Wednesday, January 31, 2007
"The street's steepness was unintentional. As with many other parts of Dunedin, and indeed New Zealand, streets were laid out in a grid pattern with no consideration for the terrain, usually by planners in London. Despite its apparent cul-de-sac, Baldwin Street is linked across the top by an unformed road linking it with Calder Ave and Arnold Street, which are unformed in their upper reaches (where Baldwin is at its steepest). The next street to the south, Dalmeny, is formed of concrete (like Baldwin) and also very steep."
Based on the 2006 novel by Thomas Harris, Hannibal Rising stars Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal Lecter. This is the first movie that will be written by Thomas Harris himself. I liked the book a lot and am really looking forward to watching the movie.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
"For years I did the little pictures about the types of people I grew up with," said a passionately gesturing Scorsese in another Entitled scene. "Then I did the prestige-y, historical stuff like Last Temptation and The Age Of Innocence because I related to the characters, you know, outsiders in repressive environments making fateful choices. Then I started making the big sweeping epics, like Kundun and The Aviator. I've made comedies and documentaries, even concert films. Ever heard of The Last Waltz? No? Okay. You should."
Continued Scorsese, "What happens? Nothing. Nothing for the versatile visionary who lives and breathes pictures."Link
1. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (Internal Administration)
2. Anura Bandaranaike (National Heritage)
3. D.M. Jayaratne (Plantation Industries)
4. Nimal Siripala de Silva (Health care and Nutrition)
5. Mangala Samaraweera (Ports & Aviation)
6. A.H.M. Fowzie (Petroleum & Petroleum Resources Development)
7. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle (Highways & Road Development)
8. Maithripala Sirisena (Agri Dev. & Agrarian Service Dev.)
9. Susil Premajayantha (Education)
10. Karu Jayasuriya (Public Admin & Home Affairs)
11. Arumugan Thondaman (Youth Emp. & Socio Economics Dev.)
12. Rauff Hakeem (Posts & Telecommunication)
13. Dinesh Gunawardena (Urban Dev. & Sacred Area Dev.)
14. Douglass Devananda (Social Dev. & Social Welfare)
15. Ferial Ashraff (Housing & Common Amenities)
16. P. Chandrasekaran (Community Dev. & Social Inequity Eradication)
17. A.L.M. Athaullah (Water Supply & Drainage)
18. Prof. Tissa Vitarana (Science & Technology)
19. D.E.W. Gunasekara (Constitutional Affairs & National Integration)
20. Risath Bathiyutheen (Resettlement & Disaster Relief Services)
21. P. Dayaratne Plan (Implementation)
22. R.M. Dharmadasa Banda (Supplementary Affairs)
23. M.H. Mohammed (Parliamentary Affairs)
24. Prof. G.L. Peiris (Export Development & International Trade)
25. John Seneviratne (Power & Energy)
26. Sumedha Jayasena (Child Development & Women�s Empowerment)
27. Dr. Sarath Amunugama (Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion)
28. Milroy Fernando (Public Estate Management & Development)
29. Jeewan Kumaratunga (Land & Land Development)
30. Pavithra Wanniarachchi (Youth Affairs)
31. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa (Mass Media & Information)
32. Tissa Karalliyadde (Indigenous Medicine)
33. Athauda Seneviratne (Labour Relations & Manpower)
34. Gamini Lokuge (Sports & Public Recreation)
35. Bandula Gunawardena (Trade Mktg Dev, Co-operatives & Consumer Affairs)
36. Mahinda Samarasinghe (Disaster Management & Human Rights)
37. Rajitha Senaratne (Construction & Engineering Services)
38. Mahinda Wijesekara (Special Projects) ???
39. Milinda Moragoda (Tourism)
40. Keheliya Rambukwella (Foreign Employment Promotion & Welfare)
41. Piyasena Gamage (Vocational & Technical Training)
42. S.B. Navinne (Rural Industries & Self-Employment Promotion)
43. Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (Local Govt. & Provincial Council)
44. Felix Perera (Fisheries & Aquatic Resources)
45. C.B. Rathnayake (Livestock Development)
46. Rohitha Bogollagama (Foreign Affairs)
47. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena (Cultural Affairs)
48. Prof. Wishwa Warnapala (Higher Education)
49. Chamal Rajapakse (Irrigation & Water Management)
50. Kumara Welgama (Industrial Development)
51. Dullas Alahaperuma (Transport)
As scary as it is that Mahinda Wijesekara is back, what is his portfolio about?!
Friday, January 26, 2007
"Water" was filmed entirely in Sri Lanka after Hindu fundamentalists protested the making of the movie in India. The original cast (including Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das) was replaced for the Sri Lankan production.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
1. Stairway To Heaven - Jimmy Page
2. Eruption - Edward Van Halen (Option 2)
3. Freebird - Collins/Rossington
4. Comfortably Numb - David Gilmour (Option 2)
5. All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
6. November Rain - Slash
7. One - Kirk Hammet/Metallica
8. Hotel California - Don Felder/Joe Walsh
9. Crazy Train - Randy Rhoads (Option 2)
10. Crossroads - Eric Clapton
11. Voodo Chile - Jimi Hendrix
12. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
13. Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan
14. Layla - Clapton/Allman
15. Floods - Dimebag Darrel
16. Heartbreaker - Jimmy Page
17. Cliffs Of Dover - Eric Johnson
18. Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
19. Highway Star - Ritchie Blackmore
20. Bohemian Rhapsody - Brian May
A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is about 2,000 feet under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week.
The Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, south of Tokyo, was alerted by a fisherman at a nearby port on Sunday that he had spotted an odd-looking eel-like creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.
Marine park staff caught the 5 foot (1.6 meter) long creature, which they identified as a female frilled shark, sometimes referred to as a "living fossil" because it is a primitive species that has changed little since prehistoric times.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Of course this is the Sunday Leader we are talking about but where is the official press statement?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
"We have nothing but contempt for political chameleons fattened on public funds riding the moral high horse. The worst thugs in a government become the most vociferous defenders of democracy, when relegated to the Opposition. They are usually flanked by the NGO kakkas (crows) on the look out for a mission to impress their pay masters with and make a fast buck. But, they, despite their track record at which our gorges constantly rise, have their democratic rights and any attempt to suppress them must be defeated. "
And echoes my sentiments on The One Man Circus Named Mervyn:
"Mervyn Silva has come to be considered pars pro toto of the present administration. With such violent elements as deputy ministers and ministers, a government needs no enemies."
How can these people afford to roam around disrupting meetings and what-not? I wonder where all the money comes from - it's certainly not from their government salaries. I wish I had the time to find out all the answers but I don't - because like all other normal human beings I have to really work for a living...
You get to choose the 16 lines from drop down menus - the poem consists of 4 stanzas - and then you can choose the shape/layout in which you want it printed. The site offers a print preview option as well. Cool stuff ;-)
In Sacramento CA USA, a local radio competition to "hold your wee for a Wii" has ended with a Sacramento woman dead from water poisoning.
From the article:
"An Associated Press interview with another contestant, named James Ybarra, claimed that contestants were initially given eight ounce bottles of water to drink every fifteen minutes, with larger bottles being used once contestants began to drop out. According to Ybarra, 'They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health at risk.' He described the victim as 'a nice lady' and that 'she was telling me about her family and her three kids and how she was doing it for her kids.'"
Friday, January 12, 2007
In terms of bare statistics, it was Sri Lanka`s busiest ever year in terms of international commitments: 36 ODIs, 11 Tests and three Twenty20 slogfests. The win ratio for the one-day team was a decent 56%, while in Tests their record was second only to Australia with six victories and just three defeats in 11 matches. However, the real bonus is the fighting spirit shown in tough situations, the flair with which the side has played and the flourishing of young talent."
" Obi-Wan has spent the last 20 years in the Tattoine desert, keeping watch over Luke Skywalker and trying to decide on one of the three available options:
A) If Luke shows no significant access to the Force, then leave him alone in obscurity
B) If Luke shows real Force ability, then consider recruiting him as a Jedi. The rebellion needs Jedi. Now.
But, if Luke shows any signs of turning out like his father, then C) sneak into his house one fine night and chop his head off. With great regret but it'll save a lot of trouble later on.
Knowing this to be the case, Bail Organa (perhaps at the insistence of his wife) has found excuses not to send Leia to Ben for assessment of Jedi potential, largely for fear of option C."
The 31-year-old former England captain will sign a five-year deal, reportedly worth £128m.
Beckham said: "This week Real asked me to make a decision regarding their offer to extend my contract.
"After considering several options to stay in Madrid or join other major British and European teams, I have decided to join LA Galaxy."
Yesterday I noticed that the people didn't queue up and as soon as the bus pulled up, everybody madly scrambled to get in. I was a standing passenger before the checkpoint and I wasn't looking to get a seat when I got in again. But some people sure were. It struck me that several fellow standing passengers now had planted themselves firmly in seats previously occupied by middle aged women (who now had to stand) and some young mothers with kids who couldn't get in quickly enough had no choice but to complete the rest of their journey standing.
Of course no one attempted to politely ask for their seat back. In fact, no one said anything. No one ever does. They seem to think it will lead into an altercation of some sort or they will be verbally abused in public.
Today I managed to get a seat - and I needed one because I had to carry some stuff - and as I got down at the checkpoint (which was the same place as yesterday, coincidentally) I decided not to jump back into the bus like a monkey afterwards. Instead I waited patiently until it was my turn to get in and found all the seats were taken. I remembered where I had been seated previously (which was now occupied by a middle aged man) and I politely told the man he was sitting where I had been prior to getting off the bus.
"I would like my seat back please"
"No" <looks out of the window>
"It was where I was sitting prior to the checkpoint and I have a right to sit there afterwards"
<totally ignores me>
It didn't make me long to realise this wasn't going anywhere. So I moved on. Another passenger kindly offered to hold my laptop bag and books for the rest of the journey. What really struck me was how everyone else seemed to accept the behaviour of certain people.
Checkpoints do not bother me. The inspection of my ID, the basic questions and pat-downs don't bother me either. It's a security measure after all and I have to abide by the law of the land. What bothers me is the manner in which people treat each other here. The sheer lack of respect and the manner in which it is tolerated. It's not something I come face-to-face with on a regular basis and I don't know how some people put up with it day after day.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
"Passengers will not be allowed to carry big bags or parcels and the workers were advised to search all the small bags, transport minister AHM Fowzie told BBC Sandeshaya.
Same regulations will be applied to trains but a meeting with the train workers to be held next week, the minister added.
Minister Fowzie said he requested the authorities to allow government workers more time to report to work under the new security regulation."
Friday, January 05, 2007
Messiah's owner applied for an additional Visa card in his name on her account with the Bank of Queensland to test its identity security system -- and was astonished when it was granted.
"I just couldn't believe it," Katherine Campbell told local media, cradling the cool cat and his card. "People need to be aware of this and banks need to have better security."
The envelope containing her cat's credit card was addressed to Messiah Campbell and she was not even notified that a secondary card had been issued on her account, she said.
A Bank of Queensland spokeswoman admitted issuing the card to the cat.
"We have investigated the issue and it appears the bank has made an error," she said. "We apologise as this should not have happened."
The incident may have given the bank pause for thought, but any hopes Messiah may have had of making some large purchases of fish and cream were dashed when the card was cancelled.
"When you consider that an entire plate of broccoli contains the same number of calories as a small spoonful of peanut butter, you might think twice the next time you decide what to eat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average adult needs to consume about 2000 - 2500 calories to maintain their weight. In other words, you have a fixed amount of calories to "spend" each day; based on the following pictures, which would you eat?"
The choice may truly surprise you!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Together, the United States and Russia still have almost 19,000 active nuclear warheads. Nuclear war seems unlikely today, but a dozen years ago the demise of the Soviet Union also seemed rather unlikely. Political situations evolve; the bombs remain deadly. There is also the possibility of an accidental nuclear exchange. And a ballistic missile defense system, given current technology, will catch only a handful of stray missiles— assuming it works at all. Other types of weaponry could have global effects as well. Japan began experimenting with biological weapons after World War I, and both the United States and the Soviet Union experimented with killer germs during the cold war. Compared with atomic bombs, bioweapons are cheap, simple to produce, and easy to conceal. They are also hard to control, although that unpredictability could appeal to a terrorist organization. John Leslie, a philosopher at the University of Guelph in Ontario, points out that genetic engineering might permit the creation of "ethnic" biological weapons that are tailored to attack primarily one ethnic group (see #11).
and no. 17:
While physical health has improved in most parts of the world over the past century, mental health is getting worse. The World Health Organization estimates that 500 million people around the world suffer from a psychological disorder. By 2020, depression will likely be the second leading cause of death and lost productivity, right behind cardiovascular disease. Increasing human life spans may actually intensify the problem, because people have more years to experience the loneliness and infirmity of old age. Americans over 65 already are disproportionately likely to commit suicide. Gregory Stock, a biophysicist at the University of California at Los Angeles, believes medical science will soon allow people to live to be 200 or older. If such an extended life span becomes common, it will pose unfathomable social and psychological challenges. Perhaps 200 years of accumulated sensations will overload the human brain, leading to a new kind of insanity or fostering the spread of doomsday cults, determined to reclaim life's endpoint. Perhaps the current trends of depression and suicide among the elderly will continue. One possible solution— promoting a certain kind of mental well-being with psychoactive drugs such as Prozac— heads into uncharted waters. Researchers have no good data on the long-term effects of taking these medicines.
and no. 20:
Someone wakes up and realizes it was all a dream
Are we living a shadow existence that only fools us into thinking it is real? This age-old philosophical question still reverberates through cultural thought, from the writings of William S. Burrows to the cinematic mind games of The Matrix. Hut of the Institute of Advanced Studies sees an analogy to the danger of the collapse of the vacuum. Just as our empty space might not be the true, most stable form of the vacuum, what we call reality might not be the true, most stable form of existence. In the fourth century B.C., Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu framed the question in more poetic terms. He described a vivid dream. In it, he was a butterfly who had no awareness of his existence as a person. When he awoke, he asked: "Was I before Chuang Tzu who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being Chuang Tzu?"
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Philosopher Daniel Denett believes that within 25 years religion will command little of the awe it seems to instil today. The spread of information through the internet and mobile phones will "gently, irresistibly, undermine the mindsets requisite for religious fanaticism and intolerance".
Biologist Richard Dawkins said that physicists would give religion another problem: a theory of everything that would complete Albert Einstein's dream of unifying the fundamental laws of physics. "This final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue death blow to religion and other juvenile superstitions."
Part of that final theory will be formulated by scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator at Cern in Geneva, which is to be switched on this year. It will smash protons together to help scientists understand what makes up the most fundamental bits of the universe.
Steven Pinker, a psychologist at Harvard University, highlighted the decline of violence: "Most people, sickened by the bloody history of the 20th century, find this claim incredible. Yet, as far as I know, every systematic attempt to document the prevalence of violence over centuries and millennia (and, for that matter, the past 50 years), particularly in the west, has shown the overall trend is downward."
John Horgan, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, was optimistic "that one day war - large-scale, organised group violence - will end once and for all".
This will also be the year that we get to grips with our genomes. George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, believes we will learn "so much more about ourselves and how we interact with our environment and fellow humans".
Simon Baron-Cohen, a psychologist at Cambridge University, focused on autistic children, saying their outlook had never been better. "There is a remarkably good fit between the autistic mind and the digital age," he said. "Many develop an intuitive understanding of computers, in the same way other children develop an intuitive understanding of people."Leo Chalupa, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Davis, predicted that, by the middle of this century, it would not be uncommon for people to lead active lives well beyond the age of 100. He added: "We will be able to regenerate parts of the brain that have been worn out. So better start thinking what you'll be doing with all those extra years.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
This is the exact spot where the LTTE terrorists made an attempt on the life of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The suicide blast which blew away a chunk of this wall near the Dharmapala Mawatha roundabout gave an idea to some creative spark in the Defence Ministry to order this sketch over the damage, to convey a big NO to killings and violence in the New Year.
(via Daily News - picture by Saman Sri Wedage)
Absolutely hilarious!! This guy does a better job than Kamal - I wonder if Sirasa will recruit him for Season Two...
2006 Darwin Award Winner: Star Wars
Two people, 17 and 20, who imitated Darth Vader and made light sabres from fluorescent light tubes. That's right, they opened up fluoresceent tubes, poured gasoline inside, and lit the end... As one can imagine, a Star Wars sized explosion was not far behind. One died, the other survived to 'fess up to their creative, but stupid, reenactment.
1st Runner Up: Hammer of Doom
August 2006, Brazil) August brings us a winner from Brazil, who tried to disassemble a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by driving back and forth over it with a car. This technique was ineffective, so he escalated to pounding the RPG with a sledgehammer. The second try worked--in a sense. The explosion proved fatal to one man, six cars, and the repair shop wherein the efforts took place.
14 more RPG grenades were found in a car parked nearby. Police believe the ammunition was being scavenged to sell as scrap metal. If it wasn't scrap then, it certainly is now!
2nd Runner Up: High on Life
3 June 2006, Florida) Two more candidates have thrown themselves into the running for a Darwin Award. The feet of Jason and Sara, both 21, were found protruding from a deflated, huge helium advertising balloon. Jason was a college student, and Sara attended community college, but apparently their education had glossed over the importance of oxygen.
The pair pulled down the 8' balloon, and climbed inside. Their last words consisted of high-pitched, incoherent giggling as they slowly passed out and passed into the hereafter.
Sheriff's deputies said the two were not victims of foul play. No drugs or alcohol were found. The medical examiner reported that helium inhalation was a significant factor in their deaths. A family member said "Sara was mischievous, to be honest. She liked fun and it cost her."
2006 Honorable Mention (no one dies): Snake in the Grass
A hiker in Scotland picked up a grass snake so his brother could take a picture. Just as he reached for it, a black serpent slithered into view, so he grabbed that one, too. It was a Black Adder, Britain's only venomous snake. Both reptiles sank their fangs into the 44-year-old, who responded with serious anaphylactic shock. He gradually and painfully recovered in the hospital. His excuse for his rash act? He didn't think venomous snakes inhabited the whole of Scotland.
2006 Honorable Mention (no one dies): Flyswatter
(April 2004, California) An adult education teacher gave 25 students an impromptu lesson in safety during his safety class. Using opaque reasoning, Teach figured the 40-mm shell he had found on a hunting trip must be inert. He kept the round and used it as a paperweight on his desk. After all, ordnance is such a unique conversation piece. But more notably, this particular ordnance was the teacher's ticking ticket to fame.
One spring morning, a bug crawled across his desk. Should he squash it with a tissue? Sweep it out the door? Leave it to pursue its happy existence, and continue on with his lesson? No; the teacher picked another alternative. He took up the "inert" artillery shell and slammed it onto the short-lived insect.
The impact set off the primer, and the resulting explosion caused him burns and shrapnel lacerations on his hand, forearm, and torso. No one else in the classroom was hurt. To the teacher's further consolation, his actions did succeed in one respect: the bug was eliminated.