A few unusual stories that may interest you

A few unusual stories that may interest you

Unbelievable type stories

Mountains of pushbikes

There are many multiple hectares of these piles of pushbikes

Surprise cat in a barn

Treat this blog as a surprise (like Christmas) item. Many of you may feel a little aghast when you open this link. I know I did.

Stunning snow flake images

You may find this a brilliant and artistic presentation

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm

The consequences of the 1665 Black Death that ravaged humanity

I think that you will find this item very interesting

Would this be a similar malady to us having to face the consequences of global radiation pollution following a nuclear war?

Is this really the eighth wonder of the world?

This seems that it might be. In any terms it is demonstrably an incredible feat:

This is the 1300 km Karakoram highway passing from Pakistan to China – now recognized as 8th wonder of the world

Quote from above url reference:

“The Karakoram Highway (known informally as the KKH) is said to be the highest paved international road in the world, but at its peak at the China-Pakistan border it is only paved on the Chinese side. It’s the road to paradise – if you like exploring the mountains, that is. It’s regarded as one of the world’s hardest alpine climbs.

It’s the road to paradise – if you like exploring the mountains, that is. It’s regarded as one of the world’s hardest alpine climbs. Drive with care as this is a mountain road with hairpin curves and dangerous dropoffs. You might want to take this into consideration if you have passengers that don’t like heights.

The Karakorum Highway connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4,693 metres (15,397 ft) above the sea level. The road is one of the scariest and hair raising jeep trip in the world. 810 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers lost their lives, mostly in landslides and falls, while building the highway. The route of the KKH traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road. The road has a length of 1,300 km (800 mi): Pakistan: 887 km (551 mi) and China: 413 km (257 mi). It was started in 1959 and was completed in 1986 after 27 years of construction.

The road is mostly asphalted. It’s a real challenging road and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns with wheels sometimes hanging above the precipice. The highest paved international road on the planet doesn’t come without its dangers. The road is extremely treacherous and requires a vehicle that can hold its own against some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road. While the incredible views of K2 you see along the way make it a popular tourist route, the 800-mile highway is a nightmare for people who are prone to altitude sickness. With absolutely no barrier on one side, and shear rock wall on the other, the margin of driver error is fairly slim. To make matters worse, the area is prone to floods and landslides.”

This is a fascinating video to watch with respect to this engineering feat.

Social and cultural interest stories

Driverless hearses concept cars

Is this the manner in which funerals be conducted in the future? lol. Two stories:

http://imaginactive.org/2015/09/korbiyor/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/culture/technology/a-futuristic-driverless-hearse-for-a-high-tech-burial/article34119184/

London to Brighton car rally in pictures

All cars in this rally are pre-1905

Is it true that the world would be a different place without VW’s

It seems that the world would be a different place than what it is without it

Professionally taken photographs of less fortunate Londoners in the 1870s

I can imagine people wanting to emigrate away from such conditions. Here is a small range of (17) professionally taken photographs

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2123212/Black-white-pictures-capture-lives-Londoners-1800s.html#axzz2KhEwJYbv

Do you see yourself as being garbage?

It seems almost certain that at least some funeral directors might see you as being such someday

I share an interesting true story:

A number of years ago I met an ex-R.A.F. bomber crew member. He had many tales to tell about not only his wartime career in England, but his Australian experiences as well. He was married and had one daughter. He had not seen either wife or daughter for many years and had lived somewhat of a hermit’s life in a small country town in South Australia, writing his memoirs. Towards the end of his life, he requested me to be the trustee of his modest estate when he died. Because I did not really know the man very well I declined; however, I kept in touch with him from time to time. This included phoning him when he was in hospital during the last days of his life. It was during this period that he requested me to take care of his funeral arrangements, despite the fact I was not his trustee. He stated that he had a prepaid funeral plan.

This man, Tom, duly died. The hospital phoned me to say that the funeral business of XXX had agreed to take custody of Tom’s remains and arrange for him to be cremated in Gawler, South Australia. I confirmed this arrangement with the undertaker, and arranged to meet him, with Tom’s remains; at the Gawler crematorium at such and such a time on such and such a date. As far as I knew, Tom had only three close friends and he saw me as being one of them. The three of us agreed to meet at my home in the Adelaide Hills and then travel to Gawler together, to attend a simple pre-cremation service at the time I had arranged with the undertaker.

The day before the scheduled cremation I had cause to phone the undertaker. He was not available. He was attending another funeral and his son informed me that his father had bought forward Tom’s cremation by one day. This effectively meant that Tom’s three friends in life were to be cut off from the cremation process completely. I was extremely angry and verbally protested. The son suggested I phone his dad on his mobile at the cemetery where he was attending another person’s funeral. I did this. He confirmed that what his son had told me was correct. I became even further outraged because he had broken his agreement with me, and furthermore Tom’s three friends were being denied the opportunity to grieve appropriately. I stated that I was a professional counsellor and for this reason as well I felt my request to delay the cremation until we could all attend was fair and proper. The undertaker became similarly angry with me. He said: “Mr. Raymond, if you are a professional counsellor, you should know that I am in the garbage disposal business and as Mr. [Tom] did not appoint you as his trustee I can handle the deceased’s remains in any manner I see fit.” This made me even more furious and I told him so.

I rang around the Funeral Directors’ Association, the State Department of Consumer Affairs as well as the media, to tell them what was happening. Some one hour or so later I had a telephone call from another funeral parlour, this time in Gawler. The undertaker there said Tom’s remains would not go to the crematorium that day, but would be transferred to his parlour and be kept overnight, so we could pay our respects to Tom in the undertaker’s private chapel the next day. In other words the cremation was delayed by twenty-four hours. I expressed appreciation to the Gawler undertaker. I never heard from the original country undertaker again. We three friends of Tom attended the chapel the next day, paid our respects to the coffin allegedly containing Tom’s remains and left. I was tempted to lift a corner of the coffin to check if it was empty or not. I felt it was better not to know and leave it at that. I wanted no more trouble.

Tom’s wife and his daughter were not interested in Tom’s affairs and declined to attend the funeral service. It was not lost on me at the time just what a human tragedy was unfolding. On one hand here was a man who had lived such a rich and colourful life and on the other hand, after his death, was treated as if he had a contagious disease and was a criminal as well. It hit me that once Tom had been cremated there would be little more than Government records to show that he had ever existed in the first place. Furthermore he was not being given the common courtesy of the traditional committal words of “dust to dust”, rather more it was “dust to garbage”. A story that perhaps we should all stop and think about from time to time.

Is this how children should be pampered at long last?

Is this move long overdue? A New York times article

I grew up in country Australia in the 40’s and 50’s. We kids grew up in what was then the normal post war rough and tumble era. In this epoch hurt, pain, danger, near death experiences,  joy, fun and a whole lot more came together to create child hood memories that would never be easily forgotten as kids of our generation advanced through our adult lives. By comparison I feel that there is something significantly  missing in contemporary click culture.

Unusual 3D-printed housing

I think you will agree that is it a fascinating new building idea.

How some people cherish the memories of their deceased pets

A look into pet taxidermy in Melbourne Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/animalpeople/get-stuffed-why-people-taxidermy-their-pets/6768472

Japan’s leading virtual news service. A new idea

I think that you will find this story is a very interesting idea

Philosophy related stories

Einstein talks the relationship between beautiful experiences and the associated mysteries around us in life

I urge you to keep the word spirituality in mind as you read Einstein’s words

Quote:

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”

http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/essay.htm

Einstein physics made easy for students

Einstein [being imagined in the eyes of the author] explains the universe to a friend as though they are in a journeying in a spacecraft together. In my opinion the creator of this teaching concept has done a remarkably good job in simplifying many of Einsteins ideas and theories. I see it as a must read for students considering making a career in the sciences, more particularly so in physics.

A reviewer of the book [cited at the end of this story] said as follows:

Quote:

“If you’re wondering about how Einstein eats and breathes in outer space and other science facts, remember that it’s just a graphic novel and just relax. I’m gonna go ahead and give this the full-frontal, 5-star review! I am not in the sciences, but this one appeals to me because every now and then I want to learn a bit about the rules of physics that run our world. The author was very clear with his real-world analogies.”

The creator of the original blog is the  highly respected ophthalmologist and scientist Ian Flitcroft. The blog is both easy to follow and read. The language he employs is very much down to earth as well.

I feel if anyone is seeking to understand the essential nature of the universe this Flitcroft presentation is a must to peruse. In 2013 Ian Flitcroft and his partner Britt Spencer published a book based upon the material contained in the blog. The book is titled: ‘A Time Traveler’s Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything.’ I have not read this publication.

I quote the publisher’s review:

“Albert Einstein said his first ideas about relativity came from looking in the mirror as a teenager and wondering what it would be like to travel on a beam of light. This is the story of that journey… Journey by Starlight follows Albert Einstein and his traveling companion through space and time as they travel on a beam of light from a star over 3,000 light years away to Earth. Along the way, Einstein explains the science behind everything from the origins of the universe to the meaning of life, relativity, black holes, quantum mechanics (for beginners), climate change, evolution vs. intelligent design, and how the brain works, all delivered in fun, easy-to-understand, bite-sized chunks. Based on the popular blog of the same name, Journey By Starlight has been given the graphic novel treatment, pairing the narrative with fantastic, whimsical artwork to assist in simplifying what can be difficult-to-understand ideas.”

The url below is the web address of the impressive Starlight blog that I cite:

http://journeybystarlight.blogspot.com.au/2007/12/love-lies-and-pupils.html

Book reference:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15036761-journey-by-starlight

Should intuition be taken seriously?

Are these are the sorts of reasons why Albert Einstein became a scientific genius?

Einstein Quotes:

“I believe in intuition and inspiration. … At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise.”

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

“Invention is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.”

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am”

“Perhaps we live best and do things best when we are not too conscious of how and why we do them.”

“Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.”

“An intuitive child couldn’t accomplish anything without some knowledge. There will come a point in everyone’s life, however, where only intuition can make the leap ahead, without ever knowing precisely how. One can never know why, but one must accept intuition as a fact.”

“Fairy tales and more fairy tales. [in response to a mother who wanted her son to become a scientist and asked Einstein what reading material to give him]. The mother protested that she was really serious about this and she wanted a serious answer; but Dr. Einstein persisted, adding that creative imagination is the essential element in the intellectual equipment of the true scientist, and that fairy tales are the childhood stimulus to this quality.”

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

Sometimes small things might be much bigger than big

Some people may see my foot injury story as being an example of this. They may also see my foot injury story as being smaller than small in comparison to the wider cultural, moral and medically ethical issues involved with such disputation. This is more especially so as it relates to the discipline of politics. I make no specific statement in respect to these things except to say that I feel that the international recognised precautionary principle might be useful to apply to all government, business and associations like thereto in society. Perhaps this might be more especially so in relationship to the medical profession as it relates to government instrumentalities? Only readers like you can make such decisions as this.

Does imagination come before design?

Philosopher Thomas J Chalko employs the analogy of a house to show us why this is the case

Quote:

“… But WHY cannot a house build itself?

A house cannot build itself, because it takes Intellect and INTELLIGENCE to imagine, design, construct, test and improve a house to make it useful.

We have to conclude that Intellect and Intelligence have to exist BEFORE a house can be built, simply because a house has to be IMAGINED, before it can be even designed”

Thomas J. Chalko

Health related stories

Diabetes now seems to be rampant. Are we taking the danger seriously enough?

Another stark warning about this insidious health problem

Climate related stories

Chemical pollution is now evident in Antarctica

If this is correct surely this must be a disaster?

Solar Road Panels Offer Asphalt Alternative

Mass production of panels might make it practical

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/solar-road-panels-offer-asphalt-alternative-a-901792.html

More information about climate change

In my life time weather patterns have significantly changed in Adelaide South Australia. Once upon a time it nearly always rained on my birthday in April. It rarely does anymore. Christmas day was mostly stinking hot too.

Take a look at this new US report

Dramatic permafrost story from the Arctic

This is a very important story that I feel the whole world should know about right now!

I will leave this story to talk for itself.

Quote:
“ …”It scares me,” said Kumari Karunaratne, a permafrost expert who works for the Northwest Territories Geological Survey. “This methane that’s being released is being released over huge areas across the north. And it’s continually seeping out.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So, as climate change speeds up the permafrost melt, the permafrost melt will exacerbate climate change. By exactly how much, it’s impossible to say. Karunaratne won’t even try to guess, because measuring it is difficult and imprecise. The area where it’s happening is vast and much of it remains uninhabited and unexplored. But there are dramatic examples that show just how much methane is bubbling up from underground. Some lakes in the Arctic are so full of it, if you punch a hole in the ice you can light the escaping gas on fire. YouTube has videos of researchers and others doing it in Alaska and Siberia. But the same thing is happening in the Northwest Territories.

There are other problems, too.

Last summer in Siberia, the unusually intense summer heat melted the permafrost, exposing a reindeer carcass that had been embedded in it. That carcass was infected with anthrax, a deadly bacteria that had been locked in the ice. A 12-year-old boy died after being infected and at least eight others were sickened. It opens up the possibility that other dangers could be unleashed. Siberian researchers say a gravesite in one town contains bodies of people who died of smallpox in the 1890s. They were buried in the soil just above the permafrost, which is now melting. That’s raising fears that smallpox, which was eradicated globally in 1977, could make a comeback. A woman stands with reindeer in the Yamal-Nenets region of Siberia, Russia, where a 12-year-old boy died and 20 people were infected in 2016 after an anthrax outbreak. An unusually intense summer had melted the permafrost, exposing a reindeer carcass containing anthrax.

Sergey Netesov, chief of the virology laboratory at Novosibirsk State University, told the Siberian Times newspaper that there are thousands of graves in the region — some human, some cattle. The recent anthrax outbreak, he said, is “reason enough to finance research into the diagnostics and prevention of exceptionally dangerous infections.” Whether that happens or not, people in the Northwest Territories know they have no power to stop climate change. Global temperatures are already at record levels and the polar regions are feeling the effects more dramatically than anywhere else. “There are really remarkable changes that are happening in a short amount of time,” said Karunaratne.
And there’s likely more to come.”…”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/it-scares-me-permafrost-thaw-in-canadian-arctic-sign-of-global-trend-1.4069173

Chemical industry scandal in the US

These documents include those of regulatory authorities as well.

The contents of this blog seem to confirm the off-handed approach that businesses and regulatory authorities have taken in the United States since the 1920’s.

I wonder whether we have the same sort of problem in Australia?

Quote:

“The “Poison Papers” represent a vast trove of rediscovered chemical industry and regulatory agency documents and correspondence stretching back to the 1920s. Taken as a whole, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press… …the fraudulence of some of the regulatory processes relied upon to protect human health and the environment.”

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