Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hello, this is At-At Walker again!
This time I have found out about the ninjas. What are they exactly?This is the research this time.

In their history, ninja groups were small and structured around families and villages, later developing a more martial hierarchy that was able to mesh more closely with that of samurai and the daimyo. These certain ninjutsu trained groups were set in these villages for protection against raiders and robbers.
"Ninja museums" in Japan declare women to have been ninjas as well. A female ninja may be kunoichi (くノ一); the characters are derived from the strokes that make up the kanji for female (女). They were sometimes depicted as spies who learned the secrets of an enemy by seduction; though it's just as likely they were employed as household servants, putting them in a position to overhear potentially valuable information.
As a martial organization, ninja would have had many rules, and keeping secret the ninja's clan and the daimyo who gave them their orders would have been one of the most important ones.

In most shows, the ninja are always wearing black(or all the ninja show I see do)but did they really wear black all the time? This is what I found. There is no evidence that historical ninja limited themselves to all-black suits. In modern times, camouflage based upon dark colors such as dark red and dark blue is known to give better concealment at night. Some cloaks may have been reversible: dark colored on the outside for concealment during the night, and white colored on the inside for concealment in the snow. Some ninja may have worn the same armor or clothing as samurai or Japanese peasants.
The stereotypical ninja that continually wears easily identifiable black outfits (shinobi shozoku) comes from the Kabuki theater.[1] Prop handlers would dress in black and move props around on the stage. The audience would obviously see the prop handlers, but would pretend they were invisible. Building on that willing suspension of disbelief, ninja characters also came to be portrayed in the theater as wearing similar all-black suits. This either implied to the audience that the ninja were also invisible, or simply made the audience unable to tell a ninja character from many prop handlers until the ninja character distinguished himself from the other stagehands with a scripted attack or assassination.
Ninja boots (jika-tabi), like much of the rest of Japanese footwear from the time, have a split-toe design that improves gripping and wall/rope climbing. They are soft enough to be virtually silent. Ninja also attached special spikes to the bottoms of the boots called ashiko.
The actual head covering suggested by Sōke Masaaki Hatsumi (in his book The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques) utilizes what is referred to as sanjaku-tenugui, (three-foot cloths). It involves the tying of two three-foot cloths around the head in such a way as to make the mask flexible in configuration but securely bound. Some wear a long robe, most of the time dark blue (紺色 kon'iro) for stealth.

Now that I've covered what they wear it is time for my favourite..... the weapons! Ninja also employed a variety of weapons and tricks using gunpowder. Can you believe it?
Smoke bombs and firecrackers were widely used to aid an escape or create a diversion for an attack. They used timed fuses to delay explosions. Ōzutsu (cannons) they constructed could be used to launch fiery sparks as well as projectiles at a target. Small "bombs" called metsubushi (目潰し, "eye closers") were filled with sand and sometimes metal dust. This sand would be carried in bamboo segments or in hollowed eggs and thrown at someone, the shell would crack, and the assailant would be blinded. Even land mines were constructed that used a mechanical fuse or a lit, oil-soaked string. Secrets of making desirable mixes of gunpowder were strictly guarded in many ninja clans.
Other forms of trickery were said to be used for escaping and combat. Ashiaro are wooden pads attached to the ninja's tabi (thick socks with a separate "toe" for bigger toe; used with sandals). The ashiaro would be carved to look like an animal's paw, or a child's foot, allowing the ninja to leave tracks that most likely would not be noticed.
Also a small ring worn on a ninja's finger called a shobo would be used for hand-to-hand combat. The shobo (or as known in many styles of ninjutsu, the shabo) would have a small notch of wood used to hit assailant's pressure points for sharp pain, sometimes causing temporary paralysis. A suntetsu is very similar to a shobo. It could be a small oval shaped piece of wood affixed to the finger by a small strap. The suntetsu would be held against a finger (mostly middle) on the palm-side and when the hand was thrust at an opponent using the longer piece of wood to target pressure points such as the solar plexus.
Ninja also used special short swords called ninjato, or shinobigatana. Ninjato are smaller than katana but larger than wakizashi. The ninjato was often more of a utilitarian tool than a weapon, not having the complex heat treatment of a usual weapon. Another version of the ninja sword was the shikoro ken (saw sword). The shikoro ken was said to be used to gain entry into buildings, and could also have a double use by cutting (or slashing in this case) opponents. The shuriken is a weapon that was essentially created from popular culture. It was almost never used by actual ninjas.
Many Ninja disgused themselves as farmers so that their weapons (the Kama) could be used as weapons and farming implements, their shurikens were also coated with poison so that when in direct combat with another the Ninja could throw the shuriken and the injury would seem minor but if left untreated (depending on the strength of the poison) it could be fatal.

Tha is all I found out for now, see you soon!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Do you know everything about mosqitoes? Everyone knows that mosqitoes suck blood and spread dengue fever. But why do they suck blood? What kind of diseases do they also spread? What is the mosquitoes'life cycle? Well, I've done a little reasearch of my own and found out quite a bit of knowledge! Here is what I've found!

Mosqitoes belong to a family of flies that are called Culicidae and are small fragile insects that have six delicate legs and two wings covered in scales. The head of a mosquito is equipped with a projecting proboscis which conceals and protects the long piercing and sucking mouthparts. These biting insects have a complex life cycle; the immature stage is totally aquatic and the adult is terrestrial. The adult female returns to a water habitat for a brief period to lay each batch of eggs. Mosquito species vary in their breeding habits, biting behaviour, host preferences and flight range. Most mosquitoes disperse less than two kilometres; some move only a few metres away from their original breeding place, others can fly some 5 or 10 kilometres, and a few species will disperse up to 50 kilometres downwind from the larval habitats.

On average, a female mosquito will live 2-3 weeks, but the male's lifespan is shorter. Within their lifetime both adult male and female will feed on nectar and plant fluids, but
it is only the female that will seek a blood meal. So this is whymosquitoes suck blood! The majority of species require this blood meal as a protein source for egg development. Female mosquitoes are attracted to a potential host through a combination of different stimuli that emanate from the host. The stimuli can include carbon dioxide, body odours, air movement or heat. Upon locating a suitable host, the female will probe the skin for a blood capillary then inject a small amount of saliva containing chemicals which prevent the host's blood from clotting. This is often the pathway for potential pathogens such as viruses to enter a host. After engorging on the host's blood the female will find a resting place to digest her meal and develop eggs before flying off to deposit them in a suitable aquatic habitat.

The young larvae are called wrigglers and when they hatch, they will feed continuously and grow though four instars or moultsarval development is dependent on the availability of food and prevailing conditions, particularly temperature, but generally takes at least one to two weeks. The final larval instar develops into an active comma-shaped pupa from which the adult mosquito emerges about 2 days later to feed, mate and develop eggs for the next generation.

Now that we've covered the life cycle and why do they suck blood, let's move on to the diseases. Some of the diseases are the well known dengue fever, Australian encephalitis, Ross River virus disease and Barmah Forerst disease. Dengue is the most important viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes afflicting humans in a world context. Clinical symptoms range from mild fevers, to a severe and potentially life threatening haemorrhagic disease. In Australia, Dengue fever is restricted to Quensland where the major vector Aedes aegypti occurs. "Australian encephalitis" (AE), or "Murray Valley encephalitis" are synonyms for a clinical syndrome caused by infection with Murray Valley encephalitis virus or Kunjin virus. Symptoms are variable, from mild to severe with permanent impaired neurological functions, to sometimes fatal. Cases of AE occurs
poradically in northern Australia and especially in the northwest of WA, but there have been no cases of MVE recorded in southeastern Australia since 1974. Ross River (RR) and Barmah Forest (BF) disease have been collectively known as "Epidemic Polyarthritis", however the two diseases have a slightly different clinical picture. A wide variety of symptoms may occur from rashes with fevers, to arthritis that can last from months to years with RR virus infection. RR disease is the most commonly reported mosquito transmitted disease to humans (over 6,500 cases in 1997) and occurs in all states of Australia. There are occassional local epidemics with hundreds to thousands of infections, with many going unreported. BF disease occurs in most states of Australia, although the annual number of cases are around 1/10th that of RR disease. A series of outbreaks during the early 1990's has highlighted the increasing importance of BF disease. Malaria in Australia has been endemic, but was declared eradicated from the country in 1981. However, approximately 700-800 cases are imported annually from travellers infected elsewhere.
This is all the information I've gained so far. If you have any information about mosquitoes, please send it to
chia.joel@yahoo.com see you soon!

Friday, January 25, 2008


My name is At-At Walker. I am all excited about creating this new blog. Through this blog, I would love to communicate to all my friends. I have just returned from a nature walk at Changi Beach .

Do you see what is in this picture ? It is dirty and
filthy garbage! I now understand why there are so many "No Litter" signs around the beach. These are really harmful to the sea creatures. Do you know the sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them!!! So please do not litter on the beach or anywhere!!!