Thursday, January 31, 2008

What's Going Down

We're very busy this month at PRI, what with the mid-semester exams and other planned programmes haunting our every living moment T_T We're trying our best to post reports of what's been happening, so stay tuned for more posts about:

1) ScienceTrex educational trip to Malaysian Genome Institute (MGI)

2) SCIENCESS newsletter: Erudition

3) SCIENCESS Video Competition

Nos. 2 and 3 are our babies, so please participate for our sake--if not for the money! $_$

We're in the middle of considering adding Google's AdSense to the blog, which might see cash heading our way. But it's still in the feasibility study stage. As you can see, we've also changed the blog layout! Planning to make a few more changes. Hope you guys like them! =)

Fashion Friday

The Islamic Affairs Bureau has launched a new campaign to promote Islamic dressing. We hope that on Fridays, everyone will dress in the traditional Baju Melayu and Baju Kurung, or Thaub (Jubah) and Abayas. Lecturers and staff are also welcomed to join in the fun. After all, what better day than Friday to show everyone that we are Muslims and are proud of that fact?

Boy, do our exco members know how to strut their stuff! ^_^

P.S. SCIENCESS would like to wish everyone the best in their exams. May Allah (S.W.T.) grant you excellent results and lots of A's. And let's not forget to make Du'a instead of just wishing each other, okay?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Malaysia International Space Adventure (MISA)

The educational trip to the Malaysia International Space Adventure (MISA) in Putrajaya yesterday was hardly a stellar programme. Though that’s not to say that it wasn’t worth our money. Plagued by problems even before the moment of departure, we managed to go to outer space and back safely–thankfully. No, really, we had an informative yet fun and relaxing excursion.

Our departure at 7:00 A.M. (that’s 7:30 A.M. for Malaysians) was delayed by five mystifyingly muddle-headed makciks who managed to board the wrong bus even after being briefed and given mini fliers of the programme.

The ride was made worse thanks to the fact that the
bus went about like it was riding humps every 10 seconds (no pun here). Upon arrival at Putrajaya, our first stop was Alamanda, where most went window shopping and had their lunch as well as prayers. Malaysian makcik syndrome reared its ugly teeth for the second time here, regrettably, which delayed the troupe a further one hour. Some people decided to take their own sweet time snapping pictures of themselves beside the Alamanda waterfront as proof to show their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in the future that they have indeed been to Putrajaya, by which time said descendants could probably not care less. Anyhow, let’s all pray they’ll like long lives. Amin.

Grudges aside, upon entering the dome-shaped building that has been housing MISA for about a month, we were greeted with display cases containing spacesuits worn by previous astronauts and cosmonauts during various space missions.

There was also a real-size replica of the flight deck of Discovery, the famous space shuttle, which you can board and witness for yourself its sheer claustrophobic-inducing capacity. After that, the tour guide gave us a brief history lesson on the various space missions mankind has embarked upon since the beginning of time while walking through a corridor lined with exhibition posters and glass cases filled with small-scale space shuttle models, remnants of space shuttle hulls, space food, and… More spacesuits. The history thing was pretty boring and uninteresting as there were too many missions and too many details we don’t need to know about. What was interesting, however, were the space food (delicious dried and mashed up things in air-tight plastic wraps from more than 20 years ago), the shuttle models (which every guy wish they had had instead of Hot Wheels), and the lunar roving vehicle (the actual buggy they used to explore the moon, life-size).

Well we could go on and on… If you ask anyone who went there, they’d most probably say that the main attraction of MISA would be the Blast Zone and 4D Theatre. Halfway through the exhibition, we were whisked off into a tall freight ship container-like room. As the door was slammed shut, we realised that we were under an exhaust-like thing. A video was played, while everyone huddled under the exhaust to get a better view of the video. And while we were watching, a little girl from the video pushed a few buttons and set of the launching sequence of the rocket above us. Air and smoke suddenly billowed from above like there was a storm and we were trapped in the room, under a rocket, which was about to launch into space. Luckily no one died, as it was just a simulation.

Towards the end, there was a 3D movie which, by some weird logic or lopsided marketing gimmick, was named "4D Theatre." The movie featured three cutesy flies (the mascots of MISA) who stowed themselves aboard a space shuttle to go off to space, and the fun and adventure that they went through trying to avoid detection in zero G. Somehow, along the way, they managed to save the lives of the two shuttle crew, and the movie ended with the trio being the first three flies to make it to the moon.

On the way back to Kuantan, the bus dropped off a few people who wanted to go back to their "hometown," "Kay Elle," at the Putra Terminal near Gombak. We stopped at the Genting Sempah R&R to have our prayers and dinner, and… Needless to say, a lot of people returned home a little more “prosperous” that day.

We guess there was a sliver of disappointment as everyone kind of expected to see and hear more about the local aerospace scene. And some people secretly wished to meet Malaysia’s most eligible bachelor, Sheikh Muszaphar. For some, it may not be a very informative exhibition, but with these kinds of things you have to actually ask the guides to know about stuff, and not just prance about snapping pictures of yourself and every exhibition material. Oh well, Innamal A’malu Binniyyat. What you intend to get, you’ll get.

“~Jom pergi ke bulan! Jom pergi ke bulan!~”

Past and Future SCIENCESS Programmes


Here's a list of SCIENCESS programmes planned this semester (click on it for a better view):

Hope you guys'll take note of the programmes that interest you. Keep a look out for the upcoming SCIENCESS Video Competition!