Saturday, December 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Two years ago, the Star Wars saga returned with a brand new trilogy focused on a new generation of heroes and villains from a galaxy far far away in The Force Awakens. We've witnessed every pulse-pounding moments from our new favorite characters such as Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and many others, including returning legends from the past installments. It's hard for a dedicated Star Wars fan not to spoil everything but The Force Awakens is two years ago and now it's time for the continuation of the saga with The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Picking up where the last film left off, The Last Jedi continues the tale of Rey as her fateful encounter with the legendary Jedi warrior Luke Skywalker changes everything while the Resistance, led by General Leia (played by the late Carrie Fisher) waged war against what remains of the First Order.

The film brings back Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as the villainous Kylo Ren, as well as legends such as Mark Hamill as Luke and like I said, the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia. 

We had to admit that ever since Carrie Fisher passed away, there could be speculations regarding the fate of the character in this film and while keeping it true to every Star Wars fandom, I shouldn't spoil about it but while this film is a parting gift for the legend herself, this film puts every fans theories to the test because this film is going to be like The Empire Strikes Back all over again because the revelations you'd expect from the middle chapter of The Force Awakens saga will shock every viewers to the last minute and when they got out from the theaters after seeing this film, they'll have a lot of questions to talk back at home. A LOT OF QUESTIONS because some of you might think the ugly truth will shatter your skulls like an emotional sledgehammer.

Emotional sledgehammer aside, The Last Jedi is a definitive way to start the holiday season with a bang and for the folks from Disney and LucasFilm, this is a masterpiece even a First Order Stormtrooper shouldn't miss it because with such shocking storyline, new and returning characters alike, and the edge-of-your-seat thrills, this is the Star Wars film you would definitely want to see before the next one arrives many many years from now and as you would expect in the middle bit of the saga, it's a risky struggle to survive your way through the end of this lengthy film and before the next film arrives, chances are you're having hangovers about how great this film is.

My rating: 4.7 out of 5.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Grand Tour S2: The Falls Guys

The Grand Tour S02E02
The second episode of this season of Amazon's car program, The Grand Tour, brings back a familiar staple of an epic race between a car and public transportation as Jeremy Clarkson drives the brand new Ford GT while James May tags along with an injured Richard Hammond on numerous public transportation by land and by air and by land again on an epic race from New York City to Niagara Falls. It was one-sided due to traffic conditions near the Canadian border but the Ford GT managed to beat them to the race to the Falls.

During the episode, Jeremy Clarkson checks out the Mercedes-AMG GT-R around the Eboladrome and when handed at the hands of the show's new driver, notably a female driver, it lapped round the track in 1:18.7.

In Celebrity Face Off, it's cricket vs. baseball as Kevin Pietersen and Brian Wilson, two famous athletes who made a living of throwing and hitting balls, seize each other out to find out who's the fastest. In here, Kevin beats Brian at the lap time of 1:17.2 vs. 1:17.5.

Second-generation Suzuki Spacia

Four years ago, Suzuki replaced the Palette with the Spacia kei minivan which competes with the likes of the Daihatsu Tanto and Honda N-BOX. With its rivals went on their current stages, the time is just right for the most fuel-efficient kei minivan in Japan to regenerate for its second-generation model and months after it was previewed at the Tokyo Motor Show last autumn, the new Spacia from Suzuki promises to be better than the previous Spacia as well as its opposition.

2018 Suzuki Spacia
2018 Suzuki Spacia Custom

Yes, the Spacia is back for the second generation and for this new model, Suzuki promises to be the most fuel efficient in its class not just because of its mild hybrid system but also the platform that promises to be more engaging than the previous model, something that makes its rivals quaking their boots.

2018 Suzuki Spacia
2018 Suzuki Spacia Custom

As always, the Spacia is available in two different styles to choose from. There was the normal Spacia that has the front lamp of the Ignis and the grille of some Suzuki minivan not sold in Japan that I can't mention what that is due to search query reasons, and then there's the stylish Spacia Custom that has the front of a Toyota Crown. See any resemblance? I think there is but still, they're here to satisfy different kinds of first-time buyers. With the normal Spacia starts at 1,274,400 Yen and the Spacia Custom starts at 1,517,400 Yen, you can possibly afford one than today's Honda N-BOX, making it a fair value.

2018 Suzuki Spacia interior
2018 Suzuki Spacia Custom interior

The interior is all new and when you check through the dashboard, it looks exactly like every other new Suzukis ever witnessed like the Ignis and today's Wagon R but because this is a tall car for tall people, the generous dimensions makes it possible for someone as tall as I am to live with. 1,410mm of interior height and 2,155mm of interior length, that's how generous the Spacia's interior space is and also, the rear seats can be folded to accomodate some added space for your things.

2018 Suzuki Spacia
2018 Suzuki Spacia Custom

Like today's Wagon R, the all-new Spacia is powered by Suzuki's Mild Hybrid technology featuring an Integrated Starter Generator linked to a li-ion battery pack collaborating with its fuel-efficient 660cc engine. Thanks to this fuel-efficient measure as well as Suzuki's HEARTECT platform that makes it lighter and more rigid compared to the previous Spacia, fuel efficiency is around 30.0km/L in JC08 Mode standards while Custom variants can do 28.2km/L (with turbo variants exclusive to the Custom can do 25.6km/L). While this is the most fuel-efficient kei minivan in its class, it's surprisingly less efficient than the previous Spacia despite the mild hybrid technology so why are you wondering why buy a new Spacia that is less efficient than the old Spacia. That's a good question because Suzuki wanted to be honest about the Spacia's fuel efficiency so they won't disappoint their customers.

Leaving the fuel efficiency fiasco aside, the new Spacia is the safest in its class and it was the first to introduce SUZUKI SAFETY SUPPORT, a suite of safety features such as Lane Departure Warning, Driver Detection, High Beam Assist, Road Sign Recognition, and advance car departure notice function. Apart from that, you can have the Spacia equipped with the omnidirectional monitoring camera that can detect both sides of the car and an around view monitor featuring for the first time on a kei car, a 3D view of your car that makes parking a lot convenient. Other safety features include the Emergency Stop Signal, Hill Hold Control, Dual Sensor Brake Support, False Start Suppression Control, backward erroneous start suppression function, and also first for a kei car, ultrasonic sensors in the rear bumper to detect obstacles behind the vehicle.

Sure, it may take some time before the new Suzuki Spacia will get noticed but when time comes, although you may find the design a bit questionable by kei car standards, you will be appreciated by the efficiency (despite being less efficient than the previous model), the interior, and the safety this kei minivan delivers as well as the pricing. So, fancy having one? Err...Not quite yet but let's wait until someone rings a bell about the second-generation Suzuki Spacia.

Photo: Suzuki Motor Corporation

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: SK-CH leaders agree on basic priorities

South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday called for efforts to improve ties and reaffirmed their joint position to peacefully end the North Korea crisis.

The two leaders made some progress during their third bilateral summit in Beijing on THursday, but when it comes to the THAAD issue, clear differences remain.

Moon's top press secretary Yoon Young-chan told a press briefing, during their Beijing summit, the leaders reached an agreement on four basic principles in dealing with North Korea's nuclear threat.

The two countries agreed to put their bilateral relationship back on track in a joint statement issued on October 31st.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (December 15, 2017)

- Tropical Storm Urduja is expected to make landfall over Samar on Saturday, according to PAGASA. According to the severe weather bulletin, Urduja was 240km east of Borongan City, Eastern Samar and forecasted to move northwest at 5kph. It has maximum sustained winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph and is expected to make landfall over Northern Samar and Eastern Samar on Saturday morning and afternoon.

- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the killing of a woman and her child last December 11. Aguirre issued Department Order 797 that authorizes the NBI to "conduct a case build up over the death of Ruby Gamos and her seven year old daughter Shaniah Nicole Gamos."

- After the fall of the Maute group, the military warned of a startup ISIS-inspired militant group it said is capable of carrying out deadly attacks. It comes after Congress approved the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao until next year to wipe out terrorism in the said region. Reports suggest that Abu Turaife had been described by some reports as a commander of a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters breakaway group, which was reportedly planning to stage bombings in Cotabato.

- Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa thanked his fellow cops for supposedly overcoming trials in the service this year. In his statement, Dela Rosa said the police force had “many victories” in 2017. He remarked this despite the criticisms over the alleged police abuses in the government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

- Spain is tightening border security because of reports that ousted Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont may stage a surprise return. Mr Puigdemont is campaigning to be re-elected president from Belgium, where he fled with four cabinet members to avoid sedition and rebellion charges following Catalonia’s unilateral independence declaration in late October.

- In a shocking turn of events, the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of the Restore Internet Freedom Order, which favors the cannibalization of Title II classification and revives the light-touch regulatory that flourished the internet for almost two decades.

- Toyota Motor Corporation teases the GR Super Sport Concept ahead of next month's Tokyo Auto Salon premiere.

- Continental Tire is set to showcase their new battery charging tech at next year's Consumer Electrics Show.

- Seiyuu Yumi Hara announced that she will end her solo singing career after the release of her album this March.


Kia The New Ray

Since its launch in 2011, Kia's Ray draws inspiration from Japan's kei minivans like the Daihatsu Tanto and while it looks like a kei minivan, it actually is bigger than a kei minivan and it has a litre of an engine that is efficient enough on the long run. You can think of the Ray as the spiritual successor of the old Towner but that would be nonsense because the Ray is not like the old Towner of the past. It's an MPV for Koreans who want to buy an affordable car that can get the job done anytime. Now, with the 2018MY minor change, let's find out what's changed since its arrival six years ago.

2018 Kia Ray
2018 Kia Ray

It would be misleading to call it "The New Ray" because in truth, this is a minor change to Kia's compact minivan sold only to South Korea and they really do mean South Korea-only unless some smugglers from Southeast Asia trying to sneak one of these and then publicly sell it from their shady dealerships that sell smuggled cars.

Anyway, for the 2018 minor change, the Kia Ray has gained some substantial refreshes to keep this Korea-only minivan running for the next couple of years until they call it quits due to the rise of the crossovers. First off, you will notice that the signature tiger nose grille on the front must have set its transparency rating to a half and in fact, they did so any hint of the grille is almost none and what's left to cool the innards is somewhere below. Apart from that, the exterior gained new headlamps, new taillights, new front bumper design, new wheel designs, and new LED lights on the side mirrors. Of course, the Tanto-esque sliding door on the passenger side remains, just so you know.

On the inside, there has been some minimal changes around here like the steering wheel, the shift knob, and the software on the sat-nav so that now, it integrates MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Still, it can accommodate up to five people and can be folded for some added space for the things you're doing now.

Kia was very honest about the fuel efficiency about the 1.0L petrol engine that engine because it has a combined fuel efficiency of 13km/L and while this isn't as fuel efficient as Japan's kei minivans, it's surprisingly brimming with life and because the Ray's so small, it's surprisingly nippy on the corners as well. As for safety, the new Ray gains a wide array of safety tech such as Emergency Stop Signal, Vehicle Stability Management, Brake Assist System, Hill Assist Control, and six airbags.

The 2018MY Kia Ray starts at 12,100,000 Korean Won (around $13,000 or 610,000 Pesos) and while its a mildly price hike compared to the pre-facelifted Ray, you can still afford one than the Carens or the Carnival, making it a fair start for first-time buyers.

Photo: Kia Motors

Leopaul's Heaven and Hell: The End of the World (Wide Web)

Since the twilight of the Cold War years, America invented the internet, which has evolved from a military-purposed information service to a part of our everyday life you see now, but now, America killed the internet for good and I find that very sad that today, in this Heaven and Hell op-ed, time for me to mourn the loss of the internet.

The internet has been the basis of our daily lives because thanks to the invention of the internet, many people began pursue their dreams, find their jobs, learn something new, making their voices heard, and every other stuff that made possible because of that. However, all that's about to change because recently, in the heart of Washington D.C., the capital city of the United States, a certain federal agency voted in favor of the heinous plot that will kill the internet once and for all. I'm talking about the dreaded RESTORE INTERNET ORDER PLAN.

Much to the irony of what it seems, this plan was made to the sole purpose of cannibalize the very classification that this agency said that it hinders the progress of every ISPs in America but for some liberals, this classification is important because it won't let ISPs block, throttle, or slow their favorite content down and then charge themselves more to get what they want. I wasn't aware of that until a handful of liberals yanking me down over this trending topic that hangs the fate of the internet ever since a certain agency's chairperson wanted to cannibalize this classification in favor of the so-called light-touch regulatory from the Clinton-era America of the 90's that some say, it flourished the internet until 2015, when that classification in question was imposed.

I never heard of the light-touch regulatory because I wasn't in America back then and even if I came in America since my childhood years with my Dad and siblings, I definitely never heard of it, even when our Seattle home was a bit fancy back then before now. However, what the historians did know that light-touch regulatory, which is part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that both sides agree, promises that the internet should not be interfered by the Feds. In broad context, the government should keep their hands off the net.

Keeping the government hands off the net? That sounds nice but it can be troublesome for some who believes that the having government regulations on the net is the only means of consumer protection. Consumer protection aside, depending on which nation you're at, government regulatory on the internet can be good or bad, depending on the leadership, but the worst part of it is when the government takes some extreme measures to ruin your internet experience. Take a look at China. China is the worst offender of the internet because not only they prevent you access to popular sites like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter (in favor of their equivalents I don't know about) but also filtering search queries, especially the one about the Tiananmen Square or democracy, redirecting to the ruling Communist Party.

China aside, there are some countries that are worst offenders in the internet but I don't want to mention some of it or I could be in big trouble in some nations, mostly the ones from the Middle East. If I was there, they will going to behead me anyway.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, remember what I said about ISPs blocking, throttling and slowing down your internet experience now that the classification in question was stripped out by the agency in favor of light-touch approach? About that slowing part, it's starting to make sense now because the Philippines has that kind of experience. On my stay at the Philippines, I borrowed a Globe Tattoo portable wi-fi from my uncle and let me just say, that thing works fine at the start but later, it went from fine to worst because when that portable wi-fi reached its limit, it throttled and slowed my internet experience down, not blocking it, because Globe says it tries to limit our speeds for the sake of other users. That's the life of living in a country with the worst internet connection, which is the same of bearing the worst traffic condition, pause, in the world. I said the pause part, am I? Still, you get the point.

In today's world, it's hard to live between truth and ideals. While some say that stripping this very classification that keeps the internet afloat will ruin the lives of Americans, others believe that it makes the internet free and open for many generations to come, and between you and me, it's hard to trust someone who has the bigger heads and such suspicions gave us sleepless nights. The people who believe the stripping it will kill the internet for good and those who believe that it will make the internet, pause, great again, they're all just here to rattle our average minds into thinking which side are you on but let me tell you this; it's better to trust no one until truth and justice are real.

Without the internet, there will be no esports, no car shows, no E3, no autonomous cars, nothing. Nothing because of the agency voted in favor of repealing such classification and all hell breaks loose for ISPs to do whatever they want to make their customers kneel before them.

Sigh, I almost had it. I almost going to have a job training with someone I can trust until this very announcement regarding the demise of the internet rocked me like a hurricane. Now, how am I going to get the job I want now that the internet as we know it is officially dead? Let's not bog down on who's responsible for this because right now, it's time to clean up this mess and live with the new reality where internet in America as we know it is dead. Sure, America invented the internet but sadly, America killed it. That recent meeting I just witnessed shocked the hearts of many Americans and without it, there will be nothing left on their time and I find sympathy to these folks. The internet is officially dead but one day, there will be someone who will stand against this and bring the internet back to life for many people to come. Until then, this is the end of the world wide web as we know it.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: China and South Korea will hold bilateral summit

The leaders of South Korea and China were set to hold a bilateral summit on Thursday in Beijing as their countries are seeking to find ways to peacefully end North Korea's nuclear ambition and normalize ties.

According to the Moon's presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, the meeting between President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will follow an official reception.

The four-day trip is also scheduled to take him to the southwestern city of Chongquing. North Korea will likely be the top of this agenda as it follows the North's launch of an ICBM late last month.

Nam Gwan-pyo, deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, said earlier, the two leaders are scheduled to hold in-depth discussions on ways to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Meanwhile,The US Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate by 0.25% as it posts solid economic growth and a labor market continues to strengthen.

Wrapping up their two-day meeting in Washington, Federal policymakers cited the "strong" U.S. jobs market and a sharp pick up in household and business spending for its decision and they also expect to raise rates three more times in 2018.

The majority of policymakers also agreed that the U.S. rates will likely top two percent within the next year.

In response to the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision, Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol told reporters that he doesn't see this move as signs of preferring aggressive measures as they were no immediate signs of capital flight from the country since the move by the U.S. Fed has been widely expected.

It also pointed to Korea's strong fundamentals with the economy forecasted to grow 3% this year on exports. But the BOK says it could impact South Korea's interest rates in the long term. To counter such risks, the BOK has already raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-percent to 1.5% last month its first rate hike in almost seven years/

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (December 14, 2017)

- The World Health Organizations will release the report on the Philippines' vaccination program to help advise the Department of Health on its next steps. A WHO representative said at the resumption of the Senate probe on the Dengvaxia controversy the global organization is "seeking, mobilizing its expert committees, in seeking advice from them" on the vaccination program.
- Meanwhile, former president Benigno Aquino III said that no one came forward to express their objection against dengue vaccine Dengvaxia when the previous administration decided to roll out its national immunization program. Facing the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health committees, Aquino defended his administration's controversial dengue vaccination program, which was launched in April 2016.

- As Tropical Depression Urduja draws near at Samar, signal number one is raised over 10 areas in Luzon. In a Severe Weather Bulletin issued early Thursday morning, Pagasa said Urduja was 175k east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar as of 0400 hours local time. It is moving west at 8kph and has maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph.

- Despite the criticisms his administration has been getting, mostly on extrajudicial killings, President Rodrigo Duterte told the media the other night that he still respects the freedom of the press.

- The top searches of 2017 from Google includes monkey selfies, solar eclipse, bitcoin, Matt Lauer, and many others mentioned in their list.

- The suspect behind the failed suicide bombing attempt at a New York subway is facing a court hearing on Wednesday local time. Akayed Ullah made it clear from a hospital bed where he was being treated for burns from a pipe bomb he strapped to his body that he was on a mission to punish the United States for attacking the Islamic State group, said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim. A search of the Bangladeshi immigrant's apartment turned up bomb-making materials, including screws matching those found at the scene intended as carnage-creating shrapnel.

- News agency Reuters is demanding the Myanmar government to immediately release its two journalists who were arrested for possessing "important secret papers" obtained from two policemen who had worked in Rakhine state, where violence widely blamed on security forces has forced more than 625,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

- The Fiat Punto scored a shocking zero-star rating at the Euro NCAP.

- Starting next year, Sony's PlayStation Network will let users change their ID names.

- NERF THIS! Hardcore gamer turned MEKA pilot superstar D.Va joins the Overwatch Nendoroid lineup from Good Smile Company. This Nendoroid is available to order and arrives this July.

Nendoroid D.Va


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: President Moon kicks off China visit

President Moon Jae-in is in China for a four-day state visit. His visit comes amid heightened tensions in the Northeast Asia due to threats from North Korea AND on the heels of a Seoul-Beijing agreement move past a year-long dispute over South Korea's deployment of US missle defense system and normalize exchanges.

Accompanied by a huge business entourage, President Moon proposed a new paradigm of bilateral cooperation based on common priorities. The rest of the South Korean leader's four-day visit will be dotted with significant meetings and symbolic moves, but the highlight will be the third bilateral summit between President Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Source: Arirang News

Let's Do The News! (December 13, 2017)

- With martial law in Mindanao extended for another year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured Filipino legislators that the military and the police would "end" rebellion and terrorism in Mindanao by destroying the infrastructure of Islamic State-inspired militants and other terror groups in the area.

- President Rodrigo Duterte said he is extending Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa for another three months to help introduce reforms in Mindanao.

- Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales refused to comment on the impeachment complaint lodged against her by groups led by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

- University of Santo Tomas graduates dominated the 2017 nursing licensure exam for the third consecutive year after posting a 100 percent passing rate in the November exams.

- Democrat Doug Jones wins the Alabama Senate elections, defeating the scandal-scarred Republican Roy Moore, after a brutal campaign marked by accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation against him.

- Toyota and Panasonic announced an agreement for the possibility of an automotive prismatic battery business, intended to address the growing demand and expectations for electrified vehicles.

- Bugatti recalls 47 units of Chiron for faulty welds.

- Lister teases their next vehicle to be unveiled this January.

- The live-action Detective Pikachu film is slated for May 2019 release and it will star Ryan Reynolds as the title character.



If you are catching up on the anime adaptation of THE IDOLM@STER Side M, which is the third entry to the iM@S anime adaptation since the original and Cinderella Girls, you may want to listen to the first batch of songs as heard from the series, just get your heads up before catching up on this program.

For the first batch of SideM anime songs, Beit, S.E.M., and W are all lined up for this, starting with Beit performing TOMORROW DIAMOND while the S.E.M. boys are performing From Teacher To Future!, and finally, W are performing AFTER THE RAIN.

Each single has their own version of the program's theme song, Reason!!, but feel free to check out the songs as heard from the series while waiting for the next batch of SideM anime songs to arrive. Oh, and you can expect these songs to pop up on Side M Live on Stage app game real soon so good luck on these.
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