Saturday, May 26, 2007

How To Start A Fire Using A Condom

Making Fire Using a Balloon

Using a Water Balloon:

The more sphericle, the better the lens works. If the balloon is too big, it becomes a squashed sphere and it's focal point becomes distorted, like a line instead of a tight circle. Sometimes just giving the balloon a squeeze in the right axis will bring the light back to a nice tight circle.
Use good tinders. I'm using Fomes fomentarius, false tinder fungus.

Using a Condom:

Clear latex balloons, condoms and gloves are opaque untill they stretch. The focal length on these spheres is short, about one to two inches, depending on the size of the balloon.

I'm sure a latex glove would also work. I've used Saran Wrap draped over a wide mouth coffee mug. Just add water and twist up the corners to make a water balloon lens. You can pop a dark air filled balloon with the water balloon lens. I think clear animal intestine could also be used.
Setting the water balloon on top of a coffee mug in the freezer for a few hours will freeze the outer surface of the water, with the center still liquid. That way it will stay clear. Now peel off the latex and use the ice sphere to start a fire.

Friday, May 25, 2007

60-Year-Old Woman Delivers Twin Boys

Frieda Birnbaum, 60, gave birth to twin boys Tuesday, becoming the oldest woman to give birth to twins in the United States.

The babies were delivered at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., by caesarean section.

"Baby A" weighed 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces, and "Baby B" weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces.

Birnbaum said she felt great after delivering the two boys. "This is so wonderful, I feel so relaxed. It has been a great experience," she said.

Early Wednesday morning the boys were already breathing on their own and getting ready for a bottle feeding, doctors from the hospital said.

Mom rested well all night, and doctors described the morning as "a normal postpartum day one, without a hitch!"

Birnbaum, who is a psychologist, and her husband Ken, a Manhattan attorney, have three other children — a 6-year-old son, a 29-year-old daughter and a 33-year-old son.

The husband and wife of 38 years said they had not settled on the names, but were leaning toward Jake and Jared.

Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, director of prenatal diagnostics and therapeutics in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center, oversaw Birnbaum's pregnancy and delivered the twins.

"This was a fabulous outcome. I'm extremely thrilled and delighted to have delivered a healthy mom and two healthy baby boys," he said. "They're doing very well."

Before her noontime C-section, Birnbaum said she underwent in-vitro fertilization (IVF) last year in Cape Town, South Africa, so her youngest son, Ari, would have siblings closer to his age and because she wanted older women to be able to deliver children “without a stigma attached.”

“My daughter feels I should be living in Florida having a good life,” said Birnbaum, of Saddle River, N.J. “I hope when she’s older, she’ll see this and understand she has choices. I don’t feel like I’m 60. I don’t know what 60 is meant to be.”

Al-Khan said there is just no rulebook for handling a pregnancy such as this one.

"This was high risk, definitely; there were no guidelines of what to do and what to look for in a pregnancy at the age to 60. Can the heart, or the kidneys withstand the pregnancy?" Al-Khan asked. "It becomes a little risky to take care of this pregnancy, because no one has the experience. You have to utilized your medical judgment."

Birnbaum’s son Ari was also conceived by IVF in a procedure done in New York City. Dr. Manny Alvarez, the chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center and the health managing editor of, delivered the boy.

Birnbaum made the decision to have more children, preferably twins, one stormy day on a cruise ship after reading a magazine article about women having older children.

She and her husband tried unsuccessfully to conceive again in New York and later made the decision to go to South Africa after researching medical centers that specialize in IVF for older women.

Birnbaum said she previously had some of her eggs frozen, but declined to say whether those eggs were used to conceive the twins.

The couple said they were overjoyed to learn they would be having twins. Birnbaum said she looks forward to dressing the boys in matching outfits.

Although her eldest son worries she won’t have enough spare time to spend with his children, when he has them, that is, Birnbaum said she has more than enough energy to go around.

Birnbaum said she wants her new twins, like her other children, to be happy, confident and healthy.

There are no federal standards for age limits on IVF, but the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology in the U.S. recommends that women be under 50 years old if they are undergoing IVF with a donor egg, and under 44 if they are using their own eggs.

Al-Khan went on to say that despite his early concerns about overseeing a pregnancy with a mother of this age, the pregnancy went very smoothly.

“The question is what is old,” he said. “It’s asked over and over again. And that’s a question I don’t even know the answer to anymore.”

Birnbaum doesn’t feel old and plans on sticking around for a while.

“My father lived to 92 and my mother lived to 89,” she said. “I plan to be around for a long time.”

While Birnbaum is the oldest woman to give birth to twins in the U.S., the oldest woman on record to give birth is Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara, a Spanish woman who gave birth by cesarean section to twin boys on Dec. 29, 2006 — just seven days shy of her 67th birthday.

Birnbaum hopes to inspire other women through her actions. She is planning on writing a book about her experience with Al-Khan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Female hammerhead sharks can reproduce without having sex

Captive shark had 'virgin birth'
The evidence comes from a shark at Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska which gave birth to a pup in 2001 despite having had no contact with a male.

Genetic tests by a team from Belfast, Nebraska and Florida prove conclusively the young animal possessed no paternal DNA, Biology Letters journal reports.

The type of reproduction exhibited had been seen before in bony fish but never in cartilaginous fish such as sharks.

Parthenogenesis, as this type of reproduction is known, occurs when an egg cell is triggered to develop as an embryo without the addition of any genetic material from a male sperm cell.

Population concern

The puzzle over the hammerhead birth was reported widely in 2001, but it is only with the emergence of new DNA profiling techniques that scientists have now been able to show irrefutably what happened.

The investigation of the birth was conducted by the research team from Queen's University Belfast, the Southeastern University in Florida, and Henry Doorly Zoo itself.

The scientists say the discovery raises important issues about shark conservation.

In the wild, these animals have come under extreme pressure through overfishing and many species have experienced sharp declines.

If dwindling shark groups resort to parthenogenesis to reproduce because females have difficulty finding mates, this is likely to weaken populations still further, the researchers warn.

The reason is that asexual reproduction reduces genetic diversity and this makes it harder for organisms to adapt - to changed environmental conditions or the emergence of a new disease, for example.

With normal sex, the mixing of maternal and paternal DNA introduces genetic novelty which can give animals new traits that might be advantageous in their new circumstances.

Sex marks

Dr Paulo Prodohl, a co-author on the Biology Letters paper from Queen's School of Biological Sciences, said: "Vertebrates in general have evolved away from parthenogenesis to boost genetic diversity and enhance evolutionary potential.

"The concern for sharks is that not only could we be reducing their numbers but we could be making them less fit as well."

"Our findings will now have to be taken into consideration for any conservation management strategy, especially for overexploited species."

The birth of the hammerhead (of the bonnethead species, Sphyrna tiburo) at Henry Doorly was as tragic as it was puzzling.

The new pup was soon killed by a stingray before keepers could remove it from its tank.

At the time, some theorised that a male tiger shark kept at the zoo could have been the father - but the institution's three bonnethead females had none of the bite marks that are usually inflicted on their gender during shark sex.

Some even suggested that one of the females could have had sex in the wild and stored the sperm in her body - but the three-year period in captivity made this explanation highly unlikely.

The new tests on the dead pup's tissues now show the newborn's DNA only matched up with one of the females - and there was none of any male origin.

Although extremely rare in vertebrates, parthenogenesis (out of the Greek for "virgin birth") occurs in a number of lower animals. Insects such as bees and ants use it to produce their drones, for example.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The birth of a chicken

We've often heard how a chick hatches from an egg, but how many have actually seen the whole process? Well, here's a series of images that shows you the actual metamorphosis process, just in case you are interested!

More images after the jump.

Source:- Pravdva

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Largest Natural Pearl for Sale to Be Auctioned in Abu Dhabi

In this undated handout picture made available by Life Style Auctions on May 3, 2007, The "Arco Valley Pearl", 3.1 inches in length, will be up for bidding at Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace and on the Internet, where it is estimated to fetch up to $8 million. The 575-carat pearl from 12th century Mongolia once belonged to Chinese emperors, Persian kings, the grandson of Genghis Khan and Marco Polo. (AP Photo/Life Style Auctions, HO)

It has been passed down for 800 years, from Chinese emperors to Marco Polo. The name of its current owner is a secret. But Thursday, hundreds of people will get the chance to buy the world's largest natural pearl on the market.

The "Arco Valley Pearl" 3.1 inches in length will be up for bidding at Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace and on the Internet, where it is estimated to fetch up to $8 million.

The 575-carat pearl from 12th century Mongolia once belonged to Chinese emperors, Persian kings, the grandson of Genghis Khan and Marco Polo.

The value of the saltwater pearl is based on its size, color, weight, exclusivity, history and records of what people have been prepared to pay for similar precious items.

"It's 800 years old and it still takes your breath away," said Khaled al-Sayegh, 35, a jeweler from Abu Dhabi and chairman of the organizing committee for Thursday's event.

Arco Valley is only the biggest pearl up for sale in the world.

The 9.45-inch Pearl of Allah is the world's largest. It was found by a diver off the Philippine island of Palawan in 1934 and is stored in a museum in that country.

The Arco Valley pearl, named after a previous owner from Austria's Arco Valley family dynasty, is white with a touch of blue, mixed with pink and cream colors on its sides. It has been drilled three times: to fit among the jewels of an unknown woman's tiara, to go with a ceremonial mandarin suit and to fit a crown or turban decorated with precious stones belonging to a Persian king.

It has since been restored to its original shape.

Court documents prove the pearl was owned by Kublai Khan, the 13th century emperor of China and grandson of Genghis Khan. Experts believe Kublai Khan gave the pearl to Marco Polo as a gift.

Al-Sayegh said he and his partner brought the Arco Valley pearl to Abu Dhabi less than two months ago. He said the pearl was privately owned but did not disclose the owner's name.

At least 400 people from the Emirates, Gulf countries, China, India, Britain, the U.S. and Tahiti are expected to attend the auction.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The girl who was stoned to death for falling in love

A teenage girl lies dead on the ground in a pool of her own blood.

Her once groomed hair is cast across her face like a rag doll's, her skirt pulled up to complete her humiliation.

In another image, she is seen lying on her side, her face battered and bloodied, barely recognisable.

The concrete block used to smash in her face lies next to her.

Du'a Khalil Aswad was beaten, kicked and stoned for 30 minutes at the hands of a lynch mob before one of her attackers launched a carefully aimed fatal blow.

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The murder was carried out in public, watched by hundreds of men cheering and yelling. Du'a's crime? To fall in love with a Sunni boy. Her family practised the Yezidi religion.

The Sunnis and Yezidis hate each other. When Du'a ran away with her Sunni boyfriend, a sentence of death was passed on her.

This act of medieval savagery took place last month in a town in northern Iraq, in the fledgling 'democracy' created by Bush and Blair when they invaded the country in 2003 and 'freed' its people.

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The sickening scenes, which defy belief in every sense, were captured by some of the observers and participants who thought it would be proper to record these harrowing events as some sort of memento.

Perhaps they thought it would serve as a warning to other young people who dared to follow their hearts - not the strictures of a religion which will not brook dissent - and punishes adolescent impetuosity with the most brutal of public murders.

The killing was filmed on a number of mobile phones. The images were then - all too predictably - posted on the internet.

The Mail takes no pleasure in publishing these pictures. But we believe our readers should witness the depths of the depravity still being carried out in the 21st century in the name of 'honour'.

Perhaps, then, something can be done to prevent it happening again.

Of course, anyone who takes even a passing interest in news is all too aware of the tragedy that has engulfed the people of Iraq: the daily bombings, murders and kidnappings.

The subjugation of its women, however, has been largely ignored. Yet according to cultural observers, the number of so-called 'honour killings' has increased in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Campaigners say there is an 'epidemic' of such killings in the wartorn country. Autopsy reports in Baghdad often conclude with the verdict: "Killed to wash away her disgrace."

The filming of Du'a's death was just one more macabre element of her killing, but it has achieved something those bloodthirsty amateur filmmakers could not have predicted: it has brought such practices into the open and exposed them to the wider world.

It is, of course, too late for Du'a, a strikingly pretty young girl with long auburn hair. The 17-year-old must have hoped that the 'liberation' of her country would afford her opportunities she might otherwise never have had - for her education and a life of happiness free from oppression.

She lived with her family in the town of Bashika, near Mosul. They were neither rich nor poor.

It is believed Du'a met her Sunni boyfriend - whose name is not known - several months ago. They had grown up in an environment where hatred against rival factions is the norm.

The Yezidis - a Gnostic sect which combines Islamic teachings with Persian religions - despise the Sunnis; the Sunnis loathe the Yezidis.

Du'a and her boyfriend would have been all too aware that theirs was a forbidden love. But like so many teenagers before them, right back to the illicit love of Romeo and Juliet, they couldn't help themselves.

For a while, they met in secret. It was during one such highly charged meeting that they came up with a plan to run away together.

It is not clear whether this desperate measure was a result of their having sought and been refused permission to marry, or if they decided to do it knowing that such permission would never be obtained.

"Her family would never have agreed to such a marriage," says Diana Nammi, a leading Kurdish women's rights campaigner.

Some Muslim groups have claimed that Du'a converted to Islam shortly before her murder. According to other reports, her boyfriend denies this.

They ran away together to an address in Bashika. The girl's family alerted the police and Du'a and her boyfriend were found just a few days later.

According to Ms Nammi, who is calling for the girl's killers to be brought to justice, Du'a was arrested and put into prison.

A few days later, the police apparently received assurances from the leader of her tribe - who Ms Nammi believes is Du'a's uncle - that the girl would not be harmed.

What happened next is the subject of conflicting reports. According to some, the house of the tribal leader was stormed by a mob and Du'a dragged out and killed.

Ms Nammi, however, says she has information that it was the tribal leader who betrayed his niece to the mob. In this man's eyes, Du'a had committed an unforgiveable crime, punishable by death.

The family's 'honour' had been besmirched. The moment Du'a was placed in his house, her fate was sealed.

On April 7, Du'a was brought out of the house in a headlock to face the lynch mob. Hundreds of men were waiting for her - the excited atmosphere is said to have resembled a large sporting event - but no women.

On the video, Du'a's screams can be heard as she is dragged to the ground. In a further humiliation, her lower body has been stripped.

Instinctively, Du'a tries to cover herself; only later was a piece of clothing thrown over her.

She is surrounded by an enormous crowd jockeying for a good view of the ritualistic killing. About nine men take part in the attack, including, it is thought, members of the girl's family.

To any father of a daughter, that a helpless girl should be set upon with such cowardly savagery is beyond comprehension. One can barely imagine her terror.

It is a profoundly disturbing spectacle. One man kicks her hard between the legs as she screams in agony. Du'a tries to lift herself up, but someone hurls a concrete block into her face.

Another man stamps on her face. Someone kicks her in the stomach. Police officers stand idly by, some of them apparently enjoying the spectacle as much as anyone else.

Meanwhile, some observers film the execution on their mobile phones - the modern world intruding on a spectacle that belongs more in the Roman arena than in an apparently civilised society.

After half an hour of this savagery, Du'a is finally - mercifully, perhaps - dead. In a final humiliation, a man tries to lift her up, but drops her again, and her bloodied body is rolled face down into a puddle of blood. The family has had its 'honour' restored.

According to Ms Nammi, Du'a's parents did not want her to be stoned, though it is not clear whether they might have agreed for her to be killed in some other way.

After her murder, according to Ms Nammi, two men were arrested by Iraqi police, but she has heard they were subsequently released without charge.

Reports suggest that two of Du'a's uncles and four other people fled the town as investigators began to search for the culprits. It is thought these included her brother, who appeared in the video of the murder.

As for Du'a's boyfriend - who has lost the girl he loved in the most awful circumstances imaginable - he went into hiding for a while, but it is believed that no action has been taken against him.

Du'a was buried in a simple unmarked grave. Later, says Ms Nammi, her body was exhumed by the Kurdish authorities, who have autonomous control of the region, and sent to the Medico-legal Institute in Mosul.

There her body was examined to find out whether she had been a virgin or not, before being returned to the Sheikh Shams cemetery.

To our Western eyes, this posthumous assault on Du'a's body is the final insult. But according to Ms Nammi, it did at least establish that she was still a virgin and innocent of the 'crime' of which she had been accused.

However, Ms Nammi believes the mere fact that Du'a had run off with a Sunni boy would have been enough to have her sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, the cycle of tit-for-tat murders continues in Iraq. In this instance, in an apparent act of retaliation for Du'a's murder, 23 Yezidi workers were attacked and killed two weeks later, apparently by members of an armed Sunni group.

The men were travelling on a bus between Mosul and Bashika when their vehicle was halted by the gunmen, who made them disembark before killing them.

Tomorrow evening, Ms Nammi, founding member of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, will lead a group of women meeting in Shoreditch, East London, to remember Du'a Khalil Aswad and give back to her the dignity torn from her by her violent death.

The women are pledged to campaign against the entrenched beliefs which lead to such senseless deaths - and the fact that the people who commit these crimes are not regarded as murderers, but as heroes of the community.

According to Ms Nammi, there have been an estimated 10,000 cases of honour killings in the Kurdistan region in the past decade.

Under Iraqi law, the punishment for anyone found guilty of an honour killing is just six months in prison.

"Something has to be done to stop this," says Ms Nammi, who came to Britain in 1996. "There is an epidemic of so-called honour killings. It is almost routine and utterly unacceptable.

"We would greatly appreciate any contribution from the British Government in preventing these murders of women in Iraq."

Ms Nammi has the support of Amnesty International.

"This young girl's murder is truly abhorrent and her killers must be brought to justice," says Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director.

"Unless the authorities respond vigorously to this and other reports of crimes in the name of "honour", we must fear for the future of the women in Iraq."

For the sake of 17-year-old Du'a, an innocent girl who simply fell in love with the wrong man, it is all too little, too late.

Source :-Daily Mail

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The World Fatest Man

Manual Uribe Garza

Manuel Uribe Garza, 41, of Monterrey, thought to be the world's fattest man, could soon undergo weight-loss surgery in Italy, according to a report from the Italian news service Ansa.

A mechanic from northern Mexico (state of Nuevo León), Garza has weighed as much as 561 Kilograms (1,235 pounds) but recently lost weight with the help of doctors.

Italian surgeon Giancarlo DeBernardinis told Agence France-Presse, "We will hold a meeting in the coming days to work out the details of the hospitalization and to prepare the operating theater and the appropriate surgical tools."

Uribe drew worldwide attention when he appeared on the Televisa television network in January and drew the attention of doctor Giancarlo De Bernardinis, who visited Mexico with a medical team to examine Uribe in March.

The operation would last four to five hours and would likely require Uribe to spend one month in Italy. “He will always be heavier than normal but certainly not like he is now ... We would be satisfied even if he weighed 330 lbs. after two years,” Bernardinis said.

For the past five years, Uribe has been bedridden. He keeps a television and a computer he uses to update his Web site near his iron bed.

His one connection to the outside world is his computer, and he regularly surfs the Internet.

Since his wife left him, unable to cope with the burden, Manuel has lived at home with his mother and sent out endless pleas for help in his home country. His plight has even touched sympathisers in this country.

"People think that I can eat a whole cow, but it's not just overeating, it's also a hormonal problem, I can’t walk. I can’t leave my bed and I’m trying to reduce my weight a bit right now so I can be in the right condition for the operation.” Uribe said