Richard (Rick) Levin – CEO/Board member, Coursera

Article review: Amit Roy Choudhury. (13-14 Feb 2016). Bringing knowledge to the masses. Singapore. Business Times Weekend.

Some notes…

  • Levin opines that the contemporary 20-year-old would stream through 13 to 15 employment positions in life
  • Coursera, and other Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), ‘…will not replace the degree-granting universities.’
  • Some experiments suggest splitting a 50 minute lecture into eight parts with short assessments and questions. This raises student focus and their recollection (this is probably in contrast to what the lecturers at Oxford University did). The related benefit is that an educator can then make changes much quicker to portions that have not worked
  • Instructors need to look at the camera to increase a sense of connection with the student (would that not mean the ‘traditional class setting’?)
  • Coursera at that point shared profits equally with the partnering university that produced the course
  • Singapore has the highest per capita utilisation of their courses!
  • He supports peer grading in say 500 word essays (but would that not require an overall tutor to direct things?)

With that, I end.


Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – Not!

Not for Japan.

The shortfall in butter at that time had gone on for nearly 2 years with the government facilitating emergency imports. The quota was raised by 700 tonnes through the TPP. Yet, in context, this represents merely 5% of the domestic intake. Policy support for local farmers remains strong as seen from the minuscule adjustments in what has been described as a ‘…state-controlled system’ that has failed.



Reuters. (31 Oct-1 Nov 2016). Japan still suffers butter deficit despite trade pact. Singapore. Business Times Weekend.


Joints and pain

At the behest of my knee, I ceased running at the high frequency of 4-5 times a week. Yes, it was in pain, particularly the right one. It did not help that I was right footed and played street soccer too.

I picked up <Running Injury-free> by Dr Joseph Ellis (2013). Rodale. New York.  Based on experience and observation (especially one extended episode of football on grass), there was indeed more acute pain under the kneecap. From what I read in the book, this seemed to be patellofemoral pain. I followed some suggested counsel.

  • Quarter squats (the knees were to ‘pass directly over the toes’ rather than ‘bending out’ (Ellis proposed doing this 10 times at one go; haven’t been doing this daily)
  • I stopped running routes that went down or at a negative incline; even walking down stairs
  • I began cross training (even though I hated going to the gym; I walked as warm up too, at least for 10 minutes)
  • Quadriceps/hamstring stretches with less force/pressure than I used to

I did some modifications of my own in addition. I changed the way I ran or jogged. I reduced my stride and tried to make sure that my knees passed over my toes. It was a slower speed; and took quite some diligence. So far, I did this once.

Pain has been less apparent.

Well, the bottom line for me is that life is not over when I run less…

I think I might need to do further research on solving/pre-empting the issue since the author did say that cartilage does not grow back…

Finally to all readers, do seek medically attention accordingly! All the best to those on the mend!

Airline safety


In the world of news, national boundaries have become next to meaningless…(and the pace of life is simply incredible.)

One Singapore Airlines plane (SQ 368) returned to Changi Airport at 650am this morning and its right wing exploded into flames. (It is great news that everyone was safe!) Channelnews Asia put up the first report at 803am. The United Kingdom’s Guardian posted its corresponding article on 27 June 143 BST (? British Standard Time) based on information from Channelnews Asia and The Straits Times.

Last year in November, there was a bomb scare on a Singapore airline flight to San Francisco, United States. (I particularly remember this as I saw it on the flight returning home.) In the same article (Singapore Airlines flight from U.S. faces bomb threat; Aircraft lands safely in Singapore on same day Turkish Airlines plane diverted to Halifax) by CBC/Radio-Canada, planes from Air France and Turkish Airlines were likewise affect by terrorist fears.

With the globalised nature of international terrorism and the proliferation of air travel, people have become more akin to global citizens, who are quite literally up in the air… The news crew aim to sell the news, while the terrorist investigators/security agencies and foreign ministries eagerly take it in to respond such as through travel advisories. This is indeed another market for intelligence gathering.

Investment and Free Speech

Julie Steinberg. (17 Mar 2016). Short Seller Wages War in Hong Kong. The Wall Street Journal. (Purchased in Thailand).

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission had been coming after Citron Research’s Andrew Left. It is a historical precedent. Left suggested that several corporate entities like Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd had issues which would lead to falling share values (i.e. shorting their stocks). Left has been short selling for 15 years. He claims to be self funded.

A negative outcome for Left would belong to one of three categories. He may be adjudged as misrepresenting information; lying; ‘reckless or negligent’. Resultantly, he could have to cough up his earnings or be prohibited from the Hong Kong market in future. (His profit in the case of Evergrande was HK$ 1.7 million. He traded off 4.1 million Evergrande shares before his damaging report and then re-purchased them at a lower price evidently.)  His lawyers were present in place of Left at the legal proceeding as he was afraid for his well-being (from potential attacks ostensibly).

The article ends with a quote from Hong Kong shareholder activist, David Webb:

“There’s never been a case against a long buyer who’s been overly optimistic about a company’s prospects.”

Ironic tones indeed…

That day – 08/09/2015 – Iceland in Euro 2016

<Iceland qualify for Euro 2016 finals> My Paper (我报), a free bilingual (English & Chinese) newspaper from Singapore.

It was heartening to see Iceland recover after its financial default from the global 2008 subprime crisis. It was their maiden entry too – for a state with a population of 330,000! This undoubtedly is much smaller than Greece or Denmark; who won the European Championships respectively in 2004 and 1992.

That day – 07/09/2015 – Refugee issues

<安排难民就业  德国成欧洲典范> from the local My Paper (我报) is a free bilingual (English & Chinese) newspaper.

To translate, Germany was deemed the role model for facilitating the employment of refugees (such as those from Syria). It also took the lead to take refugees in the first place, though German leader Merkel suffered for it later. The inference? Perhaps one can return to this post and learn from Germany later on through more research. (Of course knowing the German tongue would aid tremendously).