Friday, January 30, 2009

Chinese Love Story

An incredible love story has come out of China recently and managed to touch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and love each other in peace for over half a century.

The 70-year-old Chinese man who hand-carved over 6,000 stairs up a mountain for his 80-year-old wife has passed away in the cave which has been the couple's home for the last 50 years. Over 50 years ago, Liu Guojiang a 19 year-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin..

In a twist worthy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, friends and relatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference and the fact that Xu already had children.

At that time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.. To avoid the market gossip and the scorn of their communities, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality.

In the beginning, life was harsh as hey had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to light up their lives.

Xu felt that she had tied Liu down and repeatedly asked him, 'Are you regretful? Liu always replied, 'As long as we are industrious, life will improve.'

In the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began and continued for over 50 years, to hand-carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily.

Half a century later in 2001, a group of adventurers were exploring the forest and were surprised to find the elderly couple and the over 6,000 hand-carved steps. Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, 'My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day. He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother's convenience, although she doesn't go down the mountain that much.'

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife's hand even after he had passed away.

'You promised me you'll take care of me, you'll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?'

Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband's black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10 love stories from China , collected by the Chinese Women Weekly. The local government has decided to preserve the love ladder and the place they lived as a museum, so this love story can live forever.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top 10 Expensive Accidents in The World

10. Titanic - $150 Million

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ' s dollars).

9.Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

8.MetroLink Crash - $500 Million

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles . It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

7. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion

Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ' re only #7 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety.

6.Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world ' s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ' s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

5.Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion

The world ' s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ' s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ' s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

4.Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion.. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ' s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ' s dollars).

3.Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

2.Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion

The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ' s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ' s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

1.Chernobyl - $200 Billion

On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

Amzing Rock Cut Architecture

The ritual of rock-cut architecture goes back all the way to the Great Temple of Ramses located along the Nile in Nubia.

Rock-cut architecture occupies a predominantly significant place in the history of Architecture, but "the ritual goes back all the way to the Great Temple of Ramses, known as Abu Simbel," located along the Nile in Nubia. Dated back to 1280 BCE, it is comprised of a mammoth scaled portico carved out of the cliff with interior chambers that form its asylum.

Much of people's observation of these intricately structured monuments is that they are highly involved with religious aspects, sculptures depicting the culture of that time period, and tombs representing burial rituals.
The initial structures were typically carved out by starting at the top to construct a crown and then working downward, for the apparent reason that stones would not be falling on one's head.

The Buddhist "Carpenter's Cave"

Located at Ellora in Maharashtra, India, this structure represents the essence of Indian rock-cut architecture. The caves are comprised of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhists temples and monasteries that were originally constructed between the 5th and 10th century. There is a sense of synchronization in accordance with these caves concerning religion during this period of history.


Petra is an archaeological site in Arabah, Jordan, lying on the gradient of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern border of Arabah, the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. This World Heritage Site was discovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig BurcKhardt. This rock-cut architecture was adopted by the Nabataeans who extended this tradition by "carving their temples and tombs into the yellowish-orange rock that defines the canyons and gullies of the region." One of the more interesting aspects of Petra is that there was an actual theater with rock carved seats found inside.

Lycian Tombs

The Lycian tombs, circa 400 AC, were developed by the Lycian people who had perfected this type of architecture that relied on the abundance of soft limestone within the region. These monumental tombs are most noteworthy for their quality of stone masonry and of course the quantity that most recently was revealed at a count of 1085 still intact.

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

At the base of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem rests the tombs of Absalom and Zechariah the Prophet. The Shrine of Absalom is said to have been built by the disobedient son of King David before his death. The monument of the Prophet Zechariah is an amazing feat of construction, considering it was carved entirely out of the mountain side, including the intricate detail. Both are a short walk to the east of the Old City of Jerusalem. It's not a paved area and there is low-lighting and plenty of graves from centuries ago, hence it is recommended to visit the area only in the daytime.

Longmen Grottoes

These caves are the most impressive collection of Chinese art dating from 316 to 907 CE, representing the pinnacle of stone carving in China. The Longmen Grottoes, the Mogao Caves and the Yungang Grottoes consist of hundreds of caves, several with statues of Buddha. The majority of the rock-architecture was built during 460-525 AD.

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is "a center of pilgrimage for much of the country."This pastoral city is known around the globe for its monolithic churches which play an imperative part in the history of rock-cut architecture. Most of these structures are thought to have been constructed around the 12th and 13th centuries.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Al-Maktoum International Airport

model of Al-Maktoum International Airport

I just received this from my email. it's Dubai again friends. now we the new airport project. the largest. maybe the people over there like to have everything that end with -est.. largest, tallest, biggest..

At the heart of this huge new community is the Al Maktoum International Airport, planned as the world's largest passenger and cargo hub, ten times larger than Dubai International Airport and Dubai Cargo Village combined.

If completed as planned, the airport will have an annual cargo capacity of 12 million tons, more than three times that of Memphis International Airport, today's largest cargo hub, and a passenger capacity of more than 120 million - almost 30% more than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, currently the world's busiest passenger airport.

Designed for the future, Al Maktoum International Airport proposes to handle all next-generation aircraft, including the Airbus A380 super-jumbo. Up to four aircraft will be able to land simultaneously, 24 hours a day, minimising in-air queuing.

The world's tallest tower, largest mall, longest bridge -- it has them all, or will soon. The new airport complex, under construction about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of old Dubai, is no exception.

At 140 square kilometers (54 square miles), the land set aside by former Dubai ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum 30 years ago for the visionary $33 billion urban aviation project is almost twice the size of the island of Hong Kong. The heart of this new city, known as Dubai World Central, will be the Al Maktoum International airport.

Upon completion, it will be the world's largest airport, bigger than London's Heathrow and Chicago's O'Hare combined.

"It's not just an airport, it's a whole new concept," Abdulla Ahmed Al Qurashi, the head of DWC's aviation division, told MarketWatch in an interview.

Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle

The mystery dates back as far as the mid-19th century, with a total of more than 50 ships and 20 aeroplanes having been lost in the Triangle. One of the more notorious cases was the disappearance of Flight 19. Five United States torpedo bombers left Fort Lauderdale on December 5, 1945, on a routine training flight in good conditions. None of them returned. Even the seaplane that was sent out to find them vanished. Other stories about the region include ships found abandoned with warm food left on the tables and planes that disappear without even making a distress call. The absence of wreckage is often cited as proof of the mysterious power of the Triangle.

Less fantastic analyses suggest that fierce currents and deep water could explain the lack of wreckage, and point out that several of the losses attributed to the Bermuda Triangle actually occurred as far as 1,000 km (600 mi) outside it. Furthermore, military and civil craft pass through the region every day without mishap. As deep sea diving techniques improve it is likely that more of the lost vessels will be recovered, but it is equally likely that the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle will linger in the imagination for a long while yet.

There are actually MORE than one "bermuda triangle"

This is the theory and map by a professional biologist Ivan Sanderson. He founded the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in Columbia, New Jersey.

He claimed that there are actually 12 "Devil's Graveyard" in the world. He wrote an article about this in 31 years ago (1972) in Saga Magazine.

With several associates, he set out to 'pattern the mysteries' by taking full advantage of modern communication technology and statistical data analysis. His success was startling.

"The Twelve Devil’s Graveyards Around the World," plotted ship and plane disappearances worldwide, focusing attention on 12 areas, equally spaced over the globe, in which magnetic anomalies and other energy aberrations were linked to a full spectrum of strange physical phenomena.

Highest on Sanderson’s statistical priority list was a lozenge-shaped area east of Miami, in the Bahamas, on the western tip of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. This area’s "high profile" of strange events, Sanderson concluded, was mostly due to the enormous flow of air/ sea traffic in the area. Other zones of anomaly, though less familiar, were equally rich in disappearances and space-time shift occurrences. ...

Another area of continuing disappearances and mysterious time-warps is the Devil’s Sea located east of Japan between Iwo Jima and Marcus Island. Here events have become so sinister that the Japanese government has officially designated the area a danger zone.

Sanderson theorized that the tremendous hot and cold currents crossing his most active zones might create the electromagnetic gymnastics affecting instruments and vehicles. His theory is now being balanced against several."

The “Green Flash,” a rare phenomena seen most frequently in the area of the Bermuda Triangle. It is the reflection of light off of something that is otherwise invisible in the atmosphere. Whatever this invisible element might be, it is only visible at certain moments when the rays of the setting sun reflect off of it. Another rare view above.

The White House

A 1793 elevation by James Hoban, the selected architect from the competition

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., it was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian style and has been the executive residence of every U.S. President since John Adams.

When Thomas Jefferson moved into the home in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) expanded the building outward, creating two colonnades which were meant to conceal stables and storage.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in the Burning of Washington, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior walls. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and President James Monroe moved into the partially reconstructed house in October 1817.

Construction continued with the addition of the South Portico in 1824 and the North in 1829. Due to crowding within the executive mansion itself, President Theodore Roosevelt had nearly all work offices relocated to the newly-constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office which was eventually moved as the section was expanded.

The third-floor attic was converted to living quarters in 1927 by augmenting the existing hip roof with long shed dormers. A newly constructed East Wing was used as a reception area for social events; both new wings were connected by Jefferson's colonnades. East Wing alterations were completed in 1946 creating additional office space. By 1948, the house's load-bearing exterior walls and internal wood beams were found to be close to failure.

Under Harry S. Truman, the interior rooms were completely dismantled, resulting in the construction of a new internal load-bearing steel framework and the reassembly of the interior rooms.

Today, the White House Complex includes the Executive Residence (in which the First Family resides), the West Wing (the location of the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Roosevelt Room), and the East Wing (the location of the office of the First Lady and White House Social Secretary), as well as the Old Executive Office Building, which houses the executive offices of the President and Vice President.

The White House is made up of six stories—the Ground Floor, State Floor, Second Floor, and Third Floor, as well as a two-story basement. The term White House is regularly used as a metonym for the Executive Office of the President of the United States and for the president's administration and advisors in general.

The property is owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President's Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects's List of America's Favorite Architecture.

The North Portico of the White House compared to Leinster House

The South Portico of the White
House compared to the Château de Rastignac

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

World's largest swimming pool, AMAZING!

If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one.

It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

Yesterday the Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world.

But if you fancy splashing out on one of your own - and you have the space to accommodate it - then beware: This one took five years to build, cost nearly 1 billion and the annual maintenance bill will be 2 million.

The man-made saltwater lagoon has been attracting huge crowds to the San Alfonso del Mar resort at Algarrobo, on Chile's southern coast, since it opened last month.

Its turquoise waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom even in the deep end.

It dwarfs the world's second biggest pool, the Orthlieb - nicknamed the Big Splash - in Morocco, which is a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. An Olympic size pool measures some 50 yards by 25 yards.

Chile's monster pool uses a computer- controlled suction and filtration system to keep fresh seawater in permanent circulation, drawing it in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out at the other.

The sun warms the water to 26c, nine degrees warmer than the adjoining sea.

Chilean biochemist Fernando Fischmann, whose Crystal Lagoons Corporation designed the pool, said advanced engineering meant his company could build 'an impressive artificial paradise' even in inhospitable areas.

As long as we have access to unlimited seawater, we can make it work, and it causes no damage to the ocean.

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