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Sunday, 29 November 2009

28 Examples of Excellent Animal Photography Shots

Animal photography is one of the most challenging and rewarding form of photography. Stalking wildlife animal to take pictures of them is quite difficult, because in any moment your subject could run or worst attack you. You need patience and time when photographing animals, especially if you are want a particular position and scene. Even as animal images can be taken using basic equipment, excellent animal photography needs special equipment, such as macro lenses for insects, underwater cameras for marine life and long focal length lenses for birds. From land based animals, marine mammals, and birds, I collect 28 stunning animal images with excellent wildlife photography. I hope you enjoy this inspirational showcase.





























Saturday, 28 November 2009



Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan .
But this is no alien creation - the designs have been cleverly planted.
Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye.
Instead, different colours of rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields.

As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants, the colours created by

using different varieties, in Inakadate in Japan the largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori village of Inakadate,
600 miles north of Toyko, where the tradition began in 1993.

The village has now earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry and this year, the enormous pictures of Napoleon and
a Sengoku-period warrior, both on horseback, are visible in a pair of fields adjacent to the town hall.

More than 150,000 visitors come to Inakadat, where just 8,700 people live, and every summer to see the extraordinary murals.

Each year hundreds of volunteers and villagers plant four different varieties of rice in late May across huge swathes of paddy fields.

Napolean on horseback can be seen from the skies, created by precision planting and months of planning between
villagers and farmers in Inkadate.

Fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife Osen appear in fields in the town of Yonezawa, Japan

And over the past few years, other villages have joined in with the plant designs.

Another famous rice paddy art venue is in the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture.

This year's design shows the fictional 16th-century samurai warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife Osen, whose
lives feature in television series Tenchijin.

Various artworks have popped up in other rice-farming areas of Japan this year, including designs of deer dancers.

Smaller works of crop art can be seen in other rice-farming areas of Japan such as this image of Doraemon
and deer dancers.

The farmers create the murals by planting little purple and yellow-leafed Kodaimai rice along with their local
green-leafed Tsugaru Roman variety to create the coloured patterns between planting and harvesting in September.

The murals in Inakadate cover 15,000 square metres of paddy fields.
From ground level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village
office to get a glimpse of the work.

Rice-paddy art was started there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew out of meetings
of the village committee.

Closer to the image, the careful placement of thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen.

The different varieties of rice plant grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces.

In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.

But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.
In 2005 agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art.

A year later, organizers used computers to precisely plot planting of the four differently coloured rice
varieties that bring the images to life.

Monday, 23 November 2009



Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American recording artist. After being signed to and quickly dropped from Def Jam Records at age 19, she began performing in the rock music scene of New York City’s Lower East Side. During this time, she was also working at Interscope Records as a songwriter for several established acts, including Akon, who, after hearing Gaga sing, convinced Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine to sign her to a joint deal with the label and Akon’s Kon Live Distribution label.

Her debut album The Fame, was released in August 2008 and was a critical and commercial success. In addition to receiving generally positive reviews, it has gone to number one in four countries, also topping the Billboard Top Electronic Albums chart in the United States. The album’s first two singles, “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”, have become international number-one hits, and the former was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 51st Grammy Awards. In 2009, after having opened for New Kids on the Block and the Pussycat Dolls, Gaga embarked on her first headlining tour, The Fame Ball Tour.

Gaga is inspired by glam rockers such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as pop singers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson. She is also inspired by fashion, which she claims is an essential component to her songwriting and performances. To date she has sold over 20 million digital singles and more than four million albums worldwide.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Some Counter-Intuitive Facts about Loneliness.

class="entry-header" id="disqus_post_title" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-weight: normal; font-style: inherit; font-size: 2.25em; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 35px; ">Some Counter-Intuitive Facts about Loneliness.

Sometimes people ask, “If you had to pick just one thing, what would be the one secret to a happy life?” The answer is clear: strong bonds with other people. If I had to pick one thing, that’s it. The wisdom of the ages and the current scientific studies agree on this point.

On that subject, I just finished a fascinating book by John Cacioppo and William Patrick, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. The book underscores the conclusion that few things will challenge your happiness more than loneliness.

Without thinking it through, I’d assumed that being lonely would make people warmer, more eager for connection, and more accepting of differences in others. If you’re lonely, you’re going to be open to making friends and therefore more easy-going, right?

To the contrary! It turns out that being lonely has just the opposite effect:

--Loneliness “sets us apart by making us more fragile, negative, and self-critical.” (174)

--“When people feel lonely they are actually far less accepting of potential new friends than when they are socially contented.” (180)

--“Lonely students have been shown to be less responsive to their classmates during class discussions, and to provide less appropriate and less effective feedback than non-lonely students.” (181)

--“When people feel rejected or excluded they tend to become more aggressive, more self-defeating or self-destructive, less cooperative and helpful, and less prone simply to do the hard work of thinking clearly.”(217)

--Bonus loneliness tidbit: “People with insecure, anxious attachment styles are more likely…to form perceived social bonds with television characters.” (258)

Loneliness makes us so anxious and worried about rejection that it distorts our thinking and our behavior.

This argument supports the arguments against the two most pernicious happiness myths: Happiness Myth #1—Happy people are annoying and stupidand Happiness Myth #10—It’s selfish to try to be happier. Cacioppo and Patrick make the convincing case that socially contented people (a/k/a happy people) tend to be kinder.

The obvious next question is, “Well, I’m lonely, and I’m not happy. What do I do now?” Loneliness didn’t address that question, alas.

Gretchen Rubin is abest-selling writerwhose new book, The Happiness Project.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


How To Life Life

It is not length of life, but depth of life.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Because there is a big difference between living and merely existing…

  • Educate yourself until the day you die. – The time and energy you invest in your education will change your life. You are a product of what you know. The more knowledge you acquire, the more control you have over your life.
  • Take good care of your body. – Your body is the greatest tool you’ll ever own. It impacts every step you take and every move you make. Nourish it, exercise it, and rest it.
  • Spend as much time as possible with the people you love. – Human beings are emotional creatures. Family and close friends makeup the core of your emotional support system. The more you nurture them, the more they will nurture you.
  • Be a part of something you believe in. – This could be anything. Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their careers. In each case the psychological outcome is the same. They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in. This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.
  • Excel at what you do. – There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right. Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies. Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
  • Live below your means. – Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Always live well below your means.
  • Be self-sufficient. – Freedom is the greatest gift. Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
  • Build a comfortable, loving household. – Home is where the heart is. Your home should be comfortable and lined with love. It should be a place that brings the whole family together.
  • Always be honest with yourself and others. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.
  • Respect elders. Respect minors. Respect everyone. – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.
  • Mix it up. Try different things. – Seek as many new life experiences as possible and be sure to share them with the people you love. After all, your life’s story is simply a string of experiences. The more experiences you have, the more interesting your story gets.
  • Take full ownership of your actions. – Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  • Over-deliver on all your promises. – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill. They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity. If you want to boost your personal value, do the exact opposite. Slightly under-sell your capabilities so that you’re always able to over-deliver. It will seem to others like you’re habitually going above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Listen more. Talk less. – The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.
  • Focus more on less. – Think in terms of Karate: A black belt seems far more impressive than a brown belt. But does a brown belt really seem any more impressive than a red belt? Probably not to most people. Remember that society elevates experts high onto a pedestal. Hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in diverse directions. Focus on less and master it all.
  • Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness. How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy? The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
  • Savor the natural joys of simple pleasures. – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best things in life are free. They come in the form of simple pleasures and they appear right in front of you at various locations and arbitrary times. They are governed by Mother Nature and situational circumstance and captured by mindful awareness. It’s all about taking a moment to notice the orange and pink sunset reflecting off the pond water as you hold hands with someone you love. Noticing these moments and taking part in them regularly will bring unpredictable bursts of happiness into your life.
  • Reflect on your goals and direction. – Not doing so is committing to wasteful misdirection. The process of self reflection helps maintain a conscious awareness of where you’ve been and where you intend to go, giving you the ability to realign your trajectory when necessary.
  • Leave time for spontaneous excursions. – Sometimes opportunity knocks at unexpected times. Make sure you have enough flexibility in your schedule to respond accordingly.
  • Be here now. – Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


This is a music video by a band out of Iceland by the name of Sigur Rós. I first watched this video several years ago and it’s haunted me ever since. It isn’t your typical video you might find. But I don’t strive to be average. Sit back , turn the volume up on your ‘puter and you’ll understand what I mean when I say this will reach emotions inside you’ve long suppressed.

Sigur Ros

Just as gay and lesbian people are starting to enjoy equal rights, the number of attacks against them seems to be rising. Why?

Ten years ago, a nail-bomb exploded in a gay bar in the heart of London, claiming three lives and maiming dozens more, the final act in a series of attacks on the capital's minority groups.

The intervening decade has seen significant steps in changing attitudes and legislation that give gay people - and their civil partners - equality enshrined in law.

But now another shadow has been cast over the UK's gay community. A series of homophobic attacks, at a time when crime figures suggest such incidents are on the rise, has mobilised people to voice their anger.

Over the weekend, candlelit vigils were held in London and Liverpool, at the scenes of two of the most recent acts of violence to make headlines, and also in Brighton and Norwich, while gay venues across the country held a two-minute silence on Friday evening in an act of solidarity. RECENT ATTACKS
London, 25 Sept: Ian Baynham, 62, beaten in Trafalgar Square, later died
Liverpool, 25 Oct: PC James Parkes, 22, suffers multiple skull fractures after attack by youths

Hundreds at Liverpool vigil
London remembers hate victims

Of the thousands who gathered in London's Trafalgar Square - at the spot where Ian Baynham was attacked in September, later dying from his injuries - some headed afterwards to the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, the scene of the nail bombing 10 years ago.

Although it looked like business as usual, some punters were in reflective mood. Jeff, 32, said he sensed "more tension" in the last 12 to 18 months and some people had stopped coming into central London as a consequence. He said he had always been wary about showing public affection to his civil partner, for fear of inviting abuse, but even more so recently.

"I'm nervous when we're out and about in case we draw attention to ourselves and get a bad reaction from someone."

One 28-year-old, who asked not to be named, said he and his boyfriend had recently been threatened with a weapon and foul language.
Assaults and murders have made headlines

The pair had been getting off a bus when a man with a knife began spouting insults, calling them "queers".

Such incidents have always happened, but are they happening with more regularity now?

There are no national figures for homophobic crime, but individual police forces have reported an annual rise in their latest figures - 40% in Merseyside, which covers Liverpool, and 34% in Strathclyde, which includes Glasgow.

Third-party reporting

In London, where there was a series of attacks over the summer on people outside gay bars in the East End, there has been an 18% rise, mostly in common assault and harassment, prompting Mayor Boris Johnson to seek assurances that enough is being done.

The police say this rise, at least partly, is due to improved relations with the gay community. After decades of mistrust and a resistance to reporting homophobic crime, gays and lesbians are coming forward in greater numbers, say police. Some forces have introduced third-party and online reporting in an effort to address the under-reporting of these incidents. WHY LONDON'S EAST END?
'In recent years it's true that there has been a big drive by the police to encourage gay people to come forward and report hate crimes but I'm not sure that accounts for all of this increase,' says editor of QX magazine, Cliff Joannou.

'In areas like Shoreditch in London, there seems to have been a significant rise in incidents, particularly violent ones, and that is an area where many gay bars have opened up in in recent years. Whether this is a case of the local residents of the area clashing with the new communities that are moving in, I'm not sure.

The perpetrators do seem to often be teenagers, primarily, and it is sad that there seems to have been a growing acceptance of the word 'gay' as an insulting term.'

People are now more likely to report incidents to the police, says Phil Nicol, who works at a London-based advice service that receives complaints of abuse from people in cities across the UK such as Glasgow, Manchester and Belfast. It ranges from name-calling in the street, neighbours hurling objects through windows, damaging cars, to serious physical assault.

"A lot of people feel a lot more comfortable with the police, because they have specially trained lesbian and gay officers and there's a better understanding among people of what homophobia constitutes, that it isn't only physical."

But gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell sees a more worrying picture. The higher level of reporting to police has masked an accompanying rise in attacks, he believes. This is partly due to more people coming out as society becomes more accepting, plus there's probably a backlash happening against equality legislation, he suggests.

"As more people come out they become more visible and more easily identifiable. That makes them easier targets for people who want to target them.

"The second thing is there's probably an element of people who are losing what they have until now taken for granted - their right to be homophobic. They are angry and it's a last desperate gasp from people who are used to doing what they like to gay people.

"I remember there was a similar backlash in the US in the 60s, a big rise in racist attacks in the wake of the civil rights movement." DOES THE MEDIA PLAY A PART?
Michael Cashman MEP, who played one of television's first gay characters, Colin in EastEnders, says religious homophobia has a huge impact in influencing attitudes among young people.

'Within faith schools we are still getting a message of anaesthetised hatred - 'we don't hate these people but they're not equal'. If that is said enough, it softens the brains of young people and that's so dangerous. And it's a message echoed by sections of the press.'

He thinks the real figure is probably double the official one, because up to three-quarters of gay men and women simply don't report because they still don't trust the police. And he expects this spike in offences to last two or three years before subsiding again.

A link between gay equality and the rise in homophobic abuse is also identified by Ben Summerskill, chief executive of campaign group Stonewall. Civil partnerships, he says, have reminded people who harbour prejudices that gay people are everywhere.

And he is particularly drawn to the fact that many of the antagonists are in their teens or early 20s. To him, that suggests a link with school where he says homophobia is still going unchecked.

Youngsters looking for scapegoats may be turning their fire on gay people because other forms of prejudice have become unacceptable.

"For years people said schoolchildren used words like 'Paki' and 'spastic' and there's nothing that can be done about it, but when schools said these expressions were completely unacceptable, they stopped using them.

"We know from our work with schools that - partly in the shadow of Section 28 [a now repealed law which prevented councils from promoting homosexuality] - many schools still feel ambivalent about addressing homophobia, even when they want to."

This "serious problem" in schools is hardly helped when BBC Radio 1's Chris Moyles is allowed to use the term "gay" as an insult, he says.

Perhaps the experience of Liverpool explains the paradox of rising tolerance at a time when homophobic incidents are growing.

Carl Alderdice, who organised Sunday's vigil, says the city has become much more gay-friendly, although it is still some way behind Manchester. But he knows that with greater prominence comes greater risk.

"Liverpool could have a [gay festival] next year and it's getting its first official gay quarter. This means we could become more of a target so we need to make sure the police are aware of that and we hope they have more visible policing on the streets."

By Tom Geoghegan at the BBC