Jun 2, 2007
May 24, 2007
Anyway, I couldn't stop laughing when I read the following on CNN this morning...
Customs officers at Cairo's airport have detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes on a plane, airport authorities said.That's nuts man. Good thing they didn't need Sam Jackson to kick some snake ass!
The officers were stunned when a passenger, identified as Yahia Rahim Tulba, told them his carryon bag contained live snakes after he was asked to open it.
Tulba opened his bag to show the snakes to the police and asked the officers, who held a safe distance, not to come close. Among the various snakes, hidden in small cloth sacks, were two poisonous cobras, authorities said.
The Egyptian said he had hoped to sell the snakes in Saudi Arabia. Police confiscated the snakes and turned Tulba over to the prosecutor's office, accusing him of violating export laws and endangering the lives of other passengers.
According to the customs officials, Tulba claimed the snakes are wanted by Saudis who display them in glass jars in shops, keep them as pets or sell them to research centers.
The value of the snakes was not immediately known.
May 23, 2007
Anyway, "Given the dog a bone", is undoubtedly my favorite AC/DC song. The riff is just so killer! Plus one doesn't need any hints as to what this song is about...
Umm, Yeah. Anyway, while doing a Google search for the lyrics, one of the top hits was a site about why we should give our dogs a bone. Hmm. A little excerpt is called for...She takes you down easy
Going down to her knees
Going down to the devil
Down down to ninety degrees
She's blowing me crazy
Till my ammunition is dry
Q. Does it matter if the bones are raw or cooked?Good to know.
A. It does matter. Raw knuckle bones are what I recommend versus cooked or sterilized bones. Cooked bones are more likely to splinter from the effect that high cooking temperatures have on them. And cooked bones, especially the white sterilized bones from the pet stores, will also be deprived of beneficial nutrients which raw knuckle bones are chock full of. A further benefit of raw bones versus the white sterilized bones from the store, are that they are much more yummy to your dog. This translates into more chewing time from your dog, which will both keep him occupied and better clean his teeth.
Apr 2, 2007
And now he is getting married. From NBC.com...
Xia Shujian will be looking up to her new husband, who's more than 2 feet taller.Bao Xishun is 7 feet 9 inches and holds the Guinness record. A Chinese newspaper reports the herdsman from Inner Mongolia has married a saleswoman who's 5 feet 6 inches.Bao, 54, had looked for a wife by placing ads in papers around the world but found his lady in his own hometown.Bao was in the news in December for saving two dolphins by pulling plastic out of their stomachs with his 41.7-inchLook at the incredible height difference in the picture!
Mar 31, 2007
The output over the past 30 days is an interesting follow-up to my post. Strangely enough, 'Food' leads the list. 'Iran', expectantly, also tops the list while 'Iraq' is not far behind. The word 'sex' has a count of 4, which is also interesting, as one would never assume 'sex' to be a biggest news of the day.
This is a cool tool. But what would be cooler, is if it would be possible to compile the same text cloud for BBC, Fox, Reuters, and some other leading Internet news providers. Comparing headline keywords from various sources would be quite indicative of what different companies find newsworthy or not.
Keywords most frequently searched by NYTimes.com readers.
Feb 27, 2007
'The Road Home' is a film direct by Zhang in 1999, and stars Ziyi Zhang, who is probably China's most popular female film star export to the world. She looks really young in this film, probably because she is.
Anyway, 'The Road Home' is the story about this college graduate who returns home to his village upon the death of his father. He finds his mother, understandably so, in a state of terrible depression and mourning. He then narrates the beautiful courtship of his parents, which is what this movie is about. I'm usually a sucker for this kind of movie formula - simplicity, honesty and emotion all tied in. This is usually pretty difficult to pull off but in this case, I found this story to be incredibly moving.
Feb 26, 2007
Spindly orange sea stars, fan-finned ice fish and herds of roving sea cucumbers are among the exotic creatures spied off the Antarctic coast in an area formerly covered by ice, scientists reported Sunday. This is the first time explorers have been able to catalog wildlife where two mammoth ice shelves used to extend for some 3,900 square miles over the Weddell Sea. At least 5,000 years old, the ice shelves collapsed in two stages over the last dozen years. One crumbled 12 years ago and the other followed in 2002.This is quite cool on its own, but it reminded me of another interesting study I had read about earlier. In that study, scientists studying climate change, (Climatologists) would search for trapped air bubbles within polar ice. They would then examine the contents of the polar ice and examine its composition. This would subsequently give them an accurate and preserved snapshot of the atmosphere hundreds of years ago. This is ideal for studying climate change and apparently has been instrumental in advising and informing scientists about global warming. Apparently this technique been around for about 50 years now.
Another blog I browsed through comments that sometimes they drill up to 2 miles deep and find air bubbles that are more than 400,000 years old!
For example, ice cores from Greenland tell us that Earth's atmosphere has undergone rapid global changes many times in the past 110,000 years. But since the time that people have developed agriculture and industry, the climate has been the most stable and at least Greenland has been far warmer.Very cool!
Ice cores from the Andes Mountains of South America and the Himalayan Mountains of Asia suggest that the climate drastically cooled about 5,000 years ago but is now reversing to a warming trend within the last 50 years...and that most of the world's high-elevation glaciers may melt in the near future.
Ice cores from Antarctica have been drilled to over 2.2 miles deep. Studies revealed that greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, and other gases) trapped in the ice correspond with temperature variations, over a 420,000 year history...perhaps warning us of current influences from our own activities that produce such gases. But it's unclear if the greenhouse gases caused the temperature increases or vice versa.
Some additional links...
Feb 24, 2007
Feb 7, 2007
Feb 6, 2007
This is my second winter in Jersey, and certainly not my first winter at all, so I was wondering why, all of a sudden, static has become such a hindrance.
Naturally the static comes right straight from the washing machine. Every fabric comes out static as hell. And it only just began a few weeks ago. I've been washing clothes in that particular machine for a while now. So I googled around and did some research and it wasn't because of my fleeces or winter clothes. I had assumed it might have been the material that fleeces are made of, but its due to something called the triboelectric effect being enhanced in my home environment. The triboelectric effect is the technical term for stuff rubbing against each other and static charges being exchanged. We've all done those experiments like rubbing balloons on our sweaters in elementary school. Well, that is the effect.
It can be magnified by dry air, which is basically what winter is all about. Winter, coupled with my central heating system, really creates a dry environment, which is ideal for charge transfer. Additionally this charge stays on my clothes and sheets for a while too. I thought leaving my shirt for a couple of days would be cool, but, static charge actually hangs out for a while.
Solutions are aplenty as well. An industrial source recommends rubbing your clothes on metal pipes. Okay...
A more home oriented site recommends rubbing metal hangars on shirts, shaking them after they come out of the drier, or adding vinegar to your wash cycle. Fabric softener, which I had seen people use, but I hadn't until now, is what I use now to eliminate this charge. The problem has pretty much been solved by now, but there are some other things one can do.
Having a moist environment has helped as I bought a air humidifier. Wetness, and humid air dispense electrons at a greater rate from surfaces, hence your bathroom after a shower, or rainy environments aren't conducive to static electricity as this site explains.
Jan 31, 2007
It's about this Indian family from Calcutta who settle down in Massachusetts. It follows their lives across 40 odd years, from the time the patriarch, Ashoke Ganguli, first comes to the US, attending MIT to pursue his PhD. He travels back to Calcutta during this time, to get an arranged married to Ashima. The couple live in Cambridge and eventually have two children, Gogol and Sonali, at which point, the book begins to focus on Gogol's life.
The main character is Gogol, however we experience a lot of the story, and the family's life events, through every one's eyes. That helps us understand the Ganguli's as a family and their Bengali culture on the whole, a lot better.
I liked that I could relate to the son and the dad at times. Naturally, there was the usual conflict between being Indian and the West, but it didn't seem regurgitated this time. As a result, the tale wasn't boring or frustrating as it usually becomes in American Desi type situations. I found that aspect to be quite fresh, perhaps because its through the eyes of an Indian Bengali family, rather than North Indian or Pakistani, which I can relate to better. It was also fun to read the names of familiar streets in the Cambridge area!
However, I felt the story was a bit 'filmy' at times. A little too exaggerated and I suppose it was easier to just move past those parts.
Needless to say, a movie based on this book is coming out in March 2007 starring Kal Penn and directed by Mira Nair. Penn is an uninspired choice to play Gogol Ganguli, but I suppose he is the most recognizable actor of Indian origin in Hollywood. I enjoy Mira Nair's work, and the author, Jhumpa Lahiri has a cameo in the film, so I assume she had plenty of input in the screenplay. I suppose there is a chance that the movie can pull it off.
You can find the book at Amazon...
Jan 28, 2007
An 87-year-old man was asked to prove he was over 21 when he tried to buy a bottle of sherry in a York supermarket.
The former Lord Mayor of York, Jack Archer, said he was shocked - but flattered - when asked the question by staff at Morrisons in Acomb.A Morrisons spokesman said: "This is done with the best of intentions and we would hope it is taken in good humour by those obviously over the age of 21, as we do not wish to cause offence and no disrespect is intended.
Jan 25, 2007
A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 meters (2,000 ft) or more under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese Marine Park this week.For the sake of science, its interesting to capture such interesting footage. I am horrified of sharks anyway, and this one, in particular, looks scary as hell. But I can't help but wonder if its eventual capture lead to its demise....
The Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, south of Tokyo, was alerted by a fisherman at a nearby port on Sunday that he had spotted an odd-looking eel-like creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.
Marine park staff caught the 1.6 meter (5 ft) long creature, which they identified as a female frilled shark, sometimes referred to as a "living fossil" because it is a primitive species that has changed little since prehistoric times.
The shark appeared to be in poor condition when park staff moved it to a seawater pool where they filmed it swimming and opening its jaws.
"We believe moving pictures of a live specimen are extremely rare," said an official at the park. "They live between 600 and 1,000 meters under the water, which is deeper than humans can go."
"We think it may have come close to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters," the official said.
The shark died a few hours after being caught.
Does Google perform miracles?...and from their arguments page...
Why, yes She does.
Last year a Minister within our Church procrastinated on a University essay he had due. It was the day before said paper was due and he HAD to clamp down and start researching. He, as always, consulted Google and Her vast index of knowledge. Sure enough the mighty Google provided him with the information he needed. The essay was done in a little under five hours and he ended up getting an "A". Definitely something many would consider a Miracle, all thanks to Google and Her mighty Algorithms.
What is the Google Trinity?The Google Trinity consists of the Internet, Google Search Engine and the Web Browser (Such as Firefox, Opera & Safari but NEVER Internet Explorer) Alone they are nothing, but combined they form a powerful entity.
So, if Google told you to go jump off a bridge, would you do it?You're wasting your time on an idiotic and bogus religion (Googlism).
If someone told you that after you die, you're going to live 'forever' in peace and harmony in the sky, would you believe them?
Assuming you subscribe to Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any of the other major religions: "Right back at you". Worshiping an invisible, nonexistent being who lives in the clouds is an equal, if not greater, waste of time.
Be sure to check out their Hate Mail page!
Jan 11, 2007
Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?How ridiculous are some of these? Call me old fashioned but marriage is about going through life's obstacles together and dealing with them when the time comes. The 'television in the bedroom debate' is certainly doesn't cause any divorces. Either way, most people live together before marriage. If not, then they understand each other's habits beforehand, and have a general idea of what to expect. Marriage is just the next step in an already established relationship.
Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
Will there be a television in the bedroom?
If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
No one in the real world asks these fickle questions of their partner. Which is why I find these lists and questionnaires so amusing. Its understood that problems will be dealt with. I'll be honest, though I have no experience on marriage itself, I know one is supposed to compromise in relationships. And this compromise is reached only after endless discussions, arguments, withdrawal, fights and so on. That's part of the game and part of the package. All in all, the article presented amusing, if not practical suggestions.
Jan 10, 2007
I believe even Rutgers has a bunch of established Indian dance troupes and 2 bhangra teams associated with it. Though its likely these different groups are created and driven more by rivalries, and different groups of friends, rather than by demand. I love how the article ends...
It's about integrity. I don't know what I'll do if this school just turns out to be one of those liberal, wishy-washy places that feigns interest in cultural diversity and throws around a lot of open-minded-sounding bullshit to appear cultivated and make itself feel better about its inherent whiteness and insecurityAh - That spells Brandeis!
Jan 9, 2007
The show is a big hit, and though this is the first time I've heard about him, my friends back home say he's quite popular and that his success is well warranted. Why is this so newsworthy you may ask? From the NYTimes.com...
Ali Saleem may have devised the perfect, if improbable, cover for breaking taboos in conservative, Muslim Pakistan. In a country where publicly talking about sex is strictly off limits, Mr. Saleem has managed not only to bring up the subject on his prime-time television talk show — but to do so without stirring a backlash from fundamentalist Islamic clerics.Its great that he's popular, and I hope this show continues to gain attention and fanfare within the country. I posted this story because in this day and age, no day goes by without Pakistan not being mentioned in the world media. Its a strategic country and the past few years have really propelled it into the limelight - for reasons both good and bad, mostly the latter. So if Pakistan is truly on the path to secularization and liberalization, as we are being led to believe, then Ali Saleem's shows is a small step towards that goal.
And he has done so as a woman.
When Mr. Saleem takes to the airwaves, he is Begum Nawazish Ali, a coquettish widow who interviews Pakistan’s glitterati and some of its top politicians.
A real woman could not possibly do what Mr. Saleem does. In the unlikely event a station would broadcast such a show, the hostess would be shunned. And taking on the guise of a married woman — whose virtue is crucial to her whole family — would be equally impossible.
But apparently a cross-dressing man pretending to be a widow is another matter entirely.
Though a good sign, the show is in fact an indicator, of the chasm in Pakistani society. Even while I lived there, I felt the deep disconnect between the urbanites and the rural communities, which the author mentions. In fact, there is no real way of telling just how many rural communities watch this show. Perhaps its just driven completely by the urbanite viewers and that word hasn't spread to the rest of the country yet.
It is true that Pakistan is, in a sense, two countries. There is urban, and urbane, Pakistan, where Western mores are more accepted, although nudity would never be seen on television or scantily clad women on billboards. And then there is rural Pakistan, where Islam is generally practiced with more fervor.As far as the show goes, though Mr. Saleem is very confidant of his shows continuity, its quite possible that its popularity will breed opposition. I sincerely hope that may not be the case.
Jan 4, 2007
In 2005, as reported by news24.com...
At least 20 people were killed and nearly 200 injured overnight in the Pakistani city of Lahore while celebrating the kite-flying Basant festival to mark the arrival of spring, news reports and hospital officials said on Monday. The deaths, mainly of young children, were caused by the use of metal-wire for kite-flying, aerial firing, and people either falling from rooftops or killed in road accidents while chasing kites.The government banned kite flying in 2006 but now the ban is being lifted for this years event.
Its tragic that such an innocent fun-filled festival causes so many fatalities. Though, instead of banning kite-flying, the government should crack down on the kite makers who utilize glass and metal to make the threads. That's where the problem lies. Banning an age old tradition, passed down for centuries, would just simply be a further kill joy in a society already starved of entertainment.
Jan 3, 2007
A new show called "Little Mosque on the Praire" debuts in Canada next week. I've been reading quite a bit about this on entertainment and media websites. Seems like its quite anticipated, and its debut will surely spark some controversy. It's about Muslim immigrants in the middle of nowhere in Canada interacting with their white neighbours. How exciting is that?
I certainly hope US audiences get a chance to watch this show. The 2 clips posted on the shows website seem quite promising. This show is a great idea, and I hope it turns out to be successful. Its impressive that Canadian government owned CBC television is airing this pilot series.
Zarqa Nawaz, creator and writer of the groundbreaking show, insists she's an equal-opportunity satirist taking dead-aim at both Muslim and Canadian stereotypes in a post-September 11 world. "I expect both groups will be wondering if the other finds the show funny," says Nawaz.
There are predictable jokes about Muslim beliefs clashing with Canadian traditions. In one scene, a father wearing a kufi, or a knitted cap worn by devout Muslims, protests that his Canadian-born daughter wearing a revealing tank top looks "like a Protestant."
"Don't you mean prostitute?" the daughter asks.
"No, I meant a Protestant," the father replies.
In another scene, a young man of Middle Eastern origins with a Canadian accent is heard in an airport check-in line telling his mother via cell phone that his father shouldn't think his choosing to stop being a Toronto lawyer to become an imam in Saskatchewan amounts to career "suicide." "This is Allah's plan for me," the young man says in passing, before an arresting cop appears suddenly and tells the surprised lawyer that he won't be making that appointment in Paradise.
Nawaz, a British-born Muslim and mother of four who settled on the Prairies with her family a decade ago, downplays the idea that the homegrown comedy may spark widespread controversy.
She insists her comedy springs from a relatively uneventful life in multicultural North America, unlike Europe, for example, where relations between Muslims and the wider Christian community are often a powder keg. "North America should be the first place where a comedy like this would come about, where Muslims can be comfortable in their own skin and questions of Canadian identity can produce a sitcom," she says.
To ensure it doesn't cause unforeseen offense with "Little Mosque on the Prairie," the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) has hired an independent Muslim-Canadian consultant to comb through the sitcom's creative elements and suggest possible alterations. Kirstine Layfield, CBC executive director of network programming, says recent preview screenings with select Muslim audiences elicited encouraging results -- laughter.
"Just doing the series is a risk in itself, but one the public broadcaster should take on if we're to help communicate authenticity of living in Canada," Layfield adds. Mary Darling, one of three executive producers shopping the Canadian comedy stateside, says a U.S. airing may help break down barriers between faith communities. "It won't do any harm, and maybe it can do some good," she says.
Humor transcends boundaries and the world really needs to look at the lighter side of life as a Muslim in North America. The aim of the show is to build bridges between cultures and religions and I hope it stays on track. People may be afraid of a bit of controversy, but Islam shouldn't have been a delicate topic in the first place. Nothing should be immune to criticism and there is plenty of humor and hypocrisy within all religions, including Islam. Most non-Muslims are wary of Islam and view it as being stubborn, violent, and backward. The show will surely focus on these stereotypes. Poking light-hearted fun can only help foster understanding between communities. A show like this can stretch the boundaries of what is allowed to normalcy.
Jan 2, 2007
A 21-year-old German tourist who wanted to visit his girlfriend in the Australian metropolis Sydney landed 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) away near Sidney, Montana, after mistyping his destination on a flight booking Web site.That's just nuts. What an unfortunate mistake to make! I feel sorry for this chap. I'm always scared that something like this might happen to me. One really needs to be really careful when dealing with tickets, locations and dates. In fact, I mistakenly bought airline tickets for the wrong weekend once.
Dressed for the Australian summer in T-shirt and shorts, Tobi Gutt left Germany on Saturday for a four-week holiday. Instead of arriving "down under", Gutt found himself on a different continent and bound for the chilly state of Montana.
"I did wonder but I didn't want to say anything," Gutt told the Bild newspaper. "I thought to myself, you can fly to Australia via the United States." Gutt's airline ticket routed him via the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, to Billings, Montana. Only as he was about to board a commuter flight to Sidney -- an oil town of about 5,000 people -- did he realize his mistake.
The hapless tourist, who had only a thin jacket to keep out the winter cold, spent three days in Billings airport before he was able to buy a new ticket to Australia with 600 euros in cash that his parents and friends sent over from Germany. "I didn't notice the mistake as my son is usually good with computers," his mother, Sabine, told Reuters.