This page is intended to provide the reader an insight into the functionality of a perpetually whimsical mind.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Indian People Drive - Hilarious!

An Indian friend of mine sent this to me, and I HAD to share this with everyone. The traffic system works exactly like that in the rest of South Asia. God Bless those people who have to drive around in that part of the world all day long.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Salman Khan sentenced to five years imprisonment

I don't usually follow Bollywood (Indian Film Industry) events, but I couldn't stop myself from posting this news because this guy is an extremely famous actor. Read on...

Bollywood star Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in prison for poaching rare antelope.

The judge in Jodhpur in India's western Rajasthan state also fined Khan 25,000 rupees ($550). An accomplice was given one year in jail. Khan, who was in court to hear the verdict, has always denied wrong-doing. He was sentenced to a year in prison in February in an earlier poaching case, but had remained out of custody while appealing against that verdict.

As camera flashbulbs went off, a visibly shaken Khan was bundled into a police van and taken to Jodphur Central Jail. His lawyers say he will appeal against the verdict. "We will file an appeal on Wednesday," Khan's lawyer, Hastimal Saraswat, said. "I believe our case is strong on merit," he added. [...]

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Evolution's Missing Link Discovered

Scientists have made one of the most important fossil finds in history: a missing link between fish and land animals, showing how creatures first walked out of the water and on to dry land more than 375m years ago. Palaeontologists have said that the find, a crocodile-like animal called the Tiktaalik roseae and described today in the journal Nature, could become an icon of evolution in action - like Archaeopteryx, the famous fossil that bridged the gap between reptiles and birds.

As such, it will be a blow to proponents of intelligent design, who claim that the many gaps in the fossil record show evidence of some higher power. Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, said: "Our emergence on to the land is one of the more significant rites of passage in our evolutionary history, and Tiktaalik is an important link in the story." Tiktaalik - the name means "a large, shallow-water fish" in the Inuit language Inuktikuk - shows that the evolution of animals from living in water to living on land happened gradually, with fish first living in shallow water.

The animal lived in the Devonian era lasting from 417m to 354m years ago, and had a skull, neck, and ribs similar to early limbed animals (known as tetrapods), as well as a more primitive jaw, fins, and scales akin to fish. The scientists who discovered it say the animal was a predator with sharp teeth, a crocodile-like head, and a body that grew up to 2.75 metres (9ft) long. "It's very important for a number of reasons, one of which is simply the fact that it's so well-preserved and complete," said Jennifer Clack, a paleontologist at Cambridge University and author of an accompanying article in Nature.

Scientists have previously been able to trace the transition of fish into limbed animals only crudely over the millions of years they anticipate the process took place. They suspected that an animal which bridged the gap between fish and land-based tetrapods must have existed - but, until now, there had been scant evidence of one. "Tiktaalik blurs the boundary between fish and land-living animal both in terms of its anatomy and its way of life," said Neil Shubin, a biologist at the University of Chicago, and a leader of the expedition which found Tiktaalik.

The near-pristine fossil was found on Ellesmere Island, Canada, which is 600 miles from the north pole in the Arctic Circle. Scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University led several expeditions into the inhospitable icy desert to search for the fossils. The find is the first complete evidence of an animal that was on the verge of the transition from water to land. "The find is a dream come true," said Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

"We knew that the rocks on Ellesmere Island offered a glimpse into the right time period and were formed in the right kinds of environments to provide the potential for finding fossils documenting this important evolutionary transition." When Tiktaalik lived, the Canadian Arctic region was part of a land mass which straddled the equator. Like the Amazon basin today, it had a subtropical climate and the animal lived in small streams. The skeleton indicates that it could support its body under the force of gravity.

Farish Jenkins, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University said: "This represents a critical early phase in the evolution of all limbed animals, including humans - albeit a very ancient step." Tiktaalik also gives biologists a new understanding of how fins turned into limbs. Its fin contains bones that compare to the upper arm, forearm and primitive parts of the hand of land-living animals. "Most of the major joints of the fin are functional in this fish," Professor Shubin said.

"The shoulder, elbow and even parts of the wrist are already there and working in ways similar to the earliest land-living animals." Dr Clack said that, judging from the fossil, the first evolutionary transition from sea to land probably involved learning how to breathe air. "Tiktaalik has lost a series of bones that, in fishes, covers the gill region and helps to operate the gill-breathing mechanism," she said. "The air-breathing mechanism it had would have been elaborated and having lost the series of bones that lies between the head and the shoulder girdle means it's got a neck, it can raise its head more easily in order to gulp the air.

"The flexible robust limbs appear to be connected with pushing the head out of the water to breathe the air." H Richard Lane, director of sedimentary geology and palaeobiology at the US National Science Foundation, said: "These exciting discoveries are providing fossil Rosetta stones for a deeper understanding of this evolutionary milestone - fish to land-roaming tetrapods." A cast of the fossil goes on display at the Science Museum in South Kensington central London today.

Source: The Guardian

US Economy continues to produce jobs

I think a lot of jobs may be being created in the defense industry. Whenever a Republican government is in power, you can observe an emphasis on recruiting in the armed forces. You can see their advertisements on TV, in the newspapers and even on the streets where army recruiters roam the streets of the neighborhoods where the less fortunate reside.

The armed forces are constantly looking to strengthen their defenses by hiring skilled mechanical, aeronautical, electrical, and civil engineers. Of course, the list does not end there, but those are some of the most obvious professions in high demand. In addition, they are always on the lookout for doctors and nurses to assist with their medical staff. Here is an article that featured on BBC where they talk about the increase in job production.

The US economy created 211,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, the Labor Department said. The rate at which employers added jobs surprised analysts, who had forecast 190,000 new posts. However, the Labor Department revised down the number of jobs created in January and February by 34,000. March wage growth was below forecasts at 0.2%, but fears remain that current high levels of employment could boost consumption levels and raise inflation.

The markets are also worried that current hiring levels could lead to inflationary pay rises, which might then encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in an effort to contain them. "I think the Fed wants the unemployment rate to stop going down pretty much immediately, and if it doesn't the Fed will keep tightening," said economist Jim O'Sullivan of UBS Securities in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Fed has raised its key short-term interest rate 15 times since mid-2004, and many analysts believe the current rate of 4.75% marks the latter stages of its rate-rising cycle. Not all industry sectors created jobs in March. Manufacturing employment fell by 5,000 after a 10,000 drop in February, while transportation firms shed 7,600 posts.

Service sector businesses led the hiring, recruiting 202,000 new staff in March, following on from the 194,000 in February.

Source: BBC

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Firefox Themes

Check out these sylish themes for Firefox! They have hundreds of different themes (skins) that you can add on to your Firefox browser. These themes are universal skins, meaning, they apply to each window, scrollbar and title bar to not only the external portion of the browser, but even inside a webpage! That's right, even the scrollbards inside a particular webpage will be implemented with the selected theme! Download Firefox themes here.