Bizarre but true facts about the Earth (Blog Post)


Bizarre but true facts about the Earth
In 1783 an Icelandic eruption threw up enough dust to temporarily block out the sun over Europe.

About 20 to 30 volcanoes erupt each year, mostly under the sea.

A huge underground river runs underneath the Nile, with six times more water than the river above.

Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana formed in a hollow made by a meteorite.

Beaver Lake, in Yellowstone Park, USA, was artificially created by beaver damming.

Off the coast of Florida there is an underwater hotel. Guests have to dive to the entrance.

Venice in Italy is built on 118 sea islets joined by 400 bridges. It is gradually sinking into the water.

The Ancient Egyptians worshipped a sky goddess called Nut.

The world's windiest place is Commonwealth Bay, Antartica.

In 1934, a gust of wind reached 371 km/h (230 mph) on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA.

American Roy Sullivan has been struck by lighting a record seven times.

The desert baobab tree can store up to 1000 litres (264 gallons) of water in its trunk.

The oldest living tree is a California bristlecone pine name 'Methuselah'. It is about 4600 years old. The largest tree in the world is a giant sequoia growing in California. It is 84 meters (276 feet) tall and measures 29 meters (95 feet) round the trunk. The fastest growing tree is the eucalyptus. It can grow 10 meters a year.

The Antartic notothenia fish has a protein in its blood that acts like antifreeze and stops the fish freezing in icy sea.

The USA uses 29% of the world's petrol and 33% of the world's electricity.

The industrial complex of Cubatao in Brazil is known as the Valley of Death because its pollution has destroyed the trees and rivers nearby.

Tibet is the highest country in the world. Its average height above sea level is 4500 meters (14,764 feet).

Some of the oldest mountains in the world are the Highlands in Scotland. They are estimated to be about 400 million years old.

Fresh water from the River Amazon can be found up to 180 km (112 miles) out to sea.

The White Sea, in Russia, has the lowest temperature, only -2 degrees centigrade (28 degrees fahrenheit). The Persian Gulf is the warmest sea. In the summer its temperature reaches 35.6 degrees centigrade (96 degrees fahrenheit) .

There is no land at all at the North Pole, only ice on top of sea. The Arctic Ocean has about 12 million sq km of floating ice and has the coldest winter temperature of -34 degrees centigrade.

The Antarctic ice sheet is 3-4 km thick, covers 13 million sq km and has temperatures as low as -70 degrees centigrade.

Over 4 million cars in Brazil are now running on gasohol instead of petrol. Gasohol is a fuel made from sugar cane. 


Man’s embryo successfully cloned in US (Blog Post)

US scientists say they have produced embryos that are clones of two men, in an attempt to produce patient-specific stem cells. Researchers removed DNA from donated human eggs, and replaced it with DNA from the skin cells of two volunteers. They produced embryos with genetic material that matched the men’s, but did not go on to extract stem cells. The team at Stemagen Corporation in La Jolla, California, says the work could be an important step to developing embryonic stem cells for patients. They produced five embryos called blastocysts from 25 donated eggs. DNA fingerprinting proved that at least one of these was a clone.

“We’re the first in the world to take adult human cells and then document that in fact we were able to clone embryos from them,” lead researcher Dr Samuel Wood told the BBC. He said the embryos were destroyed in the process of verifying they were clones, but they were now working on creating stem cell lines. Dr Lyle Armstrong of Newcastle University is one of a handful of other researchers who have made cloned human embryos using a technique known as nuclear transfer pioneered in Dolly the sheep. Unlike the US team, the Newcastle group used DNA from embryonic rather than mature tissue. Dr Armstrong said the US study showed that the objective of using cells from an adult person to make individual stem cells might one day be possible. Are you ready for Me, Myself v2.0?

Source: BBC

Watch what you think (Blog Post)

PRAGUE- A 21-year-old man who demonstrated in support of imprisoned German Holocaust denier Ernst Zuendel on October 28, a Czech national holiday, will be tried in court for the denial of Holocaust, state attorney Zdenka Galkova said.
Galkova said she sent the man's file to the court today. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.

 A British teenager who is accused of possessing material for terrorist purposes has appeared in court.The 17-year-old, who was arrested in the Dewsbury area of West Yorkshire on Monday, was given bail after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court.It is alleged he had a copy of the "Anarchists' Cookbook", containing instructions on how to make home-made explosives.His next court hearing has been set for 25 October.The teenager faces two charges under the Terrorism Act 2000.The first charge relates to the possession of material for terrorist purposes in October last year.The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism. 

It’s now officially a mindcrime in the United States to violate Islamic law. At Pace University, a man has been arrested and will face “hate crime” charges for throwing a Koran into a toilet, after the university caved in to demands from Muslim students

11 people in Philadelphia were arrested simply for holding signs and reading passages out of the Bible during a gay pride festival downtown.Though by all indications their protests were conducted peaceably, and with proper restraint, these men and women were forcibly detained, unceremoniously dragged down to the police station, and eventually charged with a total of three separate felonies and five misdemeanors
What, exactly, was the nature of their crimes? Well, according to the police, their charges included "possession of instruments of crime" (a bullhorn), "ethnic" intimidation (reciting a Biblical passage), and "inciting a riot" (again, reading verses from the Bible). All told, the protesters faced more than $90,000 in fines and court costs, and the very real prospect of facing as many as 47 years in prison.

The War is over between HD DVD and Blu-ray (Blog Post)

Paramount studios is poised to drop its support of the high-definition DVD (HD DVD) format after Warner Bros studio said it would back the competing Blu-ray format, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.The loss of support from Paramount, which is owned by Viacom Inc, would likely deal the final blow to the HD DVD format backed by Toshiba Corp and put an end to the format war, the newspaper said on its Web site. Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros studio on Friday said it would exclusively release high-definition DVDs in Sony Corp’s Blu-ray format, marking a major setback to the HD DVD camp.

Blu-ray discs outsold HD DVD by nearly two-to-one in the United States last year, but HD DVD had secured major allies in August when Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc said they would go exclusively with HD DVD. But Paramount is understood to have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp that would allow it to change sides if Warner Bros backed Blu-ray, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the situation. However, Paramount spokeswoman denied this news as speculative with “Paramount’s current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format”.

Source: Forbes, FT, Bloomberg

A great new torrent site (Blog Post)

 New BitTorrent sites are launched every day, but only a few stand out or have something new to offer. YouTorrent is such a new site; feature-wise it’s just a meta-search engine, but the design and user interface make it one of the best I’ve seen.

YouTorrent: Great New BitTorrent Search EngineYouTorrent is “the world’s first real-time torrent comparison search engine” according to the site itself. The site is a meta search engine, which means that it doesn’t host any torrent files itself. It currently searches 12 sources; Mininova, The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, MyBittorrent, NewTorrents, SuprNova, Monova, Vuze, BitTorrent, LegitTorrents, SeedPeer and BTjunkie.

Why I love Burning Man - This film explains it better than I ever could. (Blog Post)

BURNING MAN: BEYOND BLACK ROCK goes behind the scenes of a social revolution to explore the philosophy that fuels it, the social contract that drives it, and the transcendent experience that makes it a worldwide cultural force. Granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Burning Man organization, the filmmakers spent 18 months with the founders, organizers, artists and participants to document the full complexity and diversity of the Burning Man community. But, true to its title, the film goes beyond the city they raise in the desert - revealing the Burning Man's plans to bring its unique culture to the rest of the world. BEYOND BLACK ROCK tells, for the first time ever, the real story of Burning Man - from the inside out.   -William Haskins

 Movie is linked in the comments now

A little comedy to brighten your day (Blog Post)

Courtroom Testimony

These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Straw Poll Information from Wikipedia (Republican) (Blog Post)

Each state and D.C. has been colored to represent its most recent straw poll winner. These polls, however, may not be representative of the entire state since many are smaller, local straw polls, and some are several months old.

1. Ron Paul (17)

2. Mitt Romney (9)

3. Fred Thompson (7)

4. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee (2)

6. Duncan Hunter, John McCain (1)

8. Alan Keyes, Tom Tancredo (0)




Records of wins, losses, and ties grouped by the Condorcet method.

1. Paul beats Giuliani 42-27, Huckabee 43-20-5, Hunter 40-13-3, Keyes 5-0, McCain 41-21-4, Tancredo 39-11-2, Thompson 33-30-1 (7 wins)

1. Romney beats Giuliani 52-35-3, Huckabee 65-13-5, Hunter 58-6-2, Keyes 5-1, McCain 72-13-2, Paul 36-32-1, Tancredo 56-2-2 (7 wins)

1. Thompson beats Giuliani 48-26-3, Huckabee 52-19, Hunter 46-13-1, Keyes 4-1, McCain 57-18, Romney 41-33-2, Tancredo 45-5-2 (7 wins)

4. Giuliani beats Huckabee 59-21-2, Hunter 49-15-2, Keyes 5-1, McCain 66-20-1, Tancredo 50-8-2 (5 wins)

5. Huckabee beats Hunter 46-17-1, Keyes 4-1-1, McCain 41-36-3, Tancredo 44-9-6 (4 wins)

6. McCain beats Hunter 34-25-5, Keyes 3-2-1, Tancredo 45-11-3 (3 wins)

7. Hunter beats Keyes 3-1, Tancredo 33-11-10 (2 wins)

8. Tancredo beats Keyes 3-2 (1 win)

9. Keyes beats none (0 wins)



Total wins

Total number of first-place finishes.

1. Paul (30)

2. Thompson (24)

3. Romney (23)

4. Giuliani, McCain (6)

6. Huckabee (3)

7. Hunter (2)

8. Tancredo (1)

9. Keyes (0)



Olympic ratings

Top 3 finishes with 3 points for win, 2 for place, 1 for show.

1. Romney 23-19-18 (125)

2. Thompson 24-18-9 (117)

3. Paul 30-9-6 (114)

4. Giuliani 6-27-21 (93)

5. McCain 6-8-8 (42)

6. Huckabee 3-8-9 (34)

7. Hunter 2-2-6 (16)

8. Tancredo 1-0-2 (5)

9. Keyes 0-0-1 (1)



NASCAR ratings

100 for win, 98 for place, 96 for show, etc., 0 if absent. This rating gives a high weight to total poll presences.

Among 4 polls with no absences: Paul 398, Huckabee 378 (tie), Thompson 378 (tie), Romney 368, Giuliani 362, Hunter 354, Tancredo 348, Keyes 346, McCain 342.

Among 45 polls with up to 1 absent: Romney 4324, Thompson 4288, Paul 4242, Giuliani 4234, Huckabee 4130, McCain 4022, Hunter 3990, Tancredo 3872, Keyes 346.

Among 62 polls with up to 2 absent: Romney 5962, Giuliani 5866, Huckabee 5676, Thompson 5622, McCain 5484, Paul 5450, Hunter 5254, Tancredo 4768, Keyes 424.


A Burning Man Art installaton. Followed by a math problem. (Blog Post)

    Perspective - An art installation from Burning Man 2007. The letter "A" is six inches tall. The "E" is ten feet tall. This led me to a question, I was hoping someone could answer. 

If "A" is six inches tall and 10 feet from the camera,and "E" is ten feet tall, how far away do you place"E" to make the letters appear to be the same size from the cameras perspective?


South Park will be available online for free (Blog Post)

MTV Networks plans to make every clip from every episode of hit animated comedy “South Park” available for free online next year as part of a strategy to reach consumers everywhere. The decision from the biggest division of media conglomerate Viacom Inc follows on the heels of the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” whose popularity online has helped boost television viewership. MTV Networks’s Comedy Central network began offering in October some 13,000 “Daily Show” videos dating back to 1999. Offering versions of TV shows online has not hurt television ratings, and may have actually helped. “One does not diminish the other by any stretch of the imagination. That is kind of our hat trick,” MTV Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.

In August, Comedy Central signed an extension of a deal with “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and agreed to create a new joint venture to spread “South Park” materials across the Web, on mobile phones and video games. Other shows from the 20-year archives of MTV Networks could also get the same online treatment, but executives stopped short of naming other properties. The Daily Show’ was the first out of the gate and it’s been a big success and it’s a nice little model for us to follow,” said Mika Salmi, MTV Networks president of global digital media. “There’s no limit to which shows we can use at this stage.” Once criticized for moving slowly to establish itself online, MTV Networks has aggressively expanded its digital media presence over the past year by building new Web sites and communities on the Internet and over cellphones globally. It’s good to finally see some progress.

Source: Reuters

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