Shark attacks French diplomat

French diplomat attacked by shark

Woman says dog ate her checks

This woman took money out of her former husband’s account. Without permission, of course. When the police questioned her, guess what her first response was? Read about her response here. She is still under investigation, for identity theft and forgery.

Hitler Beheaded

Hitler was beheaded by a man, and he was punished by the court for this. His punishment? $1228. Read about it here: Hitler Beheaded

World’s oldest dog

Chanel turned 21 last week, and that makes her the world’s oldest dog. She got a certificate from the Guinness Book of Records.

Here are the details for you:
Name: Chanel
Type: Dachshund (Rescue Dog)
Location: Port Jefferson, NY
Owner: Denice (& Karl) Shaughnessy
Previous record holder: Butch (1975-2003)

Dumb thief?

Here is one guy who is not so gifted intellectually. He sent a forged cashier’s check to a cell phone company, and ordered 50 phones. He got arrested by the police, after they got a complaint about him – from the FBI. Yes, that is the FBI. Read the story here: Stolen phones recovered because of thief’s stupidity.

Does H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Affect Healthy People?

The whole world is now at the risk of getting infected by swine flu, albeit sporadically. So far, in USA, 1 person has been dead and 91 have been infected (as of April 29th; source: CDC). Since it is a new virus/strain, most people will not have immunity to this virus. Many people ask this question: does swine flu affect healthy people?

To understand this, let us learn more about it first. Even though it is named as swine flu, and is called so by most of the media, it is not swine flu, strictly speaking. The main reason is, viruses evolve, and the new version is called a new strain. In this case, the virus causing the damage now, affects humans. It is a mixture of genetic material from swine flu, bird flu and other human flu strains. The naming is very deceptive, and it totally misdirects us as to the genetic makeup of this virus. The proper name suggested is H1N1 virus. Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, also known as A(H1N1) or simply H1N1, is a subtype of influenzavirus A and the most common cause of influenza in humans. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans, including the strain(s) responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic which killed 50-100 million people worldwide.

UPDATE: Department of Health and Human Services have already started referring to it as the H1N1 virus.

UPDATE 2: US Agricultural Secretary has also switched to the term H1N1, concerned that the old term is affecting pork sales.

UPDATE 3: In Israel, the Israeli Deputy Health Minister has been urging to change the name to “Mexican flu” since swine are not kosher. As expected, Mexican ambassador registered a strong protest, and in the latest update, Israel’s foreign ministry informed the public that they have no intention of changing the name.

The question still remains – do healthy people get infected more by H1N1 virus?
The answer, in public interest, is this: whether you are healthy or not, you can be infected by H1N1 virus. If you are healthy, your immune system will make it worse by trying to fight the virus. It makes you susceptible to secondary infections, and this is how many deaths occur.

How can you prevent H1N1 virus from spreading/infecting you?

NOTE: Make sure to keep up to date with the latest information about this virus. The information posted here is current at the time of publication. But, watch for new updates, in case anything changes.

  • Stay healthy.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Develop a family emergency plan as a precaution. This should include storing a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
    • You can call 1-800-CDC-INFO (free, government, CDC line) for more information.

Famous paleontologist a fossil thief?

Has anyone heard of fossils being stolen? That has happened here. Nate Murphy, the famous paleontologist has pled guilty to fossil theft. Technically, yes, he stole. But he did not steal it from someone’s house – he  took it from government property, without permission. And what did he “steal”? Dinosaur bones, of all things!

Read the details at CNN: Famous paleontologist steals dinosaur bones from federal land

Anna Sui the fashion designer – what recession?

Anna Sui is very famous fashion designer. She started envolvement in fashion design in her early ages. She started with her dolls and her neighbor’s toy soldiers for her own personal version of Academy Awards. Well after beginning she started to make and design her own clothes from magazines. Aftr her graduating from high school in Detroit, Michigan She moved to New York City to attend parsons school of Design. Where she started to work with close friend Steven Meisel which is today’s one of the world’s top Fashion Photographers. Her early days as a stylist from Meisel’s shoots include editorial for the Italian Fashion Magazine LEI.

The first of three her freestanding boutiques in Asia opened in May 1997 in Tokyo. The second opened in Osaka in the Fall of that same year. Another Osaka venue opened in 2000.

Everyone else is affected by recession, but Anna Sui still stays on the cutting edge. She says, “To me, fashion is like a mirror. It’s a reflection of the times. And if it doesn’t reflect the times, it’s not fashion. Because people aren’t gonna be wearing it.” And no wonder. Her dresses attract celebrities like director Sofia Coppolla and Paris Hilton, who was wearing one of her designs on the red carpet right before she went to jail. Another time, Anna was asked to design a custom Barbie doll.

So, what is with these Chinese designers? As you should know, Vera Wang is very famous for her wedding gowns. And Jason Wu designed the first lady’s (Michelle Obama’s) inaugural gown. It looks like there is no recession for Chinese fashion designers. Let me correct that – it looks like there is no recession for talented fashion designers!

World Naked Bike Ride

Event: World Naked Bike Ride, Australia
Location: Australia
Dates: 7th, 9th, 14th, 15th and 21st March, 2009

So what is World Naked Bike Ride? It is an event where the bike riders face traffic without wearing any clothes. Strictly speaking, the participants can wear as little as they want to.

According to them, they do this as a way of defending their dignity, and as a way to bring awareness to the dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians. Another objective is to expose the dangers of oil, cars, war, consumerism and non-renewable energy.

The Nimbin ride will be on March 7th, 2009. The Adelaide ride will be on March 9th, 2009. The main event will happen on 14th and 15th. After it, on 21st March, there will be one at Brisbane.

Protest Theme: Naturism, Environmentalism, Pacifism and Biketivism

Dress Code Motto: Bare As You Dare

Full and partial nudity is encouraged. Each rider can decide how much he or she wants to bare. This baring almost everything is the main distinguishing feature of World Naked Bike Ride.

Creative expression is also encouraged to create a fun and immersive atmosphere during the ride, to capture the attention and imagination of passers-by and the media, and to make the experience more personalized and fulfilling for the riders. Body art (such as body painting) are common forms of creative expression, as well as costumes, bicycle decoration, portable sound reinforcement systems (such as public address systems/bullhorns, and boomboxes), musical instruments as well as other types of noisemakers.

Here is what it is, in their own words: “World Naked Bike Ride is the biggest naked protest event in the world. It is the grooviest, funniest, most hippie greenie event. Riding in the WNBR will give you a natural high and a feeling of joy, liberation and freedom that will amaze you. The memory of WNBR will cheer you for years to come.”

For these events, the bikers will be meeting at public places. Then, the organization will take them to a secret location for debriefing and body painting.

Postscript: Aren’t there better ways to bring awareness to the dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians? Your guess is as good as mine!

What is HELOC?

Today my friend asked me, what is HELOC? I didn’t have a clue.

So, I looked up the term, and found out what it is:

HELOC is an abbreviation of Home Equity Line of Credit. This refers to a loan in which the lender agrees to lend a maximum amount within an agreed period. This differs from a conventional home equity loan in that the borrower is not advanced the entire sum up, but uses the line of credit to borrow sums that total no more than the amount.

A HELOC in many ways is similar to a credit card. At closing you are assigned a specified credit limit that you can borrow up to – not a check. During a “draw period” (typically 5 to 25 years), HELOC funds can be borrowed “on demand” and you pay back only what you use plus interest. Depending on how much you use the HELOC, you will have a minimum monthly payment requirement (often “interest only”); beyond the minimum, it is up to you how much to pay and when to pay. At the end of the draw period, you will have to pay back the full principal amount borrowed either in a lum-sum balloon payment or according to an loan amortization schedule.

There is one more critical difference between a conventional loan and HELOC – the interest rate on a HELOC is variable based on an index like prime rate. This means that the interest rate may change over a period – it is not constant.

HELOC loans have become very popular in the United States in recent years, in part because interest paid is typically (depending on specific circumstances) deductible under federal and many state income tax laws. This effectively reduces the cost of borrowing funds. Another reason for the popularity of HELOCs is the flexibility not found in most other loans – both in terms of borrowing “on demand” and repaying on a schedule determined by the borrower.

It must always be kept in mind that the underlying collateral of a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is the home. This means that failure to repay the loan or meet loan requirements can result in foreclosures.