Watch “Revolution Trilogy” 睇「革命三部曲」

Friday, 18 March, 2016

Director/producer/independent reporter Kempton Lam has made three full-length documentaries from 2004 – 2015. (Cantonese with English subtitles 廣東話、英文字幕) Collectively, the three documentaries are known as his “Revolution Trilogy「革命三部曲」. Kempton’s debut documentary Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命 has been collected by the Canadian National Archive since 2009. You can watch the three films at this YouTube Playlist (projected on your big screen HD TV or on your computer here). Enjoy!

Long Hair Revolution 「長毛革命」 (full-length 2005) (read film & Canadian national archive info)

HKtv Revolution 「香港電視革命」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

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Instant Pot’s 500,000 reasons to have an epic Amazon Black Friday Sale 2017!

Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Instant Pot’s 500,000 reasons to have an epic Amazon Black Friday Sale 2017!

I don’t work for Instant Pot (iPot) & I definitely don’t get paid to say good things about them. In fact, I previously posted a video complaining about a iPot DUO60 “design flaw” (it is minor so I still recommend my friends to buy it IF/WHEN the price is right).

Anyway, as an MBA, the basis of my reasoning is that the iPot inventor/entrepreneurs/managers are smart people and it will be completely irresponsible for them to NOT price the iPots at super competitive prices (deep discount) to sell out the 500,000 stock and make some good profit from it! By getting their suppliers to make things in massive volume (500,000, half a million of stuff), they can get major volume discount from their suppliers thus transfer some of the cost savings to us AND still make good money! Imagine if they charge too much and had a massive stock left over in Amazon warehouses in US and Canada and waiting to be returned?! That will be an epic fail in business management. I’m betting my 10 cents that the iPot people are smart! Will see in less than 48 hours!

Please play the guessing game with me. NO prizes, just bragging rights. I can be wrong too. I predict iPot DUO60 to be priced at C$85 (US$67) to C$90 (US$71) which my hunch tells me (no facts, just hunch) that the iPot company can still make good money. Of course, unless the iPot management team wants to sell more higher end models so those may be the main focus of the discount.

References: 1) “Instant Pot DUO-60/DUO-Plus-60 Design Flaw” (Review by me, and again, the design flaw is minor and I would recommend friends buying the DUO60 IF/when the price is right)

Instant Pot DUO-60/DUO-Plus-60 Design Flaw

2) Great CBC News report by the insightful Dianne Buckner, “‘Cult-like worshippers’ turn Canadian-invented Instant Pot into a phenomenon – Ottawa inventor’s high-tech pressure cooker is already a hit: now he wants to double its record 1-day sales

20171122 9pm update: Here is the CBC News segment about Instant Pot (starting at time code 59m08s)

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Queen’s University PhD student Caitlin Miron makes groundbreaking discovery that may prevent spread of cancer (with brief technical details)

Tuesday, 21 November, 2017
20171121 CTV News interview of Caitlin Miron

Caitlin Miron, a PhD student in the chemistry department at Queen’s University, interviewed on CTV News. Image credit: CTV News, image composite from screen captures.

Congrats to Ms. Caitlin Miron, Ph.D. Candidate, Queen’s University for making a groundbreaking discovery that may have the potential to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Have a watch and read of the CTV news report, “(with video) PhD student makes groundbreaking discovery that may prevent spread of cancer“. According to Miron’s interview with CTV news, “85% of cancers” may benefit from this discovery and while it is too early to talk about the time frame of a commercially available drug, about 5-8 years was mentioned.

Here is an excerpt (with emphasis and links added) from the CTV report,

Studying at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in Bordeaux, France, Miron was able to use advanced screening technology to examine a number of compounds from the Petitjean lab at Queen’s University. During her internship, she was able to discover one compound that binds well to four-stranded DNA structure, or guanine quadruplex [G4], which has been linked to the development of cancer and other diseases.

She explained her discovery by comparing a single-stranded DNA to a necklace with beads that move along it until they hit a knot. The beads are the cell machinery that move along the necklace processing the DNA, she said.

“You can go in and untangle that knot, but in this case someone has gone in there first and they’ve used superglue to hold it together,” Miron said. “What we’ve discovered in that case is that glue.”

By binding the newly discovered compound or “superglue” to the quadruplex to secure the “knot” in the chain, scientists may be able to prevent the cell machinery from reaching a particular section of DNA to process it, which would, in turn, prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, Miron said.

Scientists have been researching quadruplex binders as a possible treatment for cancer for approximately 20 to 30 years, the PhD student explained. However, many of the known binders haven’t yielded results as promising as the one Miron has identified.

“It’s really exciting. It’s exciting to be on the forefront of this field,” she said. “There are other quadruplex binders out there, but what we’re seeing is that ours is very high-performing.”

P.S. Here are some additional references.

Ref 1: Miron is scheduled to have an upcoming Queen’s University Grad Chat “November 28th, 2017 – Caitlin Miron (Chemistry)” that I’m very much looking forward to listen to.

Ref 2: Here is an excerpt from Queen’s University 2017, November 21st, “Caitlin Miron – Recipient of the 2017 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation (PhD)“, (emphasis and links added)

Caitlin Miron is the recipient of the 2017 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation. This award is given to a PhD student who has made a significant achievement in research and development innovation during Mitacs-funded research. Last year, Caitlin received a Mitacs Globalink Research Award which funded a collaboration with Dr. Jean-Louis Mergny at the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologue in Bordeaux, France. This collaboration was the second of two with Dr. Jean-Louis Mergny, and collectively, these collaborations have not only propelled Caitlin’s PhD thesis forward but also merited the receipt of the Mitacs Outstanding Innovation award. […]

 Caitlin’s doctoral dissertation is titled: Dynamic recognition of unusual nucleic acid architectures by cation-responsive switches and other metallo-organic platforms. In sum, DNA has been found to adopt unusual architectures. One type of architecture, called a guanine quadruplex, has been shown to form in the promoter regions of oncogenes (cancer genes), and is implicated in cancer. Caitlin’s research involves finding molecules that stabilize quadruplexes, thereby blocking the expression of these oncogenes, in the hopes that these molecules can be used as anticancer therapeutic agents, either alone or in combination with other treatments. In her first internship in Dr. Mergny’s lab, Caitlin tested a library of potential binders originating from the Petitjean lab and identified a compound that shows some of the best stabilization of quadruplexes that has been seen over the past 30 years. During her second internship (funded by the Mitacs Globalink program), Caitlin explored the effects that small modifications of the lead compound’s structure might have on guanine quadruplex recognition. By taking these compounds from expert to expert, she was able to identify suitable biophysical techniques that she has since brought back to her lab at Queen’s to further her research. Since then, preliminary results suggest that these compounds inhibit cell growth in several human cancer cell lines, and earlier this month, a patent was filed on the novel compounds Caitlin first investigated in France. These results serve as but a case example of rewards made possible by the financial support of funding agencies such as Mitacs.

When I asked Caitlin what skills have helped her during her PhD, she listed good communication, time management and perseverance. “Research doesn’t always go smoothly, so you need to be able to sit back and figure out how to fix things.” Caitlin also recommends ensuring you select a supervisor that will support you throughout the process of graduate school, and pursing opportunities that meet your needs – for example, Caitlin didn’t focus on maximizing her opportunity to teach in the undergraduate course setting during her PhD because she knew she did not want to pursue an academic career. […]

As a final note, Caitlin recommends getting into labs with big names in their respective fields, if possible. Dr. Mergny is one of the top researchers in Caitlin’s field. For Caitlin, conducting research in Dr. Mergny’s lab and having access to experts has enabled her to develop a better understanding of her work and accelerate her research.

After completing her PhD, Caitlin is looking to complete an industrial post-doctoral research position in order to bridge her experience between academia and industry. Caitlin’s long-term goal is to pursue an industrial research career, one slanted towards health applications or perhaps the development of pharmaceuticals. Given Caitlin’s positive attitude and astounding success thus far, I have no doubt she will continue to make great contributions to health-care oriented research in the future.

Ref 3: From Dr. Jean-Louis Mergny’s IECB “Unusual nucleic acid structures” team page,

G-quadruplexes: Friends or foes?
Comparison of sequencing data with theoretical sequence distributions suggests that there is a selection against G-quadruplex prone sequences in the genome, probably as they pose real problems during replication or transcription and generate genomic instability (see below). Nevertheless, “G4-hot spots” have been found in certain regions of the genome: in telomeres, in repetitive sequences such as mini and microsatellite DNAs, in promoter regions, and in first exons of mRNAs. There might be a specific positive role for these sequences that compensates for the general selection against G4 forming sequences. Our goals are to understand the factors that modulate these effects. A number of proteins that interact with these unusual structures have been identified, including DNA binding proteins, helicases, and nucleases. We are currently developing a fluorescent-based assay to follow the activity of helicases in real time (Mendoza, Nucleic Acids Res. 2015).

G-quadruplex ligands: Treats or tricks?
One may achieve structure-specific rather than sequence-specific recognition of DNA. Because of their particular geometric configuration and electrostatic potential, G-quadruplexes may indeed specifically accommodate small artificial ligands, such as planar molecules, and an impressive number of candidates have been evaluated. Together with chemists we successfully identified a variety of G4 ligands and we wish to improve and functionalize these compounds, analyse their biological effects, and ultimately find new classes of anti-proliferative agents with anticancer properties.

Ref 4: Miron’s 2016 Mitacs project, “Building on an Innovative Platform: Tuning Guanine Quadruplex Recognition for Anticancer Applications


Jann Arden: My mom ‘will forget me at some point’ because of Alzheimer’s

Monday, 20 November, 2017

I watched Jann Arden‘s interview on CBC National last night and was very touched and found it informative. From CBC Tweet, ““She will forget me at some point.” Singer-songwriter @jannarden sat down with @adriearsenault and opened up about caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s.

This Q&A at timecode 7:37 was especially moving.

“Q: You asked her [your mom] at one point if she thought she would forget you?

Jann: “She said, ‘My mind might but my heart won’t.‘”

Full interview: Jann Arden: My mom ‘will forget me’ because of Alzheimer’s

Over the years, the following three movies dealing with Alzheimer’s/Dementia have informed & touched me deeply about the challenges faced by those affected and their families and friends.
1) The Notebook (2004) [K: I LOVE this movie so much in so many ways!]
2) Away from Her (2006) [K: This is a less well known film starring  Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent that I really like and enjoy. It was expertly directed by star turned director Sarah Polley.]
3) Still Alice (2014) [K:  Julianne Moore won an Academy Award as best actress for this film and Julianne really did an amazing job.]


Who is your “Leonard Cohen”?

Friday, 10 November, 2017

Insightful author Susan Cain (I wrote about Susan with videos here and here) posted some questions at the end of her Facebook post yesterday. She talked about her crazy love for Leonard Cohen as she recently flew to Montreal to attend a concert that marks the anniversary of Cohen‘s death (a Jewish tradition to mark the end of a year of mourning). Here are Susan‘s questions:

Do you have a person like this [Leonard Cohen] in your life, who embodies things you want to say or do or be? Who is your person [Leonard Cohen]?

Here is my answer:

For me it is kinda a bunch of people instead of one person. I’ve a list of people that I call “Great Minds of Our Time” as they all inspire me in some ways. Here is my eclectic list of people from physicist to shoe designer, each very awesome in their own ways: Richard Feynman, Warren Buffett, Ronald Coase, Bill Cunningham, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Cook, Uli Sigg, Steve Wozniak, and Christian Louboutin.


#Fukushima #documentary 《311 – Revival 》

Wednesday, 8 November, 2017

311 - Pixs

Earlier in 2017, my Facebook friend Horatio Tsoi (蔡錦源 Kam Yuen), an experienced TV/film director & producer, and his Hong Kong team completed a stunningly/hauntingly beautiful/insightful independent documentary 《311 – Revival 》(Japanese/Cantonese/English with English subtitles, YouTube link) (imdb) that is also thought provoking. We get to see different parts of Fukushima Prefecture up close through the eyes of the presenter Clarisse Yeung 楊雪盈 (a HK district council politician), the film crews, and the high flying drone camera that shot some hauntingly beautiful footage. We also get to hear from local residents, a farmer, restaurant operators, NGO volunteer radiation measuring group, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company ran the destroyed nuclear plants) official interviewed for the film to get their perspectives on things.

Many parts of this film touched me deeply. This crowdfunded independent documentary is now posted on YouTube. Please watch, share, and contribute to this crowdfund documentary via PayPal if you can.

《311 – 復興與再生》英文字幕版 / 《311 – Revival 》 English subtitle (1080p)

Crowdfund support link: https://www.paypal.me/KAMYUENTSOI

*** Film summary from IMDb ***

Fukushima used to be a wonderful place. Unfortunately, since March 11, 2011, “Fukushima” has been superseded by another name: Nuclear Disaster Zone. Six years have passed, but over 80,000 Fukushima residents still cannot return home, still cannot return to their former lives. How did they get through it? Reconstruction work is slow. Several years on, surrounding the site of the Fukushima nuclear incident, there remain many refuge-seeking residents whose homes are still in lockdown. In the streets, people are taking it to their own hands to save their communities. Psychologically and practically, how does one rebuild? Does the civil society’s self-rescue mission conclude in recovering what was lost, or in reviving an even better community? In their eyes, what is “revival”? What is the meaning of “rebirth”? Our crew went all over the coastal areas of Fukushima, recording stories of residents each finding their own ways to save themselves.


Charlie Munger – Great Minds of Our Time

Sunday, 5 November, 2017

Charlie Munger undoubtedly qualifies as one of my list of Great Minds of Our Time. I may add more to this entry over time. (Review of The Snowball (biography about Warren Buffett) I posted in 2008, another one in my list of Great Minds.)

Charlie Munger Commencement Address – USC

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Fashion Exhibits – Thinking of Bill Cunningham

Friday, 3 November, 2017

If things work out and time permits, I’m looking forward to visit a few museums’ fashion exhibits featuring the likes of Mariano Fortuny (checking out Fortuny‘s famous Delphos gown up close). And I’m real excited and ready to be overwhelmed by a massive Christian Dior collection! With these fashion thoughts in my mind, I can’t help but imagine what if the late Bill Cunningham was still alive, how cool would it be to be a fly standing on the shoulder of Bill and listen to his thoughts and insights when he check out these exhibits! Miss you still Bill!

P.S. As part of my research to write this post, I found an hour long interview with Bill. Enjoy.

(Hour long 2003 interview with) New York Times Photographer Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham: Words of Wisdom (a nice excerpt I found online last year)

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