Thursday, 27 August 2009

Random Creature Pics

There's this shot of a creature flying through the air in all its splendour & glory, leaving you in awe of the natural world.

And then there's this shot of a creature flying through the air, period.


Monday, 24 August 2009

Spy vs Dubai

Here's an incredible story from the U.A.E. A former French covert operative working as a contractor in Dubai is accused of fraud. Fearing the worst, he leaves the country secretively with the help of a wetsuit and a burkha.

The 53-year-old explained how on the night of his escape last summer he stepped into a full-length diving suit, complete with breathing equipment, before adding padding to cover the shape of the kit.

Jaubert, who designs and builds leisure submarines, then disguised himself in a burka and walked down to the water's edge.

From there, he swam underwater to the nearby coastguard station, on a remote outpost, where he cut the fuel lines on a police patrol boat. He knew it was the only one in the area, and the coast would now be clear.

He then swam back to the beach, got into a Zodiac dinghy and headed back out to sea. Six hours later he was 25 miles off-shore and outside Dubai's territorial waters. Another former French agent met him in a yacht, he claims.

The pair then sailed to Mumbai, India, which took a week. Jaugbert told the French consul that he had lost his passport and was given a new one.

Not bad for a 53 year old. Maybe the French Secret Service should re-hire him. And what exactly prompted him to take such drastic steps?

Jaubert had been working as a contractor for ship-builder Dubai World in 2007 when he was called in for questioning by police, he told The Sunday Times. An executive at the firm had reported finding bullets in Jaugbert's office and police thought he was a mercenary or hitman. At the same time, the company accused Jaubert of billing for goods that did not arrive.

According to Jaubert, his employers had run out of money and wanted to find a way of sacking him without paying benefits that would have been due under a five-year contract.

He said that if he hadn't left, he'd be 'stuck in the same nightmare as the others', referring to the dozens of expatriate businessmen who are languishing in Dubai jails for alleged 'economic crimes'.

Of course, to the Emirati authorities and his former company, Herve Jaubert is still a fraudster, wanted fugitive and convicted felon. None of this has, however, stopped him from starting a website and writing a book based on his experiences.


Monday, 17 August 2009

Incredible Things


Friday, 14 August 2009

Burglars Catch Out Paedophile

You've just gotta love this article. Police in the U.K arrest a paedophile after burglars tip them off about objectionable material on a laptop of his that they stole. The paedophile eventually gets three and a half years in prison.

The burglars sparked the investigation which brought him to justice after they stole a laptop from his house on August 19 last year.

They uncovered a more disturbing crime than their own when they found child pornography on the computer, and contacted the police.

Acting Detective Sergeant Chris Stone said: 'Whilst they were carrying out an offence themselves, it is commendable that they did the right thing and this in turn has helped bring a serious offender to justice.

I wonder if thieves have some kind of unwritten unspoken unconscious code of honour among them? Is there some kind of hierarchy of respect that exists in the criminal world? Do thieves look down on murderers, who look down on rapists, who look down on so on and so on? Or is it the other way round, do you garner more respect based on the seriousness of your crime? Either way, the paedophile's probably going to be last.


Thursday, 13 August 2009

Paris Accepts Muslims But Not Burqinis

A woman wearing a Burqini was turned away from a Paris pool on hygienic reasons, reports say.

Pool staff “reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed,” said an official.

Hmmm...three things strike me here.

One, I wonder what hygiene rules could possibly forbid swimming while clothed. Are clothes supposed to carry more germs than the body? If yes, what about swimming clothes? Isn't the Burqini made of swimsuit material? Do they pose a health risk as well? If so, how much? Surely not a lot more than regular swimsuits. Here's an idea - why not do away with clothing altogether - you know, just to be on the safe side?

Two, the connection between this incident and the whole Islamic phobia/anti burqa stance that France seems to have.

Three, isn't it amusing that some countries prohibit stripping at a pool, while others make it mandatory. In India, most women who get into pools are fully clothed. Same story at the beach. Many women just don't feel comfortable doing something the French take for granted, like wearing western swimsuits. Maybe a little more sensitivity to cultural differences like these would have prevented this incident from ever occurring.

Here's a response from the Burqini's creator. Note the focus on the French 'fear of the unknown'.


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

It's not Disney - A Lesson On Animal Treatment

I always wonder why people treat wild animals like they're from some kind of full length Disney animated feature, where the wildlife is always tame, friendly, and possesses an affinity for speech and altruism. Where they're predictable.

And you can get as close to them as you like because they're not dangerous and are smart enough to know you mean no harm and just want a better picture and of course they have no problem understanding that and obliging you like they can read your mind. They're so predictable.

Here's what happens to you when you think that way.

A tragic story that took place over a year ago. A visitor to the Guwahati zoo, perhaps awash in ignorance and overconfidence, crossed the barrier to the tiger enclosure and put his hand through the cage to get a better picture of the tigers there. The tigers then attacked him, severing his hand, which led to his death. All in the presence of his family. Now why did he have to do something like that? Simple, he believed that nothing would happen to him, that the tigers would just sit there posing for him.

News flash people - wild animals remain wild - no matter how long they spend around humans. Plucking a creature from the wild and putting it in a zoo doesn't domesticate it. It remains wild, with all it's wild habits, like wanting to protect it's territory, intact.

The same goes for animals born in a zoo. The fact that they've been born and hand raised there doesn't make them any less territorial. They will still attack you if they perceive you as an enemy infringing on their territory. This goes for all cute and cuddly animals as well. Even herbivores.

Farm animals attack their owners if they feel they pose a threat to their new offspring. And those hand reared offspring will later attack their owners if they perceive a similar threat to their offspring.

Animals in game safaris have been known to attack visitors who get too close. Some visitors believe that just because a creature's used to jeeps getting close, that it won't attack them. But sooner or later, one of them is proved wrong, the fallout usually being varying degrees of blood loss.

People just don't get it that in the animal kingdom, what you see is not what you get. Just because a creature looks harmless doesn't make it any less likely to kill you in an instant if it feels like it. You cannot predict animal behaviour by thinking of it in terms of human behaviour. Just because an animal looks cute and cuddly doesn't mean you can pet or touch it.

Here's a list of animal incidents in supposedly safe controlled conditions.

The lesson to take away from this is that all animals are unpredictable, even your pet dog and cat, to some extent. So don't make a fool of yourself and end up hurt or missing an appendage or worse.


Shocked gamekeeper runs for his life from three ton hippo

19/Nov/09: Caged circus tiger bites off man's fingers


Monday, 3 August 2009

Bufallo Falls Again

So we went back to Buffalo falls on Saturday. Had an even bigger blast this time, since it hadn't rained in a while and the water flow wasn't so bad and we could explore the area round the falls a bit.

It was just RV, a friend of his, and I, this time. We went to Khandala by bus (a three hour journey beginning at at around 7.30 A.M). Had a quick breakfast when we arrived (I watched, they ate) and headed to Kamat to be picked up by RV's office mates. They had come here much earlier and were getting ready to leave when we arrived.

So we sat around, drinking, getting our feet wet. I sat under one of the falls for a while at one point, before lying down to rest. The water was cooler than last week's.

We left in the afternoon, another three hour bus journey, but to Sion this time, which meant more travel time getting home for me. Dead tired when I reached home. Dinner, shower, and sleep.

MD visited on Sunday. Wished me Happy Friendship Day. We talked a bit. I still had a hangover from Saturday. I accompanied him to visit some relatives nearby, then got him to buy a cake to surprise his wife.