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Showing posts from March, 2007

Call that Humiliation?

Yep! Some may call that humiliation!

"The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What's more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting "stress positions", which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It's all…

Namesake

Here is an excerpt from a message I wrote to a friend regarding the movie Namesake:

We've just returned from seeing a late night movie, "Namesake", an excellent story of an immigrant family, their timidity, boldness, laughter, tears, love and despair along with the natural cycle of birth and death, overall, the universal humanity that "Namesake" portrays is quite remarkable. I recommend you to see this movie. It is being played at Eau Claire Market. The link for the movie is the following: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thenamesake/

It is based on Jhumpa Lahiri's second book with the same title, I'd read it a few years ago, forgotten most of the detail until it all came back from this nicely directed movie. If you have time also read Jhumpa Lahiri's very first book, Interpreter of Maladies, a short story book that won Pulitzer Prize.

Iraq's 'Arab Idol' captivates nation

People of Iraq get a glimpse of hope amid showering bombs and blistering hatred. An Iraqi girl won an Arab version of "American Idol". Here is a reaction from an Iraqi:

"Her triumph will show the world that Iraqis will still sing despite their wounds," Israa Tariq, a homemaker from Baghdad's al-Ghadeer neighborhood, said before Friday's final episode.

Link to the story:
Iraq's 'Arab Idol' captivates nation

Viet Nam: Internet activist priest imprisoned

A 60 year old Catholic priest and four of his associates who dared to speak against the Vietnamese government are sentenced to jail today. Here is a response from Amnesty International:

"The politically-motivated charges against Father Ly and his associates are a blatant attempt to silence them and to scare off other critics of the government."

"This sentence means Father Ly will be a prisoner of conscience for the fourth time in two decades. It is indicative of a broader crackdown on dissent by the Vietnamese authorities that has been intensifying since the country held the APEC meeting last November."

"Father Ly and his associates are the first people who have been brought to trial during the crackdown -- we fear others will follow."

"The Vietnamese authorities must immediately release Father Ly, Nguyen Phong, and the three others and stop harassing and arresting those who speak out against the government."

Make yourself aware of what is really go…

Free Online Photo Editors

Here are five links for folks with passion in photography or for anyone who would like to have a few choices brushing up those newly taken photos.

1. http://www.fauxto.com/
2. http://www.picnik.com/
3. http://www.picture2life.com/
4. http://pixenate.com/
5. http://snipshot.com/

In software no good deed goes unpunished

For tech enthusiasts the following article published in Code Craft states the obvious moral of the story in its very last line:
"If the culture is broken, the fastest way to make enemies is to do more than everyone around you." Not much different from other fields.

Read the full article from the following link:
In software no good deed goes unpunished

Look on those monuments to megalomania, and despair

Projection of power is behind world's most architectural marvels. Awe inspiring gigantic palaces, tallest of the tallest buildings, sinewed curvatures of domes, diamond and gold glittering arches made from mathematical precision from antiquity or forthcoming technological singularity. "Men build great palaces to show they are strong, or defy the world, or prove their worth to themselves. Or to hide."

Ben Macintyre analyzes Burma's ruthless dictator's recent "opening" of their "Seat of Kings", a city built for the Burmese juntas, "In the foetid depths of the Burmese jungle, on the road to Mandalay, slave labourers toil to build a glinting new metropolis for their military overlords. This is Naypyitaw, “Seat of Kings”, the new capital city decreed by Burma’s brutal junta, and the latest (and oddest) example of autocracy as architecture."

The writer accurately observes that "the moment of greatest architectural extravagance seems oft…

Cricket's showpiece just a sham

I do not agree with Chris Rattue's plea "for the abandonment of a sporting world tournament." The writer depicts a strong argument on cricket's past and present problem with "match-fixing" along with other world sports' similar fraudulent episodes throughout the past few decades. One possible solution is to keep the players accountable on their roles in deceptions. Chris Rattue asks: "Why have the cricketers themselves, whose co-operation lies at the heart of these fraudulent operations, not faced the weight of the law? Why on earth didn't a rat like Hansie Cronje end up behind bars?"

Complete abandonment of a sporting world tournament is not realistic, even could be detrimental to the whole cause of world unity, however sacerdotal creed or pompous that may sound, but implementing "laws" to the guilty parties, like the immoral players and the other "match-fixers" could certainly alleviate various "unholy" malad…

The Best Exercise You're Not Doing

"And there lies an important point: Despite the plethora of gym equipment available, some of the greatest exercises remain the ones you can do with just your body weight—for instance, the single-arm pullup and the handstand pushup. Or the lower-body version, the best movement to build leg strength and improve athletic performance: the full-range, rock-bottom, single-leg squat."

Article Link: http://health.msn.com/dietfitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100150894

You Are Also What You Drink

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What worries me most? Perhaps disease and death. Maladies of various forms that may put a resounding full-stop on this fledgling existence. Read the following excerpt from New York Times: "What worries you most? Decaying teeth, thinning bones, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer, obesity? Whatever tops your list, you may be surprised to know that all of these health problems are linked to the beverages you drink — or don’t drink."

A good article to read. Full link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/27/health/27brody.html

You Are Also What You Drink - New York Times

When I remember, he lives

A touching article of a writer's pain remembering his departed father. Click here to read the full article. Here is a memorable paragraph: "I seem incapable of being inspired by anything but his loss, living with it, remembering it, trying not to forget and as the years roll by one after the other probably forgetting and not even realizing that I have forgotten so many little things here and there."

The writer completes with a poignant observation: "But the important thing I tell myself over and over is that I remember, and when I remember, he lives."

Regards,
Sohel

Oligarchs and Festooned Hyperbole

Oligarchs and Festooned HyperboleBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)March 11, 2007In past 12 months the world's third richest man Mr. Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico made about $2.2 million per hour. What an astonishing figure! What a success story from the land of Mexico whose reputation, fairly and unfairly, to be the "illegal immigrants" of America in the north, or perhaps low wage workers in the farm picking apples, oranges, or doing ever tedious dish washing in countless American restaurants.

Mr. Carlos Slim Helu is indeed a success story. Himself from a Lebanese immigrant family, he is a self-made man who has exceptional business acumen. In merely less than two decades, Mr. Slim Helu created this giant empire of his with steadfast management and effective direction of his mega corporation. His current worth is the whopping $49 billion, of this "miracle" number he has made about $19 billion in past 12 months alone. Now the Mexicans whose average earning is about $2.00 a d…

Big Business in Body Parts

If you are faint hearted or stories of blood and bones give you chill or migraine, you should not read the story at Los Angeles Times published a few days ago. Link is here in case you feel brave to trudge along cadaver, body snatcher and news of making millions of dollar in profit from human bones and flesh by the Biotechnology companies. Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-howley6mar06,0,3271134.story?coll=la-opinion-center

Read the following extract:
Modern medicine has come to rely on a steady supply of products generated from the tissues of the dead. Organs are allocated to recipients by a medical bureaucracy, so there is no legal commercial market in them. But heart valves, tendons, ligaments and the like are all transplantable, and they all fetch a price. Osteotech Inc., another New Jersey company, grinds human bone into a putty used to patch small breaks. Skeletal grafts help cancer patients replace arm and leg bone lost because of illness. And it's not all borne…

10 Things You Didn't Know About You

LiveScience.com is a cool site. Mostly forgotten topics from high school in the distant past that one does not think about much in day to day living, and also more advanced knowledge in Human Biology, Animal World, Forces of Nature, Technology, Environment, Science of Fiction, History and Other News are neatly presented as separate topics in this well designed website.

I found the following information on human biology quite interesting. Read it with audio feature from the following link: http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/top_10_about_you-10.html

"10 Things You Didn't Know About You"

10. Your Stomach Secretes Corrosive Acid
There's one dangerous liquid no airport security can confiscate from you: It's in your gut. Your stomach cells secrete hydrochloric acid, a corrosive compound used to treat metals in the industrial world. It can pickle steel, but mucous lining the stomach wall keeps this poisonous liquid safely in the digestive system, breaking down lunch.

Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity

Researchers at the Copenhagen University state that all the current biology and medical textbooks relay wrong information on the very basic communication channel that our body has. "The common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity is wrong and they really transmit sound."

Read the following extract:

According to the traditional explanation of molecular biology, an electrical pulse is sent from one end of the nerve to the other with the help of electrically charged salts that pass through ion channels and a membrane that sheathes the nerves. That membrane is made of lipids and proteins.Scientists argue that cannot be possible since "The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced."

They argue that "sound propagation is a much more likely explanation. Although sound waves usually weaken as they spread out, a medium with the rig…

"The Warlord" in Latin America

Home made cowboy hats, elegant prawn salads and that special prime Brazilian steak! Sound grand and yummy! Neatly tucked away from all the angry protests in the streets, Mr. Bush and his jovial associates dance with the rhythm of samba, cuddle the amazon miniaturized forest, while the ever hopeful Brazilian President Lula "hopes the visit will boost both Brazil's international profile and its chances of a seat on the UN security council. He described the new "strategic alliance" between Brazil and the US as a "historic moment" and the first step towards creating a "global biofuel market"."

"Yet anger was the popular reaction. Hours before Mr Bush touched down in Sao Paulo protests broke out across Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro the US consulate was spattered with red paint. In Porto Alegre protesters burned George Bush dolls. The centre of Sao Paulo erupted in violence."

Read the full article from The Guardian link: http://www.guardian.co…

Crisis in Darfur Expands

A few video stories from Darfur. Stories of forgotten men, women and children. Click below to see them:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/interactives/chad/ Also, the following link will provide you a few background information on this growing crisis. It will also show you how insensitive the world of ours is. These writings are from 2004. Three long years have passed, but the situation still remains horribly the same for the helpless people in the African desert.

http://sohelkarim.blogspot.com/search?q=Darfur

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

U.S. Objects to Proposed Canadian Coal Mine

Another "unexpected" but welcome development from the current U.S. State Department. Perhaps there are cool heads working, who can foresee the disaster this proposed coal mine by a Canadian company could impose degrading environment in the surrounding area. "The North Fork of the Flathead, which the federal government says would quickly be contaminated with heavy metals and other mining pollutants, forms the western boundary of Glacier Park. It then flows south into Flathead Lake, often described as the largest pristine lake in the nation and a major recreation site."

U.S. government says, "We believe that significant adverse environmental effects may occur in the United States should the Cline Mining Company project move forward as proposed".

Read the full news from the following link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/09/AR2007030901443.html

A Few Positive Steps in Bangladesh

A Few Positive Steps in BangladeshBy Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
March 9, 2007



Powerful men and women used to be beyond the law in Bangladesh. They could do anything they want. They could get away from any kind of misdeeds or blatant crimes. Their pervasive political connections, accumulated wealth from unfair means and limitless power provided guarantee of their complete indemnity from justice.

Something really "odd" is occurring in Bangladesh. All these "untouchables", mega-demigods, whose once murky shadow on the street would have scared the life out of any powerless citizens of Bangladesh, are getting apprehended, arrested, putting into locked up place where they really belong.

The intermingling of corrupt politics of godfather, godmother like politicians with immoral greed among unashamed industrialists had robbed millions of impoverished Bangladeshis from their potential livelihoods. The senseless talk of creating a "Future Bangladesh" by the very same corru…

Pan's Labyrinth - a Good Movie to See

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This evening I've seen Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish language film with English subtitle. From the very moment of its beginning, Pan's Labyrinth takes the viewer into its fantastical maze of dark reality and enchanting magical world, moving in and out of them with effortless ease while depicting a violent world of Franco's fascist Spain in 1944. The writer-director Del-Toro has woven this beautifully crafted movie, frame by frame, minute by minute, where the senseless war, its brutality, the very real victims, their pains and agonies, are so stunningly detail and artistically presented that for many viewer Pan's Labyrinth will surely remain to be an affecting force.

This is indeed one of the best movies I've seen in many years!

Read Roger Ebert's equally exquisite review of this movie from the following link: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061228/REVIEWS/61228001/1023

Regards,
Sohel

Bringing TV to the Web

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Only a few months from now look out for Joost. These guys already made billions before through their Kazaa in 2001 and Skype in 2003, now they will make more with their new venture. Inspiring!

Sohel


Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007

Bringing TV to the Web

Joost Founders Janus Friss (left) and Niklas Zennstrom pick up a television set inset with images of themselves.

By Jeremy Caplan Once you've sold a company for $2.6 billion, life on the beach can be tempting, particularly if you're Scandinavian. But for dotcom veterans Janus Friis, 30, and Niklas Zennstrom, 40, whose sale of Skype to eBay rocketed them toward Gatesian wealth, the lure of a Great Leap Backward has proved stronger than sun and sand. Having launched Kazaa, one of the first music-file-sharing networks, in 2001 and Skype, the first big Internet-powered phone service, in 2003, the duo began work a year ago on a secret venture dubbed the Venice Project, whose goal was to bring yet another disruptive technology to your computer. …