Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wind-whipped fire burns 18 homes in Boise

Fire officials say a wildfire that started in a field of sagebrush and spread quickly up a ridge burned at least 18 homes in a Boise neighborhood.

The fire ignited at about 7 p.m. Monday and spread quickly through the southeast neighborhood behind wind gusts that topped 30 miles per hour.

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan says no one was injured. Crews are still trying to figure out how the blaze began.

Fire officials say more than 100 people were evacuated. Officials say nine homes were destroyed and another nine damaged by flames.

The location and intensity of the fire triggered a general fire alarm, meaning every Boise firefighter was called to help. Fire crews from Meridian, Kuna and North Ada County were also called in.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management also sent four engines and about 20 firefighters to the scene.

Resident Michael Robinson told KTVB-TV that he and his wife and dog fled their home immediately after the fire began creeping up the ridge.

Robinson says his home and those next to him burned so quickly that it seemed like they were - quote - "full of gas."

Crews Battling Four-Alarm Blaze in Boise

Crews are battling a four-alarm fire in Boise. It broke out around 7:00 p.m. near the intersection of Amity and Holcomb. 10 homes have been destroyed and nine more have been damaged on East Sweetwater Dr. and East Imigrant Pass Ct. Crews have evacuated at least 50 homes. Families that have been forced from their homes should go to Trail Wind Elementary for help. Crews from Boise, Meridian, Kuna, and North Ada County are on scene. Firefighters are still working to put out the blaze.

It's Still Coming

At 615 PM MDT Caldwell reported sustained northwest winds of 42 mph with gusts to 49 mph...Nampa had winds to 42 mph with visibility of a quarter mile...and Middleton had 35 to 40 mph winds with gusts to 50 mph. These winds will reach Meridian around 630 PM and Boise around 645 PM and continue on to Mountain Home by 800 PM. A High Wind Warning is in effect for the upper Treasure valley until 10 PM MDT for sustained northwest winds near 40 mph and gusts 55 to 60 mph with blowing dust.

Getting Ready!

Gusty northwest winds 30 to 40 mph reached Ontario around 520 PM MDT. Visibility was reduced to between 1 and 2 miles in blowing dust. This gust front was ahead of the main cold front which was still in central Malheur County. At the present speed the gust front that passed through Ontario will reach Middleton around 610 PM...Nampa 615 PM...Meridian 625 PM...and Boise around 640 PM. Expect northwest wind gusts 40 to 50 mph and blowing dust reducing visibility to as low as a half mile.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


What is Photosynth?

Imagine being able to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world. With nothing more than a bunch of photos, Photosynth creates an amazing new experience.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crash Tests - Good! Music - Bad!

Elevator Psychology

Getting poor to use toilets 'a major health conundrum'

More than one billion people worldwide have no toilet and defecate outside, while some have to be shamed into changing their habits when presented with conveniences, a conference was told.

Humanitarian organizations have for decades tried various ways -- be it new systems, pumps or subsidies -- of getting people in developing countries to stop defecating outdoors due to the serious health risks concerned.

But despite their efforts, an estimated 1.2 billion people, primarily in Asia and Africa, still don't use toilets to defecate, a forum of experts meeting in Stockholm was told.

For many extremely poor people who are given toilets by aid groups, it becomes the most precious item they own and therefore they use it as a religious shrine or a dry place to store firewood, international development consultant Kamal Kar said.

"What's becoming quite apparent is that the way you actually have an impact on health, development and poverty alleviation is when people adopt certain behaviours," Clarissa Brocklehurst, the head of UNICEF's water, environment and sanitation programme, told AFP.

In recent years, experts have found that the best method has been to shame people into using some form of toilets, even the most primitive sort, to confine excreta.

"It's just a matter of getting them to understand that what is a long established habit is in fact harmful and that you can do something about it," said Brocklehurst, one of 2,500 experts meeting in Stockholm to discuss water and sanitation issues at World Water Week.

She cited the example of India, where 48 percent of the population, or some 665 million people, still practice "open defecation".

International Olympic Committee launches probe into He Kexin's age

The International Olympic Committee has ordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-medal winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.

An IOC official told The Times that because of "discrepancies" that have come to light about the age of He Kexin, the host nation’s darling who won gold in both team and individual events, an official inquiry has been launched that could result in the gymnast being stripped of her medals.

The investigation was triggered as a US computer expert claimed yesterday to have uncovered Chinese government documents that he says prove she is only 14 - making her ineligible to compete in the Olympics - rather than 16, as officials in Beijing insist is her age.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Burj Dubai Tower Nears Completion

Click on this blog entry title for some amazing photos!

Zimbabwe inflation hits 11,200,000 percent

Zimbabwe's inflation rate has soared in the past three months and is now at 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world, according to the country's Central Statistical Office.

Official figures dated Monday show inflation has surged from the rate of 2.2 million percent recorded in May, despite the government's price controls.

The country's finance minister confirmed the new figure in an interview but said the rising inflation rate was not confined to Zimbabwe alone.

"While our case has been aggravated by the illegal sanctions imposed by the Western powers, rising food prices are a world phenomenon because of the use of bio-fuel," said Samuel Mumbengegwi. "But we will continue to fight inflation by making sure that prices charged are realistic."

In February, the price of a loaf of bread in the country was less than 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars. On Monday, that same loaf of bread cost 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Need To Go And Practice!

China Goody

Being in China just one week before the kick off of the Olympics rubbed off on me, and I knew I needed to find some type of Olympic souvenir. Tee shirt? Finding my size in China would not be possible. Hat? I don't wear hats. Stuffed animal?... you get the point. On the way out of Hong Kong I came across some really nice coin sets. The top 2 photos show both sides of the "Birds's Nest" Commemorative Medallion. The last photo shows the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Mascots "Bring Dreams and Wishes to You"

Below are the Mascots names and cultural inspirations:

Name Bèibei (贝贝) Jīngjing (晶晶)
Gender Female Male
Cultural inspiration

Traditional Chinese New Year decorative picture of lotus and fish; fish design from Neolithic artifacts.

Giant panda; Song Dynasty lotus-shaped porcelain.

Olympic Ring Blue Black
Represented Element[5] Sea Forest
Actual Fengshui Element[6] Water Wood
Personality Friendly, and a leader Honest, optimistic
Represented ideal Prosperity Happiness
Represented sport aquatic sports weightlifting, judo, etc.
Notes In traditional Chinese culture, the fish represents prosperity, as the character for fish (鱼 / 魚) sounds the same as that for surplus (余 / 餘). The "carp leaping over the dragon gate" is a traditional allegory of following one's dreams and achieving them. The patterns from Beibei's headgear comes from artifacts unearthed at Banpo, site of a Neolithic village of the Yangshao culture. As an endangered species, the panda is both a national symbol of China and an international symbol of environmentalism. Jingjing's forest origins also symbolize the harmonious coexistence of humankind and nature.

Name Huānhuan (欢欢) Yíngying (迎迎)
Gender Male Male
Cultural inspiration

Olympic flame; Fire design from the Mogao Grottoes.

Tibetan antelope, Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes.

Olympic Ring Red Yellow/Orange
Represented Element[5] Fire Earth
Actual Fengshui Element[6] Fire Earth
Personality Extrovert, enthusiastic Lively, independent
Represented ideal Passion Health
Represented sport ball sports track and field
Notes Huanhuan represents the passion of sports, the Olympic spirit of "faster, higher, stronger", and the passion of the Beijing Olympics. Huanhuan's headgear comes from a fire design in the Mogao Caves, the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes. The Tibetan antelope is an endangered species native to the Tibetan Plateau, known for its swiftness. Yingying's headgear incorporates elements of Tibetan and Xinjiang ethnic costumes.

Name Nīni (妮妮)
Gender Female
Cultural inspiration

Swift, a sort of swallow; Beijing's Sand Martin kite.

Olympic Ring Green
Represented Element[5] Sky
Actual Fengshui Element[6] Metal
Personality Justice, Kind
Represented ideal Good fortune
Represented sport gymnastics
Notes The swallow is a messenger of spring and happiness in Chinese culture, and is seen as a symbol of good fortune. The Chinese character for swallow (燕) is also used in Yanjing (燕京), an old name for Beijing; thus the swallow alludes to Beijing. Nini's headgear uses the design of Beijing's Sand Martin kites, which are colourful cross-shaped kites modeled after swallows.

Vietnam Goody

While visiting the "Ship Place" in Ho Chi Minh I spotted this Mahogany car. Since Vietnam was one of the first destinations, I knew that what ever I bought would have to be hauled around, lugged onto planes, and survive a lot of bumping for the next 2 weeks. I decided that this fine hunk of wood stood the best chance of making it home in one piece.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Is Anyone Surprised?

Just nine months before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government's news agency, Xinhua, reported that gymnast He Kexin was 13, which would have made her ineligible to be on the team that won a gold medal this week.

In its report Nov. 3, Xinhua identified He as one of "10 big new stars" who made a splash at China's Cities Games. It gave her age as 13 and reported that she beat Yang Yilin on the uneven bars at those games. In the final, "this little girl" pulled off a difficult release move on the bars known as the Li Na, named for another Chinese gymnast, Xinhua said in the report, which appeared on one of its Web sites, www.hb.xinhuanet.com

The Associated Press found the Xinhua report on the site Thursday morning and saved a copy of the page. Later that afternoon, the Web site was still working but the page was no longer accessible. Sports editors at the state-run news agency would not comment for publication.

The Pill makes women pick bad mates

Birth control pills could screw up a woman's ability to sniff out a compatible mate, a new study finds.

While several factors can send a woman swooning, including big brains and brawn, body odor can be critical in the final decision, the researchers say. That's because beneath a woman's flowery fragrance or a guy's musk the body sends out aromatic molecules that indicate genetic compatibility.

Hungry? Eat A Rat

An official in the Indian state of Bihar has come up with a new idea to encourage low caste poor people to cope with food shortages - rat meat.

The Principal Secretary of the state's Welfare Department, Vijay Prakash, said that he was advancing his proposal after "much survey and ground work".

Bihar's extremely poor Musahar community are rat-eaters by tradition.

The Musahar are on the bottom strata of the caste system with the lowest literacy rate and per capita income.

Less than one percent of their 2.3 million population in Bihar is literate and 98% are landless

Ordinary People

Watch In High Quality <---- Click here to go to YouTube and then click on Watch In High Quality right under the video.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Opening Ceremony: The Pyrotechnics

Some great shots of last nights amazing show!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

10 mispronunciations that make you sound stupid

Right or wrong, people often judge you by the way you pronounce things. Say a word incorrectly and POW — they’ve pegged you as a provincial, poorly educated moron. Toni Bowers offers a list of commonly mangled words so you can double-check your own pronunciation.

'Dead' Man Awakens Before Autopsy

Shocks Doctors by Asking for Glass of Water

An Indian man who was knocked unconscious during a stampede of thousands of religious pilgrims on a steep Himalayan mountain path woke up as doctors were preparing to perform his autopsy, the Times of India reported.

Mange Ram, 19, lost consciousness in the stampede that killed 150 people and was triggered by rumors of a landslide leading to a Hindu temple devoted to the goddess Naina Devi.

Ram awoke in the hospital morgue Sunday in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

"When I woke up, I was in the middle of a row of bodies waiting for post mortem," he told the Times. "My throat was parched and I asked for water. Towering over me the doctors and nursing staff at Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital looked dazed. They must have been surprised to see a dead man come alive like that."

Sat Pal Aggarwal, a doctor on the pilgrimage, said little was done to see if victims of the stampede were still alive.

"People were dumped quite haphazardly into trucks without following any procedure or checking if they were alive," he told the Times.

Despite the huge loss of life, the pilgrimage continued only hours after the corpses had been cleared, according to the newspaper.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The A-B-C-D-E of Travel Photography

Ever glanced in exasperation at travel photographs wondering why yours taken of the same landscapes or subjects never turn out as stunning? Great travel photographs share a few similarities even though their subjects may be as different as a sweeping landscape or a brooding portrait.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

5 Things You Must Know About Sleep

You're tired. You could put your head down on a desk right now and fall asleep immediately. You went to bed late last night, had trouble falling asleep and woke up too early. And let's not kid ourselves: Tonight will be the same unless ... well, read on.

This is the classic not-so-shut-eye experience of many Americans who think they are sleep-deprived and possibly need pills or other treatment to fix their insomnia, teeth grinding, jet lag, restless or jerky legs, snoring, sleepwalking and so forth.

Reality is quite different

145 Killed in India Temple Stampede

NEW DELHI — Thousands of panicked pilgrims stampeded Sunday at a remote mountaintop temple in northern India during celebrations to honor a Hindu goddess, sending dozens of people plummeting to their deaths and trampling scores more. Police said 145 people were killed.

Rumors of a landslide apparently started the panic at the shrine in the foothills of the Himalayas, said C.P. Verma, a senior government official in the Bilaspur district.

Pilgrims already at the Naina Devi Temple began running down the narrow path leading from the peak. There, they collided with devotees winding their way up.

With a concrete wall on one side and a precipice on the other, there was nowhere to escape and they were crushed. At one point a guard rail broke and dozens of people fell to their deaths.

Pool Buzzing Crop Duster Crashes

Back in mid June I posted a story about a crop duster that buzzed the pool and put on quite a show while spraying a field across the street. Well, I arrive home to read a news story about a plane that crashed on July 29th, and sure enough... it's the same plane. The photo below is one that Deb took when the plane was preforming near misses over our fence and low level passes over the back yard. The video is the news story covering the crash. We compared the tale numbers, they match.

News Video


A pilot of a crop-dusting plane was transported to a hospital Tuesday morning after his plane hit some power lines about 6:45 a.m. near Lewis Lane and Riverside Road south of Lake Lowell in rural Canyon County.

Frankie Amen, 44, a pilot with Valley Air Service of Caldwell, clipped a power line on his approach heading south over Lewis Lane. His plane crashed about 100 yards off the road, and the front end caught fire, according to Canyon County Sheriff's deputy Mark Link.


I arrived back in Boise last night at 5:15pm. I gorged on cheese sandwiches and an ice cream bar, showered and then passed out at 7. Here I am now, 4:00am, wide awake and ready to eat again!

The White House is Briefed: Phoenix About to Announce "Potential For Life" on Mars

It would appear that the US President has been briefed by Phoenix scientists about the discovery of something more "provocative" than the discovery of water existing on the Martian surface. This news comes just as the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) confirmed experimental evidence for the existence of water in the Mars regolith on Thursday. Whilst NASA scientists are not claiming that life once existed on the Red Planet's surface, new data appears to indicate the "potential for life" more conclusively than the TEGA water results. Apparently these new results are being kept under wraps until further, more detailed analysis can be carried out, but we are assured that this announcement will be huge

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Travel Tools - Issue #4

Item: Imodium A-D

Countries Used: China, India, Vietnam

Uses: Take medication as needed to reduce unexpected bathroom stops.

Other Names: S.Y.B.U., The Magic Banana and Cheese Pill.

Example of Use: You've spent more time in the bathroom than sleeping... you take a pill. If someone five feet from you hears your stomach gurgle and asks if you are okay... you take a pill. If you ask the driver how much further while dabbing sweat from your brow and he says, "Just 2 more hours!"... you take a pill.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Travel Tools - Issue #3

Item: Body Glide

Countries Used: India, China, Vietnam, Anywhere hot and humid

Uses: Apply liberally to body to prevent heat rash and chaffing.

Other Names: Thigh Tamer.

Example of Use: This product is applied right after deodorant to any body part needing a vapor barrier. Makes riding in a van for 9 hours, in 90 percent humidity with a sketchy air conditioner possible!

This Time It's Personal!

Another Unforgettable Toilet

I know, you're starting to wonder about me, but this is the last one I promise. Come on, have you ever seen a lid built like this? And is that a 10 inch pipe coming out the back? Who are they making these things for?

Uh, Okay


Heading Home In The Morning!

We are done! Found some great items for next summer and now it is time to head home.