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Thursday, January 31, 2008

World Sunlight Map

A world map showing current sunlight and cloud cover, as of Jan 31 2008 21:00 UTC.

Source: Digg

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cloverfield: Nausea 101

Ahhh...Don't you love movies that make you sick? Behold Cloverfield. Watching the much talked-about movie was like taking an introductory course in nausea. Don't get me wrong, the movie is interesting, and it has great elements of suspense and thrill, but you have to have a stomach of steel to be able to go through it. When I walked to the window to buy the tickets, the cashier pointed to a paper on the glass window. It read "Cloverfield can cause dizziness." I was like "Bah." I thought they were exaggerating. We went inside the theater and chatted while the commercials played.

The movie started, and it took me full five minutes to realize that I was watching the feature film and not another commercial preview. The scenes appeared on the screen so fast that I had little time to follow what was happening. The whole movie was made to look like it was shot using a regular video camera. Why the director decided to apply such an amateur style is beyond me. The story is about a group of young people who surprised one of their friends with a farewell party. One of the characters decided to film the whole party and give it to the departing person as a token of remembrance. The character who was "filming" the movie kept running, swinging, and dropping the camera which had a terrific effect on my stomach.

Thirty minutes into the movie, and I started developing a sinus pressure that turned into a terrible headache. After ten minutes, I became dizzy and nauseous. Another ten minutes, and I could not take it anymore. I picked my purse and stepped outside the theater. I stood for a minute breathing fresh night air when I noticed that two of my friends had already left and were leaning on the wall trying hard not to throw up:

Friend1: You gotta be kidding me. What was that?
Friend2: I don't know, but I know I am going to pass out any minute now.

One by one, the rest of my friends and other people staggered out of the theater, and it was hilarious to see the reaction on their faces:

Friend3: I feel so sick.
Friend4 (Making gagging noises): Who wants to eat?
Friend5 was breathing heavily and holding her head.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Story Behind The Picture: The Priest and The Dying Soldier

This photo was the winner of world press photo of the year: 1962. It was taken by Héctor Rondón Lovera at in Venezeula of a dying soldier clinging to chaplain Luis Padillo.

Braving the streets amid sniper fire, to offer last rites to the dying, the priest encountered a wounded soldier, who pulled himself up by clinging to the priest's cassock, as bullets chewed up the concrete around them. Rondón Lovera, who had to lie flat to avoid getting shot, later said that he was unsure how he managed to take this picture.

Photo Source: Dismal World

Despite the danger surrounding him, Luis Padillo walked around giving last rites to dying soldiers:

Photo Source: hectorrondonlovera

Photo Source: hectorrondonlovera

Hand Painting Art

Guido Daniele was born in Soverato, Italy and now lives and works in Milan. Since 1986 he has been working and improving his personal usage of airbrush: he paints back-stages in different sizes (the biggest ones can be 400 square metres) for artistic and advertising pictures, tv commercials and tv programmes.
In 1990 he added a new artistic experience to his previous ones: using the body painting technique he creates and paints models bodies for different situations such as advertising pictures and commercials, fashion events and exhibitions.

Biography of Guido Daniele

When looking at his hand painting art, it is amazing to see how life-like the details are. The eyes, the patterns, and the colors.

Source of photos is Fresh Pics. To see more of the artist's work, you can visit his website here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gunkanjima: The Abandoned City

"Battleship Island" is an English translation of the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, Gunkanjima. The island's nickname came from its apparent resemblance to a battleship. It also is known as the Ghost Island.
The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. In 1959, its population density was 835 people per hectare (83,500 people/km^2) for the whole island, or 1,391 per hectare (139,100 people/km^2) for the residential district, one of the highest population density ever recorded worldwide.
As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it's called the Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima is currently prohibited.


The island is totally deserted nowadays, but evidence of a previous human life can still be seen. Check out some of these amazing pictures of the island:

Photos are taken from Archibase.Net, you can check the rest of them here.


WebUrbanist featured great pictures of everyday items decorated with Post-It. You can check the article here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Modernized Art

Something Awful posted a great collection of famous paintings that went through a makeover to make them more "interesting":

See the rest of the paintings here.

Pool Prank

Oh my God! A hilarious video of a fart prank in a pool from a Japanese show.

You gotta love the Japanese sense of humor.

Ya Mama!

Is it a cloud? Is it a nice pattern on the ceiling? Noooo...it's a nest of spiders!

Source: Digg


A great video of Dolphins playing with bubble rings:

Teahupoo: The Wave Paradise

Teahupoo (pronounced Cho-pu or Te-ah-hu-po) is a world-renowned surfing location off the south-east of the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, southern Pacific Ocean. It is known for its heavy, glassy waves, often reaching 2 to 3 m (7 to 10 ft) and higher...
It is a rewarding location and is widely regarded as being on the 'must-surf' list of every enthusiastic surfer. However, only experienced surfers in peak physical condition should attempt Teahupo'o; heavy waves combined with a shallow shoreline can result in serious injuries and even death in a wipe out.*

Check out these amazing photos of Teahupoo's waves:

This is an awesome video of the Billabong Competition in Teahupoo. The first wave shown in this video is reportedly the biggest wave ever ridden in Teahupoo by Manoa Drollet:

You can read more about Teahupoo here.


The Story Behind the Picture: The Fire

Amazing photo taken by John McColgan. According to Stuff You Can Use:

This awsome picture was taken in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana on August 6, 2000 by a fire behavior analyst from Fairbanks, Alaska by the name of John McColgan with a Digital camera. On 6 August 2000, as several fires converged in the Sula in western Montana, John McColgan, a fire behavior analyst in the employ of the USDA Forest Service snapped the spectacular photograph shown above with a digital camera. McColgan snapped the photo with a Kodak DC280 digital camera. Since he was working as a Forest Service firefighter, the shot is public property and cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes

The Catacombs of Paris

Most of all of Paris' larger churches once had their own cemeteries, but city growth and generations of dead began to overwhelm them. From the late seventeenth century, Paris' largest Les Innocents cemetery was saturated to a point where their neighbours were suffering from disease, due to contamination caused by improper burials, open mass graves, and earth charged with decomposing organic matter. Other cemeteries also started to experience the same issue.
To solve the problem, the government decided to discreetly move millions of remains in the overflowing cemeteries to the Catacombs of Paris, an underground maze of abandoned tunnels and chambers which created one of the world's largest public mass graves. *

The Entrance: Arrete! C'est ici L'Empire de la Morte - Stop! Here is the empire of the dead**

Source: Explographies

Murray Battle gives a great account of his exploration of the Catacombs here.

I also found an interesting video about a man getting lost in the Catacombs. I believe the story is fictionalized, but it's still worth checking out just for the footage of the graves:

You can see Part#2 of the video here.

*Source: Wikipedia
**Source: Quovadimus

Moscow Underground

Moscow-Taxi featured a great article about the history of The Moscow Metro.
The stations of Moscow's subway system have often been called "the people's palaces", for their elegant designs and lavish and profuse use of marble, mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers. Built during Stalin's rule, these metro stations were supposed to display the best of Soviet architecture and design and show how privileged the lifestyle of the Russian people was.

Charlotte Russe has a wonderful photo collection of The Moscow Underground .

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bible Scenes Through Google Earth

Creative Review posted amazing scenes of events from the Bible as seen through Google Earth. Here is the scene when Moses parted the Red Sea:

You can check the rest of the photos here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Country for Old Men: Review

Simply put, Cormac McCarthy is a living legend among the authors of our time. He is a man that writes with passion, but he never treads gently in the process. His words have a dark quality about them that is both beautiful and unforgiving. I am still haunted by his latest novel, The Road, that I read months ago.
When I watched the trailer of No Country for Old Men, I became immensely excited. Why? Because it is based on one of McCarthy's masterpieces, and it is deftly directed by no other than the Coen Brothers. After watching the film, I can safely say that it is the best film of 2007.

The story is about Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), an average guy who stumbles on a bag of two million dollars in a murder scene out in the desert. He gets tempted and decides to take the money. Little did he know that two sides will move fast to track him and claim that bag of cash at any cost. Then, all hell breaks loose, and the thrilling ride begins. The star of the film is Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a psychopath who represents one of the two parties pursuing Moss. He is one of the scariest characters I've seen in a long time. You will be fascinated by what he does in order to bring the money back.

The film is deeply satisfying on many levels. The actors did a superb job, and the cinematography is amazing. There are moments in the film that will send shivers up and down your spine, and will make the hair on the back of your neck stands.

If you haven't watched the film yet, go watch it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hilarious Wake Up Call

This is one of the funniest prank videos I've seen in my whole life. Watch how you can wake up from a good night's sleep in the Japanese style! Unbelievable!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Story Behind the Picture: Omayra Sanchez

A very sad and unsettling photo of Omayra Sanchez, a 13-year-old victim of Colombia's volcano eruption, that was taken hours before her death in 1985 .

According to Wikipedia:

Omayra was trapped up to her neck in water, concrete, and other debris for three days before she succumbed to gangrene and hypothermia. During three nights of agony, Omayra seemed strong but was suffering. According to Cristina Echandia, a journalist who kept records of the events, Omayra sang and had normal conversations with the people who were trying to help her. The little girl was thirsty and scared. On the third night, Omayra began hallucinating, saying that she did not want to be late for school. At some point she asked the people to leave her so they could rest.Television coverage of the disaster introduced her to the world when she was still alive. The photo shown here was taken hours before her death and published after her death.

BBC News featured an article about Frank Fournier, the photographer who took the award-winning photo, and his account of the tragedy:

People were asking: "Why didn't you help her? Why didn't you get her out?" But it was impossible.

Missing Body Parts of 10 Famous People

The Missing Body Parts of 10 Famous People is an interesting article by Mental Floss that shows how body parts of famous people around the world ended in the most unexpected places.

One example is #6 - Saint Catherine of Siena’s Finger:

Ever think you’re going to pieces? Saint Catherine feels your pain. After the holy woman died in 1380, her body became an object of veneration. Pilgrims believed touching her miraculously unrotted flesh could heal illnesses and bring them closer to God, so they flocked to visit the body from all over Europe. Eventually, the Catholic Church laid Catherine to rest - part of her, at least. Before she was buried, one of her followers removed a finger (along with a few teeth and other various and sundry body parts). Meanwhile Pope Urban VI got a similar idea and took her head. Today, both finger and head are on display at San Domenico Church in Siena, Italy. The rest of her is beneath the main altar at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church in Rome.

Saint Catherine's head - Source: Vittoe

Saint Catherine's finger - Source: Curious Expiditions

Monday, January 14, 2008


I am 26 and he is 9, but we always find something interesting to talk about. He never fails to impress me with his insights. Talking to my youngest brother is the highlight of my day:

At dinner table:

Brother: You know that KFC is bad? I mean it tastes good, but it is bad.

Me: Why?

Brother: They torture chickens.

Me: They do?

Brother: Yes, they use a special machine to cut their beaks off and boil their heads in hot water...like this...

He goes into an animated descripton of the mechanics of the procedure.

Brother (After a moment of silence): Boy...I am happy I am not a chicken.

Before his bedtime:

Brother (Out of the blue): I don't want to go to Mexico.

Me: Who told you that you are going to Mexico?

Brother: No, I am just saying...they say there is a ghost of a weeping woman roaming the streets at night.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Childish Plans

My car bolted through the dark highway. Driving at night has always been exhilarating. The surrounding hills shifted its shape to giant mythical creatures racing my car playfully on both sides. I glanced at the front mirror and saw the reflection of my youngest brother in the back seat. He had a sulking look on his cute little face.

"School sucks!" He announced after a minute of scilence. I tried my best not to chuckle.

Me: Why?

Brother: We were having so much fun bowling and all that, and now, we have to leave earlier than everybody else beccause I have school tomorrow!

Me: So what? You can go bowling next time. It is not the end of the world.

Brother: School ruins everything. I have to sleep early and do homeworks, and I always miss all the fun.

Me: Its ok. Tomorrow you will grow up, and there will be no homework after you graduate from college. You you will be glad that you finished school though.

Hi small head popped from behind my seat, and he waved his tiny fingers urgently in fornt of my eyes.

Brother: Don't you see? I am still in 4th grade, and I have 8 more years to reach college! 8 years for gods sake! Not only that, but I have to spend 4 years studying in college too! Thats a lot of homework and sleeping!

The right side of the road cleared, and we had a breathtaking view of the valley. The lights of the city gleamed in a beautful array of colors.

Brother: Yoy know what? I will build a caslte that has a view like that, and I will bring all my friends to live there. There will be no school and...

I spent the next 15 minutes listening to his plans for the castle. They included all sorts of things ranging from eating chocolate for lunch to having a 10-hour wii marathon.

We almost reached the house when he announced that he was hungry.

Me: We will be home in a minute. You can eat there.

Brother: But I want something from McDonald's.

Me: There is no Mcdonald's around here, sweety.

I did not get to finish my sentence when he jumped in his seat, pointed excitedly at the window, and said the dreaded "There...there!" Sure enough, the giant glowing M greeted me. I sighed and headed for the drive-through. Five munites later, we were on the road again. He stuffed his mouth with his cheeseburger and chewed slowly. This time, he had a thoughtful look on his face.

Brother: Lulu?

Me: Hmmm?

Brother: I think I will go through this school thing because I am pretty sure I don't want to work at McDonald's!

Believing in Destiny

I am not even sure where these pictures had originated from, but my aunt emailed them to me, and I could not help but re-think my belief in destiny. I am going to quote the words in the email exactly:

Look at the picture above and you can see where this guy broke through the guardrail, right side where the people are standing on the road (pointing).. The pick-up was traveling from right to left when it crashed through the guardrail. It flipped end-over-end, across the culvert outlet, and landed right side up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which he was traveling.

Now look at the 2nd picture below...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No ads better than the old ads!

Take a look at these old ads featured in Oddee. Hmmm...I wonder who appointed the campaign's leader?

You can see the rest of the crazy ads here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

World's Largest Hand

This amazing picture is of Lui Hua from China.

According to Oddee:

Lui Hua suffers from a rare condition known as macrodactyly. When he was hospitalized in Shanghai on July 2007, his left thumb measured 10.2 inches and his index finger measured close to 12. On July 20 surgeons undertook a seven-hour operation to reduce the size of Liu's fingers and thumb. Doctors removed 11 pounds of flesh and bone in the procedure. A second surgery is scheduled to take place. Enlarged limbs can be caused by a number of medical conditions. Lymphedema is perhaps the most common cause and results in some extraordinarily enlarged limbs.

The Boy with the Incredible Brain

I watched this video, and it literally blew my mind away. It is about Daniel Paul Tammet. Here is an excerpt about Daniel :

Daniel Paul Tammet is a British high-functioning autistic savant gifted with a facility for mathematical calculations, sequence memory, and natural language learning. He was born with congenital childhood epilepsy. Experiencing numbers as colors or sensations is a well-documented form of synesthesia, but the detail and specificity of Tammet's mental imagery of numbers is unique. In his mind, he says, each number up to 10,000 has its own unique shape and feel, that he can "see" results of calculations as landscapes, and that he can "sense" whether a number is prime or composite. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and pi as beautiful. Tammet not only verbally describes these visions, but also creates artwork, particularly watercolor paintings, such as his painting of Pi.


The video is part#1 of a documentary about Daniel's abilities. You can watch Part#2, Part#3, Part#4, and Part#5 to learn more about this incredible person.

Favorite Photographers: Part#4

Steve McCurry (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1950) is an American photojournalist best known for his photograph, "Afghan Girl" that originally appeared in National Geographic magazine. McCurry's photojournalism career began with his coverage of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. McCurry disguised himself in native dress and hid his film by sewing it into his clothes. His images were among the first of the conflict and were widely published. His coverage won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad. McCurry continued to cover international conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq war, Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, and Afghanistan. McCurry's work has been featured world-wide in magazines and he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986.


The Afgan Girl

Now, the "Afgan Girl" photo has an intriguing story f its own:
She was one of the world's most famous faces, yet no one knew who she was. Her image appeared on the front of magazines and books, posters, lapel pins, and even rugs, but she didn't know it. Now, after searching for 17 years, National Geographic has once again found the Afghan girl with the haunting green eyes. The mysterious Afghan girl whose direct gaze has intrigued the West for so long is Sharbat Gula...She had no idea her face had become an icon, said Steve McCurry, the photographer who made the famous portrait for National Geographic in 1984, and who tried to find her again during many subsequent trips he made to Pakistan and Afghanistan...In January 2002, a National Geographic team returned to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan, where Sharbat Gula was originally photographed, to search for her. She was identified through a series of contacts that led to her brother and husband, who agreed to ask her if she was willing to be interviewed. Sharbat has been photographed on only two occasions: in 1984 and at the reunion with Steve McCurry this year. She had never seen her famous portrait before it was shown to her in January.

David Braun
National Geographic News

Here is the "Afgan Girl" after 17 years:

You can read the rest of the article here. You can also check McCurry's website here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Great Commercials: Part#3 - Theo Jansen : The Genious Sculptor

Theo Jansen is an artist and kinetic sculptor living and working in the Netherlands. He builds large works which resemble skeletons of animals which are able to walk using the wind on the beaches of the Netherlands. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering. In a BMW television commercial, Jansen says "The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds."


The video is the commercial that features Jansen, and it is simply amazing:

To read more about these sculptors, you can go to Strandbeest.


Aren't we all part of the whole picture?

Famous Crossdressers in History: Women Disguised as Men

8 Historical Crossdressers: Women in a Man’s World is an article by Miss Cellania featured in Mental Floss where she introduces eight famous women who crossdressed in history. Here are # 4 and #7:

#4 Frances Clayton :

There are quite a few stories of women serving in the Civil War disguised as men. Estimates range from 150 to 400 such soldiers! Many distinguished themselves, and were even honored for their service after the war. One such hero was Frances L. Clayton, who wore men’s clothing to enlist in the Union Army with her husband. She was wounded three times in battle, and was even taken prisoner by the Confederacy. After her husband was killed, she confided her sex to her commanding officer and was granted an honorable discharge.

#7 Billy Tipton:

Billy Tipton was a jazz musician who played piano and saxophone. Born in 1914 as Dorothy Lucille Tipton, she was denied a spot in her high school band because she was a girl. Billy was already a professional musician when she began dressing as a man to better blend in with the other musicians, and by 1940 presented herself as a man both publicly and privately. While playing with various bands, she had long-term relationships with several women who never knew her true sex. Although Billy never legally married, she adopted three sons with stripper Kitty Oakes. Neither Oakes nor their sons knew Tipton’s sex until her death in 1989, at age 74.

Mysterious carving on a cathedral in Spain

Dark Roasted Blend featured an interesting article about a mysterious carving of an astronaut in the Ieronimus Cathedral in Spain. According to Dark Roasted Blend:

Inside the splendid Ieronimus Cathedral, built by Episcope de Salamanca in 1102 A.D., among the fascinating carvings of mythical animals and saints, we find - NASA Astronaut...
Maybe they entered some time portal while on the Moon, and ended up scaring medieval builders in Spain? Probably just a modern addition by the mischievous restoration team.


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