Saturday, April 25, 2009


What a horrifying way to die / to kill

People have been heard to complain that thriller and c rime movies and fiction give bright and innovative ideas to execute their plans.

Jesus Christ was crucified to the cross along with two criminals. Nails were fixed into his palms and feet. That was a gruesome way to die. But the nailing of a man has given ideas to murderers of late.

In Australia, Chen Liu a 27 year old Chinese immigrant ‘s decomposed body was found by two children in the marshlands of Sydney’s Georges Rivers in November 2008. The body was wrapped in a carpet and bound with electrical wire.Liu came to Australia in 2000 and was reported missing last year.

Postmortem revealed shocking results. The X ray of the man’s skull revealed that the man had been shot repeatedly about 34 times in the head and neck with a high power nail gun widely available and used in construction. The nails were found embedded in the skull. Homicide squad detectives hold that the man must have been fired with a high – powered nail gun (Reuters)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Aladdin’s Magic Lamp in Arabia

The fantasy tale of the Arabian nights- which every child in the Middle East is familiar with- has emerged to relevance again.

There are many who wish that the genie would be back to help them out especially in this period of global economic crisis.

An odd scam went around the market lately involving antique Singer sewing machines. The hoax claimed that red mercury inside the machines could capture wish-granting genii and convert its owner to an Aladdin with the Magic Lamp.

This drummed up story about the existence of a mythical substance called “red mercury” caused more than a stir .This led to a surge in the sale of a particular brand of old Singer sewing machines.

Following the rumor, the price of a Singer machine reportedly catapulted last week People were ready to pay up to SR120,000 per machine( its original price being only 150SR) with hopes of u finding gold, warding off evil jinni, or a key and highly prized ingredient in making nuclear bombs. For some it was a pitch to make a fortune by buying these old sewing machines and selling at a great profit.

Rumors were spread on the Internet that a sewing machine can be proved to contain red mercury if a phone signal cuts off when held close by. Buyers started using their mobile phones to test the machines.

There are various theories as to the origin of this mythical and magical substance.

· There is no such thing as red mercury except in the world of superstition and magic.

· It might be cinnabar, a mercuric sulphide or simply any mercury made in Russia during the Cold War era when “red” was used as a euphemism for communism.

· Red mercury might also refer to a red-colored ballotechnic mercury compound that is explosive under the right conditions.

· Conspiracy theorists believe that red mercury was developed by Soviet scientists in the 1980s after developing a smart nuclear bomb that could kill people without harming the buildings and streets and that its existence has since been covered up by US military because of its potential use as a weapon of mass destruction.

An article in the Russian newspaper Pravda in 1993, describes red mercury as a superconductive material used for producing high-precision conventional and nuclear explosives. It was also reported that Russian businessmen offered red mercury for sale throughout Europe and the Middle East and found many buyers who would pay almost anything for the substance even though they had no idea what it was all about.(Arab News)

Whatever be the truth, Singer sewing machines do not contain any compounds that will find gold, fight jinni, make nukes or pave a path to quick riches.

The feverish search for Singer sewing machines has lost its tempo as the common man is slowly realizing that it is another ploy to dupe the naive public, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Educated amused youngsters have started sending messages as “I adore you more than red mercury” or “I love you more than an old Singer machine.” Another message even suggested the name Singer for a new baby.

images : courtesy google

Monday, April 13, 2009


The unpleasant episode in the lives of the popular singers nineteen-year-old Chris Brown and 21-year-old Robyn Rihanna Fenty has left fans in shock.

The images of both the stars stand tarnished. Chris Brown went from a pop star to a prison inmate and Rihanna from a cover girl to a poster child for domestic violence.

Brown attacked Rihanna, during a roadside dispute in his rented sports car, Lamborghini last February. The two got into a fight when Rihanna found a text message from another woman on Brown's phone. Brown shoved Rihanna's head against the passenger window, repeatedly punched her in the face, bit her ear and finger, and put her into a headlock and told Rihanna, "I'm going to kill you."

A photograph of Rihanna’s battered face, hours after the incident, with welts, scratches, bruises and swelling on her face was posted on a US gossip website which purported to show the Barbadian star in the was leaked onto the Internet.

Rihanna confessed that she had suffered from such treatment for a long time.

This incident is the latest buzz among teens and has brought out a lot of relationship issues from under the carpet.

Youngsters are now pondering over what they would do if they were victims of abuse, physical or mental.

It's high time to stop all this, and treat your partner as equals.

Dating violence is a recent add on to the dating scene, and is causing quite a stir. It is not unheard of. It’s just that most of us don’t give it due attention.

Some girls practically behave like slaves to their boyfriends. Hundreds of thousands of teens will continue to quietly hide their own bruises and tears, inflicted by boyfriends or girlfriends. It's easy to confuse manipulation, intimidation and emotional abuse for passion.

The victim often does not move away from or leave the abuser (Rihanna is still with Chris). This is scary. They can still get hurt.

Fight against dating violence and abuse and keep teens safe. Take a stand and create awareness among teens.

In a world of Cinderella myths, couples fall in love at first sight and jealousy is often interpreted as proof of deep love.

Occasional arguments are one thing. But regular manipulation, emotional abuse and violence can spiral from mental distress to physical harm.

One red flag is a warning. Several mean you need help. Watch out for the key warning signals
when your boyfriend or girlfriend:

• Belittles you and makes you feel bad.

• Tries to control where you go, what you wear or what you do

• Exhibits signs of extreme jealousy or possessiveness

• Frightens or intimidates you

• Threatens harm if you decide to end the relationship

• Isolates you from your friends and family

• Has broken or thrown something at you in anger

• Has ever hit, slapped, shoved or kicked you, or forced you to have sex

It is better to be aware of all these in any relationship right from the beginning so that timely intervention will keep you out of danger.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cheating in China

No it is not only in China. It is happening all over the world. And nowhere is it acceptable.

The anti-cheating campaign is part of a larger effort to clean up China's academic community amidst a spate of high-profile plagiarism and fake research cases. In recent months academics were caught lying about their credentials or faking research.

A dean at Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of China's top science schools, was dismissed after investigators found he had faked research.

Similarly Shanghai University dismissed a scientist who had lied about his academic record.

A professor at Tsinghua University was fired in Beijing.

These scandals have been embarrassing to communist leaders especially at a time when they are seriously engaged in spending more efforts on scientific research in hopes of developing profitable technologies.

When such is the state of professors, what can anyone comment on students who are over anxious to perform well in order to enter the universities.

More disheartening it is that Chinese parents have been arrested because their children were caught cheating in exams. Strangely the parents are taken to task along with their sons.

Naturally enough they had to be put in jail for using high – tech communications equipment, including mobile phones and wireless earpieces, to help their children cheat at university entrance exams

Eight parents fought together in 2007 to plan how to help their children in the exams since the achievements of their children were not ideal

One of the parents hired university students to provide answers which were sent to the examinees via wireless earphones while they were writing their exams in the exam hall.

Unluckily for them the police detected abnormal radio signals near the college and discovered the ruse of the culprits.

The parents were sentenced to six months to three years for illegally obtaining state secrets. What punishment was meted out to the children is not revealed.

Chinese college entrance exams called gaolao are fiercely competitive tests.

. But despite all penalties, cheating surfaces every year. Students pay for leaked exam papers, smuggle in mobile phones and electronic dictionaries or pay others to take the exam for them.

In a highly competitive world with increasing shortage of job offers there are shortcuts aplenty invented to secure a stability in life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baby food or fuel?

April 5th 2009 - Daddy's HandsImage by Stephen Poff via Flickr

Breast feeding children is the best way to a child’s health. But danger lurks even there. All parents of breast fed infants as well as those who formula feed their children are sitting up stunned in the USA.

Now U.S. officials have found yet another potentially dangerous ingredient in infant formula. This comes just a few months after the chemical melamine was found in infant formula in the U.S. making thousands of infants ill, and for causing four infant deaths, in China.

A study by Centers for Disease Control scientists has found a hazardous chemical, perchlorate at potentially dangerous levels in samples of 15 different brands of powdered baby milk formula.

Perchlorate, is a component of solid rocket fuel, flares, fireworks and some fertilizers. Perchlorate contamination, usually associated with defense and aerospace sites, has been known to affect thyroid function.

Perchlorate a potent thyroid toxin reduces thyroid hormone production and inhibits the uptake of iodide, which is required for healthy function of the thyroid gland which controls human metabolism, growth and development .Too little thyroid hormone, called hypothryroidism, leads to weight gain, low heart rate, water retention, poor muscle tone, and fatigue. It may interfere with foetal and infant brain development
However, the extent of the risk is hard to assess.

The chemical has been detected in drinking water in 28 states and territories and at low levels in food supplies. It has been found leaching into public water wells from military bases and bomb-building facilities..
Infants fed cow's milk-based powdered formula could be exposed to perchlorate from two sources -- tap water and formula.

When perchlorate-contaminated powdered formula is mixed with water that also contains traces of the chemical, the final concoction can become particularly harmful to babies. , infants may be more exposed than adults because of their body weight and from the potential double exposure from combining powdered formula mix and tap water to make a bottle of formula, the study said.

Iodine supplements at higher levels may offer some protection from the effects of perchlorate, but the scientists warn that even adequate iodine intake among formula-fed infants is not guaranteed to prevent "perchlorate-induced thyroid dysfunction.

“Millions of American babies are potentially at risk."

Perchlorate exposure is a serious issue and "a top priority. How best to protect children from perchlorate is a million dollar question. Setting a safe drinking water standard for perchlorate in water supply is not the ultimate solution. Will it help if the perchlorate level is so low that the amount of daily oral exposure is beneath a threshold called a reference dose which is the amount of perchlorate humans could consistently consume over the course of a lifetime without increasing their risk of harm.

Just as pressure to regulate perchlorate has mounted, so has lobbying from the chemical manufacturing and defense industries to stymie efforts to regulate the chemical.

Clarification on both the complex interrelationships among the thyroid, perchlorate, and iodide, as well as any potential public health risk with exceeding the perchlorate reference dose is an immediate necessity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Healthy Housing

Environmental watchdogs repeatedly keep warning that climate change is a real and imminent threat.

We’ve hit the buffers exploiting Nature and polluting the environment in every possible manner. The only encouragement is that the green movement is finding its footing fast.

With rising population and more people living in smaller households, the demand on housing is on the eternal increase. A zero carbon house and a passive home is the dream of the near future.

The Passive House, calls for housing with a dramatic reduction in energy consumption and zero carbon emissions.

A zero carbon house is one with "zero net emissions of carbon dioxide from all energy use in the home". This includes energy consumed by appliances as TV, cookers, heaters, coolers and ventilation.

Passive houses are part of a revolution in building and the ultimate in green development. The concept is based on minimizing heat losses and maximizing heat gains from the home

The first physicist to develop the idea of warm houses without energy demand was the German Wolfgang Feist

.Even on the coldest nights in Central Germany passive houses use a heat exchanger to warm cold air coming into the house and rely on tight seals around doors and windows and super-thick insulation to keep homes warm using no more energy than a hair dryer. The homes use the warmth from the human body and that given off by appliances as well as the warm stale air leaving the house to heat the fresh cold air coming in.

Passive Houses are virtually independent of fossil fuels as oil, coal or gas. It uses minimal energy input to maintain perfect indoor temperatures no matter the weather. Air leaks cause large heat losses throughout the home and so air tightness is critical. But an airtight Passive House is not a stuffy house because of the ventilation system.

Elizabeth Rosenthal’s article on the New York Times is a fantastic piece on passive houses.

This is no magic bullet solution but all efforts towards environment preservation is worthy effort

Perks or Pension

If you are a septuagenarian

There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

Things you buy now won't wear out.

People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"

In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

No one expects you to run into a burning building.

You can do without sex but not your glasses.

You can eat dinner at 4 P.M.

You enjoy hearing about other peoples operations.

You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.

You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

Your eyes won't get much worse

Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Robot Scientist War

Adam and Eve are back to make new inroads into science. At a time when we are staggering under the malignancy of recession I never thought there would be a chance of scientists being thrown out of jobs. Did you ever imagine robot scientists?
It appears to be a near reality.... read on