Oct 26, 2012

Beautiful Crystal Clear Water Beaches and Lakes

The Balearic Islands, best known for the international party destination ofIbiza, are situated off the eastern coast of Spain. Palma is the main port city in Mallorca, the capital of this archipelago under Spanish rule.

This is one of the most popular destinations in the western Mediterranean, and you’ll soon find out why. You'll find enchanting coves, gorgeous sunsets and lush natural landscapes. You can enjoy the islands any way you want: relaxing in an atmosphere of well-deserved peace and quiet, or partying until all hours as you enjoy the islands’ wild nightlife. 

Photos by Ben

Photo by Maryam Yahyavi

Cuba’s diverse wildlife stems from its unique natural history. Cuba was not originally in the Caribbean Sea but in the Pacific Ocean, where the island was situated 100 million years ago, before the forces of continental drift slowly brought it into the Caribbean. As the island migrated over the ages, an astonishing variety of life arrived by air, sea, and possibly by land bridges that may have once existed. Over time, these animals adapted to their new environment. 

Photo Source Unknown

Since very ancient times, the Maldives were ruled by kings (Radun) and occasionally queens (Ranin). Historically Maldives has had a strategic importance because of its location on the major marine routes of the Indian Ocean. Maldives' nearest neighbors are Sri Lanka and India, both of which have had cultural and economic ties with Maldives for centuries. The Maldives provided the main source of cowrie shells, then used as a currency throughout Asia and parts of the East African coast.

Photo by Stefan Weyer

Photo by Tony Rath 

Located directly on the Belize barrier reef, South Water Caye is a private 12-acre Caribbean island paradise surrounded by diverse mangrove islands, tidal seagrass flats, and pristine coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Photo by Tony Rath

Photo by Jeff Clow

Emerald Lake is located in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada. It is the largest of Yoho's 61 lakes and ponds, as well as one of the park's premier tourist attractions

Photo by National Geographic 

Flathead Lake is one of the 300 largest natural lakes in the world and is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States.  Of those large lakes, Flathead is one of the cleanest.  Studies at the Flathead Lake Biological Station show that water quality in Flathead Lake is among the best in the world . The Lake's major tributaries are the Flathead and Swan Rivers. . 
Photo by sunflower00212


Fresh panda scat has been discovered for the first time in ten years in China’s Jiuzhai Valley’s National Park, leading conservationists to believe the iconic bear may be returning to the park

Photo by J T


Photo by Dmitri Fomin 

Lake Tahoe from the east shore (in Nevada). Location, California . Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California

The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides.The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe.

Photo by David Berkowitz

Photo by Foo Weng 

Semporna is a well known gateway to beautiful islands such as Mabul, Sipadan, Kapalai, Mataking, and Pom Pom. 
Semporna town was founded soon after the establishment of Sandakan town by British North Borneo Company, which the name means place of rest or place to settle.

The town is mainly populated by Bajau ethnic community, also known as the Sea Gypsies. Most of them live in sprawling stilt villages over the sea water on the outskirt of the town, or live inside their traditional Lepa boats.

Photo by Mio Cade


The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about a third of a mile. The mountain is on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are counted as fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,156 feet, is the 27th highest peak in Colorado; 

Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The nation of the Solomon Islands is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Photos by James Morgan

Photo by Ian Cameron
Solomon Islands  is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The nation of the Solomon Islands is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Source , 1, 2 , 3 , 4

Oct 25, 2012

10 Biggest Inventions by Indian People

India has been a prominent center of learning since ancient times. The land was one of the most advanced regions in various fields of science.The Indian subcontinent has been a major contributor to the world and has excelled in fields of astronomy, numerology, arithmetic, mineralogy, metallurgy, logic, information and technology. Some of the inventions even date back to as early as the Indus Valley Civilization. Historical evidences and excavations by archaeologists ascertain the dominance of India in the field of science and technology.
10.Cotton Gin

Cotton Gin is a machine used to separate cotton from the seeds. The evidence of this machine was found through the carvings on Ajanta caves where the pictures of these machines were engraved. Dating back to 500 AD, this hand roller machine was locally called Charkha. This machine has undergone changes through the course of time but the most primitive form of cotton gin originated from India.
9. Buttons
Buttons are a major part of our clothing even today. Buttons were invented in India and various historical evidences and excavations prove that buttons were used by the people belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. Shells were given various shapes and were pierced into a hole. Earlier they were used more as an embellishment but were gradually used to fasten clothes.
8.  Natural Fibers
Natural fibers like wool, cotton and plant originated from India. Evidences show that people of the Indus Valley used cotton and India pioneered the art of cotton spinning and used it in making fabric. Jute, a plant fiber, was cultivated in India since ancient times and was later exported to other countries. Cashmere wool, which is supposed to be the finest wool was first made in Kashmir and was used to make hand- made shawls. These shawls have maintained their richness and exclusivity even today.
7. Surgery
Cataract surgery and plastic surgery were also first performed by the ancient physician Sushruta. These surgeries dated back to 2000BCE and his work were later translated to Arabic language and gradually passed on to European countries. He used a curved needle and removed the cataract by pushing the lens. The eyes were then immersed in warm butter and were properly covered till they were completely healed. People from far off countries came to India to seek treatment.

6. Medical Treatments
 Leprosy was first noticed by Indians and various ancient remedies are also mentioned in the Atharva Veda. Lithiasis treatment or the treatment for eradicating stones was first introduced in India. Small Pox vaccinations were first cured in India and symptoms and ways of immunization against small pox were mentioned in 8th century by Madhav. Ayurveda and Siddha are the two primitive methods of treatment that originated in India and are still used as an alternate way of treatment. They were used for holistic healing and ancient sages of India mastered this treatment method. Another Indian medical practitioner named Upendra Nath Bramhachari invented methods to treat Visceral Leishmaniasis or Kala Azar. This Nobel Laureate was responsible for the eradication of this ailment.

5. Diamonds
 Diamonds were first mined in India. Huge deposits of diamonds were found in Central India and it gradually developed as a precious stone. India till 18th century was the only country where diamonds were found and were later on exported to other countries. Indians were well aware of the physical properties of diamond like its durability, ability to cut other hard surfaces, sparkling effect and the refractive property. Various ancient books have mentioned the use of diamond as a tool and have also mentioned the exquisiteness of this sparkling stone.

4. Dock
 India was the first nation to have a dock that dated back to 2400BCE. People belonging to the Harappa Civilization were the first to build a dock in Lothal. This proves their immense understanding of oceanology and marine engineering. The Lothal Dock proves their precision and vast knowledge about tidal waves and hydrography. Without having a thorough knowledge of these topics, it is impossible to build a dock.

3. Crucible Steel
 High-quality steel has been produced in South India since ancient times. The technique used to manufacture it was later on called the crucible technique. Pure wrought iron was first put together with glass and charcoal in a container and was heated till the metal melted and absorbed the carbon.

2. Ink
Ink made from various materials was first invented in India. This black pigment was used in writing manuscripts in ancient India. India ink was made by burning tar, pitch, bones. Carbon was the primary pigment of India ink.

1. Zero

Mathematics does not make sense without zero. Although it has no value, it plays a vital role in Arithmetic. Aryabhatta was a great mathematician and an ace astronomer. His contribution to mathematics is unimaginable. Use of Place Value System was clearly mentioned in Aryabhatta’s Bhakshali manuscript and thus zero came into existence. No particular symbol was given to zero but the presence of zero was evident from his work.

Oct 22, 2012

10 Most Popular Firearms

The past 65 years have seen great changes in the field of warfare. The thing powering this change has been the development and access to firearms; here this article tries to show which have carried favor and why. Sadly I cannot guarantee a high level of accuracy in the statistics of how many guns have been produced, this is much to do with the fact that for every one licensed gun produced three knock-offs will be made in a jungle clearing somewhere. Hence the order is as accurate as possible with the data available but estimates have had to be made.


100 million

Another product of Mikhail Kalashnikov, Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947 is the most famous weapon on this list, if not of all time. Designed by Kalashnikov after he witnessed through his own eyes the power of the German submachine guns and assault rifles such as the MP40 and STG44 and how woefully unequipped the Red Army was to match them. Thus the Soviets launched a competition to design the assault rifle for the military of the USSR.

With the horrendous conditions of the eastern front in his mind, Kalashnikov created the most reliable gun ever seen. Put into service in 1947 and adopted by the entire military in 1949, the AK-47 saw its first action in the Chinese communist revolution.

Definitely the least surprising entry on this list the AK-47 and AK type rifles have been produced in numbers as high as 100 million, appear on the flag of Mozambique and were Russia and Ukraine’s greatest export post-Cold war – as Nicolas Cage/arms dealer Yuri Orlov put it: “No one was lining up to buy their cars.”

Remington Model
The only shotgun on this list and outstrips all other shotguns in terms of popularity. At least 10 million of these 1951 pump-action models have been officially rolled out the gates of Remington-licensed factories due to their ability to fire up to a 28 gauge cartridge and cheapness to produce. They are equally popular with civilians and the military and so are present in probably every single US government department requiring firearms. They are represented in half of the nations comprising the G20 (although China’s usage is unlicensed) and has appeared in almost 80 films. What is interesting is how prolific this gun is without being present in any major conflicts that haven’t had some sort of sanction from the UN (e.g. no rebellions and militias).


A gun that was given its most iconic look in the hands of Tony Montana shooting up gangsters in pastel suits along the shores of Miami. One of Israel’s most famous exports, the UZI was first manufactured in 1951 and the more recognized variations – Mini, Micro – were developed in 1982 and ’83. They found favor with more than 90 countries’ armed forces and even more in special operations and security units.

The main rival to the MP5, the UZI has managed to fill the holes in the market the MP5 leaves, concealable, lightweight with a high rate of fire. Because of this they have produced over ten million worldwide.


Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot is the most widely used anti-tank weapon in the world. Believed by many to have the title “Rocket-Propelled Grenade,” although descriptive, this is a backronym formed by the acronym for the official Russian title. Over 9,000,000 licensed RPG-7s have been made under the designs originating from the Soviet Union shortly after WW2. Still being produced today this iconic weapon is often seen next to its Soviet comrades the PKM and AK-47 as the low cost choice for effective warfare. Even the USA is now using it to train the Afghan National Police due to their abundance in the hills of Afghanistan.

Over 8 million

Originally developed by Armalite in 1956 as the AR-10 with the new revolutionary selective fire (semi-automatic and automatic firing modes) they failed to impress the US military enough to become the standard infantry full-auto rifle. However Armalite decided to produce 100 prototype models for arms dealer Samuel Cummings to display to foreign forces to secure international sales. Cummings almost sold 7500 AR-10s to Nicaragua but when Nicaragua’s chief military commander, General Anastasia Somoza, personally conducted an endurance trial the bolt sheared off and skimmed passed his head. The entire order was canceled after this and Armalite was in dire straits.

In order to keep the company on its feet Armalite’s chief engineer Eugene Stoner turned his attention to fully automatic weapons and the AR-15 was born. The rights to it were immediately sold to Colt who were successful in making the US military adopt it as the M16 rifle. This was the iconic rifle of the US forces in Vietnam and has evolved into the M4 carbine of today.


Product of West Germany, the Heckler & Koch G3 is an invention born from the final years of World War 2. One of the first, among the FAL and AR-10, to be built with NATO specifications in mind and a participate in the arms race of the late fifties to equip western nations with a battle rifle.

It was produced in great numbers when the Bundeswehr (German army) adopted it in 1959 with further development by Spanish firm CETME. The G3 is parallel to the AK-47 in how post-Cold War sudden unneeded surpluses were distributed globally by private agents and governments. Because of this it has been fought with in the Colonial war of Mozambique all the way to the Drug war of Mexico.


The Ying to Kalashnikov’s Yang, the FAL was in the arsenal of every NATO country during the cold war, but this Belgian battle rifle once called “The right arm of the Free World” has now trickled down into the hands of most militias and informal defense forces. Its lasting appeal has come from its ability of fire accurately to a length of 600m and an automatic firing rate of up to 700 rounds per minute.

It is the 20th century classic for a post-war battle rifle and at least 2 million have been produced (official variants) and its users have varied from Filipino Islamic fundamentalists (MILF) all the way to the British Army.


The Heckler & Koch MP5 has been the choice of most law enforcement and special operations agencies since its development in 1966 in West Germany. Its countless variants (over 50) have dominated the small arms market for Special Forces and homeland security and is only now being challenged by its successor the UMP. Ironically the German Army did not adopt the MP5 but, likely due to economic reasons, licensed its rival: the Israeli UZI submachine gun.

The reason for the MP5′s success is that Heckler & Koch successfully scaled down their G3 battle rifle for use in close-quarters and urban environments. It has been used by more Special Forces teams than any other gun.

Over 2 million

An iconic pistol with a lifespan longer than any military sidearm, originally developed by the legendary John Browning at Colt one hundred years ago, the 1911 has had at least 2 million official copies produced in its lifetime (This is a very conservative estimate). It was in full usage by the US military for 79 years and is still used today (the majority is the 1926 model M1911A). Users have ranged from the Soviet Union (given as aid during the war) to Nazi Germany (captured) and now all the way from Haiti to Luxembourg.It has appeared in 295 films and is probably one of the most timeless pieces of engineering in firearm history.
Over 1 million

The Pulemyot Kalashnikova, or “Kalashnikov’s Machinegun” is a general purpose machine designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, the father of the efficient and rugged infantry weaponry which shaped history in the second half of the twentieth century.
With over 1,000,000 built in six different variations and hundreds of thousands more in unofficial foreign variations the PKM is the template for delivering 750 rounds a minute of 54mm bullets. It has long been favored by guerrilla groups and militias because of its adaptability and ease of use due its ability to be mounted on a tripod, on the top of a vehicle or in the hands of a soldier providing suppressive fire. It has featured in every major conflict since the Vietnam War and is still in production in Russia.

10 Longest Wars in History

Throughout history humans have enjoyed conflict. Sometimes a fight can be over before it starts. Sometimes the fight never ends. In some occasions the war goes on so long that children are born into the conflict and believe it a way of life. Some battles are known for their importance. Some wars are known for their huge death tolls. However, which wars rank as the longest conflicts to ever take place? If you thought your fight with your other half was never ending, take a look at this list and see the hope.

1. The Hundred Years War

The name of this war is actually a bit of PR to make it look not so bad. It lasted an unbelievable 116 years. Imagine fighting a fight that your great great grandfather started – that is what this war was. In 1337 King Edward III of England sailed over the channel and claimed the French throne as his own. It marked the beginning of a series of skirmishes between France and England that didn’t stop until 1453. Like a family heirloom, the fight was handed down through the generations and it also helps explain a lot of the modern day hostility between the two countries.

2. The Punic Wars

 Depending on how you calculate it, this war lasted between 43 and 2,248 years. That makes it either the longest or second longest war in history. In 264 BC, war broke out between the Carthage and Rome.  This is what is regarded as the inception of the Punic Wars. The official peace treaty that ended the Punic Wars was signed in 1985, however, the Carthage was burned down and completely destroyed by the Romans during the third of the Punic Wars, in 146 BC, which is generally regarded as the ending of the war (with the signing of the peace treaty being a more symbolic gesture.)

3. The Guatemalan Civil War

 The Guatemalan Civil War lasted a lengthy 36 years. It shows the potential trouble of unresolved issues. The conflict was born of issues between the native Mayan people of South America and the descendants of Spanish conquerors – particularly with respect to land use and general rights. Issues that had been around for centuries and slowly coming to a boil. Why do boys always have to fight rather than getting together and talking? 36 years of fighting – when a cup of tea and a chat could probably have sorted it out.

4. The Thirty Years War

A rather unoriginal name for a conflict that lasted 30 years. A war that is nearly impossible to explain, like 
many arguments that we forget how they started. It started as a battle between the Catholics and the Protestants, the two parties within the Holy Roman Empire. Disputes over the balance of power within the empire and political horseplay started played a greater role as the conflict dragged on. The war ended up as an all encompassing conflict throughout the empire, resulting in a new Europe being born from the ashes of the conflict. I am not sure anyone knew what they were fighting for in the end.

5. The War of the Roses

Starting in 1455, The War of the Roses was a civil war that raged in Northern England until 1487. The House of York was on one side with the House of Lancaster on the other. They were fighting for the most noble of causes – both sides believed the throne of England was theirs.  Each house had an emblem of a rose (red and white) and so it became commonly referred to with the moniker “War of the Roses”.  The battles continued for over 32 years and I think that Shakespeare would be shocked that such a sweet smelling flower could find itself at the centre of a war.

6. The Peloponnesian War

This is one of the most ancient and extended wars in history, lasting from 431 to 404 BC.  It was fought between the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta, and the city of Athens and its empire. The war began with Sparta simply trying to undermine Athen’s power and then evolved over three phrases into a far larger conflict. It shows that it pays to get things sorted out before they get out of control!

7. The Napoleonic Wars
 From 1792 to 1815 a series of wars were declared against Napoleon’s empire by various coalitions within Europe. These wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, paved the way for the British Empire and also sowed the seeds of nationalism in Italy and Germany that would lead to the World Wars in Europe in the 20th century.

8. The Achinese War

Towards the end of the 19th Century in Dutch Indonesia, a war was to begin. It broke out in the spring of 1873, when the Dutch rulers of the region declared war on Aceh (Sumatra). The reason – because apparently Aceh was in talks with the US about a new owner. The Dutch didn’t bother to check if the rumour was true or not. They adopted the attitude of shoot first ask questions later. They went in all guns blazing and the war is believed to have taken place for around 25 of the 31 years from the date war was declared. Another lengthy conflict to add to the list.

9. The Greco-Persian Wars

The Greco-Persian Wars consisted of a series of battles between the Empire of Persia and various Greek city states. The conflict began in 499 BC and continued on and off until around 448 BC. The Greeks managed to repel the Persians each time they attempted to invade the Greek mainland – the Persians didn’t give up easily though and kept coming back, causing the war to drag on without victory for either side.

10. The Vietnam War

This was one of America’s longest and most painful conflicts. If you take the length of the war from the time that the United States began assisting the South Vietnamese government (which was in 1956) and then keep going up until the American withdrawal in 1975, it makes for a 19 year armed conflict. It is still a painful memory for Americans and the loss of life they suffered over this conflict.
Fingers crossed that we won’t be adding any new entries onto this list. If you’ve been married for 60 years, please don’t write in and tell me that you should be at number two – we have decided we can only include conflicts that have resulted in the loss of multiple lives.