Wordless Thursday – 20 trivia facts about world countries

I admit I have not been posting to the wordless Thursday section for a while now. And  I am looking to make ammends to that starting this week again. The first of the return should be interesting so I have picked the world in superlatives.
Some of course might say that most of these superlatives are not so very useful, however they are interesting and that’s what I strive to bring. Starting from which country is the most lactose intolerable to the country with the most venomous snake bites, its here. Read on.  

The most bizzare Suicide ever

I try not to write things that are on some other sites, maybe some extracts but this was something so inquisitive that I felt that it should be shared here too. This is a Suicide story from 1994, and is so bizzare that I will let you choose if it was a suicide or it was something else, I would call it fate. And an extreme example of it. Read till the end, its a bit long but interesting nevertheless.

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for Forensic Sciences, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story…

On March 23 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a shotgun. Investigation to that point had revealed that the decedent had jumped from the top of a ten story building with the intent to commit suicide. (He left a note indicating his despondency.) As he passed the 9th floor on the way down, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, killing him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the 8th floor level to protect some window washers, and that the decedent would not have been able to complete his intent to commit suicide because of this…

Ordinarily a person who starts into motion the events with a suicide intent ultimately commits suicide even though the mechanism might be not what he intended. That he was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not change his mode of death from suicide to homicide, but the fact that his suicide intent would not have been achieved under any circumstance caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands…

Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th floor from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun because of an interspousal spat and became so upset that he could not hold the shotgun straight. Therefore, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking the decedent.

When one intends to kill subject A, but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. The old man was confronted with this conclusion, but both he and his wife were adamant in stating that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded. It was the longtime habit of the old man to threaten his wife with an unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder her; therefore, the killing of the decedent appeared then to be accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded…

But further investigation turned up a witness that their son was seen loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal accident. That investigation showed that the mother (the old lady) had cut off her son’s financial support, and her son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that the father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus…

Further investigation revealed that the son became increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to get his mother murdered. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a 9th story window.

The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Wordless Thursday – Angry Birds Addiction

Angry Birds might be the greatest Mobile game ever created. The craze of the game just keeps increasing, people in the office seem to start playing it in long boring meetings as well. Oh the game and oh the addiction. So much so that someone thought it would be a good idea to make an infographic on the game and its addiction. Check out some really interesting statistics of the game, a “Birds” eye view perhaps.

The producers of the game are growing richer and the users more addicted. I installed the free version on my Android and say what, I could not put down the phone for sometime. Now well nearly though the game, I am kinda over the addiction. However, the Game is still entertaining when Blocks or paper toss does not compel me.

Inquisitive Interviews : Sangeeta Khiara – Freelance Photographer

Another Sunday, calls for another Inquisitive Interview. And you will love the interview this week, Sangeeta Khiara is really someone who should provide some sort of inspiration for all the women, being a freelancer in a predominantly Male dominated field which is just warming up to women, takes a lot of courage and hard work. I am sure most people with SLR’s these days think of themselves as some sort of professional photographers. But after reading this interview you guys will know it’s a lot more than just that.

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…?

I am a complete Dubai product, born and raised here. Originally from Mumbai, India but Dubai is first home to me. My Father used to be a photographer and spending so much time with him gave me the basic instincts to this field.
Since the past 2 years I have been functioning as a freelance photographer and this has been quite a long term dream to me. I think my interests have varied ever since I was young, I have always wanted to do everything quite possible. I do love music, dance, reading, adventure sports and most entertaining factors that come with life.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ?My job is like a new journey everyday, I meet different people some are difficult some are very easy going. When you work in a creative business one needs to come up with a lot of ideas and concepts that dont just come easily to you. Its not like a functional job where things have to go one particular way. 

As for compensation, No human is usually satisfied with their income. Compensations vary from clients/jobs as there is no fixed timing of work so no fixed incomes too. There are months when you are filled up with work and there are times when there is no work at all.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job?

Everyday is a new day at work. New work place, new people and concepts. I usually have my R&D done about my upcoming project a day or two earlier and discussed them with my client so I don’t have any issues post shoots. So on the D day its just pack the equipments required and reach the location. Do some basic discussions with the client about how we want the day to be planned, talk to the model (if a model related shoot) or have a good look at the products/area that has to be shot. Once all set I am just clicking away to glory. I enjoy keeping a light atmosphere at the shoot so that the everybody is relaxed and spontaneous.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

I did picture this job very easy going when I was initially stepping into it but as time passed its been getting tougher. People think just because you are a photographer you just meet cool people and do some point and shoot and that’s it you get paid for making people look good. It takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to get into any profession, and photography also has its creative and technical aspects which make work so much more detailed than ever before.

I did take 2 years to get here, within where I was working at a branding company and would save the cost of a photographer and do it myself for the clients, then I trained, assisted, and now a few people know me by my name and work. Still a long way to get where I want to.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace?

I love networking, I think people make you what you are and its very important to keep a network and communicate. We are lucky to reside in a multi-cultural region like Dubai where we get to meet people from all ends. My job has a new flavor to it everyday which makes it exciting. I dont think I could do an 8-5 job where I have to perform the same task everyday. Its never boring if you got new challenges everyday at various places with varied people.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Expectations are challenging. Clients believe that you would make them or their project look outstanding. Fashion has reached to such a height that regular people are portrayed flawless and when your client expects you to make them look like a different person it becomes a difficult job. I love capturing people but in their own skin and not make them look like they never do, but this is what most people don’t want. Its same in terms of products or events, but that is acceptable because those subjects have a selling point attached to them.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

I am self employed and work as a freelancer. Thus I dont report to anyone.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

School : The Indian High School, Dubai
Pre University :
Bachelors Degree: B.A. Media and Communication specializing in Advertising and PR
Masters Degree :

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses?

I did have basic training in photography,video as well as post production as my course involved me to have them. Post university I worked for a bit and joined many workshops and courses available in Dubai to get more professional training. Unfortunately in Dubai there is no academy offering a full- fledged degree in photography specifically. So, I had to take up varied courses at different institutes to complete my training. I have done courses in Digital photography, Studio photography, Portrait photography and fashion photography. I would love to keep learning but I am out of any more courses available in Dubai.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry?

Well when you’re young you are very vulnerable and tend to get into many decisions without knowing the drawbacks about them. I wont advice someone to take up photography in general as its ones own choice but creativity has no end and the world needs more people with fresh minds. Take time to realize what is it that you could do everyday of your life and never get frustrated of. (No that dosent include playing PSP or surfing on you tube) Once you have sorted out your inner behavior, you would know when reality is far more better than just dreaming.

Limitations and Drawbacks come with everything that you do. Life was never a cake walk. Photography as a profession has its limitations where you have to work for your client and how they want it, dosent matter if you like the images. They like it they pay you. That’s the commercial side of it. People are going to question your talent, one just needs to be patient and constantly improve on oneself.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ?

First thing first walk in and out with your camera everywhere when you’re starting off. That will make people know where your passion lies. Make sure all your family and friends are aware of what you want to do as they come the most in handy while getting one of your first assignments. Use the web to show people your work, Facebook works more than a personal website these days. Those are just formalities. Keep updating your images and yourself this will make people realize that you want to work.

Watch out for agencies that want to hire new photographers and artists and then grab 60% of your earnings off on every job and yearly fee to be associated with them because they provide you with jobs.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Being a photographer you get many questions raised at you asking what sort of profession is that and is it really going to make you earn anything at all. Because I am a female, these questions are raised at double impact to me. I have always told everyone to follow their best quality and use it in their profession. Parents need to let their children realize their quality, job satisfaction is more important than monetary satisfaction in the long run.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches?

For some basic knowledge and amazing examples visit
http://www.thephotoargus.com/

For regular tips and updates you can visit
http://www.shariblog.com/

As I said networking is very important whether is personally or on the internet. Social networking websites like LinkedIn provide many job opportunities and UAE based Dubbizle also has a vast network.

Anywhere else the readers can get in touch with you ? LinkedIN ? Twitter ? Google + ? Personal Website ?
Facebook Page : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sangeeta-Khiara-Photography/
Twitter@sanguB
LinkedINSangeeta Khiara

A big thanks to Sangeeta for a really inquisitive interview, a lot more of an insight into being a freelance photographer in Dubai. More importantly, a budding young photographer. Wishing her all the best in the coming weeks ahead and moving on, Be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – House Cleaning Facts

This week’s Wordless Thursday is dedicated to all the guys and girls who fight over House cleaning. Wordless Thursday is this blog’s attempt at bringing interesting infographics from across the internet to you every Thursday.

Wife Discovers Husband’s Murder Plan On Facebook

Its unbelievable what Facebook is turning out to be in or lives. From being a tool to connect to Friends to something like this is absolutely shocking and disturbing at the same time.

Was reading the New York Post today, and this article came up as an interesting read. But the more I started reading the more I learnt of how good Facebook turned out to be in this case. If Ram Gopal Varma would read this he might make a movie on this issue. As it turns out alls well that ends well in this case. A curious Wife, a smart ass husband and Facebook. An interesting stopy of Pati, Patni  aur Facebook.

Angela Voelkert and her husband David were undergoing a messy divorce. Well, the plot thickens when Angela concocts this rather lamebrain plot that gets David to do some pretty diabolic confessing via a fake Facebook account.

According to the New York Post, the 29-year-old wife decided to open up a Facebook account posing as a 17-year-old named Jessica Studebaker, and sent a friend request to her 38-year-old hubby David. He accepted. After numerous friendly exchanges with the teen about his marriage and custody issues, on May 31, David spilled his plans for the demise of Angela by revealing to Jessica, that he had placed a tracking device in his wife’s van that would keep tabs on her whereabouts at all times.

David even asked the teen whether she could supply him with a “gang-banger” who’d be willing to do the deed for $10,000. “With me gone with my kids, the police can’t pin anything on me as I will be in another state, so I will be fine,” he said in a message. The desperate hubby then had the audacity to ask the teen to run away with him once he brought the curtain down on his poor “unsuspecting” wife. The audio salesman was arrested Friday. He was initially charged with illegally installing the tracking device.

Apparently, he provided the courts with a signed and notarized affidavit from May 25, which was six whole days before he sent his eerie request to his Facebook pal Studebaker. The affidavit, published by the Smoking Gun, states that David knew all along that Studebaker was actually his wife, Angela. He claimed to have been playing along with his wife’s little cooked-up scheme and had absolutely no intention of killing her or running away with their children.

The important question is, people getting so used to spilling most of their lives on Facebook is a personal choice, but how much is too much ?

Inquisitive Guide – RSS : Best way to visit many websites together

A few years ago, my mentor gave me a quick advice, which in turn has changed my life as clichéd as it sounds. He said I should make it a point of spending time online without using the usual refinements like Facebook, YouTube, email or other form of direct entertainment online. Initially targeted at spending an hour online, now I have some interesting hours online nearly every other day, which I should say has enabled me to even write about these Inquisitive topics. Eventually there are quite a few websites that I was reading regularly, blogs that I was reading and what came out of it was, that I started to spend too much time in visiting those sites / blogs to pick up the information that I wanted to read. Then I stumbled upon RSS.

Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, the expanded version of RSS is actually a web format that is used to read “feeds” from sites. What it means is that people with RSS feeds on their sites have set up a sort of a radio channel for their websites, where you will constantly pick up any changes or posts that they add, however the advantage over radio is that it shows them by posts, so you can pick to read what you want to, where as you can opt to not read ones that do not really interest you. The video here should help better understand RSS.

Why RSS? Benefits and Reasons for using RSS

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. A RSS reader can be web based application, desktop-based standalone application, browser based application or a mobile device based app. Each of these readers has their own features and some are free while others are not. Those who have to access their RSS feeds from multiple computers prefer a web based RSS reader. Those who access RSS from a single computer generally choose the desktop applications. While choosing your desktop-based application, make sure that you are keeping into account the operating system platform that you are using. All recent browser applications also have an inbuilt RSS reader. These browsers also have a finder technology that automatically spots the RSS widget on the website that the browser is visiting. In addition, RSS feeds can be received on mobile phones. What more, you can even connect your RSS feeds with your social network channels like twitter and facebook. The services like twitterfeed and RSS graffiti makes this possible. RSS feeds can also be converted to emails and read from your inbox.

variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My YahooBloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

As an additional step you can chose to beautify the RSS feeds with these plugins for popular browsers such that you can read the news from these sites easily. A great example of the RSS feed beautifier, aggregator and reader is the Feed.ly plugin for Google Chrome, that converts a boring looking interface into a proper magazine style interface.

At the end of the day the name of the game is pulling information from sites that you want and present it to you in the way you want it. So if Melvin’s Inquisitive Mind is on your list of blogs and or sites that you visit usually and want the information to reach you as soon as it is posted, well go ahead give the RSS a try on this blog. Its on the top right, just below the content slideshow.

The most expensive Home Theatre in the world

I got an interesting mail with the pics for the most expensive Home Theatre in the world, and let me tell you something it was worth writing a post about. Once I received the pictures I started getting more and more curious about the composition of the system. The Kipnis Studio Standard Experience, also known as “The Greatest Show on Earth” is exactly the most expensive Home theatre in the world. I don’t really know what to actually say about this awesome gadget, a big waste of money or a true piece of art, but I am inclined to think that $6,000,000 is way to much for a home theatre, you could do a lot more than just a Home Theatre in that money.  Now let’s see a few details that make this home theater so amazing.

First of all the person who spent the money and the effort on this monstrocity. Jeremy Kipnis, a music engineer, producer, classical music lover, has paid a whooping US $6 million for this amazing collection. And you have seen nothing yet. Wait until you find out what gadgets make this home theater so top notch.

Picture Elements:

  • Sony SRX-S110 Professional Video Projector (4,096-by-2,160 resolution)
  • Stewart 18-by-10-foot Snowmatte 1.0 Gain Laboratory-Grade Motion Picture Screen

Players and Sources:

  • Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony PlayStation 3 Gaming Console
  • Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD Player
  • JVC HMDH-5U D-VHS Recorder
  • SATA Drive (72 HDTV Hours Total)
  • Mark Levinson Reference N°33 and N°33H.
  • Pioneer HLD-X0 Hi-Vision HDTV MUSE Laserdisc Player

Surround Processing and Decoding:

  • Theta Digital Generation VIII 32-bit 8x Oversampling Dual Processors (13)

Amplification:

  • Mark Levinson N° 33h Amplifiers (2)
  • McIntosh MC-2102 Amplifiers (30)
  • Crown Macro Reference Gold Amplifiers (3)

Speakers:

  • Snell 1800 THX Music & Cinema Reference Subwoofers (16)
  • Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference Towers (8)
  • MuRata ES103A Super Tweeters (10)
  • Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference LCR-2800 Center-Channel Speakers (3)

Look at these awesome pictures that will complete the experience of ooh and ahs, we will then talk more about why this beats going to the theatre.

Now lets get to the list of why this really makes going to the Theatre crappy :

The Cell Phone That Goes Off

Honestly, with all the messages we see during the previews that mention how NOT to have your cell phone on during the movie?  How in the world is this still going on in theaters?  Not only that, whenever the damn thing rings at least three times it’s usually cause for murder.  No question.  Giant sign:  TURN CELL PHONES OFF.  Cell phone still rings.  How?  How?

The Tall Person

This is just the luck of the draw I guess.  I’m 6’0 tall so I doubt that I’ve caused trouble for those behind me.  And I have to say theatres have made advancements in seating.  However, if someone is 6’5 or taller you are absolutely screwed.  And if you’re in a crowded theater, God help you.  Ever watch an entire movie with your head tilted?  Its not very nice.

The Talker or Laugher

I didn’t realize how many people thought that a movie theater was their own personal living room.  Not only that, sometimes you get the people that actually speak just to piss other people off.  The worst thing is when you get a group of people that are either drunk or stoned. I guess its fun for them, but at the expense of the rest of us.

The No Seat Situation

You know what that means.  It means you’re sitting in the front which is about the worst possible thing that could happen to you at the theater other than being vomited on, the theater collapsing on your head, or having exploding diarrhea. Aching necks, twisted eyes and tears accompany such a trip to the theatre.

No matter what said and done, spending 6 Million Dollars on a Home Theatre is not something that beats going to the theatres, but surely getting a good system will make the experience at home more personal and better.

Wordless Thursday – The Dangers of Riding a Motorcycle

This week’s wordless Thursday is one of my favourite things to do when in India, Ride a Motorcycle. And the dangers doing it.

New Stuff from Google has its own site now

As someone associated with Technology and how fast things change, especially on the web, it gets difficult to update yourself with all of the new changes that are happening. As a guideline you would follow the blogs of big companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, other famous tech blogs like Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Engadget and the likes. However gathering information from these places is a task in itself. So our very friendly Google has now come up with a site to let you know what the changes on their products are and the products updated !

Google New, is a new Website that updates the followers f google and Web Technology in general the various changes that the sites are going through. Your guide for finding everything new and Google, is something that shows an impressive number of changes to their products that this search giant is churning out.

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As a matter of fact, the more you think of, I think its more valuable for companies to have a micro site like this that will provide updates to their customers / visitors especially considering that people these days do not really like news letters on their emails. Honestly, when was the last time you read a newsletter. Just create a micro site or a blog and provide your customers with the updates required. Great Initiative Google, I know I am happy.

New Seats in Airlines to increase seating capacity by 25%

How many of us complain about the seating in the Aircraft’s, Most of us ? Some of Us ? None of Us ? My guess would have to be most of us, and being tall like I am does not help the cause as well. I keep wondering, Aircraft manufacturers seem to be building bigger and better aircraft’s trying to provide that additional comfort for passengers, but airlines seem to be making the spacing between seats smaller to make more passengers fit in the same aircraft thus increasing profit and lowering costs.

This is definitely the case with most Budget airlines and with Emirates.  I cannot imagine travelling half way around the world on an Emirates airline flight, sitting 16 hours in a cramped space defiantly is going to cause a lot of discomfort especially for me. Business class, well I am not yet there, to be able to fly business class all the time. Anyway, the trend in the Airline industry in general seems to be trying to cramp as many guys in the same flight as possible. Even to the extent that some airlines have started offering standing room only tickets. I am sure those can be applicable only for short flights. But if one Italian Design firm has its way we could be having one extra person for every 4 passengers on our existing flights.

Continue reading New Seats in Airlines to increase seating capacity by 25%

The Art and Science of Photography

I mentioned last week that I was heading to Bangalore to attend a photography workshop and I just did, the past few days have been an exhilarating experience when it comes to learning. The workshop that I attended was aptly called the Art and Science of Photography, teaching to use the device in hand to manipulate light in such a way, that the image produced by it would be stunning. Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure Compensation, and many other parameters that make up an image, forming the science of the photograph and the composition and story making the art part of the image. The workshop which was conducted by Kalyan Varma, who I believe is India’s best wild life photographer, was something f a revelation. From learning about the different components used to capture light to make brilliant photographs, to photo processing techniques used by early photographers using film cameras. Real eye opener.

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Photography has long been associated as an art form, and the DSLR’s have made it more of a gizmo that provides geek food. I would attribute the new SLR revolution to the Geekified image of the new SLR camera. And being a gadget the focus has shifted to photography as an art form but also as a small stream of science. The Science of manipulating light and producing mind boggling images. But like everything else these days, I think we as photographers are really getting carried away with the electronics and the gadgets. Good equipment does not always mean good photographs, however good photographer even with a crappy camera can take amazing photographs, if you search for Mobile Camera Photography you will know what I mean. Getting back to the topic of Gadgets and Photography. Here are some excellent examples of cameras ads that have aired over the years (the Polaroid one is the best), notice something similar… all of them try to convey the same message to the photographer, that the new camera is compact and light weight to take good pictures 😉

At the end of the day Photography is all about the photographer and his keep eye to freeze a moment to make a good photograph. This was one of the most important things I learnt at the workshop, having a great camera just helps the process. I am going to be posting images from my Photography workshop on my photo blog (http://photo.melvinpereira.com) soon.