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Friday, February 29, 2008

The Last Lecture

In September 2006, Randy Pausch, a 47 year-old Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. He pursued a very aggressive cancer treatment that included major surgery and experimental chemotherapy; however in August of 2007 he was told to expect a remaining three to six months of good health.
Pausch delivered his "Last Public Lecture", entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk", i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

Here is a short version of Pausch's lecture on Oprah:

You can visit Pausch's website here.

The Wrong Way

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there''s a car going the wrong way on Route 280. Please be careful!"
"It's not just one car," said Herman, "It's hundreds of them!"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maxfield Parrish: Window to the Other World

The paintings by Maxfield Parrish always transform me to my early childhood and its world of fantasy. He came into my attention for the first time when I laid my eyes on his wonderful Lantern Bearers painting.

During the Golden Age of Illustration, Maxfield Parrish's "beautiful settings and charming figures" enchanted the American public. His work includes immense murals in office buildings and hotels, magazine covers, and advertisements as well as his book illustrations. Many of his illustrations to children's books, still popular today, are the result of his struggle to make a living as an artist in his early years around the turn of the 20th century.

Parish Art Passions

You can click on each painting for a better view.

A Venetian Night's Entertainment

Morning Spring

Lute Players

Enchantment (Cinderella)

Sleeping Beauty


Land of Make Believe

Lantern Bearers

My First Earthquake Encounter

I've never experienced an earthquake until I moved to California. It is a frightening feeling that makes you renew your respect for mother nature. One month after we arrived here, I was reading a book in my uncle's house when the desk I was sitting at began to tremble. I thought I became dizzy, so I stood up. The whole room swayed slowly beneath my feet. The pictures on the wall started rattling, and the glass windows started shaking. I bolted to the door, ran to the main door, and exited the whole house. Everyone was sitting in the front yard as nothing was happening. I looked at them with shock. They looked at me and realized what was happening. "Oh, its ok. It's just an earthquake! We get plenty of them here. This is nothing. You should have seen Northridge's earthquake. Now thats a real one." My cousin said.

I became used to earthquakes. If it's a small one, I just continue whatever I am doing. If it's a bit stronger than usual, I find the nearest door and stand between its frames. I've even developed a sense of earthquakes. Something inside me realizes that they are going to happen seconds before they hit. My body becomes alert, my heart starts beating faster, and my breathing becomes shallow.

So far, the worst earthquake I had to go through did not pass 5.5 on the Richter scale. Nevertheless, we are living above the San Andrea Fault which, according to scientists, is waiting for a huge earthquake to happen, or as they like to call it "The Next Big One".

Professor Yuri Fialko from the University of California, San Diego says:
"The information available suggests that the fault is ready for the next big earthquake but exactly when the triggering will happen and when the earthquake will occur we cannot tell," Fialko said. "It could be tomorrow or it could be 10 years or more from now," he concluded.

I only hope that I will not go through anything like the 1995 earthquake in
Kobe, Japan. May God protect everyone:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bowling Fun Across the Universe

This is a great scene from Across the Universe movie where the characters go bowling. The main character sings the wonderful "I've just seen a face" song by the beatles. I could not find a shorter version with such quality, so you have to skip to 01:47 to see the fun begins. Why can't we have a merry time like this in the bowling alley?

Great Commercials: Part#8

Where will life take you? First TV commercial for Louis Vuitton.

The Jasmine Tree

Between me and the jasmine tree lies infinite years of pondering, laughs, eleventh hours, and childhood innocence. The place under the jasmine tree that veiled most of my grandfather's front yard was my sanctuary. Under the jasmine tree, I crawled as a toddler. I would lift my head and stare in awe at its huge umbrella-like shape. I would gasp in wonder when the breeze teased its branches, and it showered me with sweet-smiling jasmine flowers. Under the jasmine tree, I turned eight, and I held the end of my grandmother's apron while her weathered hands made jasmine necklaces with patience. Under the jasmine tree, I tiptoed to my fifteenth year. I buried my face between the pages of pride and prejudice for the first time, and I used the fragrant flowers as bookmarks. Under the jasmine tree, I sipped minty cups of tea as a twenty-year-old and chatted with my grandparents about life.

I am half way around the world now. Sometimes a jasmine smell will catch me in the most unexpected moments; while I am walking to my car from work, or when I am standing in the balcony at night. When the sweet smell engulfs me, time shifts, and I find myself standing beneath the tree watching light filters through the delicate petals of jasmine.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Best Bookmarks for Reading

Pingmag has an entertaining article about bookmarks. Ryoko from Pingmag writes:

Sunset is getting earlier and earlier every day and the nights are getting colder, indicating that autumn is upon us. Speaking of which, that would really be the best season for reading, wouldn’t it? Ah, what could be more enjoyable than curling up on a comfy sofa with a good book on a long weekend… Today PingMag shows you a collection of our favourite bookmarks from all over the world that will undoubtedly enhance your reading pleasures.

Wool Creations

Yvonne Bävman has a blog that features felted wool creations, and they are fantastic-looking.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Tale of Two Nuns

A hilarious email my friend sent me. You gotta love Sister Logical:

There were two nuns..

One of them was known as Sister Mathematical (SM), and the other one was known as Sister Logical (SL).

It is getting dark and they are still far away from the convent.

SM: Have you noticed that a man has been following us for the past thirty-eight and a half minutes? I wonder what he wants?

SL: It's logical. He wants to rape us.

SM: Oh, no! At this rate he will reach us in 15 minutes at the most! What can we do?

SL: The only logical thing to do of course is to walk faster.

SM: It's not working.

SL: Of course it's not working. The man did the only logical thing. He started to walk faster, too.

SM: So, what shall we do? At this rate he will reach us in one minute.

SL: The only logical thing we can do is split. You go that way and I'll go this way. He cannot follow us both.

So the man decided to follow Sister Logical.

Sister Mathematical arrives at the convent and is worried about what has happened to Sister Logical. Then Sister Logical arrives.

SM: Sister Logical! Thank God you are here! Tell me what happened!

SL: The only logical thing happened. The man couldn't follow us both, so he followed me.

SM: Yes, yes! But what happened then?

SL: The only logical thing happened. I started to run as fast as I could and he started to run as fast as he could.

SM: And?

SL: The only logical thing happened. He reached me.

SM: Oh, dear! What did you do?

SL: The only logical thing to do. I lifted my dress up.

SM: Oh, Sister! What did the man do?

SL: The only logical thing to do. He pulled down his pants.

SM: Oh, no! What happened then?

SL: Isn't it logical, Sister? A nun with her dress up can run faster than a man with his pants down.

End of Summer

End of Summer is a beautifully animated short film made by Patrick Harboun, Ronan Le Fur, and Joaquim Montserrat who worked on it for 6 months within their studies at Supinfocom, a French CG animation school. The story is very simple, but it's the mood and feel of the film that give it its beauty. The film should not be compared to big-budget animated films because it was done by the animators while they were still in school.

You can visit the website of the film here.

The Story Behind The Picture: Starving Boy and a Missionary

A photo taken by Mike Wells from United Kingdom. It was taken in Karamoja district, Uganda, April 1980. The photo won the World Press Photo award for the same year.

Wells felt indignant that the same publication that sat on his picture for five months without publishing it, while people were dying, entered it into a competition. He was embarrassed to win as he never entered the competition himself, and was against winning prizes with pictures of people starving to death.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gravestones of Famous Queens

They were famous, strong, and influential women who left their mark on the pages of history. They became queens and ruled vast lands with power. Here are photos of the gravestones of some of the most famous queens ever lived. You can click on the name of each queen to read more about her life.

1. Queen Victoria" The Longest Reigning Monarch in UK History"(1819-1901):




2. Queen Mary I "Bloody Mary" (1516-1558):


3. Mary Stuart "Queen of Scots" (1542-1587):

Source: Answers


4. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine "The Rebellious Queen" (1123-1204):

Srouce: Stainless Steel Droppings

Source: English Monarchs

6.Queen Elizabeth I "The Virgin Queen" (1533-1603):

Source: Wikipedia

Source: *

*Find A Grave: an interesting website that includes hundreds of grave listings.

Need Cash

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great Commercials: Part#7

The amazing Human Element commercial from Dow.

Famous Hoax Photos

A great collection of hoax photos from Museum of Hoaxes. Here are some of them:

The Portrait of Lincoln:

For decades following the Civil War, the portrait of Lincoln shown on the left graced the walls of public buildings and classrooms. But Lincoln never posed for this portrait. Instead a photograph of Lincoln's head had been superimposed onto a portrait of the Southern leader John Calhoun. This was done because there were hardly any appropriate 'heroic-style' portraits of Lincoln made during his life.

The Brown Lady of Raynham:

This picture, taken in 1936 by two photographers for Country Life magazine, is one of the most famous ghost photos ever taken. The ghost in the image is known as the "Brown Lady" of Raynham Hall. The Brown Lady is supposedly the ghost of Lady Townshend who was imprisoned in the Hall by her husband. Skeptics argue that this image was created by superimposing two pictures on top of each other.

of each other
Shown here is frame 352 of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, shot in October 1967. It appears to document a female bigfoot striding along a riverbank in northern California. Maybe Bigfoot really does exist, but rumors have persistently credited the creature filmed by Patterson/Gimlin as the work of John Chambers. He was the lead make-up artist on the original Planet of the Apes, which was also filmed in 1967.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Free Diving

Free diving is an intriguing aquatic sport that involves breath-holding underwater diving. Free divers need to exercise self-control, and they learn how to discipline their bodies and minds in order to reach certain depths on one single breath. Watching the divers make their way through the water with such grace and strength is a constant proof of the new limits a human body can reach.

One of the amazing videos I've watched is of William Trubridge free-diving the arch of Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt. It took him about 2:45m.

Blue Hole is a diving location on east Sinai, a few kilometres north of Dahab, Egypt on the coast of the Red Sea. The Blue Hole is a submarine pothole (a kind of cave), around 130m deep. There is a shallow opening around 6m deep, opening out to the sea and a 26m tunnel, known as the arch, the top of which is 52m. The hole itself and the surrounding area has an abundance of coral and reef fish.The Blue Hole is notorious for the number of diving fatalities which have occurred there earning it the sobriquet, "World's Most Dangerous Dive Site" and the nickname "Diver's Cemetery". The site is signposted by a sign that says "Blue hole: Easy entry". Unfortunately for some, leaving was not quite as simple. Accidents are frequently caused when divers attempt to find the tunnel through the reef (known as "The Arch") connecting the Blue Hole and open water at about 52m depth, 60m is beyond the PADI recreational diving limit (40m) and nitrogen narcosis begins to have an influence. Divers who miss the tunnel sometimes continue descending hoping to find the tunnel lower down and become increasingly narcotised.

The Blue Hole

William Trubridge (born on May 24, 1980) is a New Zealand free-diver and world record-holder. On April 11th 2007 William set a new world record in Constant Weight without fins with a depth of 82 m and a dive time of 3:09. He previously broke this record on the 9th of April to a depth of 81 m breaking the world record set by Martin Štěpánek on the 9th of April 2005.

Watch Trubridge's record-breaking dive here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blade of the Immortal

Blade of the Immortal is a unique manga that caught my attention a year ago. Since I love exploring all sorts of visual arts, I discovered that mangas can offer many hidden treasures. I was instantly drawn to the drawing style of Blade of the Immortal. The mangaka, Hiroaki Samura, has a unique way of portraying the human body. He brings life to the faces, hands, and feet of his characters. The plot is very violent at times and involves scenes with complicated fighting movements that gives Samura plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his talent. Blade of the Immortal won many awards.


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