Archive for news

Stephen Hawking dies at age 76.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , on March 14, 2018 by vincentloy

My Facebook home page is suddenly being flooded with many reacting to the one breaking news today. I was shocked to learn that Stephen Hawking has passed away today at the age of 76. Born on 8th January 1942 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, Stephen Hawking emerged successful in the world of science and achieved world recognition despite his struggle with ALS disease.

The excerpt below is from CNN:
     Considered by many to be the world’s greatest living scientist, Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the landmark “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold more than 10 million copies. With fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes. Hawking also discovered that black holes are not completely black but emit radiation and will likely eventually evaporate and disappear.
      Hawking suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is usually fatal within a few years. He was diagnosed in 1963, when he was 21, and doctors initially only gave him a few years to live. The disease left Hawking wheelchair-bound and paralyzed. He was able to move only a few fingers on one hand and was completely dependent on others or on technology for virtually everything — bathing, dressing, eating, even speech. Hawking used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent.
     “I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” he wrote on his website. “I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.”
‘Stephen Hawking’ is a name known worldwide. I have met him before (ahh, just his wax figure in a Madame Tussauds Museum). I also get to know a bit more about him from the 2014 biopic movie ‘The Theory of Everything’ that revolves on his struggling life and romance. The movie which received 5 Academy Awards nominations, won one in best actor for Eddie Redmayne. I do remember that Stephen Hawking also attended the British Academy Film Awards in the same year. His knowledge, discovery, courage, and determination will surely inspires people from all walks of life. May you rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. You remains as one of the greatest in history and will be forever remembered.
(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)
Advertisements

B.V. Doshi wins Pritzker Architecture Prize 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by vincentloy

You may not have heard his name. I didn’t know who he is before today. B.V. Doshi (Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi) is the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the highest honour presented annually to a living architect and is often referred as the Nobel Prize of architecture. Although he is not as popular as those star architects, but he now joined the elite group of past Pritzker winners such as Richard Meier, Oscar Niemeyer, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. He is the first Indian architect to win the prize.

Excerpt below is from an article in Archdaily (https://www.archdaily.com/890126/balkrishna-doshi-named-2018-pritzker-prize-laureatez):

Doshi has been a practitioner of architecture for over 70 years. Previously, he had studied and worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Doshi’s poetic architecture draws upon Eastern influences to create a body of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury. 

Born in Pune, India in 1927, Doshi began his studies in architecture in the year of his country’s independence, 1947. After a period in London, he moved to France to work under Le Corbusier, and from there he returned to India in order to oversee work on Le Corbusier’s plans for Chandigarh, and on Le Corbusier’s projects in Ahmedabad such as the Mill Owner’s Association Building (1954) and Shodhan House (1956). Doshi also later worked with Louis Kahn on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, beginning in 1962.

Since founding his practice Vastushilpa (now known as Vastushilpa Consultants) in 1956, Doshi has combined the lessons learned from these two modern masters with a local sensibility. His distinctly Indian form of critical regionalism synthesizes the sculptural concrete and brick forms of his mentors with recognizably Indian architectural layouts and urban morphologies. One of the clearest manifestations of this style is perhaps his own studio, known as Sangath, where striking concrete barrel vaults are combined with gardens, sunken communal spaces, and water features to mitigate the heat. In 1978, Doshi founded the Vastushilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design to develop planning and design approaches suited to the Indian cultural context; today, the foundation serves as a crucial link between the academy and the architectural profession.

In over 100 projects completed during his career, Doshi has also worked on a number of low-cost housing developments. After completing his first in the 1950s, he stated that “It seems I should take an oath and remember it for my lifetime: to provide the lowest class with the proper dwelling.” The apotheosis of this oath was perhaps the Aranya Low Cost Housing development in Indore. Completed in 1989, this network of houses, courtyards and internal pathways provides housing for over 80,000 people ranging from low- to middle-income families, and won Doshi the 1993-1995 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Some of B.V. Doshi’s past projects are Sangath – B.V. Doshi’s Office at Ahmedabad (first picture), LIC Housing at Ahmedabad (second picture), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (third picture), Amdavad ni Gufa (underground art gallery) at Ahmedabad (fourth picture), Aranya Low Cost Housing at Indore (fifth picture), Kamala House at Ahmedabad (sixth picture), etc.

In recent years, the jury behind selection of Pritzker Prize winners is more inclined towards selecting those who use architecture to contribute critically to the community and to the lower class society rather than opting for those with highly popular names attached with ‘loud’ and extravagant projects. It is a good move.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

Nomination list for the 90th Academy Awards and my predictions.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2018 by vincentloy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has just released its nomination list for the upcoming 90th Academy Awards (The Oscars) to be held on March 4th, 2018. After months of speculations and predictions on which movies, actors or actresses getting nominated for this prestigious awards, the nomination list is finally revealed. There are some snubs as expected, but overall, the nomination list this year is mostly predictable.

Here below is the full nomination list alongside with my picks on preferred choice and predicted winner and my personal opinions for most of the categories:

NOMINATION LIST FOR THE 90TH ACADEMY AWARDS (aka THE OSCARS)

Best Picture

  • Call Me by Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Preferred choice: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Personal opinion: There are 9 movies getting the nomination for this top honor. I am surprised that ‘Phantom Thread’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ are able to sneak in. Notable omission includes ‘I, Tonya’, ‘The Big Sick’, ‘Mudbound’ and ‘The Florida Project’. The frontrunner in this race so far is ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. However, the movie didn’t get a directing nomination which could hurt its chance to win best picture. That also makes way for ‘The Shape of Water’ to climb to the top to snatch best picture as the dark horse. However, I think even without a best director nomination, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is still predicted to win.

Directing

  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Preferred choice: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Predicted winner: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Personal opinion: It’s going to be Guillermo del Toro. He has outpaced Christopher Nolan by winning best director at Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice. Christopher Nolan is still a potential spoiler and is another wonderful film director. But this year, it has to be Guillermo del Toro. I’m shocked to see Paul Thomas Anderson getting nominated but not Martin McDonagh who has directed ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, the best picture frontrunner. Steven Spielberg is also missing here from his directing work in ‘The Post’.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Preferred choice: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)

Predicted winner: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Personal opinion: Academy can put ‘Gary Oldman’ name on the Oscar statuette already. There is nothing in the path to obstruct him on getting his first ever Academy Award. His performance is good in ‘Darkest Hour’ but I actually prefer Timothee Chalamet for his very real, raw and emotional performance in ‘Call Me By Your Name’. Anyway, he is too young for an Oscar (he is only 22 years old) and there’s a long bright path for him after this. So, it’s certainly time to give this to a deserving veteran actor, and that is Gary Oldman. I’m surprised to see James Franco got snubbed here from his role in ‘The Disaster Artist’ (he won Golden Globe for best actor in musical/comedy) and I’m tired of seeing Denzel Washington getting nominated (his way of delivering loud performances is boring to me).

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Preferred choice: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Predicted winner: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Personal opinion: Frances McDormand is the clear favourite and frontrunner after winning most of the precursor awards by now. This will be her second Oscar. She is good in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ but I don’t really like her strong and slightly aggressive attitude. It’s a pity that Sally Hawkins is not getting that much love from her inspiring work as a mute cleaner in a laboratory who felt in love with an amphibian in the movie ‘The Shape of Water’. I’m saddened that the voters out there didn’t realize how hard it is to portray a mute character while being able to deliver all the emotions perfectly and Sally Hawkins did that. On the other hand, Meryl Streep is nominated yet again. When there is Oscars, there is Meryl Streep. It is her 21st nomination (the most for any actors/actresses) and she did deserves it from her role in ‘The Post’.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Preferred choice: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Predicted winner: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Personal opinion: I’m giving the slight edge to Allison Janney over Laurie Metcalf because the former has a more prominent appearance and a character with louder personality in ‘I, Tonya’. Allison Janney has also won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and the SAG. Hence, Laurie Metcalf’s position as the frontrunner previously is immediately replaced by Allison Janney.

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Preferred choice: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Predicted winner: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Personal opinion: Willem Dafoe is losing momentum and is also giving the frontrunner status to Sam Rockwell by now already as the latter has won Golden Globe, Critics Choice and SAG. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is going strong here with 2 nominations.

Adapted Screenplay

  • Call Me by Your Name
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Logan
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound

Preferred choice: Call Me By Your Name

Predicted winner: Call Me By Your Name

Personal opinion: Surprised to see ‘Logan’ getting its nomination here. Anyway, this category is weak this year and that makes way for ‘Call Me By Your Name’ to win this for sure as it is the only movie nominated here that is also nominated for best picture. Enough said.

Original Screenplay

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Preferred choice: Get Out

Predicted winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Personal opinion: Out of these 5 nominees, both ‘Get Out’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ had script with brilliant fresh new idea respectively. I favor ‘Get Out’ more as it has a more engaging storyline. However, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ will win this and it’s a hint that this movie will win best picture too (to my disappointment). I couldn’t really get myself into this movie. I find it overrated.

Animated Feature Film

  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent

Preferred choice: Coco

Predicted winner: Coco

Personal opinion: Definitely ‘Coco’. The other nominees are just filling in the spots because they are far behind from ‘Coco’ in everything. ‘Coco’ is not only the best animated film in 2017, but also among the best of all the animated movies that I have watched. Besides that, this category is very weak this year.

Foreign Language Film

  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
  • The Insult (Lebanon)
  • Loveless (Russia)
  • Body and Soul (Hungary)
  • The Square (Sweden)

Documentary Feature

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces/Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island

Cinematography

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Mudbound
  • The Shape of Water

Preferred choice: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: Blade Runner 2049

Personal opinion: I didn’t watch ‘Blade Runner 2049’ but I have heard a lot of good reviews particularly on its technical achievements. The dark horse in this category is certainly ‘The Shape of Water’.

Film Editing

  • Baby Driver
  • Dunkirk
  • I, Tonya
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Preferred choice: I, Tonya

Predicted winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Personal opinion: I am amazed by the editing in ‘I, Tonya’ but I think people have forgotten that and kept remembering how great ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ has performed in the major precursor awards earlier. I have a feeling that voters wanted to give out more awards for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and this may be one of them.

Production Design

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

Preferred choice: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water

Personal opinion: ‘The Shape of Water’ stunned me with its amazing production design. The sets are awesome and gave me the feels to get myself immersed into the story and the movie. I would be mad if this movie lost here.

Costume Design

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Darkest Hour
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Victoria & Abdul

Preferred choice: Beauty and the Beast

Predicted winner: Phantom Thread

Personal opinion: ‘Phantom Thread’ is in race for best picture and also in some other categories but it looks like it will not win anything. Costume design is the best shot for the film. The Academy will vote for it just for the sake of giving a consolation (a single win) to the movie.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Darkest Hour
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Wonder

Preferred choice: Darkest Hour

Predicted winner: Darkest Hour

Personal opinion: ‘Darkest Hour’ will take this one simply because the transformation of Gary Oldman to portray as Winston Churchill in the movie is phenomenal. I couldn’t even recognize that it was Gary Oldman in there and I have to compliment the very realistic make-up work put on him (must be a lot of effort). Hairtstyling? I think that make-up achievement in that movie is already enough for it to win. Academy should have extended this category to the normal 5 nominees, rather than just 3.

Original Score

  • Dunkirk
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Preferred choice: The Shape of Water

Predicted winner: The Shape of Water

Personal opinion: The simple yet magical soundtrack for ‘The Shape of Water’ should and will win this. Alexandre Desplat has yet produced another amazing film score here.

Original Song

  • “Mighty River,” Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” Coco
  • “Stand Up for Something,” Marshall
  • “This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Preferred choice: ‘This Is Me’ (The Greatest Showman)

Predicted winner: ‘This Is Me’ (The Greatest Showman)

Personal opinion: Although ‘Remember Me’ is a very moving song, but ‘This Is Me’ is more powerful, meaningful and resonates more with the current society in the idea of respecting and treating minorities equally. Hence, I’m giving the edge to ‘This Is Me’. ‘Remember Me’ from ‘Coco’ is still a strong contender.

Sound Editing

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Preferred choice: Baby Driver

Predicted winner: Baby Driver

Personal opinion: I am still confused by the difference between sound ‘editing’ and ‘mixing’. Anyway, I’m putting my bet on ‘Baby Driver’ as the movie did triumphed in sound categories and here is the only chance for it to come on top. I remembered the intentional synchronization of music with the actions by the cast in that movie. That was brilliant.

Sound Mixing

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Preferred choice: Dunkirk

Predicted winner: Dunkirk

Personal opinion: Suddenly, I remembered that ‘Dunkirk’ also excelled in sound categories. ‘Dunkirk’ has loud, intense and climax-building sound works.  I think it will be battle between ‘Baby Driver’ and ‘Dunkirk’ in these two categories. So, why not each one winning one to make things sound fair.

Visual Effects

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

Preferred choice: War for the Planet of the Apes

Predicted winner: War for the Planet of the Apes

Personal opinion: I’m surprised to see ‘Kong: Skull Island’ getting a nomination here but I have to say that the movie do have some pretty visuals. But it won’t win. I’m putting my bet on ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ as it is the last film in the reboot ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise (time to acknowledge it) and that the apes in it really look very real.

Animated Short Film

  • Dear Basketball
  • Garden Party
  • Lou
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes

Live Action Short Film

  • DeKalb Elementary
  • The Eleven O’Clock
  • My Nephew Emmett
  • The Silent Child
  • Watu WoteAll of Us

Documentary Short Subject

  • Edith and Eddie
  • Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
  • Heroin(e)
  • Knife Skills
  • Traffic Stop

That’s it for the nomination list. ‘The Shape of Water’ leads with 13 nominations. It almost ties the record for being the film with most nominations which now stands at 14 (several other films in the past had reached that record before). It is still an astonishing feat for ‘The Shape of Water’ with that many number of nominations as expected earlier.  ‘Dunkirk’ has the second most nominations, and it is actually far behind with 8 nominations. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is closely behind with 7 nominations and is predicted to win in most of the categories it is nominated, particularly in the acting ones and also for best picture. ‘Phantom Thread’ is getting more love than I expected with 6 nominations. ‘Darkest Hour’ also has 6 nominations. ‘Lady Bird’ has 5 nominations, while ‘Get Out’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’ has 4 nominations respectively. ‘The Post’, the remaining contender for best picture has 2 nominations only (best actress and best picture) and it is obvious that this movie is not getting much love from the Academy. Overall, there is not much major surprises for this year’s nomination list.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is the latest film to join 1-billion dollar club and movie review for ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by vincentloy

As expected, the latest film in the Star Wars film franchise, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has grossed over US$ 1 billion on its worldwide box office recently. The movie reached the milestone only about three weeks from its release date. As of 2nd January 2018, the film has grossed US$ 1.056 billion (US$ 533 million from US and Canada and US$ 523 million from all other markets). It is very seldom that the international intake is more than the domestic intake for a film and this ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is an example. It proves that this film franchise is intensely popular in US. On its release week, it has the second largest opening ever if I’m not mistaken.

The movie is now one of the four films in 2017 that grossed over US$ 1 billion respectively. It is currently the 22nd highest grossing film of all time but that ranking is expected to rise further as the movie still observes high attendance from all parts of the world and that it has not even released in China yet. I’m expecting that it will have a final box office intake of somewhere around US$ 1.5 billion. It will not come close to 2015’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ that has gained US$ 2.068 billion to become world’s 3rd highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation). ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ will ultimately topped the chart as the highest grossing 2017 film, defeating ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that stands at US$ 1.263 billion. The conclusion is; whenever you are producing a Star Wars film, you are sure to get over 1-billion dollar box office return. I’m not a fans of this franchise and I have not watched it yet (no huge interest on it).

Now, let’s talk about another movie and I’m giving my quick review to it now. It’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’. I watched it two weeks ago. It’s a sequel to the first ‘Jumanji’ film in 1995(and 2005’s ‘Zathura: A Space Adventure) and has its story set 21 years after the first film. I remembered those two films and I loved both of them. The plot now follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, playing as the characters they chose, and must beat the game in order to return home. It is no longer based on a board but rather on a video game. The movie starred Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, etc.

I had a great time watching it. There was so much fun in this movie. Hilarious moments in almost every scenes, gorgeous visuals, likable cast, and great actions. This is one of the most entertaining movies that I have watched in recent years. I’m happy that Hollywood decides to remake ‘Jumanji’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ a total of 7.8. I am seeing Dwayne Johnson everywhere. He is taking up so many movies (Fast and Furious franchise, San Andreas, Journey to the Mysterious Island, G.I.Joe: Retaliation, Central Intelligence, and upcoming Rampage, etc) right now, and is a much needed actor for movies that require an extreme body physique.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

The World in 2017: Recap of Major Events of the Year

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2017 by vincentloy

2017 is coming to an end soon. As with my blog’s tradition, I am here compiling a post that looks back at some major events or viral happenings throughout this one whole year. It’s time for a flashback of 2017 as we prepare to welcome 2018. Here below are the 10 events that are highly representative for year 2017.

Trump, Trump and Trump

Ever since Donald Trump is officially inaugurated as the President of the United States of America early this year, there has been many news, reports and comments regarding him (mostly negative). His iconic hairstyle or gestures have been parodied countless of times. His tweets are also grabbing everyone’s attention with his hilariously unprofessional or unreasonable comments that should not have come out from a President at all. His remarks on North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Jerusalem, fake news, etc have sparked so much controversies. He is certainly the man of the year, but for mostly negative reasons.

Despacito Everywhere

A Mexican music video in YouTube is definitely not to be missed out. The music video ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee broke record as the YouTube video with highest number of views in history. Currently, it has accumulated over 4.5 billion views! Up to this day, I still have no idea what the song is about and I also have no idea why it is such a massive hit worldwide.

Las Vegas Shooting

On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at a music festival on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada, leaving 58 dead and 546 injured. He fired more than 1100 rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel. About an hour after Paddock fired his last shot into the crowd of 22,000, he was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive is still unknown. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. The shooting reignited the debate about gun laws in US.

Tragic Earthquakes in central Mexico and border of Iraq and Iran

Two massive earthquakes occurred this year. First was a 7.1 earthquake on September 19 at Central Mexico that kills around 350 people. The second one was a 7.3 earthquake on November 12 that strikes the border region between Iraq and Iran , leaving at least 530 dead.

Manchester Arena’s Bombing

A terrorist bombing attack occurred at an Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017. It killed 22 people and injured over 100. A shrapnel-laden homemade bomb was detonated as people were leaving Manchester Arena following a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Grenfell Tower Fire

A massive fire broke out at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, West London on 14th June 2017. It killed 71 people and over 70 injuries are reported. Police and fire services believe the fire started accidentally in a fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. The rapid growth of the fire is thought to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding, which is of a common type in widespread use. This sparked review of building regulations and fire safety not only for UK itself but also for other multiple countries.

North Korea In The Spotlight

North Korea has been condemned by international community particularly in this year for multiple actions that include test firing a ballistic missile across the Sea of Japan, conducting nuclear tests, and threatening to initiate attacks. Further sanctions have been imposed on the country by various countries across the world and also by the United Nations.

Truck Bombing in Somalia and Sinai Mosque Attack

On 14 October 2017, a massive blast caused by a truck bombing in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, killed at least 512 people and injured 316. The attack is the deadliest in Somalia‘s history, and it is is also the third-deadliest act of terrorism in recorded history, surpassed only by the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings and the September 11 attacks in 2001.

On 24 November 2017, the al-Rawda mosque in Egypt was attacked by roughly 40 gunmen during Friday prayers. The attack killed 311 people and injured at least 122, making it the deadliest attack in Egyptian history. Islamic State is the suspected perpetrators behind this attack.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry ransomware attack was a May 2017 worldwide cyberattack by the WannaCry[a] ransomware cryptoworm, which targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The attack began on Friday, 12 May 2017, and within a day was reported to have infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.

Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028

The International Olympic Committee has officially announced on September 13, 2017 that Paris is awarded the right to host 2024 Summer Olympic Games while Los Angeles will be hosting the 2028 edition of the games. Hence, there will be no bidding event for 2028 games.

We observed mostly ruins, disasters, attacks, tragic news or negative stuff for this year. Let’s hope that we will be seeing more positive events next year.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Today marks the 9th anniversary of my blog!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2017 by vincentloy

My blog is celebrating its 9th birthday today! It is now 9 years old. Wonderful!

28th September 2008 was the day I first created my blog here under WordPress platform and I wrote my first ever post in a very informal and brief delivery. Now, I have over 1900 posts containing multiple informative articles, critical news and analysis, content reviews, or just a personal diary of what I have been going through from time to time. At first, I didn’t expect that my passion in blogging would come to this far, and not to mention that I have produced over 1900 posts to date. I have to be very excited and proud of myself for that!

Actually, in these few months, I do have a lot more in my mind to write in my blog here. However, I don’t have the time for it as I’m currently being overwhelmed with my thesis work. I promised that I will get back to my blog here actively right after I finish my thesis. And that would be end of this November. Two more months to go and I’m free to return to my hobbies (blogging included).

One more year to go and my blog will be reaching the one decade anniversary’s milestone. And for now, Happy 9th birthday to my blog again and wishing for me and my blog to have another awesome 9 years ahead!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

16th anniversary of 911 and new iPhone X release!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Two days ago, 11th September 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic 911 terrorist attacks in the United States. A news that had the world stunned and in shock. The image of the World Trade Center twin towers collapsing after being hit by passenger planes still haunts the minds of millions of people especially the Americans. 16 years have passed, and all shall move on. There is a small tribute ceremony held to mark this particular anniversary on the Ground Zero site, now redeveloped into a Memorial Park with the finished new 1 WTC tower. Some have commented to only organize such memorial ceremony once in every five years, rather than once a year as a sign for people to move on from this sorrow memory.

 

I disagree in my personal opinion. You can have 364 days a year to ‘move on’ but why not just take a single day in a year to look back to the past and remember this tragedy and the lives lost from it. It’s not a big request. A simple tribute ceremony as a gesture of respect once a year is still reasonable. At the end of the day, we do not wish to see any more terrorist attacks happening in this world. Attacks of such proportion in September 2001 on the US is terribly wrong. Every time I re-watch the clips of the news coverage or videos taken by the public during the twin towers’ attack and collapse, I’m deeply saddened. These terrorists are inhuman for doing such nasty things.

And, the day after (yesterday) is also a big day in US. Apple has just announced its latest release of the new iPhone X (and iPhone 8 and 8Plus, Apple Watch Series 3) yesterday to the public in a grand product launch event. It is also the first grand event that is held on the Apple’s new campus that is shaped like a ring (or a huge alien ship) that reportedly costs US$ 5 billion dollar to construct. What an expensive building. I contributed some for it too since I am an iPhone user. I’m a bit excited for its new iPhone X (X means 10 in romans to mark the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release back in 2007). It has glass on the phone’s back for wireless charging ability, facial-recognition feature to unlock phone, absence of home button, screen filling up the whole front of the phone, latest operating software (IOS 11), better camera technology, etc. All these new features may have been done by the other smartphone brands earlier but hey, now it’s Apple’s turn. Due to its branding, hence all of its products are super expensive.

But I’m still attracted to it somehow. Will I buy? No. My previous iPhone 5 died last year. I can no longer wait for this new phone and so I bought the iPhone 7 in October last year. Now, even my iPhone 7 is considered out-dated even it is just one-year old. If my previous iPhone 5 can survive for another year (last until now), then I will certainly go for this new iPhone X. But it costs a whopping US$ 999 at least. Crazy…On the other hand, nobody really wants to talk much about the other products; iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which is just a slight upgrade from iPhone 7. As for the new Apple Watch Series 3, its new features are the ability to make and receive calls and surf internet. A very small gadget but with multiple advanced functions. Will I buy it? No. I don’t think I need it. Fancy and cool stuff but not necessary. I’m fine with just the smartphone. And on top of that, it’s very costly!

There are more and more great smartphones out there by other brands. Hence, I think Apple do really need to further step up their game in their future products. This new iPhone X may looks awesome but still there is nothing really ‘breakthrough’ or very ‘wow’ from it.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)