Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Holi - Celebrate a dry Holi and save water.

Dog-o-Matic – An Automated Washing Machine for Dogs

French entrepreneur Roman Jarry invented an automated washing machine for dogs. This has to be one of the worse idea ever (for the dogs at least)… but certainly not for Mr. Jarry, who at $47 a pop, is apparently having a lot of success with the machines all around France, with plans to conquer the U.K. dog-washing market next year.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Embarrasing street view shots on Google Maps

Google Street View funny images

A guy carrying an inflatable sex

Google Street View funny images

Attack of the Post-It Notes. link

Google Street View funny images

He might have forgotten his keys

Google Street View funny images

A girl bending over, and two guys watching her...

Google Street View funny images

"It's alright son, no one can see you"

Google Street View funny images

"Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boys." - The Google Street Views Version of the TV Show COPS

Google Street View funny images

Taken out of context, this rifle-toting man sporting a Harley Davidson swaetshirt looks pretty sinister. But who knows, maybe he raises puppies for a living.  

Google Street View funny images

Guy getting into the adult book store

Google Street View funny images

That's a strip club behind him?

Google Street View funny images

Guy Pervert Caught in the act

Google Street View funny images

Unaware he's been caught on camera, a man walks into a sex shop in Amsterdam.

Google Street View funny images

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weird looking cactus

Cactus in front of a hotel in Cinque Terre, Italy

Cacti are distinctive and unusual plants, which are adapted to extremely arid and hot environments, showing a wide range of anatomical and physiological features which conserve water. Their stems have adapted to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are well known. Cacti come in a wide range of shapes and sizes

This red cactus is apparently common in Yucatan and even said to have, er, enhancing properties if boiled and eaten as a soup. 
Red cactus

The next specimen belongs to the Cephalocereus gaumeri species and is often referred to as "old man" cactus, because of the white wool on top looking like long white hairs. The limp things hanging down from the cactus fruits are flower remains. 

Cephalocereus gaumeri


Cactus gone soft

Wall cactus somewhere in Chile

Cacti collection

Pretty cacti on Lanzarote

Cactus in Texas

Arizona cactus

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Twelve Surprising Uses for Vicks VapoRub

Vicks is an age-old mentholated topical cream intended to relieve head, throat, and chest stuffiness. It uses menthol to elicit a response from receptors in the nose and chest and can work wonders on children with colds or chronic bronchitis. Vicks has been around for over one hundred years and is one of the most widely used over-the-counter decongestants. Lately, there's been a lot of buzz about unique and unconventional ways to use this odiferous ointment. You'll be surprised to learn that Vicks VapoRub is a supposed treatment for so much more than just a congested chest.

1. Decongest Your Chest
The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.

2. On Your Tootsies
Applying Vicks to your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Within moments your cough will subside—in the morning you'll wake up a new, hacking free woman.

3. Achy Breaky Muscles
Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it all over the aching area. (Be sure to warn your bedmate as the stench can ensure a nookie-free night.)

4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus
Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.

5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching
Cats are notorious for scratching every hard surface they get their claws on. To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.

6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent
If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.

7. Headaches Be Gone
Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.

8. Humidify Your Sleep
Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.

9. Paper Cuts and Splinters
To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.

10. Ticks and Bugs
If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.

11. Reek-free Racehorses
Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.

12. Go Away Mosquitoes
Vicks wards off mosquitoes. Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.

According to WebMD, there have been a few complications in children when Vicks is used inappropriately. A few children reacted negatively and ended up hospitalized when Vicks was applied directly under the nose. Though this is extremely rare and only happens to those who are sensitive to Vicks, consumers should use caution when applying it to the face or on young children.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot deserts

That's Hot: The 10 Most Amazing Deserts

Sun, sand and heat are the basic recipe for any amazing desert but like any creative cook, Mother Nature reaches for the spice to make things extra nice. These 10 desert delights are most definitely a treat for the eyes, though being stranded in any one of them might not be to your taste.

Kebira Crater Field, Egypt and Libya


Archaeologists over the centuries have wondered where the ancient Egyptians came by the beautiful yellow-green glass found in their most exquisite royal jewelry. The answer, it seems, is outer space… by way of a huge meteorite that blasted the Sahara sands into glass many thousands of years before the pyramids were a glimmer in Pharaoh's eye. Out in the trackless wastes where the borders of Egypt and Libya meet lies an eroded crater and around it; pebbles, nuggets and boulders of translucent glass created when the interplanetary visitor slammed into the sands, instantly vitrifying them.



It's estimated the Kebira Crater Field – more than one crater has been discovered – is about 28.5 million years old, with the largest intruder measuring about 3/4 mile (1.2 km) across. The energy released must have been in the order of 100,000 megatons.

Fraser Island, Australia


"If you were marooned on a desert island…" now what's up with that? All those Crusoe types didn't have much of a "desert" to contend with (beyond the beach, anyway), just the opposite in fact: lush tropical vegetation, forests of palm trees and so on. Where are the real desert islands? One candidate is Fraser Island, just off the eastern coast of Australia near the city of Brisbane. At 76.5 miles (123 km) long, Fraser Island is the world's largest "sand island". It does boast rainforests but they grow in sand, not soil. The surrounding seas are said to be rife with hungry sharks and deadly jellyfish, so you'd might as well stay on shore… listening to your selection of Desert Island Discs.


What an actual Desert Island might look like – taken in or around Dubai by Elvis Payne, this timeless scene of a lone palm on a blindingly white sand beach gives one pause… and gives one minimal shelter from the searing Persian Gulf sun.

Monument Valley, Utah, USA


Any Hollywood Western worth its oats was filmed at least partially inMonument Valley. Situated on Utah's southern border with Arizona near the Four Corners, the area is resplendent in contrasting shades rust red and blue-gray derived from different layers of rocks eroded over millions of years. Even in black & white, the valley is magnificent – some of the more spectacular buttes have been named, The Mittens, the Totem Pole, the Eye of the Sun and the Ear of the Wind arch.


Monument Valley is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation and the Navajo name for the valley is Tsé Bii' Ndzisgaii (Valley of the Rocks). Though extensively eroded by wind and water, the iconic buttes andmesas in the valley look much the same today as they did when the ancestors of the Navajo first set eyes on them many millennia ago.

Atacama Desert, Chile



Sheltered from the rains by the Andes and influenced by coastal inversions created through interaction with the chill Humboldt Current, Chile's Atacama Desert is widely recognized as being the driest desert in the world – 50 times drier than California's Death Valley! The regions extreme aridity has allowed mummies left by the ancient Incas (including "Miss Chile" above) to exhibit a remarkable degree of preservation.


The Atacama may be both isolated and hostile to humanity, but that doesn't mean it remains untouched by the hand of Man… literally. This monumental sculpture of a human hand rising out of the desert sands was created by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal and stands 11 feet tall. "Mano de Desierto", or Desert's Hand, is located about 46.5 miles (75 km) south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile.

Namib Desert, Angola and Namibia



Hundreds of miles south of the Sahara lies one of Africa's oldest and most beautiful deserts, the Namib. Like the Atacama, the Namib Desert's exceptional dryness results from an offshore cold current that induces the constant descent of dry air. Currently the Namib receives a mere 1/2 inch of rain annually and it's been this way for the better part of the last 55 million years. The Namib is in many ways a "living desert", constantly changing its appearance due to huge roving dune fields driven by howling desert winds.


Where it meets the South Atlantic ocean, the Namib is often obscured by thick, impenetrable fogs that bring some moisture to the hardy plants and animals that live there. The fogs have also been the bane of seafarers for centuries, leading to innumerable shipwrecks and the forbidding name, Skeleton Coast.

Tabernas Desert, Spain


A desert, in Europe? It's not only more likely than you think, it's actually there, in Spain. The Tabernas Desert in the Spanish province of Almeria is cut off from humid winds off the Mediterranean Sea by several long mountain ranges and receives a searing 3000 hours of sunlight annually. The area receives about an inch of rain every year, most of which arrives in the form of sudden downpours that have caused picturesque erosion and rugged badlands.


The Tabernas Desert has often been used for location shooting of so-called Spaghetti Westerns including The Magnificent Seven and Sergio Leone's 1966 masterpiece, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.


Far north of Almeria in the province of Navarre, Las Bardenas Reales is another Spanish desert so distinctive that it's been selected to be a UNESCO World heritage site.

Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia



The Rub' al Khali, or Empty Quarter, is one of the most forbidding deserts on earth. Daytime temperatures approaching 131°F (55°C ) and sand dunes towering 1,100 feet (330 meters) high make the Empty Quarter no fit place for man or beast.


The Rub' al Khali was not always such an extreme environment and in ancient times a series of desert oasis' allowed trading caravans to traverse its wide open plains. Rumors of "lost cities" have echoed through time and several have been found using high-tech imaging equipment aboardthe Space Shuttle and NASA's Landsat satellites. One such city is Ubar, the "City of a Thousand Pillars", estimated to have thrived from 3,000 BC until the first century AD.

Khongoryn Els ("Singing Sands"), Mongolia


The Singing Sands of Khongoryn Els are located in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park in southern Mongolia. The dunes really do "sing" – the movement of trillions of tiny sand grains against one another under pressure of the wind results in sounds variously described as roaring, booming, barking and even squeaking. The sound is only audible under certain conditions with the size & roundness of the grains, the humidity of the sand, and the sand's silica content being the most relevant.


Khongoryn Els isn't easy to get to – which is part of their attraction – and the area is home to rare wildlife such as the Gobi Camel and the snow leopard.

Death Valley, California, USA


No post on amazing deserts would be compete without mentioningDeath Valley. Aptly named for its lack of water and sweltering heat – the temperature at Furnace creek reached 134°F (56.7°C) in 1913 – Death Valley is the lowest point in North America and the second-lowest in the world.


The depth of the valley produces a convection oven effect on hot days with superheated air becoming trapped within the valley and circulating into any shaded areas.



By all accounts the most mysterious part of Death Valley is The Racetrack, a flat dry lakebed that features dozens of "sailing stones"of various sizes at the ends of tracks sometimes hundreds of feet long. The tracks are sometimes straight, occasionally sinuous and in some cases reverse themselves. These aren't mere pebbles either: one sailing stone, dubbed "Karen" by researchers, weighs over 700 pounds!

Antarctica's Dry Valleys



Deserts, technically, don't have to be hot; just dry. A series of valleys near Antarctica's Ross Sea have been virtually ice-free for 2, 3, perhaps 12 million years! On "warm" summer days, glacial rivers flow into ice-covered lakes, freeze solid at night, then flow again the next day. Mostly though, ice and snow sublimates directly into the exceedingly dry air blowing out of central Antarctica; to the point where glaciers dry out before reaching the sea. These so-called "katabatic" winds have sculpted rocks in the Dry Valleys into bizarre shapes somewhat resembling the arches and hoodoos of much hotter deserts. The Dry Valleys are so unlike more typical earthly environments that researchers consider them suitable analogs for studies of Mars.


The extreme dryness of the air and the lack of rain or snowfall in the Dry Valleys acts to preserve any organic matter for startlingly long periods of time. Freeze-dried by the katabatic winds and then slowly sandblasted away, the corpse of the seal above will someday be worn completely away though that could take thousands of years!

Our planet is blessed (or cursed, depending on one's point of view) with an abundance of deserts, each offering unique environments and scenic vistas that are in many cases, out of this world. The 10 amazing deserts described above are, to mix metaphors, just the tip of the iceberg and you can expect a future showcase to disclose more of the hot, the dry and the sandy!