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Myanmar’s mysterious Dhammazedi Bell

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The search

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

The fate of the Dhammazedi Bell is one of Myanmar’s murkiest mysteries and for some Burmese a lifelong obsession. Four centuries after the world’s biggest bell was last seen, a new salvage attempt is under way in Yangon (Rangoon), and it’s attracting large crowds.

Cast in the 15th Century, the Dhammazedi Bell was according to popular legend placed alongside the gleaming gold Schwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar(also known as Burma).

Said to have been made of copper, gold and silver, the bell is said to have weighed nearly 300 tonnes (661,400 pounds).

It’s mindboggling figure, about the same as 25 double-decker buses.

Then in 1608 disaster struck.

The Portuguese adventurer and mercenary Filipe de Brito seized the bell with the aim of melting it down to make cannons.

The Dhammazedi Bell was said to be housed at the Schwedagon Pagoda before it was taken

The Tharawaddy Min bell is the biggest one at Schwedagon but is a fraction of the size of Dhammazedi

He had it dragged to the Pegu (now Bago) River and loaded on to a raft, at which point, not entirely surprisingly, it sank.

In the years that followed the legend of the bell has endured, and recovering it has become a point of both Buddhist and Burmese national pride.

There have been at least seven serious attempts in the last 25 years.

Some have involved international teams and sophisticated underwater equipment, but to date no one has been able to accurately pinpoint where the huge bell is.

That’s not diminished enthusiasm among the public.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more about the search

Junk vs Food

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Top5Cancerfoods

Does your car start like this?

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Then, it’s time to get a new one!

Row over Sydney’s gay street crossing

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Rainbow was painted on road for Mardi Gras but minister wants it removed because of people loitering for photos

Sydney wants to keep its rainbow road crossing celebrating gay and lesbian heritage but the New South Wales roads minister wants it removed. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

A rainbow pedestrian crossing painted in Sydney to celebrate the city’s famous lesbian and gay Mardi Gras is to be torn up as a dangerous road hazard, according to the government of New South Wales state. There have been vocal protests from supporters of the crossing who say it should become a permanent landmark and a symbol of the city’s tolerance.

The crossing, on Oxford Street in the city’s lesbian and gay precinct, was installed in February at a cost of AUD$65,000 (£45,000) to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mardi Gras. The government agreed to a one-month trial but said the crossing must be dug up at a further cost of $30,000.

“This trial crossing was a gesture extended to Sydney’s gay and lesbian community to honour the 35th anniversary of Mardi Gras,” said the New South Wales roads minister, Duncan Gay. “But behaviour we have seen has set off alarm bells at the high risk of injuries and fatalities at this crossing, with more than 15 incidents in a month.”

A safety audit of the crossing found people were sitting on the rainbow stripes or posing for photographs on them, mostly during the “walk” phase of the lights. The report said the behaviour witnessed on the crossing “was considered a high risk of pedestrian/vehicle related incidents”. It concluded that there were “potential safety issues for road users” and suggested “improvements to eliminate or reduce these issues”.

No accidents relating to the crossing were recorded during the month-long trial. A similar crossing was painted on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood in September 2012 with “no negative safety implications”, the safety audit said.

Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore, said there was very strong support for the crossing to remain. “It’s a very powerful symbol to say Sydney is an inclusive city,” she said.

“I’m incredibly disappointed that we’re going to have to spend $30,000 removing something that is a beautiful piece of public art and is very good for the local economy of the area.”

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A Look from the Heavens

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.

Passing below are white clouds, orange city lights, lightning flashes in thunderstorms, and dark blue seas. On the horizon is the golden haze of Earth’s thin atmosphere, frequently decorated by dancing auroras as the video progresses. The green parts of auroras typically remain below the space station, but the station flies right through the red and purple auroral peaks. Solar panels of the ISS are seen around the frame edges. The ominous wave of approaching brightness at the end of each sequence is just the dawn of the sunlit half of Earth, a dawn that occurs every 90 minutes.”

Images: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/
Music: ‘Freedom Fighters’ by Two Steps from Hell

My source: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

I am a cat person, but…

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Yes, but look at the size of the cats, they’re not your average moggy.

“Kevin Richardson, animal behaviorist, works with some of the most dangerous animals known to man. He sleeps with lions, cuddles newborn hyenas and swims with lionesses.” The Lion Whisperer

Source: Glenn Folkes, thanks for the heads up

Visit Kevin Richardson – The Lion Whisperer site

Even though I am a dedicated cat person, I am not even close to this guy’s league.

Amazing

Burn’s Supper

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25th January

The traditional celebration of Robert Burns.

The best-known portrait of Burns – Wikipedia

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie “Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.” – Wikipedia

The offal truth about American haggis

Traditional Scottish haggis is banned in the United States. With Burns Night looming, how do fans satisfy their taste for oatmeal and offal?

For aficionados, it is the “great chieftain o’ the pudding-race”.

To sceptics, however, it is a gruesome mush of sheep’s innards – and for decades American authorities have agreed.

Authentic Scottish haggis has been banned in the United States since 1971, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) first took a dim view of one of its key ingredients – sheep’s lung.

While millions of people around the world will enjoy, or endure, a Burns Night helping on 25 January, those in the US who want to celebrate Scotland’s national bard in the traditional manner are compelled to improvise.

Some choose to stage offal-free Burns suppers, and for most people not raised in Scotland, the absence of the dish – comprising sheep’s “pluck” (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, all soaked in stock and then boiled in either a sausage casing or a sheep’s stomach – might be no great hardship.

But for many expat Scots and Scots-Americans, the notion of Burns Supper without haggis is as unthinkable as Thanksgiving without turkey.

According to custom, the haggis should be paraded into the room with a bagpiper before Burns’ poem Address to a Haggis is recited and the dish is served as the main course.

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Piping in the Haggis

Strange Vehicles

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Chaos, absolute chaos

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As an English teacher I am only too well aware of the pitfalls of English and the problems the language presents to foreign students.

English is a bastard language, it is like a stray dog, a mongrel; nobody really knows who the father was.

One of the finest demonstrations of the irregularity of the language is in a poem.

It is a long poem, but it needs to be to cope with the shear number of irregularities.

I beg your patience…

The Chaos

by Charivarius (Gerard Nolst Trenité)

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter, how it’s written!)
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say-said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via;
Pipe, snipe, recipe
and choir,
Cloven, oven; how and low;
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Typhoid; measles, topsails, aisles;
Exiles, similes, reviles;
Wholly, holly; signal, signing;
Thames; examining, combining;
Scholar, vicar,
and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.

From “desire”: desirable–admirable from “admire”;
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier;
Chatham, brougham; renown but known,
Knowledge; done
, but gone and tone,
One, anemone; Balmoral;
Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German; wind
and mind;
Scene, Melpomene, mankind;

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Billet
does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
Blood
and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rhyme with “darky.”
Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward,
And your pronunciation’s OK.

Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve;
Friend and fiend; alive and live.
Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,
We say hallowed, but allowed;
People, leopard; towed, but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,

Leeches, breeches; wise, precise;
Chalice
but police and lice.
Camel, constable, unstable;
Principle, disciple; label;
Petal, penal
, and canal;
Wait, surmise, plait, promise; pal.
Suit, suite, ruin; circuit, conduit

Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it.”

But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular; gaol, iron;
Timber, climber; bullion, lion,
Worm
and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor
.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rime with “hammer.”

Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but desert, address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants

Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow,
but Cowper, some, and home.
Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker,”
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor,”

Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant.
Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.

Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose,
and dose.
Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.
And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,

Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier
(one who ties), but tier.
Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,
Perseverance, severance. Ribald

Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.

Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw
.
Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn,
to impugn.
Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the Z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;
Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.
But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll
and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.
Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce
, and obsequies.
Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.
The TH will surely trouble you
More than R, CH or W.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em-
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.
The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
With
and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze
and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,
Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post
, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath
.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm
you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use
, to use?
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite
, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate
, but sedate.
Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour
, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas
, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria
, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine
.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay
!
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver
.
Never guess–it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice
, but device, and eyrie,
Face
, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust
, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the O of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.
Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable
, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk
and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.
A
of valour, vapid vapour,
S
of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I
of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.
Pronunciation–think of Psyche!-
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying ‘grits’?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington
, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict
and indict.
Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough,
sough, tough
?
Hiccough has the sound of ‘cup’ . . .
My advice is: give it up!

If you managed to make to this point, you will now understand, that while English has a simpler verb structure than many languages, the irregularities in pronunciation are quite horrific.

Weird Cars

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