The Dark Shadow Shrine

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sat Evening Class -- Compre Ans Key






Nuclear Stuff.....

For my Fri evening class, here's the article on how nuclear disaster is due to human error, a possible rebuttal to the oft-quoted point that nuclear technology is unsafe. Even for the Fukusima incident, it was reported that it need not have ended in such catastrophic proportions had the reactor been shut down in time. The protracted procrastinations (due to the big sums invested in building the reactor) resulted in unnecessary delays. By the time the decision was made to shut down the reactor, it was already too late. Hence it could be argued that it is the error in human judgement here that causes the nuclear catastrophe, not so much the technology itself that is questionable here.




Pertaining to the prohibitive cost of nuclear, recognise the possible rebuttal here -- only the start-up cost is high, i.e. the building of the plant and the reactor. Thereafter, the cost of generating electricity is actually very low. Note the useful stats given here in this second article: For nuclear energy, only 3 to 4% of the total production cost of electrivity is due to the cost of uranium, whereas for fossil fuels like coal, it is 50%!!! Given the fluctuating prices of oil and coal, in contrast to the relative price stability of uranium, the impact on cost of producing electricity is tremendous! Recognise the use of compare/contrast with inferior alternative as an elaboration technique here!


"Scientists have taken the world apart but have no idea what to do with the pieces.' Discuss. (HCI Prelim 2011)

Is the pursuit of nuclear technology desirable in today's world? (NJC Prelim 2009)

Social Media definition



For those who r still clueless

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Reflections

A picture of the yet-to-be-completed condo (called "The Reflections") at Keppel Bay, near vivo city. An excellent example for the 2011 qn last year: 'Only modern architecture and modern art have a place in today's world.' How true is this of your society? Indeed, does such avant garde architecture have a place in Singapore? Think Marina Bay Sands hotel also with its striking 'surf board'; and of course, our Esplanade 'durian'.

Desensitization to animals which we eat




This article is useful for qns on the ethical dilemma of animal rights and food issues. It gives quite a vivid picture of the gross treatment of the battery chicken. More interestingly are the comments in the excerpt, which I have highlighted for u. We are desensitised to the plight of animals which we derive food from because we do not see the slab of meat on the dining table as coming from an animal! This is especially so in Singapore where more than 80% of our food is imported. Our concept of food is slabs of meatthat we buy from supermarkets which magically appear on our table. There are no farms here where animals roam about freely in the meadows, so we tend not to associate or see the food we eat as coming from live animals. It is thus difficult to feel empathy for animals and hence fight for their rigths or change our diet. Those who have done the 2010 cambridge compre on food can incorporate this idea into their AQ.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bukit Brown Eg



I mentioned this example on Bukit Brown recently in my essay outline to show that environment concerns and economic growth canNOT co-exist. But this latest update on the same example shows that co-existence is possible! The example can also be used on questions concerning whether the govt should listen to the people, as well as the co-existence btw conservation (both cultural and environmental) and urbanization/modernization. Recognize that Bukit Brown doesn't contain just rich flora and fauna, it is also the final resting grounds of some illustrious pioneers of Singapore's history.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lynas Debacle

This article can be read in the light of the qn can came out last year: 'Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist'. Do you agree? (2011)

In the article, there's mention of the Malaysian govt trying to build incinerators and landfills, which are potential environmental hazards. Recognise that economic growth is the culprit for generating the large amount of waste that needs to be disposed of here, due to the consumerist lifestyle that is needed to sustain economic growth, or the factories that churn out industrial waste in the course of manufacturing. Also mentioned is the Lyna's rare-earth plant. This posits a high risk on the environment because of the radioactivity. But the govt is willing to let the Australian company Lynas build the plant in Malaysia, because of the huge investment dollars that could be earned. In both cases, be able to see that the demands of economic growth are at odds with those of the environment. Two other things to note about this article are the role of the NGO and the internet in safeguarding the environment.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Burqa-clad woman



Here's a pic of a muslim woman wearing a burqa in Afghanistan. Under the Syariah law, muslim women have to wear the burqa (when they venture out of their house), which has been liken to some critics as a 'walking cage'. It has often been seen as a symbol of women oppression.

'Honour' Killing



The term 'honour killing' was raised in one session. Read more about it at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing. Here's also an interesting article spelling out the tragic fate of women in other countries.

Edusave Character Award -- Part II




A MUST-READ! This is a follow-up article to the one I posted earlier on the controversy behind the Edusave Character Award. An excellent example for the qn: "Do awards and prizes serve any useful purpose?" Note that the problem here is not so much against awards and prizes per se, but awards and prizes in the form of cash (i.e. 5W-1H -- WHAT type of awards/prizes).




Sunday, March 11, 2012

Security Budget for London Olympics




For those who did the Sports compre recently, here's a good article about security measures for the upcoming London Olympics. Can be used as a possible rebuttal for the point that sports can be sabotaged by terrorists for political ends. Note the record amount spent on security measures alone: one billion sterling pounds!!!! There's also mention of the worry over the fate of 'legacy projects' like the Olympic stadium built specially for the event. Will it turned out to be like Beijing's Bird's Nest -- a 'white elephant'?


Qns: Is sport too closely linked to money these days? (2001)

'Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits.' Do you agree? (2005)

Does sport merit the vast sums of money that are spent on it? (2010)

MOE's new Edusave Character Award




A very good article regarding the ministry's recent launch of the new Edusave Character Award. Reminds me of the controversy over CIP points -- rewarding students for the good deeds that they do, with the possible danger that people will do good things for the wrong reasons (nothing's worse than that!) Relate to 2011 Qn: Do awards and prizes serve any useful purpose?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Foreign Talent creates jobs, not steal them






One of u from my Wed class asks about this....here's the article with the statistics by LKY. Note the useful rebuttal to the common complaint that foreign talent steals our jobs.


Qn: To what extent does the migration of people have a positive effect? (2008)

Friday, March 02, 2012

How S'pore Tackles the Environment issue





Article: New measures lined up to fight climate change:



This short article provides a quick insight into how S'pore is using legislation and other policies to tackle climate change.


Qn: Is it possible to protect the environment when many countries require increasing amounts of energy to progress? (2007)