Monday, January 31, 2011

The world according to various nations

These maps have been created by Jason Kottke, who has emphasized the prejudices that exist for other countries around the world from specific nations. These maps of course are not objective and in no case represent what various nations believe about their neighbours. But this project shows how many people see the world and how this also produces misconceptions about other nations, traditions and religions which are alien to them.
Enjoy the maps...

Europe according to USA

Europe according to UK

Europe according to Germany

Europe according to Switzerland

Europe according to the Vatican

The unfortunate situation in Cyprus

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate monuments

Mirco Della Vechia, one of the most famous Italian chocolate 'craftsmen', created world monuments by using white chocolate. 

His magnificent creations are exhibited in Hong Kong. Della Vechia also holds the Guinness record for creating the biggest chocolate sculpture in the world, a copy of the Cathedral of Milan, which was 1.5m high and 2.5m in length. To achieve this record he used 5.37 tones of chocolate.
All I can say is...when can I eat one of these monuments...?!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Houses on the edge

Many people, if not the majority, wish to have a house in the big city, near their work, in the centre of public life, in a 'good' area and so on. This was not the case in other times, where people built houses anywhere even on the edge of rocks and mountains. I believe these pictures show this evidently...

Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain

Ronda, Spain

Manarola, Italy

Santorini, Greece

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oldest known icons of apostles found

The oldest known icons of the Apostles Andrew and John have been discovered in catacombs under the city of Rome and specifically situated beneath an office building in Rome's Ostiense area. The catacombs date back to the 4th century AD.

The paintings were found in the same location where the oldest known painting of St. Paul was discovered last year. These icons are part of a group of paintings around an image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd on the ceiling of what is believed to have been a noblewoman's tomb.

The images of the apostles' heads and shoulders against a deep red background were uncovered after two years of work, Vatican experts stated. The ancient art was revealed by lasers that burned off inches of calcium carbonate, which had accumulated on the paintings over the centuries in the humid chamber without disturbing the paintings. This project, restoration, cost the Vatican 60.000 Euros.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Greece relives the decades of immigration of the '50s and '60s

With recession prevailing and unemployment going over the 15% mark more and more Greeks see a future of uncertainty making them decide to leave their country, friends and family. This is seen more after the IMF and the EU intervened in the Greek Economy, making life for the Greeks harder.

Many people have family members living in other countries, making it easier for them to go and live with them abroad, in countries where work opportunities are greater. Countries receiving Greeks now are England, Germany and Australia, which were once the first destinations Greeks went to. 40 years ago at the Piraeus harbour moving moments were a daily phenomenon where many Greeks were preparing for the big journey to Australia and America saying goodbye to loved ones. Today young scientists who cannot find opportunities in Greece are doing exactly the same thing, but this time they leave from the Eleftherios Venizelos airport.
Australia did not have an economic problem as did the EU and USA, that is why many wish to live and work there, although Australia has some restrictions on who can enter the country for work. But yet again Greece seems to be losing its 'clever' people due to the crisis, leaving behind unskilled labour who unfortunately dominate in the public sector...and who have in many ways contributed towards the awful economic situation in Greece, as one can see through many TV shows not only in Greece but abroad too. I will not analyse the conspiracy theories of how foreign banks (especially US and EU banks) have facilitated in achieving the downfall of Greece and the Greek Economy, but it is time the current Government and any future Government achieves to dissolve the ill and failing public sector from getting rid of workers who do not and cannot work...! Lets hope one day we can be proud of Modern Greece, without needing to refer to the ancient and medieval worlds, which Greeks are proud of.. Maybe then the scientist and other specialised people will not leave their homeland but help it achieve greatness in many ways. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whispering Gallery

St. Paul's Cathedral boasts an impressive series of domes leading up to the main one, all of which are open to the public. In the walkway that circles the great dome of St. Paul's Cathedral in London someone can whisper on one side of the gallery and can be easily heard clearly directly across 137 feet. The trick of acoustics is an artefact of the perfection of the dome, which was complete in 1710 by Christopher Wren. 

The visitor has to climb 259 steps up the dome where he finds the Whispering Gallery, which is one of three galleries within the Church and specifically under the centre dome, seen by miles away, making it one of the key attractions of London. Once your up there, the view is breathtaking. All of the Church's interior can be viewed and appreciated. Also there are more steps that take the visitor towards the exterior of the dome, providing an astonishing view of the City of London and the City of Westminster.

The way it works is simple, but yet genius. Sound hugs the walls, allowing it to travel from one side of the room to another without getting a lot quieter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The World is sinking

The world, which was constructed in Dubai as an archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of our planet, is sinking due to many mistakes made during its 'birth'. The sands are eroding and the channels between them are slitting up, said Richard Wilmot-Smith who is a British lawyer representing Penguin Marine, the company that has bought the rights to transport travellers to the World islands. The company is trying to forfeit the contract, stating that there is no work for them, especially since the global credit crunch.

This was a project to emphasise the modernity and the constructive miracles which have been built in Dubai the past two decades. The other 'wonder' is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. The ironic factor is that, except for two islands, all the other parts of the world are uninhabited.
But there is a debate on this matter, since the company that constructed these islands, Nakheel, stated that the islands are not sinking, "our periodical monitoring survey over the past three years didn't observe any substantial erosion that requires sand nourishment", a statement said.
This probably emphasises how man finds it hard, if not impossible, to create land, which according to Christianity came into being after God spoke... Maybe this will sophisticate man to do better next time or make him understand his limits..!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tunnel Bus

This new vehicle will be launched this year in China. The "Tunnel Bus" will be capable of carrying around 1.200 passengers, while at the same time allowing two lanes of ordinary road traffic pass beneath it.

A 186km test track has started its construction at the end of 2010 in the Mentougou district of Beijing. This new project will also be able to use standard tyres and follow painted Ines on the roads.. This is a great idea for the big cities all around the world. If this works in China I'm sure we will see this in many busy cities.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Police Sports-Car

Police in Britain has recently bought the new Lotus Evora with a 3.5 engine and 276 horse power, making it the fastest police car in the UK. It goes form 0-60 m/h in 5.1 seconds and its top speed is about 200 m/h.

This will deter people from exceeding the speed limit, because if this catches you then you should expect points on your license. This was first shown in the Birmingham Motor Exhibition, where the new Lotus car was displayed as it is in the picture, with the police colours. The British Police will test it for a period of time to see if it helps with battling speeders on motorways... I never thought that speeding was so bad in the UK, or maybe the Metropolitan Police wishes to copy other Police forces from countries like the USA and Italy which have the Ford Mustang and the Lamborghini respectably.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Digital Tomb

One of the weird things that the modern world promotes is the digital way of life mankind has adopted. A digital tomb is another way of promoting and sustaining this idea. The so called E-Tomb was created for all the social network fans who are on twitter and facebook for hours each day.
It has a Bluetooth panel where you can send your messages and a solar panel for constant power. This will give the opportunity to friends and family to send to the tombstone stories and comments concerning the deceased.

Although many will see this positively it will create many problems. Even the current situation, where social networks do not delete the profiles of deceased users, creates problems. Through this new technology digital immortality is promoted and emphasized. For centuries man has tried to achieve immortality but who would have thought that he achieved digital immortality. Many religions will see this not in a positive way, since a fundamental belief is that this life is ephemeral and that the true life is the, so called, afterlife, where we are close to God, to the truth. Many faiths through time have emphasized the importance of the afterlife, as did the Egyptian religion, that is why they built the wonderful and enormous pyramids. Plato sees this world as a "cave" and explains that the true life is outside the "cave", where the light exists, where truth prevails. Even Hollywood has understood this idea as seen in the Trilogy "Matrix". We live in this matrix and the true world is another one, where we all want to go. This digital immortality, I believe, will create moral problems, since the meaning of life will altar from the truth and will be emphasized in a computerised and technological one, which isn't real...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You chose the price...!

A coffee shop owner in Prague, identifying that customers were getting less and less and seeing that the customers that went to his shop got irritated when they had to pay decided to let the customers decide the price they thought they should pay, whether it was for coffee, an alcoholic drink, dessert, beer or sandwich. His goal is to increase his profits during the economic crisis which prevails not only in Europe but all around the world.

The idea eventually led to great interest and the coffee shop is full of new customers who come again and again, bringing new customers each time. The owner has seen that many pay much more than they have to but others much less and others give barely few change. But this variety balances his income and profits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Russian "Noah's Ark"

Russian architect Alexander Remizov who has designed "The Ark" believes it could be adapted for all kinds of environments and put to a number of different uses. It will be constructed mainly from timber, steel and high strength ETFE plastic.

The biblical name given to this project was specially chosen by the architect due to the fact that it could save mankind if a catastrophe was going to take place. The creators of this project are planning to construct such buildings even in Antarctica and big cities, for example Moscow, where they will be used as ordinary houses. This shows how this project will not only be used to save mankind, but will also be used as houses, hotels and probably as touristic attractions.
The scientists decided to design "The Ark" as a project of the house which could be built in any place on Earth, even in the most uninhabited. This house can even be built on a water platform.
A wind power generator will run through the centre of the building which would provide power while the outer surface would be covered with transparent solar panels.

The dome shape of the building will assist the wind generators to create a good climate.
In case "The Ark" is built in a desert, where the heat will be intolerable, then the building will have special devices that will redirect it to special energy containers for its further use.
Recycling is also an issue. But the designers have found a solution. All the garbage will be divided into several parts. The first part will be used as the fertilizers. The second one will be processed and the last part will be destroyed inside the special stoves at the output of which essential hydrogen and oxygen are produced. It will be even possible to live inside the Noah's Ark without coming outdoors where one can walk in the winter gardens. Also television and Internet will be provided.
Although this project is still on the drawing board, Remizov believes "The Ark" could be used for many purposes from apartments to offices and hotels. This will also have different sizes which will cater for people between 50 and 10.000 people.

Mediterranean diet is good for the brain

According to a study from the United States who ever eats Mediterranean food has clarity and it also minimizes the chance of suffering from mental depression, especially the elderly. Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, olive oil, fish and wine, demonstrates how beneficial it is for the brain.  

Scientists observed 3.790 people living in Chicago who were 65 and over since 1993 until today. Every three years they examined them and saw how well they kept the diet. Those who followed the diet had low levels of mental depression.
Another study found, through studying the Mediterranean diet, that it lowered the risk of developing Alzheimer.
Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fruit, cereals, fish, low fat milk products and unsaturated fat. Also it discourages the high consumption of saturated olives, milk, meat, chicken and refined sugar ( although I do believe many countries in the Mediterranean have incorporated many of these products in their diet, hence the souvlaki in Greece and pizza in Italy).
A fact that should interest us all is that the Mediterranean diet protects us against heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Amazing skills

I thought I would share with everyone this video that I found amazing...It makes one think how people have impressive skills!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chernobyl Now

We all know what happened to the Ukrainian city Chernobyl on the 26th of April 1986. It was considered a nuclear accident of catastrophic proportions. It is the worst nuclear power plant accident in history.
Once a lively place to live, nowadays this little town is completely deserted after the horrible disaster.  What many people do not know is that even after the nuclear disaster Ukraine continued to operate the remaining reactors, until 2000, when the last reactor was closed down.
Now all one can see is shown in these pictures..
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have been burdened with the continuing and substantial decontamination and health care costs of the Chernobyl accident. Although radiation was thought of reaching many Balkan states, as South as Northern Greece and Turkey.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oldest Father

Ramjit Raghav, an Indian farmer, is the oldest father in the world, aged 94. Mr. Raghav, who is from Haryana in Northern India, celebrated the arrival of his newly born son Karamjit and claimed that he is "God's gift". He stated, "I am a strong follower of Lord Shiva. I wanted to have an offspring and prayed for him. This child is God's gift to me". This gift has made him the world's oldest father.

He and his wife, Shakuntala Devi who is believed to be in her late 40s, hope to try for a second child next year...Many will believe that that will be impossible...All we can do is wait and see..!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kit Kat is right...Have a break!

A research held by the University of Queensland in Australia found out, after studying 4.700 workers, that it is bad for the workers' health to work non stop for many hours without a break. So Kit Kat is right...Have a break! To protect your health just have many breaks, although difficult in a tense environment where everyone is working, still small intermissions help your health.   

The researchers have stated that even if one does some exercise whilst sitting down it does not invalidate the negative effects it has. A worker should stretch and walk about every now and then to maintain his/her health, even if this is for a minute or two.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The most dangerous zebra crossing in Britain

I can't say that I found it dangerous when I drove passed it one Sunday evening, but there were about 100 people standing next to it, which isn't the best thing for drivers, since they do not know if the pedestrians are just standing there or if they are about to cross the road. But Abbey Road in London is considered the most dangerous zebra crossing in Britain since the location has been a shrine to visitors from all over the world, especially due to the known photograph taken in 1969 with the Beatles crossing the road.

Even the Abbey Road studios have installed a web cam which overlooks the zebra crossing..Its funny to see tourists and fans trying to recreate the Beatles photograph, annoying the drivers who by law have to stop to allow for the pedestrians to cross the zebra crossing...Even the Simpsons have recreated the moment in their on way..

You can see Abbey Road through this link During the day I am sure you will see many people attempting to cross the road 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The rioter of the century

Everyone knows that demonstrations are a part of daily life in the centre of Athens. It was funny once when I was walking with my father in Athens and we saw a priest on a bike demonstrating too.. But what people do not know is that there is a demonstrator who has been there for years, not missing one riot. As you can see that rioter is a dog, who lives in Athens and supports all causes..!
The funny factor is that the dog is not hiding somewhere on the side, but is in the front line, standing strong against the police.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2 year old smoker

We all know how countries now are enforcing a smoke free world, where no one can smoke in public buildings. I am a supporter of this policy, although many of my friends will disagree with me. But one extreme example of someone smoking is two year old Ardi Rizal, who lives in Indonesia and is addicted to smoking. 

 He even surpasses his father, who smokes 40 cigarettes a day. The funny thing is that if his parents don't give him a cigarette then he hits his head on the wall until they do.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Greece and Turkey criticise eachother

Many know how the two countries have had a troublesome past, which unfortunately continue till this day. Visiting Turkey Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou criticised Turkey for ongoing flights over the Aegean, giving an example of a recent violation of air space over the Aegean, flying over the Greek island Agathonisi. Mr. Papandreou said that nothing will change in the Aegean as long as Turkey violates Greek airspace by flying planes over populated Greek islands. Another matter was the Cyprus issue. George Papandreou stated  that Turkey cannot become a member of the EU as long as the invasion in Cyprus continues. Again the issue of the minorities arose where both PMs criticised each other on this matter.

It is evident that progress between the two countries is evident since both PMs have met on countless occasions and have discussed many issues that have been troubling both nations. But further talks and action should be taken by both countries to try and solve the ongoing problems.

Extreme photographers

It is known how reporters and photographers go around the world to report and send back pictures to us. Many have even died in trying to get to the bottom of a story..But some photographers go passed the limits of what some can only describe as stupidity and try to photograph anything from scary, weird and dangerous angels.. these pictures emphasise exactly this phenomenon.