Sunday, October 26, 2008
A Green frog emerging from the duckweeds in St Omer, France
A Mimic Octopus blends into the sand off the coast of the Maldives
A Harlequin Crab blends in seamlessly as it stands on a sea cucumber in Indonesia
A Pacific spotted scorpionfish off Malpelo, in the Pacific Ocean
A Grizzly bear hides in the snow-covered bushes of North America
A young Marine crocodile hides under a water lily in Australia
A Malaysian orchid mantis blends perfectly with a flower
A Grey Cicada hides on pine bark in France
A Rock Ptarmigan chick in its nest in Norway
A Crab spider hides on a Geranium flower in France
A Pale-throated three-toed sloth climbs a tree trunk is Costa Rica
Merlet's Scorpionfish look like colourful coral around the shores of Lifou Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It's a massage that is sure to make most people's skin crawl, but one woman has got herself in a twist with her latest massage technique.
Ara Barak claims her pet snakes make the ideal masseurs as their slithering causes a massage sensation when placed on a person's skin.
Ms Barak said she discovered her pet's 'therapeutic value' after noticing her friends became more relaxed after holding them.
Meirav Stardinner receives a snake massage from Ada Barak who says her pets are high in 'therapeutic value'
'Some people said that holding the snakes made them feel better, relaxed,' she said.
'One old lady said it was soothing, like a cold compress.'
The owner of Israel's Barak's Snake Spa said her pets are able to give massage as their slithering causes a rubbing sensation on the body.
Ms Barak had relied on exhibiting her scaly friends to make money, but found there is more cash rolling in from people wanting a massage - reptile therapy style.
Smaller snakes are used for lighter massage on areas such as the face while bigger ones are used to give deep tissue therapy
The larger snakes are used for deep massage while the smaller creatures are used to give a lighter touch - all for a mere £30.
And those with a slight reluctance to have a snake massage will be pleased to know the reptiles are all non-venamous.
But if the thought of reptiles is too much, Ms Barak also offers a rodent-style massage where mouse and rats are placed on the bottom of people's feet instead.
People are queuing up to try the unconventional massage technique
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
LONDON - A Quran written in 1203, believed to be the oldest known complete copy, has sold for more than $2.3 million at an auction.
The holy book, which had been estimated to sell for up to $715,000, fetched $2,327,300 at Tuesday's auction in London, Christie's said.
That was a record auction price for a Quran or any type of Islamic manuscript, the auctioneer Christie's said.
A nearly complete, 10th-century Kufic Quran, thought to be from North Africa or the near East, sold $1,870,000.
Both were offered for sale by the Hispanic Society of America, and were purchased by trade buyers in London, Christie's said.
The record-setting Quran was signed by Yahya bin Muhammad ibn 'Umar, dated 17 Ramadan 599 (June 1203).
It was acquired in Cairo in 1905 by Archer Milton Huntington, who founded the Hispanic Society in New York City in 1904. Huntington, the adopted son of railroad and ship-building magnate Collis P. Huntington, died in 1955.
The calligraphy in the manuscript was done in gold outlined in thin black lines, and the marginal notes are in silver outlined in red.
The kufic Quran bridges a gap between the earlier style, copied on parchment of horizontal format, and the later style of vertical composition, often on paper, Christie's catalog said.
The kufic script takes its name from Kufah in Iraq, an early center of Islamic scholarship, according to the British Library.
Because the script's vertical strokes were very short but the horizontal strokes elongated, it was written on papers in a landscape format.
Sony's 'Sackboy' game delayed amid fears background music may offend Muslims
PlayStation game LittleBigPlanet featuring Sackboy has been delayed amid fears music lyrics may upset Muslims
It seems impossible that a console game featuring a cute boy made out of discarded sack could possibly offend anybody.
But the release of Sony's PlayStation title starring the lovable character Sackboy has been delayed amid fears it may upset Muslims.
The eagerly-awaited game LittleBigPlanet mistakenly included a background music track containing expressions from the Koran.
It was reported the game would be re-programmed without the offending song by Mali-born singer Toumani Diabate.
A statement on the LittleBigPlanet website said: 'We're sure that most of you have heard by now that one of the background music tracks that was licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Koran.
'We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence this may have caused.
'We will begin shipping LittleBigPlanet to retail in North America the week of October 27.'
The British-created game features a rag doll hero called Sackboy.
Players can customise the toy and then control it to run and jump through a world designed to appeal to all ages.
The concept was developed by games designer Media Molecule, based in Guildford, Surrey, and allows players to design their own level in detail and share it with friends over the internet.
A statement on Media Molecule's website said they were 'shell-shocked and gutted' by the delay.
Big hopes: A scene from the eagerly-awaited game which is expected to help Sony win the games console war
'We learnt... that there is a lyric in one of the licensed tracks which some people may find offensive, and which slipped through the usual screening processes,' it said.
'Obviously MM and Sony together took this very seriously. LBP should be enjoyable by all.'
Experts say the game, one of the most eagerly awaited for Sony's PlayStation console, could see the company taking a lead over rival Microsoft - who make the Xbox.
Eating fast makes you fat
Slow down: People who wolf down their food treble their risk of being overweight
If you're wondering why your waistline is expanding, don't watch what you eat. Watch how you eat.
Those who wolf down dinner apparently treble their risk of being overweight.
Scientists suggest the modern manner of eating too quickly - and until absolutely full - is a significant factor in the obesity epidemic.
Such eating habits pile on the pounds much more than expected, even taking into account the amount of calories consumed, the scientists found.
They suspect the joint impact of eating fast and until full overrides signals in the brain which would normally encourage a little more self control.
A study published today in the British Medical Journal Online First blames the couch potato lifestyles of fast food, larger portions, TV dinners and the demise of family mealtimes for contributing to the problem.
Professor Hiroyasu Iso and colleagues from Osaka University, Japan, carried out a study involving 3,200 Japanese men and women aged 30-69 years between 2003 and 2006.
Those participating were sent a diet history questionnaire. Half of the men and 58 per cent of the women said they normally ate until they were full.
Just under half of men and a third of women said they ate quickly.
The group of participants who said they ate 'until full and ate quickly' had a higher body mass index or BMI, the scoring system that measures obesity levels.
They also had a higher total energy intake than those who did not 'eat until full and did not eat quickly'.