Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thanks giving week in Miami South Beach

This is a photo showing a funny notes for visitors, but there is news that two persons who were stranded high in the air aboard a stalled fair ride have been rescued after nearly an hour. Footage from media showed the riders turned horizontally in their seats, with their feet dangling above the fairgrounds. Around 2:45 the ride was shown slowly moving again toward the ground before the people got off. A spokeswoman from the fire department said a call came in at 1:54 PM on Tuesday to report the stalled ride at the Miami-Dade County Fair.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obama Signs Historic Health Care Bill

US President Barack Obama signed the historic health care reform legislation bill into law during a triumphant ceremony for congressional Democrats, Chip Reid of CBS reports in this video.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tiger Woods' first interview after break from golf

Tiger Woods said that he is concerned about the reception he will get from fans when he returns to competition at Masters Tournament next month after almost four months he was away from golf. Woods spoke with ESPN and the Golf Channel in his first interviews since admitting marital infidelity and taking a break from golf. Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker reports in this video.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Barack Obama: It's Time to Pass Health Care Reform

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus and says that the time is now to vote for health care reform for America.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tiger Woods aboard USS George Washington

Photo: American Navy sailors watch professional golfer Tiger Woods hit a few golf balls during a demonstration in the hanger bay of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Woods, was accompanied by Elin Nordegren, PGA player Mark O'Meara, and caddies Steve Williams and Greg Rita, visited the Norfolk, Va.-Based carrier in the Arabian Gulf before participating in the European PGA Tour's Dubai Desert Classic. The George Washington Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) were deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (photo dated March 3, 2004).

Tiger Woods' Private Yacht 'Privacy'

Private Yacht Privacy owned by Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' Yacht Privacy, originally uploaded by thelastminute.

American professional golf player Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren own this luxurious 155-foot, 6500 square feet (600 squire meters) yacht, which is named ‘Privacy’ that cost him $20 million. The vessel has a theatre, gym, a master suite and six staterooms, Jacuzzi, and it sleeps 21 people. The vessel is registered in the Cayman Islands and was built for Woods by Christensen Yachts, a Vancouver and Washington based luxury yacht builder.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

US Airline Passenger Bill of Rights

Video: CBS Travel editor Peter Greenberg discusses the new three hour rule for holding planes on the tarmac and the Virgin America flight that held passengers for 16 hours.

It is expected that new rules regarding how the passengers are going to be compensated and how airlines have to behave in case of undue delays are expected soon, possibly by the end of April. As you can understand from this video, it is expected that while airlines passengers may welcome the legislation, airlines are not likely to be amused.

According to a recent report in USA Today, "The rule also requires airlines to provide adequate food and water for passengers within two hours during a delay, as well as operable lavatories and, if necessary, medical care."

But from April 29, the video says, if the Airline does not take care of you, like feeding and hydrating you, and do not return you to the gate after three hours, they have to pay $27,500 per passenger. It is definitely going to improve the situation and mitigate the suffering of the passengers who some times wait without any facilities for hours together.

That said, there is hope that the passengers won’t be stranded on the tarmac indefinitely. This comes amidst stories of passengers who waited indefinitely, only to be told later impassionedly that their flights are cancelled.

However, there are reports of airlines saying that the new rule will only prompt more cancellations it is profitable for them to cancel flights rather than pay $27,500 per passenger as fine. So, the so-called "Passenger Bill of Rights" that is going on the Senate this week is going to cause quite a bit of flutter! Happy flying till then!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Map: Israel, Palestinian territories, Golan Heights, etc

Map: Israel, the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), the Golan Heights, portions of neighbouring countries, and also United Nations deployment areas in countries adjoining Israel or Israeli-held territory, as of January 2004. This is a heavily modified map by/at source.
CLICK on the map for an enlarged view.

According to Wikipedia, in the area known before the 1967 war as East Jerusalem, a census conducted by the Israeli authorities in 1967 and it registered 66,000 Palestinian residents (44,000 residing and 22,000 in the West Bank area annexed to Jerusalem after the war). Only a few hundred Jews were living in East Jerusalem at that time. By June 1993, a Jewish majority was established in East Jerusalem: 155,000 Jews were officially registered residents, housed in 17 Israeli settlements, as compared to 150,000 Palestinians.

As of 2006, the population of East Jerusalem was 428,304, comprising 59.5% of Jerusalem's residents. Of these, 181,457 (42%) are Jews, (comprising 39% of the Jewish population of Jerusalem as a whole), 229,004 (53%) are Muslim (comprising 99% of the Muslim population of Jerusalem) and 13,638 (3%) are Christian (comprising 92% of the Christian population of Jerusalem). The size of the Palestinian population living in East Jerusalem is controversial because of political implications. In 2008, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported the number of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem was 208,000 according to a recently completed census.

As of 2005, East Jerusalem's main Arab neighborhoods include Shuafat (34,700), Beit Hanina (24,745), a-Sawana (22,127), Jabal Mukaber (16,030), Ras al-Amud (14,841) and the lower part of Abu Tor (14,614). East Jerusalem's main Jewish neighborhoods include Pisgat Ze'ev (41,208), Gilo (27,258), Ramot Alon (22,460), Neve Yaakov (20,156), and East Talpiyot (12,158). The Old City has an Arab population of 32,635 and a Jewish population of 3,942.

Source: Wikipedia. Go to Wikipedia for more correct and updated info on Israel, Palestinian territories, Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, etc.

Hillary Clinton re-affirms US support for Israel

Hurva Synagogue, Jerusalem, originally uploaded by Tom on Formosa.

Photo: Hurva Synagogue, Jerusalem

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the US and Israel had a ‘close, unshakeable bond’ but the US wanted both Israel and the Palestinians to prove their commitment to peace. Clinton also said the US had an ‘absolute commitment to Israel's security’. This follows reports of the American envoy George Mitchell’s postponed visit to Israel.

Meanwhile mounting tensions in Jerusalem have led to violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, who said that about 60 Palestinians had been arrested. The situation in East Jerusalem worsened in recent days with the settlements issue and rededication of a synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City, which Palestinians have condemned.

The reopening of the Hurva synagogue, which was destroyed twice in the past, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City triggered a violent backlash. Thousands of people gathered in Gaza to protest against the rededication of the synagogue which is near the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site.

The Hurva Synagogue, is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinian's anger spills over East Jerusalem streets

Palestinian protesters flooded into East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank to show their anger over the restoration of a historic synagogue. They claim that Israel's action is endangering the al-Aqsa mosque, one of their most important sites. Israel's annexing of two other holy sites last month is part of their plans to build more Jewish settlement homes and it has further angered Palestinians, Sherine Tadros reports from occupied East Jerusalem.

Law is unequal in East Jerusalem

The Washington Post reports, "An Israeli court case finds that land owned by a Palestinian should be turned over to Jews who claim it was an ancestral home.". View the video report.

Monday, March 15, 2010

US Israel ties worst in 35 years

Photo: Jerusalem with the Dome of the rock in the background the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, taken on 10 November 2008.

Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael Oren has recently said that ties between the two counties are at their lowest in 35 years, the Israeli media reported following announcement for building 1,600 new homes in occupied Jerusalem. The US is waiting for a formal response from Israel, a strategic ally of the US, to its concerns, as the Palestinian leaders feel that talks with Israel are now doubtful, though Israel's PM said Jewish settlements did not hurt Arabs in East Jerusalem.

"No government in the past 40 years has limited construction in neighborhoods of Jerusalem;" he said, and continued, "Building these Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem does not hurt the Arabs of East Jerusalem or come at their expense."

The two countries’ relations were in tough terrain in 1975, because of a demand from the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdraw Israeli troops partially from the Sinai Peninsula where they had been stationed since the Six-Day War of 1967.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the main disputes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem has been criticized by the United Nations and other international bodies. The Palestinians demand East Jerusalem as they want it as the capital of their state.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Jerusalem was divided into two parts. The western portion populated mainly by Jews came under Israeli rule, while the eastern portion populated mainly by Arabs came under Jordanian rule.

East Jerusalem refers to parts of Jerusalem captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and it includes Jerusalem's Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; such as the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Richardsonian Romanesque House in Detroit

The author of this photo says a funny story about this building built in the style of "Richardsonian Architecture", and left in Detroit, unused. He says, "When the owner of an adjoining lot refused to sell Scott some land that he wanted to add to his property at Park and Peterboro, Scott spent $20,000 to build a sham house. From the Peterboro side it looked like a mansion, but its elegant facade was attached to a high, windowless wall, whose only purpose was to shut out light from the home of the recalcitrant neighbor."

So, from the the early 1970's, this house that looks like an elegant castle is abandoned.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Barack Obama’s health care reforms

In this video, Democratic US Senator Chris Dodd has said the debate over health care reform has gone on for too long. But he is saying it is still not too late to fix the system.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Microsoft to launch new smartphone

Microsoft is planning to launch its own mobile phones in the U.S. by the end of this year, the technology blog Gizmodo reported on Friday. The phones will be made available in July exclusively on Verizon and will be aimed at heavy users of social networks. The report came after Microsoft released a new mobile operating system that was widely praised by technology pundits. Microsoft had a lead in the smartphone arena before losing out to Apple’s iPhone and others running on Google’s Android operating system.

Photo: The Microsoft sign at the entrance of the German Microsoft campus, Konrad-Zuse-Str. 1, UnterschleiƟheim, Germany; photo taken by Johannes Hemmerlein on 14 July 2005.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tunnel Log Info

Tunnel Log board at Sequoia National Forest
Tunnel Log, originally uploaded by breily.

Tunnel Log fell on December 4, 1937; base diameter 21 feet, length 275 feet; tunnel 8 ft high, 17 ft wide.

Tunnel Log in Sequoia National Park

This is a photo dated July 17, 1940 from National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, of Tunnel Tree on the Cresent Meadow Road, photo by George A. Grant. The Tunnel Log is a tunnel cut through a fallen giant sequoia redwood tree in Sequoia National Park in California. The tree was 275 feet (84 m) tall and its trunk had a diameter of 21 feet (6.4 m). It fell across a road in 1937 due to some natural causes. The following year, a crew in the park service cut an 8-foot (2.4 m) tall and 17-foot (5.2 m) wide tunnel through the trunk, making the road passable again for automobiles.

Apart from Tunnel Log, one of the major attractions here, Sequoia National Park, in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California in the United States of America, has other attractions like Crescent Meadow, Moro Rock, and Campgrounds in the park including Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, and South Fork, and more such sites.

Fallen Sequoia Becomes A Tunnel

According to the author of this photo, “Though they are the largest trees in the world, the Giant Sequoia Redwood trees have a very shallow root system and sometimes a good wind will bring one down.” He says, this fallen redwood tree was made in to an attraction in Sequoia National Park by cutting a tunnel on the trunk of the tree.

He says, “I could not have been more wrong. Sure I had seen giant sequoia trees in other parks such as Yosemite but it was nothing like Sequoia National Park. I highly recommend a visit to one of the less visited National Parks in California… The park is also located right next to Kings Canyon National Park…”

Well, I have seen something called “Tunnel Log”, probably this very scene, and I have it in my old photo collection. It is an old black and white photo from the park service with an old automobile passing through it. I have also read details about the tree that fell sometime ago. Come back for that photo and details on the tunnel tree.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Hazelwood tree

The Hazelwood tree, the 17th largest giant sequoia before losing half its trunk in a lighting storm in 2002, is currently not in the list of the largest 50 trees, though it is still a living tree. It is a giant sequoia in the Giant Forest where the world’s largest tree the General Sherman grows.

Franklin tree, the world's seventh largest tree

Franklin tree, the seventh largest giant sequoia in the world as of 2008, is in the Giant Forest within Sequoia National Park located in the western Sierra Nevada of California. Here the largest tree in the world the General Sherman also lives. The Franklin tree was named after Benjamin Franklin. The forest has five out of the ten largest trees by volume on the planet.

President tree, the third largest tree in the world

The President tree, with 1318 cubic meter (46,545 cubic feet) of trunk wood volume, is the third largest tree in the world with a height of about 241 feet (73.5 meters). The giant sequoia, believed to be between 2500 and 3000 years old, is located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, USA. It was named after President Warren G. Harding in 1923.

Lincoln, the fourth largest tree in the world

The Lincoln tree, a giant sequoia located in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, is the fourth largest tree in the world. It has 44,471 cubic feet of wood in its trunk (wood in the branches and roots not included).

Muir Snag tree, the oldest giant sequoia

The Muir Snag tree, located at Converse Basin, in Sequoia National Forest in the Sierra Nevada in eastern California, is believed to be the oldest giant sequoia, but it is now dead though it is still standing with a height of only at 140 feet (43 m). It has a base diameter of 35.9 feet (10.9 m). This tree is estimated to be between 3000 and 3500 years old.

Top of the Boole tree

The top of the Boole tree is mostly dead with no branches and leaves.

Boole tree, the sixth largest tree in the world

The 267-feet (81 m) tall Boole tree, a giant sequoia, was originally thought to be the largest tree in the world. But after measuring other largest trees it is now ranked number 6, after 5 other giant sequoia: the General Sherman tree, the General Grant, the President tree, the Lincoln tree, and the Stagg tree. Boole has a trunk volume of 42,472 cubic feet (1,202.7 cubic meters) and an enormous base, with a girth of over 113 feet (34 m).

The Boole tree is located in Converse Basin grove in Sequoia National Forest, in the edge of Kings Canyon, 5 miles (8 km) from Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in eastern California. The tree was named after Franklin A. Boole, a supervisor of the logging operations, who spared the tree's life due to its great size.

General Sherman tree and other giant trees

The General Sherman tree is estimated to weigh about 2100 tons, the weight of 1489 cubic meters (52,584 cubic feet) of wood in its trunk, excluding branches and roots. Its height is 84.2 m (274.9 ft) and the girth at ground level is 33 m (109 ft).

As of 2009, the largest Giant Sequoias (all located within California) by volume are about 50, according to Wikipedia and other sources. Following General Sherman tree, General Grant tree (Grant Grove), President tree, (Giant Forest), Lincoln tree (Giant Forest), Stagg tree (Alder Creek Grove), Boole tree (Converse Basin), Franklin tree (Giant Forest), King Arthur tree (Garfield Grove), Monroe tree (Giant Forest), and Genesis tree (Mountain Home Grove) come in the list of largest ten trees in the world.

When we use superlatives like the largest tree, please note that these are based on the volume of wood in the main trunk (stem) of the tree. These measurements need not be accurate, and in fact, have a low degree of accuracy, varying up to 14 cubic meters (+/-), due to difficulties in taking accurate measurements.

To calculate the volume, the diameter of the stem is measured at set heights up the trunk and it is assumed that the trunk is circular in cross section. It is also assumed that the taper between measurement points is even. Also, if the tree has cavities it is not taken into account as it is neither easy to measure the cavity nor easy to know the extent to which the cavity exists. Also, the volume measurements show only the volume of the trunk, and do not include the volume of wood in the branches or roots.

The Hazelwood Tree, not listed in the 50 largest trees, had a volume of 36,228 cubic feet before losing half its trunk in a lightning storm in 2002. If it were still at full size it would have been the 16th largest giant sequoia on earth. Click here for more details and photo of General Sherman tree.

Two sequoia trees in the Sequoia National Park

A person is standing between two sequoia trees, in the Sequoia National Park, USA, believed to be around 2000 years old. Forest fires do not kill the trees but they remove competing thin-barked species, and aid giant sequoia regeneration (note the large fire scar at the base of the right-hand tree).

Sequoiadendron giganteum (known by names such as giant sequoia, Sierra redwood, or Wellingtonia) is the only species in the genus Sequoiadendron, and one of the three species of coniferous trees known as redwood trees, classified in the family Cupressaceae and in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood) and Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood). The common use of the name ‘sequoia’ generally refers to Sequoiadendron, which occurs naturally only in the various groves that exist on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

Click on the photo to view much larger size (1600 x 1200 pixels).

Discovery Tree and General Noble Tree

Top of this image (lithograph) shows a party of 32 people dancing on the stump of the Discovery Tree, North Calaveras Grove, USA. Image at the Bottom: a 30-foot section of the General Noble Tree, which was displayed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and later at the Mall in Washington, DC. It was subsequently taken to the US government's Arlington Experiment Farm, where it was misplaced. (The image is scanned from the book, ‘Redwoods: The World's Largest Trees’ written by Hewes, J.J., 1984, published by Gallery Books.)

The giant sequoia tree was well known to the Native American tribes of the area of the Giant Forests, home to these giant redwood trees. But the account of the trees can be found in the diary of the explorer J. K. Leonard (1833), and though it does not mention any locality, it is believed his route would have taken him through the Calaveras Grove, followed by John M. Wooster, who carved his initials on the bark of the Hercules Tree in the Calaveras Grove in 1850. But publicity about the tree was given when the Discovery Tree was found by Augustus T. Dowd in the Calaveras Grove in 1852, and the 'Discovery Tree', was felled in 1853.

Sequoia tree at New Forest, Hampshire, England

This sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) tree is located at New Forest, Hampshire, England. It is one of the tallest in the UK at 51.5 meters, as on 3 November 2008.

Giant Forest trees in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park, in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California, USA, was established in 1890. The park covers an area of 1,635 squire km, and has the highest peak, Mount Whitney (14,505 feet or 4,421 m above sea level), in the contiguous 48 states of USA.

Sequoia National Park is located south of Kings Canyon National Park, contiguous with it and the two national parks are administered by the National Park Service.

Sequoia National Park is world famous for its Giant Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum), including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees in the world. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest within the park, and five of the ten largest trees in the world by volume on the planet are located within the Giant Forest, which is connected by Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Base of General Sherman tree

Base of the largest tree in the world
Trees, originally uploaded by booglehole.

Sequoia Redwood California

Broken branch of the General Sherman tree
Sequoia Redwood California, originally uploaded by booglehole.

Broken branch of the General Sherman tree: In January 2006, this largest branch on the tree broke off from the main trunk and fell to the ground smashing part of the enclosing fence and cratered the pavement of the walkway surrounding the giant sequoia.

Bizarre Banana

666608-5-the-orgasm, originally uploaded by z_vitas.

General Sherman, the world's largest tree

General Sherman tree, the Giant Sequoia tree with a height of 275 feet (83.8 meters), is the world's largest individual organism by volume, since its wood volume was calculated in 1931. It means this sequoia tree is the largest tree in the world. This Giant Sequoia has a volume of 1,487 cubic meters (52,500 cubic feet), as measured in 2002. Its trunk alone is estimated to weigh over 1,800 tons. It is located in the Sequoia National Park, California, United States. The tree is believed to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old.

However, the largest single-stem tree ever measured is the now dead Lindsey creek tree, a Coast Redwood tree with a minimum trunk volume of over 2,500 cubic meters (88,000 cubic feet) and a weight of over 3,300 tons. It fell over during a storm in 1905.

In 1879 General Sherman tree was named after William Tecumseh Sherman, the American Civil War General, by the naturalist James Wolverton, who had served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Cavalry under Sherman.

In January 2006 the largest branch of the General Sherman tree, protruding from about 1/4th down the trunk, broke off. The broken branch had a diameter of over 2 meter (6 feet) and a length of over 30 meter (100 feet). However, the loss of the branch did not alter the tree's status as the largest tree, because its size has been calculated using measurements of trunk volume excluding branches.

General Grant, the second largest tree in the world

General Grant tree is the largest giant sequoia tree in the Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park. In 1867, it was named after Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877). The sequoia tree was proclaimed the ‘Nation's Christmas Tree’ on April 28, 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the tree a ‘National Shrine’, a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living being to be so declared.

General Grant tree became the second largest tree in the world, after the General Sherman tree as of 2005, when the Washington tree, which was previously in second place lost half of its trunk due to a lightning-caused fire.

Age of the General Grant tree was once believed to be over 2,000 years, but recent estimates show its age closer to 1,650 years.

Did Lehman Bros siphon off US$8 billion?

Let me confess first that this is a crazy video. All that Obaid Karki says need not be true, there can be statistical errors, or he may have a hidden agenda. Don’t worry about it because, all of us are crazy in one way or the other, and what all we say or write may also have lies, half-lies, or untruth. Not necessarily by intention or design, but they turn out to be so, because of our individual preferences and biases. In the same manner, take what Obaid Karki says with a pinch of salt, but you may agree, the rebel in him has some kind of spark that can lead you to truth.

So, listen to this video, if you are interested in finding out what is the truth, or what the nearest correct thing, in case these facts, especially relating to recession, financial swindles, etc. may never come out.

Obaid Karki speaks about Lehman Bros, Barclays, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, $700b bailout of the Bush Era, and many related things. Most of us are through news on these either reading our morning papers, while surfing the net, or watching news while sipping a hot cup of coffee at the comfort of our homes, though the news generated a lot of discomfort, as when the system collapses, the ultimate sufferers are people like you and me, irrespective of who stole from whom, who took the maximum corporate gifts and goodies in Wallstreet, or whatever.

The date of the video seems to be September 27, 2008, and it is the time that most people woke up to the uncomfortable truth that we are through one of the worst recessions, even worse than the Great Depression of the 1030s, expert economists and master statisticians warned. But the truth is the recession was already in right in 2007, mostly triggered by the big real estate bubble burst, big executive bonuses at Wallstreet (and other streets where people fought over ill-gotten wealth), unsustainably high war-spending in the history of mankind, and the readiness of governments and auditors to window-dress economic figures, and then present rosy pictures to the public, hiding crucial facts.

Obaid Karki describes himself in his YouTube profile as “An Outcast Underdog Libertarian Diogenesist Kabbalist Spinoziste Qutbist Pantheon Hexalingual Automath Former UAE Under Secretary Independent Street-Knowledge Urban Talking-head Unaffiliated to a State, an Organized Religion Group, a Sect or a Kin and an Anti Tribal Gentile”. Sorry, I don’t quite get an idea about all these stuff. But I like what he follows up with, like, “Every phrase is an earnest verdict that’s my bio, if you don’t agree with me that’s an honor, it is immoral to appease to please, my word hurts big time because it is quality of a moment of truth”.