Sound Out Singapore album cover – by Stefano Virgilli

Big thanks to Stefano Virgilli! For contributing to our music project.

Album cover - Sound Out Singapore 2010

Image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Singapore License. Please credit: Stefano Virgilli (

Image sources:

Stefano responded to my Facebook status post, where I asked if anyone was interested in contributing a CC-licensed music album cover design, for our Sound Out Singapore music project.

I gave him the following specifications:

The cover image should:
1) Be square-shaped (480×480, JPEG)
2) Have the words “Starfish Stories :: The Band”, and also the URL
2) Show a CC “some rights reserved” logo (which you can download from
3) Display the album name “Sound Out Singapore”…. See more
4) Some graphical connection to

I think he took maybe a day or two. Emailed me the image, asking if it was OK.

You bet! It’s way better than this any day.

~ Ivan

Remixed: The Mangrove Tree

This track was used in this video.

The video reminded me of these two books that I borrowed from our public libraries.

The first related book is Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed”.
ISBN: 0670033375 | Roughnotes

The video’s Drug Addiction analogy echoes what Jared Diamond wrote — that human societies could get away with a lot of waste when times are good. But when conditions change, “we may already have become attached to an expensive lifestyle, leaving an enforced diminished lifestyle or bankruptcy as the sole outs” (P155/ 156).

In the video, the message was to ultimately stop using petroleum-based forms of vehicles and products. A noble aim but there are practical limits in trying to be “more green”. For instance, not everyone can simply stop using all forms of fuel-combustion vehicles and start cycling to work.

The reality is that alternative energy sources are still more expensive, or are unavailable to some nations. Which is why many people find it hard to give up our petroleum-based lifestyles, if you will, even if we recognise it.

That said, I think it’s about gradual changes.

Meaning, we wean ourselves off incrementally, like using nicotine patches, rather than go Cold Turkey.

Take fuel-combustion vehicles for example. We still need to take some form of transportation. So it’s about a commitment to take public transport like buses and trains. They still run on petroleum-based energy in some ways. But it’s less wasteful from the broader standpoint.

For sure, public transportation offers less privacy than driving one’s private car. But that’s what commitment is about.

Speaking of personal transportation, there’s an excellent story by David Gerrold, which appeared in this anthology:
Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology: Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy
ISBN: 0765315629 | Roughnotes

David Gerrold’s “Report from the Near Future: Crystallization” is a speculative-fiction piece, on what could happen when a major city freeway gets clogged, and the resulting effect on the city’s population. In brief, a series of traffic accidents causes a jam that is so massive, it results in the evacuation of an entire city. What’s worse is the conclusion — people’s memories are short; they simply evacuate and continue with the traffic build-up in the other city.

If you read Gerrold’s story, it wouldn’t sound as far-fetched as I’ve written.

~ Ivan