Friday, September 19, 2014

Cameron Should Resign

The Scots have voted and Scotland will stay within the United Kingdom. With a vote of 55% to 45%, Scotland had spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart.

I must say I’m surprised. I thought the Scots would vote for independence because…well, they’re not going to get this chance ever again. However this is their choice and I respect that. However what really surprised me is the fact that British Prime Minister Cameron still has a job.

While the British cheered, kissed and drink in celebration, I have to say I’m surprised no one has told Prime Minister Cameron to quit yet. Now I’m all for letting people vote for their future but this referendum was a stupid political gamble that backfired royally. I understand when Cameron made the promise of the referendum, there were more than enough reason to think it would be an easy win for him but guess what; he was wrong!

Opinion polls showing support for Scottish independence was so high that Cameron had to pledge to grant more powers to Scotland if they stayed in the kingdom. Even the Queen was roped in, touring Scotland almost non-stop before the vote. 

So letting the referendum go on a vote was a misstep that almost became an epic historic mistake for the U.K. From the outside looking in, I have to wonder how in world the British people are letting Cameron get away with this. Even with the win, he should go.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Comics this week

Deadly Class #7- After a short break, writer Rick Remender bring us back to assassin school with an issue that starts slow before ramping it up at the end. The gang is still suffering the fallout of Chico’s attempted hit on Marcus with Saya trying to find Chico’s body and Maria suffering a breakdown. Not helping matters for Marcus is the fact that both girls now have their eyes on him and a love triangle is blossoming here. Yeah, this is a school for assassins, being a psycho killer is a good thing here. I won’t say this is a great start to the second story arc but after the first 6 issues, Remender and artist Wes Craig get some leeway from me. Welcome back class!

Justice League Futures End #1- By now, almost everyone is in agreement that Future’s End is a terrible event. Justice League Futures End does not change that. It seems that 5 years from now, only Cyborg is left on the team with the rest of the team comes from JL United and JLA. Give me back Jessica Cruz, Lex Luthor, and Batman please.

Superior Spider-Man #33- One of the main (and best) thing about Superior Spider-Man is what a superior jerk Otto is as Spider-Man. Insufferable as Doc Octopus, Otto Octavius became insufferable x10 in the young, agile body of Peter Parker. There's plenty more of Otto the jerk in this issue, especially towards his follow Spider-Men. While fun to read, what was really good about this issue was how writer Dan Slott & Christos Gage expanded the story and increased the danger and challenges facing the Spiders. As powerful as Morlun is, it’s hard to imagine you needing 30+ Spider-men to take him down. So letting him have a family and fleshing them out solve that problem neatly. So far, the Spider-Verse event looks very promising. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lotfi Ariffin Does Not Fight For IS!

It’s no surprise that there are some people from Southeast Asia currently fighting in Syria and Iraq on behalf of the Islamic State (IS). IS has recruited people from all over the world, so this cannot come as any surprise. 

So when Yahoo news announced how the death of a Malaysian Islamist in Syria fighting on behalf of IS has sparked an outpouring of eulogies on social media, many people were rightfully concerned. However there’s just one problem.

Lotfi Ariffin, the Malaysian in question, does not fight for IS! 

He died fighting the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad on behalf of an Islamic group call Ajnad al-Sham, a rebel group that operates near the Syrian capital of Damascus which is not affiliated to IS or the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Having said that, according to his regular posts on social media, Mr. Lotfi Ariffin was a proud Islamist who believed he was answering a call for jihad in Syria.

That is short is the headache facing Western and Arabic states looking to take on IS in Syria and Iraq. Do they just attack IS or should they also attack other Islamic militant groups like Nusra Front and Ajnad al-Sham? How do they differentiate between the groups and if they attack all of them, would that make/force the groups to band together?

For people who are wondering why it is taking so long for the U.S and the Western countries to attack IS, this is just one of the big problems they are facing with no clear answer. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Due To Man

For over than 140 million years, they have been swimming in the Yangtze River. However, now it seems that the Chinese sturgeon will soon be no more.

This comes as no surprise as rising levels of pollution and the construction of dozens of dams along the Yangtze has seem a decreased in the number of Chinese sturgeons in the river since the 1980s. Now, it is estimated only there are only around 100 fish left.

Not only that, Chinese researchers also found no young sturgeons swimming along the Yangtze toward the sea during the period they usually do so. Worse is the fact that they believed that no wild sturgeon reproduced naturally last year in the Yangtze River. All the young ones were artificially-bred by Chinese researchers in a last ditch effort to prevent the sturgeons extinction. That is just not enough in the face of pollution and the dams. 

So it seems all but certain that the Chinese sturgeon will follow the Baiji dolphin, a native species of dolphins in the Yangtze, in going extinct. 140 million years, and gone due to the action of man. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Xbox Games On PC

The big rumor in the gaming world these days is that Microsoft is reportedly experimenting with a streaming service which could bring the latest console games to any computer. Basically, Microsoft is developing a technology that will stream all Xbox games to the PC.

Now as a PC player, you would think this is great news for me. After all, if Microsoft do this, this means all those Xbox exclusive games will now be available to me. If you think so however, you would be wrong.

On paper this may be good news for PC gamers, but if this rumor is true, then I foresee some big problems for Microsoft. First off is the fact that there's no disguising why Microsoft is doing this. The Xbox One consoles is currently being destroyed by Sony's PS4 and things are so bad that even the WiiU (created at much lower cost) is beating it in sales.

However the biggest problem is the fact that there's already a great streaming service available to PC gamers. Microsoft need to explain why we would want to use their service instead of the 200 pound gorilla know as STEAM. Valve's STEAM is by far the best streaming service right now with others like Origins and UPlay also there. Where would Microsoft figure among that?

Now playing console games on home computers is not a new idea. Microsoft already have the OnLive cloud gaming platform but there's a huge jump between that niche service and STEAM. Can Microsoft do it and become the STEAM-killer? Honestly, I doubt it. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Comics this week

Astro City #15- I will admit I was secretly hoping that harmless-looking Ellie was some retired supervillain but the end of this issue will do just fine. Writer Kurt Busiek finished his story of little old Ellie and like always, it was a treat. Special mention is needed for artist Brent Anderson who managed to show the steel behind the frail old woman. I mean even when Ellie managed to show up Vivi Victor and the Honor Guard (Samaritan, Winged Victory, American Chibi etc), you never forget the fact that when we first met the lady, she was a forgetful kind old lady. Brilliant!

Copperhead #1- As a general rule, I’m not a fan of cross-genre stories. If they managed to do it right, it could be good but most of the time, stories that cross genres are just messes. That should also tell you how good the debut of Copperhead is when I find it both interesting and well-written. Yes, writer Jay Faerber ticked a lot of boxes in the story (protagonist with a past, cute kid, slimy businessman etc) but the space western still feel fresh and new. Artist Scott Godlewski must take a lot of the credit for this as his version of the world managed to feel both western and high tech at the same time. This is just #1 so a lot of things can still go wrong, but this is one hell of a promising debut.

Hinterland #11- Give writer Ian Edginton credit. Every time I think I got a handle on the story, he pull the rug right beneath me. Just when we expect the Centaur Tribe to launch holy righteous vengeance on the Vampire Nation, the leader of the centaur instead make the smart long-term play of an alliance against a mutual (more powerful) enemy. I admit the scene of Hobbs just giving info to the vampires smell of an info-dump but even if you count that in, this was a very good issue. Edginton is putting his pieces in play for a grand ending to this arc. I'll be there for it! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Complaining About The Wrong Thing

In Singapore, a lot is currently being made about the news of three foreigners who came illegally into Singapore to abduct a child. A 30-year-old woman, who got custody of her son in England, allowed her divorced husband to bring their son to Singapore to visit his family but after arriving, the husband refused to return the child back to the mother.

In desperation, the woman, whose name cannot be revealed to protect the identity of the boy, entered Singapore illegally with 2 others to take back her child. They failed and the 3 are now jailed between 10 to 16 weeks. Some Singaporeans are saying the sentences are too light and some even complain that our local press is too subdued in their reporting of the case.

I can totally understand why the press is so subdued because this case is a major embarrassment to Singapore. Not because the woman managed to sneak into Singapore, that’s not so unusual, but because the Singapore courts is protecting the ex-husband, the man who abducted the child from his mother in the first place!

These are the facts. The mother had custody. She kindly allowed her ex-husband to bring their son out to Singapore trusting him to return the boy after 2 months. The ex-husband broke her trust, broke the law in England, ignored the English Court's custody ruling, and that forced the mother to take the actions she did. Now the mother is in jail for trying to get back her stolen son?

I’m no lawyer, but this is an injustice if there’s ever is one. The mother had custody, she did a good deed agreeing to let her ex-husband’s parents take care of the boy for two months, and now she is in jail because her lying, cheating ex-husband broke his word to her.

So yeah, the Singapore press is subdued in their coverage of the case. I can totally understand that because if they are not, they will have to roast this unjust ruling that protect the abductor and punished the mother whose child was stolen from her.

Now that is something Singaporeans should complain about!