2006 in Review

on December 31, 2006 with 1 comments » |

No time for a detailed review of various things that transpired in 2006... but here is a quick compilation of links on various topics of interest.

General Reviews:
Slide Show via IHT
Reuters' Review of 2006

Books & Literature:
NY Times Book Review's list of The 10 Best Books of 2006

Sports:
2006 - The year in sports
Cricket - 2006 Calendar Year Statistics
Ian Chappell, Michael Holding and Tony Greig look back at 2006
Osman Samiuddin reviews the highs and lows of cricket in 2006


Movies:
The best (and worst) films of the year - CNN

A. O. Scott of NY Times picks the Best & the Worst Movie Minutes of 2006

Travel:
NY Times 25 Most E-Mailed Travel Articles of 2006

2006 comes to a nice warm end here in Boston, with record-breaking temperatures in December, which is fine by me though obviously many people who grew up with the idea of a white Christmas were not that happy. The year ended in joy, in happiness, with long-awaited goals reached, with big promotions, or with a touch or whallop of good-luck for some people... and not so well for others.

And before I go, lets remember those who have left us in 2006...

But here's hoping to a great year ahead for everyone for 2007...

H
APPY NEW YEAR and Good tidings to all the readers of this blog (if any!) for 2007!

The joy of reading

on December 30, 2006 with 0 comments » |

If only I could write like this...
Alone, perhaps, they each could have explored the city with pleasure, followed whims, dispensed with destinations and so enjoyed or ignored being lost. There was much to wonder at here, one needed only to be alert and attend. But they knew each other much as they knew themselves, and their intimacy, rather like too many suitcases, was a matter of perpetual concern; together they moved slowly, clumsily, effecting lugubrious compromises, attending to delicate shifts of mood, repairing breaches. As individuals they did not easily take offense; but together they managed to offend each other in surprising, unexpected ways; then the offender -- it had happened twice since their arrival-- became irritated by the cloying susceptibilities of the other, and they would continue to explore the twisting alleyways and sudden squares in silence, and with each step the city would recede as they locked tighter into each other's presence.-- Excerpt from Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers.

On March 6-8, 2007

Where I want to be:

The Malian minstry of culture has recently announced that a homage will be paid to Ali Farka Touré in Bamako and Niafunke on March 6, 7 and 8 2007. Activities include conferences, debates and a mega concert in a football stadium attended by the likes of Toumani Diabate, Oumou Sangare, Manu Dibango, Youssou N'dour, Alpha Blondy, Bembeya Jazz, Ry Cooder, Marcus James, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, Ramata Diakité, Boubacar Traoré(Kar Kar), Habib Koité, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Carlos Santana, Tracy Chapman [ref].

Where I most likely will be:
At work!
Update: Turns out, I was working on these days but not at work. I was in dismal Lehigh at a conference - though the conference itself was enjoyable and productive, the place was really depressing!

After the passing of Ali Farka Toure, the future is in good hands... heady stuff here from his son, Vieux Farka Toure

Just listen to him casually strum the guitar sitting in his backyard in Bamako, Mali.Genius..I tell you, the kid's got the dad's genes, no doubt!

1.

2.

3.

4.


Welcome to Pandora.com, a great internet resource to listen to new music. Take a musical journey and develop your own playlists, which evolve over time (with your feedback) to suit your tastes, while simultaneously exposing you to new groups and music.

-
Wikipedia enlightens me that Pandora's box opened and released evil and misfortune into the world and in "modern times, Pandora's Box has become a metaphor for the unanticipated consequences of technical and scientific development."....so, the title doesn't really work - unless you did not expect the bountiful new amazing world opened up and made available to everyone by the internet or if you think the devil has the best tunes :). To my ears (and soul), music can be a soothing balm, a refuge, a life-sustaining force...

In any case, even as you listen to music - in my case, first Ry Cooder and then Stevie Ray Vaughn strumming - go enlighten yourself some more about the
legend of Prometheus & Pandora's box or her jar, if you will!

RIP - James Brown

on December 26, 2006 with 0 comments » |

James Brown died Xmas day...Tributes pour in as fans and fellow artists celebrate the life of 'Godfather of Soul'..

Enjoy these videos of him in performance,
via Boingboing:

Eyesight, Super Bad, I Feel Good, It's A Man's World, Please Please, Sex Machine, at the Olympia, Soul Power, on the Ed Sullivan show, and an unusual TV interview he did when he was in a chemically altered state of consciousness after having been released from jail.

Incidentally, James Brown holds the record for the artist who has charted the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 without ever hitting number one on that chart.[ref]


Charlie Gillett bids farewell to other artists who died over the last 12 months on his great show on BBC Radio.

Country: Mali
Title: Gambari Didi
Artist: Ali Farka Toure
CD Title: Savane
Label: World Circuit
Cat. Number: WCD075

Country: Jamaica
Title: Israelites
Artist: Desmond Dekker
CD Title: Desmond Dekker: Definitive
Label: Trojan
Cat. Number: TJDDD239

Country: USA
Title: Tequila
Artist: The Champs
CD Title: Teen Beat
Label: Ace
Cat. Number: CDCHD 406

Country: USA
Title: El Watusi
Artist: Ray Barretto
CD Title: Rock Instrumental Classics Vol 4: Soul
Label: Rhino
Cat. Number: E2 71604

Country: USA
Title: Viejos Amigos
Artist: Freddie Fender
CD Title: Canciones di mi Barrio
Label: Arhoolie
Cat. Number: CD 366

Country: Algeria
Title: Hak Hak
Artist: Cheikha Rimitti
CD Title: Nouar
Label: Sono
Cat. Number: CDS 7396

Country: Romania
Title: Caravan
Artist: Fanfare Ciocarflia [Ioan Ivancea]
CD Title: Gili Garabdi
Label: Asphalt Tango
Cat. Number: CD-ATR 0605

Country: Egypt
Title: Nabra
Artist: Hamza El Din
CD Title: Rough Guide to the Music of Egypt
Label: World Music Network
Cat. Number: RGNET 1114 CD


You!

on December 17, 2006 with 0 comments » |

You are 'Person of the Year'

You are Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for the explosive growth and influence of user-generated Internet sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. You were chosen over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, North Korea's Kim Jong Il and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Congratulations.

Ok...whatever - though I am a big fan of user-generated tv (Current.tv) and to some extent of YouTube.

Blaah.... what a come-down from last year's Persons of the year - Bill Melinda Gates and Bono of U2 - people who actually are making a difference in the world.


Two quotes

on December 12, 2006 with 0 comments » |

“People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have.” - Richard Carlson

True.. that quote rings very true to me as it reflects my philosophy in life. But sometimes I wonder if it is crap like this that keeps me from getting somewhere. Perhaps, I rejoice too prematurely in what I have or rather I am satisfied and content with what I have and in doing so get too complacent, thereby lacking the drive, the attitude, the chutzpah to go get something tougher to attain.

Update: Damn... I tried to find who Richard Carlson is... if I have the right guy, it turns out he died on December 13, 2006 - the day after I posted the above quote here. R
ichard, age 45, died of a cardiac arrest while enroute from California to a television appearance in New York. Richard Carlson was an author of the "Don't Sweat" series of motivational/self-help book, which included the bestseller, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff, which I remember seeing in a bookstore or at the library some time back and still remember the title of that book as a quotable quote. By the way, the above quote is from his book, Shortcut through Therapy.

Also, I learned that there was an actor called Richard Carlson, that I had never heard of.



Festering in bad moods is a bad habit of mine...and so comes obvious advice from someone called Brenda Anderson:

“Bad moods become bad days, which become bad weeks, which become bad months and years. Before you know it, you’re living an unhappy life and you probably think this is ‘normal’. It’s a shame, because life can and should be wonderful. You can transcend the circumstances that are pulling you down … you need only to learn how.”

How... indeed...How....that is the million $ question.

Ms Moneypenny

with 0 comments »

Oh.. Ms. Moneypenny!

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, the world's oldest woman dies at age 116.... Everyone wishes for a long and happy life. Hopefully hers was a happy life. One thing is for sure - she will be missed by many. She had "40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren." She was born on August 15, 1890. Incidentally, she became the world's oldest person earlier this year after Maria Ester de Capovilla of Ecuador, the last documented person to be born in the 1880s (born in 1889), died. Imagine that... Nehru or Charlie Chaplin or Hitler could have been still alive!

Also, after Bolden's death, a man, Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico, born August 21, 1891, is the world's oldest person. This ends a streak of 16 women in a row holding the title of the oldest person, with the last male to hold the title being Shigechiyo Izumi in 1986, although his longevity has long been disputed. In fact, nine of the top ten oldest persons are female, with the grand-mommy of all...er...the oldest of all being Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who lived from Feb 21, 1875 to August 4, 1997, with the longest confirmed lifespan in history of 122 years and 164 days. According to wikipedia, 'her lifespan has been thoroughly documented by scientific study; more records have been produced to verify her age than for any other case.' The wiki entry also has this interesting tidbit about her life...

In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal, common in France, to sell her condominium apartment en viager to lawyer François Raffray. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay a monthly sum until she died, an agreement sometimes called a "reverse mortgage". At the time of the deal the value of the apartment was equal to ten years of payments. Unfortunately for Raffray, not only did she survive more than thirty years, but he died first, in December 1995, of cancer, at the age of 77. His widow had to continue the payments.
Talk about an unexpected turn of events! :)


Human Rights Day

on December 10, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Human Rights Day today... the theme this year is.. "Fighting Poverty - An Obligation, not Charity"

Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime...Poverty eradication is an achievable goal. -Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


Brr...

on December 7, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Cold front brewing across the US...with the.cold front extending all the way to Texas, with lows below freezing forecast as far south as New Orleans & Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently, even today, Even today morning, Duluth, MN woke up to frigid temperatures of 28 degrees below zero with windchill! Also the above report says that ..with "he front packed strong winds as well as cold temperatures, and "feels-like," or wind chill, temperatures were expected to plummet by 50 degrees in some places.

Where I am, the predictions are for


AM Snow Showers
AM Snow Showers
High
29°F

Low
22°F
Chance of Precipitation: 50%
Snow flurries and snow showers possible before noon. Becoming sunny later. High 29F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 50%. About one inch of snow expected. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.


Looks like the first snow of the year is here. Brrr... stay warm!

India - a news update

on December 1, 2006 with 0 comments » |

Wow...a lots happening in India this week ... like this blogger wrote:

Nowhere in this world can so many things happen in two days. A cricketer returns. A murder case gets closer to being solved. A minister is convicted of murder. A popular film actor is arrested. A bomb hoax in the country's ministerial den. And a certain class of people riot around the nation.
Indeed.. first Sanjubaba gets indicted (yet again, I wondered!) for his role in the 1993 Bombay bomb blast case (the verdic this time being that he is 'guilty but not a terrorist!)

And today, comes news that BJP MP and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu is found guilty of causing a Patiala resident's death during a fight over parking in December 1988.
A lower court had acquitted Sidhu in 1999, but on Friday that order was overruled. Sidhu, who played 51 Tests and 136 ODIs, faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in the case.
Maybe this is a case of justice finally done... for there is little doubt about Sidhu's involvement in the fracas that led to the death of the poor guy as we had all dismissed this 18 years ago as being yet another case of a famous man getting away with murder (figuratively and literally.) Afterall, Sidhu was a popular opener for the Indian cricket side in 1988 and his popularity has only increased since then through his stint as a commentator (with his one-liners, popularly known as Sidhuisms) leading more recently to him even winning the Amritsar seat in Parliament in 2004, based on this popularity he gained via cricket. But, to the cynic in me, this verdict seems politically motivated - why would the case suddenly be opened after all these years.



Meanwhile, the people are rioting in the streets yet again.. but instead of worrying about the recurring rioting at the slightest pretext, people are getting their panties/lungis/langots in a bunch over inanities like this...!!
Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia has come in for scathing criticism from several quarters for posing with Biocon's Kiran Majumdar Shaw in a "lip lock" position at the India Economic Submit in New Delhi.
And guess what...its not the holier-than-thou moralistic right-wing forces (BJP, Shiv Sena, VHP) that are causing this rucus - its the Congress. The reason being the Rajastan CM is from the BJP party...going to show that there is no consistent logic or philosophy that a party in India holds on to and a so-called secular liberal party can also suddenly become intolerant and narrow-minded in its outlook when an opportunity provides itself to criticize the opposing party.

Meanwhile, ignoring the more pressing issues, the tabloids keep people entertained with such
'purplocity and verniness' (credit for these terms goes to Amit Varma, who has a great hilarious series on such articles in the Indian media) as:

Men eyeing Kangana's back!
Aishwarya refused me: Angry fan!
Good smell leads to good sex! and
Yana's navel ring hooks Aftab!

RIDICULOUS...

Not clear why this was done...

100-year old Hindu temple razed in Kuala Lampur

Today, 1st December 2006, is World AIDS Day and the theme is


'Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise'.

Established by the World Health Organization in 1988, World AIDS Day serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Observance of this day provides an opportunity for governments, national AIDS programs, churches, community organizations and individuals to demonstrate the importance of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Also read Ken Chaplin's great blog on Fighting Aids



So..how bad is the AIDS pandemic…

AIDS has killed more than 25 million to date and the UN
reports that somebody in the world is newly infected with HIV every 8 seconds. According to UNAIDS, about 39.5 million people are living with HIV at the moment, of whom 37.2 million are adults, and 2.3 million are children under 15. (By another count, Up to 3.5 million children are living with HIV/AIDS.) 4.3 million people have become newly infected this year so far, 65% of them in Africa, of whom 530,000 are children under 15. About 2.9 million people have died of AIDS this year so far. 63% of all adults and children living with HIV in the world today live in Sub-Saharan Africa (almost 25 million people), which is five million more than in 2004. 34% of all deaths due to AIDS occur in southern Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are 24.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS. So.. it is clear that HIV/AIDS is ravaging the poorest nations of the world.

There are 5.7 million people infected with HIV/AIDS in India (pdf). And fighting the apathy & complacency about AIDS is still difficult despite the rapidly rising number of infections and wide-spread media coverage and awareness/ campaigns about the looming threat ; India having the 2nd largest number of HIV infected people after South Africa.

India - International HIV/AIDS Alliance
These major programmes are co-ordinated with other agencies contributing to Avahan, the India AIDS Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

------
Little wonder then that UNAIDS has issued a statement today saying now is the time for
a rethink on AIDS campaigns.

A lot will be said and rallies will be head and slogans will be shouted from pulpits around the globe today… lets hope all this leads to more and more emphasis on driving away ignorance and also serious policy implementation in
fighting this scourge..(links to a post where I compile articles related to the fight on HIV/AIDS).



This article has a nice summary of HOW TO HELP and I cut-n-paste for future reference:

  • Volunteer with the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), one of the country's most effective grassroots groups working to ensure the development of an effective range of HIV prevention options.

  • Build support for the AIDS Cure Act.

  • Download the Free Treatment for All manifesto and add your name to the campaign.

  • Echo the Global Access Project's call to urge the US government to lead a global health workforce initiative in AIDS ravaged countries.

  • Show your symbolic support by wearing a red ribbon on World AIDS Day and putting a virtual red ribbon on your site or blog.

  • Finally, talk to people. Since HIV was first identified a quarter of a century ago, it has been a stigmatized disease, resulting in silence and denial. Talking openly about HIV to your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors is the most powerful way of ending prejudice.



    In related news from today

    Good news released today, announcing that...
    ...about 1.2 million people in countries hard hit by AIDS are receiving life-extending drugs thanks to two major U.S. and international funds, double from a year ago, but many millions more need help.

    SA launches plan to combat Aids - BBC News


    Ottawa pledges $250M for AIDS - Toronto Star


    Making AIDS Drugs Available to Kids in the Developing World - Time


    45,000 walkers and 2,000 volunteers participated in the AIDS Walk in New York (a current.tv pod)



    Watch these AIDS related pods on Current.tv

    World AIDS Day

    Bid 2 Beat AIDS

    25 Years of AIDS

    Aids is Killing Us

    Though not all are related, time-permitting you can also see some other pods from Current Caring


    RELATED LINKS


    UNAIDS: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

    AIDS.ORG: Educating - Raising HIV Awareness

    AIDS Education Global Information System (AEGIS)
    AEGIS is one of the largest HIV/AIDS databases in the world, includes the HIV Daily Briefing, updated hourly.

    The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
    A comprehensive site featuring in-depth information on topics ranging from HIV prevention to state-of-the-art treatment issues

    AIDSinfo - HIV / AIDS Information
    NIH information with information about federally approved treatment guidelines for HIV and AIDS.

    AIDS – Official journal of the International AIDS Society

    World AIDS Day Resources -- 1997-2006

    Factsheets on HIV/AIDS

    Visual AIDS - DAY WITH(OUT) ART
    Strives to increase public awareness of AIDS through the visual arts, exhibitions, publications, and by working in partnership with artists

    Climate change

    on November 26, 2006 with 0 comments » |

    Republicans continue to go on a witch-hunt of climatologists that have studied and reported on global warming for years... Republican, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (Tex.) has gone on a meaningless investigation of three scientists who have charted Earth's rapid warming in recent decades. This is so ridiculous thatanother senior Republican, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood L. Boehlert, himself has asked Barton to call off the "misguided and illegitimate investigation."

    As early as 1998, the three scientists, Raymond Bradley, Director of the Climate System Research Center at the Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst, Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State Univ., and Malcolm Hughes of the University of Arizona reconstructed the global climate change over the last millenium (pdf; also see this graph), determining that three recent years, 1997, 1995, and 1990, were the warmest years since at least AD 1400. Using climate records culled from tree rings, glacial-ice layers and coral-growth layers, the three professors -- whose research was funded in part by the federal government -- determined in 1998 that temperatures have skyrocketed in the past century compared with the 500 years preceding it. The three men put the figures in a graph now known as the "hockey stick," and their work helped prompt the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001 to declare the 1990s as the warmest decade in the past 1,000 years. The work has been supported as being rigorous and probably true by a national scientific panel of specialists in the area. Elsewhere, more than 100 international experts studying climate change have said that the threat of global warming is real and getting worse and Bush administration's postion on this is 'ludicrious.'

    Related Links

    BBC Audio interview

    NPR interview

    "The Man Behind the Hockey Stick" - 2005 interview

    How the Wall Street Journal and Rep. Barton Celebrated a Global Warming Skeptic - Aug 2005

    ---

    Reference: My compilation post with various links on Global Warming and the Environment and also Oil Politics and Energy Alternatives.


    Hot peppers and spider bites cause similar pain

    New research suggests that tarantula venom and capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot, both fire up the same pain receptor on nerve cells. The particular cell-surface receptor is triggered by chemicals and also temperature. The research, conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in the scientific journal Nature, could someday inform the development of better pain killers. Meanwhile, I expect to see a new brand of Spider Venom Hot Sauce in a matter of moments. From Science News:
    (Molecular biologist David) Julius notes that because triggering the receptor produces such strong pain sensations, it's not surprising that organisms as distantly related as pepper plants and tarantulas use the same defensive mechanism.

    "Different organisms have figured out how to tap this site as a way of telling predators, 'You won't be comfortable if you mess with me,'" he says.

    I have bookmarked tons of articles to forward or blog about over the past 2-3 weeks but do not have the time to organize it ....so here is a mish-mash this Sunday afternoon.

    US Politics:
    Bush said recently that his policy had 'never been stay the course' except, apparently, he mentioned it over thirty times over the last three years. Some people are pretty good with "the Google." :)

    Meanwhile, Iraqis die by the hundreds every day...with October being the deadliest month ever..with 3709 Iraqis dead, with all indications that November will break this 'record'. Iraq sinks into a graver abyss..

    You have got to hear this... Keith Olbermann gives Bush a reaming after his visit to Vietnam...on the comparison between Vietnam and Iraq.----After Rumsfeld...Cheney?

    In the days since President George W. Bush fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, one figure is eerily missing from public view and public accounts of what occurred: Vice President Dick Cheney. As usual, America's de facto president is either literally or metaphorically in an undisclosed location.

    An article I read elsewhere quotes Novak of the Sun-Times writing that the firing of Rumsfeld upset many GOPs, including Cheney who was "profoundly disturbed" at the way Rumsfeld was treated and recently "appeared melancholy." To quote the former article, which is by someone called Nora Ephron (screen-writer of movies like Harry met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle?):
    We will leave aside the question of how anyone can evaluate the levels of Dick Cheney's melancholy and instead wonder whether Cheney is feeling bad because he sees the handwriting on wall. Who knows? Maybe the rumor is true, and he's next.


    See this very powerful sketch by someone called Mr. Fish. See other 'cartoons' by Mr. Fish in Harpers magazinehere ....for eg. I liked this one too about the mid-term elections.

    Cronyism with Bush administration appointments continues...putting into people that will further their neocon agenda!!To head family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Bush has tapped Eric Keroack, a doctor affiliated with a group vehemently opposed to birth control and someone nationally known for his wacky theory about reproductive health.


    Media and Democracy

    In 2003, an unprecedented groundswell of popular opposition killed then-Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell's efforts to eliminate rules that limit the ability of one corporation to monopolize all the media outlets in a given place. But, once again, media-industry lobbyists and their allies on the FCC are working to revise the rules on media ownership to allow a single corporation to own most, if not all, of the newspapers, radio and TV stations and Internet news and entertainment sites in your town. Last June, new FCC chairman Kevin Martin issued a draft policy proposal -- called a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making -- that kick-started Big Media's latest attempt to weaken the rules protecting local voices, vibrant competition and diverse viewpoints. Now the battle is on.

    Six Muslim imams were handcuffed and removed from a US Airways flight at a Minnesota airport over "suspicious activity."They suspect the 'suspicious activity' cited by authorities was the performance of normal evening prayers offered by members of the group," it said. "The detained Imams also denied media reports that they refused to leave the plane or that they chanted 'Allah' as they were escorted from the flight," the statement said.


    More proof of an ugly nexus between politics and corporate America!!
    Alarmed at the prospect of Democratic control of Congress, top executives from two dozen drug companies met here last week to assess what appears to them to be a harsh new political climate, and to draft a battle plan.

    Unbelievable & absurd!!... was this Glen Beck guy come to CNN from Faux News? Have seen this kind of s*** on radio and on Faux News only before..but I cannot believe this was on CNN!!
    CNN's Glen Beck to first-ever Muslim congressman to the first ever Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7 :"What I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies"

    Enough of serious stuff...now for something a little lighter..

    First up ...this hilarious report of some monkey business in Des Moines, Iowa :) What's the fun of being an ape if you can't even monkey around? hahaha... ( - via India Uncut)

    Also via India Uncut comes news about a new kind of terrorism - reports of the case of an "exceptionally antisocial man who has been defecating on trains across the UK, causing tens of thousands of pounds-worth of damage." So, are the roads of Mumbai going to be bombed by the Bush-Blair allied forces as being the training grounds for terror of a new kind? :)

    And speaking of India, Businessweek has an interesting article, which asks the question:
    Has the Bhagavad Gita replaced Sun Tzu's The Art of War as the hip new ancient Eastern management text?

    More power to their tribe - 2

    on November 10, 2006 with 0 comments » |

    Interview with Dr. Temple Gradin, Associate Professor of Animal Behavior at Colorado State - an amazing extraordinary woman.

    The Arrow of Time

    on November 9, 2006 with 0 comments » |

    Pictures taken on the same day every year.... a great quick look at life and how they have changed (physically) over 30 years!

    Really neat that they have pictures all the way back from 1976. This idea is much better than the sites I have seen where people, thanks to the modern conveniences of digital cameras and phone cameras, take a picture of themself every single day of the year and post it at their blogs. Simply too boring and narcisstic, in my opinion. There are variations on this theme, like a daily photo from Paris or San Fransisco or London or Earth Science picture of the day or the NASA picture of the day... that I enjoy because it is not the same face every day but is like a picture-blog or a plog.. (If people can have vlogs, I think this one's gotta be called a plog!)

    Nice graphics at this kinda related page called The Circular Life

    Death be not proud - 4

    on November 2, 2006 with 0 comments » |

    I accidentally ran into a list of unusual deaths on wikipedia today ..

    Disclaimer: Everything in brown is directly cut-n-pasted from the wikipedia entry and has not been verified or even re-worded by me.

    1. These entries about some really famous people caught my eye.. I did not know this!!

    a) 1983 - Tennessee Williams died choking on a bottle cap.--and am surprised this tradition still continues after this..

    b) 1849: Edgar Allan Poe, famous American writer and poet, was found on October 7, 1849, at a Baltimore tavern in a state of delirium and wearing clothes he didn't own. He died in a Washington, D.C. hospital early the next morning, his last words being "Lord, help my poor soul." While the official cause of death was listed as "congestion of the brain", the actual cause for his death has been a matter of debate ever since. The current prevailing theory is that he was a victim of rabies.

    c) And this is big news to me....
    1893: Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer, apparently committed suicide after being exposed in a homosexuality scandal. The means of his death is in dispute as to whether he took arsenic or drank cholera-infected water.

    d) 1884: Allan Pinkerton, detective, died of gangrene resulting from having bitten his tongue after stumbling on the sidewalk.

    e) 1916 : The English satirist, novelist and wit Saki was killed in France, during World War I by a sniper's bullet, having reportedly cried "Put that damned cigarette out!" to a fellow officer in his trench lest the glowing embers reveal their whereabouts.

    (Another similar one, which I find both funny and sad at the same time is this one...

    1915: François Faber, Luxembourgean Tour de France winner, died in a trench on the western front of World War I. He received a telegram saying his wife had given birth to a daughter. He cheered, giving away his position, and was shot by a German sniper. )

    f) 1940: Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary leader in exile, was assassinated with an ice axe in his Mexico home. His killer, Spanish-born Soviet agent Ramon Mercader, acquired the ice axe in Trotsky's own office after being invited in. After receiving a brutal blow to the head, Trotsky fought and literally took a bite out of his murderer.

    g) 1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning from a toe injury he received after kicking his safe in anger when he could not remember its combination code. (By the way, did u know the Jack Daniel distillery in TN is in a dry county :))

    2. I am going to use those last words when confronted by smart-alecs who think they know it all :)
    1864: John Sedgwick, Union general in the American Civil War, was killed by a distant Confederate sniper at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Among his last words to his men were "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"

    3. Talk about going away in glory:

    a) 1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a British racing driver, was decapitated by his car's drive chain which, under duress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own Land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph.

    b) 1953: Frank Hayes, jockey, suffered a heart attack during a horse race. The horse, Sweet Kiss, went on to finish first, making Hayes the only deceased jockey to win a race.

    4. There are a few odd-ball entries like

    1834: David Douglas, Scottish botanist, who fell in a pit trap, was crushed by a bull that fell in the same pit.

    1845: Josiah P. Wilbarger, a Texan pioneer, was scalped by Comanches in 1833 but survived, leaving his skull exposed. He lived 11 years until fatally striking his head against a low beam in his cotton gin....

    5. 1990: George Allen, an American football coach, died a month after some of his players dumped a Gatorade bucket on him following a victory (as it is tradition in American Football), resulting in pneumonia.

    6. And last but not least... this one has to be the most gruesome on the list. I had kinda read about this somewhere but had not read the details! Uggh....this will revulse you!

    2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and then eaten by Armin Meiwes. Before the killing, both men dined on Brandes' severed penis. Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.

    I took Dante's Inferno Test. Here are the results...



    The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!


    Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

    LevelScore
    Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
    Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
    Level 2 (Lustful)High
    Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
    Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
    Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
    Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
    Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
    Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
    Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate



    Go ahead... you take
    the Test and see how you do!!





    The personality disorder test sayeth:

    DisorderRating
    Paranoid Personality Disorder:Moderate
    Schizoid Personality Disorder:Low
    Schizotypal Personality Disorder:Low
    Antisocial Personality Disorder:Low
    Borderline Personality Disorder:Low
    Histrionic Personality Disorder:Moderate
    Narcissistic Personality Disorder:Moderate
    Avoidant Personality Disorder:High
    Dependent Personality Disorder:Moderate
    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:Low

    -- Take the Personality Disorder Test --