Visions of the Brain in Vatican Fresco

Michelangelo was a conscientious student of human anatomy and enthusiastically dissected corpses throughout his life, but few of his anatomical drawings survive. This one, a depiction of the human brain and brain stem, appears to be drawn on the neck of God, directly above the altar in “The Separation of Light From Darkness,” another panel from the series of nine depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis.

God, clothed in flowing red robes, is viewed from below and foreshortened, and seems to be rising into the sky. His arms are raised above his head, and he faces up and to his right, exposing his neck and the underside of a short beard. It is here that the study’s authors, the medical illustrator Ian Suk and Dr. Rafael J. Tamargo, a neurosurgeon, believe that Michelangelo concealed a drawing of the underside of the brain and the brain stem, with parts of the temporal lobe, the medulla, the pons and other structures clearly drawn.

God’s beard, usually depicted as long and flowing, appears here short or rolled up to expose the neck. Light provides another hint. The fresco is illuminated from the lower left, but on God’s neck light shines head-on and slightly from the right. The authors insist that Michelangelo, a master of the depiction of light, could only have done this to draw attention to that part of the painting.

Michelangelo

Body shape affects memory

A woman's body shape may play a role in how good her memory is, according to a new study.

The more an older woman weighs, the worse her memory, according to research released this week from Northwestern Medicine at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

The effect is more pronounced in women who carry excess weight around their hips, known as pear shapes, than women who carry it around their waists, called apple shapes.

The reason pear-shaped women experienced more memory and brain function deterioration than apple-shaped women is likely related to the type of fat deposited around the hips versus the waist.

George W Bush on Facebook

Former US President George W Bush has created an account on the social networking website Facebook. His account was given the thumbs up, or "liked", by over 20,000 users within its first few hours.
Click here to go to his page.

Guillermo del Toro 'leaves' as director of The Hobbit

Guillermo del Toro will no longer direct the two movies based on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, reports said.
"In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life," he said.
However, del Toro added that he will continue to co-write the screenplays. The project - which has already been delayed for several years - is expected to last longer than originally expected.
Executive producer Peter Jackson reportedly said Del Toro could not commit to living in New Zealand for that long.
The Hobbit was due to be split into two films, both prequels to Jackson's Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy - to be released in 2012 and 2013.

Cannes Winners

And the winners are:
- Palme d'Or - Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
- Best director - Mathieu Amalric for On Tour
- Best actress - Juliette Binoche for Certified Copy
- Best actor- Javier Bardem for Biutiful and Elio Germano for Our Life (shared)
- Best screenplay - Lee Chang-Dong for Poetry
- Grand Prix - Of Gods and Men directed by Xavier Beauvois
- Jury Prize - A Screaming Man directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Artificial Life

It's official. Scientists in the US have succeeded in developing the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA. The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species "dictated" by the synthetic DNA.
The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used "synthesis machines" to chemically construct a copy.
Amazing. Of course, the ethical discussions are yet to come.

A Mind Controlled Arm

Otto Bock Healthcare, has developed a mind-controlled technology, which is ready to leave the laboratory and be put to everyday use. It involves a new technique known as targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR), where nerves that once controlled a lost limb are used to control a prosthesis. The transplanted nerves allow electrical impulses from the brain to reach the muscles in the chest. The muscles act like a booster, amplifying the signal to a level that can be picked up by electrodes on the surface of the chest. These signals are interpreted by a micro-computer, and used to control a prosthesis which responds in real time to thoughts from the brain.

Nokia Sues Apple

This month, Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming the iPad 3G and iPhone infringe five of its patents. Nokia claims the infringements involve technology used to enhance speech and data transmission and antenna innovations for compact devices.
The Nokia lawsuit came on the day Apple announced that its iPad tablet computer will go on sale in nine countries outside the US on 28 May.
Go, Nokia!

Artificial Muscles

Researchers engineered a polymer to reproduce the properties of titin - a protein which largely determines the elastic properties of muscle.
The authors suggest that the properties of this material could even be fine-tuned to resemble specific types of muscle by adjusting the compositions of the proteins.
Initially, the discovery could assist in the healing of tissue tears, acting as a tough stretchy scaffold that allows new tissue to grow across the wound.

Lack of sleep linked to early death

Getting less than six hours sleep a night can lead to an early grave, UK and Italian researchers have warned.
They also found an association between sleeping for more than nine hours and early death, although that much sleep may merely be a marker of ill health.
Sleep journal reports the findings, based on 1.5m people in 16 studies.
The study looked at the relationship between sleep and mortality by reviewing earlier studies from the UK, US and European and East Asian countries.
Premature death from all causes was linked to getting either too little or too much sleep outside of the "ideal" six to eight hours per night.
Interesting... I understand why lack of sleep can be linked to early death, but sleeping for more than 8 hours...?

Man Marries Cat

A German man has unofficially married his cat after the animal fell ill and vets told him it might not live much longer, Bild newspaper reports.
It says Uwe Mitzscherlich, 39, paid an actress 300 euros (£260,$395) to officiate at the ceremony, as marrying an animal is illegal in Germany.
Never heard of something like that before...

Wanted! Roman Polanski

Film director Roman Polanski, who is under house arrest in Switzerland, must be present in court in USA if he wants to resolve the case over a conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski left the US in 1978 before he could be sentenced and never returned to US.
Polanski is afraid US wants to "serve him on a platter to the media of the world than to pronounce a judgment concerning which an agreement was reached 33 years ago."
Polanski directed the movies "The Ninth Gate", "The Pianist", "The Ghost Writer".

Prostate cancer vaccine approved

A "vaccine" which harnesses the body's own immune system to fight prostate cancer has been approved for use by US drug regulators.
The drug is not a "cure" but is used in advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other sites in the body and is no longer responding to standard hormone treatment.
Clinical trials showed that the treatment extended the lives of patients by four months.

Chocolate = Depression?

People who regularly eat chocolate are more depressive, experts have found. Research in Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who eat at least a bar every week are more glum than those who only eat chocolate now and again.
Many believe chocolate has the power to lift mood, and the US team say this may be true, although scientific proof for this is lacking.
Which means, when you are depressed, you eat chocolate and then you get more depressed and eat more chocolate and gain weight and get more depressed and ahhh..:)

Aliens May Exist

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens almost certainly exist but warns it would be a bad idea to contact them. He said that if extraterrestrials visited the planet the outcome would be similar to when Christopher Columbus landed in America, which, he added, didn't turn out well for the Native Americans.
Quite possible...

Avatar Breaking Records

James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic, released in the US on 22 April, sold 4 million DVDs and 2.7 million Blu-rays. The sales brought in $130m (£84.1m).
The previous record holder in the US and Canada was The Dark Knight in 2008.
It was released on 22 April - "Earth Day" in the US and Canada as well as other countries - to chime with Avatar's environmental theme.

Icelandic Volcano Crisis

The Icelandic volcano crisis cost airlines more than USD 1.7 B in lost revenue through Tuesday—six days after the initial eruption, according to estimates of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For a three-day period (17-19 April), when disruptions were greatest, lost revenues reached USD 400 M per day.
Following 9/11, the US government provided USD 5 B to compensate airlines for the costs of grounding the fleet for three days. The European Commission also allowed European states to provide similar assistance.
No one was prepared for such an event. Isn't it funny how we take things for granted?

Brazil Christ the Redeemer statue closed

Rio de Janeiro's towering Christ the Redeemer statue has been closed to the public after landslides that hit Brazil, killing some 250 people. The death toll may rise as 200 people are still missing, officials say.
Christ the Redeemer
Access to the statue was cut off for the first time in its 80-year history as roads were blocked by debris.
The landslides in and around Brazil's second biggest city were set off by downpours that began last Monday - the area's heaviest rainfall for decades.

Brain Multitasking

An inability to deal with more than two things at a time may be "hard-wired" into our brain, research suggests.
When we try to do two things at once, each half of the brain focuses on a separate task, French scientists say.
It might also explain why people are prone to make irrational decisions when choosing from a long list of items.
Lead author Dr Etienne Koechlin told the BBC: "You can cook and at the same time talk on the phone but you cannot really do a third task such as trying to read a newspaper. If you have three or more tasks you lose track of one task."
When the volunteers completed one task at a time, one side of a certain area of the frontal lobes lit up.
But, when they completed two tasks at the same time, the lobes divided the tasks between them.
The brain was able to control switching between the two hemispheres when carrying out dual functions but accuracy suffered when a third was added.
[source:bbc.co.uk]

6.9 Earthquake in China

At least 300 people have died and thousands are feared hurt after a magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck China's Qinghai province, officials say. The powerful tremor hit remote Yushu county, 500km (310 miles) south-west of provincial capital Xining, at 0749 (2349 GMT), at a shallow depth of 10km. One official told journalists more than 85% of buildings in Jiegu town near the epicentre had collapsed. Many of the buildings in Yushu, a county with a largely Tibetan population of about 80,000, were thought to be made from wood.
In 2008, a huge quake struck neighbouring Sichuan province which left 87,000 people dead or missing. Terrible disaster.

Update 4/16:
The number of people known to have been killed by a massive quake in China's Qinghai province has risen to 1,144, officials say. Another 417 are still missing in the remote mountainous region and 11,744 have been injured, a rescue spokesman told the Xinhua news agency.

Oxygen-free Animals

Scientists have found the first animals that can survive and reproduce entirely without oxygen, deep on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.
They were discovered in the course of three oceanographic expeditions conducted over a decade in order to search for living fauna in the sediment of the Mediterranean's L'Atalante basin.
The basin, 200km (124m) off the western coast of Crete, is about 3.5km (2.2m) deep and is almost entirely depleted of oxygen, or anoxic.
Nature is amazing.

[source:bbc.co.uk]

New Element

A team of Russian and American scientists has discovered a new element that has long stood as a missing link among the heaviest bits of atomic matter ever produced. The element, still nameless, appears to point the way toward a brew of still more massive elements with chemical properties no one can predict.
The team produced six atoms of the element by smashing together isotopes of calcium and a radioactive element called berkelium in a particle accelerator about 75 miles north of Moscow on the Volga River.
By scientific custom, if the latest discovery is confirmed elsewhere, the element will receive an official name and take its place in the periodic table of the elements.

Hadron Collider Success

The world's largest atom smasher threw together minuscule particles racing at unheard of speeds in conditions simulating those just after the Big Bang -- a success that kick-started a megabillion-dollar experiment that could one day explain how the universe began.
Two beams of protons were sent hurtling in opposite directions toward each other in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel below the Swiss-French border -- the coldest place in the universe at slightly above absolute zero. CERN used powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross; two of the protons collided, producing 7 trillion electron volts.
By comparison, burning wood or any other chemical reaction on an atom scale produces one electron volt. Splitting a single uranium atom in a nuclear reaction produces 1 million electron volts. This produces -- on an atom-by-atom scale -- 7 million times more power than a single atom in a nuclear reaction.
Some people believe the experiments could eventually imperil Earth by creating micro black holes - subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars. CERN and many scientists dismiss any threat to Earth or people, saying that any such holes would be so weak that they would vanish almost instantly.

Father Raped Baby Daughter

The 29-year-old man, from Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, UK raped his daughter at least twice and carried out other sexual abuse which he recorded on his phone. He has been jailed for life.

Now - how sick is that???

[source:bbc.co.uk]

Cher's Son Changes Sex

Cher's son Chaz Bono has asked a judge in Los Angeles to formally change his name and gender following the sex change surgery he had last year.
The 41-year-old, who was born Chastity Sun Bono, now wants to be known as Chaz Salvatore, according to a petition filed earlier this week. The name Chastity came from the title of the 1969 film Cher made with her first husband Sonny, who died in a skiing accident in 1998.
A hearing has been scheduled for 6 May in Santa Monica, California.
OK....

[source:bbc.co.uk]

Empire awards

James Cameron's 3D extravaganza Avatar has won three accolades at the Empire Film Awards in London - best film, best director, and best actress (Zoe Saldana).
JJ Abrams' Star Trek movie won best sci-fi/fantasy film.
Sir Ian McKellen, who starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the X-Men movies, was presented with the Empire Icon award. He is set to reprise his Gandalf role in The Hobbit.
I really like Ian McKellen and I am glad he received the award. Congratulations, sir!

Robin Hood to open Cannes

British director Ridley Scott's new film Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe, has been selected to open the annual Cannes Film Festival on 12 May.
Director Tim Burton will head the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Last year's opening film was the hit animated film Up, which won two Oscars earlier this month.

Simon Cowell to receive an Emmy

Simon Cowell is to be honored with an International Emmy award in recognition of his television work, organizers in the US have announced.
International Academy president Bruce Paisner said: "Simon Cowell is an entrepreneur and performer in equal measure. He has built an international empire, and in so doing has changed the face of television around the world."
Congratulations, Simon!

Hobbit

The shooting of the film version of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit is set to begin in New Zealand in July.
Actor Sir Ian McKellen, who reprises his Lord of the Rings role as Gandalf the Grey, revealed casting is taking place in LA, London and New York.
Mexican-born film-maker Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) will direct the film and its proposed sequel.
The films will be prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Oscar winner Peter Jackson.
Isn't that exciting? What do you think?

Fastest Car in the World

Bloodhound SSC is being built to smash the world land speed record by topping 1,000mph (1,610km/h). Wow!
Initial iterations of the car's aerodynamic shape produced dangerous amounts of lift at the vehicle's rear. But the latest modelling work indicates the team has finally found a stable configuration, allowing the project to push ahead with other design areas. It will be powered by a combination of a hybrid rocket and a jet engine from a Eurofighter-Typhoon. The wheels be designed to endure tremendous forces as Bloodhound races across the pan.
Watch the amazing video here.

The Earth in True Colors

These spectacular images of the Earth are the most true-colour images of the entire world released to date, according to Nasa scientists.

Earth WestEarth East

The images were pieced together from thousands of images taken over many months by the satellite's remote-sensing device Modis, of every square kilometre of the Earth's surface.

Nail from Christ's crucifixion

A nail dating from the time of Christ's crucifixion has been found at a remote fort believed to have once been a stronghold of the Knights Templar.

The nail was found last summer in a decorated box. The nail was found together with three skeletons and three swords. One of the swords had the Knight Templar's cross inscribed on it.
Bryn Walters, an archaeologist, said the iron nail's remarkable condition suggested it had been handed with extreme care, as if it was a relic.

Rivers of Blood

Our planet is an amazing place. For example take a look at Blood Falls.
Blood Falls
This five-story, blood-red waterfall pours very slowly out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys.
Roughly 2 million years ago, the Taylor Glacier sealed beneath it a small body of water which contained an ancient community of microbes. Trapped below a thick layer of ice, they have remained there ever since, isolated inside a natural time capsule. Evolving independently of the rest of the living world, these microbes exist without heat, light, or oxygen, and are essentially the definition of "primordial ooze." The trapped lake has very high salinity and is rich in iron, which gives the waterfall its red color. A fissure in the glacier allows the subglacial lake to flow out, forming the falls without contaminating the ecosystem within.
Isn't it amazing how adaptive life can be?

Water on the Moon

The US space agency's (Nasa) Mini-Sar experiment found more than 40 small craters containing water-ice. Temperatures in some of these permanently darkened craters can drop as low as 25 Kelvin (-248C; -415F) - colder than the surface of Pluto - allowing water-ice to remain stable.
Dr Paul Spudis, from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, estimated there was at least 600 million metric tonnes of water-ice held within these impact craters.
The equivalent amount, expressed as rocket fuel, would be enough to launch one space shuttle per day for 2,200 years, he told journalists at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Drive your dog

A UK man was caught driving his car while 'walking' his dog through the window of his moving car. He lost his licence.
OK. Now, how stupid and lazy this is?

source[bbc.co.uk]

Tiger minus Gatorade

Gatorade is the latest major company to cut ties with Tiger Woods.
This is the third company to end its relationship with Mr Woods.
Communications company AT&T and corporate services business Accenture previously cut their sponsorship deals.
Male grooming business Gillette and luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer have also distanced themselves from him.
General Motors (GM) said recently an arrangement that allowed Woods free access to its vehicles was over.
It is amazing how much damage a person can do to themselves...

Earthquake in Chile

A massive 8.8 magnitude quake hits central Chile, north-east of the city of Concepcion, killing at least 47 people.
The quake struck at 0634 GMT about 91km (56 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 317km south-west of the capital, Santiago.
Buildings in Santiago were reported to have shaken for between 10 and 30 seconds, with the loss of electricity and communications.

Singing is good for you

Teaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists.
By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech.
If a person's "speech centre" is damaged by a stroke, they can learn to use their "singing centre" instead.
The therapy is already established as a medical technique. Researchers first used it when it was discovered that stroke patients with brain damage that left them unable to speak were still able to sing.
Dr Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist from Northwestern University in Chicago, discovered that musical training seems to enhance the ability to perform other tasks, such as reading.
She said that the insights into how the brain responds to music provided evidence that musical training was an important part of children's education.
The human brain is just amazing...
[source:bbc.co.uk]

Amazing Ants

Ant lifting weight An amazing image of an ant lifting 100 times its body weight has won first prize in a science photography contest.
The image shows an Asian weaver ant hanging upside down on a glass-like surface and holding a 500mg (0.02oz) weight in its jaws.
It was taken by zoology specialist Dr Thomas Endlein of Cambridge University as he researched insects' sticky feet.
Unbelievable!
[source:bbc.co.uk]

Roman Polanski - Best Director

Roman Polanski has won the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlin Film Festival for his new political thriller, The Ghost Writer. Can't wait to see it.

Oh, oh, I'm an Alien

Scientists say that a meteorite that crashed into Earth 40 years ago contains millions of different carbon-containing, or organic, molecules.
The Murchison meteorite landed in a town of that name in Australia in 1969. It has been examined before by scientists looking for specific compounds but this is the first non-targeted analysis and has confirmed a huge variety of carbon-based chemicals.
It is thought the Murchison meteorite could even be older than the Sun, originated more than 4.65 billion years ago. The researchers say it probably passed through primordial clouds in the early Solar System, picking up organic chemicals.

The chances of such a meteorite crashing into the Earth billions of years ago and thus creating life in all its diversity are pretty high. Well, doesn't this make us aliens... What do you think?

[source:bbc.co.uk]

MeeGo. What?

The world's largest chip maker and the world's largest mobile phone maker have merged operating systems to create a single platform for mobiles.
The new MeeGo platform, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will be used to power phones, netbooks, TVs and in-car entertainment systems.
The new software will be given away for free but Nokia will make money by selling other products, such as applications. Some applications developed for Meego will also run on Symbian phones and other devices.
The first version of the software will ship in the second quarter of 2010.
I am superexcited. Can't wait to see what's next from Nokia.

Inuk - The Ancient Rock

Inuk - the ancient manThe Rock


DNA analysis of human hair preserved in Greenland's permafrost has given clues as to what the owner looked like. The researchers say the man, who lived 4,000 years ago, had brown eyes and thick dark hair, was prone to baldness, and his ancestors migrated from Siberia.
The man has been named Inuk, which means "human" in the Greenlandic language.

Let's play a game. Can you find the differences in the pictures above? :)

[source: bbc.co.uk]

Haiti Update

Haiti's government said about 230,000 people have died in the 12 January earthquake. The death toll is approaching that of the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed 250,000 people. About 300,000 were injured. There is increasing concern that with the rainy season approaching, the lack of tents and temporary shelter could lead to the outbreak of disease. What a tragedy...

[source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8507531.stm]

Miss Me Yet?


A billboard featuring a picture of former President George W. Bush and the words "Miss Me Yet?" stands along I-35 near the town of Wyoming, in the state of Minnesota.
The billboard was rented out by a group of small business owners, who wish to remain anonymous, and individuals who just felt like Washington was against them.

Google's Buzzing

Google is going social as well. Google has just released Google Buzz - a gmail tab right under the inbox tab, labeled "Buzz". The tab provides links to website, content from around the web. Picasa, Twitter, Flickr, and other sites are aggregated.
It shows thumbnails when linked to photos from sites like Picasa and Flickr. Clicking on an image though will blow up the images to almost the entire browser, making them easier to browse.
It uses the same keyboard shortcuts as Gmail. This makes sense. Hitting "R" allows you to comment/reply to a buzz post, for example.
There are public and private settings for different posts. You can post updates to specific contact groups. This is a lot like Facebook friend lists.

I tried it and found some minor bugs so far, one of them - I am following myself and I am followed by myself. I am sure this will be quickly fixed.
[source:mashable.com]

Pluto's Changing Color


Images taken by the Hubble space telescope show the dwarf planet Pluto, on the edge of our solar system, is redder than it used to be.
From 1954 to 2000, Pluto didn't change in color when it was photographed from Earth. But after that, it did. The red levels increased by 20 percent, maybe up to 30 percent, and stabilized from about 2000 to 2002.
Nasa's scientists believe these are seasonal changes - as the planet heads into a new phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle.
The new images are said to show frozen nitrogen brightening in the north and becoming darker in the south.

Who's Actually Making Money?

Have you ever wondered how much money celebrities make?
According to Vanity Fair magazine, Michael Bay topped the survey, with an income of more than $125m (£78m), followed by director Steven Spielberg - $85m (£54m). Third is Roland Emmerich $70m (£44m). James Cameron is at #4 with $50m (£31m).
Emma Watson, best known for playing Hermione in Harry Potter, has made more than $30m (£19m) last year. She came 14th in the overall list, beating actress Cameron Diaz (does anyone know why?), the only other woman in the top 20.
And it's tax time...

How Sperm Works

Sperm do not start swimming from the moment of ejaculation - they have only limited resources, and to stand much chance of reaching the egg, they need to delay their frantic dash until they are closer to the egg.
Scientists discovered that tiny pores on the sperm's surface allow it to change its internal pH, which in turn starts its tail movements. These pores, or Hv1 proton channels, as they have been termed, seem to be primed to open at precisely the right moment. They respond to a substance called anandamide, which is present in the female reproductive tract, and in particularly high levels near the egg.
The human body doesn't stop to amaze me.
[source:bbc.co.uk]

It's Raining Planes

A piece of a cargo plane broke off as the plane started its descent into Miami International Airport Friday, falling to a Doral mall parking lot without hurting anyone or hitting anything, authorities said.
The piece, about 18-feet long, fell of an Atlas Air Cargo 747, a plane going from Santiago, Chile to Miami.
Scary, isn't it? Luckily, no one was hurt.
[source:miamiherald.com]

A 9-year-old boy - Microsoft Certificated Professional

Marko Calasan, a 9 year-old boy from Skopje, Macedonia holds four Microsoft IT certifications (MCP, MCDST, MCSA and MCSE) and has already decided the next certification he will add to his ever-growing resume. He wants to become a "Microsoft Certified Trainer" to share my knowledge with others. Calasan will celebrate his 10th birthday this July.
Isn't that impressive? What do you think?

Microsoft - 17 Years Later

A 17-year-old bug in Windows will be patched by Microsoft in its latest security update.
First appearing in Windows NT 3.1, the vulnerability has been carried over into almost every version of Windows that has appeared since.
The ancient bug was discovered by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy in January 2010 and involves a utility that allows newer versions of Windows to run very old programs.
The patch for this vulnerability will appear in the February security update. Five of the vulnerabilities being patched at the same time allow attackers to effectively hijack a Windows PC and run their own programs on it.
There are days like this, when I wonder I am still using Windows...

[source:bbc.co.uk]

Ovi Maps - 1M User and Counting

Ovi Maps have been downloaded 1.4m times overall since the application became available on January 21 2010.
It has been most popular in China, Italy, the UK, Germany and Spain. The service provides different direction information for drivers and pedestrians in 74 countries and 46 different languages.
I use the application and I am very happy with it. The 3D landmarks are very accurate and entrtaining.
Ovi Maps is free and can be downloaded from maps.ovi.com. Go, Nokia!

The Internet Depresses Us

Are you depressed? Maybe you are browsing too much.
There is a strong link between heavy internet use and depression, UK psychologists have said. The study, reported in the journal Psychopathology, found 1.2% of people surveyed were "internet addicts", and many of these were depressed.
[source:bbc.co.uk]

Oscar Awards

And the nominees are:

Not Going to the Moon

US President Barack Obama has cancelled the American project designed to take humans back to the Moon - a $18 billion project over five years. With the economy at its low, I support his decision of turning the project to the private sector. What do you think?

Avatar - The First $2 Billion Dollar Movie

Avatar has passed the $2 billion box office mark worldwide and became the first motion picture in history to do so. Its worldwide gross is at $2,039,222,000 and counting. An incredible movie. If you haven't seen it yet, do so. And go to the movies, this film has to be seen on the big screen.

He's Back - Going Under Water


Billionaire Sir Richard Branson surprised us with an underwater plane. He expects the sub to be delivered on February 20.
The £415,000 prototype submersible is called the Necker Nymph and can dive to depths of up to 130ft. Sir Richard hopes to one day explore depths of 35,000ft - which is far more than the height of Mount Everest.
It was designed and built by Graham Hawkes, chief of Hawkes Ocean Technologies and is the first of its kind. The luxury sub has fighter jet technology and is piloted with a joystick. While most subs use ballast to propel subs under the water, the Nymph uses downward "lift" on the wings to fly down.
The Nymph is available to hire for $25,000 a week (£15,000), but only after you have forked out a minimum of $88,000 (£55,000) for seven nights on the luxury catamaran, the Necker Belle.

[source:dailymail.co.uk]

Best Full Moon

Tonight is the first full moon of 2010 and it will be the biggest full moon this year. The full moon will coincide with the moon's perigee – it's closest point to Earth. The first moon of the year is also known as the Old Moon. Other names are Wolf Moon, Moon After Yule, and Ice Moon. In Hindi it is known as Paush Poornima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Duruthu Poya. Don't miss it out. Enjoy!

J.D. Salinger dies

J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose "The Catcher in the Rye" shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91. Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author's son said in a statement from Salinger's longtime literary representative, Harold Ober Agency. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

The Best Firewall in the World

1. One human cell contains 75MB genetic information.
2. One sperm contains a half of that; that is 37.5MB.
3. One ml of semen contains 100 million sperms.
4. In average, ejaculation lasts for 5 sec and contains 2.25 ml semen.
5. This means that the throughput of a man's member is equal to (37.5MB x 100,000,000 x 2.25)/5 = 1 687 500 000 000 000 byte/second = 1,6875 Š¢erabyte/sec

This means that the female eggcell withstands this DDoS attack at 1,5 terabyte per second, and only lets through one(!) data package, thereby being the best freaking hardware firewall in the world!

The downside of it is that this only small data package that it lets through, hangs the system for the whole of 9 months!

Tim Burton to head Cannes film jury

Tim Burton will head the nine-member jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The festival will start on May 12th.

Picassoops

Picasso - Acrobat
A woman who was taking an art class at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has accidentally fallen into a Picasso painting and damaged it.
The unusually large canvas, called The Actor, measuring 6ft by 4ft (1.8m by 1.2m) depicts an acrobat posed against an abstracted backdrop. The painting sustained a vertical tear of about six inches (15cm) in the lower right-hand corner and will be repaired.

[source:bbc.co.uk]

Scorpions - The End of the Road


The German rock band Scorpions announced today they are going to retire after more than 40 years! on stage. The band was founded by guitarist Rudolf Schenker, 61, in 1965 in Hanover. The current line-up is Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs, Rudolf Schenker, Pawel Maciwoda and James Kottak.
Scorpions was my favorite rock band when I was younger. I will always remember their hits - Holiday, Still Loving You, Believe in Love, No One Like You, Wind of Change.
Thank you, Scorpions!
[source:bbc.co.uk]

Avatar - Making movie history


James Cameron's mega-budget blockbuster surpassed the overseas "Titanic's" (another James Cameron) 13-year international boxoffice record ($1.242 billion).
Still to be broken are "Titanic's" domestic boxoffice record ($600.8 million) and its worldwide total ($1.843 billion). "Avatar" has grossed $552.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $1.8408 billion globally. Given "Avatar's" current boxoffice pace, it should beat "Titanic's" worldwide record early this week.
Avatar is a great and unique movie. If you haven't seen it yet, do so immediately and do it in the cinema. The computer effects are amazing and must be seen on the big screen.

Flying personal vehicles - not so far away


NASA is working on a personal flying suit. Conceptual designs for the experimental vehicle, called Puffin, were introduced by Mark D. Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, at a meeting of the American Helicopter Society on Jan. 20 in San Francisco. The Puffin is designed to be 12 feet in length, with a total wingspan of 14 and a half feet; it would weigh in at 300 pounds (without a pilot).
Are you ready to fly?
[source:nytimes.com]

Twittering from Space

The NASA astronaut, T.J. Creamer, sent today the first tweet from Space: "Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station -- the 1st live tweet from Space! :) More soon, send yours".
The new Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web.
Isn't that amazing? What do you think?
To see more tweets from space click here.
[source:nasa.gov]

What to Wear or Not to Wear?

One of the latest inventions is turning cotton and polyester fabrics into batteries. The approach is based on dipping fabrics into a batch of nanotube dye, and is then pressed, to thin and even out the coating.
How cool is that? This will allow personal electronic devices to become even slimmer because nowadays the main culprit is the battery. The Nokia Morph may not be not that far away after all.

Bafta Film Awards: 2010 nominations

After the Golden Globe Awards, it is time for the Bafta Film Awards, which will be held on 2/21 in London.

Rent Movies From YouTube

YouTube turns into a movie rental business starting tomorrow 1/22/10. The intent is to increase traffic and advertising.
The first five films available for rent are "The Cove," "Bass Ackwards," "One Too Many Mornings," "Homewrecker" and "Children of Invention". It is expected that in the near future the site will expand its rental catalogue with television shows and feature films from major studios.
[source:bbc.co.uk]

Privacy - A Thing from the Past?

A new service, called Blippy, was released. It is similar to Twitter, except that it posts your credit card purchases online, so people can see what you are buying, where from and for how much. You may pick one or more of your credit cards and post their transactions online or you can allow websites, like Amazon, Netflix, or iTunes to make your purchases public.
I was very sceptical when the service was announced several months ago and I was surprised to find out today there are people who are posting their transactions. I do not think I am going to use this service? Would you and why?

Conan O'Brien Leaves NBC

Conan O'Brien's last show will be this Friday with Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell as guests. But do not worry about Mr. O'Brien. He is walking away with $33 million dollars and his staff will split $12 million dollars. I think this is a pretty good deal, what do you think?

If Earth had Rings

An amazing video with amazing images of what the earth would look like from different cities and latitudes accross the world if it had rings like Saturn.



[source:youtube.com]

Tweeting Gates

Bill Gates started twittering on twitter.com today and already has 240K followers.
I wonder - will twitter become a part of Windows OS?

$1bn dollar baby

Simon Cowell signed a deal with Sony to net him an estimated $1BILLION over the next six years. He will be getting 50% of the profits.
Simon is currently worth $200 million and industry sources predict this could run to $1 billion - by 2016 with the launch of US X Factor next year.

Congratulations, Simon!
[source:thesun.co.uk]

Haiti's still shaking

A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti this morning. This earthquake was 10 times lighter than the devastating one last week. Let's hope there won't be additional victims and damages as rescue team are still finding surviors under the wreckage.

Deal of the Day

NASA has slashed the price of the 1970s-era spaceships to $28.8 million apiece from $42 million. The shuttles are for sale once their flying days are over, which is scheduled to be this fall.
Act now, supplies are limited. ;)
[source: nytimes.com]

What's next for Mehmet Ali Agca?

Agca shooting at Pope John Paul II [source:bbc.co.uk ] Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, was released from Ankara Sincan prison in Ankara, Turkey on 18 January 2010.
Mehmet Ali Agca served 19 years in an Italian prison for shooting John Paul, and another 10 years in Turkey for the earlier murder of a newspaper editor.
After the shooting, the Bulgarian Sergei Antonov, was arrested and held for more than three years in Italy. Eventually, he was acquitted over lack of evidence. At the time of the arrest Antonov was 32 and worked as a former manager in the Rome office of Balkan Air.
Shattered and physically damaged, he returned to Bulgaria unable to carry on a conversation or concentrate on complex tasks, symptoms his friends say came from the use of psychotropic drugs in his interrogation.
Bulgarian state is determine to seek justice and clear its name once and for all.

Money, Money, Money

Citigroup has reported a loss of $7.6bn (£4.7bn) for the final three months of 2009. The loss is mostly due to repaying government loans. JP Morgan reported profits of $3.3bn for the last three months of 2009 last. Surprisingly, at least to me, Citi's shares went up 0.6% on the day. Would you buy stock from Citigroup?

Doomsday Clock Adjusted

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, that uses the analogy of the human species being at a time that is "minutes to midnight", wherein midnight represents "catastrophic destruction". The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the world is estimated to be to global disaster. The most recent officially-announced setting — six minutes to midnight — was on 14 January 2010.

Beware of preying companies

Cell phone users can text the word "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10," and when prompted, hit "YES" to confirm the donation. So far $5,000,000 were donated. While Americans are shocked by the Haiti devastation and trying to help by donating money, some companies are trying to make a profit out of it.
MSNBC asked Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint whether or not they're charging for the sms. Verizon and T-Mobile said they were not charging. Sprint and AT&T admitted they charged the customers who didn't have an unlimited text message plan.
I guess someone at AT&T finally saw the ludicrousness and they promised to waive the charges. Nothing's heard from Sprint yet. This is so inhuman, that I don't even want to comment. If you are a Sprint customer be aware you will receive additional charges for the sms.

The Power of Nature - 15 worst disasters of all time

The Haiti's earthquake reminded us again about how powerful and destructive nature can be.
Here's a list of the 15 worst disasters of all time:

January 12, 2010 - Casualties resulting from the Haiti quake are still unknown, but the Red Cross estimates that up to 3 million people may have been affected.

May 2, 2008 - The death toll from Cyclone Nargis remains uncertain but has been put at 140,000 or more. Caught with nowhere to run, residents of low-lying rice fields in Maynmar were simply swept away.

Oct. 8, 2005 - Magnitude-7.6 earthquake in Pakistan killed more than 40,000 people. The destruction was due in part to the quake's shallow origin.

August 2005 - Hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,800 people and is the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. More so than any U.S. disaster in recent decades, its effects linger even today as New Orleans and many coastal communities still struggle to get back on their feet.

Dec. 26, 2004 - The magnitude-9.3 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting Sumatran tsunami is estimated to have killed more than 225,000 people. It affected a broader region and more people than any modern disaster.

1992 - Hurricane Andrew killed 26, but property damage was $25 billion -- most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history at the time.

1985 - Nevado del Ruiz (Columbia) volcano killed 25,000 people, most caught in a massive mudflow.

1976 - Tangshan earthquake in China, a magnitude-8 event, killed somewhere between 255,000 and 655,000.

1931 - Yellow River flood, estimated to have killed 1 million to 3.7 million people via drowning, disease, ensuing famines and droughts. The river also had flooded catastrophically in 1887, killing nearly as many.

1815 - Tambora, Indonesia, volcano of 1815. 80,000 people died of subsequent famine.

1811-12 - Three New Madrid earthquakes in Missouri represent some of the strongest earthquakes in the contiguous United States in recorded history. With magnitudes estimated as high as 7.8 or so, they were felt as far away as Boston. Damage was relatively light due to sparse population, but the quakes serve as a frightening reminder of how fickle nature can be and they are also alarmingly predictive of what could happen in the future now that the area is far more populous.

1737 - Calcutta, India, event killed 300,000. Once thought to have been an earthquake, scientists now lean toward typhoon.

1556 - Shaanzi, China, earthquake killed 830,000. Nobody knows the seismic magnitude.

1330-1351 - The Black Death or Bubonic Plague, a pandemic caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, killed an estimated 75 million people, wiping out somewhere between 30 to 60 percent of Europe's population.

1138 - Aleppo earthquake in Syria, killed about 230,000. It is listed by the U.S. Geological Survey as the fourth deadliest earthquake of all time.

1500 B.C., or so - The Mediterranean Stroggli island blew up. A tsunami virtually wiped out Minoan civilization. Area now called Santorini; Plato called it the site where Atlantis disappeared.

[source:livescience.com]

Massive earthquake hits Haiti

A major earthquake, centered 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, stroke Haiti yesterday 01/12/10, shortly before 5pm. The 7-magnitude earthquake flattened the capitol city and some believe that 150,000 could be dead. Most of the buildings have collapsed, there are uncontrolled fires, dead bodies in the streets, no electricity, no water. Pictures from the tragedy look like taken from a low-budgeted movie in which the make-up guys went too far. Nations have started sending aid to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, where survivors still fight to survive the lack of food and water and somehow cope with the stress and loss of their friend and relatives.
Let's hope the dead toll will not reach this horrifying number and let's pray for the survivors.

Golden Globe Awards

With the Golden Globe Awards just behind the corner (this Sunday 1/17/2010), let's revise the nominees. (Don't miss the event, Gerard Butler is presenting. :))

American Idol

The start of 2010 American Idol is few hours away and Simon Cowell announced that this would be his final season on American Idol. He prepares to bring his hit UK television show "The X-Factor" to the United States.
I think it was about time. American Idol becomes really boring after the first two weeks and a lot of people need something fresh. Let's see what will happen.

Disney Digital Books

Disney has released a website where children can read over 500 of Disney's books online. The design of the site is sleek and turning of the pages is very realistic. The site provides additional features to keep children engaged. Great site to inspire children to dream and imagine and help them in school. Way to go, Disney.

Disney Digital Books

Twitter on Ford cars

Ford Motor Co. announced technology to let computers read their Twitter feeds to them while behind the wheel. The company has not formally announced technology to let drivers post tweets verbally from behind the wheel, but such an announcement likely will come in the next 12 to 18 months.

VanDagens, Ford's global director of connected services, said people read Twitter feeds and send text messages while they're driving anyway, and that the automaker is trying to make those activities safer for drivers.

The technologies will first show up in Edge and Focus model cars. Not all models will be upgraded in 2010, but new lines of these cars will be equipped with the media-center technology, which features an 8-inch screen in the center of the dash and a media hookup under the armrest.

Doesn't this sound like - "Yeah, people, we know you are cheating and breaking the law, and we are here to help you do it safer"? Safer? I bet the computer will not do a great job pronouncing the usernames or dealing with all chat abbreviations, resulting in you looking at the screen to see what the tweet is actually about. As far as voice recognition... may be, if Ford cars were not so noisy.

Facebook's Zuckerberg Says The Age of Privacy is Over

Or is it "The Age of Facebook is Over"?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told a live audience yesterday that if he were to create Facebook again today, user information would by default be public, not private as it was for years until the company changed dramatically in December.
During the years, more than 350 million people signed up and connected to their friends and family through Facebook. Facebook provided a great way for its members to stay connected and share their lives with their friends and families.

Balloon Boy's Parents In Jail

Did you follow the news coverage about the little boy who floated away in a home-made balloon in October 2009?

Wooden bones

Scientists in Italy have developed a way of turning rattan wood into bone that is almost identical to the human tissue. The rattan wood has porous properties, which enable blood, nerves and other compounds to travel through it. Within a few months, the real and the artificial bone will be like one continuous bone.
A herd of sheep have already been implanted with the bones. So far, there are no signs of rejection or infection in the sheep. This will be truelly beneficial for people with major trauma accidents or cancer, the current range of alternatives can be weak and do not fuse with the existing bone.
The new bone-from-wood programme is being funded by the European Union and implants into humans are about five years away.

A cleaning lady or a criminal?

The world is getting crazier and crazier. Just check out this article:

A cleaning lady and her son have been charged over the death of a reclusive, multi-millionaire maths genius whose burned body was found dumped in a field.

Jay or Conan

Jay Leno's 10:00 PM show will go on hiatus February 1. After the Olympics, Jay will take back his 11:30 PM time slot. What has not been decided - whether Jay's show will be a half hour, followed by Conan, or whether Jay's show will be an hour and NBC says sayonara to Mr. O'Brien.

Personally, I prefer Jay's show and this is a interesting development. Let's see what will happen.

[source:tmz.com]

The elephant - my friend or?

An American woman and her baby daughter were trampled to death by an elephant while on a forest hike in Kenya.

This is pretty horrible death. Elephants are usually docile and attack only when provoked, like any other creature would do. I cannot imagine an elephant, after seeing a woman and child in the distance, to go there and attack them. This does not make sense. Probably, the woman and the child were playing with a baby elephant and the elephant tried to protect its baby.

The moral of the story: Stay a safe distance from wild animals.

Human Body - Little known facts

1. The nose can remember 50,000 cents.
2. The smallest bone in the human body is the stapes or stirrup bone located in the middle ear. It is approximately 0.11 inches.
3. Similar to finger prints, everybody's tongue has a unique tongue print.
4. The average human sheds 40 lbs of skin in a lifetime.
5. A fingernail takes about 6 months to grow from base to tip.
6. Human tight bones are stronger than concrete.
7. Humans have as many hairs per square inch as chimpanzees.
8. The energy used by the brain is enough to light a 25 watt bulb.
9. The heart produces enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet.
10. You get a new stomach lining every three to four days. If you didn't, the strong acids your stomach uses to digest food would also digest your stomach.
11. There are over 650 muscles in the body.
12. The small intestines are about 23 feet long.
13. A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball.
14. Each square inch of human skin consists of twenty feet of blood vessels.
15. A pair of feet have 500,000 sweat glands.

Nokia asks ITC to ban iPhone, iPod, and MacBook import

In addition to the lawsuit that Nokia filed over GSM standards and last week's International Trade Commission complaint, Nokia just filed a second complaint with the federal court, alleging that Apple's infringing several "implementation patents" that cover everything from camera sensors to touchscreens. The biggest bombshell so far is the ITC complaint, in which Nokia's asking the commission to ban imports of basically every Apple mobile product from the MacBook to the iPhone for infringing its device patents.
To "win the war," Nokia is taking at least one page from Apple's play book, cutting back on the number of individual devices it plans to offer, just as Cupertino has pulled ahead of it in smartphone revenue.

Good luck, Nokia. Extreme move? I am not sure, what do you think?

50 Things we've learned in 2009

1. Domestic pigs can quickly learn how mirrors work and use them to find food.

2. Grumpy people think more clearly because negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking.

3. High cholesterol levels in midlife are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia later in life.

4. Analysis of Greenland ice samples shows Europe froze solid in less than 12 months 12,800 years ago, partly due to a slowdown of the Gulf Stream. Once triggered, the cold persisted for 1,300 years.

5. One mutated gene is the reason humans have language, and chimpanzees, our closest relative, do not.

6. Obesity in teenage girls may increase their risk of later developing multiple sclerosis.

7. A fossil skeleton of an Aardonyx celestae dinosaur discovered in South Africa appears to be the missing link between the earliest dinosaurs that walked on two legs and the large plant-eating sauropods that walked on all four.

8. Women who have undergone successful breast cancer treatment are more likely to experience a recurrence if they have dense breast tissue.

9. Babies pick up their parents' accents from the womb, and infants are born crying in their native dialect. Researchers found that French newborns cry in a rising French accent, and German babies cry with a characteristic falling inflection.

10. Surfing the Internet may help delay dementia because it creates stimulation that exercises portions of the brain.

11. The oldest known silken spider webs, dating back 140 million years, were discovered in Sussex, England, preserved in amber. The webs were spun by spiders closely related to modern-day orb-web garden spiders.

12. Scientists have discovered how to scan brain activity and convert what people are seeing or remembering into crude video images.

13. Pumpkin skin contains a substance that inhibits growth of microbes that cause yeast infections.

14. Hormones that signal whether whales are pregnant, lactating or in the mood to mate have been extracted from whales' lung mucus, captured by dangling nylon stockings from a pole over their blowholes as they surface to breathe. (This method could allow scientists to study whales without having to slaughter them.)

15. The higher a patient's body-mass index, the less respect he or she gets from doctors.

16. The blue morpho butterfly, which lives in Central and South America, has tiny ears on its wings and can distinguish between high- and low-pitch sounds. The butterfly may use its ears to listen for nearby predatory birds.

17. The ochre starfish or sea star pumps itself up with cold seawater to lower its body temperature when exposed to the sun at low tide. It is equivalent to a human drinking 1.8 gallons of water before heading into the midday sun, scientists say.

18. The eyes of the mantis shrimp possess a feature that could make DVDs and CDs perform better. By emulating this structure, which displays color wavelengths at all ranges, developers could create a new category of optical devices.

19. The calmest place on Earth is on top of an icy plateau in Antarctica known as Ridge A, several hundred miles from the South Pole. It is so still that stars do not twinkle in the sky because there is no turbulence in the atmosphere to distort the light.

20. The thrill of driving a sports car makes the body produce more testosterone. The findings suggest a biological explanation for why some men buy a sports car when struck by a "midlife crisis."

21. Remains discovered in China of a flying reptile named Darwinopterus could be a missing link between short-tailed pterodactyls and their huge, long-tailed descendants.

22. Bagheera kiplingi, a jumping arachnid from Central America, is the first known vegetarian spider. It eats nectar-filled leaf tips rather than other animals.

23. A massive, nearly invisible ring of ice and dust particles surrounds Saturn. The ring's entire volume can hold 1 billion Earths.

24. A new chemical compound that mimics the body's ability t o fight bacteria could be added to cleaning detergents to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals.

25. Seven new glow-in-the-dark mushroom species have been discovered, increasing the number of known luminescent fungi species from 64 to 71. The fungi, discovered in Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia and Puerto Rico, glow constantly, emitting a bright, yellowish-green light.

26. Hormones in oral contraceptives might suppress a woman's interest in masculine men and make boyish males more attractive to her.

27. Women who revealed about 40 percent of their skin attracted twice as many men as those who covered up. Any more than 40 percent and the signal changes from allure to one indicating general availability and future infidelity.

28. Communities of 850 species of previously undiscovered insects, small crustaceans, spiders, worms and other creatures were found living in underground water, caves and micro-caverns across Australia.

29. The human body emits a glow that is 1,000 times less than what our eyes can detect.

30. If you're trying to attract a partner, an athletic body helps, but a good-looking face is more important.

31. Cockroaches hold their breath for five to seven minutes at a time through a respiratory system that delivers oxygen directly to cells from air-filled tubes. One reason they hold their breath may be to prevent their bodies from getting too much oxygen, which could be toxic to them.

32. Earth was bombarded in 2008 with high levels of solar energy at a time when the sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared.

33. Scientists have discovered female eggs in the genitalia of a third of all American male smallmouth bass and a fifth of their largemouth cousins. Female bass occasionally show signs of male testes in their reproductive organs.

34. Nearly all animals emit the same stench when they die, and have done so for more than 400 million years.

35. Previously unknown molecules called hydroxyl radicals are produced by nature and are believed to act as cleaning agents that scrub away toxic air pollution in Earth's atmosphere.

36. A new species of giant rat was discovered in a remote rainforest in Papua New Guinea. At 32.2 inches from nose to tail and 3.3 pounds, it's thought to be one of the largest rats ever found.

37. Differences in body odors produced by people who are more prone to insect bites show they have lower levels of fruity-smelling compounds in their sweat than those who are resistant to mosquitoes.

38. A chemical component in broccoli can protect the lining of arteries from blockage that leads to angina, heart attack and stroke.

39. The length, curl and texture of a dog's fur are controlled by only three genes.

40. The speed of U.S Internet broadband lags far behind other industrial nations, including Japan, Finland, South Korea, France and Canada.

41. Polar bear skulls have shrunk 2 percent to 9 percent since the early 20th century. It's the result, scientists theorize, of stress from pollution and melting habitat.

42. A mysterious disease that killed off more than a third of American honeybees in 2007-08 may have been caused in part by a virus.

43. A group of deep sea worms dubbed "green bombers" are capable of casting off appendages that glow a brilliant green once detached from their bodies. The tactic is believed to be used by the worms to confuse attackers.

44. A flesh-eating pitcher plant that grows more than 4 feet long can swallow and devour rats that are lured into its slipperlike mouth to drown or die of exhaustion before being slowly dissolved by digestive enzymes.

45. An orchid on the Chinese island of Hainan gets hornets to spread its pollen by producing an aroma identical to that made by bees under attack. The hornets feed on bee larvae, so when they get a whiff of the alarm pheromone, they head to the orchids figuring bees are inside.

46. More than 350 new animal species were discovered in the eastern Himalayas, including the world's smallest deer and a flying frog.

47. The spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocyte. In the event of a serious health crisis, such as a heart attack, wound or infection, the spleen will disgorge them bloodstream to help defend the body.

48. The Amazon River is about 11 million years old and took its present shape about 2.4 million years ago.

49. A close relationship with a caregiver can give Alzheimer's patients an edge in retaining brain function over time.

50. Watermelon is more efficient at rehydrating our bodies than drinking water. It contains 92 percent water and essential rehydration salts.

[source:att.net]

World's tallest building - wow!


World's tallest building was opened in Dubai towering at a height of 828 meters (2,717 feet)and a cost of $1.5 billion. This almost doubles Toronto’s CN Tower, who hold the title as the world’s largest free-standing structure. It checks in at 553.3 meters. The 200-story tower is designed by Giorgio Armani. There are 37 office floors, 1,044 apartments and 160 hotel rooms. It also has the world’s highest mosque and swimming pools on floors 76 and 158. The tower is surrounded by a man-made lake, where the world’s tallest fountains are running to the music of opera, Arabian and Indian music.

What an incredible architectural phenomena! What do you think?

Solomon Islands Earthquake

Today, two big earthquakes have struck near Solomon Islands. The first one was felt at 8:48 AM local time with a magnitude of 6.5. Another one followed, this time stronger, with a 7.2 magnitude recording at 9:36 AM. There are no warnings posted on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center web site and no reports of injury or damage.

The Solomon Islands archipelago, about 2,500 kilometers east of Australia, lies in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and experiences frequent seismic tremors.

Let's hope there won't be any injuries...