Monday, June 23, 2008

It takes 25 years to get the honour-Lords of '83: Men who won India the Cup of Joy

Twenty-five years ago, Indian cricket was redefined forever. No Indian cricket fan can forget June 25, 1983 - the day India won the World Cup at Lord's.
CNN-IBN celebrates and honours the men who scripted history for Indian cricket on a special show Lords of '83.
The show conducted by CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai saw the legends candidly recall the big moment - both on the field and off it. From the team's strategy to who got to drink the most champagne to who got the maximum adulation from female fans, the show revisited some of the unseen, unheard of times.
The panel comprised Kapil Dev, the captain of that World Cup winning team; Sunil Gavaskar, an incomparable batsman; Balwinder Singh Sandhu, the man who started it all by bowling out Gordon Grenidge; Syed Kirmani, the finest wicketkeeper India has ever seen; Yashpal Sharma, one of the most astounding heroes of the '83 triumph and the charismatic Sandeep Patil.
Below are the excerpts from the show.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Will the team be comfortable with the fast-paced Twenty20 cricket played in this day and age?
Kapil Dev:: No, I would rather play golf. It is too difficult and I won't like to do all the running around. Your appearance may suggest so but your legs don't move the same way.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Do you all still remember that day; is it fresh in your mind?
Sunil Gavaskar: Absolutely, because it was an unbelievable moment, an unforgettable moment for all of us. And it was not just for the team but also for all the Indians. It was a moment that got us together. As a team we shared that moment and so it's going to stay with us throughout.
Syed Kirmani: Yes, I will definitely tell my grandson that.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Did your believe that you could beat the two-time world champions?
Balvinder Singh Sandhu: Before going to the World Cup I gave an interview to Pratap Sahi from Ananada Bazaar Patrika and I said if our batsmen can get us 230 runs, we have a good chance.
Yashpal Sharma: Well, I was part of the 1979 World Cup and there we lost all three games and we decided that we will never win the World Cup but at least we will perform better than what we did in '79. We never thought that we will win the very first game against the West Indies.
Sandeep Patil: Crossing my heart, I never thought we will win, not to insult Indian cricket or the record of the Indian cricket but I thought that this was an opportunity for me to play the World Cup.
Krish Srikkanth also joined the discussion and greeted Kapil in Hindi: “Kapil paaji ab mera Hindi achcha ho gaya. 25 saal pehle mera Hindi kharaab tha lekin dekho ab mera Hindi kaisa ho gaya" (Now my Hindi has improved. 25 years ago it was bad but now it has become good)
Kapil Dev:: Ek hi baat hai, iska Hindi achcha ho gaya aur mera English achcha ho gaya. (It's the same thing. His Hindi was got better and my English has improved)
Rajdeep Sardesai: One of the great things about the team was that all of them came from different parts of the country and different communities and played together as a team?
Sunil Gavaskar: What makes India special is that we all come from different parts of a very big country with different cultures, also different kinds of diets and different attitudes apart from the language. We come together as a team on the field and even in the dressing room, you never think of which part of the country he is from..
Rajdeep Sardesai: Kapil's English and Srikkanth's Hindi were not a problem?
Sunil Gavaskar: Not at all. On the field there is very little talk. You know what your job is and you go about it to the best of your ability. You let your job do the talking and not your language.
Rajdeep Sardesai: There were some very special moments of that World Cup win. One was, Balwinder Singh Sandhu's in-swinger that bowled Gordon Grenidge. So, does Sandhu still remember that ball?
Balwinder Singh Sandhu: I think fans will never let me forget that ball. Every year I keep talking about the ball. I bowled Grenidge in the first game and also in Trinidad, he got bowled to an in-swinger. So at the back of my mind I knew he is not picking my in-swinger when I'm bowling close to the stumps.
Kirmani, however, had an interesting take on the Grenidge dismissal.
Syed Kirmani: When I congratulated him after he bowled that in-swinger, Sandhu told me - 'I bowled an out-swinger but it came in’.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Kirmani was also on the other end when Sandhu was hit on the head my Malcolm Marshall.
Syed Kirmani: After he was hit on the head, I didn't tell him anything. Marshall was fired by Dickie Bird, using all the four-letter words for using the bouncer on a tail-ender. He didn't realise that he had a turban under his helmet. So instead of rubbing his head, he was rubbing his helmet.
Balwinder Singh Sandhu:: I just told Kirti that don't worry, my head is well padded up.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Playing the West Indians during that time and taking them on, what was it?
Sandeep Patil: When we started the tour and room partners were assigned, I was lucky but my room partner was so unlucky to have me as a room partner. Fortunately or unfortunately it was Sunil Gavaskar, who shared the room with me. That was the reason why Gavaskar did not score runs. I kept him awake, I kept him out and I don't know how and where he used to spend time. I clearly remember me bombarding him with questions. In fact, I asked him if would be able to even see the balls of West Indians. He asked me what do you mean by 'the balls of the West Indians?' I told him the cricket balls that will be bowled by Marshall. I had not faced West Indians then and Sunil told me that you have faced Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson; you will be able to see the balls. I saw the ball and I hit a six.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Another batsman who hit a six was Krish Srikkanth, who hooked Andy Roberts for a six.
Kris Srikkanth:: Unfortunately, Sunny got out early in the match. The wicket was a bit damp and Joel Garner was making the ball move like anything and I didn't know what was happening, I was beaten often. Jimmy (Mohinder Amarnath) was on the other end and I told him - 'I don't know what to do, why don't you play him for a while.' Jimmy told me just play your natural game, do whatever you want. That gave me the license and I knew that if I hang around I will get out anytime, so let m get after the bowling.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But Sunil Gavaskar was the oldest member of the team, so did he have problems handling the younger men?
Sunil Gavaskar: No, we had been together for quite a long time and there was nobody new. And we knew each other for a few years. You never try to control a man like Srikkanth. What he used to do was make the man on the other end feel comfortable," said Gavaskar.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So did the team expect to win after they scored 183? And what did Kapil Dev: tell his men during the innings break?
Kapil Dev:: Getting to the final itself was a victory to us, that's how we were looking at it. If I remember correctly we had got extra time because we got out early. I just said c'mon Jawaano, let's fight it out. We have already made 183, now they have to make the runs. And Sunny said 'stop calling them jawaans, they are officers now.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Does anybody have the stumps from the match at your home?
Yashpal Sharma: I have a stump. If you see the footage, Jimmy tried to grab a stump but couldn't, so he got a bail. I got a stump and Roger Binny got another one. I don't know who got them from the other end. My second daughter when she was in the fifth standard only then did she realise that her father played the World Cup. Her colleugues used to tell her your father has played the World Cup.
Mohinder Amarnath, Man-Of-the-Match of that famous final, had a special message.
Mohinder Amarnath: That day seems like yesterday when Kapil Dev: lifted the cup, that was a very special moment because I felt I was part of the team which had created history. It was probably the beginning Indian cricket and whatever we see now I think started from there.
Rajdeep Sardesai: What did the team do after they won the World Cup?
Sandeep Patil: I was sharing a room with Sunil Gavaskar and during the later half of the tournament, Ravi Shastri joined me. I remember getting back to the hotel, we left lord's and it took us nearly one hour to get to our hotel, which was just around the corner. We had a quick shower and when we came down, there was not even room for a man to stand on one leg. It was so packed.
Yashpal Sharma: We are thankful to the Indian people in England especially in South hall because wherever we played there were 400-500 people who used to travel with us. That was a big support to us throughout the tournament.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Who drank the most ?
Sandeep Patil: The champagne never reached me because Kapil was holding to it and Jimmy and Kapil were had a big fight over the champagne bottle..
Kapil Dev:: We fought over who is going to drink the most.
Syed Kirmani: Orange juice was my drink but I opened the bottle, there were no two ways about it."
Rajdeep Sardesai: Did the team dance?
Yashpal Sharma: Yes, everybody did.
Rajdeep Sardesai: One of the most memorable image of the win was Kapil lifting the cup with Gavaskar lifting Kapil's hand with the Indian flag in the backdrop. Was there a feeling of collective effort that this was done by Team India?
Sunil Gavaskar: Yes, definitely. It was a team effort. In a team game there are always going to be some who are more successful than the others. But at the end of the day if a batsman is going to get a hundred he will need somebody at the other end to stay with him. If a bowler is going to take wickets he needs fielders to take the catches. So invariably it is a team game. So it is somebody who has contributed on the field and not necessarily with the bat and the ball though somebody will always be the stars of the victory.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So what did the victory mean for the other cricketers of that era?
Arun Lal: Not only the cricketers of today but a debt of gratitude not only to the players but that happening. 1983 was spectacular and we are feeding off it even today.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Recently, the IPL the players went home with crores in their pockets. So what did the players take home after the win?
Kapil Dev:: I think we took home pride, happiness and the love of people. I think that's what we took home. Money was very immaterial at that time. Maybe today everybody likes to have good money but at that point I think anybody did not think anything else rather than just winning the cup.
Balwinder Singh Sandhu:: That victory gave Indian cricket self-belief.
Yashpal Sharma: You will be surprised with the kind of welcome we got in Mumbai. It took us 7-8 hours to reach the Wankhede because people were not letting us move. People were not letting us move. There is no footage, so people will not understand.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Did the cricketers get any special attention from the Bollywood actresses after the win?
Sandeep Patil: Well, unfortunately there were no actresses around when we won. But there were many pretty girls around and I don't remember how many kisses I got that night.
Kris Srikkanth:: We enjoyed a lot. I just took a sip of the champagne but I smoked 10-15 cigarettes that evening.
Roger Binny (dismissed the dangerous Clive Lloyd, which might had been the turning point of the match): When I bowled that delivery I had no doubt that Kapil would catch that one after he had hit it. Kapil was a great catcher. We used to call his hands - buckets. I remember all the moments of that match even after 25 years..
Rajdeep Sardesai: The other great turning point of the match was when Viv Richards was caught by Kapil Dev:, who ran a mile to take that catch. Did you think that if I drop this catch I won't be able to come back to India?
Kapil Dev:: No, I don't think any cricketer would get time to think about all this. Once the ball goes up into the air, you don't think that you will drop it or not. You just go. You reflexes take over. I only remember two things. First, when Clive Lloyd was batting, I went to Roger and said that Lloyd is injured his backfoot is bad so try and give the ball as up as possible and let him play on the front foot, and then I went to Madan and asked him if he wants to take a break as before that, Richards had hit me for a two boundaries and Also Madan for two boundaries, So I asked him to take a break. But Madan in his typical style said, 'Tu mainu de de ball (U give me the ball).' And when a player has that much of self-belief and I think its worth.
Madan Lal: I begged him to give the ball to me.
Kapil Dev:: He literally forced me to give him one more over and I said ok.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Were 1971 and 1983 defining moments in Indian cricketing history in terms of self-belief?
Sunil Gavaskar: I think, yes. In 1971, we beat West Indies in England in Test matches for the first time, which gave us a belief that we can play well overseas. And the 1983 win gave us the belief that we can play the world champions or anybody anywhere and can beat them. And that really goes to show the confidence the team had. And when you are defending 183, it is obvious to say that a few early wickets can bring a team back into the game. And that is exactly what happened.
Madan Lal: I never used to deliver any special ball to Richards. I always believed that if you go after the greatest player then you might have a chance. That is what I did.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Sunil Gavaskar took a lot of catches that day.
Sunil Gavaskar: But once again, you got to give credit to Kapil for all that. At that stage, defending a total of 183, you don't keep a fielder at the catching position and not many captains would do that. A captain may not keep a slip but keep the fielder to save a single but Kapil attacked and therefore, he was looking to take wickets. He always realised that 183 is not a score that one can stop the opposition from making in 60 overs, so, the only way to stop them was to bowl them out and that is exactly what he did.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But what about the activities off the field?
Kirti Azad: We played a game at the Old Trafford and we had beaten the West Indies in the first game. We were having drinks and I thought of having some fun. Roger was there and I started to tell him some story and took him near the pool and pushed him inside. Then another NRI friend, who was also present there with us asked me 'what happened' and I asked him to come and check out that Roger has fallen into the poll and moment he came near to check it out, i pushed him into the pool as well.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Sunil Wilson did not get to play the matches. But being a part of the team, it must be a great feeling?
Sunil Wilson: Absolutely. I was just about 20-years-old and it was great feeling to have won the World Cup. But one question that I have been asked time and again is that I haven't played a single match. However, being a part of that team was a great honour and a privilege.In fact, in the dressing room there were a couple of the senior Borad officials. we talk about superstitious practiced by the players but that day, these gentlemen asked us to sit in the dressing room and not change our seats and hence, we missed out on quite a lot of actions.
P R Mansingh, who was the manager of that World Cup winning team also joined the team during the programme.
PP Mansingh: All the players were matured and grown up people and I never put my foot down and set any curfew time for them to go to bed or anything like that.
Kapil Dev:: We had a curfew for him.
Rajdeep Sardesai: It the team which came together during the 83 World Cup. But in reality was there the senior-junior divide or something?
Kris Srikkanth:: No, not at all. I was probably the junior most in the team at that time but what happened was that there was no expectations from us, so we had a lot of fun. In fact, we used to rag Mansingh as he was new and as Kapil said, we used to put curfew on him. And I think the first match against the West Indies was the turning point. We met them first at the Old Trafford and on the eve of the match, Kapil gave us a deadly speech, saying that the last time we met West Indies in one of the series, we had beaten them.
Meanwhile, Dilip Vengsarkar also gave a message for his team besides sharing his memorable moment.
Vengsarkar said,"The celebrations that we had after the tournament was absolutely fantastic. And to meet everyone after 25 years would be really, really great."
Rajdeep Sardesai: Is this a bit of a class re-union and Kirti is the bad boy of the class?
Kirti Azad: No, I am not the bad boy and none of my team mates are calling me a bad boy.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But can this be considered as a re-union that all the players are so happy about? Is this Lords of 83 for you?
Kapil Dev:: We do meet each other quite regularly at the other matches but this is the first time we are coming together as a team and that is why it is so special. And nothing has changed as such, except for the fact that we have lost weight at the top (hair) and have gained at the middle.
Meanwhile, some of the members of the Twenty20 World Championship 2007 winning team conveyed their messages and good wished to the 1983 world Cup winning team.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Do you all consider yourselves as great motivators to the younger generation?
Kapil Dev:: When you are playing you don't think all those things at all. Once you win then you realise that the younger generation is looking up to you, then you feel proud. But when you are playing you are too much concerned about your own performance.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But is it not that the generations to come would feel the pressure that India had once done it in 1983 and when the 2011 world Cup will come, the younger stars are being told that you got to do it all over again?
Sunil Gavaskar: Yes, they will be under pressure because of the fact that after 1983, India have never won the World Cup. So, surely, they would be under pressure to try and repeat it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Is there any message for the youngsters? What should they do to win the World Cup?
Sunil Gavaskar: We were totally relaxed. We went out there and played and played for a lot of fun. We didn't think of the consequences. We played each ball on its merit - some of us got out, some of us bowled bad balls but at the end of the day, it all gelled together well for us. We were enjoying ourselves on the field as well as of the field.
Rajdeep Sardesai: How many of you want to play Twenty20 now?
"We are all ready to play," said everyone in chorus.
Rajdeep Sardesai: One can say that the 1983 World cup winning effort was driven by two men - Captain Kapil Dev: and Sunil Gavaskar, who brought together the class 83. Gavaskar who is a grandfather now has achieved everything one could have achieved on the cricket field and so is the case with Kapil Dev:. Yet, you guys have chosen to bring the team together. What motivated you?
Sunil Gavaskar: Just the fact that it is a special moment. We in India, celebrate anniversaries. This is our 25th year and I remember last time when we were in England last year, I went ahead and booked the long room at Lord's, one year in advance just to make sure that it didn't go anywhere else. Luckily, there was no ODI and the whole idea was to have fun trip nostalgia."
Kapil Dev:: I think it is going to be a party but it is going to be really very emotional. And it is going to be fun. Most of the times your life goes through rough periods but when the good times come then you should go out there and enjoy. You also have to pass on the message to the new generation also - that we had achived something and now you will also have to work hard and reach there as well. But now we are going to have a great time.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

UK media says 4 matches fixed at '07 Wimbledon

The third Grand Slam of the year, Wimbledon 2008, starts from Monday but allegations of match-fixing threatens the world's premier tennis tournament.

British media reports claiming a match-fixing scandal during the tournament has put a big shadow on the world's premier grass court event.

An article in the Sunday Times reports that eight matches were fixed by a gambling syndicate, that included four matches from last year's singles fixtures.

Each of the fixed matches featured foreign players all of whom lost in three sets.

Five of the losing players from the reported eight Wimbledon games listed in the dossier are in this year's men's singles competition.

The matches are named in a dossier compiled by leading bookmaking companies, which monitor suspect betting patterns and players thought to be willing to throw games.

The matches raised suspicion because of the disproportionately high sums of money being bet on them.

Incidentally, security measures have been beefed up in an unprecedented manner at this year's tournament that include banning anyone other than the players' personal coaches into the changing rooms of the All England Club.

Reacting to the match-fixing scandal former India Davis Cup player Akhtar Ali said, "Betting in Wimbledon is always open. Match-fixing is not at the top level. Everyone is saying match-fixing but nothing is coming out of it. It is not match-fixing but if a player comes to know that the other guy is not well, so he goes and says 'that chap cannot give his 100 per cent'. Also this match-fixing has only started now."

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The world's most expensive saree (IMAGE)

How often have you come across a Rs. 40 lakh ($100,000)
silk saree?
Chennai Silks, a textile unit has come up with one of its kind and it is seeking an unmistakable entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most unique and expensive saree.The exceptionally stunning saree is meticulously woven with 12 precious stones and metals to depict 11 of Raja Ravi Verma's popular paintings. Explicitly projected is
'Lady Musicians', one of the painter's very famous works that displays women belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds.Besides, the border of the saree pictures 10 other paintings of the artist that pays tribute to 20th century artist. The best part of the saree being that the women in the paintings are intricately hand-woven and beautified with jewels of gold, diamond, platinum, silver, ruby, emerald, yellow sapphire, sapphire, cat's eye, topaz, pearl and corals.Already in the Limca Book of Records, this 40 lakh saree will be the first silk saree that required the use of 7,440 jacquard hooks and 66,794 cards during the weaving process. Moreover, a group of consummate workers took nearly 4,680 hours .

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Rare Pic of Frozen Niagra Falls (Year 1911)

The Floating Swimming Pool

A swimming pool on water, there’s something you don’t see every day.

Called the Badeschiff (that’s German for “bathing ship”) this floating swimming pool is really just an old barge transformed into a public pool last year in Berlin, on the Spree river. Unfortunately, the river itself is much too polluted for people to swim in, so this idea, as crazy as it looks, makes some sense.

It was first spotted in 2007, during a very hot Summer and during the off-season it’s covered and closed to the public. But the hot Summer is here again and the Germans in Berlin will once again be able to enjoy a swim in the cool water of the Badeschiff. Would’ve been cool if it had a glass bottom though, so you could see the river.


Visual proof of global warming

A swimming pool on water, there’s something you don’t see every day.

Called the Badeschiff (that’s German for “bathing ship”) this floating swimming pool is really just an old barge transformed into a public pool last year in Berlin, on the Spree river. Unfortunately, the river itself is much too polluted for people to swim in, so this idea, as crazy as it looks, makes some sense.

It was first spotted in 2007, during a very hot Summer and during the off-season it’s covered and closed to the public. But the hot Summer is here again and the Germans in Berlin will once again be able to enjoy a swim in the cool water of the Badeschiff. Would’ve been cool if it had a glass bottom though, so you could see the river.







Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The History of First Hot air balloon

A Kongming lantern, the oldest type of hot air balloon

This 1818 technical illustration shows early balloon designs.
A model of the Montgolfier brothers balloon at the London Science Museum

The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers.
A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that is capable of containing heated air. Suspended beneath is the gondola or wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule) which carries the passengers and a source of heat. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope. Unlike gas balloons, the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom since the air near the bottom of the envelope is at the same pressure as the surrounding air. In today's sport balloons the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the mouth of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material such as Nomex.
Recently, balloon envelopes have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as hot dogs, rocket ships, and the shapes of commercial products. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than just being pushed along by the wind are known as airships or, more commonly, thermal airships.

Premodern and unmanned balloons

A Kongming lantern, the oldest type of hot air balloon. This 1818 technical illustration shows early balloon designs.Unmanned hot air balloons are popular in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, in the Three Kingdoms era (220-280 AD) used airborne lanterns for military signaling. These lanterns are known as Kongming lanterns.
There is also some speculation that hot air balloons could have been used by people of the Nazca culture of Peru some 1500 years ago, as a tool for designing the famous Nazca ground figures and lines.
The first documented balloon flight in Europe was by the Portuguese priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão. On August 8, 1709, in Lisbon, Bartolomeu de Gusmão managed to lift a small balloon made of paper full of hot air about 4 meters in front of king John V and the Portuguese court.

First manned flight

A model of the Montgolfier brothers balloon at the London Science MuseumThe first clearly recorded instance of a balloon carrying passengers used hot air to generate buoyancy and was built by the brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier in Annonay, France. These brothers came from a family of paper manufacturers and had noticed ash rising in paper fires. The Montgolfier brothers gave their first public demonstration of their invention on June 4, 1783. After experimenting with unmanned balloons and flights with animals, the first tethered balloon flight with humans on board took place on October 19, 1783 with the scientist Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, the manufacture manager, Jean-Baptiste Réveillon and Giroud de Villette, at the Folie Titon in Paris. The first free flight with human passengers was on 21 November 1783.King Louis XVI had originally decreed that condemned criminals would be the first pilots, but de Rozier, along with Marquis Francois d'Arlandes, successfully petitioned for the honor.The first hot air balloons were essentially cloth bags (sometimes lined with paper) with a smoky fire built on a grill attached to the bottom. They were susceptible to catching fire, often upon landing, although this occurred infrequently.

Military use

History of military ballooningThe first military use of aircraft in Europe took place during the French Revolutionary Wars, when the French used a tethered hydrogen balloon to observe the movements of the Austrian army during the Battle of Fleurus (1794).
In 1811 Franz Leppich went to Napoleon and claimed that he could build a hot-air balloon that would enable the French to attack from the air. Napoleon then ordered that he be removed from French Territory. In 1812 he went to Moscow to Count Rostopchin with the same proposal. When the balloon was finally tried out, it failed to rise, and nothing more was seen of its inventor.
In Tolstoy's Novel, War and Peace Count Pyótr Kiríllovich Bezúkhov (Pierre) makes an excursion to see this balloon though he does not see it. Tolstoy also includes a letter from the sovereign Emperor Alexander I to Count Rostopchin concerning the balloon.
Hot air balloons were employed during the American Civil War. The military balloons used by the Union Army Balloon Corps under the command of Prof. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe were limp silk envelopes inflated with coal gas (town gas) or hydrogen.


A pair of Hopper balloons.Modern hot air ballons, with an onboard heat source, were pioneered by Ed Yost beginning in the 1950s which resulted in his first successful flight on October 22, 1960. The first modern day hot air balloon to be built in the United Kingdom (UK) was the Bristol Belle in 1967. Today, hot air balloons are used primarily for recreation, and there are some 7,500 hot air balloons operating in the United States.
Hot air balloons are able to fly to extremely high altitudes. On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for highest hot air balloon flight, reaching 21,290 metres (69,849 feet). He took off from downtown Bombay, India and landed 240 kilometres (149 miles) south in Panchale.[16] The previous record of 19,811 m (64,997 ft) had been set by Per Lindstrand on June 6, 1988 in Plano, Texas. As with all registered aircraft, oxygen is needed for all crew and passengers for any flight that reaches and exceeds an altitude of 12,500 ft (3,810 m).
On January 15, 1991, the Virgin Pacific Flyer balloon completed the longest flight in a hot air balloon when Per Lindstrand (born in Sweden, but resident in the UK) and Richard Branson of the UK flew 7,671.91 km (4,767.10 mi) from Japan to Northern Canada. With a volume of 74 thousand cubic metres (2.6 million cubic feet), the balloon envelope was the largest ever built for a hot air craft. Designed to fly in the trans-oceanic jet streams the Pacific Flyer recorded the highest ground speed for a manned balloon at 245 mph (394 km/h).
The longest duration hot air balloon flight ever made is 50 hours and 38 minutes made by Michio Kanda and Hirosuke Tekezawa of Japan on January 2, 1997.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chameleon TV: The 'invisible' satellite dish that blends in with your brickwork

They're hardly the most attractive or classy addition to the exterior of a home.
So designers have come up with a satellite dish that’s less likely to incur the disapproving glances of the neighbours.
Called the Sqish, it is a receiver which blends in with its surroundings.

Whereas conventional dishes are round, concave and grey, the Sqish is a flat square, giving it its name.
Buyers decide where they want the receiver placed on their house, take a photograph of the surrounding wall and the Sqish is then supplied to match its background.
The Sqish has just arrived on the UK market and, according to those trying to sell it, it is already being ordered by homeowners who live in conservation areas which have planning restrictions.
It also appeals to those who live in areas where satellite dishes are thought to lower the tone.

This phenomenon is described by the Sqish’s suppliers as ‘dish stigma’.
Phil Millington, of UK stockist The Satellite Shop in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, declared: ‘The Sqish is a discreet alternative to a satellite dish and can be used to receive Sky and Freesat in the UK. It can be camouflaged to help it blend into its surroundings with the addition of a bespoke sticker created from a digital photo.
‘It can also be used in areas sensitive to planning restrictions or dish stigma – and in coastal towns where dishes are prone to rust – because it is made from plastic.'
The Sqish costs £149 and an extra £25 for the matt-finish camouflage sticker.
The camouflage receiver may also prove useful to households whose satellite dishes regularly become home to nesting birds, the activities of which can interfere with the quality of the TV signal.


Coober Pedy-The underground town

Coober Pedy is a place where people like to live underground.
Coober Pedy is a small Australian town, famous for being the opal capital of the world because of the large quantity of opal stones that are mined here. What people don’t know about this place is that the locals mostly like to live underground. A tradition that goes back to the early 1900, when the first miners arrived in the area, cave-boring in the hillsides is still popular. The temperatures here during the Summer are unbearable for some, so they opt for underground living quarters, at approximately the same price as a surface-built house. The first one keeps a constant, cool temperature during the Summer while the second needs air-conditioning. It can get quite cold during the winter, though.
One of the most popular attractions in Coober Pedy are the underground churches.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Aarushi killed first, Hemraj later: CBI

The CBI team probing the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case is believed to have established that it was Aarushi who was murdered first and then Hemraj and not vice-versa as was being assumed by the investigators till now. This conclusion is based on the viscera reports, the time of death as stated in the post-mortem reports and some fingerprints and palm prints picked up from Aarushi's room, which were also found on the terrace. This particular set of fingerprints have shown some traces of blood on them on the terrace but were found clean in Aarushi's room. "There is a logical connection between the fingerprints found on the terrace of the house and inside the room of Aarushi which explains that this person first entered Aarushi's room and then went upto the terrace," said a senior CBI officer. The CBI has also established that the two murders were executed after full planning and were not a result of an outburst as indicated by the Noida police during their investigations. The police had claimed that Dr Rajesh Talwar returned home around 11:30 pm only to find Aarushi and Hemraj in an "objectionable (but not compromising)" state. This irked him so much that he first took Hemraj to the terrace on some pretext and murdered him there only to kill Aarushi thereafter. The CBI has picked up clues which not only establish that it was Aarushi who was murdered first and then Hemraj but also the fact that both the murders were well-planned and much in advance. The theory that the murders were planned in advance is based on the fact that the computers seized from Dr Rajesh Talwar's house have allegedly revealed that late on May 14 night, 40 sites were searched by a particular login. Most of these sites are associated with various drugs used for sedation, particularly those which do not have toxins in their composition. The person who searched these sites spent more time at these sites than what was spent at sites which featured drugs which had combinations of toxins in their composition.

World’s Largest Champagne Fountain (IMAGES)

In the Wijnegem Shopping Centre near Antwerpen, Belgium a group of activists is trying to hold a new record. The Champagne Fountain will consist of 43 000 glasses, will be almost 23 feet high and will weigh about 9 tons

Monday, June 2, 2008

Katrina Kaif in Maxim Magazine Photoshoot 2008

UP cops messed up Aarushi murder probe: CBI

Dentist Rajesh Talwar, arrested by Noida police on charges of murdering his daughter Aarushi, was on Monday taken into custody for a day by the CBI for questioning even as the investigating agency found loopholes in the probe carried out by the UP police till now.

CBI investigators who examined the crime scene and questioned witnesses pointed that the UP police had not picked blood samples or the finger prints properly from the crime scene.

Senior CBI officials, probing the case, while remaining silent on the investigations, said the case could have been solved in less than 24 hours if the probe had been carried out properly by UP police.

The UP police had not even sealed the room where 14-year-old Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit on May 16. Officials said the police had allowed Aarushi's relatives to use the same room for performing prayers.

CBI investigators are said to be busy completing the chain of events that led to the crime and questioning Talwar, who was brought in from Noida court here on Monday evening.

Dressed in a white-kurta, Talwar, surrounded by the CBI sleuths, arrived at the agency's headquarters in the evening. He faced some CBI questions on his way to its office.

The agency moved an application before the court in Noida seeking Talwar's custody for questioning in connection with the case, while moving an application in the designated CBI court at Ghaziabad.

The Noida court granted permission to the CBI for questioning Talwar who was arrested by the Noida police, who claimed that he had killed Aarushi in a fit of rage after he found her with domestic help Hemraj in an objectionable" position.


Shroud of Turin Going Back on Public Display

Pope Benedict says that the controversial Shroud of Turin is going back on display in 2010. Many believe that the Shroud was the burial cloth for Jesus Christ.

The last time the Shroud was put on public display was for the Catholic jubilee year in 2000.

The cloth measuring 4.4 by 1.2 meters (14.5 by 3.9 feet), bears the inexplicable image — eerily reversed like a photographic negative — of a crucified man.

The cloth shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side.

Carbon testing in 1988 indicated that it is likely the cloth is the fake from the 13th century. The Shroud is naturally located in Turin.

The Christ Clone Trilogy by James Beauseigneur is centered around a scientist finding DNA of Christ on the Shroud and attempting to clone Jesus. The clone inexplicably turns out to be the anti-Christ. The trilogy is a very good and interesting read of how the last days could turn out.


12 books that changed the world

1.The Origin of Species

When Charles Darwin's book went on sale to the trade on November 22, 1859 the stock of 1,250 copies was oversubscribed.

His theory: Evolution was by natural selection, not a divine process.

The most enthusiastic response came from radical atheists, who hailed Darwin as "the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this century" but clerics were pained at his theory which entirely ruled out divine intervention and destroyed the idea that all creatures were immutably made during the seven-day Creation.

2.The FA Rule Book

In 1863, the Football Association's First Rule Book set out a list which regulated the game in and around London, though for quite some time the provinces clubs continued to follow their local rules.

The FA Rule Book forms the basis for the modern rules of the game.

1st game played under the rules: January 9, 1863 at Battersea Park in south-west London.

3.Shakespeare's 1st Folio

The first collected edition of William Shakespeare's plays was published in 1623.

Collection: 36 plays, 18 of which were published for the first time, thus saving such works as The Tempest and Macbeth from probable extinction.
Collected by: Actor editors John Heminge and Henry Condell.

These plays were not attributed to Shakespeare until the date of publication, seven years after his death.

4.Principia Mathematica

Isaac Newton in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published on July 5, 1687 describes the universal gravitation and, via his laws of motion, laid the groundwork for classical mechanics.

Generally regarded as one of the most important works in the history of science, it also contains the Hypotheses non fingo ("I do not assert that any hypotheses are true").

5.The Wealth of Nations

The Scottish economist Adam Smith's groundbreaking book, published in 1776, is the first complete system of political economy by the articulator of laissez-faire capitalism. It set the foundation for modern economics.

He supports the theory that the less government interferes with business, the more prosperous the nation will be.

6.Wilberforce's speech

On May 12, 1789, the Tory MP William Wilberforce made his first speech against the slave trade.

It was a speech that changed history.

Wilberforce said: "...having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know."

Until then it was possible for people in Britain to say that they did not know the truth about slavery..

7.The King James Bible

The 1611 bible was controversial because it was a translation into the English spoken by the common people.

It had a profound influence on ensuing translations and on English literature as a whole.

It is considered one of the masterpieces of early modern English literature, Works by John Bunyan, John Milton, Herman Melville, John Dryden and William Wordsworth were inspired by it.
8. Arkwright's Patent

The patent (no 931) was granted to Richard Arkwright for his spinning maching on July 3, 1769. The machine used the drawing roller method invented by Lewis Paul in 1738.

The invention of this machine revolutionised the production of yarn and led to rapid mechanisation throughout Britain

9.Rights of a Woman

At the heart of Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women, are the twin virtues of freedom of thought and devotion to family.

Called the "mother for feminism" she strove to trade "soft" descriptions of women that denoted weakness, such as " susceptibility of heart" and "delicacy of sentiment" for strength.

10.Faraday's research

Michael Faraday's 1855 Experimental Research in Electricity made him the leading experimental scientist of his time. He was the first to invent the dynamo, which made the generation of electricity possible, thereby paving the way for modern technology.

He introduced several words that we still use today to discuss electricity: ion, electrode, cathode, and anode.

11.Married Love

In her book Married Life, Marie Stopes argued that marriage should be an equal relationship between husband and wife. The first book to suggest that women should enjoy sex as much as men.

Thought fiercely opposed by doctors, the press and the Church, the book met with immediate success, selling 2,000 copies within a fortnight.

Married Love was also published in America but the courts declared the book was obscene and it was promptly banned.

12.Magna Carta

Rebellious British noblemen forced King John to sign a document which contained 63 clauses defining his feudal rights. From that moment, the king was no longer permitted to change anything without the barons' permission.

The meaning of certain clauses is still a cause for dispute.


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