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Showing posts from 2008

iidabashi subway station

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Take a look at this image!Tokyo is full of wonderful architecture. This image came as a surprise ‘coz of the weird outlook bearing the appearance of a bug about to crawl up an innocent building (and then cause havoc). According to the creator, “The idea of learning from living organisms has made its appearance any number of times in the history of architectural thought.”

warning label generator

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Try this warning label generator just in case you’re in a hurry. They are great for doors!

common sense by thomas paine

Common Sense is a pamphlet written in January of 1776 A.D. by Thomas Paine, an Englishman residing in America. He had made it anonymously published during the time of American Revolution, because of the possible dangers of treason with which he might be blamed, for the times were tumultuous and one couldn’t be too sure! It is a long pamphlet reflecting considerably just reflections about a new constitution for the free peoples of a new nation-to-be-born, that would be eventually called the United States of America. The writings on the pamphlet begins with, Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in qu…

sky captain and the world of tomorrow

When Hindenburg III docks in an alternative 1939 New York on a winter morning, onboard scientist Dr. Vargus is found missing. “Chronicle” reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) follows up on the story to find that eleven eminent scientists are missing from around the world. As the story unfolds she learns about an overlying suspicion, that all of them might have been kidnapped by an evil genius called Totenkopf, and taken to a secret laboratory on the outskirts of Berlin. The intentions of Totenkopf are vague, as is the rumor that Totenkopf is set to destroy the Earth.Polly joins Joe (Jude Law), an old flame and chief of an elite squadron of independent air force fighters. Joseph Sullivan, Joe, is in search of his friend Dex, believed to have been kidnapped by Totenkopf; and Polly is in search of an extraordinary story for her newspaper. With the help of scattered clues set throughout the movie they travel around the world looking for Totenkopf. Their quick visit to Nepal to meet al…

now you know

Ever wonder why New York is called The Big Apple, or why Academy Awards are called Oscars? Did you know why the English police force is located at Scotland Yard, and why we say Hello when we answer the telephone? Frequently, you come across many situations when you know that there are strange reasons for the way certain things are; & that wanting to know these reasons has always been your desire. It’s just that you didn’t know where to look.Now look no further. Doug Lennox has made a wonderful collection of obscure reasons behind simple everyday things related to people & places, customs, holidays, cultures, language, and animals among others. To quote him, “The DNA of a culture is found within its language and rituals. These are our living links to the past. Without realizing it, hundreds of times each day we express the thoughts and ideas of our ancestors through our words and customs. The custom of two people shaking hands upon meeting comes from a Roman practice, for examp…

hearken the facts - I

A few facts that you might never come across, but your life will be incomplete without:The chicken is one of the few things that man eats before it’s born and after it’s dead. It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs. Penguins can convert salt water into fresh water. It’s estimated that at any one time around 0.7% of the world’s population is drunk. About 1000 new soft drinks are launched in Japan every year. Squirrels can’t remember where they hide half of their nuts. The octopus’ testicles are located in its head. Math Fact: (111111111 x 111111111) = 12345678987654321 A newborn baby sees the world upside down because it takes some time for the baby’s brain to learn to turn the image right-side up. Chickens can’t swallow when they are upside down. It snowed in the Sahara Desert in February of 1979. In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her cheating adulterous husband but she may only do so with her bare hands. Every year we produce more transistors …

blender does it

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Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems. It is available under the GNU General Public License, and considered a free alternative to expensive animation suites found on the  market. According to the site, it has a revolutionary non-overlapping and non-blocking user interface that delivers unsurpassed workflow. The windows are configurable according to needs. It supports undo on all levels while providing a consistent interface across all platforms.Blender can be used for rigging, animation, particle handling, modeling, shading, as well as rendering. It has an inbuilt compositor, and also provides UV unwrapping. Blender can handle a wide range of file formats for two and three dimensional scenes.Check out the art gallery for some impressive renderings, and the movie gallery for some really surprising views.Blender indeed does, as it says!

what the world eats

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Ever wonder how much you spend on food daily? Weekly? If you think of it, it adds up to quite a sum, doesn’t it?A photo gallery given by TIME reveals information about food consumption in different countries. Data taken from the book called Hungry Planet, it tells you the favorite food of families across the globe and how much they spend weekly on it.S.No.FamilyWeekly ExpenditureFood of Choice1The Melander family of Bargteheide, Germany375.39 Euros or $500.07fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding2The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village, Bhutan224.93 ngultrum or $5.03mushroom, cheese and pork3The Bainton family of Cllingbourne Ducis, Great Britain155.54 British Pounds or $253.15avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream4The Casales family of Cuernavaca, Mexico1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09pizza, crab, pasta, chicken5The Revis family of North Carolina, USA$341.98spaghetti, potatoes, s…

google chrome first look

Chromium is a hard brittle, metallic element resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. That is how Chromium is defined. In periodic tables you will find that its symbol is Cr and that its atomic number is 24. Probably based on the idea that Chromium is resistant to rust (or downfall for that matter), Google has named its brand new sparkling web browser as Chrome.At the very first look, Chrome is pretty neat and clean with ample space for windows, and therefore the contents. There are no unnecessary attention-grabbing, shouting buttons that you are supposed to click. Instead, things are where you want them. This was what is impressive of Chrome in the first place. It sports a single minimalist streamlined bar containing all necessary controls such as navigation, address bar and the settings. The bookmarks are tucked away neatly in a second bar that toggles on and off using a simple keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+B). I must admit, the bookmarks manager is one of the most user friendly ones I’ve e…

the smart hug shirt

Digital technology surrounds our homes, our workplace and our leisure hours. Now the digital revolution is poised to envelop our bodies. Electronic garb has captured public imagination since 1930s serialized comics like "Buck Rogers" and "Dick Tracy." Although technological advances have made breakthroughs in production and durability of textiles, added electronic functionality of clothing has lagged behind advances in computing, communications and appliances. That could soon changeThe Hug Shirt is a shirt that makes people send hugs over distance! Embedded in the shirt there are sensors that feel the strength of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender and actuators that recreate the sensation of touch, warmth and emotion of the hug to the shirt of the distant loved one.The Hug Shirt is a Bluetooth accessory for Java enabled mobile phones. Hug Shirts don’t have any assigned phone number, all the data goes from the sensors’ Bluetooth to your …

winamp global hotkeys

Global Hotkeys are keyboard shortcuts that you can use from within any running application. The primary hotkeys in Winamp provide you a functional control of actions when the player is running.Play Ctrl+Alt+InsertPause Ctrl+Alt+HomeStop Ctrl+Alt+EndPrevious in playlist Ctrl+Alt+Page UpNext in playlist Ctrl+Alt+Page DownVolume up Ctrl+Alt+UpVolume down Ctrl+Alt+DownForward Ctrl+Alt+RightRewind Ctrl+Alt+LeftJump to box Ctrl+Alt+JOpen file dialog Ctrl+Alt+LHotkeys are handy, especially if you keep your Winamp minimized, and also absent from view, all the time. I love Winamp for many of its features, such as low usage of resources, wonderful plug-ins availability, ease of use and its ability to play almost anything that you throw at it. Besides, you can create a lot of hotkeys and associate desired actions accordingly, in an easy way. Why not give it a try!

"ye little snail"

Ye little snail,
Do you know?
You carry your home
On your back,
Your love in your flesh,
Your carpets in your feet.
When there is food you wake up,
And when it is scarce you sleep.
You are so ever patient;
So relaxed and single-minded.
Yet, you are so boneless;
So limp and soft;
Incapable of accomplishng much
And can never change the world.
Perhaphs, what one can do
Is directly related to
What one can never get

- Anadish Pal, Bad Dreams Good Dreams

'meaning' by anadish pal

He found a great dictionary, Which had all the meanings. He unwrapped it And opened the cover. All the pages were blank. Then, as he leaved through, They started melting into space. Finally, there remained nothing But the empty space. Still, he had time on his hands, With which he could wade his hands into the space; But then it was not the end. So everything started to get squeeed into a point - A minutest point. There language a lie. A point with no time. Everything it. - from, Bad Dreams Good Dreams

origine de la terre

The planet, on which we live and move about, is a huge sphere of radius of about 6400 km, but is itself a small member of the Solar System. Since the Solar System is the only one of its kind, so far known, the origin of the Earth and that of the Solar System as well, must have been due to some unique phenomenon that happened to occur in the Universe during some very remote past.

One of the earliest theories is the Nebular Hypothesis. Though untenable, it enjoyed the confidence of the persons in science for nearly two long centuries and, accordingly, deserves some consideration. The hypothesis assumed that during the very remote past there existed a large, hot, gaseous nebula rotating in space. Gradual cooling of this nebula led to its contraction and increase in speed of revolution about its axis. The equatorial zone of the nebula, therefore, bulged out due to greater and progressively increasing centrifugal force prevailing in that region and ultimately a gaseous ring separated out fr…

calyx, corolla, androecium, gynoecium

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Of course the parts of a flower, and they have formulas too!Flowers are the testaments of gentleness, of inspiration, and of love. They help us express what we cannot express in words. Ever wonder what they mean, or what their colours signify?
RED ROSE: Passion, happiness, romance, grace, loveORCHID: Rare beauty, magnificence, refinement, loveCALLA LILIES: Splendid beautyPEONIES: Happy life and marriageHYDRANGEAS: UnderstandingCARNATIONS: Deep love, affection, admirationThis page contains a beautiful slideshow, with more flowers.

the man from earth

What if someone came up to you and said that he is 14,000 years old? Would you believe him if he said that he was once friends with Beethoven, Voltaire and Jules Verne – and showed a painting given to him by Van Gogh himself? Would you listen to this man if he said that he was Jesus himself, who once had been a disciple of The Buddha – and that he had learned methods of stopping pain from The Buddha, which he applied to survive The Crucifixion?

This extraordinary man could tell you the first-hand ‘historical’ accounts of cities like Rome, London and New York, and most of the important events that happened in history. He could tell you about the alteration of landscapes, about the war between Athens and Sparta, about his friend scientists of the past, and about the different pandemics in human history. Would you really be able to believe this man? Would you want to meet this man?

Well, here is someone – at least from the imagination of Jerome Bixby – portrayed as Professor John Oldman, i…

cats of mohandessin

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Some years back I used to live in Mohandessin, a neighbourhood in Cairo. On my first visit, I arrived at my apartment late at night from airport. First thing in the morning, I looked out of my bedroom-window and saw rows of cars parked on either side of the four-lane street. Seeing so many cars parked there I thought maybe there was a club or something nearby, but I was wrong. As I came to know, the street was being used as permanent parking space. Public streets in Cairo are kinda parking lots, especially in residential areas - due to over-concentration of automobiles. Of course the streets are four and six lanes but only two lanes are free for driving; the rest - they are used as parking areas. Permament. I wonder whether they are planning to improve this situation or not; but if they do - then certainly, the cats are gonna be angry.

Yes, you heard me right. Beneath the multitude of parked vehicles throughout Cairo there is a different world - of cats, who probably ran away from thei…

the rail machine

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The train is an interesting machine. Huge iron cubes (eight to ten, usually) the size of a big room, are connected to form a long chain that moves with the help of giant engines. People travel inside these cubes that move on parallel-breadth iron tracks laid across vast areas. Such tracks form an extensive network that connects cities, countries and even continents except where separated by ocean.

Railway contributes to a major proportion of the world’s land-based transportation system; out of which, a huge portion is intercity railway network. Intercity railway is known by many names – metro, Mass Rail Transit, Subway, Cityrail, etc. It usually runs underneath the city in elaborately carved tunnels. These tunnels make heavy use of iron and steel in order to support the structure, that are often carved seven to eight and even eleven stories under the ground.
Underground railway stations are equally magnificent. They incorp orate sophisticated elevators, convenient stores, automatic ve…

weird wireless world

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Whether you are a webmaster, a gamer, or just an occasional online shopper, the digital world is increasingly a vital part of all of our lives. And if you're anything like us, you've come to depend on the Internet for many of your everyday needs, both work and play. But despite all the new ways to utilize connectivity in our lives, for most of us, there are still large parts of our day when we can't be connected ... or can we? Through a blend of private and public investment, a number of cities have had remarkable success in providing almost complete connectivity throughout their city limits. For residents in these cities, high-speed access is available almost anywhere and at any time, and often for below-market rates.
So without further ado, here are the 10 most connected cities in the world: via
Seoul, South KoreaTaipei, TaiwanTokyo, JapanHong Kong, ChinaSingaporeStockholm, SwedenVarious Municipal Projects, USAParis, France
Shoreditch, EnglandSilicon Valley, USA

mighty mount everest

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Here are some interesting facts about Mount Everest, collected from various sources:
Before assuming the current name, Mt. Everest was called Peak XV.As of 2007 end, around 3700 people had scaled the peak.Mount Everest was named after George Everest, a Surveyor General of India.Although its height was actually measured and verified in 1856, it was not formally given a name until 1865.In the 1830s, Nepalese authorities restricted the entrance of British surveyors, probably in order to avoid possible political interferences. The surveyors were thus forced to study the peak from outside the Terai belt.Its Nepali name Sagarmatha actually means Head of the Sky, while its Tibetan name Chomolungma means Goddess Mother of the Universe.The deepest spot in the ocean is more than 2,000 m deeper than the height of Mt. Everest.Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the summit. It was 11:30 AM local time on 1953 May 29.The youngest person to climb Mount Everest is a 15-year…

computer virus timeline

Here is an interesting story from Joe Wells written in 1996 about computer virus. The following text is actually documented in the IBM Research Archives but contains the early timeline of notable computer viruses of their time.

Where were you in January of 1986?

I remember exactly where I was on January 28. I was driving a truck up the California coast, delivering pet supplies to pet shops. I had stopped briefly in Nipomo and was watching television with the store owner. We watched as Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral and exploded. My computer experience at the time was limited to programming assembly language on a Z80 and a Commodore 128. I didn't get a PC until I started an online research service in 1987.

1986 - Up from the ooze

In 1986, the first PC virus was created. It was the Brain virus from Pakistan. Brain was a boot sector virus and only infected 360k floppy disks. Interestingly, even though it was the first virus, it had full-stealth capability.

In December of 1986, …

earthly facts

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Some plain facts about our planet taken from some old magazines of 2000 AD:

Coastal/Marine: Home to 2 billion people, coastal areas play a vital economic role and also feel the full brunt of human impact. Two-thirds of all fish harvested depend at some point in their lives on coastal wetlands, sea-grasses or coral reefs, all of which are fast disappearing.

Freshwater: These are the most critical of ecosystems since all organisms need water to survive. Human water consumption rose six-fold in the past century, double the rate of population growth. People now use 54% of available freshwater, and additional demand will further jeopardize all other ecosystems.

Agricultural Lands: One-third of global land has been converted to food production, but three-quarters of this area has poor soil. So far, harvests outpace population growth, but the future is clouded by the loss of land to urban development, soil degradation and water scarcity.

Grasslands: This system, which covers 40% of the world’s l…

what muji do you have

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"It's just a pencil, right? You write with it and rub it with an eraser."You will agree with me, I know, but our colleague, an American volunteer was dissatisfied with my remark. He said, “It’s not just a pencil. You are holding a Muji pencil.” I was annoyed by his curt remark, and decided to take it a step further. I said, “What’s so special about Muji pencils? Aren’t they made of lead-rods enclosed within cylindrical wooden sticks?”He must have sensed a satire, so he replied seriously, “Do you really know what Muji products are?” At this time I made a guess that Muji was the name of a brand but as I checked the pencil, nothing was written on it – no labels at all. In fact there was not even a marking of any sort – just a plain pencil. Later at night, I Googled to find that the name ‘Muji’ belonged to a company Ryohin Keikaku, a Japanese word meaning “No Brand Quality Goods”.Japanese goods are obviously high quality – but Muji turned out to be extra nice because of thei…

atlas of the millennium

Welcome to the 21st century. Which were once towns, are cities now and cities are turning into sprawls. People who live in these growing cities enjoy movies, electronic arcades, electronic games and a plethora of activities - all interconnected through a global, ever expanding network made accessible by the use of many different forms of wired as well as wireless computers. So, this is the age of electronics - there is no doubt about that! As some people say it, "The world has changed into a global village - with communication so efficient, all countries are connected to one another in a massive web of information". Hmm.. but let us take a break for now - and see what previous centuries were like.

brand [new] war

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It was a dreamscape. I had been walking for almost a hundred miles. I was fatigued and exhausted to the limit. Alone in the haunting vastness of the endless desert I felt as if I was about to explode. No sign of human habitation could be seen, not even a bird chirped anywhere, not even a tree whistled!

Suddenly, a soothing breeze swept by; but it was strange because I could almost hear it saying softly HOW ARE YOU. At first I could not believe my ears, after all who could be talking to me in the middle of the desert? It must have been just a passing thought. I tried to ignore it and moved along. After a few steps, I heard the same voice for the second time. It said CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD. I felt afraid for a moment because this time I was definite about the voice. Nobody was in sight but it was a strange fear that crept up in me. I stood still for a few seconds, gathered my senses and tried to carry on but immediately following a third breeze, the fell-voice said, COME TO WHERE THE …

our evolving culture - ships

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Isn’t it the inherence of curiosity in humans that have led to explorations? And what tools have been invented for the same? Here’s an interesting chronology of how a mere curiosity to know about other lands; has fertilized a saga of human culture on this planet.

c. 850The Vikings’ longboats were versatile: they could either be rowed or moved by sail, maneuvered by a steering oar on the right side. They struck fear throughout Europe.

12th CenturyThe mariner’s compass was used by the Chinese well before 1050, the year the instrument made its appearance in European ships in Mediterranean waters.

c. 1200 – The steering oar was slowly replaced by the rudder, a maritime invention from East Asia that had made its way to Europe via Arab mariners.

1295Marco Polo described huge ships in Chinese seaports with separate watertight bulkheads. Without the compartments, ships with pierced hulls would sink. A half-century would pass before Western naval engineers adopted the technology.

1417– Pri…

our evolving culture - architecture

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It is always about the tallest or highest, the biggest, the smartest, the longest and the most sophisticated. It should always appeal to the eye, providing a reflex full of awe, wonder and praise. It is always about building, moving, climbing and so many different verbs that grudge against one another trying to stand out as the superlative. Time (1999.12.31 issue) focuses on build this time – done in the past millennium.

11th centurySan Marco, Venice. The Doge’s chapel was modeled on a now destroyed church in the rival – and more splendid – metropolis Constantinople. But as it prospered, Venice both updated and preserved San Marco’s splendor: five shallow Byzantine brick domes were covered over by metal ones. The 320-ft campanile, foreground, raised in 912, collapsed in 1902. It was rebuilt in 1912 – on its 1,000th birthday.

1113 – 1150Angkor Wat, Cambodia (213 ft. tall). Part holy mountain, part city, the sprawling temple built by King Suryavarman II was intended to be proof of his …

our evolving culture - paper

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1st Millennium – A.D. 105Invention – According to tradition, an imperial eunuch named Cai Lun invented paper. The material, however, has been found in Chinese tombs dating to the 2nd century B.C. By the end of the 8th century, Chinese paper craftsmen had set up shop in the Middle East.

11th CenturyMovable type was developed in China by the year 1048 and the metal variety in Korea by 1403. However, it was impractical for the ideographs both used (as many as 400,000 characters). Rubbing off wood blocks and stone, practiced since the 7th century, was the preferred technology of a versatile book trade.

1150Technology transfer – The Arabs took paper from Iraq and Egypt to North Africa and Muslim Spain.

13th CenturyItaly gets paper – Finally Europe had a cheap alternative to vellum and parchment. (It took the skins of 80 lambs to create a 200-page parchment manuscript.)

1300sBlock printing arrived in Europe, perhaps brought by merchants and bureaucrats of the expanding Mongol Empire…

the best of the century

Best Childdren's Book - Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (1952)
Best Film - Citizen Kane, directed by and starring Orson Welles (1941)
Best Novel - Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
Best TV Show - The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening (1989-)
Best Dance - The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine (1946)
Best Nonfiction Book - The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1947)
Best Opera - Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten (1945)
Best Comedy Routine - Who's on First? by Abbott and Costello (1938)
Best Song - Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday (1939)
Best Musical - Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein (1945)
Best Design - The Eames molded plywood chair, designed by Charles Eames (1946)
Best Play - Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello (1921)
Best Classical Composition - Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky (1930)
Best Poem - The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (1922)
Best Painting - The Red Studio by Henri Matisse (1911)
Best Sculpture - Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi (c.1941…

six billion and counting

Here is an interesting read from the 1999.11.15 issue of Time magazine sent by Harold Musnitsky from Penn Valley, Pennsylvania.

If we could shrink the world’s population to a village of 100 persons, maintaining all the existing ratios, the village would look like this: 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the western hemisphere (North, Central and South America) and 8 Africans. Seventy of the 100 would be nonwhite. Seventy would be non-Christian. Six people would control 50% of the world’s wealth, and all of them would be citizens of the U.S. Seventy people would be unable to read, more than half would suffer from malnutrition, and 80 would live in substandard housing. Only 1 of the 100 would have attended college.

Some believe we do not inherit our land from ancestors but borrow it from our children. What we leave them will be determined by an increasing population and the calendar. Our failure to solve the population problem will no longer be a fault; it will be a judgment.

Indeed so!

learning english is fun

Let us begin the new year with a funny post - a post that includes some remarkable sentences in the English language. The insurance is invalid for the invalid.The bandage was wound around the wound!How do I intimate it to my most intimate friend?Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.I shed my clothes in the shed, but upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.And have you ever thought :Why Boxing Rings are Square?Why sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat?Why you fill in a form by filling it out?Why Bakers bake, but grocers don't groce?Why a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig?We drive on the parkway and park on the driveway?If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?Why do people have noses that run and feet that smell?We ship by truck and send cargo by ship?If two mouse are called mice, what should two house be called?And finally, when you want to shut do…