Saturday, June 28, 2008

Indian pilots requently fail pre-flight alcohol tests

Goodness! Another reason for me to quake in my shoes when taking those internal flights! Flying on an airplane that had no life jackets was scary enough (reason: we do not fly over water so of what use is a life jacket) but the possibility of having an inebriated pilot at the helm is altogether a bit much.

Around 50 pilots each year in India are being grounded because they had consumed alcohol before taking a flight, the country's civil aviation authorities said Tuesday. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a body controlling airline operations in India, said dozens of pilots are found to have consumed alcohol during routine pre-medical tests every year. Civil aviation rules specify that pilots and cabin crew cannot consume alcohol 12 hours before taking a flight.

"We do catch pilots who had taken alcohol routinely and so does the airlines," Kanu Gohain, a top DGCA official told Reuters Tuesday. "We have strict guidelines for alcohol intake and any operating crew is pulled up immediately, and the airlines too can punish crew members," he said by telephone from Mumbai.

A pilot can be grounded for three months and he can lose his license if he repeats the mistake again, Gohain added. A flight from India's capital to the eastern city of Patna was cancelled Saturday after a routine medical test on crew members revealed the pilot had consumed alcohol. (Link)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bar Acrobatics

This is some cool stuff. These folks have amazing balance! And I was wondering just how tough the two guys on the sides are ... it must not be easy to keep that bar on their shoulders.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dutch follow Orange ... just about anywhere!

Railway workers in Switzerland wear orange striped vests when working. The railway had to switch to yellow because a bunch of Dutch supporters followed a railway worker onto the tracks, thinking that the uniform was their traditional orange dress and the next game was to be held on the railway tracks! ummm?

This is a public service warning. If you know any Dutch people, you need to be very, very, careful not to confuse them.

This became obvious after a bunch of Dutch soccer fans at Euro 2008 followed a Swiss railway worker onto the tracks because they mistook his orange reflective vest for their traditional orange dress. I’m not making this up. It seems the idea that train tracks might be a wacky spot for a soccer match just didn’t occur to them.

The Swiss, not wanting a slaughter that would gum up their tracks with Dutch people and wooden shoes, have now given the railway workers yellow vests.

Meanwhile, if you do know some Dutch people, do NOT let them see you toss an orange shirt into a tank of killer sharks. Don’t even THINK about it! (Oddly Enough)

Save Zimbabwe from Mugabe

On Thursday, 27th June, Zimbabwe will hold a cruel sham of a vote for President. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has just withdrawn from the run-off -- not in a concession of victory, but rather in recognition that Mugabe's campaign of violence and terror has erased any hope for a democratic election.

But against the odds, hope survives. Amidst growing international pressure, Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition have entered private talks. A unity government may be possible yet.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously held on Monday that free and fair elections are now impossible in Zimbabwe. The UN Secretary-General spoke out. But it is African leaders, most of all Thabo Mbeki, who hold the key. Even Mugabe cannot cling to power without their cooperation. Today, Avvaz is launching an emergency campaign, petitioning these leaders to call an immediate summit, isolate Mugabe, and broker a legitimate government for Zimbabwe. Their call will be published in big newspaper advertisements in South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, and Mozambique this week.

Zimbabwe's neighbours supply its electricity and goods, and control the borders. Many Southern African leaders are already calling for the postponement of the election -- but there's a real danger that they will end up accepting this charade. This would be a grave miscalculation: if Mugabe succeeds in his de facto coup, Zimbabwe's implosion will accelerate, and chaos could spread throughout the region.

So the Avaaz campaign will publicly name those African leaders who hold Mugabe's last remaining lifeline. If these leaders step up strongly now, they can convince enough of Mugabe's officials that change is coming one way or another -- and set the stage for Morgan Tsvangirai to lead a unity government to pull Zimbabwe back together.

Robert Mugabe saved Zimbabwe from colonialism. Now it's time for African leaders to save Zimbabwe from him.

Help Avaaz raise 250,000 voices this week, including a great roar from every country in Africa, to be delivered in an immediate multi-country ad campaign.

What would you look like after some cosmetic surgery?

If you have wondered about how some cosmetic surgery would help you but are scared to actually take the plunge, go under the knife, you could try the Lift Magic website. This site allows you to see an improved version of yourself with a few clicks of a mouse.

The 'Lift Magic' website offers a virtual makeover for prospective plastic surgery patients, so they can see how they might look after eye-bag removal, a nose job or a face-lift. But the website is also attracting those with time on their hands, and has proved a hit as an application on the social networking site Facebook.

Users load a digital photograph of themselves onto the screen and can try out up to 14 different treatments. Options include a cheek lift, lip augmentation, dermal filler injections and 'tear trough enhancement' which works on the area between the inner corner of the eye and the nose. Once they have chosen from the menu of alterations, users hit the 'show me' button to see an image of their surgically-enhanced face. It is then possible to scroll between the natural and retouched version to compare the differences. (Link)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scrapbook croc style

Black Holes Have Simple Feeding Habits

At the centre of spiral galaxy M81 is a super massive black hole about 70 million times more massive than our sun. A new study using data from Chandra and ground-based telescopes, combined with detailed theoretical models, shows that the supermassive black hole in M81 feeds just like stellar mass black holes, with masses of only about ten times that of the sun. This discovery supports Einstein's relativity theory that states black holes of all sizes have similar properties. (NASA)

Transgender toilets in Thai school

A Thai school has created toilets for its transgender students with a sign that's half male, half female. The Kamphaeng School in Si Sa Ket, in northeastern Thailand opened separate toilet facilities to accommodate hundreds of transgender students who have always longed for their own restroom.

Helen Long reports.

Till 1913 - possible to ship children through mail

Posted by the Smithsonian Institute - a very interesting photograph taken about 1900. Some special delivery this was! No more waiting for the stork - the kids came through the mail ...

This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples. (Link) via Boing Boing

77 y.o. Samurai Granny whips some Italian soldier butt!

OMG!! She is my new hero!! Can you imagine this little 77 year old granny kicking some serious Italian soldier butt? And she does it every day. Love love love it!

Martial arts expert Keiko Wakabayshi, nicknamed the "Samurai Granny", has been hired by the country's military to train recruits in hand-to-hand combat. Miss Wakabayshi, who stands exactly 5ft tall, looks tiny compared to her charges who are mostly over 6ft. But the pensioner is a trained master in an array of martial arts disciplines including jujitsu, jojitso, kenjitso, judo, kendo and karate. She wipes the floor with soldiers of the Folgore brigade at their barracks in Livorno on a daily basis. Miss Wakabayshi was born in Japan but now lives in Northern Italy.

She tells her students to look at her and believe that nothing is impossible. After flooring an opponent she tells them: "Don't think it's unbelievable. The physique doesn't matter." (Link)

Smart CCTVs that see & HEAR!

More surveillance!! If there is a sound of breaking glass, a scream, obscenities, car alarms etc, this camera will actually swing to look at where the sound is coming from and if there is a crime in progress.

A new generation of intelligent CCTV cameras that can hear as well as see will be able to alert police to crimes in progress by recognising clues such as a person running or the sound of a scream. Researchers hope the smart cameras will have a dramatic impact on crime detection and prevention by cutting response times and ensuring that more incidents are caught on tape.

A team at the University of Portsmouth has already developed software which enables cameras to spot visual clues to anything from violent crime to vandalism, by looking for tell-tale signs such as someone raising their arm suddenly or even a snapped car aerial. (Link)

Gabriel Iglesias - a great comic!

This guy is cool - I love how he mimics.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where the hell is Matt?

I love this guy! This is the second video of his that I am posting. This has a cast of thousands ... not just Matt. The video was 14 months in the making and Matt visits 42 countries. Enjoy!

Frogs marry to bring rain

Villagers in India marry two frogs to please the rain Gods - in the hopes the region will get good monsoon rains. The villagers believe that it is due to God's blessings that they receive rainfall on time. They organised the marriage of frogs to celebrate the occasion and expressed their gratitude to God so that they continue to be blessed with rains in future too.

Penny Tweedie reports.

World's most expensive home is almost ready

This is the building that will home to a family of six. Mukesh Ambani's new residence - a 27-storey glass-fronted building will have parking for 168 cars, three helipads, a theatre and 600 staffers for its upkeep. Named after the mythical island Antilia, the house-in-the-making is being built on a 4,532 sq metre plot that was acquired by Ambani in 2002.

The world's costliest home, a 27-storey sky scraper under construction in Bombay for over £1 billion, is expected to be completed by the year end, two years after work on it began.

Owned by Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, ranked the world's fifth riches man by Forbes magazine, the 500ft high building named Antilla with a floor space of 400,000 sq feet resembles a glass palace.

Designed by Perkins and Will & Hirsch Bedner Associates of Dallas and Los Angeles it has entertainment centres, a ballroom, a health club, an Olympic size swimming pool and a lush four-storey high open garden, a luxury in the densely populated port city.

The distinctive feature of Ambani's future home where he plans on living with his wife, three children and mother is that no floor is alike: each one has a distinctly different layout and is constructed with dissimilar material. The first six floors would be reserved for parking Amabani's 168 imported cars alongside an in-house service centre whilst the entertainment centre comprising a mini-theatre capable of seating 50 people would be on the eighth floor.

Other floors above them would house gyms, the swimming pool and numerous glass-fronted apartments for guests. The top four floors would be for the Ambani family with a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea and the city's impressive skyline.

According to Forbes magazine the Ambani's living quarters begin atop a lobby with nine elevators and several storage rooms and lounges. Down dual stairways with silver-covered railings is a large ballroom with 80 per cent of its ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers." Topping all this would be the control room for the three helipads above, permission for which is yet to be granted.

The entire complex would be staffed by 600 employees, many of who will also live on the premises. (Link)

White wine with health benefits developed

I like my whites as much as my reds but I do drink more red wine. It is good to know that soon a glass of white wine will be as good as a glass of red. Now if only someone came up with a foolproof way to have lots of bubbly and yet avoid the hangover next day!

A white wine which is as beneficial to health as red wine has been developed by scientists. The Israeli wine contains enhanced levels of plant chemicals which are believed to fight heart disease. Researchers from Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, found that they were able to fortify white wine with health-giving polyphenol compounds.

Red wine is naturally fortified with the compounds, which are concentrated in grape skins. The fermentation process releases the polyphenols, giving red wine its colour and its antioxidant properties. White wine is not made with grape skins and therefore lacks polyphenols. But scientists at Technion discovered that they could boost white wine polyphenols six-fold, by incubating squeezed grapes in the presence of alcohol for 18 hours, before removing their skins. (Link)

Officially world's ugliest dog

Gus, a hairless pedigree Chinese crested, has three legs, one eye, has skin cancer and has walked away with the award for the world's ugliest dog. Check here for photos: Link

The hunt for Aliens is on!!

Have you ever wondered, staring at the immense sky with its millions of stars twinkling at you, if there was just the faintest probability of life somewhere out there? Now astronomers in Japan are joining forces to try and find out.

Japan's biggest astronomical observatories are teaming up for an unprecedented quest to find out whether there is life in outer space. The project, led by Japanese astronomers, will bring together a dozen or more observatories from all over the country to study one star that researchers see as a potential home to an extraterrestrial civilization. The search for aliens and UFOs is not new to Japan.

Last year, unidentified flying objects grabbed the headlines after a lawmaker submitted a question to the cabinet on whether the country had confirmed any cases of their existence. The government's answer: no. In the scientific world, Japanese researchers have used antennas to catch radio signals from outer space and analyzed the prisms of celestial lights to see if any laser emissions from space can be found. (Link)

Breaking it gently

The lemon in your drink

A word of caution ...

Man auctions entire life on ebay

These things get weirder & weirder! And yet, in a way, I think it is a smart move. This guy is literally selling everything in his life because he split from his wife recently and everything reminds him of her. So he put everything up for auction on ebay in one big package! After the sale goes through he wants to walk out with the cash from the sale and his passport and start a completely new life elsewhere. Pretty cool - I hope it works out well for him.

A Briton has put his 'entire life' up for sale on eBay, the online auctions website, in an effort to start his life from scratch following the break-up of his marriage. Ian Usher, who has lived in Australia for the past six years, is selling his house, car, job and even his friends to whoever puts in the highest bid on eBay. The lot comprises his three-bedroom home in the western Australian city of Perth, as well as the home's contents, which include his car, motorcycle, a jet ski and parachuting equipment.

The winning bidder will also be given an introduction to Mr Usher's friends and a trial period in his job. In the first hour after bidding began, an offer came in for £150,000 and the £1m barrier was broken within 24 hours of the auction opening. The highest bid to date is AU$ 2,201,000 (£1.06m). (Link)

Bra SOS saves woman

Not very smart to go hiking alone. Also, someone must know your itinerary. How about checking the weather forecast? What happened to this woman is a perfect example of what could go wrong when one does not follow the basic rules of hiking safely. She is lucky to have survived.

An American woman has been rescued from a German mountain after sending an signal for help using her bra. The woman, who had been missing for more than three days after being hurt while hiking, hooked the brightly coloured sports bra on a cable used for transporting logs to a valley below, hoping it would lead rescuers to her. The 24-year-old outdoors enthusiast from Colorado was hiking alone in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, close to the border with Austria, last Monday.

She lost her way when the weather turned bad and she fell 18 feet down a crevasse, injuring her shoulder, ankle and head. Hoping to attract the attention of rescuers, she sent the bra down the valley on the cable and hung out her underwear on a crag. She then waited, with only a small flask of water and some biscuits to sustain her. (Link)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No more tears chopping onions!

Now you do not have to follow old wives tales like sticking a spoon in your mouth while cutting onions. If you are really sensitive to them just wear these foam lined funky goggles and tears will be a thing of the past. The lenses in these glasses are anti-fog and even have their own special storage case.


Do you remember when this happened?

You might remember when this accident happened... March 5, 2000.

On Southwest Airlines Flight 1455 from Vegas overshot the runway at Burbank . The plane crashed through the airport fence, careened across the street and ended up with a collapsed landing gear, right next to a gas station.

But that's not the amazing part - Look at the picture below.

Thanks Michi!!

Python in Hi-Rise apartment toilet

Even if you are in an apartment in a Hi-rise block you are not safe from a snake determined enough to pay you a visit! This six foot specimen crawled through drains up to the 10th floor. I am just trying to imagine what I would do if I walked into my toilet and saw a snake. brrrrr

A 1.8 meter (nearly six feet) python has been found in a toilet bowl in a highrise apartment in Australia's northern tropical city of Darwin, media reported on Friday.

The Northern Territory News said the black-headed python was found in a 10th floor toilet.

Reptile catcher Chris Peberdy told the newspaper the python, likely to be a runaway pet, had been traveling through the building's sewer pipes. (Link)

Love letters to doomed WWI soldier

These sort of things always make me cry ... so sad! Letters written to a WWI soldier by his girlfriend were found in an Army archive in the UK - usually all correspondence is returned to family - somehow these were not. Nothing is known of what became of the girlfriend Harriet Johnson. William Crawford was killed in action in France on February 8 1918, aged 26.

A month earlier, in a letter dated January 9 1918, Miss Johnson wrote: "I always think about you and wish you were here. How I wish this war was over. We are now beginning to know that there is a war as I don't think we realised it at the beginning."

In a letter dated January 29 1917, Miss Johnson wrote: "Well dear Will I am glad that you love me. I want your love because I love you. I often think of you and all that passed between us. But never mind my Dear Will I am not sorry. I only wish that you were here now. I often long for you. I don't know when I shall see you again but I do hope it will very soon."

In another, undated, letter believed to have been sent days before his death, she wrote: "Remember there is always one little girl who will always pray for your safe return." (Link)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Funny accidents & bloopers video

Toilet paper wedding gowns

There is even a contest for the best wedding gown made from toilet paper! Charmin, the toilet paper brand, awards the prize. Katrina Chalifoux was the winning designer. She used seven rolls of toilet paper to make her dress.

Fred Katayama reports from New York.

Cloned dogs can sniff out cancer

Researchers believe that cancer cells have a smell different from normal cells. And dogs are able to detect it. This is being researched further. In the meantime cloning in South Korea has produced 4 puppies from a dog that was already sniffing out cancers.

A South Korean biotech firm announced it has successfully cloned four dogs capable of sniffing out human cancers by using tissue from a Labrador retriever in Japan, media reported Wednesday.

RNL Bio, a leader in commercializing cloning in South Korea, said Monday the dogs were born last month and would be sent to Japan for training in the same skills as their mother. Two of them will later be sold to clients at 480,000 U.S. dollars each or more, it said. The puppies were cloned from Marine, a six-and-a-half-year-old dog which is unable to give birth to siblings following an operation to have her womb removed. "Thanks to the cloning technology, it (Marine) has been able to preserve its own genes," said a statement on RNL Bio's website. (Link)

Baffling foot mysteries could take a long while to solve

For those of you that are following the Severed Foot mysteries in Canada, BBC has an interesting update. As one investigator stated, this mystery will take a lot longer to solve than the forensic conundrums on CSI.

When two unrelated human feet washed up on the beaches of two small islands north of Vancouver in six days last August, a spokesman for the Mounties said the odds of it happening were a million to one. This week the number of feet found rose to five. What's going on? Police in British Columbia are confounded, saying they have never seen a case like it. The feet were all encased in trainers, and most are right feet. Police say it is not yet clear if a crime had been committed. They said they had found no evidence that the feet had been severed. DNA has been collected from the first feet, but police say that there has been no match to anyone on their missing persons database.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle-based oceanographer who specialises in how things float on the ocean's currents has dismissed the idea that they could have come from the Asian tsunami, because the distance is just too vast. Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton in the UK, agrees that the feet are likely to have originated locally. Mr Ebbesmeyer was quoted in the Vancouver Sun as saying that when bodies decompose, they break into 10 pieces, two arms, two legs, two feet, two hands, the head and the torso. This raises questions as to what has happened to the rest of the bodies.

Police have said it is possible the feet come from the passengers aboard a small plane which crashed into the water in the region several years ago - their bodies were never recovered. To date, it has failed to match DNA samples collected from members of the crash victims' families with DNA obtained from some of the mystery feet.

Dr Joseph Finley, a physical scientist and retired special agent with the FBI, told Canada's National Post newspaper that depending on the race of the victims, the feet might belong to stowaways who hid on commercial ships heading for Alaska.

Dr Gail Anderson, a specialist in decomposition at the Simon Fraser University was quoted in the New Scientist as saying that we "know next to nothing about what happens to bodies under water." It is likely the case will remain a mystery for some time. (Link)

Do you need to pray at work?

Brad Pitt as an old man

Speaking of Brad Pitt, watch the trailer of the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where Pitt is born as a wrinkled old man and gets progressively younger. The movie has Cate Blanchett, one of my current favorite actresses and promises to be very interesting indeed!

Brangelina neighbours get inventive with their stories to the paps

I love this! The neighbours are feeding stories to the paparazzi about Brad Pitt & Angeline Jolie. There is even a prize if the story gets picked up! Can't wait to see what else these inventive folks come up with ... and how Perez and the others go all ape shit over it!

Locals in the French village beset with photographers since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie moved in are taking their revenge by feeding the paparazzi lies. For every fictitious story picked up by the insatiable appetite of the world's media the instigator gets a free glass of pastis.

Since 'Brangelina' arrived the Provençal village of Correns has been anything but the peaceful bolthole the couple had so desired. The couple have tried to flummox the press by sending out decoy limousines with blacked out windows, while escaping by helicopter, but the 'paps' show no signs of giving up.

Reports last month that Mrs Jolie had given birth to twins three months earlier than expected were said to have originated with the imaginative villagers. (Link)

Man goes on the run with pet bear

Right now I am so upset with my building management people. There is a stretch of dirty beach nearby where I used to exercise my dog. The beach (or rather a sliver of beach) is always empty because of flotsam & jetsam washed up constantly. There is no way to get off the beach except through the gate I use so my doggie cannot even run off - not that he has ever tried.

The management sent me a letter saying that if I stepped out of my home with my dog, I must have him on a leash & muzzled all the time. This means that my dog will never be able to really run and play and fetch - I spent hours training him and he loves it. If I must keep him on a leash he will never get adequate exercise because I can't run as fast as he does. He is a well trained friendly animal.

Dogs are not allowed in any parks or public beaches in this city. All you can do is run with them on leashes on roads. Sad, huh? So anyway, right now I am feeling most sympathetic towards this Indian man! If his story is true why arrest him? And why not try to rehabilitate the bear? What is the point of locking it up?

An Indian man has gone on the run with his pet bear after authorities threatened to remove the animal. Rani, a young female sloth bear, has been living with Ramesh Munda, of Orissa, since she was two months old. According to Mr Munda, she followed him home one day when she saw him collecting firewood in the jungle, and has since been sleeping alongside his three-year-old daughter and living with his family.

But when local officials learned of the Munda family's wild member, they ordered the bear be handed over to a local zoo.

Instead Mr Munda and Rani went on the run, evading a police dragnet and three wildlife officials for several days before Mr Munda was finally caught and charged for breaking India's wildlife laws. But Rani escaped and has been on the lam ever since. (Link)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Short Skirt funnys

No Comment!

(Link) Thanks Michi!

Primary education target not attainable for 57 developing countries

Of the 152 developing countries, 57 will not reach the millennium development goal of putting all primary-aged children in school by 2015, the latest global monitoring reports of Education for All (EFA) and International Labour Organization (ILO) has said. Incidentally, June 12 was observed as 'World Day Against Child Labour'.

According to the EFA global monitoring report, some 77 million primary-aged children are not enrolled in schools. And ILO's latest report points out that "more than 165 million children in the age group of 5-14 years are involved in child labour, which is a major cause of being out of school".

About 82% of out-of-school children are in rural areas of south and west Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Besides, there exists significant gender gap among those in school. "For every 100 boys in school, there are only 94 girls," the report said. Moreover, surveys suggest that "many children who are enrolled in school do not attend regularly". (Link)

Dante officially forgiven 700 years after crime

I am still struggling with my first Dante book - Paradiso. I have to persevere. The Italians study Dante with such a passion - I hope to discover what it is all about ... soon! In the meantime it is good to know that he is no longer a 'criminal'. There were 5 members of the council who voted against clearing his name :-)

After 700 years, Dante Alighieri, Italy's most famous poet, will have his criminal record scrubbed clean. Florence's city council has approved a motion revoking a sentence on Dante from 1302 which stated that he would be executed if he stepped foot in the city again. The sentence forced Dante into exile and he spent the last 20 years of his life wandering through Italy, finally ending his days in Ravenna in 1321. It was during his exile that he composed his greatest work, The Divine Comedy, a three-part journey through the Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise.

Dante was born into a noble Florentine family in 1265 and found himself embroiled in a struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy for control of the city. He is likely to have fought in decisive battles for the city's independence and became a Prior, one of six city leaders, in 1300. His stint in power came to a bad end, however, when forces loyal to the pope seized power and put him on trial. When he did not appear, he was banished for two years and given a 5,000 florin fine. When he did not pay, he was condemned to death by burning.

The motion to rehabilitate Dante was passed by 19 votes to 5 at the city council earlier this week. The mayor of Florence, Leonardo Domenici, will now award the poet the city's highest honour and revoke the sentence. "It is a decisive step forward to his rehabilitation," the council said. However, opponents labelled it a "stunt" and said that Dante's poetry would never have existed were it not for his suffering in exile. (Link)

Firefox 3.0 released

The safest way to browse the internet is now 3.0!! Download today and help set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours!

In English
Download Day - English

In Italian
Download Day - Italian

The Photoshop Effect

Read magazines? Love the looks of some movie stars or celebrities? You need to watch this clip!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Escaped thief arrested after asking police to uncuff him

How many movies have you seen with folks in handcuffs trying to get free? Even Tintin comics have a scene with handcuffs. What happened yesterday in Germany is real and I think funnier than any of the scripted incidents!

A man caught breaking into a German supermarket late at night escaped despite being handcuffed to railings -- only to be arrested after he ran to a nearby police station to get the cuffs removed. A security guard had cuffed the man and held three others after spotting the break-in. But by the time officers arrived, the man had managed to escape, police said.

Arriving at the police station, the 19-year-old told officers he had been locked up by a friend as a joke, and asked for their help. The officers at first went along with the ruse, "also laughing at the man's apparent misfortune," police said. However, suspecting he was the missing man from the break-in, they pressed him for details after removing the cuffs. The man then confessed his role and was promptly re-united with his three accomplices in the station's prison cell. (Link)

Crows stop trains for over 3 hours

Train services were disrupted in parts of eastern India for three hours after flocks of agitated crows snapped overhead powerlines when railway workers tried to clear their nests, officials said on Monday. They said crows and ravens often flapped their wings so hard while fighting that they tripped railway powerlines in eastern Bihar state.

To solve the problem, rail staff tried to clear nests built on overhead wires on Sunday. But this agitated the birds so much and they flapped their wings so furiously that it caused a short-circuit. "Suddenly there was a short-circuit and overhead wires snapped, disturbing the power lines which also affected the signaling system", railway official Satyendra Kumar told Reuters. "We had to work for three hours to restore the power lines."

At least a dozen passenger trains were stranded while the nest clearing operation went on. India's vast rail network carries more than 15 million people every day on some 7,000 passenger trains. (Link)

Fifth human foot found in Canada

A few weeks ago officials found a severed foot, the fourth in eight months. Now a fifth foot has been found.

A human foot has been found on a beach near the west-coast city of Vancouver, Canadian police say. It is the fifth human foot to wash up on beaches in the area in the past year. The latest find is a left foot, whereas the other four were right feet. Walkers spotted the body part floating in water off the suburb of Westham Island in British Columbia on Monday.

Police and coroners are trying to identify the foot and discover if it is linked to the others found in the area. All were wearing shoes and had been in the water for some time. A police spokesman, PC Sharlene Brooks, said the find was being treated as a criminal investigation. (Link)

Another mind boggling design crop circle

Design-wise I think this is awesome!! Never mind all the staggeringly perfect references to pi, it even looks good!

The most complex, "mind-boggling" crop circle ever to be seen in Britain has been discovered in a barley field in Wiltshire. The formation, measuring 150ft in diameter, is apparently a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi. It is has appeared in a field near Barbury Castle, an iron-age hill fort above Wroughton, Wilts, and has been described by astrophysicists as "mind-boggling".

Michael Reed, an astrophysicist, said: "The tenth digit has even been correctly rounded up. The little dot near the centre is the decimal point. "The code is based on 10 angular segments with the radial jumps being the indicator of each segment.

"Starting at the centre and counting the number of one-tenth segments in each section contained by the change in radius clearly shows the values of the first 10 digits in the value of pi." (Link)

Sarkozy son - hot, packing and a step ahead of Dad!

He is taller than his Dad, cuter than his dad, packing from the looks of the photo, and now seems to be a step ahead of Dad with his romantic & political ambitions. Do we have the beginnings of some kind of dynasty here?


President Nicolas Sarkozy of France's second son has just displayed even more precocious romantic and political ambitions than his father. At the weekend Jean Sarkozy got engaged to a rich heiress and claimed a key post in Mr Sarkozy's long-time fiefdom at the age of 21.

Echoing his father's "Speedy" nickname, he was betrothed on Sunday to school sweetheart Jessica Sebaoun - heiress to the Darty family, which own one of France's largest household appliance chains. Mr Sarkozy, by comparison, was first married aged 26. On the political front, ascent has been even swifter for the blond-locked law student. Jean is to be crowned head of the ruling UMP party group in the plush Hauts-de-Seine department – a post traditionally reserved for political veterans.(Link)

Tallest Man Meets Shortest Man

Bao Xishun is the world's tallest man. He is 7 feet 9 inches tall. He meets He PingPing who is 2 feet 5 inches tall.

Dog loses $10 million inheritance

At least the dog is not aware of its misfortune. And he will be pretty well cared for - apart from other expenses, his guardian will be paid $60,000 per annum. Nice!!

Trouble, the beloved dog of Leona Helmsley, the late hotel billionaire, lost $10 million (£5 million) in an inheritance settlement but can still look forward to a life of luxury. Judge Renee Roth, of the Manhattan Surrogate Court, accepted a settlement between Mrs Helmsley's heirs and the New York State Attorney General's office which cut the nine-year-old Maltese's inheritance on the grounds that his owner was mentally unfit when she made her will.

The dog will now have to make do with $2 million, under the ruling which was made on April 30 and became public yesterday. Mrs Helmsley, who died last August aged 87, had amassed a fortune in real estate and hotels with her husband, Harry Helmsley, who died in 1997. (Link)

Random Pix

Thanks Michi!

Life and A Cup Of Coffee

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar......and the coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf ball are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else--the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18 holes.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a cup of coffee with your friend."

Presidential candidate condoms

Another way to make money ... McCain & Obama condoms. This is an entrepreneur from Manhattan and he decided to put the candidates on condom packages. McCain's package says 'Old but not expired' and Obama's package says 'Use with good judgement'.

Benjamin Sherman, who created the company Practice Safe Policy, has been selling condoms named after Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain around the world for several weeks. According to the website, McCain condoms "are battle tested, strong and durable, for those occasions when you just need to switch your position!" McCain served in the military in Vietnam and was held as a prisoner of war there.

While the company can't guarantee the condoms are 100% effective, it says it's certain "that without wearing one, there's likely to be an Obama-Mama in your future. We've done it in fun. People are not actually going to use these condoms," said Sherman, 26. The 9.95-dollar-per-pair "keepsakes" are so popular that Sherman said he had nearly sold out and expected to order a second shipment this week. He declined to say how many condoms were in each order. The condoms are generic and the candidates are featured only on the packaging. (Link)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jet Ski Hero

Two truck drivers are saved from a raging river in Western Australia by a man on a jetski. The hero on the jet ski says the truckers were lucky to survive after spending seven hours stuck on their rigs in the swollen Nullagine River in the Pilbara region. That's near Marble Bar, a town 1400 kilometres (868 miles) north of Perth.

Susan Flory reports.

Alcatraz to open as a hotel

This Civil War fortress has been not just a prison but also the first lighthouse on the West Coast of the US. It was also a bird sanctuary and the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement. Now a part of it may become a hotel.

For decades it was the island every resident dreamed of escaping from. Now the managers of Alcatraz island, home to one of the world's most notorious prisons, are hoping to cash in on tourists' enduring fascination with it. The United States' National Park Service, which operates 'The Rock', is planning to convert part of the prison into a hotel so that eager visitors can enjoy a fuller experience of the island.

Overnight guests would not, however, sleep in the cell blocks that once housed notorious criminals such as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly or "Birdman of Alcatraz" Robert Stroud. Instead the hotel would probably be housed in another part of the infamous penitentiary, Building 64, which housed the guards and boasts impressive views across the San Francisco bay. (Link)

$100 pants help women lose weight without excercise

LipoContour briefs are supposed to take inches off your waist hips thighs without you having to exercise. Italian cosmetic surgeon Professor Marco Gasparotti, the designer of the pants, explains that the thick layers of the pants 'micro massage' you at problem spots. This increases blood circulation which helps break down fat and smooth out cellulite. I am so very tempted!

They are big, ugly and decidedly unsexy, but a pair of large white pants could become this summer's must-have accessory. LipoContour briefs claim to be able to take inches off hips and thighs without the need for a single aerobics class, lunge or star jump.

Makers of the shorts say that over 12 weeks they "refine and lift" the body, and if worn for eight hours a day, could yield permanent results. They were originally meant to be worn by patients recovering from lyposuction procedures.

LipoContour general manager Trisha Juke said the pants worked better if combined with exercise, but they were also "very suited to someone who has an office job and sits down all day. People get obsessed with food when they go on diets. This is a much easier solution," she said. (Link)

Square Watermelons

A round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves. Smart Japanese Farmers have forced their watermelons to grow into a square shape by inserting the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

Thanks Michi!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

White Parisian Dinners

Even though you have to take your own food and drink, and even cutlery to this dinner, it still looks like a really cool way to spend an evening. It is an annual event. The venue changes every year - this year it was at the Champs Elysée. The one requirement is that diners must be dressed in white. I think this is so much fun!


'Vertical Birthing' to combat maternal mortality in Peru

Peru promotes "vertical birthing" as a way to combat high rates of maternal mortality in the Andean country. In Peru, at least 185 women die for every 100,000 births. In the US that number stands at about 20.

Edgar Rameriz, UN Population Fund, says: "Andean women are traditionally accustomed to giving birth from the vertical position, whether it's by squatting or from a leaning position, or even through being propped up by their husbands; the health centres have therefore made allowances for all those customs, and so you now see a greater of Andean women taking advantage of our services."
Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beauty contests with a difference

Women are not allowed to participate in beauty contests in Saudi Arabia. But they do have beauty pageants where the contestants are slightly different from what you would expect. They are camels and goats - and perhaps some other kinds of animals that I have yet to learn about. And here below is a Damascene goat, or Maaz Al Shami, named Qahr, which won the first prize for the "Most Beautiful Goat" title at the Mazayen al-Maaz competition in Riyadh June 13, 2008.

There must be something I do not get 'goat beauty' wise - to me this goat is FUGLY!


World largest, heaviest emerald displayed in HK

This 536-kg emerald, which is 125 cm in length, 55 cm in height and 78 cm in depth, is believed to be one of the largest and heaviest emeralds in the world.


Breast cancer 'wonder drug' wins licence for use in Britain

A breast cancer "wonder drug" that could benefit thousands of women has been licensed for use in Britain. The drug, called Lapatinib, was praised by Jane Tomlinson's husband after the cancer campaigner received it as part of a clinical trial. After her death, Mike Tomlinson called for the drug, to be made widely available to breast cancer sufferers.

Lapatinib could be as successful as Herceptin the gold-standard treatment for breast cancer. It can prolong the lives of women in advanced stages of a type of breast cancer which accounts for around a quarter of all cases. Also known as Tyverb, the drug has received its European licence, making it available on private prescription in Britain. (Link)

Most expensive handbag ever! Almost US$2 million

A must have for the woman who has everything, and always wants more! A little hand bag for £1 million. At least it won't be uncomfortable like the diamond studded bra.

Made out of platinum and set with over 2,000 diamonds - totalling 208 carats - the petite clutch is the ultimate accessory for the woman who has everything. But if its price tag seems a little steep, prospective buyers should bear in mind that the bag is nothing if not versatile.

Its diamond-encrusted strap can be detatched and worn as a necklace or bracelet and it also features an eight carat pear-shaped diamond that can be worn separately as a brooch. The bag was created by Japenese designer Ginza Tanaka. (Link)

Fight the Smears!

While I do take an active interest in the politics of most countries, I do not have very pronounced sympathies on issues that do not affect me directly. However, watching the Omaba campaign I felt that this man has had to deal with more than his fair share of smears. So I am glad he has launched a Web site to dispel rumors about his faith and patriotism and his wife's views on race that have dogged his candidacy for more than a year. (Link)

Fight the Smears

Airplane approaches and landings

We have been having real bad weather the last few days. Yesterday the wind was so strong that all my windows and doors rattled for more than 24 hours - I was not able to sleep - what with the rattling and neighbours' dog barking all through the night (that is another story!). Not nice laying awake at night, listening to the wind and rain and sea (I live on the beach) and wondering if we were really safe and secure.

There has been flooding and landslides. A couple of people died in a landslide. And at least one airplane had to make an emergency landing, with a few people hurt. So do buckle up when seated!

Lolcats for today



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