Friday, April 29, 2005

News Flash- what a major annoyance

Very recently, I read that the President of the United States Mr Bush announced measures to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign production.

One of the measures would be to help other major (and growing) consumers like China and India reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

In the shorter term, oil-producing nations will be urged to maximise production to make oil more affordable.

"Millions of American families and small businesses are hurting because of higher gasoline prices."
"My administration is doing everything we can to make gasoline more affordable.”


Image from BBC. Click to view BBC's report.
Did I give you a fright?

Frankly, my opinion of this is that Bush’s measures are absurd.*

1) The US is dependent of petrochemical products. China and India are dependent on petrochemical products. To make oil cost less, the United States is trying to help India and China become less dependent on petrochemical products. That way, the US can continue to have petrochemical orgies at a lower price without having to suffer any change to the way their things work.
2) Another way to reduce prices is to increase supply. The US is urging oil-producing nations to maximise production. This way, the US can continue to indulge in its oil induced stupor at a lower price without having to violate the pristine territories of the Alaskan oil fields.

To round it all off, I would suggest the following measures as an alternative:
1) The US reduces its dependence on fossil fuels.
2) The US starts to FULLY exploit its Alaskan fields.

PS. There used to be a time when I would like to visit the United States. I think that sort of faded away as I became slightly more aware of the world. The general sentiment lately has been, “US foreign policy. Bah!”

* I had initially phrased this sentence as “…Bush’s measures are full of shit.” I had also started with the title “News Flash- What a major piss-off”. However, these would only serve to promote this piece of rambling from a one-sided argument to full fledged white propaganda. That’s interesting…one day I would try black propaganda.

Appended 3.30am 30 April 2005:

In reply to this article, DC made the following remarks via email:

Bravo that. Only after coming to the UK did i begin to appreciate why Dr. M [ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Muhammad] adopted a look east policy some years back. There is always an alternative.

The West is not necessarily the best nor are they always right. We must believe in ourselves (Asians/Africans) and create an alternative platform to measure ourselves against in the world playing field.

The western hegemony over world policy must be contained, particularly American, even if it is just for the sake of check and balance. With the decline of the Bear (Soviet Union/ Russia), hopefully the growing influence of China will change things. How and when nobody knows. Only time will tell.

But as everything that goes up must come down, when the time comes i think it will be very difficult for them to swallow. With that in mind, Commonwealth citizens can apply to vote, which i did. Yes i'm quite kepoh i have been told. So i'm all for the liberal democrats at the moment. And coincidentally their motto is

"The real alternative"

Appended 12.55pm 30 April 2005:

In reply to this article, ob!ique commented:

my two cents, US ought to gas it up its ass. they are just unhappy with OPEC's control in prices in important parts of the globe that's all. aww, too bad they can't be part of it.

Appended 8.00pm 1 May 2005:

In reply to this article, vic remarked:

Now worries people, when I figure out fusion energy, we will all look back at oil like firewood and laugh ourselves silly as to start a war over them. :P

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Early this morning, I was chatting with a friend, and we arrived at this point:

(I’m in green)
teen angst...
fortunately, never had those moments
hmm... what about [name omitted]....
although some would argue one is misisng out on part of life
well, that was closer to infatuation. not a deep rooted 'thing'
i see... so you doing any girl hunting these days?
no, not that preoccupied
its not very wise too. if an attachment may be formed, it will eb messy, since i'm leaving [Melbourne] end of this year
most probably
very sensible indeed... attachments are indeed problematic
anyway... i got to get dinner done now
i'll ttu some other time
yea, i'm off to bed

That pretty much sums up my approach to certain aspects of life. Please note the escape word “certain”. Hence, please do not come to me and ask, “Why are you mourning the loss of a manual gearbox? I thought you had no attachments?” Which at that point I might either slap you or challenge you to a double-clutch heel-and-toe down-shift exercise (what a lot of hyphens!).

Some people have the opinion this is simply a fear of commitment. Others might infer it as fear of taking risks. A few might deduce that I’m a hermit (they might be right to a certain extent).


It’s also possible to arrive at the conclusion that I’m quite partial to some of the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama.

On another note, notice that I’ve taken the trouble to use different words for similar applications in the above sentences: opine, infer, deduce, and conclude.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 25, 2005

Hot Chocolate

In an inspired move, I purchased some dark chocolate chips this afternoon (it felt like morning as I had just woke up) when I went to the supermarket to get some necessities.

I don’t like my coffee black, but there was no more milk in the fridge. I wanted my brew of espresso though. That explains why I took a walk to the supermarket.

Back to the dark chocolate chips. I had heard of a chocolate café (incidentally, located in the same complex as the supermarket) that serves a chocolate drink by the name of sakau, whatever it means, however it is spelled. This drink consists of a small vat of milk held above a little candle flame to keep the milk warm. Dark, milk and white chocolate chips are provided to the customer to dissolve into the liquid as she sees fit.

Hell, I’m not going to pay though my nose for what could be a very simple recipe presented in what might be a beautifully finished glazed vat and candle holder set in a café ambience.

Here is what I did, parsed into readable instructions, and designed for people without microwave ovens.

In a reasonably sized pot, bring a moderate amount of water to boil.
Fill a cup with about a third of milk and immerse the cup (and milk) in the hot water to warm the milk.
When the milk is hot to touch (by dipping a finger into the liquid), add pieces of dark chocolate into the milk. Add about one part of chocolate to 5 parts milk. (For every 5cm of milk depth, add chocolate till the liquid level increases by another cm.)
Stir till chocolate is completely melted and homogenously dispersed throughout the milk.
Your milk should take on a evil chocolate colour.
Remove cup from hot water bath and consume while hot.

It is advisable to make only small quantities as the chocolate concentration is rather high and can make you quite sick of chocolate.

It is important to consume when the milk is well above the melting temperature of chocolate. Otherwise, the liquid chocolate will solidify into a suspension of very tiny particles that just get washed down like a paracetamol pill instead of being actually tasted.

The benefits of using a hot water bath are that the only thing that needs washing is the cup, and the hot water can be used to boil noodles or pasta. Also, the chocolate bits do not precipitate and solidify upon pouring into a cold cup.

This drink is hot, is extremely concentrated, and it is made of chocolate. In short, it is very yit hei. Beware.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Food Food Food

Since the previous post provoked some response about asam laksa, I will continue on with the subject. It appears that food sells; or are we just a collection of wai sek people who happened to coalesced together and condensed into a network of friends?

If I need to explain asam laksa to you, this portion will probably be irrelevant to you. Do skip down a few paragraphs to see if I’ve got other topics for you.

Also, if you might be suffering from pangs of laksa-sickness, please jump ahead. (Laksa-sickness is an illness brought on by a lack of laksa. Similar to being homesick.) Myself, while I really love laksa, I don’t have a craving for it when the good ones are not available. Hence, I can write all I want about it, without the usual jitters and gnawing of teeth associated with withdrawal.

What’s so brilliant about this particular stall’s laksa? Apart from the soup, it’s the generous servings of vegetables. Lettuce shreds, grated cucumber and onion slices give different degrees of crunchiness and sense of being. Topped by a large sprinkling of chopped bunga kantan. To attempt to describe the aroma and flavour of bunga kantan here would only serve to make bunga kantan and myself look like idiots. Bunga kantan is a surprisingly expensive commodity. Each bloom costs about RM0.30 to RM0.50 (correct me), and its yield is nothing magnificent.

While not being apparent at first glance, the varied tactile sensations afforded by the vegetables plays an important part in making (or spilling) a brilliant laksa. When we (my cousins, ob!ique and myself) tapau-ed about 30 packets, the trader repeatedly stressed that the vegetables should NOT be put near the hot soup as they would get cooked and soft.

The fish based soup is a complicated mixture of different spices and herbs. The fish is flaked into tiny particles and left as a sort of suspension in the soup liquid. There has been unfounded rumours that they use tissue paper as filler material instead of using fish. It is impossible to tell if the fine particles are tissue paper or fish. At first, I was worried. Two mouthfuls of bulk filler/fish later, I decided not to care and treat it as fish. It was delicious

As Vic succinctly expressed it, “Life is short, and tissue [paper] is relatively harmless.”

I think I’ll stop on this positive note.

By the way, if you had jumped ahead from previous paragraphs, there are no more topics for today. Come back tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


There are not many things worse than feeling lazy and apathetic precisely at the moments when work seems to matter. It’s a few minutes past 12am and I realised I’ve done not much more than develop two pages of equations in the past 24 hours. Shit.

Let’s talk about something less coma inducing.

Of late (probably since the past 2 to 3 years), I’ve had a strange attachment to the island of Penang. Strange because I do not visit all that often, nor do I have relatives there. I attribute that attachment to the several pleasant holidays there, in particular in the year of 2003. That July, I went with several secondary school friends for 2 nights. Immediately a week after, I went with my cousins and ob!ique for another 2 nights. After completing my first semester in Melbourne, I returned in December with a portion of my extended family. Mad? I think so too.

One of my cousins in particular, which we will refer to as May, is rather fond of Penang too. I think we reinforce each other’s behaviour, and collectively, we sometimes exhibit symptoms of obsession. We like to think that we are reasonably (if not extremely) familiar with the layout of the capital city, Georgetown. This is attributed to hours poring over a fairly detailed map of Penang while navigating its narrow lanes and tree-lined roads. I particularly remember a Jalan Farquhar, a funny corner road (if such a thing exists) at the end of Jalan Gurney and the beginning of Jalan Pinang, if my memory does not fail me. This Farquhar is a tricky one for the map navigator. Often, I would miss the turn until the last minute, and the driver has no choice but to drive on. However, all is well as the roads magically converge and we are back on our way.

At the moment, May is having a ball of a time (presumably) in Penang with a number of her friends. Earlier in the afternoon, she sent a text message from Penang asking me if I knew where the Him Heang shop is located. I thought of replying with a simple “can’t remember” and go on to ask her about her day, but that would quite stupid.

And so, I went to my favourite search engine and banged in “him heang penang”. Did not even have to click on any links; the first result happened to have both the address and telephone number within the link description. And so I replied with a text message encoding the address and telephone number. Much better than a stupid “don’t know”, and definitely much more energy efficient.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Malat Science

Some advertisement for a new blog, Malat Science. A jointly developed blog by Vic and myself, mainly (or solely) to discuss matters pertaining to the sciences.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Book? What book?

Back in December 2004, I decided that I wanted to write something substantial, not fits and starts of disorganised bits of essays, email ramblings and disjointed fiction. I’d go with a book. I had 3 months of holiday to occupy, was not really inclined to get employed and did not want to be continuously bored.

In this project, I attempted to introduce automotive engines for an interested layperson. It proved to be a good challenge to write clearly and succinctly with minimal use of technical terms.

The endeavour is currently stalled at page 20. In my defence, I had to do a fair bit (that means a lot) of research and mathematical modelling to know what I was talking about before committing them to text. I also did a lot of pretty drawings and diagrams of crankshafts, photographed them, edited the colours and made them look presentable.

I initially intended to post a small (subject to opinion) section of that project online, but a lone segment would be puzzlingly out of context. Instead, I’ll simply show off 2 of my drawings, graphite on paper, with digital image capturing and colour editing.

Click to view full sized images.

(a) induction
(b) compression
(c) ignition
(d) exhaust

Might as well shamelessly promote my ‘book’ now. Its actually an incomplete draft. Anyone who’s interested can contact me for an electronic version (*.doc) of about 2.5 Mb, complete with all relevant illustrations.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Books that did not tickle my fancy

Today, like everyday, I went to the student union library during my break between lectures. The library is completely independent of the university’s academic libraries. Here, the focus is not on academic material. Instead, the collection boasts novels, videos and DVDs, music CDs and records (only for listening from designated listening stations only though), comics, magazines and a large variety of non-academic books.

I usually like to sit in the silent room’s comfy chairs, with illumination provided by a skylight sized just nice to give wonderful natural light but not enough to scald the skin. Here, I can revise my lecture notes, read up on my research documents or browse through magazines. New Scientist remains my favourite; Scientific America used to be a hard core science magazine that I had trouble understanding back in the late 1990s. Now, it appears to be shifting towards the pop-science end of business, where the money is. Can’t blame them really, my father terminated our subscription because it was too hard core and was more of a chore rather a pleasure to read. I wonder if we still have any of those past issues.

As I sat myself down on a chair within range of the skylight, I noticed several books stacked on a side table, unattended. Curious, I examined the top book.

Sex Secrets: ways to satisfy your partner
Brian Chichester, Kenton Robinson and the editors of the Men’s Health magazine
1996, Rodale Books, USA

The back page proceeds to tell us more about the book-

Inside Sex Secrets you’ll find:
Your love map
The ultimate quickie
Steamy flicks
The right size
Hot spots
Multiple orgasms
Sex toys

The next book proved to be more intense than the first:

Anal Pleasures and Health: a guide for men and women
Jack Morin, Ph.D.
Yes Press, San Fransisco

Not really my kind of reading material, I quickly picked up the last unexplored book.

The New Joy of Gay Sex
Dr. Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano
1992, Harper Collins, New York

Urgh! This time, I did not even bother to read the table of contents. The image of 2 cuddling men on the front cover was enough to do the trick.

Common to these books are the fact that they advertise the author’s credentials on the front cover. In the first book, they deliberately made use of the Men’s Health magazine’s credits for their own use. How much did these unnamed editors contribute anyway? This is probably a case where the marketing gurus decided to take capitalise on the (presumed) success of the Men’s Health magazine.

In all probability, this is an attempt to take advantage of referent power. If Men’s Health is a useful and authoritative publication, anything associated with the publication should not be too bad.

"Referent power refers to admiration or respect. When we look up to people because of their accomplishments, their attitude, or any other personal attribute, we tend to give them more power over us. Imagine being asked to do something by your "hero" or your favourite movie star; we are very likely to comply out of admiration or respect."
-AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom

In contrast, most successful books do not need to rely on trumpeting the author’s credentials. In books that are doing well, the author’s name is sufficient to prove that this book is the one you are looking for. In where I am studying, “Callister” will refer to the text book “Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction” by William Callister Jr., usually the 6th edition. William Callister has already made a name for himself as a reliable source of information in the field of materials science, and has an expert power aura about him.

"Expert power results from experience or education. Those individuals with more knowledge tend to have more power in situations where that knowledge is important. For instance, the physician will have more power in a medical emergency than the plumber. But, when the pipes explode and the house is being flooded, the physician is not the person to call."
-AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom

Ok, enough nonsense for today. I’ll be off to work on my research project, among many other things.

AllPsych Online: The Virtual Psychology Classroom- Psychology 101- Chapter 8: Social Psychology- Section 3: Obedience and Power

Parasites can be disturbingly influential

Today, I read that the human tapeworm’s lifespan is 18 years. In that time, it would have laid (passed out of the human host’s system in the faeces) about 10 billion eggs. That’s 10,000,000,000.

My favourite parasite story was from Discover magazine way back in mid-2000. The parasite in question infects a certain species/genus of crabs. The following is derived from memory and by no means completely accurate.

When the parasite finds an uninfected crab, it crawls along her shell, looking for joints in the crab’s limbs. At the joint, where the shell is not continuous (to facilitate movement, of course) the parasite penetrates the soft covering and injects a tiny portion of itself into the crab’s interior.

To fully understanding this process, let’s consider a lobster’s growth. At certain stages in its life, it sheds its shell and climbs out of it, discarding the unwanted shell. In the case of our parasite, the unwanted portion is its entire body, and the remaining fraction of several cells is squirted into the depths of the crab.

In the crab, this small group of cells begin to multiply and spread. They start to form tendrils that penetrate into the blood supply of the crab, extracting processed nutrients from her circulation. Soon, she begins to develop sacs on the lower side of her abdomen. In normal crabs, these would be the egg sacs. However, in our infected crab, these sacs are populated with the eggs of the parasite. Nonetheless, she lovingly cares for the sacs, cleaning them periodically and generally keeping them well protected.

It must be noted that the infected crab is genetically dead- it can no longer reproduce. All its hunting and foraging goes to the parasite’s propagation. When the time is ripe for the parasite’s larvae to be released into the environment to continue with their journey, the crab climbs up to a rock or similarly elevated area and releases the eggs. In the ocean’s currents, she would bob up and down to facilitate the clouds of larvae issuing from her abdominal sacs, waving her pincers in the water above her to help the little parasites along their way down the road of life.

If the infected crab is a male, its naturally narrow abdomen will start to widen. This wider abdomen then starts to develop egg sacs.

Here’s a parasite site with some “Eeew!” factor: HSS [caution: material may be disturbing to certain individuals]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A coffee from McDonalds? You mad?

Today, I purchased a latte frappe from McDonald’s. This is probably the 4th of 5th time I’ve transacted with McDonald’s in Australia. The one I visited today has a separate counter selling coffees, iced drinks, cakes and other café-like foods. It was a mess!

Here is a sketch I made on paint and Photoshop 7.0.

The counter is represented by the main, large white rectangle. A coffee machine (grey rectangle) sits at the left-most end of the counter. Above the coffee machine, a small display monitor (light blue box) shows a list of orders such that the coffee-man knows what to make. The monitor is facing in the direction denoted by the red surface on the box. Right of the coffee machine is a working space where accessories and cups are stored. The stacks of cups are represented by cute little circles. The red box represents the area which the customer and employee meet to discuss their transaction. The cash register is also in this region. A glass display cabinet (shown in green) is where the cakes, muffins, pies and little edible knick-knacks are exhibited. McDonald’s posters claim they are “fresh”. Two blenders are located beyond this display case, at the right-most end of the counter.

I ordered my latte frappe. From behind the counter at position C, the employee moved to position B to grab a cup. Then, she travelled to location E to prepare the drink. There was only one can of aerosol whipped cream in operation, so she had to find it (it happened to be with the cups at position B) and spray the drink at location E. She then realised that she also needed to sprinkle some chocolate powder in the top of the drink. She found it near position B. When it was finally done, she delivered it to me at position C. By then, she had already forgotten the next order, and had to move all the way to location A to read the display monitor.

The situation would have been comical if I was sitting at a table enjoying my meal instead of standing and waiting for a drink I had already paid for.

When designing a kitchen, the major necessities are arranged around the user. In most cases, the user needs to only move within a small triangular region to get to the stove and/or oven, fridge and preparation area.

This image from DIY data.

Clearly, this was not the model used when designing the comedic café counter at McDonald’s.

On another note, the coffee drink was not too good for the money I had to fork out. In hindsight, it was probably daft of me to get coffee from a fast food outlet. They should stick to producing fast burgers, not slow, yet dull coffee drinks. And I’m foolish.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The hamsap search engine

It appears that my adventure with hamsap words (see previous post) is not paying off yet. All visitors tracked by my counter appear to be legitimate blog-crawlers. Has Google updated my page in its cache yet?

Time for a little investigation. The first step would be to see if my blog address and some kinky words will elicit a hit from Google. The search strings tanyeewei naked and tanyeewei boobs came up with null results. Believe me, I cringed and squirmed uncomfortably when I typed those in. Nevertheless, I was relieved to see no results. I cannot imagine my horror if those incriminating images of me naked with F-cup boobs were available on the net.

Clearly, the Google spiders have not crawled by and dropped in at my page for some days. By searching my name with entry-specific words on Google, it appears that the last time any of those adorable arachnids stopped by for tea, scones and information was on the 29th of March. If one is inclined to update a webpage on Google, it can be done by inviting the spiders over for an information crawl from here. The entry would be saved in a list of target pages for the crawlers to search.

I’ll also share a little of what I’ve learned about search engines (especially Google) over the 100 minutes or so.

It is estimated that tens of millions of searches are performed everyday. (How Stuff Wroks)Looking at the numbers, it will not be very efficient to search the web for specific objects ten million times each day, as and when users demand it. Instead, major parts of the web have already been browsed by the search engine and part of the content copied into a database. That way, the search engine only needs search its own database to point you in the right direction. (Try searching some random words on Google. Most search hits are accompanied on the bottom line by a little link named “cached”. You can click on this to see the image that was saved by the search engine crawler.)

In its never ending quest to map the perpetually changing web space, search engines employ a hoard of autonomous web surfing programs to index and archive web pages. Due to the cute manner the web is named (the World Wide Web), these programs are naturally called spiders or crawlers.

To rank the relevance of search results, various weightings (or scores) are used. Font size of the word, its frequency in the document, its appearance in the title, its appearance in linked pages and many other factors contribute to the overall weight. A page linked by many high scoring pages (say, BBC) will be deemed more important than a page with few links (this blog page, for example).

The importance of mathematics and analysis cannot be overstressed here. Just for an idea how Google Labs lure potential employees, look here.

Google- about Google, Google Labs, Google
Curt Franklin- How Internet Search Engines Work
Ed Pegg Jr, Eric W. Weisstein et al- Mathematica's Google Aptitude

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Postcard counter in the wrong Matrix

The wrong Matrix:

I had a Combustion lecture early this morning at 9am. When my alarm clock rosily tried to wake me up, I put it on snooze for about 4 times. Finally deciding I was too knackered to go for the first lecture, I gave up and dialled the alarm pointer forward and promptly went back to sleep. After the first lecture, I had a 2 hour break before the next lecture, so I could sleep a lot more than just 1 hour.

I finally turned up at the university in time for the 11am session of lectures. Going to my destination theatre for Control Systems, I found it eerily empty. The small place was usually packed by the time I arrive! Weird…lecturer must have cancelled today’s programme via email. I went to the computer lab to check the mail box. Nothing. Bother.

Whatever. Never enjoyed Control Systems lectures anyway. I went to the library to read some notes I should have read a long time ago. At 12pm, I went to my next lecture theatre for Mechanics 4. Funny…there was only a small handful of student in the theatre, and disturbingly, none of the look familiar. Ok, maybe they missed whatever new plans Control Systems had and are here in time. Still, I’ve never seen their faces before…

I walked in and sat down. Later, someone saw a notice pasted to the door- “Today’s Structural Engineering lecture cancelled” Hey, lecture cancelled, he called out, tapping at the notice. Everyone filed out of the room laughing and being happy. Except me. I was the last one out, and lingered on to give the sign a third read. Structural Engineering? No wonder those guys don’t look familiar, but what happened to the Mechanics 4 tutorial? I felt completely and utterly lost.

I went back to the library to continue reading my notes. What a decidedly weird day! Everyone in the department and faculty seemed to know what to do, and there were no police dogs nor wailing sirens all over the place. It was like I had been abruptly removed from my Matrix and plugged into version 2.0.54 (beta). Let’s check the timetable again.

This time, I scrutinised it carefully. Subject, venue, day, time… time! I had been an hour early for the previous 2 events. That explains a lot. In my sleep, I had advanced the alarm clock 1 hour less than necessary, and ended up an hour out of phase with the world at large. Oh well…shit. At least I made it to the (correct) Mechanics 4 tutorial at 1pm.


Yesterday (5th April 2005), I received a postcard from Canada. It was postmarked 5th Dec 2004. 120 days too late… It was in no way the fault of the Canadian nor Australian postal service. I had already left for Brisbane when it arrived in my mailbox, and from Brisbane, I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur and a drive back to Petaling Jaya. When I returned to Melbourne on the 21st Feb 2005, it had been forgotten.

I suppose it’s rather pleasant to receive postcards from afar. I got a stack of 6 postcards this afternoon and plan to send one or two each week, starting tomorrow. I better decide who it will go to and start writing it out tonight.


I got a simple little counter (as recommended by Sonia) today. It can be found at the end of the right column, next to the blogger link. Clicking on it shows you the visitor frequency, location… You will probably see that I refresh the page (from Australia, via iiNet) many times. Anyway, I’m seeing if I can attract any of the internet riff raff by publishing a few suggestive words here. Take no notice of them, but do look at the counter details some days later :-)

Sexy japanese boobs
Download adult videos
Hot naked men
Sex orgy
Naked women
My girlfriend nude
Wild college sex

List partially inspired by ob!ique (23rd March 2005)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Painkillers, kill Tery

The comment box of my previous post was unceremoniously violated with a long and repetitive comment full of links announcing “cheap Tramadol” “buy cheap Tramadol” “buy Tramadol online”. It was deleted as soon as I read the email notification.

Tramadol happens to be an analgesic (a pain relieving drug). I wish upon the author of the offensive comment (Tery) “a life of eternal migraines with no access to analgesics”. And maybe have a pony or two galloping on his/her skull for added effect.

Piqued by this annoying bit of spam, I did some research on analgesics.

In the event that a pony accidentally steps on your skull, cells in the damaged tissue take steps to make repairs. Among the many steps, prostagladins are produced from the enzyme cyclooxygenase 2. Due to the presence of prostagladins, a strong pain signal is sent from the damaged tissue (in this case, the scalp) through the spinal cord to the brain. (Hoffman)

Upon consumption of aspirin (or its relatives such as salicylic acid), it is dissolved and absorbed in the digestive tract and spread throughout the body via the cardiovascular system. Aspirin then binds to cyclooxygenase 2, wherever it may be found, from the scalp to the fingers to the penis(es). With aspirin stuck to the cyclooxygenase 2 molecule, it cannot be converted to prostagladins, and without prostalgladins, pain signals being sent will be weaker, and brain will perceived a less intense pain. (Hoffman)

In contrast, morphine (and its cousins like morphine sulphate) prevent perception of pain by suppressing the pain signals at the spinal cord and brain. (University of Maryland Medical Center)

In both cases, the source of the pain is not eliminated (the pony is still prancing on your skull!), but the sensation of pain is temperorily suppressed.

As an analogy, if a country is facing a coup, some citizens might try to flee the country. Horror stories and dirty secrets might be revealed to the world (enemy states), so its best if these people are contained. If we contaminate petrol supply with sugar, they cannot use petrol to top up their cars to leave the country. This is the “Aspirin Method”. Alternatively, the “Morphine Path” would suggest we set up stringent border checks to block their passage.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the annoying spammer Tery for leading me on this enlightening path. I also wish him a happy life, full of migraines but no analgesics.

Dr. Lucas Hoffman,
How Aspirin Works
University of Maryland Medical Centre, Medical Reference - Alternative/Complimentary Medicine - Morphine Sulphate
Whole Health MD - Drugs - Morphine