「遊覽」!第一件事是到自己家出面條大街與公司大閘看看有沒有自己的樣子(你知啦!萬一自己的傻樣被 cap 了,咁就要搵窿捐!)。也嘗試進入菜園村 cap 圖留念,但因為找不到菜園村的大門口,故只能在外圍兜了個圈。

在尖東某戲院門外見到海雲台的海報,再加上大家穿的衣服,估計拍攝時間大概是去年的夏天至秋天左右。一些較新的道路如位於舊天星碼頭前連貫灣仔北與中環的龍滙道便未有 Street View。但這已比 Google Maps 本身較 update 了 ~ 在地圖上昂船洲大橋還未埋口呢!不過一兩年前仲誇,當時已開幕數年的迪士尼在地圖上還是爛地一塊!

下面是我在尖沙咀碼頭嘗試「拍下」的一幅維港景色。尖沙咀碼頭也快被拆,這幅圖遲些也變絕版了。原本其實也沒有想過在這裡拍,但當我一路沿著尖東海旁向南看時,發覺海景永遠都被大巴士擋著。香港真是太多車了


Links to Google Maps

明報新聞:Google港街景圖 全球最難拍

註:在地圖左上角的黃色人仔拖到有藍邊的行車路上,讓綠圈踏進街位時放手便有有得睇!而如果在 iPhone 上看,便要先 “drop pin” 到有野睇的街上(冇的話,便拖到有的位置),按 pin 上的橙色人仔即可!

The Monkey’s Paw

【Warning:This is a scary story!】

Have you ever wonder what you would wish for if you are granted the three wishes? The clip below is a modern adaptation of the classic story “The Monkey’s Paw” written by W.W. Jacobs back in 1902.

To read the original story, please come here.

This story makes me think of a recent movie “The Box” (by Cameron Diaz) and another short film with similar theme “Black Button“.

自家製 Pizza

自家製 Pizza 簡約食譜:

批底 ~ 先將大概三茶匙 dry yeast 和少許糖溶於一杯大概 40C 的溫水中。將三杯半麵粉(如用高筋麵粉,會較脆)和少許鹽放進大 bowl 中,然後慢慢分段加進溫水。搓混。再加兩湯匙橄欖油。將其搓成波狀,在溫暖環境下發酵一個鐘。橄欖油的作用是來使批底變脆。沒有橄欖油的話,乜油都得。(傳統的意大利 pizza 甚至會用豬油!)

批頂 ~ 先搽茄羔,再落碎 Mozzarella cheese,再加自己喜歡的料(如火腿、Pepperoni、菠蘿、牛油果、車里茄、青紅黃椒、黑欖等)。磨菇會出水,遲點落為妙。

~ 放批於 pre-heat 的 pizza stone 上在焗爐用大概 230C 焗 10~15 分鐘。其間會見到 Mozzarella cheese 會溶為一起,而且批邊會脹起。最後香味溢至,即成。

食評 ~

  1. 我們用了註明是用作弄 pizza 的麵粉,但質地很怪(見下圖)。而且,我們先落水後落粉,水份控制不好,所以粉團太濕了。
  2. 粉團太濕其實對於最後製成品的味道、口感似乎沒有太大影響,只是搓皮時很難成形(也做不到將批皮向天拋的表演)。
  3. 那些 Mozzarella cheese 超好味,又好玩(Jac Jac 玩「拉絲」),但勁肥。下次一定要用低脂甚至是脫脂。
  4. 車里茄、青紅黃椒、磨菇等對味道冇乜貢獻,反而菠蘿和黑欖就不錯。火腿最好有咁薄得咁薄,如果唔係就會成塊甩出來。
  5. 我相信那 pizza stone 是超重要的。但這只是一個估計,因為我們沒有這東西。我們傻瓜地分別試過用錫紙、牛油紙來墊底,結果,黐到阿媽都唔認得。要逐忽搣返出來才可以吃。如果放在 pizza stone,個批底就會又脆又唔會黐。但唔知香港邊度有得買。
  6. 好唔好食?你睇臨尾 Jacob 的食相便知啦!

The Elephant and its Rider

“Our emotional is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider. Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.”

“The weakness of the Elephant, our emotional and instinctive side, is clear: It’s lazy and skittish, often looking for the quick payoff (ice cream cone) over the long-term payoff (being thin)… … Changes often fail because the Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination… … Elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long-term, to plan, to think beyond the moment”

“But… … the Elephant isn’t always the bad guy. Emotion is the Elephant’s turf — love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty… … the elephant is the one who gets things done. To make progress toward a goal… … requires the energy and drive of the Elephant.”

“If you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction and the Elephant provides the energy.”

~ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their new book “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard“, quoting a concept by Jonathan Haidt stated in his book “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

旋轉木馬

你信唔信有鬼?

有人話人死後會上天堂或地獄。有人話其實鬼魂即是死後未散去的腦電波。也有人話人死那刻若塵緣未了魂魄便會在世間游離,直至成功輪迴為止。我選擇做一個「不可知論者」,因為未死過,唔會知。死左,也已成定局,知黎無謂。

老婆和兒子去了排隊玩小飛象。我便獨個兒坐在遊樂場的長櫈,望著周遭走來走去的遊客,嘗試去思考這些沉重的人生問題。看見一張張陌生的臉在自己面前走過,有興奮但疲倦的小孩,有無奈而抽離的丈夫,也有不理時限只管慢步的老人,我覺得在遊樂場觀察人生可能比飛機場或火車站更精彩:更多不同階級種類的人放開懷抱共處一地,背景顏色又更鮮艷,而且又有戶外陽光。

想著想著,有點睏,打了個呵欠。忽然間,天色一沉,刮起一陣大風,竟然落起大兩來。我只好趕快跑到前面的旋轉木馬內避雨。同時在旋轉木馬內避雨的就只有幾位老人,可能其他年輕人都跑到商舖去趁機購物了。

在控制台上的工作人員對我們說:「各位,預備好便開始吧!」我來不及問他開始甚麼,旋轉木馬便開始在轉。我只好趕忙抓緊在隔鄰的一隻馬頭。旋轉木馬愈轉愈快,外面的雨景開始漸漸變得模糊。在眼前掠過的影像中,我卻依稀見到我過去三十幾年來見過的人、事和物,如十幾年前已過世的公公,如小時候女友的孖辮,如嚇人的大粒墨小學老師,如兒子出世時哭出的第一聲…… 這是甚麼?終於輪到我了嗎?我會變鬼嗎?

那個樣子像史迪仔的工作人員像懂讀心術,竟然答曰:「你不會變鬼。這部是輪迴螺旋機。當旋轉完畢,你就會向馬首指著方向的生命投胎,過程簡單、快捷、方便!是我們最新推出……」

聽到這裡,我已聽不入耳了。原來我真的死掉了!是怎樣發生的呢?是高空擲物?是剛才那又貴又難吃的叉燒飯有毒?老婆和兒子仍在玩小飛象麼?他們知不知道我已經死了?他們現在在哪?想到這裡旋轉木馬原來已慢慢停下來。我也緊張望著外面,嘗試搜尋我那投胎的目標。

赫然發覺旋轉木馬停頓後馬首指著的,正是自己之前坐著的長櫈!而「自己」卻仍好端端坐著,垂下了頭。唉,死狀這樣含蓄,也難怪沒有路過的人察覺來相救了……

史迪仔這時卻對我說:「選好了吧?到你啦!」來不及應對,我便感到自己的「身體」被扯向外邊,跟著眼前一黑,甚麼也看不見了。我在想,我現在應該在某人的胎中吧?…… 咦?為甚麼我仍記得這些東西?噢!史迪仔沒有給我喝那甚麼「孟婆茶」啊!還是因為剛才我望著「自己」太久,結果史迪仔便當那是我的選擇,所以將我放回原處呢?

「喂!Daddy!起身啦!」有把熟識的聲音喚醒了我!我睜開雙眼一看,猛烈的陽光刺進眼中,呀!是發夢耶?我不禁用力緊抱了老婆和兒子一下。他們都覺得有點莫名其妙,但仍笑著跟我抱在一起。我抬頭望望那旋轉木馬,嘿!好端端的仍在轉,但上面卻滿是正常的小孩和家長!至於那控制台上的工作人員,咦,真的是史迪仔啊!我們遠距離作了一個短暫的眼神接觸,然後他竟向我點頭微笑了一下呢!

本文為影像外的故事──第二回參加作品

題目圖片來源:Claire @ Flickr

參加的網友名單(參加先後排序)
五師兄 @ 五師兄字 — 旋轉木馬
Stannum @ 餘弦棧 — 在一起
Maki @ Tower of Romance — 小歐洲背後
萱言 @ 文字浮現的暗湧 — 《人間斑駁處》

Further Reading: 影像外的故事 — 第一回

Bill Gates on energy: Innovating to zero!

Bill Gates, practically the single man who holds largest amount of resources personally in the world, gave a talk about how the planet could be saved in the TED2010 conference. Climate changes and green energy are the hot topics in the recent years. And despite the fact that someone pointed out that it could all be just a “Global Warming Hoax” (and even IPCC admitted that there were some wrong doing during the research process), the topics remain a vital theme of our generation because it is too risky to ignore even we are not 100% sure.

And I won’t choose to ignore it also because it is from the mind of Bill Gates. Imagine the resources and influences that he could have on anything that he endorses. The best part is that his influences are not based on his position (as CEO of a company or the President of a nation) but on his personal merit. That’s something quite different.

Two things to note in his speech. For one, he proposed an equation: CO2 = P x S x E x C. He pointed out that we could not control much on the population growth and reduce much on the services that these population consumes (these two factors are the “demand” component of the equation). I believe that this assumption is somewhat realistic and practical, and thus much easier for a developed middle-class driven country like the U.S. to feel comfortable with. However, I guess he could have also make a wish on how we could “reinvent” our daily life and save a lot of CO2 in the “S” part. I know it is much easier to be said than done, but it would still be very influential if it is coming out from the mouth of Bill Gates (as compared to, say, Mr. Al Gore).

The second thing to note in the speech is about the second part of the equation “E” and “C”. The most significant take away from that is his project in investigating how to burn U238 instead of the existing U235 as a nuclear fuel. It is significant because firstly we have abundance of U238 (as in nature and also as a waste by-product of burning U235), and by doing so we could have a tremendous improvement in fuel efficiency. We know that we need a huge technological breakthrough to achieve this, but if Bill Gates is putting his funds into this, the hope is much higher.

It is truly significant also because it demonstrates how the mind of an entrepreneur (with lots of resources) works: he realised that the existing approaches (of cutting consumptions, lobbying amount nations) won’t work in the long run anyway, so he innovates. He proposes a dramatic solution that other people could not achieve by their incremental improvements. Whether he has already got the best (or even correct) idea, we won’t know, at least for now. And it doesn’t matter, as this approach is more dynamic, innovative and meaningful compared to the argument and frustration we have with all the other approaches.

I admire his effort and his vision. At least much better than how he ran his Microsoft empire.

Further Readings:
2010 Annual Letter from Bill Gates
The Gates Notes