Saturday, November 15, 2008

20 Most Amazing Coincidences! Auckland, New Zealand, davidlim

James Dean's car curse

In September 1955, James Dean was killed in a horrific car accident whilst he was driving his Porsche sports car. After the crash the car was seen as very unlucky.
a) When the car was towed away from accident scene and taken to a garage, the engine slipped out and fell onto a mechanic, shattering both of his legs.
b) Eventually the engine was bought by a doctor, who put i More..t into his racing car and was killed shortly afterwards, during a race. Another racing driver, in the same race, was killed in his car, which had James Dean's driveshaft fitted to it.
c) When James Dean's Porsche was later repaired, the garage it was in was destroyed by fire.
d) Later the car was displayed in Sacramento, but it fell off it's mount and broke a teenager's hip.
e) In Oregon, the trailer that the car was mounted on slipped from it's towbar and smashed through the front of a shop.
f) Finally, in 1959, the car mysteriously broke into 11 pieces while it was sitting on steel supports.

A falling baby, saved twice by the same man

In Detroit sometime in the 1930s, a young (if incredibly careless) mother must have been eternally grateful to a man named Joseph Figlock. As Figlock was walking down the street, the mother's baby fell from a high window onto Figlock. The baby's fall was broken and both man and baby were unharmed. A stroke of luck on its own, but a year later, the very same baby fell from the very same window onto poor, unsuspecting Joseph Figlock as he was again passing beneath. And again, they both survived the event. (Source: Mysteries of the Unexplained)

A bullet that reached its destiny years later

Henry Ziegland thought he had dodged fate. In 1883, he broke off a relationship with his girlfriend who, out of distress, committed suicide. The girl's brother was so enraged that he hunted down Ziegland and shot him. The brother, believing he had killed Ziegland, then turned his gun on himself and took his own life. But Ziegland had not been killed. The bullet, in fact, had only grazed his face and then lodged in a tree. Ziegland surely thought himself a lucky man. Some years later, however, Ziegland decided to cut down the large tree, which still had the bullet in it. The task seemed so formidable that he decided to blow it up with a few sticks of dynamite. The explosion propelled the bullet into Ziegland's head, killing him. (Source: Ripley's Believe It or Not!)

Twin Boys, twin lives

The stories of identical twins' nearly identical lives are often astonishing, but perhaps none more so than those of identical twins born in Ohio. The twin boys were separated at birth, being adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both families named the boys James. And here the coincidences just begin. Both James grew up not even knowing of the other, yet both sought law-enforcement training, both had abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry, and each had married women named Linda. They both had sons whom one named James Alan and the other named James Allan. The twin brothers also divorced their wives and married other women - both named Betty. And they both owned dogs which they named Toy. Forty years after their childhood separation, the two men were reunited to share their amazingly similar lives. (Source: Reader's Digest, January 1980)

Just like Edgar Allan Poe's book

In the 19th century, the famous horror writer, Egdar Allan Poe, wrote a book called 'The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym'. It was about four survivors of a shipwreck who were in an open boat for many days before they decided to kill and eat the cabin boy whose name was Richard Parker. Some years later, in 1884, the yawl, Mignonette, foundered, with only four survivors, who were in an open boat for many days. Eventully the three senior members of the crew, killed and ate the cabin boy. The name of the cabin boy was Richard Parker.

Twin brothers, killed on the same road, two hours apart

On 2002, Seventy-year-old twin brothers have died within hours of one another after separate accidents on the same road in northern Finland. The first of the twins died when he was hit by a lorry while riding his bike in Raahe, 600 kilometres north of the capital, Helsinki. He died just 1.5km from the spot where his brother was killed. "This is simply a historic coincidence. Although the road is a busy one, accidents don't occur every day," police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala told Reuters. "It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two were brothers, and identical twins at that. It came to mind that perhaps someone from upstairs had a say in this," she said. (Source: BBC News)

Three suicide attempts, all stopped by the same Monk

Joseph Aigner was a fairlly well-known portrait painter in 19th century Austria who, apparently, was quite an unhappy fellow: he several times attempted suicide. His first attempt was at the young age of 18 when he tried to hang himself, but was interrupted by the mysterious appearance of a Capuchin monk. At age 22 he again tried to hang himself, but was again saved from the act by the very same monk. Eight years later, his death was ordained by others who sentenced him to the gallows for his political activities. Once again, his life was saved by the intervention of the same monk. At age 68, Aiger finally succeeded in suicide, a pistol doing the trick. His funeral ceremony was conducted by the same Capuchin monk - a man whose name Aiger never even knew. (Source: Ripley's Giant Book of Believe It or Not!)

Poker winnings, to the unsuspected son

In 1858, Robert Fallon was shot dead, an act of vengeance by those with whom he was playing poker. Fallon, they claimed, had won the $600 pot through cheating. With Fallon's seat empty and none of the other players willing to take the now-unlucky $600, they found a new player to take Fallon's place and staked him with the dead man's $600. By the time the police had arrived to investigate the killing, the new player had turned the $600 into $2,200 in winnings. The police demanded the original $600 to pass on to Fallon's next of kin - only to discover that the new player turned out to be Fallon's son, who had not seen his father in seven years! (Source: Ripley's Giant Book of Believe It or Not!)

A novel that unsuspectedly described the spy next door

When Norman Mailer began his novel Barbary Shore, there was no plan to have a Russian spy as a character. As he worked on it, he introduced a Russian spy in the U.S. as a minor character. As the work progressed, the spy became the dominant character in the novel. After the novel was completed, the U.S. Immigration Service arrested a man who lived just one floor above Mailer in the same apartment building. He was Colonel Rudolf Abel, alleged to be the top Russian spy working in the U.S. at that time. (Source: Science Digest)

Mark Twain and Halley's Comet

Mark Twain was born on the day of the appearance of Halley's Comet in 1835, and died on the day of its next appearance in 1910. He himself predicted this in 1909, when he said: "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it."

Three strangers on a Train, with complementary last names

In the 1920s, three Englishman were traveling separately by train through Peru. At the time of their introduction, they were the only three men in the railroad car. Their introductions were more surprising than they could have imagined. One man's last name was Bingham, and the second man's last name was Powell. The third man announced that his last name was Bingham-Powell. None were related in any way. (Source: Mysteries of the Unexplained)

Two brothers killed by the same taxi driver, one year apart

In 1975, while riding a moped in Bermuda, a man was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, this man's bother was killed in the very same way. In fact, he was riding the very same moped. And to stretch the odds even further, he was struck by the very same taxi driven by the same driver - and even carrying the very same passenger! (Source: Phenomena: A Book of Wonders, John Michell and Robert J. M. Rickard)

Swapped Hotel Findings

In 1953, television reporter Irv Kupcinet was in London to cover the coronation of Ellizabeth II. In one of the drawers in his room at the Savoy he found found some items that, by their identification, belonged to a man named Harry Hannin. Coincidentally, Harry Hannin - a basketball star with the famed Harlem Globetrotters - was a good friend of Kupcinet's. But the story has yet another twist. Just two days later, and before he could tell Hannin of his lucky discovery, Kupcinet received a letter from Hannin. In the letter, Hannin told Kucinet that while staying at the Hotel Meurice in Paris, he found in a drawer a tie - with Kupcinet's name on it! (Source: Mysteries of the Unexplained)

Two Mr. Brysons, same hotel room

While on a business trip sometime in the late 1950s, Mr. George D. Bryson stopped and registered at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. After signing the register and being given his key to room 307, he stopped by the mail desk to see if any letters had arrived for him. Indeed there was a letter, the mail girl told him, and handed him an envelope addressed to Mr. George D. Bryson, room 307. This wouldn't be so odd, except the letter was not for him, but for room 307's just-previous occupant - another man named George D. Bryson. (Source: Incredible Coincidence, Alan Vaughan)

Twins brothers, same heart attack

John and Arthur Mowforth were twins who lived about 80 miles apart in Great Britain. On the evening of May 22, 1975, both fell severely ill from chest pains. The families of both men were completely unaware of the other's illness. Both men were rushed to separate hospitals at approximately the same time. And both died of heart attacks shortly after arrival. (Source: Chronogenetics: The Inheretance of Biological Time, Luigi Gedda and Gianni Brenci)

A novel that predicted the Titanic's destiny, and another ship that almost followed
Morgan Robertson, in 1898, wrote "Futility". It described the maiden voyage of a transatlantic luxury liner named the Titan. Although it was touted as being unsinkable, it strikes an iceberg and sinks with much loss of life. In 1912 the Titanic, a transatlantic luxury liner widely touted as unsinkable strikes an iceberg and sinks with great loss of life on her maiden voyage. In the Book, the Month of the Wreck was April, same as in the real event. There were 3,000 passengers on the book; in reality, 2,207. In the Book, there were 24 Lifeboats; in reality, 20.
Months after the Titanic sank, a tramp steamer was traveling through the foggy Atlantic with only a young boy on watch. It came into his head that it had been thereabouts that the Titanic had sunk, and he was suddenly terrified by the thought of the name of his ship - the Titanian. Panic-stricken, he sounded the warning. The ship stopped, just in time: a huge iceberg loomed out of the fog directly in their path. The Titanian was saved.

A writer, found the book of her childhood

While American novelist Anne Parrish was browsing bookstores in Paris in the 1920s, she came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites - Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf found the inscription: "Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs." It was Anne's very own book. (Source: While Rome Burns, Alexander Wollcott)

A writer's plum pudding

In 1805, French writer Émile Deschamps was treated to some plum pudding by the stranger Monsieur de Fortgibu. Ten years later, he encountered plum pudding on the menu of a Paris restaurant, and wanted to order some, but the waiter told him the last dish had already been served to another customer, who turned out to be de Fortgibu. Many years later in 1832 Émile Deschamps was at a diner, and was once again offered plum pudding. He recalled the earlier incident and told his friends that only de Fortgibu was missing to make the setting complete — and in the same instant the now senile de Fortgibu entered the room.

King Umberto I' double

In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I, went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia- Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto's order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in face and in build. Both men began discussing the striking resemblances between each other and found many more similarities.
a) Both men were born on the same day, of the same year, (March 14th, 1844).
b) Both men had been born in the same town.
c) Both men married a woman with same name, Margherita.
d) The restauranteur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy.
e) On the 29th July 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restauranteur had died that day in a mysterious shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, he was then assassinated by an anarchist in the crowd.

The 21st, a bad day for King Louis XVI

When King Louis XVI of France was a child, he was warned by an astrologer to always be on his guard on the 21st day of each month. Louis ws so terrified by this that he never did business on this day. Unfortunately Louis was not always on his guard. On June 21st 1791, following the French revolution, Louis and his queen were arrested in Varennes, whist trying to escape France. On September 21st 1791, France abolished the institution of Royalty and proclaimed itself a republic. Finally on January 21st 1793, King Louis XVI was executed by guillotine.

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One in a Million real footage on a tragic and deadly car accident

The footage was caught by a casual video shooting from a handphone with sound. Imagine wha ever happened to the driver and the passenger? Can you close your eyes and imagine that you are the one in the squashed car?

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Apple takes on 'old school' Nintendo , iTouch, pda, portable, computing

Apple reckons its high-end iPod Touch can rival dedicated gaming devices like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP over the crucial Christmas selling period.

Apple iPod Touch
Apple dominates the music market, but is not a big player in the gaming industry

The latest version of its touchscreen iPod, launched over the summer, lets users download games and other pieces of software directly from an online store over a WiFi internet connection.

In the 100 days since it went live, third party developers have created 6,000 applications for the store, including 1,500 games, according to Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod marketing.

"The PSP and DS represent the old school of gaming: big bulky devices with an old-fashioned distribution model," he told Newsbeat.

"Selling cartridges is the old school way of doing business. Creating, licensing and manufacturing physical goods is expensive and as a result games are expensive.

"Buying a cartridge for your DS is going to cost £25 but it's a much more efficient model when we go electronic."

'Upward momentum'

A typical full game from Apple's online store costs between £2.99 and £5.99, although hundreds of more basic demo titles are available for free.

Nintendo DS
Nintendo's portable DS is one of the most popular devices created

"Customers are much more likely to buy more games because they are not such a major investment and you don't have to be motivated to go out to the shops," said Joswiak.

"It creates an upward momentum which is why you have all the big gaming companies like EA, Sega and Hudson creating games for the iPod Touch now."

While Apple dominates the market for music devices, it has never been a powerful player in the gaming industry.

Its desktop machines are widely used for tasks like video editing and publishing, but only boast a handful of games, mainly straight copies of PC titles like World of Warcraft.

Nintendo and Sony, meanwhile, have built up a huge fan base of handheld gamers since the first Gameboy went on sale more than 20 years ago.

'More control'

Nintendo's portable DS machine is one of the most popular pieces of gaming hardware ever created. 85 million have been sold worldwide, according to the research company VG Chartz.

Apple will have to convince gamers to give up traditional joypad-like controls for the iPod's touchscreen and accelerometer, which measures balance in a similar way to the control mechanism built into Nintendo's Wii console.

"It actually offers developers a lot more control," claims Apple's Greg Joswiak.

The PSP has traditional joypad-like controls, unlike the iPod Touch

"Whatever controls are needed can be painted on the screen itself."

The screen and accelerometer work well for puzzle and driving titles but arcade gamers might be frustrated by the responsiveness of a touchscreen d-pad.

"It's more suited to strategy-type games that are not about quick reactions," said Piers Harding-Rolls, who watches the games industry for the media research group Screen Digest.

'Wait and see'

Rivals like Nintendo and Sony are also starting to experiment with new forms of digital distribution.

A latest version of Nintendo's handheld console, the DSi, due for release in Japan this month and the UK next year, will come with the ability to download games directly from the internet just like Apple's machine.

"The iPod Touch and the iPhone are both interesting propositions but in terms of the quality of games out there, you can't really compare them with the DS and PSP just yet," said Piers Harding-Rolls.

"At the moment it's much more in the mobile gaming bracket in the same way as phone-based games. But Apple has been courting some of the big publishers like EA and Sega, so it's a matter of waiting and seeing what happens further down the line."

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Obama takes lead in virtual world, US President, Presidency, Election 2008, USA

Super Obama World
Super Obama World takes a satirical swipe at US poli

A new online video game has been developed in honour of US President-elect, Barack Obama.

Super Obama World has Obama running round a world modelled on Nintendo's Super Mario World.

The game takes a satirical look at US politics, with Obama collecting flags and dodging lipstick-wearing pit bulls, lobbyists and Sarah Palin.

The game is free to play online, and the developers plan to add further episodes throughout Obama's presidency.

As well as satirical characters, the game's environment also features luxury stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, in reference to the fact that the Republican campaign reportedly spent more than $150,000 on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's wardrobe.

As much as the Obama campaign embraced technology, it can be said that technology embraced him. Obama supporters spawned viral videos such as "I've got a crush on Obama" and numerous fan sites.

Though Republican nominee John McCain's camp established an online presence making use of new media, McCain was more often the subject of online parody; millions viewed the animated "Time for Some Campaignin'" by digital entertainment studio JibJab although, to be fair, both candidates were parodied in equal measure.

This might go some way to explain why young voters, who themselves embrace the web and new media, favoured the Democrats by more than two to one.

Time for change?

However, there are moves within the Republican Party to broaden the way it campaigns.

Whoever is the next chairman of the party needs to fix this problem straight away
Patrick Ruffini
former eCampaign director, RNC

A group of young Republicans has launched a website called Rebuild the Party to make better use of the internet, improve grassroots support and, according to the site, "start building the future of our party".

Erick Erickson, who is spearheading the project, said that once the Republican party leadership contest was out of the way, the party needs to get behind the proposal and make the internet a top priority.

"The right really has a hard time embracing the internet like it should," he said. "The internet is a natural stick for people on the right - there are probably more right wingers than left online, but the trick is harnessing those people.

"On 15 January we'll have a new leader. Once he - or she - is in place, we want to see a technology director appointed within the Republican National Committee [RNC] and we want them set loose. And that means developing it outside the party, and the bunker mentality that can set in after a political defeat."

Patrick Ruffini, the former director of the RNC's eCampaign, echoed Erickson's views.

"This is a galvanising moment for the party. Whoever is the next chairman of the party - and the new party leaders - need to fix this problem straight away," he said.

"For us, now, it's a tool of opposition. You only have to look at what the Conservatives did in the UK, with WebCameron, to see what is possible," he added.

A spokesperson for the Conservative party told BBC News that a future video game featuring David Cameron was unlikely, but couldn't be ruled out.

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Texting bug hits the Google phone, mobile, computing, phone, GSM, 3G

G1 phone, AFP/Getty
The bug was discovered accidentally by a G1 owne

A text conversation has revealed a big problem with the G1 mobile phone - powered by Google's Android software.

The newly discovered bug causes the phone to restart when owners type in the word "reboot" soon after starting up the device.

Google hurried to repair the problem, which causes the phone to interpret any text entered just after the phone was turned on as a command.

Google has rushed out a fix for the bug which will soon be available in the UK.

The bug was discovered when an owner of the phone typed the word "reboot" into a text message after restarting the phone.

"I was in the middle of a text conversation with my girl when she asked why I hadn't responded," said a user called jdhorvat in the description of his discovery that was posted to Google's problem reporting website.

"I had just rebooted my phone and the first thing I typed was a response to her text which simply stated "Reboot" - which, to my surprise, rebooted my phone."

The phone, which uses the Google-developed Android operating system, is sold by T-Mobile in the UK under the name "G1".

Google has fixed the problem in an update to the phone software that will be automatically installed on users' phones.

"We've been notified of this issue and have developed a fix," said a Google spokesperson in a statement. "We're currently working with our partners to push the fix out."

Users in the US already report receiving the update, and Google told the BBC that users in the UK should receive it by 12 November.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Osama bin Laden's son asks: 'What's the weather like in NZ?' Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand Herald, 1:15PM Tuesday Nov 11, 2008--EXCLUSIVE - Osama bin Laden's son Omar, who hopes to seek political asylum in New Zealand, had one question today - about the weather.

He was unable to speak at length to and asked only: "How is everything in New Zealand? Is it a cold country?"

It was about 18 degrees in Auckland at the time and the answer brought the response: "Oh, that is cold."

The 28 year-old has been living with his wife Zaina Alsabah bin Laden in Egypt. She said the couple were not safe in the Middle East because of Mr bin Laden's pacifist views.

She said they were now no longer in Egypt and she could not say where they were staying because that could put pressure on the local government.

Mrs bin Laden said the couple wanted to seek asylum in New Zealand because it was known for its democratic values and was a fair country.

"It's an amazing country with an amazing history. I believe they have a strong human rights stance and humanitarian stance," Mrs bin Laden told

She said Mr bin Laden had a very good business brain. She said he would also like to study English, politics and law.

When asked if she could understand if some New Zealanders would feel uncomfortable having one of Osama bin Laden's 19 children in New Zealand, Mrs bin Laden said: "Omar is not his father".

"People have more intelligence than to judge him by his father."

The English born Mrs bin Laden, who changed her name from Jane Felix-Browne, said her husband was in danger from fundamentalists and extremists who do not like what Omar was saying.

Omar could be heard in the background saying his philosophy was peace through dialogue.

Mrs bin Laden said her husband left Afghanistan when he was 18. She said there had been reports that he trained in Afghanistan as a fighter but that was not true.

"He never lived in a training camp, he lived in his mother's house. The slip up came in an interview when he was asked if he trained and he thought that meant study," she said.

The couple have had an application for asylum in Spain rejected and are appealing a decision in Mrs bin Laden's native UK.

She said the Spanish decision came after the UN issued a directive to say the couple were safe in Egypt.

Mrs bin Laden said the couple had since not been able to get a new visa and had been deported.

Immigration law

The Herald reported this morning that according to immigration law, the bin Ladens would not need a visa to travel to New Zealand, although security precautions would likely see them stopped before they got on a plane.

Saudi Arabian nationals are eligible for a three-month visitors permit on arrival, while British passport-holders are eligible for six months.

Association for Migration and Investment director Simon Laurent yesterday said if Mr bin Laden made it as far as the border, he would only have to utter the words "political asylum" and authorities would be obliged to let him stay in New Zealand while his case was investigated.

Whether he was held in custody or on bail would depend on the circumstances of his arrival.

Fewer than 300 foreign nationals apply for political asylum in New Zealand each year and those who do must meet strict entry criteria.

Under United Nations law, asylum seekers must fear persecution for reasons of "race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" in their home country.

If allowed to remain in New Zealand, immigration law would allow Omar bin Laden to sponsor other family members to come to New Zealand.

But his fugitive father would not be welcome. The law is not enforceable if the applicant has:

* Committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined internationally.

* Committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge before his admission to that country as a refugee.

* Been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN.
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