Category Archives: Oh Shit!

The Online Pregnancy Test Kit

Companies Know You Are Pregnant… Before You Do.

One day companies might know you better than you know yourself.

It has already happened – Target is able to identify 25 products that can accurately ascertain if you are pregnant or not – and send you coupons before you even need them.

When you get a membership card from Target, they are not offering you discounts for free – they seek to link your real world purchases (credit cards used) with your online impulse buys. Some even sell or ‘exchange’ your anonymized information with so-called data brokers. However, research has shown that such anonymized info can pretty much identify a specific person with great accuracy.

One day, such tracking will be so pervasive and invasive that we will wonder if there was ever a notion of privacy.

30% Airbnb Tax

What the hell.


Beginning January 1, 2015, Airbnb is required to withhold 30% on all payouts from US listings hosted by W8-BEN taxpayers and remit the funds directly to the Internal Revenue Service. Airbnb will report the total amount withheld and earnings to you on a Form 1042-S.

Will this affect reservations that I’ve already accepted? Yes. Any reservation that has a payout on or after January 1, 2015, will have 30% withheld.
What if I have other listings that are not in the US? The 30% withholding applies only to payouts from listings located in the US.
Can I cancel future reservations at my US listing(s)? Yes. Cancellations due to this will not be penalized. Please use this link to contact us so we can help rebook your guests.
The Airbnb Team

Bleeding Love

This is so surreal yet surprising. Who would have known?


A SINGAPOREAN man at the center of a bribery scandal related to a naval helicopter contract pleaded guilty Friday, April 15, to an amended corruption charge that also cleared European aerospace giant EADS.
Eng Heng Chiaw, 46, was sentenced by a subordinate court judge to eight weeks in jail for the offence. Five years is the maximum possible sentence.

The new charge sheet accused Eng of offering S$500,000 to an executive of Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency, Sin Boon Wah, in exchange for information on tender bids in a defence ministry contract for the naval helicopters.

The amended charge dropped any reference to the Europoean Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), which had consistently denied any association with Eng and links with the bribery.

The new charge said Eng was making the offer “in relation to his principal’s affairs”, without identifying the entity he was prying the information for.

The original charge sheet obtained by AFP on February 23 said Eng had wanted the information “about the price offered by the competitor in a naval helicopter project so that a company, European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) SEA P/L, could price its offer to secure the said project.”

The government contract for six naval helicopters was eventually awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft of the United States.

“We have always maintained that this charge had nothing to do with us. The fact that our name was removed from the charge sheet basically holds this true,” EADS spokesman Moses Wong told AFP.

EADS, which is partly owned by the French government, has suggested the case had been “manipulated” to damage the company’s reputation, without elaborating on who was behind it.

Eng’s lawyer, Shashi Nathan, said his client had acted alone in making the bribery offer.

“It was always in our position that he (Eng) went on a frolic of his own, rather than trying to help a third party,” Nathan told reporters after the sentencing.

Nathan, in his mitigation plea to the court earlier Friday, said Eng had made the offer “out of mischief”, and that his client had no financial backing.

“I urge the court to recognise that this was an empty offer with no value, no consequence,” he said,

Judge Tan Poon Khai said sentencing Eng to imprisonment “sends a strong signal that corruption in any way or form can’t be tolerated.”

PayPal Limits Account Access

Dear Customer,

Thank you for choosing PayPal for your online payments. As our valued
customer, our priority is to keep you secure when transacting with us.

Our security measures are also in line with requirements from the Monetary
Authority of Singapore (MAS) to reduce risks of money laundering and
terrorist financing. The measures we’ve put in place include collecting and
confirming additional information about our customers before their PayPal
account reaches a total transaction value of SGD 7,500.

We noticed that you’re reaching this amount and would need you to provide
some documents so that you can continue using your PayPal account
uninterrupted. Don’t worry, we’ll keep your information secure and will not
share it with any third party.

Here are the documents we need:

• A legible copy of a government issued identification document such as
NRIC, Driving
Licence or Passport that is still valid

(Note: Name on identification document must match the name on your PayPal
account); and

• Proof of address document such as the back copy of your NRIC card, a copy
of a utility bill, bank or credit card statement in your name.

A few things to note:
– Name and address on your document must match those on your PayPal account
– If you choose to provide document such as a copy of a utility bill, bank
or credit card statement as your proof of address, the document must be
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Here’s how to submit your documents…

Option 1:
• Log in to your PayPal account
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Please help us comply with this regulatory requirement and submit your
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Tears of Sadness for Yale-NUS Rejection

May 8, 2013

Dear Brian,

The Yale-NUS Admissions Committee has completed its evaluation of candidates in this round of admission, and I am genuinely sorry that we are not able to offer you a place at the College.

I realize that this decision may come as a disappointment. I also hope you will understand that this decision reflects only the extraordinary range of talents represented in our applicant pool, not a judgment of your own abilities or potential. Of the thousands of students who applied to Yale-NUS, most are fully capable of doing outstanding work and making unique contributions in a college or university community.

You may be tempted to ask what was lacking in your application. In truth, it is usually difficult for us to point to obvious weaknesses when so many applicants have demonstrated real achievement and potential for the future. Our decisions say far more about the small number of spaces available and the difficult choices we make than they do about a candidate’s personal and academic promise.

While regretting that we were not able to respond positively to your interest in Yale-NUS, I want to wish you every success in your educational pursuits.



Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid


……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
……….”…………. _.·´

Seriously, I don’t give a fuck, flying or not.

No More Kiva Donations in Singapore

It sucks that PayPal users like me can’t use my funds to lend to people who need it more than I do.

Dear Brian,
We regret to inform you that as PayPal Pte Ltd does not have a remittance license, payments from PayPal users in Singapore to Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and charities registered outside of Singapore have been discontinued from 31 March 2013. As such, the payment that you’ve recently sent to Kiva has been reversed, and the money will be returned to your credit card or PayPal balance depending on your payment method.We would like to reassure you that PayPal users in Singapore will continue to be able to support locally-registered NPOs and charities. Our users in Singapore will still be able to use PayPal for faster, safer commercial transactions for purchases of goods and services online and on their mobile devices.
In light of the recent changes in our service to our users in Singapore, we have created a webpage to address concerns and questions you may have at: You can also contact our customer support team by logging into your PayPal account and clicking on ‘contact us’ at the bottom of the page.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. We thank you for your ongoing support and will continue to enable secure commerce anytime, anywhere and any way.

The PayPal Team

Here’s my Kiva progress thus far!
Not too shabby contribution towards the Carnegie Mellon Kiva team 😀 From 4th place to sitting pretty at 2nd now! 😀

Signs One Is In Love

  • Every time someone mentions their name — even if you have no idea what they are talking about — your ears perk up and you immediately tune out whoever you’re listening to to eavesdrop on that conversation.
  • You have, at least once, wrote your name out as it would look if you were married. You were then overwhelmed with shame, and destroyed all evidence.
  • Any time you go out with someone else on a date or to a social event, you can’t stop thinking about how much better it would be if you were there with your crush.
  • Literally everything they do is attractive, and interested, and makes you like them more. They could probably commit first degree murder and you would forgive them after a few minutes of serious reflection.
  • You are constantly tortured with the uncertainty over whether or not they ever think of you, and are pretty certain they are not even aware of your existence.
  • You have saved a few choice photos off of their Facebook for… research purposes.
  • All of your friends roll their eyes and sigh semi-audibly when they hear that you are bringing up your crush yet again.
  • People have begun starting their conversations with you by stating “No, I haven’t seen or spoken to them since we last saw each other,” just to get it out of the way.
  • You have managed to discover their old MySpace and Photobucket from highly-focused search engine creeping.
  • You start to see every couple in TV, movies, or books as being a thinly-veiled representation of the two of you. Everyone from Romeo and Juliet to Noah and Allie to Lady and The Tramp are versions of yourselves.
  • Every song reminds you of them somehow, even songs that have absolutely nothing to do with love or dating.
  • You have said their name aloud during masturbation at least once, likely several dozen times. Okay, several dozen. Ish.
  • People know not to ask you if you’re seeing anyone because the response is only going to be a deep spiral of depression and longing which ends with taking shots of whipped cream out of the can while crying.
  • You alternate between daydreaming about how lovely the world is and how many amazing things could happen to you when you least expect it, and berating yourself over being such a failure in a world that was already ugly and painful to begin with.
  • You spend several hours extra getting ready — possibly even buying new clothes — when you know that there is a chance you might see them tonight.
  • When you end up not seeing them, you contemplate suicide.
  • There is no length you won’t go to to “accidentally” run into them, even taking a route which is nearly an hour out of your way to arrive somewhere at the same time.
  • You can’t focus on work, friends, or remembering to eat regularly.
  • Your friends have begun keeping you away from situations that involve large quantities of alcohol, because they’re tired of dealing with your tearful monologues when you have a little too much to rink.

Spot on. Nice post, Charlotte Green from TC.

An aside: A new cute theme for rest of the year (I hope!) with atypical allusions to the gluttony in me. It’s a slow day at work today. :

Cyber Monday Blues

Lol. I got nothing for Cyber Monday, cos my money has been spread thin over a couple of investments, and my bank balance is a little too low for comfort, especially when I need to pay for uni apps in December.

I haven’t been feeling too well lately. I saw the MO and I got Att B and stupid Benny still say must get out of bunk and go for normal lectures and shit. Glad he’s transferred after a quarrel with MAJ Ho woohoo! I managed to get a dermatologist appt at NSC and wisdom teeth surgery at Alexandra, free courtesy of my 11B!

And I love my new old iPad! 😀 All-day battery power ftw!


Sticky Situations

Today I went to NJC in high spirits for the Cambridge interview. Then I tried to get in by entering via the RGPS exit (hitherto unknown to me) where I got stuck. Then I tried calling NJC General Office. Skype got stuck, refused to connect. So I headed over to the covered walkway where the pleasant security guard told me to take a detour via Hillcrest. To cut to the chase, I reached NJC sweaty and in no mood for an interview.

I grabbed a milk tea with honey pearls and on the way up to the library and met 2 pretty RJC girls. Smiles were exchanged and I sat rather impatiently fiddling with my iPhone. I entered the Buzz when called upon.

The interview started out promptly with a few introductory pleasantries and questions. When it came to the math problem, I was stuck. Really bad. So bad that I half reckoned my interviewer’s last remark that “I made some progress” was more obligatory than anything else.

Grah >_< I feel like tearing my hair out now. Of course, another day, another step, let's ace that TSA this Saturday. F yeah. (=

Cambridge Interview Tomorrow

Here’s a stpry from to soothe the nerves >< Heh.

Clive, Computer Science at Robinson College, Cambridge: I stayed overnight the night before my interview so that I didn’t have to wake up at 4am that morning to get there in time. The first thing that struck me when I got there was how nervous I was – I wasn’t particularly nervous before I’d actually got there. I collected my room key and meal vouchers and went to my room where I attempted a bit more interview preparation. This attempt having failed, I went to the JCR with the hope of mingling with other people. The reality of this attempt at mingling was that I felt like I was intruding and interrupting people’s conversations, so I just went back up to my room until dinner. Then, at dinner, I was approached by a few other applicants, and we ended up forming a huddle of four terrified 17 year olds in a sea of… other people. There’s safety in numbers, though, and once we’d been at the bar for a while our nerves soon calmed down! The big bit was the next day, though. After a sleepless night, I made my way down to breakfast, and then on to the JCR as instructed where I would wait for my TSA exam at 9:30am. While I was waiting, I met a few other people from my course… I’ll admit to secretly trying to weigh up my chances as to whether I stood a chance against any of them: as far as I was concerned, I was doomed for failure! I was surprised by the relative ease of the TSA exam, and fortunately the exam managed to take my mind off the imminent interviews. After the exam, I went back to wait in the JCR, and that’s when the nerves really set in. When I was finally called to my interview and was sat outside the room, I was actually trembling in fear. I, of course, blamed the cold. Interestingly, though, after a few deep breaths, I managed to pull myself together before I entered the room… I recommend this to anyone and everyone going for an interview: it really helps! When I went into my first interview, I shook the hands of the two people interviewing me, and then sat down ready for the interrogation. Prior to the interview, I had been sent an extract from a book to read which had a task at the end of it which I thought I had to prepare for at the interview. They asked me if I’d done it, and if I’d enjoyed it, but never actually asked me what I did! Their first question was “why computer science?” which was relatively easy to answer, since it was the most anticipated question I could have thought up. After another 5-10 minutes of asking me about things on my personal statement (although in no great detail), I was set the task of finding the complexity of an algorithm. I had to ask for help several times throughout the problem and stopped and started all the way through, but I reached the correct answer eventually, which was quite satisfying! My second interview was entirely mathematical, and I thought it went terribly. The mathematical knowledge required to do the questions they asked was at AS level at the very most, and I was stopping and starting all the way through what are, looking back on them, very easy questions. Then came the long wait until 3rd January for the result… to my surprise, I got in! My GCSE/AS grades were hardly impressive, and I didn’t think my interviews went that well, but I have a genuine passion for Computer Science which I think shone through in the interview. For example, I wasn’t afraid to ask for help and I didn’t pretend to know things that I didn’t know… like, when they asked me about what programming languages I had used, I immediately disclaimed that I was no expert and just played round with them for fun. The nature of the interviews was very informal compared to what I thought it would be like, too! It was one surprise after another.

Class of 2016 Admit Rates

This is bad…

IVIES Overall Early Round Estimated Regular Decision
2016 Admit Applied % Admit Applied % Admit Applied %
Brown 2,760 28,742 9.60 556 2,919 19.05 2,204 25,823 8.54
Columbia 2,363 31,851 7.42 605 3,088 19.59 1,758 28,763 6.11
Cornell 6,123 37,812 16.19 1,171 3,609 32.45 4,952 34,203 14.48
Dartmouth 2,180 23,110 9.43 465 1,800 25.83 1,715 21,310 8.05
Harvard 2,032 34,302 5.92 772 4,245 18.19 1,260 30,057 4.19
Penn 3,846 31,217 12.32 1,148 4,526 25.36 2,698 26,691 10.11
Princeton 2,095 26,664 7.86 726 3,476 20.89 1,369 23,188 5.90
Yale 1,975 28,974 6.82 675 4,304 15.68 1,300 24,670 5.27
Total Ivies 23,374 242,672 9.63 6,118 27,967 21.88 17,256 214,705 8.04


MIT + Stanford Overall Early Round Estimated Regular Decision
2016 Admit Applied % Admit Applied % Admit Applied %
Stanford 2,427 36,631 6.63 755 5,880 12.84 1,672 30,751 5.44
MIT 1,620 18,109 8.95 680 6,008 11.32 940 12,101 7.77
Total 4,047 54,740 7.39 1,435 11,888 12.07 2,612 42,852 6.10


Universities 2016 2015 2014
Admit Applied % Admit Applied % Admit Applied %
Carnegie Mellon 4,694 17,300 27.13 5,030 16,527 30.44 5,135 15,459 33.22
Chicago 3,344 26,277 12.73 3,539 21,762 16.26 3,639 19,340 18.82
Duke 3,751 31,600 11.87 3,938 28,145 13.99 4,207 26,784 15.71
Emory 4,539 17,502 25.93 4,548 17,027 26.71 4,488 15,550 28.86
Georgetown 3,316 20,100 16.50 3,480 19,254 18.07 3,619 18,077 20.02
Johns Hopkins 3,636 20,496 17.74 3,576 19,391 18.44 3,787 18,459 20.52
Northwestern 4,895 32,065 15.27 5,575 30,926 18.03 6,379 27,615 23.10
Notre Dame 3,850 16,952 22.71 4,019 16,548 24.29 4,009 14,510 27.63
Tufts 3,500 16,378 21.37 3,743 17,104 21.88 3,757 15,433 24.34
UC Berkeley 13,038 61,702 21.13 13,523 52,953 25.54 12,914 50,372 25.64
UC Davis 22,538 49,416 45.61 21,074 45,825 45.99 19,460 43,315 44.93
UC San Diego 22,939 60,838 37.71 18,212 53,461 34.07 18,307 48,112 38.05
UC Santa Barbara 23,803 54,831 43.41 22,386 49,033 45.65 19,741 46,721 42.25
UCLA 15,455 72,657 21.27 15,689 61,528 25.50 13,013 57,648 22.57
UNC Chapel Hill 7,596 28,491 26.66 7,469 22,652 32.97 7,559 23,271 32.48
USC 8,381 46,030 18.21 8,566 37,210 23.02 8,715 35,794 24.35
Vanderbilt 3,757 28,335 13.26 4,078 24,837 16.42 3,906 21,827 17.90
Virginia 7,759 27,200 28.53 7,750 24,010 32.28 7,212 22,512 32.04
WUSTL 4,873 27,265 17.87 4,763 28,823 16.52 5,285 24,939 21.19