Swarm Combat Robots – By Land, By Air or By Sea

I already know how to commission a totally new breed of robots that can function in SWARMS or DROVES, that can fly, move over land and sea, and co-ordinate any form of attack or defence, and there are different models for different weapons, but they are all controlled by a commander with everything preprogrammed to meet any threats. – Contributed by Oogle.

In the Global economy, Asia has the lowest Risks

Asia Risks Have Lessened, but Recovery to Be Gradual: Dow Jones

Asia Pacific economies will improve at a gradual pace in 2013 as the global economic outlook has brightened, but the risk of financial imbalance is growing in some parts of the region, the International Monetary Fund said in a report released Monday.

The IMF said the region as a whole should manage 5.7% growth in 2013, lower than its most recent forecast in October of 5.9%, partly because the region-wide slowdown in 2012 was deeper than IMF officials had expected. The IMF estimated 2012 growth at 5.3%.

The IMF defines the Asia Pacific region to include Australia and New Zealand and South Asian countries Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

Buoyant domestic demand and strong capital inflows, fueled by easy monetary policies in the U.S., European Union and Japan, are the main factors underpinning expected steady growth in Asia, according to the IMF report.

Those inflows should continue in the near-term. “In particular, portfolio equity flows are estimated to boost private consumption and investment in Asia mainly by raising asset prices and boosting credit growth,” the IMF report said.

But the IMF flashed a caution signal that those inflows also create overheating risks, especially when combined with the effects of already loose credit in some countries that has fueled asset buying. Countries that have seen the highest growth in credit in recent quarters include Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, according to a chart in the IMF report.

“Markets have clearly warmed up, notably in several Southeast Asian economies, although they are not yet overheating,” according to the IMF report.

That means policymakers in Asia will need to walk a fine line between guarding against asset bubbles and continuing to support growth. “Monetary policymakers should stand ready to respond early and decisively to any prospective risks of overheating,” the IMF wrote.

China will remain the region’s growth engine, adding 8.0% and 8.2% to gross domestic product in 2013 and 2014, respectively, the IMF said. Growth in Southeast Asian economies will be stable at 5.5% in 2013 and 2014, according to the report.

But China remains at risk of slowing, particularly if its new government reform program stumbles, which would exert a drag on the rest of the region. Such a slowdown “could be triggered by financial stress related to rapid growth in alternative financial products or uneven progress in reforms that would affect confidence, foreign direct investment, and private investment,” according to the IMF report.

How I learn Chinese

“Once you have learned a overall mass of knowledge and able to understand, apply to anything, you would have mastered many skills.” – Contributed by Oogle.

My son ask me, how do I master Chinese?

Here is my solution :

1) Start by learning and understanding all the 4 word idioms.

2) Then learn how to mix and match words and meanings.

3) I never study chinese, just by learning about 1000 idioms out of about 8000 idioms and learning how to construct sentences from words and meanings, I got B4 for Chinese in my GCE “O” level. What I learn is from understanding and applying, zero from memory, or trying to memorise anything. If you learn everything, I am sure you will get a distinction.

4) You want to master chinese, you must first master ‘han yi ping ying’.

PS : That is the reason why majority of mainland chinese who do not learn ‘han yi ping ying’ will not learn english, and many english educated who do not learn ‘han yi ping ying’ will not learn chinese. I can type a full chinese document using ‘han yi ping ying’, but I can never do it with a ‘chinese’ keyboard.

– Contributed by Oogle.

How do you like “My Grandfather Country”?

“In a statement, the AGC said it would respond to any words or actions that insult a particular religion or race, or seek to engender hatred among races or religious groups, or which suggest that the Government is using race or religion for its own purpose.” – Contributed by Oogle.

A-G CHAMBERS TO TAKE ‘A FIRM LINE’

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said yesterday that it would take “a firm line” in dealing with “heinous” words or deeds.

In a statement, the AGC said it would respond to any words or actions that insult a particular religion or race, or seek to engender hatred among races or religious groups, or which suggest that the Government is using race or religion for its own purpose.

It was replying to queries it has received on the general principles as to when investigations would be conducted and action taken against people.

The statement came after the April 19 arrest of cartoonist Leslie Chew, who is being investigated under the Sedition Act for “a series of racially insensitive cartoons which are circulating online”.

The AGC statement noted that “there are hundreds of commentaries…on socio-political matters both in the mainstream media and online”, many of which “do not contravene the law, and no legal action will be taken by the AGC on behalf of the State”.

But due to the importance of racial and religious harmony to society and peaceful living in Singapore, the AGC urged Singaporeans to “remain vigilant against any threats to racial and religious harmony” as “words or deeds touching on race or religion have the potential to create fault lines within our society”.

Any responses from the AGC would “depend on what is uncovered by investigations”.

The AGC said that “where comments are made in the heat of the moment, or by relatively immature persons who did not know better, a more nuanced response may follow”.

It added “any statement or action that seeks to impugn or undermine the independence of the Judiciary” will similarly be met with action from the AGC because “the rule of law is another fundamental tenet of our society”, and “unwarranted allegations of bias or partiality strike at the heart of the judicial process”.

Hoe Pei Shan

Government loses? Then let me run HDB, URA, MND and SLA, I can even finance all healthcare for free

SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has said the government loses “hundreds of millions” of dollars when constructing public flats.

He made the point on Thursday night at a dialogue session on housing issues.

This comes amid calls from some quarters for land costs to be taken out from the pricing of public flats to make them more affordable.

Mr Khaw also hinted at several other changes to come, such as subsidies for executive condominiums.

During the national conversation session on housing issues, many were concerned about the affordability of home prices.

Evalyn Khoo, a mother of two, said: “I’m concerned about the home asset value. I’m also concerned about how the younger generation can actually afford a house for themselves in the future.”

Participant Philip Lee said: “I think in the past three years or so, there has been more anxiety in the market because even Singaporeans couldn’t get properties through the Build-To-Order (scheme) and they have to resort to the resale market and I think if there is sufficient supply channelled to BTO, we may see more happy Singaporeans and possibly less demand in the resale market and hopefully the prices will be within range.”

With regard to calls for price of new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to be de-linked from land costs, Mr Khaw said it may be politically easy to say land is free because it belongs to everybody, but that is not the case.

He said the price of land is tied to acquisition costs, reclamation and the building of infrastructure around it.

Mr Khaw said: “You need to acquire a piece of land; you need to reclaim a piece of land. All those costs money to taxpayers and we are just trustees of taxpayers and those costs are to be accounted for. And even when you have got that land prepared, land is only valuable when we invest in infrastructure, roads, MRT… And all those costs billions of dollars. So to say that land cost is a pittance and therefore should be excluded from total construction costs… I myself think it is not quite an appropriate argument.”

He also revealed that the Housing and Development Board, which is the developer for public housing, is losing money for every flat it sells.

He said: “Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars of losses were incurred by the HDB and that’s why MOF (Ministry of Finance) has to give the HDB an annual grant, otherwise the HDB will be in the red. It cannot be forever in the red, because there’s no way it can make money. Because every unit that we sell, we lose money, HDB loses money. The accounting for the HDB is deficit accounting. So if you incur a S$300-million loss, there is a grant of S$300 million that covers it. That is how we operate the HDB.

“Let us not perpetuate this talk about HDB is making money out of building houses because if it was so simple, life would be straightforward, but that’s not the case.”

The HDB pays market rate for its land and construction costs. When it prices flats below market rate, it incurs a housing deficit.

A recent report said the deficit is now in the region of about S$1 billion a year, including other costs such as upgrading.

The National Development Ministry told Channel NewsAsia: “The cost of building HDB flats includes the cost of land, design, construction, financing and other project-related costs. It varies from project to project and year to year. Averaging over the past three years, the Home Ownership Programme costs HDB S$874 million per year.”

Mr Khaw added that the government has to offer more subsidies with its ramped-up flat supply.

One area where subsidies are being reviewed is that for executive condominiums (ECs), which cater to Singaporeans who can afford more than an HDB flat, but find private property out of their reach.

The current household income ceiling for executive condominiums is S$12,000.

Mr Khaw said: “There is this sense of inequity here that the lower-income group is getting lower subsidies than somebody who is earning S$12,000, so something is wrong somewhere and therefore I think we cannot carry on the EC in this current mode.”

Mr Khaw also said he is confident that he can bring down the price of new flats in non-mature estates to four times the annual median salary of a buyer – down 30 per cent from the current 5.5 times. He is wary of some “transitional problems”.

He said there needs to be “distinct differentiation” between the cheaper new flats and those built earlier.

Mr Khaw said both the MND and HDB will need to sort out this issue over the next few months.

He said: “I am fairly confident of being able to do it but some groups already anticipate transitional problems, which is what I got to sort out. If yesterday you bought (a flat) at five and half years’ salary and tomorrow HDB announces a new pricing package, which is only (priced at) four years’ salary, you are going to cry ‘blue murder’ right?

“Therefore, I think we should not be prevented from offering a new pricing model but obviously there must be a distinct differentiation between the two products to explain why one is five and a half years and the one is four years.”

The national conversation session is the second in a series of about 10 dialogue sessions on housing issues. Participants were first broken up in small groups of six and then came together in a larger group where the conversation continued. The aim is to gather feedback from Singaporeans to shape future housing policies. 

The topic of affordability will be further discussed at a future Our Singapore Conversation discussion.

Details can be found on http://www.mnd.gov.sg/HomeSweetHome