Checkmate for bluetooth headset scam

An Indian chess player has been banned from competing
for 10 years after seeking the assistance of a computer via a bluetooth

Umakant Sharma was caught during a “random check” in a New Delhi tournament on 4 December, Information Week
reports. The headset was sewn into a cap which he “typically pulled
down over his ears”. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) found
Sharma’s accomplices had used a computer to calculate moves and had
transmitted the recommendations to him via said headset.


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Came across an interesting post about the Khost railway tunnel near Quetta in Pakistan. A marvel of British engineering of that time, it was built to facilitate a rail line to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Apparently the British were afraid of possible Russian incursions into Imperial India and this line was to serve as a communication and supply link to the frontier. It also has a fortifications built into one end.

Lots of photos make the post even more interesting and the writer- Owais Mughal- informs us that

Work on tunnel was started from both ends but due to some surveying error the two tunnels did not meet in the center and the engineer in charge attempted suicide. In second attempt the error was corrected and both tunnels met in the center, however, it created a very distinguished turn and hump (crest) in the center of the tunnel.

Other interesting facts:

  • Built in 1891 it remains the longest tunnel in Pakistan at 3912 m (at least until the 8.6 km Lowari tunnel opens in 2008)
  • There is a system of reflecting sunlight using convex mirrors mounted on trolleys into the tunnel for workmen and this has been in use since inception and continues to be so.

Interestingly, according to a site that collects such information, there are over 80 railway tunnels over 10km in length in the world, none of them in India or Pakistan. The channel tunnel (Chunnel) is the second longest at 50,450m; the longest is a subsea tunnel in Japan 53,850m to be eclipsed in 2008 by a Swiss tunnel of about 57,000m lenght!

India will have a 10,960m long railway tunnel in once the Pir Panjal tunnel when the new Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Kashmir Railway is completed in 2009 accompanied by a 8.8km road tunnel across the Pir Panjal range at Rohtang Pass in Himachal.

Self-absorbed Sydney

Monday, 11 December 2006

This in the news today:

Sydney is ‘all body but no brains’ – Yahoo!7 News

Monday December 11, 12:11 PM Sydney is ‘all body but no brains’ Sydney is regularly voted one of the world’s best cities by travel magazines, but for many Sydneysiders the allure of its beautiful harbour and beaches is fading as they struggle with urban sprawl and congestion. Some urban planners say Sydney is like a supermodel on drugs – great to look at but difficult to live with.

The other quote I liked in this report was:

A benchmark report on Sydney this year began with the headline: “A city in love with its own image.” “Sydney is often described as the most deeply superficial of towns. A party town so enamoured with its postcard-perfect imagery that reality rarely gets an invite…,”

I tell people who ask me about the difference between Sydney and Melbourne that Melbourne is beautiful because of what its residents have done to that flat and quite unremarkable land, whereas Sydney is beautiful because of what God gave it- rolling hills and the harbour- and despite what humans have done to it. I’ve also describe Sydney as more like a whore with all its charms being spruiked and on display, whereas Melbourne’s charms take longer to find and then appreciate.From an Indian’s point of view, Sydney is a bit like Bombay (the buzz!)- while Melbourne is more like Delhi (smug and sedate).

A bit simplified but I think that captures the ‘feel’ of the two cities to an outsider. Of course you could also characterise Melbourne- as a friend who lives in anally retentive Singapore did recently- by noting that it had really dirty toilets!

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Coming up short!

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Penile Subcontinence

Are Indian men too short for condoms?

The Indian Council of Medical Research says Indian penises are too short for standard condoms.

Condom failure rates in India range up to 20 percent; to figure out why, the council has “just concluded an extensive two-year study of the penis sizes of Indian men.” Council researcher:

“As per international standards, most condoms are 150 mm to 180 mm in length and 44 to 56 mm in width. But data collected in Mumbai till 2001 showed that 60% of the participants measured 126 to 156 mm in length and 30% between 100 and 125 mm.”

Translation: Thirty percent of Indian men are 1 inch short, and another 30 percent are 2 inches short.

Hey, this might be true of Bambaiyyas but if you said this in a public place in the North, you’d be lynched! Thing is, even if the average Northie (like Southie, get?) realised this was true, he would NEVER admit to it! And most certainly not in an snswer to a survey.

Update: I found an interview that ABC radio has done with Dr Chander Puri, one of the researchers: mp3 / transcript.

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