In the movie The Lion King, Simba’s father Mufasa is killed when he is trampled by a wildebeest stampede. Stampedes are a common behaviour in herd animals such as cattle, horses, wildebeests and elephants. When one animal is startled by something, it shows a fear response which then startles the animals around it. This startle propagates rapidly through the herd and the entire herd begins running away from whatever caused the first startle. They run with no clear reason or direction - it is a mindless rush of fear. Because of this, anything in the path of a stampede is crushed to death as the herd blindly rushes forward with impressive power and energy.

The destructive nature of a stampede not only affects whatever is in the path of the herd, but the herd itself. Native Americans are well-known for their buffalo jump style of hunting, where they would herd wild bison then trigger a stampede. They would direct the stampede towards a cliff and the frightened bison would blindly jump off the cliff to their deaths.

As deadly as a bison or wildebeest stampede may be, there is a species that causes far greater damage to humans when they stampede: us. Human stampedes are a well-known phenomenon documented throughout history, from crowds rushing away from a city being bombed to religious pilgrimages to sports games. Just like animals, when there is a large enough crowd of people, a simple spark of fear can cause mass panic.

This is described as the “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre" effect. In 1941, 4000 people were killed when the Japanese army bombed the Chinese city of Chongqing, causing a mass panic at an air raid shelter. More famously, 96 people were killed in the Hillsborough stadium crush in England, 1989, when crowds of people attending a soccer match squeezed into a tunnel blocked at the other end. There have been several incidents during the pilgrimage to Mecca where hundreds of people were killed during stampedes.

In human stampedes, death is not usually caused by trampling but by compressive asphyxiation. The sheer force of people pressing on each other limits chest expansion, making breathing impossible. The force of a panicked crowd can be great enough to bend steel bars. This phenomenon is also called crowd crush.

Tea Etiquette

The following are some etiquettes invented in Victorian England when the culture of tea drinking boomed:

  • Stir the tea with your spoon back and forth rather than swirling it
  • The spoon is placed behind the cup and never left in the cup
  • Hold the teacup by its handle between your thumb and fingers without curling your fingers in the hole
  • Holding out the little finger is not a traditional way of holding a teacup and can be considered rude
  • Never cradle the cup with your fingers, keep the saucer close to the cup instead
  • Sip instead of slurping
  • Never sip tea from the teaspoon
  • When drinking the tea, look into the teacup, never over it
  • When not drinking the tea, the cup should be placed on the saucer

The “pinky out" rule of fanciness likely came from a Roman tradition of a cultured person eating with three fingers, contrasting the commoner using five. It is likely that the "pinky out" rule is a misinterpretation of the "three finger" rule and a misguided show of elitism (or irony).

Of course, these “etiquettes" are merely arbitrary social rules imposed on what can be enjoyed however you like it, so unless you feel extra fancy, drink tea in whatever way you please.

(Other tea related ARK posts:

Chocolate Overdose

It is common knowledge that you should not feed dogs and cats chocolate as it is poisonous to them. This is because chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. The name theobromine comes from the Greek words theo (“god”) and broma (“food”), thus meaning “food of the gods”.

Cats and dogs metabolise this chemical very slowly, so they can easily overdose on it. Theobromine poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhoea initially, then progresses to cause hyperactivity, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and eventually death. Although cats and dogs have the same metabolism rate of theobromine, there are far less cases of cats overdosing on it as they do not have sweet taste receptors and do not particularly like the taste of chocolate.

Luckily for us, the human body can metabolise theobromine much more efficiently and we are much less likely to get theobromine poisoning (although it is still possible if you eat too much of it). Although it is weaker, theobromine behaves similarly to caffeine in the human body. It stimulates the heart to beat faster, relaxes the blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and stimulates your nervous system to decrease your tiredness and give you a “buzz”.

The effects are potent enough that there is some evidence that eating dark chocolate (which has a higher theobromine content) regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease. However, this is counterbalanced by the negative health effects of sugar and fat found in chocolate. That being said, a small amount of chocolate every now and then not only has a positive effect on your heart, but is a great medicine for your exhausted mind and soul.


Anyone who drives to work knows the strange sensation of realising that you have no memory of driving the last few kilometres. It is as if you turn on an autopilot in your brain. Because your brain is a master of pattern recognition, it analyses the route and all the movements like handle turning that takes you to the destination then converts it into a habit. After many commutes, the habit is so strong that the brain does not need to spare any thought on the activity. Ergo, your brain literally turns on an autopilot for you so to spare brainpower.

Thanks to this autopilot, the brain does not have to think about the drive to work. This means that it creates no new memories about the commute and you come out the other side not remembering the drive. An analogy would be to think of your brain’s information processing ability as if it was taking photos. The more new information it processes, the more photos it takes. Because your commute is an automatic process, the brain takes hardly any photos. Therefore, the “album” has few photos and takes little time to flip through. In comparison, your brain takes far more photos if you were to spend an equal time exploring a new scenic route. When you look back on this drive, the album is much thicker and you perceive it as a longer, more detailed memory.

Of course, this is extremely dangerous as your brain’s autopilot does not protect you from changes to your usual commute, such as a car swerving into you by accident. The automatic process means your brain is less ready for information processing and you have a delayed reaction, which may cost you your life.

The same goes for meeting a new person. On a first date, you learn many things about the other person and your brain frantically takes as many photos as it can. Looking back on it, it feels as if every second lasted forever and you can remember every little detail like the song that was playing in the background or the colour of her nails. But twenty years down the line, a day with that same person might feel less special and more “automatic”. Just like your drive to work, such an “autopilot” might result in a horrible accident.

So never stop paying attention to details, avoid forming ruts with surprises and new things. Don’t let your relationship turn into a boring commute.

권진아 & 샘김 (Kwon Jin-Ah & Sam Kim) - Call You Mine

Artist: 권진아 & 샘김 (Kwon Jin-Ah & Sam Kim) Title: Call You Mine 50 plays

My two favourite contestants from K-Pop Star Season 3 playing my favourite song while I was in Korea last year! I melted when they performed this~ <3 권진아 & 샘김 짱!!



Here are more Magic: The Gathering physics comics.

There is no such thing as “too much of a good thing”


In the womb, a fetus with XY chromosomes is exposed to testosterone and other androgens that help it develop into a male. Research has shown that people exhibit features that give away how much testosterone we were exposed to before birth. The digit ratio is the ratio between the length of the second and fourth fingers. If both fingers are the same length, the ratio is 1. The lower the digit ratio (ring finger longer than index finger), the more testosterone the fetus was likely exposed to.


It is not clear why testosterone affects the length of your fingers, but there is significant evidence to support the theory. Men with a lower digit ratio tend to be described as more aggressive, dominant and overall “masculine”. Men with a higher digit ratio, closer to 1, are typically described to have more feminine traits such as higher emotional quotient, sensitivity and interestingly, excelling in mathematics and science. The effect is more pronounced in men but also affects women. Women with a low digit ratio are more likely to be assertive. It has also been shown that lesbian women have a lower digit ratio than heterosexual women.



When i watch reality tv after finishing my psych rotation: When i watch reality shows after finishing my psych rotation

FTFY: When I see ANYBODY after psych rotation.


The saying goes that “opposites attract”, suggesting that people are attracted to those who are different to them, complementing each other like yin and yang. But then, another saying states that “like attracts like”, suggesting that people feel attraction to those that are similar to them, helping them bond over similar interests and hobbies. So which is true?

Biologically speaking, it makes sense for people to look for those who are “different” as it allows for a more varied gene pool. This is highlighted by the famous experiment where women were asked to smell and grade the “attractiveness” of t-shirts worn by different men. It was discovered that the t-shirts each woman chose belonged to a men who were most immunologically different to the woman. Every human being has a unique marker on their cells called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The more dissimilar the MHC is, the more likely that the person is not related to you genetically. By choosing a mate with a different MHC, your offspring will have an immune system that has a broader cover against various pathogens. It seems that we have an innate ability to smell this difference. The way we do this best, of course, is through the act of kissing.

Psychologically speaking, we appear to find those who look similar to us attractive. Professor Penton-Voak undertook a study where he showed people a book of photos of the opposite gender and asked them to pick the most attractive one. He found that the participants tended to rate the picture with their own face morphed into the opposite gender as most attractive. Other studies have shown that similar personality, interests and hobbies, attitude and life goals were all strong predictors of attraction between two people. This is most likely because of self-affirmation - the theory that suggests that people like receiving confirmation about every aspect of their life and there is no better confirmation than spending time with someone similar to you and discovering said similarities as you connect.

According to studies on this exact debate, researchers determined that similarity is more important in initial attraction, while being different helped the relationship develop over time. Surveys have shown that people tend to be more satisfied in a relationship when their partner was different to them, especially in terms of how dominant - that is, how much they lead the relationship - they are. When two people are similar in dominance, such as both being dominant leading to frequent conflict, while both being submissive will lead to frustration as neither takes initiative.

Another interesting point is that when the couple is complementary, they tend to change each other for the better, such as an active person helping their shy partner improve their social skills while she teaches her partner the importance of keeping his head on when under stress. Through this process, long-term couples tend to become similar over time. Not only that, but because people tend to mimic people close to them, their speech, behaviour, idiosyncrasies and even facial expressions become similar.

However, there is a law of attraction that surpasses both similarity and complementarity. The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon where the more we are exposed to something, the more we like it. This is further expanded by the propinquity effect that states that the more we see and interact with someone, the more likely we are to befriend or date them. Simply put, just spending more time with or even living in close proximity to someone is a high predictor of them becoming your friend or romantic partner.

How I Met Your Mother

***NB: I’ve marked where the spoilers for the finale start and end, the rest are safe!***

November 2009, at the end of my first year of uni, my best friend Kyung convinced me to start watching a show he’d been marathoning over exam period. I finally yielded and watched the Pilot episode of HIMYM and it…was…awesome. It was love at first sight. It had goofy but well-defined and lovable characters, a sweet story, and the quirky kind of humour that I just adore. In the holidays when I visited Kyung, we ended up marathoning the entire first season in ONE DAY. That’s how much I loved it.


Over the rest of the summer holidays, I marathoned completely up to date. And since then, every 20-minutes of a new episode would be a blissful, timeless state of happiness for me, every week. Then my addiction got to the point where I would rewatch episodes copiously and obsessively. I am sure I have watched each episode at least 50 times…literally. I would watch HIMYM when I was feeling happy, when I was feeling sad, when I needed to laugh or when I needed to think. Without a doubt, it has been my favourite non-drama TV show ever (of course, House MD takes the favourite drama award).


Why did I love the show so much? Probably because I connected so much with the characters. It was like having five awesome friends in my life, telling crazy and hilarious new stories every week (that sounded less sad in my head). Particularly, I identified so much with Ted’s thoughts, emotions and romantic notions. And that’s most likely because I am a Ted in real life. The things he does and says resonates with me so much that I can’t help but say “that is so me” so often. Let’s just hope I don’t end up saying “I love you” on a first date.


HIMYM has affected my life in ways I can’t explain without people giving me weird looks. Not only have the catchphrases and the humour stuck with me, but it’s made me think about a lot of different topics, especially those surrounding life in your 20’s and the idea of love and relationships. Oh and let’s not forget many of Barney’s crazy but plausible theories and philosophies .

"&#8230;the top speed of the Drunk Train is 73 miles per hour, and you factor in an aggregate of 32 boobs per car, 28 of which are motorboatable, and you divide that&#8230;"    Maths classes would have been so much more legendary with Barney Stinson and Ted Mosby XD


I thoroughly enjoyed season 9 because things got real. First of all, let me just say I absolutely love the Mother - seeing her character develop/revealed over time was like exploring my notion of my ideal girl. Right till the end of the series, I thought she really was the perfect match for Ted and absolutely loved the way the writers showed us the happy life they had after they met. They were just my ideal couple. I could go on and on about the things I loved in the finale, like the umbrella scene!!! But I’ll keep that to a minimum.


All I have to say is that I can see why many people wouldn’t like the finale, but my flatmate and I thought it was an amazing end to the show. I did not expect many of the twists and some things hit me in the head so hard, as if it had happened to real friends. I think you can’t deny that this finale is what the show has been working towards since day 1 and now everything really makes sense. Plus, they didn’t compromise on the Mother and instead showed us the incredible loving life Ted shared with her. The finale was truly a satisfying episode for me that gave me closure and completed the series into one awesome story.

*** End of spoilers ***

God I wish I could talk about every little detail I loved, come talk to me if you want to see me go crazy. I still can’t believe the show’s finished now, it’s the end of an era. It’s been a great journey watching the five characters (plus the Mother at the end) grow up, laughing with them in happy moments and sharing the sadness they face. I daresay it has been Legen- wait for it…

-dary. LEGENDARY. To honour my love for the show, I will be marathoning the entire series… by Good Friday. Kyung hasn’t watched the last 3 episodes yet so he challenged me to finish my marathon by then and in the spirit of Barney Stinson, I had to say challenge accepted.


Although I’m sad to see the show come to an end, I am extremely satisfied with the way the writers tied up all the loose ends and stories to make one legendary finale. So I’ll follow after the immortal words of a great man:

"When I’m sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead."

Goodbye How I Met Your Mother. Thank you for the endless supply of happiness and feels, I will cherish the memory of you for the rest of my life. See you in 10 minutes when I start my marathon!


Free Lunch

In the late 19th century, there was a common tradition in American bars where they would offer a “free lunch” to people who purchased a drink. Although it seems like a good deal at face value, the lunches offered were quite salty, meaning that eating it will make you thirstier for another drink. On top of that, the price of the drinks would usually more than compensate for the price of lunch, while making the patron think he or she got a “free lunch”.

This is the free lunch referred to in the saying: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Nothing in life is free. If someone tries to tempt you with a free product, there will no doubt be a string attached in one way or another, such as a hidden cost. To have something, you must trade in an equal amount of something, such as time, money or work, or take it from someone else. Because you cannot make something from nothing. Such is the way of the universe.

Every resource is finite, meaning that you must make choices on how to use these resources. Every decision comes with an opportunity cost - the cost of not being able to use your resources for a different outcome. If you have $2, you can buy a bag of chips or buy a drink, but you cannot have both.

The most useful application of this principle is time. When you procrastinate or leave your work to tomorrow, you are not having a “free lunch” in the sense of having free time to yourself. You are borrowing that time from the future, as you will no doubt pay the cost of having to work harder or end up with a less comfortable life.

If that is the case, then how are we supposed to have the time to keep ourselves happy, when we have so much work and so little time? Economically speaking, the only way you can have anything close to a free lunch is by improving your efficiency. By being efficient, you reduce the time you spend doing work and you can gain more happiness while investing less time. For example, instead of procrastinating watching television, if you engage in your favourite hobby and enter a flow state, you will achieve far greater happiness for the same amount of time.

A Perfect Friday Evening

Today I got off hospital early, then hung out with my friend Rod for the night. We finally got the shipment of new Magic cards we ordered a couple weeks ago, so we rebuilt most of our decks with the new shiny overpowered cards, then played like 4 hours worth of Magic~~ And to make the night even more awesome, we went to Denny’s and got some “breakfast” with curly fries and Oreo shakes! Can’t describe a more perfect Friday night <3

Oh and did I mention I got the first volume of Cardboard Crack from Rod as a late birthday present??? I’ve been harping about Cardboard Crack for the past month so really appreciated getting it!!! Can’t wait to read it through hehe.

The second volume of Cardboard Crack comics is now available!


10,000 Hour Rule

After much research, academics say that the time required to achieve success in a certain field is 10,000 hours. If you spend 3 hours a day on it, that is 10 years. The 10,000 hour rule. Mozart, The Beatles, Steve Jobs, Roger Federer… What brought them success were not natural genius or luck, but 10,000 hours of effort and suffering. Perhaps the rule applies to all aspects of life, whether it be work, relationships or love. To really achieve something, you should not wait for good fortune or some innate thing, but try, strive and suffer until the end. As baseball legend Yogi Berra put it, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”.

(from Rescue 1994) (the 10,000 Hour Rule is from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers)


But love doesn’t make sense. I mean, you can’t logic your way into or out of it. Love is totally nonsensical, but we have to keep doing it or else we’re lost and love is dead, and humanity should just pack it in. Because love is the best thing we do.
 ~ Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)

Milk Tea

In many cultures, it is normal to drink black tea with milk (and sugar, depending on preference). The milk neutralises the acidity of tea and softens the bitterness of tannins, making the tea more palatable and easier on the stomach. This is especially for strong teas such as Assam tea. However, the downside is that there is some evidence that adding milk to tea reduces the beneficial effects from drinking tea, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease.

One of the timeless debates is whether to pour the tea or milk first when mixing the two. It is such a bitter topic that there are even recordings in literature of people using the phrase “rather milk in first” as an insult to another person.

George Orwell once published an article on making a perfect cup of tea and he claimed that adding milk to tea allowed you to regulate the amount of milk as you stir. Tea-first advocates also insist that pouring the tea first allows for more brewing time and increases the flavour of the tea.

The reason for milk-first is more scientific. In the early days of tea-drinking, most households did not own high-quality porcelain teacups. Cheap porcelain teacups were too thin to withstand the hot temperature of fresh tea and would crack. Pouring milk first cooled the tea and stopped this from happening. Therefore, pouring tea first was seen as a show of social status as you could afford high-quality teacups. The other main rationale for adding milk first is that the hot tea denatures proteins in milk, which can reduce the flavour and creamy texture of the milk.

To settle this old argument, British chemist Dr Andrew Stapley of the Royal Society of Chemistry undertook experiments to determine which is better from a scientific point of view. He concluded that it is indeed better to pour milk first then add tea. The reasoning is that when you add milk to tea, individual drops contact the tea and increases the surface area exposed to hot tea, denaturing more proteins. Ergo, adding tea to milk reduces this process and provides for a richer, creamier flavour.

At the end of the day, it really is just a cup of tea and you should drink it in whatever way you desire.