Monday, January 25, 2010

So you think you've had a bad day? Spare a thought for the world's most miserable-looking fish, which is now in danger of being wiped out

The unfortunately named blobfish has already acquired a reputation for looking sad.

And now it has good reason for its glum expression - scientists are warning over-fishing by trawlers of its south eastern Australian habitat is threatening to make it extinct.

The bloated bottom dweller, which can grow up to 12 inches, lives at depths of up to 800m, so it rarely seen by humans.


But thanks to increased fishing, the fish is being dragged up with other catches.

Despite being unedible itself, the blobfish lives at the same depths as other more appetising ocean organisms, including crab and lobster.

Deep-sea expert Professor Callum Roberts, from University of York, said the blobfish had plenty to be miserable about.

Prof Roberts, author The Unnatural History of the Sea, said: 'Blobfish are very vulnerable to being dragged up in these nets and from what we know this fish is only restricted to these waters.

'The Australian and New Zealand deep-trawling fishing fleets are some of the most active in the world so if you are a blobfish then it is not a good place to be.


'A very large amount of the deep sea is under threat from bottom trawling, which is one of the most destructive forms of fishing.

'There are some deep-water protected areas around sea mounts in the Southern Ocean but that is only really to protect coral and not the blobfish.

'We've been overfishing areas up to about 200m deep and now we have moved off those continental shelves and into the deep sea in areas a couple of thousand metres deep.

'In 2006 conservationists came very close to achieving a global moratorium on restricting bottom trawling on the high seas.

'They came within a whisker of that but Iceland rejected it so the United Nations was charged with protecting the deep sea species.

'If you add together all the area of the deep sea that has actually been looked at, then it is an area about the size of Paris - [the rest] is a really unexplored area, but we could be destroying it.'

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Plumber with shattered arm left horrifically bent out of shape has operation 'cancelled four times'

A plumber whose arm was left twisted grotesquely out of shape in an accident ten months ago has had an operation to correct it 'cancelled four times'.

Torron Eeles, 50, has been left unable to work since falling down the stairs and now fears he may lose his home after being denied incapacity benefit.

The father-of-three today hit out at the NHS for the 'unacceptable delays', but East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said Mr Eeles had his operation cancelled on 'only' two occasions on clinical safety grounds.

His left arm has hung limply by his side since he fractured the humerus bone in December 2008.

Mr Eeles, from Welham Green, Hertfordshire, applied for employment and support allowance but a doctor ruled he is ineligible for both because he can turn on a tap.
He said: 'This whole situation is absolutely disgusting. I have never heard of anyone else having a broken arm for ten months.

'It's been so long the bones have knitted back together. Sleeping is really uncomfortable because whenever I roll over my arm gets in the way.

'I'm a kitchen fitter and plumber by trade but I can't even slice a loaf of bread let alone work.

'This has been going on and on and it's a complete nightmare.'

Mr Eeles fractured his arm on December 3 and was rushed straight to casualty where doctors put his arm in plaster.
But within a few weeks a specialist said the bones were too far apart and that surgeons would have to insert a metal plate because there was too much movement in the arm.

Mr Eeles claims his first two operations at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, were cancelled due to a lack of beds and operating time respectively.

His third operation in February was postponed after he was found to have high blood pressure, while the fourth, scheduled for May, was abandoned because of concerns about his smoking.

The plaster was removed from Mr Eeles' arm after three months and he was given a wrist sling, which he branded 'totally useless'.
He said: 'My arm just flops about but the sling wasn't doing anything. The plaster didn't make a blind bit of difference after a couple of weeks either.

'How the Jobcentre can say I'm fit I don't know. I was on incapacity benefit until a few weeks ago when I went to be assessed by a doctor in Luton.

'He said because I can turn on a tap and I can lift my arm I don't qualify for help.

'Now I'm worried about losing my house. I've got a mortgage on it and there are credit cards debts I'm struggling to pay because I can't work.'

Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, insisted computer records showed the trust had only cancelled two operations and that proceeding with the operations could have put Mr Eeles's life at risk.

Mr Carver said: 'Mr Eeles' operation was cancelled only twice - and then both on clinical safety grounds.

'The first time was back in February when his blood pressure was found to be high.

'As his surgery was not an emergency, our surgeons took the right action in referring Mr Eeles to his GP so his blood pressure could be brought under control.

'His second operation in May 2009 was also cancelled, this time because he had failed to act on our surgeon's advice that Mr Eeles that he should give up smoking.

'In cancelling Mr Eeles' two operation dates, our surgeons were acting on clinical grounds only.

'If they are guilty of anything, then it is of having the best clinical interests of their patients at heart.'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

World's oldest lightbulb still burning bright after 109 years

The world's oldest light bulb has been burning for 109 years - so little wonder it has a fan club with thousands of members and its own website.

As EU rules deny householders the right to use traditional filament bulbs, the so-called 'Centennial Light' has been on almost constantly since 1901.

It holds pride of place in Fire Station 6, in Livermore, northern California.

The longest time the Guinness World Record-holding bulb has ever been turned off for is just a week.

Dangling above the fire engines, people come for hundreds and thousands of miles to see the diminutive symbol.

The bulb was designed by Adolphe Chailet, who competed with the likes of the world famous Thomas Edison to make the best bulb.

Despite his amazing design Chailet was never as successful as Edison even though his bulb was proved to survive higher voltages.

Bulb protector Steve Bunn said the secret of the lights success was down to good old fashioned engineering.

He said: 'They certainly don't make them like this anymore, it's a real sign of how some things were better made in the past.

'The man who invented the bulb was Adolphe Chailet and he sounded by all accounts to be a very serious person.

'But when it comes to spark, he did perform an experiment where several competitors, including Edison.

'All the bulbs were subjected to a test of increasing voltage, and exploded, all except for Chailet's which just got brighter.

'That would have been fun to watch.

'The appeal of the light is worldwide, a few weeks ago I received a message from someone living in the Arctic Circle.
'They said the little bulb was a beacon of light for the whole world, even in dark and lonely places which was a humbling thought to me.

'As well as the fact this little bulb was burning when my grandparents were children, it's amazing.

'My theory, that the bulb has lasted, is because Adolphe Chailet just made a better bulb, and filament.

'To the folks on the committee, the fire department and the city of Livermore California, the bulb is priceless, but we did have an offer for $5,000 once.

'On face value, it is high up in the rafters, and a little dim, but when visitors talk to the firemen who live with it, and hear the history from them, it comes alive as a symbol of good things gone by.

'I just invited a friend of my dad, Cal, to go see it last week and he just turned 100 last year.

'His response on seeing it he said: 'Oh I saw enough of those growing up, I can picture it in my mind'.' The lightbulb in Livermore is a Shelby model and was first designed by the Shelby Electric Company in the late 1890s.
Centennial Light facts and figures

Age: 109 years and counting (as of 2010)

Installed: First installed at the fire department hose cart house on L Street in 1901. Shortly after it moved to the main firehouse on Second. In 1903 it was moved to the new Station 1 on First and McLeod, and survived the renovation of the Firehouse in 1937, when it was off for about a week.
During it's first 75 years it was connected directly to the 110 Volt city power, (subject to the power outages) , and not to the back-up generator for fear of a power surge. In 1976 it was moved with a full police and fire truck escort, under the watch of Captain Kirby Slate, to its present site in 1976 at Fire Station 6, Livermore, California. It was then hooked to a seperate power source at 120V according to Frank Maul, Retired City Electrician, with no interuptions since.

Proof of Longevity: From local newspaper records; also GE engineers researched it. Was donated to the Fire Department in 1901 by Dennis Bernal who owned the Livermore Power and Light Co.

Vital Statistics: The improved incandescent lamp, invented by Adolphe A. Chaillet, was made by the Shelby Electric Company. It is a handblown bulb with carbon filament. Approximate wattage-4 watts. Left burning continuously in firehouse as a nightlight over the fire trucks. For some research test results on a sister bulb at Annapolis follow this link.

Recognition: Declared the oldest known working lightbulb by Guinness Book of World Records. Ripley's Believe-It-or-Not in 1972 researched it and declared it the oldest. Charles Kurault of the TV program 'On the Road with Charles Kurault' visited the bulb in the 1970s and included it in his book as well. Declarations from the President of the U.S., Congress, Senate, State Senate and Assembly, and Shelby Ohio.In 2007 it was again recognized in Guiness, and Ripleys books.

Closest Competitors: The Second longest bulb was listed in the 1970 Guinness Book under the heading Most Durable says that 'on 21 Sept 1908 a stagehand named Barry Burke at the Byers Opera House, Fort Worth, Texas screwed in a new light bulb and that it was still burning'. The building was renamed the Palace Theatre, and the light was known as the Palace Bulb ever since. It now resides in the Stockyards Museum, and will have been burning for 100 years Sept of 2008. A website is in the works.
The Third, a bulb in a New York City hardware store had been working since 1912, but it is unknown if it still works today.
The Fourth is known as 'the bulb' which like ours, burns in a firehouse in the town of Mangum, Oklahoma. It has been in operation since around 1926, has no special power conversions, and is on continuously.
The Fifth was a bulb in a washroom at the Martin & Newby Electrical Shop in Ipswich, England was dated from 1930 and burned out in January 2001.
For more info on these follow this link to Roadside America, or Wikipedia.
Future Plans: The City of Livermore and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department intend to keep the bulb burning as long as it will. They have no plans at present what to do with the bulb if or when it does burn out. Ripley's has requested it for their museum.
Visiting: You can visit the bulb depending on the availability of the Firemen on hand. Go to the rear of the station and ring the bell. If they are in someone will answer the door. Otherwise you can see the bulb if you look through the window up on the top of the wall to your left.

Celebration: We commemorated its centennial on Friday, June 8, 2001 at the fire station. The celebration was from 5 to 8 p.m. with a community BBQ and program. Three bands provided a variety of music, ranging from 1900 era, 1950s music, and a contemporary rock music group. Please see the celebration gallery for all the pictures.
History of the light bulb

1809: An English chemist, Humphrey Davy, used a high power battery to induce current between two charcoal strips producing a bright light.

1879: Thomas A. Edison, along with others developed the first practical filament lightbulb design, it lasted just 13.5 hours. However in months Edison had developed one which lasted 1,200 hours.

1930: Photo flashlight bulbs were first used in photography.

1959: A design for halogen lightbulb is first patented by the US company General Electric.

1962: The LED, or light-emitting diode is first introduced as a practical component in computers and electronics.

2009: The UK Government announced it was phasing out the traditional filament lightbulb banning sales in favour of environmentally-friendly halogen models.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bizarre Pictured: Lulu, the pint-sized chihuahua who is just four inches long

A micro-chihuahua with a big personality is turning heads as one of the world's smallest dogs - measuring up at just four inches long.

When tiny pup Lulu was born along with her sister and two brothers three months ago, her owner Jean Tindall, 76, didn't think there was anything remarkable about her.

But as the weeks passed pensioner Jean, who has bred chihuahuas for five years, noticed Lulu was not growing like her siblings - in fact, she was not growing at all.
Grandmother-of-two Jean, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: 'I didn't think anything of it when her mum gave birth to the litter, she looked the same size as all the others.

'But puppies grow quickly and I soon realised that her brothers and sisters were all overtaking her.

'I don't want to sell her because she will need so much extra care and attention being so small.

'She is so tiny, she's only four inches. She can fit in my hand she's so tiny. You can't believe she's out of the same litter because the rest are twice as big as her.'
Jean, who named Lulu after the pint sized Scottish songstress, said the petite pooch - part of the smallest breed of dog in the world - makes up for her lack of size with a giant personality.

The mum-of-two, added: 'She sleeps all day long on a hot water bottle I give her to keep her warm then when I'm ready for bed she wakes up and runs rings around me. I can barely keep up.

'Even though she's small she's got so much love to give and is a little bundle of joy.

'She hasn't developed a bark yet but when she does I'm sure it'll be as loud as a normal-sized dog.'
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The moment a £140,000 Lamborghini parked UNDER another car

Finding a parking space can be a frustrating business sometimes.

But trying to slot a £140,000 supercar underneath another vehicle is not a tactic worth attempting – as these astonishing pictures show.




Somehow, while driving around Hollywood Hills, California, the skinny-nosed Lamborghini Gallardo slid right under the giant Saab 4x4, lifting it into the air.

And amazingly, the sports car seemed to hold up pretty well.

Despite damaging the front, the Lamborghni’s roof didn’t buckle under the two-ton Saab 9-7X.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bizarre and Sacred Valley

Peru’s Sacred Valley usually refers to a roughly 60-km stretch of land between the cities of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Just 16 km south of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, the Sacred Valley often misses out to the more famous site of Machu Picchu – but as the following images show, quite undeservedly so as Sacred Valley offers stunning Andes Mountains views, winding roads and mind-boggling Inca architecture.

Typical terrace architecture with buildings/temples at the top:
Just about 12 km northwest of Cusco is Sacsayhuaman, full of Inca ruins and a marvel of Inca construction skill. The belief today is that Sacsayuaman was mainly a military fortress. Its zigzag shape is said to resemble the open jaw of a puma, with the entire city of Cusco its body and the Plaza de Armas the navel, which the Incas believed to be the center of the world.

Some of the stones weigh up to 125 tons!

Visitors to Pisac, about 30 km north of Cusco, are treated to stunning views of the Andes and an example of the Inca’s advanced masonry skills at the Pisac ruins with a Sun Temple, extensive terracing and aqueducts. The purpose of the Pisac ruins remains a mystery, but the settlement was located along a vital Inca road and connected the highlands with the Amazon rainforest just east of the mountains.

The Pisac Inca ruin complex, nestled in the Andes:

About 70 km west of Pisac is the town of Ollantaytambo, best known for its fortress, which the Incan elite used for worshipping and studying astronomy. Also impressive are the terrace walls that served as an integral means of defense.

Believe it or not, the stones of this wall are 3 m high!
Ollantaytambo
Image: Wolfgang Beyer

Many of the building foundations in the old town
were built by the Inca and most of the blocks used are still intact. To date, Ollantaytambo is the best surviving example of Inca town planning.

Ancient and less ancient in perfect harmony:
Moray is a small village about 50 km northwest of Cusco famous for its Inca architecture. What may remind us of crop circles or Roman amphitheatres actually once served an agricultural purpose. Used more like China’s ancient rice terraces, the Incas cultivated wheat, quinoa, grain, panti and kantu flowers here – harvest season on the various levels must have been quite a sight.

Giant bathtub?
The site is still fully functional with a system of irrigation canals and an aqueduct system. Until recently, locals even grew corn, but agriculture was given up in favour of preserving the site and tourism. If you ever mill about in Moray, consider this: Some of the terraces descend to a depth of around 150 m – or the height of a 50-story skyscraper – creating temperature differences between the lowest and highest levels of 15 ÂșC, naturally found between sea level and a mountain of 1000 m for example. Amazingly clever and beautiful, isn’t it?

The whole complex is huge:

The fact that amazing sites like Moray were discovered often decades after the more famous Machu Picchu makes us wonder and hope that there may be more stunning sites around just waiting to be discovered…

Bridges Devoured by Amazing Cloud

The sight of bridges devoured by fog and appearing to float in the air evokes all kinds of fantastic associations – magic faraway lands and fairytale bridges in the sky to name but a few. Even so, a certain ominous quality also pervades such scenes. If bridges represent humankind’s capacity to cross natural divides like rivers, bays and valleys, masses of cloud at ground level can also be a serious visibility hazard – a sign that we don’t always have it our own way on this planet.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, New York
With a central span of 4,260 feet (1,298 m), the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is the largest suspension bridge in the US and was the longest in the world when completed in 1964. Connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York City, its massive towers can be seen for miles around – when not disappearing into a bank of fog as in this atmospheric shot. High enough to allow ships to pass beneath it, it is not high enough to escape the clutches of such low-lying cloud.

Junction Bridge, Arkansas
Next up is the Junction Bridge, a former railroad bridge, constructed in 1884, which was recently converted into a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Here we see it vanishing mysteriously into fog lying over the Arkansas River. Despite the calm appearance of this image, fog has of course contributed to some serious transport accidents – among them the 2007 crash of the MV COSCO Busan container ship into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which resulted in a major oil spill.

Millau Viaduct, France
Completed in 2004, the Millau Viaduct is a giant bridge spanning the valley of the Tarn River in southern France. At more than 984ft (300 m) high, it is by far the tallest road bridge in Europe and even taller than the Eiffel Tower. Here its concrete and steel pillars are seen soaring high above the morning fog of the Tarn Valley, making for a spectacular sight. Valley fog forms in mountain valleys due to heavier cold air settling in the valley, with warmer air passing over the mountains above.

Forth Rail Bridge, Scotland
The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. Completed in 1890, it was the first bridge in Britain to be constructed of steel alone, and even today is considered an engineering marvel. It is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long, with a double track rising some 150 ft (46 m) above high tide. Haar, like that seen here veiling the Forth Bridge, is a coastal fog found along lands bordering the North Sea, typically formed over the sea and carried to land by wind.

Second Severn Crossing, England and Wales
Seen here vanishing into a soup of fog over the mouth of the River Severn, the Second Severn Crossing connects Wales and England, and was inaugurated in 1996 to boost the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge. This 5.2 km (3.2 mile) long, S-shaped crossing has only twice been closed by weather, but it is not uncommon to see it swathed in fog. Sea fog is often down to salt particles from salt spray, produced by breaking waves, that can condense even in relatively dry air.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan
Opened in 1998, Japan’s Akashi Kaikyo Bridge has the longest central span of any suspension bridge, at 6,532 ft (1,991 m). This impressive structure, seen here vanishing into the fog, crosses the busy Akashi Strait, a dangerous waterway that often suffers severe storms. The current there is very strong, sometimes there are whirlpools, and occasionally ships disappear, as in 1955, when two ferries sank killing 168 children. In this light, a bridge, however fog-shrouded, is no bad thing.

Golden Gate Bridge, California
Spanning the opening of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is a globally recognised symbol of California, and the world’s most photographed bridge. With its Art Deco elements and distinctive colour – partly chosen to enhance its visibility in fog – this wonder of modern design was finished in 1937. The bridge must contend with the famous San Francisco fog, created when warm, moist air blows in from the Pacific across the cold water of the California Current. The cool, moist wind swirls along the coast devouring everything in its path – including this American icon.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

15 Most Bizarre and Strange photos of the year 2009

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Share

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More