10 Most Interesting Beaches in the World   Leave a comment

These days, it seems like everybody has a list of the world’s “most beautiful” beaches. The sheer quantity of sand and sea on this planet makes that an easy list to compile. But after a while, a lot of the world’s coastline starts to sound the same (sugary strands, azure water, the gentle sway of palm trees). In fact, it starts to sound — dare we say it — downright mundane. With that in mind, we set out to find destinations with legacies. To pass our test, a beach not only had to have the kind of story you would want to share with your friends, but it also had to be the kind of place where you would want to lay your towel. That’s why you’ll find places like Malmok Beach in Aruba (site of the largest deliberate shipwreck in the Caribbean) and not the D-day beaches of Normandy, which, while deserving of a visit for their historical value, don’t rank high on a sunbather’s list. Without further ado — 10 places where you can soak up a little culture with those rays.

Robin Hood's Bay, England
Robin Hood’s Bay, England

Robin Hood’s Bay, England

Known for a smuggler network so extensive it included the clergy.

There’s evidence of a settlement here as far back as 3,000 years ago — and still plenty of fossils to be found along its marshes — but this village on England’s Yorkshire Coast is most famous for being a smuggler’s haven in the 1700s. Protected by marshy moorland on three sides, the bay served as an epicenter for the tax-free smuggling of contraband like tea, silk, gin, and tobacco traveling via ship from places like France and the Netherlands. So big was the operation that it’s said that fishermen, farmers, the gentry, and even the clergy were involved. During struggles between the smugglers and tax men, bay wives would pour boiling water out of the windows of the houses onto law enforcement. There were so many secret passages that a smuggled bale of silk could supposedly travel from the bottom to the top of the village without leaving the houses.

Today: This charming village is popular for its family-friendly beaches, rock pools, and surrounding national parks, and offers plenty of pubs, tearooms, and cafes for post-beach dining. Fossil hunters may also luck out by finding a souvenir or two along the marshes.

Getting There: Regular train service runs from London to York; change there for a train to Scarborough, from where bus service is available to the bay. Ferries also run daily from Rotterdam to Hull, one hour away.

Malmok Beach
Malmok Beach, Aruba

Malmok Beach, Aruba

Site of one of the largest (and most deliberate) shipwrecks in the Caribbean.

In the early years of World War II, the German freighter Antilla — which carried supplies to the submarines patrolling the waters off the coast of Venezuela — was allowed to dock in Aruba. Though Aruba was initially a neutral zone, the island joined the Allies once Germany invaded Holland in 1940 (Aruba was a member of the Dutch Antilles at the time). The Antilla was ordered to surrender. The captain agreed to yield the next morning, but when the police arrived, there was no ship. Turns out the captain had sunk it himself, just off of Malmok Beach, so it wouldn’t fall into Allied hands. Today, the 400-foot Antilla is one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean and is home to diverse marine life including giant ruby sponges, coral formations, lobsters, and a variety of tropical fish.

Today: Thanks to the Antilla, Malmok Beach attracts both history buffs and snorkelers and divers, who love exploring the ship’s remains in the clear waters. Because the ship sits in only 60 feet of water, divers enjoy a lot of “tank time” at the wreck, though it’s so large that you’ll need several dives to explore it all. If you’re not into diving, take the steps down to Boca Catalina, a secluded bay that’s great for swimming.

Getting There: Malmok Beach sits near the northwestern tip of Aruba, on the Caribbean Sea.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Discover the island where one of the world’s most famous pirates was captured.

This island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina sits in middle of what was in the 1700s a busy thruway for large trade vessels carrying goods from all over the world. Naturally, with all this booty to be had, the place was swarming with pirates, too. Legendary pirate Edward Teach — a.k.a. Blackbeard — moored at Ocracoke before accepting a pardon and promising to quit the plundering life. But within weeks, he was back at it, so the Virginia governor gave the order for Blackbeard’s capture, which happened on Ocracoke in 1718.

Today: Ocracoke has 16 miles of coastline, with pristine beaches ideal for fishing, shell gathering, swimming (some have lifeguards on duty), and lazing about.

Getting There: Unlike other Outer Bank islands, which are connected by bridges, Ocracoke is only accessible by ferry, private plane, or boat. A free 40-minute ferry transfer is available year-round from Hatteras; the ferry that leaves from Swan Quarter requires reservations and takes a little over two and a half hours.

Wineglass Bay, Australia
Wineglass Bay, Australia

Wineglass Bay, Australia

One of the darkest whaling histories in the world.

Located in Tasmania, this beach often shows up on “world’s most beautiful” lists — but its past is not so picture-perfect. In the 1820s, whalers descended on the bay, sparking conflict with the native Pydairrerme aboriginal tribe. From their shore bases, the whalers would set off in small boats to chase and harpoon whales; once they caught one, they’d tow the carcass back to shore, where they’d butcher it and boil the blubber down for oil. (The oil was sent back to England to be used for lighting, and the whalebones for ladies’ corsets.) Whenever the whalers were working, all that whale blood would stain the bay dark red — earning it the name Wineglass Bay. Whaling only lasted about 20 years on the peninsula.

Today: Wineglass Bay is part of Freycinet National Park, which takes up most of the Freycinet peninsula on Tasmania’s breathtaking east coast. The park is popular for sea kayaking, boating, rock climbing, and bush walking, while the beach attracts travelers from around the world.

Getting There: Wineglass Bay is about two and a half hours by car from the airports at Hobart and Launceston, both of which are serviced by flights from Sydney and Melbourne.

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

America’s first oceanfront national park.

This beautiful part of the Massachusetts coast stretches 40 miles from Chatham to Provincetown. Back in the early 1900s, the area was mainly made up of private land and was a favorite with the Kennedy clan, who spent their summers on the cape. When John F. Kennedy landed in the Senate, he sponsored legislation to make the area a protected national park. In 1961, when he was president, he was able to officially establish the Cape Cod National Seashore, making it the country’s first-ever oceanfront national park.

Today: More than 4 million visitors a year enjoy the Seashore’s pristine lighthouses, wild cranberry bogs, waterways, biking trails, and six swimming beaches; the latter include Coast Guard Beach in Eastham and quiet Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, which is framed by an 85-foot sand cliff.

Getting There: The National Seashore is just under a two-hour drive from Boston. Most of the national park stops are found along Route 6 between Eastham and Provincetown.

Bournemouth, England
Bournemouth, England

Bournemouth, England

The birth of the modern seaside resort.

In England, the concept of the modern “seaside resort” really took off in the 1700s, as doctors began touting the health benefits of ocean water and the coastal climate. At the time, beach visitors would disrobe in “bathing machines” — a small changing room on wheels that would get pulled into the water by horses, making it easy for the ill or elderly to step directly into the sea. In Victorian times, women — including Queen Victoria herself — used bathing machines to help protect their modesty, but as the popularity of sunbathing grew in the 1900s, these movable shacks were ditched in favor of stationary huts or tents — typically rentable by the hour, day, or week — that served as a bather’s private beachside base. Bournemouth built the U.K.’s first municipal beach huts in 1909.

Today: Nearly 2,000 beach huts of all shapes and sizes now line the five-and-a-half-mile promenade of popular Bournemouth Beach — about 70 percent are privately owned and the city council operates the rest. Huts typically come equipped with deck chairs, curtains, and a small gas stovetop. From $13.70 per day, bournemouthbeachhuts.co.uk.

Getting There: Bournemouth is set on England’s picturesque south coast, a little over a 90-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo Station.

Bells Beach, Australia
Bells Beach, Australia

Bells Beach, Australia

Home to the world’s longest-running surfing competition.

Tempted by its great breaks, local surfers were flocking to this sandy strip along Australia’s southern coast as early as 1949, even though access at that time was not so easy. About a decade later, an enterprising young man by the name of Joe took matters into his own hands. He paid 30 pounds ($60) to hire a bulldozer and clear a road from the cliff to the beach. He recouped the costs by charging fellow surfers a pound to use his road — and this famous surf spot was officially born. The first Bells Beach Surf Classic — now called the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival — took place here in 1961.

Today: Currently the longest-running surfing competition in the world, the Rip Curl festival happens here every Easter. Still among the top break spots in the world (and not recommended for novice surfers), Bells Beach was featured in the classic surfing film The Endless Summer and was the setting for the finale of Point Break.

Getting There: Bells Beach is located on Great Ocean Road, about 67 miles southwest of Melbourne. Nearby towns include Torquay and Jan Juc.

Capri, Italy
Capri, Italy

Capri, Italy

Famous for ancient beach parties.

When the ancient Romans went on vacation, they went all out, embarking on grand tours of important sites — including Greece and Egypt — that could last up to five years. The journeys would often start closer to home, though, with a first stop at the seaside resorts along the Bay of Naples. For several hundred years, Rome’s super rich would vacation in Baiae, a fashionable town with medicinal hot springs, beautiful villas (including those of Julius Caesar and Nero), and hedonistic parties.

Today: Though Baiae was deserted by 1500 (its ruins now lie under the Bay of Naples), a modern-day equivalent would be Capri, the see-and-be-seen island in the bay. Still a playground for the jet set, Capri’s beaches are mainly rocky, but popular nonetheless. The lovely beach at Bagni di Tiberio, near the island’s fishing district, was once the site of Emperor Tiberius’s seaside palace.

Getting There: There is regular ferry and hydrofoil service between Naples and Capri; the ride is between 40 to 80 minutes.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

One of the first beach destinations for cruisers.

Though ocean liners were transporting travelers and cargo across the Atlantic from the mid-1800s, it wasn’t until 1900 that a ship was specifically built for leisure cruises as we know them now. Dubbed the Prinzessin Victoria Luise, the luxury ship was constructed for the Hamburg America Line and included 120 first-class staterooms, a gym, and even a darkroom for amateur photographers. The ship departed New York on January 26, 1901, for its first official cruise, which included a stop on the island of St. Thomas. The vessel continued to sail though the Caribbean and Mediterranean for nearly five years, until it accidentally ran ashore in Jamaica in 1906.

Today: St. Thomas is one of the busiest cruise-ship ports in the world; in high season, up to 10 ships a day might dock at its various terminals. Aside from duty-free shopping, visiting the beaches is one of the top activities for cruisers, and popular choices include Magens Bay on the north side and Lindbergh Bay’s Emerald Beach on the south. To experience a bit of what those original cruise passengers did, though, head to the pristine beach on car-less Water Island.

Getting There: Water Island is about half a mile from St. Thomas and linked by regular ferry service from Crown Bay Marina, a short walk from the Crown Bay cruise-ship dock.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada

Canada’s first legal clothing-optional beach.

Though Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park features several sandy spots, including Acadia Beach and Tower Beach, the most legendary is four-mile-long Wreck Beach, Canada’s first legal clothing-optional beach and one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Set 542 steps below the park’s Trail 6, the secluded area became popular with naturists in the 1960s and ’70s. In 1977, the Wreck Beach Preservation Society was formed to help protect this unique haven; over the years, they’ve successfully rallied against encroaching construction, environmental threats, and privacy and “morality” issues to keep the place fun and — true to their mission — family-friendly.

Today: During the summer, as many as 14,000 weekend visitors may drop by Wreck Beach for some fun in the sun — and not always in the buff. Sticking to the motto of “Nude isn’t lewd, but gawking is rude,” the dedicated regulars are happy to have sunbathers who choose to stay clothed, but they do take privacy, respect, and courtesy seriously (so no photos). There are unofficial gay and couples areas, and a Vendors Row where you can pick up everything from sarongs to gourmet eats. (Beware the unlicensed hawkers peddling homemade baked goods and not-so-legal substances.)

Getting There: Wreck Beach is on the western-most point of Vancouver, near the University of British Columbia campus. The C20 TransLink bus will take you to the Trail 6 sign at the intersection of Northwest Marine Drive and University Boulevard. From there, it’s 542 wooden steps down to the beach.

Organ donation dogma?   Leave a comment

Why is this fascination for the dead body? After all, everybody dies.

Death is inevitable (perhaps the only one).

So what happens when a person dies?

According to various religions, there are rituals performed to bid goodbye to that person.

Cremation, burial, burning or even leaving the body to feast upon for the vultures.

But why do we not think of utlilizing the body for the good of the other fellow human being. There are many ways in which a body can be utlilized, so as to benefit the others.

Organ donation, eye donation, giving it to colleges for students to learn.

Well the best form to live, even after your death is to donate your organs for the sake of other. This has to endorsed by you and religiously followed by your relatives in a timely manner.

No other form of donation can equal this gesture.

So why is religion coming in the way of the benevolent gesture? Is it not the duty of the religiious leaders to to advocate this practice. After all, you are giving away something that is no longer useful to you.

The religious preachers, rather than ridicule it in the name of religion, should rather preach on this life giving gesture.

Let better sense prevail. AMEN !!!

Send SMS when driving to meet GOD   Leave a comment

Yup that what happenned to  Emirati footballer Diab Awana, who according to his friend Hamdan Al Kamali, was on the phone with him minutes before his car crashed into a lorry, causing his death.

This not a very strange sight in Kuwait, rather a norm (either talking or texting on phone).

The accidents are never tied or related to the mobiles, specially when one knows that over 50% of the cause in the mobile.

Can sense prevail among the drivers in Kuwait or are they very eager to meet GOD?

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Posted September 28, 2011 by Rajesh_Gandhi in crazy, faux pas, kuwait

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20 Strange and Exotic Endangered Species   Leave a comment

The bladder-chewing guppy not enough for you? Can’t stop thinking about exploding ants, boyfriend-devouring she-monsters of the sea and blood-spurting lizards? Don’t worry – terrifying oneself is a common ailment of the intertubes. Unfortunately, there is no cure…but there is more to learn! Reader, prepare thyself. Your eyeballs are about to be flooded with some of the strangest, creepiest, crawliest endangered creatures on the planet. Warning: content best consumed as far away from bedtime as possible – and no, these are not extinct animals, either.

 

Mexican Walking Fish

(Image via dillheady)

The Mexican walking fish is on the verge of extinction. It’s a caecilian (more about that in a bit), and it lives in – where else? – the waters off Mexico. It’s also important because it will be the only cute animal in this entire post. Awww. It really is cute, isn’t it? It’s always nice to start things off gently. Digital foreplay, if you will.

Goliath Bird Eating Spider

(Image via cirrusimage)

Only the biggest spider on earth, this plate-sized bird-gnawing beast actually prefers to feast on smaller fare, like bats, bugs, and annoying children. In other words, the bird-eating spider rarely eats birds. Sure. Anyway, like its tarantula cousin below (the whistling spider) the Goliath or bird-eating spider is at risk due to its Amazonian habitat destruction. Though tarantulas are scary, they’re fairly harmless to humans.

Whistling Spider

(Image via arachnoboards)

Here, human human human human. Good human! The whistling spider is able to emit a distinctive whistle by rubbing its legs together. What, you thought spiders had lips? How else would they whistle! It’s a vital part of its native ecosystem and while it is not critically endangered, habitat destruction puts this important species at risk.

Chinese Giant Salamander

(Images via xinhuanet and ZSL)

Something tells us these giant salamanders were never called for in any witch’s recipe. Seriously, look at that thing! That lives under some people’s porches! The United States is also home to a giant salamander called the Hellbender, and it’s…well, the name fits. However, it is not as endangered as the shockingly strange-looking Chinese cousin. The Chinese giant salamander can grow to be nearly six feet long.

Lord Howe Island​ Stick Insect

(Images via cane toad warrior, aqob and the Age)

Delightfully crisp! Kidding, kidding. There are hundreds of stick insects, but the Lord Howe Island stick insect is by far the most critically endangered of all of them. It can grow to five inches in length; but don’t worry, it’s not poisonous. Just crunchy.

Weta

(Image via basenotes)

Think of this cheery critter as you would a common mouse: not terribly enjoyable to have underfoot, but vital to the ecosystem all the same. The weta is native to New Zealand and while it’s something of an icon thanks to Peter Jackson​, non-native species, pest eradication and general ugliness (which really can’t be helped now, can it?) have all contributed to the sad plight of the weta. There are actually over 70 species of weta, with 16 being endangered or at risk. The giant weta was thought to be extinct, but a new population was recently found. They aren’t the cutest bugs around, but they are  harmless and besides, they put up with your mug, don’t they?

Giant Water Bug

The inspiration for Alien? The palm-sized giant water bug possesses a syringe-like tooth that bores into its prey, injects a toxic venom that liquefies the animal’s insides, and then…meat’s back on the menu! One of the favorite treats of Giant Water Bugs that live in the Amazon is the piranha. If that tells you anything. Why would we want something so bad ass to go extinct? It’s not like other animals are waiting around to eat piranhas.

Frigate Island​ Beetle

(Image via Endangered Ugly)

Put anything in a place where it’s hot and wet 99% of the time, and it will grow. Whether it’s a fern, a vine or a dear-Jeebus-that’s-horrifying beetle, things just come bigger in the tropics. The seriously endangered and geographically unique Frigate Island Beetle is no exception. It’s the largest of the tenebrionid beetles and the most at risk. If you ever leave the internet long enough to visit Frigate Island and you pick up a beetle and it stains your hands and clothes with a “musky” scented purple ink, put that little guy somewhere safe! You’ve just happened upon a Frigate Island beetle.

Giant Palouse Earthworm

(Image via ecoscraps)

At lengths of up to one foot, the Giant Palouse is the largest earthworm on earth. It’s quite harmless, but unfortunately it’s endangered all the same. It lives in Eastern Washington State and Idaho and was thought to be extinct until 2005, when a student discovered a living specimen. Previous sightings hadn’t happened since the 1980s. Part of the reason it’s so hard to find the Giant Palouse? They burrow 15 feet into the ground.

Giant Coconut Crab

(Image via kottke)

This is not shopped. This is not a hoax. That is a giant crab on a garbage can. They’re native to Guam and other Pacific islands. Coconut crabs aren’t endangered, per se, but due to tropical habitat destruction they are at risk. In WWII, American soldiers stationed in the Pacific theater wrote home with tales about entire atolls being covered in the armor-plated giants. These crabs can crack a coconut in one swipe; but they’re generally too slow to be very dangerous to humans. Children pass lazy afternoons by picking the crabs off tree trunks and watching them crash to the ground; it’s reportedly great fun. And kind of messed up.

Crinoid Snapping Shrimp

(Image via divegallery)

The tiny Crinoid snapping shrimp is the tiniest of all the snapping shrimp, and the only one that is endangered. The snapping shrimp is often called the pistol shrimp because it comes with its very own “gun” by which it makes a loud cracking, shooting noise. It really only shoots air, but the stun gun is enough to knock out prey foolish enough to swim past.

Honduran Ghost Bat

(Image via wonderful world of animals)

The Honduran ghost bat is not officially endangered, but many American ecologists consider it to be threatened due to rainforest habitat destruction and climate change. It is unique, both for its tiny size (just a few centimeters) and its pale coloring.

Mallorcan Midwife Toad

(Image via arkive)

The Mallorcan Midwife toad…is a dude. In a gender-bender twist that seems to occur a lot in the frog world, this toad swaps child-bearing and child-rearing duties. The father serves as a surrogate for the tots until they hatch, and even cares for them after. Mom, meanwhile, hunts and generally stays out partying every night. Females will even compete with each other for mating rights, much like males of other animal species.

Quacking Frog

(Image via liquidghoul)

The quacking frog makes a sound that is just like a small duck. Go on, listen! Unfortunately, like many frogs, the quacking frog is endangered. Scientist are particularly concerned when frogs disappear or show signs of stress, because frogs are considered indicator species.

Glass Frog

(Image via about:blank)

The glass frog is endangered, as well. And absolutely stunning, so it would be a shame if we let it die out. Note the visible organs in this beautiful specimen. Unfortunately, with tropical rainforests in Central and South America threatened (in some places, the problem is actually worse than it was in previous decades), the glass frog may go extinct.

More Legless Amphibians: the Icthyophis Kohtaoensis

(Image via Berkeley)

There are actually a number of legless amphibians, but some of the strangest ones have tentacles sprouting from their heads. They’re known as caecilians, and some of them have some really unusual physical adaptations for a number of functions (the Mexican Walking Fish at the top of this post is just one). One caecilian has a protruding tail-like limb that enables external fertilization, for example. Though they look like soft worms, they have rows of very sharp teeth. There are over 120 species of caecilians around the world that have been discovered so far, but many of them are endangered and we don’t know much about them.

Komodo Dragon

(Image source)

Threatened by both volcanoes and humans, this fascinating prehistoric relic is endangered. At 10 feet and 330 pounds, it is the largest lizard in existence. They have poor hearing and cannot run very fast for very long, instead relying on their sharp eyesight and powers of stealth to hunt. It possesses serrated teeth and has nasty attack habits, preferring to jab at the feet or drag its prey along for a bit before finishing off the deed. If an animal is lucky enough to get away, it will soon die from massive infection thanks to the komodo’s specialized bacteria. Komodos will eat nearly anything, living or dead, including their own young. Unlike the great cats, they will also eat nearly all of their kill, even the intestines, although they do swing those around to expel the feces first as they really don’t like excrement. For this reason, baby komodos roll themselves in feces to avoid being eaten.

Kagu

(Image via tropical birding)

A rare New Zealand bird, not much is known about the enigmatic Kagu. It is flightless, though its wings are large; it is a forest-dweller, though its markings are oddly light in color. Very few remain and scientists know little about its preferences and habits. We do know that it possesses “nasal corns” unlike any other bird. For reasons unknown, the kagu also has one-third the red blood count of other birds. Scientists have had a difficult time classifying this rare and unusual bird.

Hairy Nosed Wombat

(Image currumbim)

Though it looks similar to the standard wombat, the hairy nosed wombat possesses some unique features. Among the rarest mammals in the world, it has a backwards-opening pouch and is the largest burrowing herbivorous mammal known to humans. The other oddity of the hairy nosed wombat is that its teeth continue to grow throughout its life – now that’s long in the tooth!

Striped Rabbit

(Image via University of Alberta)

Only discovered within the last decade, the striped rabbit is considered a bit of a scientific novelty owing to its unusual markings. It comes from a region of Burma that has revealed many unusual species previously unknown to scientists, including a miniature deer. Pictures are scarce.

Source

Posted September 19, 2011 by Rajesh_Gandhi in animals, crazy, wierd

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Mobile operators will lose voice services to mobile platforms   Leave a comment

Imagine buying your SIM-free mobile phone from a local electronics store and logging into your Google or Apple account as soon as you turn the phone on for the first time. Then imagine having the phone ready to use for voice calls with a phone number provided to you by Google Talk or Skype, and ready to access email, YouTube or Facebook.

That same phone automatically hooks to your home Wi-Fi or any of the available 3G, WiMax or LTE networks without you even knowing (or caring) which specific network its running on at the moment. No longer do you have to belong to a specific carrier — your phone automatically picks the strongest and cheapest network option at any given time. Your network access, along with voice, app/in-app purchases and everything else are provided to you by the mobile platform provider. The carriers are only there to run network infrastructure and sell bandwidth to two to three mobile platform providers.

Let’s face it, the only two things that still connect carriers to consumers are the voice number and billing for the network access. SIM card technology is rudimentary — you can easily conduct user authentication using a simple login, just like Apple does on iPods when you want to buy apps or songs from the iTunes store.

Looking into the future, even the phone number itself will disappear. Why bother with all these numbers when you can just place a call directly to anybody’s Facebook profile?

This future is inevitable, and the changes are coming very soon. With mobile platform providers running the show today, carriers simply have no way of stopping the process. Not having any control over the platform vendors — for instance, via a consortium that would centrally license Android or other mobile platforms to equalize the balance of power between the platform provider and the carriers/OEMs — they will eventually give up on their ambitions to control the user. Just read the Google/Motorola/Skyhook story to see how it happens.

It only takes one carrier to crack and start selling bandwidth to Google, Microsoft or Apple; all other carriers will simply have no choice but to follow. It’s like the prisoners’ dilemma from economic textbooks: If both prisoners don’t talk, both win. But if separated and one is promised a way out (or an easier sentence) and he talks first, then game theory suggests the winning strategy for each prisoner is to talk. In other words, one of them will crack. They are nowhere close to being united enough to stand together, even in the short to mid-term. Look how effortlessly Apple, then everyone else, took over their app distribution businesses — something that only five years ago would have been totally unthinkable.

Most likely, these first-to-crack carriers will be tier-two low-cost carriers outside the U.S., possibly acquired by, but likely just partnering with, the big platform players. Those carriers will have a high incentive to enter such partnerships, as their networks are already optimized for low costs (lean, efficient cost structure without heavy marketing, support, premium services overheads, better network logistics, etc.). Short to mid-term, the strategy will be against tier-one carriers, who have a high marketing/operations cost burden. The UK actually looks like a very logical place to start, especially when some UK carriers have already been experimenting with Skype phones, which were successful to the degree that price-sensitive younger audiences actually started to carry Skype phones as their second device.

It will probably be a while before most users fully switch to non-carrier-provided voice/network services — maybe five to seven years — but it’s only a matter of time, as the new model is so much more compelling to the consumer. Signing up for multiple phone numbers as easily as opening email accounts, getting the best and the cheapest network at any given time in any spot (finally, no more service drops!), free and unlimited voice/video on WiFi networks, cheap roaming even when overseas on a local service, and so many more benefits are poised to take off.

Once this happens, carriers fall into a very undesirable position. Network access becomes an absolute commodity, much more so than in the case of landline ISPs. The latter at least have relatively high switching costs, while a mobile phone is already connected to every network available in its physical location. This means carriers compete head to head over who sells the cheapest bandwidth to Google, Apple or Microsoft, and only those most economically fit with the strongest network logistics survive in the game. This time, the brand, handset subsidies or any other marketing tricks are of no help — it’s all about economics.

What’s really interesting is what could happen with next-generation networks. As carriers see their margins disappear almost entirely and the profits shift to mobile platforms, operators won’t accumulate enough profits to be able to invest in next-generation networks. Nor does the marginalized economics of the network business promise them high ROI. Mobile platforms do the opposite: By that time, they’ll have accumulated profits for all the value-added services, so they’ll have both the money to invest and the strong economic incentive to do so. This will also be very lucrative to mobile platforms politically, as owning services end to end, from cloud to network to devices, enables a whole new level of control and market power.

by Ilja Laurs is CEO at GetJar

Posted September 12, 2011 by Rajesh_Gandhi in facebook, freedom, google, idea, internet, lifestyle, technology

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3% alcohol endangering the lives of citizens and residents of Kuwait   1 comment

The Arabtimes, Kuwait, today reported:

“The Criminal Evidence Department has submitted a report to the Cassation Court, stating that a certain brand of mayonnaise available at a cooperative society contains three percent alcohol, reports Annahar daily.
The company which imported the mayonnaise has been charged with endangering the lives of citizens and residents as it did not properly examine the ingredients of the product. Sources say the cooperative society which sold the product too has been charged in the case.”

Well, if 3% alcohol can endanger the lives of the citizens of Kuwait, maybe the investigation report should be sent across to UAE, Oman, Qatar & Bahrain; so that their brothers from the other GCC citizens can learn from it and take effective measures to stop alcohol sale.

Wonder what a detrimental effect ‘it’ must be having on the citizens of other countries?

Posted August 22, 2011 by Rajesh_Gandhi in action, crazy, faux pas, kuwait

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Ramadan v/s Productive Muslims   Leave a comment

We were taught that work is worship. If you do your work and duties promptly and in the right manner, it is equivalent to prayer.

But my perception (rather most of those living in the Arab World) of Ramadan is that this is a time when people (since they are fasting) take it as an excuse to shy away from work and show anger to those who make them work. Why?

Mohammad Faris, CEO and founder of Productive Muslims, said that history teaches us Ramadan was a time of great achievement and industry.

“If we look into history, we learn that Ramadan was a productive time for the Ummah.

It is in this noble month that many great events occurred in the history of Islam like the victory of faith over disbelief in the Battle of Badr, the conquest of Makkah, Battle of ‘Ayn Jaaloot and other decisive battles,” Faris told Gulf News from his Jeddah offices in Saudi Arabia.

“This indicates that there are many lessons of success to draw on from this month in the history of Islamic civilisation. In a similar manner, Ramadan is a time where Muslims must fight their own inner battles to gain victory of becoming better Muslims and more productive in order to have success in this life and the next.”

Those who are observing Ramadan must work to dispel stereotypes through personal goals of becoming more productive, he said.

“Unfortunately, Ramadan today is being accused of being an ‘unproductive’ month by many Muslim — and non-Muslim — employers working in the Muslim world.

“This misrepresentation of Ramadan is highlighted by the actions of some Muslims who unfortunately use Ramadan as an excuse to be lazy, not get work done, and follow unproductive habits such as staying up all night at cafes and restaurants, thus feeling sleepy during working hours.

“This is very important, as there are many sincere employees who want to work hard and be productive during Ramadan, but do not have the techniques or skills to do so consistently,” Faris said.

“Businesses could arrange workshops with Muslim productivity experts to help their employees or they can encourage their employees to sign up to online courses that specialise in this sort of training.”

Businesses must also adopt a co-operative approach with workers to ensure that deadlines are met and production does not slip.

‘Zero tolerance’

“Second, businesses need to encourage a resilient mindset among their fasting employees, for example, a mindset that whether it’s Ramadan or not Ramadan, work has to get done and employees need to find a way to keep up with the work pace,” he said.

“There should be zero tolerance to people who use Ramadan as an excuse for being lazy or unproductive, and signs of unproductivity or people using Ramadan as an excuse for being unproductive should be stamped out or rebuked publicly.”

To help workers help themselves, Productive Muslims offers a ist for a more productive Ramadan:

1. Have sincere intentions and work hard for an ultimate productive Ramadan.

2. Plan each day of Ramadan the night before. Choose three important tasks you want to achieve the next day and record them in your diary.

3. Never EVER miss Suhour, wake up at least an hour before Fajr and have a filling, balanced meal.

4. Start working on your most important tasks right after Fajr and get at least one or two done.

5. Try to take an afternoon nap, not more than 20 minutes, either just before or after Dhuhur.

6. Plan your Ramadan days (and life) around Salah times, not the other way round.

7. Block at least one hour for reciting the Quran each day.

8. End your fast with dates and milk or water, go to Maghreb prayers, then come back for a light meal.

9. Give lots of ‘physical sadaqah’; get involved in organising community iftars, charity drives, helping orphans etc. Earn rewards working for others.

10. Don’t miss an opportunity for Dawah. When someone asks you why you’re not eating, give them a beautiful explanation of Ramadan and Islam.

Posted August 14, 2011 by Rajesh_Gandhi in kuwait, lifestyle, religion

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