Friday, August 31, 2012

The Disappearing Aral Lake and the Ship Graveyard of Moynaq

Moynaq (also spelled as Muynak and Moynaq) is a city in
northern Karakalpakstan in western Uzbekistan. Half a century ago, the
city was located on the shore of the Aral Sea, a proud fishing community
and the largest port in Karakalpakstan’s. In the heydays, Muynak and
other towns on the Aral were hauling 160 tons of fish each day from its
shimmering waters. Today, Muynak is separated from the sea by more than
150 kilometers. Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world with
an area of 68,000 square kilometres, the Aral Sea has been steadily
shrinking. Vessels that once floated in the waters now stand rusting in
the sun at the famous ship graveyard. But how did this happen?

the 1940s, ambitious Soviet planners embarked on a massive water
program designed to make the desert bloom. It was decided that the two
rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the northeast, would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an
attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton. By 1960, between 20
and 60 cubic kilometres of water were going each year to the land
instead of the sea. With most of the sea's water supply gone, the Aral
Sea began to shrink. From 1961 to 1970, the Aral's sea level fell at an
average of 20 cm a year; in the 1970s, the average rate nearly tripled
to 50–60 centimetres per year, and by the 1980s it continued to drop,
now with a mean of 80–90 centimetres each year. By 2007, the Aral sea
had declined to 10% of its original size.


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Aral Sea fishing industry, which in its heyday had employed some 40,000
and reportedly produced one-sixth of the Soviet Union's entire fish
catch, was devastated, and former fishing towns along the original
shores become ship graveyards. Fishing boats lie scattered on the dry
land that was once covered by water; many have been there for 20 years.
Poisonous dust storms kicked up by strong winds across the dried and
polluted seabed give rise to a multitude of chronic and acute illnesses
among the few residents who have chosen to remain, most of them ethnic
Karakalpaks, and weather unmoderated by the sea now buffets the town
with hotter-than-normal summers and colder-than-normal winters.

the Aral Sea began to shoal, a 20-kilometer canal was dug. But it was
useless. The sea went even further, the graveyard of ships grew around
the city, the airport was closed, some fishermen went away, some died,
some men were engaged in trade, some - in breeding camels.

is an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral
Sea. In 2005, the Kokaral Dam was built to control the inflow of waters
coming from the Syr Darya. Thanks to the dam the level of water has
rose by 24 meter in 2008. However, the outlook for the remnants of the
South Aral Sea remains bleak.


Fisherman on the Aral Sea in 1952, at the port town of Muynak, Uzbekistan. Photo credit


Aral sea in 1989 and 2008


Aral Sea from space, August 1985


Aral Sea from space, 1997


Aral Sea from space, August 2009. The black line shows the lake shore ca. 1960.


Animated map of the shrinking of the Aral Sea


Photo credit



The First McDonald's

business began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard
and Maurice McDonald at 1398 North E Street at West 14th Street in San
Bernardino, California. Their introduction of the "Speedee Service
System" in 1948 furthered the principles of the modern fast-food
restaurant that the White Castle hamburger chain had already put into
practice more than two decades earlier. The original mascot of
McDonald's was a man with a chef's hat on top of a hamburger shaped head
whose name was "Speedee". Speedee was eventually replaced with Ronald
McDonald by 1967 when the company first filed a U.S. trademark on a
clown shaped man having puffed out costume legs. 13 more images after the break...



McDonald's first filed for a U.S.
trademark on the name "McDonald's" on May 4, 1961, with the description
"Drive-In Restaurant Services", which continues to be renewed through
the end of December 2009. In the same year, on September 13, 1961, the
company filed a logo trademark on an overlapping, double arched "M"
symbol. The overlapping double arched "M" symbol logo was temporarily
disfavored by September 6, 1962, when a trademark was filed for a single
arch, shaped over many of the early McDonald's restaurants in the early
years. Although the "Golden Arches" appeared in various forms, the
present form as a letter "M" did not appear until November 18, 1968,
when the company applied for a U.S. trademark.

The present corporation dates its
founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des
Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955, the ninth McDonald's restaurant
overall. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers' equity in the
company and led its worldwide expansion, and the company became listed
on the public stock markets in 1965. Kroc was also noted for aggressive
business practices, compelling the McDonald brothers to leave the fast
food industry. 

McDonald brothers and Kroc feuded over control of the business, as
documented in both Kroc's autobiography and in the McDonald brothers'
autobiography. The San Bernardino store was demolished in 1976 (or 1971,
according to Juan Pollo) and the site was sold to the Juan Pollo
restaurant chain. It now serves as headquarters for the Juan Pollo
chain, as well as a McDonald's and Route 66 museum. With the expansion
of McDonald's into many international markets, the company has become a
symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its
prominence has also made it a frequent topic of public debates about
obesity, corporate ethics and consumer responsibility. Wiki

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Samsung world's first Windows 8 phone

The announcement at a Berlin electronics show comes
amid expectations that smartphone makers may turn increasingly to
Windows devices after a US jury decided many of Samsung's Google
Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.

 Samsung Electronics became the
first handset maker to announce a smartphone using Microsoft's latest
mobile software, making its surprise, hurried announcement just days
before the highly anticipated launch of Nokia's version. Samsung said
the ATIV phone would hit stores in the October-November period but did
not give an exact start date.


The brief announcement at a
Berlin electronics show comes amid expectations that smartphone makers
may turn increasingly to Windows devices after a US jury decided many of
Samsung's Google Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.


 The brief announcement at a
Berlin electronics show comes amid expectations that smartphone makers
may turn increasingly to Windows devices after a US jury decided many of
Samsung's Google Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.


Samsung's ATIV S Windows phone
sports a high-end 4.8-inch display, Corning "Gorilla" glass, and an
8-megapixel rear camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.

The ATIV S features a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, a 4.8-inch
high-definition Super AMOLED display, 1GB of RAM, microSDHC support, an
8-megapixel camera, and a 2,300 mAh battery.


Samsung's Windows-based
smartphone, introduced on Wednesday, marks the first in a 'big lineup of
new hardware' from the South Korean company based on Microsoft's
software, Microsoft executive Ben Rudolph said



Samsung hopes the new device
will take the focus away from its loss of the court case. Apple is now
seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly
to turn legal victory into tangible business gain.

 Nokia, the ailing Finnish mobile
firm, once the world's leading producer of phones but now struggling to
reverse losses, is due to unveil its new Lumia line of smartphones
using Windows Phone 8 in New York on September 5.


Analysts say the introduction of
Samsung's Windows phone may be designed to assuage concerns that
Microsoft will favor Nokia, whose Chief Executive Stephen Elop --
himself a former senior Microsoft executive -- has staked its future on
the Windows platform.

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