Exchanged my expiring Citibank credit card points for a Borders voucher which I promptly flipped around on the Simpsons Season 5 DVD set. Woo hoo! I just love listening to the commentary - so much effort goes into each episode, and unless you look up episodes on SNPP sometimes it's easy to let references and allusions slip by, not to mention in-jokes (characters that look like writers, that sort of thing).
While in Borders, I flipped through The Math Instinct, an interesting book by Keith Devlin (NPR's "Math Guy") that argues that most animals, humans included, innately have some computational ability - dogs, for instance, can solve the problem of catching balls thrown into a lake in a way that would require "knowing" calculus. The title, of course, is a parallel to Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct (itself a book I can't recommend highly enough); in both cases the books challenge what we think we know about how we learn, although Pinker's book is clearly more academic.
Devlin's book answers questions such as why a baseball player runs in an arc towards a fly ball dropping in, rather than in a straight line (it's so that the parabola of the ball's journey looks straight, I think, if I recall correctly). Dogs do the same arcing run when retrieving frisbees, apparently. I wouldn't know - if you've ever owned terriers you know one of their trademarks is that they will chase after things, but they won't ever let them go, so trying to play frisbee with them would probably fall flat after one throw. That, and they're probably both smart and lazy enough to realise "hey, it's going to fall to the ground anyway, let's just wait till it drops".
Interestingly, Borders occupies a different social "space" in Singapore compared to Borders in America. Borders in America is another chain bookstore, the main rival to Barnes and Noble. Here, it's arguably seen as a kind of an exotic importer of specialty books and known for its huge range. I suppose it's because we don't really have the equivalent of Powell's City of Books, Strand Book Store, the specialty bookstores of Charing Cross Road, or even your average college town independent bookstore.
I definitely see your point. There's a part of me that will think to myself, I should be supporting independent bookstores instead of big companies like Borders. The problem is, Singapore doesn't have good bookstores that aren't owned by big companies.
If you want something even remotely obscure to find, ultimately you have to go to the likes of Borders or Kinokuniya.
I see a similar problem with HMV. Thankfully smaller chains like Music Junction and Gramaphone have definitely picked up the slack, but HMV continues to attract people for the reason that they sell stuff you can't find elsewhere (except online).
faith - according to Mapquest, a car trip from Toronto to NYC takes roughly 8 hours 20 minutes. (Odd ending point in NY, Kenmare St, but I suppose the times wouldn't change much anywhere else.)
hsu-ling - I used to work at the Adelphi. Sadly I don't remember seeing the store. And thanks for revealing yourself - I love hearing from any of my readers. :)