“If you have time for sunsets, you have time for life.” A quote from me : )

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images : )

They came from sites like ‘dailymail.co.uk’ , ‘nature.desktopnexus.com’, ‘pocketburgers.com’, ‘dpshots.com’, ‘manymeans.blogspot.com’, ‘wallpaperan.com’, ‘thetravellady.wordpress.com’

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Pakistan jailbreak: Taliban free 243 in Dera Ismail Khan

 
HOW MUCH HARD WORK AND EFFORT THAT IT TOOK TO CAPTURE THESE TERRORISTS WAS WASTED? HOW MANY LIVES WERE LOST?
Maybe the Pakistani government should step up their defenses at the jails? But are they shorthanded elsewhere?

The attack in the town of Dera Ismail Khan began with huge explosions at around midnight on Monday (15:00 GMT).

Gunmen then opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and machine-guns, police chief Sohail Khalid said. About 70 attackers were in police uniform.

The town is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, next to Pakistan’s restive mountainous tribal region.

The town’s prison houses hundreds of Taliban and militants from banned groups.

Twelve people – including six police officers – were killed in the gun battle that raged for three or four hours after militants launched their assault…

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23493323

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Smart Customers…Stupid Companies @ Slideshare

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Egypt crisis: ‘Scores killed’ at Cairo protest

The BBC’s Jim Muir: “The casualties are mounting”

More than 100 people have been killed at a protest by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in the capital, Cairo, doctors say.

They said more than 1,000 were also hurt. The state health ministry says 38 people had died – 180 injured.

The army ousted Mr Morsi on 3 July. He has been formally accused of murder relating to a 2011 jail outbreak and of links to militant group Hamas.

Pro- and anti-Morsi supporters staged huge protests overnight in the capital…

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23474645

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Wanna immigrate? Do you have a work permit, a place to stay, and all completed paperwork? Okay! But wait…are you over-weight???

South African chef ‘too fat’ to live in New Zealand

Overweight man eats sandwich Nearly 30% of adults are overweight in New Zealand

Immigration officials said Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 130kg (286 pounds), did not have “an acceptable standard of health”.

He now faces expulsion despite shedding 30kg since he moved to the city of Christchurch six years ago

New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world, with nearly 30% of people overweight.

An immigration spokesman said Mr Buitenhuis’s application had been rejected because his obesity put him at “significant risk” of complications including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

“It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services,” he said.

See Article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23475583

Is this right? If so, should they be using similar policies against children and the elderly because they have higher risks of getting sick?

What if one’s obesity is due to their genetic make-up? I also heard that some airlines are thinking of charging people extra based on, not only the weight of their luggage, but the weight of their bodies too…

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The Barometer Story (thinking out of the box like a Boss!)

The following is a question on a physics exam at the University of Copenhagen:

“Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer.”

One student replied: “You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building.”

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that he failed the student who immediately appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct.

The university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter ruled that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. It was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn’t make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied: “First, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from this formula I have worked out for you on my text paper here.”

Then the student added, “But, Sir, I wouldn’t recommend it. Bad luck on the barometer.”

“Another alternative”, offered the student, “is this: If the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer,then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper’s shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional geometry to work out the height of the skyscraper. On the paper is the formula for that as well.”

“But, Sir, if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in a gravitational formula, which I have determined here this time on a long sheet of paper with a very long and complicated calculation.”

“Or, Sir, here’s another way, and not a bad one at all. If the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.”

“But if you merely wanted to be very boring and very orthodox about the answer you seem to seek, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof, and on the ground, and then convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.”

“But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor’s door and say to him ‘If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper’.”

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane ever to win the Nobel Prize in physics.

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Royal baby: Why choose the name George Alexander Louis?

King George III, King George V and King George VI

A familiar name among British kings… George III, George V and George VI

It is a partial victory for the old maxim, “the bookmakers are never wrong”. George was the rock-solid favourite for boys’ names for a while, backed all the way down to 2/1. Alexander and Louis were both not far behind.

A cynic might point out that before we knew it was a boy, Alexandra – the Queen’s first middle name – had been the favourite…

See Article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23444082

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US House votes to continue NSA’s phone surveillance

Rep Justin Amash returns to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, 24 July 2013

The US House of Representatives has narrowly voted to continue collecting data on US phone calls, in the first legislative move on the program.

In a 205-217 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort to restrict the National Security Agency’s (NSA) ability to collect electronic information.

The NSA’s chief had lobbied strongly against the proposed measure.

The vote saw an unusual coalition of conservatives and liberal Democrats join forces against the program.

The details of the NSA dragnet were made public by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for America’s electronic spying agency. He is now a fugitive, seeking asylum in Moscow… …

See Article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23445231

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Angry Cartoon Drill Sargent. Royalty Free Stock Photos - Image: 25040278

Three Rules

One of my husband’s duties as a novice drill instructor at Fort Jackson, S.C., was to escort new recruits to the mess hall.  After everyone had made it through the chow line, he sat them down and told them, “There are three rules in this mess hall: Shut up!  Eat up!  Get up!”

Checking to see that he had everyone’s attention, he asked, “What is the first rule?”

Much to the amusement of the other instructors, 60 privates yelled in unison, “Shut up, Drill Sergeant!”

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

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Royal baby: Messages of congratulations flood in after birth

Royal baby: Messages of congratulations flood in after birth

A formal bulletin confirming the birth was displayed at Buckingham Palace

Congratulatory messages are flooding in from around the world to mark the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, the third in line to the throne.

Prince William said the couple “could not be happier” following the birth of the boy, who weighed 8lb 6oz and is yet to be named, at 16:24 BST on Monday.

Thousands of well-wishers descended on Buckingham Palace after the news broke.

The royal birth will be marked later with gun salutes and the ringing of Westminster Abbey’s bells.

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23415636

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Egypt’s Morsi ‘abducted by army’

The family of the ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has accused the army of abducting him.

His daughter Shaimaa told a news conference in Cairo that the family was taking legal measures against the army.

Mr Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location, without charge, since being ousted from power on 3 July…

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23406337

A portrait of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is seen behind barbed wire during a demonstration by Morsi's supporters in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, July 21, 2013.

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Cartwheeling girl makes a dolphin laugh

Video: Cartwheeling girl makes a dolphin laugh!
SOooooooooo Awesome. You can even hear the high-pitched giggle! : )

See at: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breakingnews/offbeat/video-cartwheeling-girl-makes-a-dolphin-laugh-29438253.html

Smiling dolphin
 
Video: Cartwheeling girl makes a dolphin laugh – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Watch the amazing moment this cartwheeling girl makes a Dolphin laugh!
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Horse in McDonald’s: Rider fined after ‘drive-thru’ refusal

A woman has been fined for taking her horse into a McDonald’s restaurant in Greater Manchester.

Police said the woman, who has not been named, was in the saddle when she was initially turned away from the drive-through kiosk on Bury New Road…AND THE HORSE DID ITS BUSINESS ON THE FLOOR…to the HORROR of customers…

See article @: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-23403935

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Royal baby: Pregnant Kate taken to hospital in labour

The Duchess of Cambridge has been taken to hospital in the early stages of labour, Kensington Palace has said.

The duchess is being tended by a top medical team led by the Queen’s former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex’s two children. Alan Farthing, the Queen’s current gynaecologist, will be assisting…

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23402103

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China’s Gansu province hit by powerful earthquakes

Two powerful earthquakes have struck China’s north-west Gansu province, killing more than 70 people and leaving at least 400 others injured.

The earthquake has caused a direct economic loss of 198 million yuan ($32m; £21m), the Dingxi government said on its microblog…

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-23401470

Firefighters carry an injured woman on a stretcher after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit Minxian county, Dingxi, Gansu province 22 July 2013

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GO to the page “Writing Samples – Y” for the rest of the story…

Love Kills

      People stared openly as I walked down the hallway. The sea of students parted like the Red Sea. Their whispers reach my ears. What did I do to deserve this? I clutched my books tighter to my chest and let my raven black wavy hair fall, hoping that it would block out the whispers of the students that rang in my ears. Misery and melancholy had been blatantly etched across my features and my pallid complexion highlighted the dark rings under my eyes. I kept my eyes downcast, trudging my weary feet forward.

    “Left foot forward, right foot forward. Don’t worry, it will all be over soon Cindy.” I thought to myself as I felt the familiar tears well up in my eyes.

      Suddenly, I felt my head bang into a hard wall. I looked up, turned out that the ‘hard wall’ was actually the warm chest of a boy. My ex-boyfriend to be exact…

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Batman and Superman to team up in new film

See Article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23394229

The surprise announcement was made by Zack Snyder, who directed the most recent Superman film Man of Steel. However, the script is still a work in progress.

Production is expected to begin next year and the film is scheduled for release in the summer of 2015. British actor Henry Cavill – who starred in Man of Steel – will again play Superman. However, an actor for the new Batman is yet to be cast.

The enduring popularity of Superman and Batman has seen the latest films featuring the two characters earn revenues of more than $1bn (£655m) between them… …

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10-funny-facta-abt-u1.jpg

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Alexei Navalny convicted: The fates of Putin’s enemies

Russian opposition leader and blogger Alexei Navalny (C, front) and his wife Yulia (R, front)

Russian anti-corruption blogger and opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been jailed for five years for fraud, after a trial he says was politically motivated.

Mr Navalny could now be barred from running in the Moscow mayoral election set for September. He also joins a growing list of opponents of President Vladimir Putin who have ended up on the wrong side of the law or in exile, or have met their deaths in suspicious circumstances.

Oligarchs

When Mr Putin first became president in 2000, he immediately set about curbing the power of the oligarchs – the group of billionaires who exerted huge influence over Russia’s political system and media.

His first victim was media magnate, Vladimir Gusinsky, the owner of NTV, a station that at the time was highly critical of……

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Black hole-bound gas cloud ‘stretched like spaghetti’

 Gas cloud

The cloud, known as G2 is now being stretched out like a piece of spaghetti by the black hole’s extreme gravity.

The mass of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way is estimated to be four million times that of the Sun and is formally known as Sagittarius A (Sgr A*). It is the closest known “supermassive” black hole.

See full article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23343563

“The most exciting thing we now see in the new observations is the head of the cloud coming back towards us at more than 10 million km/h along the orbit – about 1% of the speed of light,” said Reinhard Genzel, from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.

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Violent protests in India over school meal deaths

There have been violent protests in the Indian state of Bihar after 22 children died and dozens more fell sick after eating a tainted free school meal.

Four police vehicles were set on fire in Dharmasati Gandaman in the Saran district during the protests by parents and hundreds of villagers.

A doctor at the local hospital said a chemical used in pesticides was likely to be the cause of the contamination.

See full article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-23342003

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Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love:

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

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Abortion – Write or Rong?

Abortion – Write or Rong?

As of April this year, any woman in France who chooses to have an abortion will be reimbursed for 100 percent of the cost by state-sponsored social security, and contraception will be provided to any and all 15- to 18-year-olds free of charge.

What kind of message is the government sending to the people, even the young?

Is abortion wrong? Many doctors argue that since a fetal heartbeat can be detected at 12 weeks, the fetus should be treated as a living human being. Some evidence suggests that they can feel pain and react to feelings and sensations.

video – the silent scream ( watch this video after reading):

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4Hb3DFELq4Y

However, there is something to be said for legalising abortions. It is the same reason why tobacco is still not banned in numerous countries. It could create an ‘underground trade’.

· World-wide, around one quarter of pregnancies end in abortion – nearly half are illegal. That works out to 0ne-eighth of all pregnancies ending up in illegal abortions.

· 70,000 women world-wide die each year from back-street abortions. (A report from the Guardian)

Do government abortion facilities save lives?

Free Baby On Bed Stock Photos - 1818553

One question I ask is this: Where should the line be drawn?
I feel it is definitely wrong for an abortion to be made because of a lack of self-control at a midnight party.

I think it is definitely okay if it is a rape case – One per cent (of aborting women) reported that they were the survivors of rape (NAF) , according to abort73.com, or if the mother’s life is put at risk from the pregnancy. But what about the in between?

One in three women in the UK have an abortion in their lifetime…

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JK Rowling writes secret crime novel under false name

JK Rowling
JK Rowling’s secret was uncovered after a Sunday newspaper became suspicious…
Apparently, she was even rejected by a number of publishers who did not know the real identity of the author.
Even the best get rejected…(sigh)
Since the author’s real identity was announced sales of the book went up by a whooping 507,000%. How many copies is that???
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Writing Tip for the weekend

“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.”

Anne Rice

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Official Teaser Trailer by Dreamworksanimation

I, for one, absolutely loved the first movie when it came out three years ago in March 2010!

Here is the teaser for number 2 which was put up on YouTube –  only yesterday! The movie will be out in June 2014 approx. I wonder if I can book my cinema tickets 1 year in advance, can I? : )

“We’re Back Bud!”

YouTube Link:

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Second Installment of A New Earth… (a purely descriptive essay)

With the more difficult part of the journey behind him, he put on a confident smile before his crew members, many of which were friends and family. Everything had gone perfectly as he had planned – not bad for an eighteen-year-old child genius.

      He addressed the crowd: “ My dear friends, I am honoured to announce that we have safely arrived on Super Earth! (More cheering and applauding) I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who put your faith in me, and contributed to mission ‘Exodus’. Now, let us descend to a new world of opportunity!”

 

      Craig was the first to put on the anti-pressure suits and descend the steps to the surface, along with his best friends, who were fellow scientists – all younger than twenty-five. As the airlock was opened, his heart skipped a beat. He gasped in wonder at the amazing sight that greeted his eyes. The planet was a thousand times better than he ever expected. Instead of gray, clay-like soil, he found reddish-brown earth. He found flowers and trees instead of mosses and algae. In the distance, a blue lake glittered in the sunlight, against a backdrop of mountains, albeit purple ones. It resembled Earth, his home, so much; that he double-checked that he was in the right place. He was. This new paradise was his home now.  

 

      After a long while, he snapped out of his trance. He had an important mission to complete, one that was vital to the human race. He brought down two flags; one was the flag of the commonwealth, where he and his team came from. The other was a picture of Earth – you never know when aliens could show up. Butterflies fluttered in his stomach as he planted them firmly into the ground, claiming them for the citizens of Earth. He was feeling just as light-headed and poetic as Louise Armstrong when he first walked on the moon, “One small dream for a man – one new hope for mankind!” He shouted, and resounding cheers echoed across the valley.

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“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Go to Writing Samples – Y for the full story…

The freak, that was gone with the wind

(Won 2nd place in a nation-wide essay tournament in Singapore)

Theme: Gone with the Wind

       I felt like a freak. The suspicious looks that darted at me. The cupped whispers and the glaring eyes. It was my first day at a new school, and I was the odd one out. I felt like a freak.

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Go to Writing Samples – X for the full story…

TWO WHOLE LIVES IN 1000 WORDS  

Jason and Michael went way, way back.

      When did they become the best of friends? Maybe it was when Jason saved Michael’s life by beating up a rattlesnake with a golf club.

      Did I mention that he was ten years old then?

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A new writer has joined forces with dream writer X…

Her name is Dream writer Y…

                      Sup guys, sis of dreamwriterx here. What to know bout me, I like reading in my free time and love thinking of scenes and plots and stuff in my head but I only write them down for like homework or competitions. Usually there are just stored in a folder marked read 10 years down the road in my brain.

                      Anyway, I’m 14 this year, go to all an all girls’ school. I’m in girl guides. I love reading, quotes, watching You tube, KPOP, demi lovato, and Instagram (Follow me @magirl22) don’t diss the username man. In my defense, I was only like 11 when I thought of it I it kinda surfaced in my brain when I was setting up my account. HAHA.

                      My taste in music is pretty varied. It usually changes everyday. I’m obsessed with Bleach (A manga.), master chef, Running Man and etc etc. So that’s all for now. My bro’s gonna help me post out some of the stuff I wrote a few years ago. Please don’t hate. I was young. HAHAHAHAHA.

PeAcE oUt. BYEEEEEE! : )

 

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So u wanna write?

Kurt Vonnegut:

“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. “

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The US has long accused China of cyber-spying, and now it’s clear the US is the world’s leading cyber-snooper…

See article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23153681

This article sums up things between Snowden and the world’s two superpowers.

Protesters hold pictures of President Barack Obama, left, and Edward Snowden during a demonstration outside the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong 15 June 2013

Many think that the US, keen to lecture others, is getting a taste of its own medicine.  They have been caught with their ears outside the door, so to speak…

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Egypt and the Big Apple

See Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23265632

An F-16 fighter jet. File image

US officials say Washington will deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the next few weeks.

They are part of an already agreed bigger order of 20 planes – eight of which were sent to Egypt in January. The final eight are expected to be shipped later this year.

Is this wise considering Egypt has just had an uprising and they have yet to have new elections – no one knows who might rule next…

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Murray wins! – Interesting facts about the match…

Murray wins!

Interesting facts about the match that you should know… (besides the score alone)

On Sunday, Andy made history by defeating Djokovic 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 at the All England Club – a fitting name considering Murray is the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s singles championship in 77 years!

  • They played for 3hrs and 9mins in 40 degrees Celsius heat – that is 104 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • He was watched by 15,000 live spectators. Sure football matches can have as many as 30,000 to 40,000 even – but that is to watch 22 players. In tennis, there are only 2…
  • This is Murray’s second Grand Slam Title since the US Open in 2012
  •  He was watched by Victoria Beckham, Wayne Rooney, and Hollywood Stars Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper. Talk about pressure…
  • Some of their rallies were as many as 30 and 32 strokes!
  • The fate of the game was already decided after the end of the second set. Why? Simple – Murray had never lost a single game once he was two sets up since he was 18 years old!

Huzzah…now you can show off to your friends about just how much you know about the match with these interesting facts!

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Abortion – Write or Rong?

See Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-23251506

Stay Tuned for a full length article on the debate around Abortion

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Baide (bad – ddy? to be arrested)

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie arrest ordered

See article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23256937

Mohammed Badie in Cairo (5 July 2013)
 
On Friday Mohammed Badie said protests would continue until Mr Morsi was reinstated
I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the guy…
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Sorry Guys : (

I apologize to all readers as I had to take down my last post as it could be deemed offensive. I also apologize if anyone felt offended or hurt by it.

Sincerely,

Dream Writer X

Dream…Write…Create : )

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1st Installment of A New Earth – (a short, happy ending essay)

      The seemingly never-ending darkness surrounded them on all sides, swallowing every last traces of starlight. Days passed, and the pitch-blackness never seemed to recede. It reminded Craig of factory smoke, as black as coal, like the smoke that had descended on Planet earth when he was a child.

       This deep, powerful darkness, however, had an evil presence, ripping away more and more of their hope as time passed and had the heat generators were working overtime to combat the bitter cold. It messed with their navigational equipment and froze controls.

       Each and every one of the thousands of crew-members felt well and truly lost and alone – it seemed like they would be lost forever in this massive cloud, trapped in their own world, in an endless vortex of inky black nothingness. The terrible wait was enough to drive anybody completely mad – but these were not ordinary people.

      Then the large, silver nose of the starship ‘Enterprise’ broke through the cloud into empty space once more to the collective cheers of ten thousand voices. The ship was a thing of pure beauty. Its hull gleamed a bluish-silver like the hide of a dolphin, and just as sleek and shiny. Each interior room besides storage resembled the lobby of a five-star hotel, where many were partying.

       They did indeed have reason to celebrate. For Craig, that magnetic space cloud – the Bermuda triangles of solar systems, was the last obstacle between him and his destination. He made the ship dive towards a little blue dot on the horizon, invisible unless you knew were to look.

       The dot circled fully around a dim red sun every one and a half days, and loomed ever closer, thanks to the state of the art triple turbo plasma rockets Craig had developed, and fitted with super-conductive magnets. He extended the stabilizer flaps on the wings to reduce the friction from the atmospheric heat shield, as the reverse thrusters gave corrective bursts with pinpoint accuracy, slowing the descent.

       His eves were glued to the cockpit, and he was drenched in sweat – not just from the heat, as he maneuvered the craft onto a fifty-kilometer runway. His expert piloting skills allowed the giant craft to touch down onto the planet GJ 1214b, nicknamed ‘Super Earth’, without a hitch – he did not even wake the baby.

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Late nights ‘sap children’s brain power’

Go to this link to view the article on BBC :

By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online

Sleepy boy Late nights may have knock-on effects
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How things have changed over the years

 

 

 
 


 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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What do you know about extreme sports? Surfing 3,000 feet from a volcano, or bungee jumping into a lake of crocodiles? These sports are the ultimate proof of the bravery (or stupidity) of these epic thrill-seekers.
Go to the sports page now for the top ten fads in extreme sports.

 

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Robot Vs. Human

Not too long ago, a friend of mine in robotics had his CCA made fun of by others while playing basketball. They wanted to know if a robot could play basketball – and other sports better than humans.

Here is a robot that can play golf like a pro, and has a snappy attitude to match. Yup, it comes with a built-in sarcasm generator.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Ft2fLuz9mF0

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Holiday mode

For STUDENTS…PARENTS…TEACHERS, and generally every body who has not been secretly genetically modified by aliens from outer space, one of the most dreaded days of our lives is the day all those in Asia experienced just earlier this week…

Except for students in international schools – (aren’t they lucky)…their emotional, psychological and sometimes physical torture has been delayed.

I am sure half of you have already guessed what I am referring to.

Yes, it was the first day of school blues!

It’s the day where the most students come late for school, and the most teachers come after students. It’s the day a lot of students had to buy new alarm clocks after smashing their old ones in jubilation on the last day the school the month(s) before.

However, if you did not guess correctly as to what I was getting to…its okay.

Why?

It is possibly because, like me, and many others, YOUR BRAIN IS STILL IN HOLIDAY MODE!

Scientists call the state of the brain at rest the default mode network (DMN) – (non-scientists like me call it holiday mode). It can be described as a discrete collection of brain regions that exhibit greater activity during rest periods than during performance in effortful cognitive tasks. Surprisingly, this brain activity is even associated with light sleep and daydreaming. Yet, till now, scientists have yet to determine all the processes that the brain undergoes at rest.

Did you know that your brain only accounts for a mere 2% of your total body weight, yet it consumes 20% of all the calories you take in?

Even more amazingly…the energy consumption of your brain at rest is still a whopping 95% of that when you are actively using it at full capacity.

Scientists have named the energy consumed during rest the brain’s “dark energy,” since the massive energy consumption during this so-called rest period is one of the biggest mysteries in neuroscience today.

To all teachers: A study published in PLoS One in 2011 showed that researchers in Japan at Tohoku University found a link between the DMN and general intelligence and creativity.

Researchers scanned the brains of 63 healthy volunteers during rest using functional MRI to measure the cerebral blood flow (CBF) in different regions of the brain. A higher blood flow indicates a higher amount of oxygen demand, which indicates a higher amount of brain activity, and vice versa.

Researchers administered a standard psychometric test to volunteers to measure general intelligence. Creativity was assessed using a divergent thinking test, which assesses the ability to think in unique ways and generate novel ideas rapidly.

The experiment showed that participants who scored high on the intelligence test had high blood flow to the brain’s grey and white matter, which those who scored high for creativity had high blood flow to the brains white mater only.

You may be thinking: What on earth does that mean?!

I don’t understand it myself, because the human brain is just so complicated! But, a common analogy is that the grey matter is would be the actual computer in a computer network, while the white matter would be the network cables.

The authors of this study speculate that this may be an indication that intelligent people  (namely – everyone who can stand contemplating this info!) have intrinsically more active brains. It’s possible that brains that are more active at rest are undergoing specific biochemical processes to increase the integrity and efficiency of the system, something like the diagnostic test on your calculator.

        AHA! Now all of us who are frequent daydreamers, believers in long naps, or ‘relac’ activists, finally have scientific data to back us up!

Our brains have adapted to the modern hectic lifestyle by being on its toes (so to speak) all the time. We are now high-strung practically the whole day. The way we live now means we often have a much higher than normal level of stress hormones circulating in our bodies more or less continuously. (stress mode – the opposite of holiday mode)

Is this healthy? Do you think that the minds of human beings were designed by nature to be on high alert the whole time? Or is it just the stress of city life?

Stress could get to you (especially after checking your metre long stack of uncompleted homework!), and lead to symptoms like headaches, nausea, giddiness, and violently deformed homework. On a more serious note, stress has been found to decrease the effectiveness of your immune system and increase your risk of illness, as well as increase the stress of those around you.

There is a reason why scientists call holiday mode (and not stress mode) the brain’s default mode…

Ever had an amazing idea or a solution to a problem come to you snap! just like that when you were not even focusing on the problem at all, just enjoying the sunset? (See previous post on 30 June) Many people find that taking a break from everything around you, from all the deadlines and worries, and doing nothing in particular, can help you think more clearly to find the answer you need, come up with something new, or simply de-stress yourself.

         A great mathematician Henri Poincaré observed regarding his own creative process, “Often nothing good is accomplished at the first attack. One takes a rest; and then all of a sudden the decisive idea presents itself to the mind.”

Bottom line is – your brain is amazing. Unlike common belief, your brain does not have on and off switches activated when you wake up or sleep. Instead, the brain is a dynamic system engaging in integral processes continuously, especially when we’re unaware of it, like when we are daydreaming or sleeping.

How long can this zombie-like holiday mode last for before your usual self comes back? Well it depends…you see, for some of us students – (maybe even some people you know)…holiday mode IS OUR USUAL SELF!

Or so say our teachers…

Back to the question – it really depends on you. Personally for me, it can take up to two weeks, especially if my ‘holiday’ was filled with very intense and strenuous activities, such as eating, sleeping…and more sleeping. (For the benefit of those still in holiday mode – that was sarcasm)

Or maybe it lasts longer because I was abducted and genetically modified by aliens over the last holiday…you never know…

Peace out,

Dream Writer X

References

Buckner RL, Andrews-Hanna JR, & Schacter DL (2008). The brain’s default network: anatomy, function, and relevance to disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1124, 1-38 PMID: 18400922

Raichle ME (2009). A paradigm shift in functional brain imaging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29 (41), 12729-34 PMID: 19828783

Takeuchi H, Taki Y, Hashizume H, Sassa Y, Nagase T, Nouchi R, & Kawashima R (2011). Cerebral blood flow during rest associates with general intelligence and creativity. PloS one, 6 (9) PMID: 21980485

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A Sunset

A Sunset

“If you have time for sunsets, you have time for life.”

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