Monday, March 29, 2010

The Seven Wonders

           The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World compiled by ancient Greek historians are: The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, The Colossus of Rhodes and The Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Earth's Record Holders

           Highest mountain on Earth, Mt. Everest grows about 4 millimeters a year since two tectonic plates which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other. Earths highest waterfall is at Angel Falls in Venezuela which drops 3,212 feet (979 meters). Hottest place on earth is Azizia in Libya 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) and coldest was in Vostok, Antarctica -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius). Pacific is the biggest ocean (32.6% of the Earth's surface). Interesting fact is that Amazon recently became longest river by a bit more than 100 meters. According to Guido Gelli (director of science at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) "Today, we can consider the Amazon the longest river in the world". Amazon is 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers) long and the Nile is 4,160 miles long (6,695 kilometers).

Number Thirteen

          The fear of number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia and it was derived from treiskaideka, the Greek word for thirteen and phobia. There were thirteen people at Christ's Last Supper before his captivity, it is recorder that Christ was crucified on Friday. Routine mission to the moon goes drastically wrong on Apollo 13. Some hotels skip number thirteen when numbering rooms. In Formula 1, there is no car with the number 13.

Smallest Country Molossia

            One of the oldest micronations, the republic of Molossia It is located in Dayton, Nevada. It is inhabited by only four citizens, one of whom, Kevin Baugh is the president. It was founded in May 1977 by Baugh when he was aged fourteen and was formerly known as the republic of Vuldnstein. It has its own space program, has a railway and issues currency (valora) as well. Relations with the neighboring Muchistan have been troubled of late. In 2000, Molassia staged the first ever Micronation Olympic games in tune with the Sydney Olympics.

Travel Back In Time?

        Ever since H G Wells' 'Time Machine', time travel has been the topic of science fiction and has fascinated human minds - young and old alike. However, modern say research in physics shows that this actually is not possible. Particularly after the revolution of the theory of relativity, it is known that space and time are intertwined in a complicated manner such that any body that has mass causes the space-time around it to curve so that it accommodates that body with mass. In addition, although, you can move forward and back in any of the three spatial directions, you can only move forward in time.

Andromeda Galaxy Facts

             Closest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy is Andromeda and even traveling at the speed of light it would take 2 million years to reach it. Andromeda Galaxy, Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 smaller galaxies belong to a group called Local Group. There are 100 billion galaxies that we can observe. Prediction is that there is much more, but Hubble Space Telescope couldn't detect them. The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way is predicted to merge within the next 5 billion years. In the event like this smaller galaxies are consumed by larger ones. Andromeda galaxy is twice as large as Milky Way.

The Age Of The Universe

           After several debates, astronomers have determined the age of the universe by using a Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. By examining the microwave background radiation that WMAP provided, astronomers were able to pin down the age of the universe, accurate to 1%, to 13.7 billion years old.

Do some Math!

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Tallest Man Facts

          The world's tallest man ever recorded in the history of mankind - Robert Wadlow, was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1918, and was 6 feet tall by the time he was even eight years old. He suffered from the disorder Gigantism that makes the lower portions of the body extremely large, while the head and torso remain at normal sizes. This is caused by a pituitary gland tumor that excretes large amounts of growth hormone, resulting in the disorder that is technically called as acromegalic gigantism. He reached a final height of 8 feet 11 inches at the age of twenty-one years, and finally died of an inflamed leg.

Did you know?

A single human blood cell takes only 60 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body.

Who Writes Wikipedia Articles?

              It takes a village of contributors -- adding paragraphs here, inserting references there -- to craft a quality Wikipedia article, according to a new study that identifies the types of contributors who initiate and dominate the process to separate the Wikipedia wheat from chaff.

             "What we found was that there are many different people playing many different roles, and they don't always play the same role in every article," said Sudha Ram, management information systems professor at the University of Arizona, who conducted the analysis with graduate student Jun Liu.

              Ram and Liu first identified six types of contributor roles for individual articles, along with casual contributors who made four or fewer edits to entries. 

            They then analyzed the types of contributors involved and their levels of engagement in a set of high-, medium- and low-quality Wikipedia articles.

            Entries largely built by "all-round editors," who are active in all angles of writing, editing and linking, garnered the most top-quality ratings. Those composed by "sentence starters" and casual contributors, which generally lack source references, fell toward the opposite end of the spectrum.

             Ram largely attributes this division to all-round editors' self-policing habits of not only spotting other contributors' errors, but also their own.

              "Cleaning up other people's mistakes is obviously important as well, but self-policing seems to be really important because when you write something, you want to go in and justify it yourself," Ram said.

              While certain collaborative patterns predict different levels of quality, the findings don't undermine the importance of copy editors, fact-checkers and other contributor roles in the Wikipedia universe.

               "Even if we limit ourselves to this study, one shouldn't conclude that casual users are of no worth, only that high-quality articles tend to be correlated with all-round (editors)," said Joseph Reagle, an adjunct professor at New York University who has written a forthcoming book on Wikipedia. "An implication then for improving the quality of Wikipedia is to help more contributors become well-rounded contributors."

              To that end, the University of Arizona study suggests developing wiki software that would guide contributors through article-specific roles, such as writing or copy editing, and prompt them to justify claims with links and references instead of relying as heavily on peer review.

           After all, while collaboration is king in the wiki world, it doesn't always guarantee quality results.

            "In previous work we've found that having more contributors is associated with higher quality articles only when they coordinate well with each other," said Niki Kittur, a Carnegie Melon University assistant professor who has studied Wikipedia collaboration. "When they don't, adding more contributors doesn't help and can even hurt."

Cristen Conger is a writer for

Winners For the NikkanSports Awards Winter 2010 Season

The results were revealed today for the 13th Annual NikkanSports Drama Awards for the Winter 2010 Season. Users voted online through the NikkanSports site or with their phones for their favorite drama, actor and actress for the winter season. Dramas with Johnny’s idols dominated the top the spots for favorite drama. The cast of “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge” took first place for best drama, actor, and supporting actress. Click to see where your favorite drama ranked!

Best Drama:
1 Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge – 3137
2 Code Blue Season 2 – 2624
3 Tokujo Kabachi!! – 1760
4 Ryoma den – 526
5 Hidarime Tantei EYE- 451

Best Actor:
1 Kamenashi Kazuya – 3032
2 Yamashita Tomohisa – 2656
3 Sakurai Sho – 1915
4 Fukuyama Masaharu – 694
5 Yamada Ryosuke – 430

Best Actress:
1 Kanno Miho – 4372
2 Eikura Nana – 2644
3 Fukada Kyoko – 809
4 Kurashina Kana – 567
5 Narumi Riko – 436

Best Supporting Actor:
1 Kagawa Teruyuki – 1225
2 Tegoshi Yuya – 1064
3 Miyao Shuntaro – 980
4 Uchi Hiroki – 833
5 Asari Yosuke – 675

Best Supporting Actress:
1 Oomasa Aya – 2469
2 Horikita Maki – 1295
3 Toda Erika – 955
4 Aragaki Yui – 907
5 Nagasaku Hiromi – 628

source: nikkansports

Wider Smile, Longer Life?

                     The broader your smile and the deeper the creases around your eyes when you grin, the longer you are likely to live, according to a study published in Psychological Science this week.

                     Researchers led by Ernest Abel of Wayne State University in Michigan studied 230 photographs of major league baseball players who started playing before 1950 and grouped them according to their smiles.

                    The players were rated as "no smile" if they were just looking deadpan at the camera; as "partial smile" if only the muscles around the mouth were involved in their grin; or as "full smile" if the mouth and eyes were smiling and the cheeks were both raised.

                   The players' pictures were taken from the 1952 Baseball Register, a listing of professionals that is packed with statistics such as year of birth, body mass index, marital status and career length, which reflects physical fitness.
                   The wealth of statistics allowed the researchers to control for other factors that could affect lifespan.

                  Of the players who had died as of June 1 last year, those in the no-smile category lived for an average of 72.9 years, those with partial smiles -- just the mouth involved -- died at age 75, while the full-smile players lived to the ripe old age of 79.9 on average, the study showed.

                  "To the extent that smile intensity reflects an underlying emotional disposition, the results of this study are congruent with those of other studies demonstrating that emotions have a positive relationship with mental health, physical health and longevity," the study says.

                    It was unclear, the authors said, if the baseball players had smiled spontaneously or if their grins were produced under orders from a photographer.

                     But, in any case, far fewer individuals had full smiles -- 23 -- than partial or no smiles (64 and 63 respectively), which indicated to the researchers that even if smiles were produced on request, their intensity reflected the player's "general underlying disposition."

                      So the conclusion could be, if you want to live a long, happy life: hit the books, hit the ball and grin in a way that gives you crow's feet.

10 Ways to a Happier Life

1. Don’t worry.
Worry is the least productive of all human activities and thoughts.

2. Don’t let needless fears preoccupy your life.
Most of things we fear never happen!!!

3. Don’t hold grudges.
That is one of the biggest and most unnecessary weights we carry through our lives.

4. Take on one problem at a time.
It’s the only way to handle things anyway; one by one.

5. Don’t take your problems to bed with you.
They are bad and unhealthy companions for good natural sleep and rest.

6. Don’t take on the problems of other people.
They are better equipped to handle their own problems than you are.

7. Don’t live in the past.
It will always be there in your memories to enjoy. But don’t cling to it. Concentrate on what is happening right now in your life and you will be happy in the present and not just the past.

8. Be a good listener.
It is only when one listens that one gets and learns ideas different from ones own.

9. Do not let frustration ruin and rule your life.
Self pity more than anything interferes with positive actions with moving forward in our lives.

10. Count your blessings.
Don’t even forget the smallest blessings. As many small blessings add up to large ones.

Of Farmville and Farmers (In Memoriam of Mendiola Massacre)

January 22, 1987 - Naganap ang isa sa pinakamarahas na dispersal ng mga demonstrador na magsasaka na humihingi lang sa Bagong Pamahalaan ng ganap na reporma sa lupa.

                Namatay ng hindi man lang nakikita ang liwanag ng katarungan at solusyon sa ilang dekada na nilang ipinaglalaban.

                Namatay ng walang katuturan dahil makalipas ang dalawampung taon, inutil pa rin ang sistema at wala pa ding ganap na matinong programa para sa reporma sa lupa. Sabi nga noong mga kaibigan kong Manunulat sa Wika ni Uncle Sam, they died in vain.

               Isang malaking pag-uuyam na ang pangulo noong panahong iyon ay isa sa mga Panginoong may Lupa. Nabibilang sa pamilya na pinapatakbo pa rin ng sistemang feudal. Sistemang ilang dekada ng gustong ipabuwag ng mga pobreng magsasaka. Sistemang patuloy na nagpapahirap sa mga magsasaka.

               Dalawampu’t tatlong taon ang lumipas, wala pa ring hustisya. Wala pa ring kasagutan. Inutil pa rin ang sistema. Sa aking opinyon, magpapatuloy ang ganyang sistema hangga’t may pinoprotektahang interes ang mga nakaupo sa puwesto - na karamihan naman ay mga Panginoon ding may Lupa.

                Dalawampu’t tatlong taon ang lumipas, panibagong mga Magsasaka ang isinilang. Ngunit hindi sila nakikibaka para maangkin ang lupang ilang taon na nilang sinasaka. Hindi sila nagpapagal na magsaka sa ilalim ng tirik na init ng araw para sa kanilang ikabubuhay at upang tayo ay may makain. Hindi sila nagmamartsa at nagha-hunger strike para kalampagin ang mga opisyal. At hindi sila binabaril na parang mga itik sa isang madugong dispersal.

                Sabi ng kaibigan ko, sila day ay mga “Frustrated na Magsasaka.”


                Sana sa paglalaro mo ng Farmville, maalala mo ang labintatlong (13) pinatay sa Mendiola at ang libo-libong mga Tunay na Magsasaka na patuloy pa ring nakikibaka sa kanilang karapatan ng pagmamay-ari sa lupa.

               Sana sa pagbibigay mo ng gifts sa mga kapitbahay mong kapwa frustrated na magsasaka, at sa pagtulong para ma-fertilize ang kanilang mga pananim, makatulong ka rin sa mga Tunay na Magsasaka kahit sa iyong mumunting paraan.

               Parang tanga lang isipin, na tuwang-tuwa ang mga frustrated na magsasaka kapag tumaas na ang iyong level at experience, o kapag nakabili ka ng mga Villas, e iyon naman ay isang virtual na programa. Hindi tangible. Hindi maibebenta. Hindi mapapakinabangan. Inner happiness lang. Pasensya ka na, Utilitarian at Pragmatist kasi ako paminsan-minsan. Kanya-kaniyang trip lang.

                Minsan nga, nanalangin ako sa Panginoong Zynga na dapat ay may bagyo sa Farmville at hindi lang palaging fine weather para maranasan naman ng mga virtual na magsasaka ang panlulumo ng mga tunay na magsasaka na sinalanta ng mga nagdaang bagyo ang mga pananim. Hindi naman niya ako pinakinggan. Kulang pa daw kasi ang XP ko.

                Dadating ang panahon na mapapalitan na ang Facebook. Mawawala sa uso ang Farmville [Hindi imposible yun. Yun ngang Friendster na sinasamba natin noon, ibinaon na natin sa limot, eto pa kaya?] pero hindi pa din tapos ang paghihikahos ng mga Tunay na Magsasaka hangga’t makasarili ang nagpapatakbo at inutil ang pinapatakbong sistema.

                Hindi lang labintatlo ang mamamatay sa dispersal.

               Marami pa rin ang maya’t mayang magma-martsa at magha-hunger strike.

              Marami pa ring magsasaka ang mamamatay ng hindi nasisilayan ang liwanag ng hustisya at solusyon sa ilang dekada na nilang ipinaglalabang pagmamay-ari sa lupa.

              Marami pang dapat ayusin. Marami pang dapat gawin. Pero hindi mangyayari iyon hangga’t nakaupo ang karamihan sa harap ng computer at nagtatanim.