Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Love Will Save This Place - Review for This Changes Everything

Climate change is a boring topic when you live within a community that shows less enthusiasm towards environmental issues as politics are always in the limelight these days. Yeah we know about green house gases, increasing temperature, melting glaciers, rising sea level, extreme weather, but what else? Malaysia is a tropical country where the weather is almost always hot or hotter, we complain about the heat every day, and agree with each other that 'it must be the climate change', and then we switch on the air-conditioner in the house, escaping the hellish weather out there, forgetting about climate change as we can't do anything about it. I roll my eyes all the time when lecturers start talking about climate change, thinking 'I know I know, I am aware of every single mechanism of climate change, I have watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and studied about it for a few semesters. This bad attitude (I admit that it is a really bad attitude) continued until I read this book - This Changes Everything - written by Naomi Klein.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Volunteering with MareCet - Matang Dolphin Research

Nothing could have been more exciting than seeing an offer for a volunteering opportunity with MareCet on dolphin research in Matang during the dull exam weeks! I am not a person who crazy over dolphins that I want to swim with dolphins so so much (most people asked me whether I swam with dolphins when they knew that I went to this research), but I love animals in general. It could be a great opportunity for me to practise what I learnt so far in Environmental Science since we have limited opportunities to go for a real serious field trip due to limited budget and equipment in our faculty. After checking the dates (almost right after my exam weeks, for 5 days), I immediately sent an email to the contact provided in the picture posted by Langkawi Dolphin Research (this Facebook page is managed by MareCet) and a few days later, the email informing me that I got the offer greeted me in the morning which really made my day~

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Oxygen --- Identification of Water Pollution

"Do you know why do we need to measure the oxygen concentration in the water?"
"To test whether it is enough for the fish to breath?"
Ok that was a sample answer most probably will be given by normal people who are not into Chemistry or Water Science. The basic knowledge that we know about oxygen is, all living things need oxygen to breath and stay alive. From the perspective of Environmental Science, the oxygen concentration in the water means something more, and we call the oxygen 'dissolved oxygen' (DO). Oxygen is soluble in water, that's why aquatic life can breath underwater!

(image taken from Michael Prescotts's Blog)

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Haze - Air Pollutant Index (API)

(screenshot taken from Air Pollutant Index of Malaysia)

The sun has been less scorching and the scenery has been blurry for almost a month. Holding an umbrella, I walked towards the faculty, trying my best to breath through nose despite of the burning smell, hopefully this amazing creation given by God can filter away the smoke suspending in the afternoon air during this hazy season. As a person with over 18 years of sinus experience, minimizing exposure towards the haze is a must to prevent triggering allergic condition but this trans-boundary man-made phenomenon has cornered many of us to the state that we have to stay in air-conditioned room whole day long, if it is available. Simply staying indoor to avoid the haze is no longer a temporary solution unless you shut off all the ventilation you have in the building. Haze has brought so much discomfort to our daily lives but how much do we actually know about the figure that we have been watching closely every day hoping for school closing to get information about the haze condition?  

Friday, 25 September 2015

BPA - Why Our Plastic Bottles Need to Be BPA free?

(image taken from Clean Body Living website)

We often notice this sign saying 'BPA free' when we walk down the aisles of hypermarket displaying various types of plastic drinking bottles. It seems like a must for the prestigious plastic bottle manufacturers today to put the sign on their products so that customers will be like 'oh ok, BPA must be something nasty, since it says it is free from this substance, it must be safe to use', without actually knowing what BPA is.

Back to 1891...

BPA stands for bisphenol A, a chemical substances that is used in manufacturing of polycarbonate plastic (PC) derived from petroleum. It was first synthesized as early as 1891 by a Russian chemist named Aleksandr Dianin (but it was first mentioned in scientific paper in 1905 by Thomas Zincke from Germany, and of course it was written in German that I couldn't understand the content). Only after over 60 years, in 1953, two scientists - Dr. Hermann Schnell and Dr. Daniel Fox - respectively discovered PC through the reaction between BPA and phosgene. Both of them were amazed by its durability and strength, and continued developing this polymer. At the beginning, this material was used in electrical and electronic appliances and then slowly moved into industries producing plastic bottle and lining of canned food.