Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Largest cave in the world

The world’s largest cave passage was discovered deep within a remote Vietnamese jungle. The Son Doong cave measures 262 feet by 262 feet (80 meters by 80 meters) and at least 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) deep, making it the largest single cave passage ever discovered, according to National Geographic News, where the discovery was announced. The previous record holder, Deer Cave in Malaysia, is 300 feet by 300 feet (91 m by 91 m) in parts, but is only about a mile (1.6 km) long.

By contrast, explorers walked 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) into Son Doong, in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, before being blocked by seasonal floodwaters—and they think that the passage is even longer.
In addition, for a couple of miles Son Doong reaches more than 460-by-460 feet (140-by-140 meters), said Adam Spillane, a member of the British Cave Research Association expedition that explored the massive cavern. Spillane was in the first of two groups to enter the cave. His team followed the passage as far as a 46-foot-high (14-meter-high) wall.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dance gone wrong

World Record for Most Beer Pints Balanced on the Head

In June 2010, John Evans set a new world record for most beer pints balanced on his head: 237. Evans, the world's pre-eminent head-balancer has also balanced a Mini Cooper on his head

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Polar Bear Knut

Polar bear Knut became Berlin’s most famous polar bear till he died of an infection

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top Hippie travel destinations

The sixties may be long gone but the hippies haven’t. With alternative lifestyles which embraced peace, love and a whole lot of tripping out, the hippies had a profound influence on culture as we see it today. They still congregate in few corners of the world, practicing the ideals which they believe in and reliving the age which they so adamantly fought to keep alive. We look at some of these places where their spirit roams.

10. Ibiza, Spain

No matter how cliché it sounds, Ibiza cannot be ignored on any hippie list even remotely connected with travel. Taking into consideration that it was the birthplace of raves and the focal point for all European hippies in the 60′s to tune in, turn on and drop out, Ibiza boasts a far from idyllic picture nowadays. For starters, four million tourists visit this island every year, so be prepared to share your paradise with package tourists on charter flights. It’s by no means cheap, but the unique architecture and the wonderful walking trails towards the north make this World Heritage site well worth the visit. Oh, and there are the raves. The Raves.

9. El Bolson, Argentina

On Argentina’s border with Chile lies El Bolson, a hippie haven in the rugged South American wilderness. Declared an ecological municipality and a ‘non nuclear zone’, the village has been a magnet for adventure travelers since the hippies moved into the area in the 70′s. With sustainable lifestyle choices being the norm rather than the exception, it is not difficult to see why El Bolson seemed a perfect fit for the tree hugging types. With plenty of hiking for nature enthusiasts and a thriving artisan’s community for the creatively inclined, a real hideaway awaits the hippie.

8. Nimbin, Australia

A tiny village located in the state of New South Wales, Nimbin saw a counterculture revolution in the 1970′s which has survived till date. Of significant cultural importance to Aborigines, you can experience the first rays of sunlight on Mt. Warning and incidentally, on Australia. The town itself was the site of the Aquarius festival in 1973 and it seems that many of the visitors relish the amnesia which exists. The citizens of this tiny enclave established a Hemp Embassy whose aim is to disseminate information regarding the use of marijuana as well as provide essential paraphernalia for the same. It’s even got a Hemp bar….

7. Christiania, Denmark

Christiania was once the site of Danish naval barracks, but a group of free spirited individuals transformed it into a commune with a penchant for alternative lifestyles. Especially significant was the symbolic meaning that it carried. Christiania has a sizable community of artisans and environmentally conscious people who have built unique but sometimes eccentric homes which further reinforces the non-conformity position that most denizens of the city adhere to. However, there is one position on which conformity is reached far more easily. A visit to Pusher Street will clarify all doubts.

6. Arembepe, Brazil

There is something about a peaceful tropical paradise with a groovy beat. In Brazil’s Bahia state is Arembepe, once the favorite getaway of rock stars Mick Jagger and Janis Joplin. Brazil’s own cultural icons, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are said to have taken quite a liking to this seaside village and if it’s good enough for them, you should have no problem settling down. A short distance away is the village of Caratingui, Brazil’s first hippie community. Yes, it’s as relaxing as it sounds. It’s Brazil, for god’s sake.

5. Goa, India

The original hippie getaway, this tiny former Portuguese enclave in the South West of India was discovered in the 60’s and has had a steady influx of travelers ever since. Goa is still one of the few places where old hippies assemble, soaking up the sun and the heady amalgamation of cultures. It’s also the birthplace of Goa trance, and the beaches of Anjuna and Vagator are often the setting for all night raves. A visit will reaffirm the fact that old hippies don’t die. They just pack their bags and go to Goa.

4. Panajachel, Guatemala

On the banks of Lake Atitlan lies one of Central America’s hippiest towns. A thriving indigenous culture is one of the main draws, the scenery of the lake helping in the process. Panajachel, or ‘Pana’ as is it called has a sizable expatriate population, so don’t be surprised if that old high school friend in traditional Mayan garb and long hair serves you beer at one of the many bars. Although it has become increasingly commercialized over the years, the sweeping vistas of a lake which Aldous Huxley vouched for and the hospitality of the Kaqchiquel and the Tz’utujil Maya more than make up for the crowds.

3. Chefchaouen, Morocco

With a name as exotic as that, it’s no wonder that hippies have found this place captivating. Luckily for them, it has lived up to the aura it so easily creates. The blue colored city with the magnificent Rif Mountains as a background and a delightful medina, Chefchaouen may be overshadowed by the more illustrious Marrakech or Tangiers, but it has developed a reputation of its own as an artisan’s city. You might be offered Kif, and if you are into mind altering substances, you might end up staying for more than one session of ‘Kif on the Rif’.

2. Vancouver, Canada

San Francisco may receive all the attention when it comes to the hippie movement, but Vancouver has many charms. Besides, a city with some of the most liberal marijuana policies and a distinctly multicultural vibe deserves to be on the list. There is a lost of nostalgia here about the 1970′s, and it is readily apparent in the groovy Kitsilano district where tie-dye is ubiquitous and old hippies with long hair and ponchos still wander about the streets. It’s also the birthplace of Greenpeace. Now, let’s talk about a revolution.

1. Kathmandu, Nepal

The final destination on the hippie trail, Kathmandu was the tired traveler’s dream. Hippies converged to this magical kingdom from around the word, attracted by the seemingly arduous travel it took to get there and the relatively negligible cost of living. Things have changed since the 60’s but Freak Street still retains the allure that so many travelers have come to relish. Hashish can be found in copious amounts and the Himalayas will give you company. In every sense, you’ll be high.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Internet censor

10. Tunisia

Tunisia has blocked thousands of websites, such as pornography, mail, search engine cached pages, online documents conversion and translation services. Tunisian internet service providers must report to the government the IP addresses and personal information of all bloggers on a regular basis, in order to keep them identified and under constant watch. All the traffic goes through a central net with which the government filters all content uploaded and monitors emails. Cyber dissidents including pro-democracy lawyer Mohammed Abbou have been jailed by the Tunisian government for their online activities.

9. Vietnam

The Government has created an agency exclusively to monitor the content on the internet, blocking websites critical to the Vietnamese government. The government of Vietnam asked Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to give out the information of all the bloggers that use their platforms. Vietnam is in ONI's pervasive category and is on RSF's internet enemy list. Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned for advocating democracy.

8. Turkmenistan

Internet usage in Turkmenistan is under tight control by the government. For most Turkmen the internet is considered a luxury due to its high cost, a strategy used by the government to discourage people from using it. The only internet service provider is the government, and it blocks access to a lot of sites, while monitoring all the email accounts in Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. Also, websites run by human rights organizations and news agencies are blocked, and any attempt to get around the censorship could lead to grave consequences. Internet is monitored thoroughly by the government as websites ran by human rights organizations and news agencies were blocked. Attempts to get around this censorship could lead to grave consequences.

7. Syria

In addition to filtering a wide range of Web content, the Syrian government monitors Internet use very closely and has detained citizens "for expressing their opinions or reporting information online." Any blogger who expresses any kind of anti-government feelings, or any kind of opinion that may “jeopardize national unity”, is arrested. Also sites that criticize the government are instantly blocked. Syria has banned websites for political reasons and arrested people accessing them. The owners of Cyber Cafes are obligated to ask all of their customers for identification, leave a name registration and time of use, and report them to the authorities. In addition to filtering a wide range of Web content, the Syrian government monitors Internet use very closely and has detained citizens “for expressing their opinions or reporting information online.”

6. People’s republic of China

China has the most rigid censorship program in the world. China blocks or filters Internet content relating to Tibetan independence, Taiwan independence, police brutality, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech, pornography, some international news sources and propaganda outlets, certain religious movements, and many blogging websites.

5. Iran

Iran Internet censorship is delegated to ISPs who attempt to filter contents critical of the government, pornographic websites, political blogs, and especially recently women's rights websites, weblogs, and online magazines. Bloggers that dare to criticize the government or any religious or political figure are detained and harassed. Bloggers in Iran have been imprisoned for their Internet activities. Most recently, the Iranian government temporarily blocked access, between 12 May 2006 and January 2009, to video-upload sites such as YouTube.com. Flickr, which was blocked for almost the same amount of time was opened in February 2009. But after 2009 election protests YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and many more websites were blocked again.

4. Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan prevents access to websites regarding banned Islamic movements, independent media, NGOs, and material critical of the government's human rights violations. Some Internet cafes in the capital have posted warnings that users will be fined for viewing pornographic websites or website containing banned political material. Facebook was blocked for few days in 2010.

3. Cuba

Cuba has the lowest ratio of computers per inhabitant in Latin America, and the lowest internet access ratio of all the Western hemisphere. The government cites its citizens' access to internet services are limited due to high costs and the American embargo, but there are reports concerning the will of the government to control access to uncensored information both from and to the outer world. Citizens have to use government controlled “access points”, where their activity is monitored through IP blocking, keyword filtering and browsing history checking. Only pro-government bloggers and government employees are allowed to upload content to the internet.

2. Burma

Burma has a very low penetration rate due to both government restrictions on pricing and deliberate lack of facilities and infrastructure. Burma has banned the websites of political opposition groups, sites relating to human rights, and organizations promoting democracy in Burma. During the 2007 anti-government protests, Burma completely shut down all internet links from its country. However, internet usage is widely spread in the major cities and towns, with internet cafes and chat rooms. The internet speed is deliberately slowed and accessing a range of websites, from politics to pornography are banned by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

1. North Korea

The North Korean network is monitored heavily with only two websites being hosted under a domain name. All websites are under government control, as is all other media in North Korea. Only a few hundred thousand citizens in North Korea, representing about 4% of the total population, have access to the Internet, which is heavily censored by the national government.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2011 World Top Supermodel contest

2011 world top supermodel contest ended in Germany. 18-year-old Romanian girl Loredana Salanta won the title.