Monday, July 07, 2008

20 Interesting Facts

1. A zebra is white with black stripes.

2. All the planets in our solar system rotate anticlockwise, except Venus. It is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

3. Hummingbirds are the only animal that can also fly backwards.

4. Insects do not make noises with their voices. The noise of bees, mosquitoes and other buzzing insects is caused by rapidly moving their wings.

5. The cockroach is the fastest animal on 6 legs covering a meter a second.

6. The word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent".

7. The only 2 animals that can see behind itself without turning it's head are the rabbit and the parrot.

8. A 'jiffy' is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

9. India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.

10. The whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound.

11. A hippopotamus can run faster than a man.

12. India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.

13. 'Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia' is the fear of long words.

14. Didaskaleinophobia is the fear of going to school.

15. A snail can sleep for 3 years.

16. The names of the continents all end with the same letter with which they start.

17. In 1883 the explosion of the volcano Krakatau put so much dust into the earth's atmosphere that sunsets appeared green and the moon appeared blue around the world for almost two years.

18. "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

19. Twenty-Four-Karat Gold is not pure gold since there is a small amount of copper in it. Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with the hands.

20. Electricity doesn't move through a wire but through a field around the wire.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Muslims Contribution To Science

Lots of Christians left christianity & the reason was clearly : It contradicts science ! What about Muslims ? Here you can read a brief information about Muslims & Science in the past ..

Astronomy :

Muslims have always had a special interest in astronomy. The moon and the sun are of vital importance in the daily life of every Muslim. By the moon, Muslims determine the beginning and the end of the months in their lunar calendar. By the sun the Muslims calculate the times for prayer and fasting.

It is also by means of astronomy that Muslims can determine the precise direction of the Qiblah, to face the Ka'bah in Makkah, during prayer. The most precise solar calendar, superior to the Julian, is the Jilali, devised under the supervision of Umar Khayyam. The Qur'an contains many references to astronomy.

"The heavens and the earth were ordered rightly, and were made subservient to man, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and day and night. Every heavenly body moves in an orbit assigned to it by God and never digresses, making the universe an orderly cosmos whose life and existence, diminution and expansion, are totally determined by the Creator." [Qur'an 30:22]

These references, and the injunctions to learn, inspired the early Muslim scholars to study the heavens. They integrated the earlier works of the Indians, Persians and Greeks into a new synthesis. Ptolemy's Almagest (the title as we know it is Arabic) was translated, studied and criticized. Many new stars were discovered, as we see in their Arabic names - Algol, Deneb, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran.

Astronomical tables were compiled, among them the Toledan tables, which were used by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Kepler. Also compiled were almanacs - another Arabic term. Other terms from Arabic are zenith, nadir, albedo, azimuth.

Muslim astronomers were the first to establish observatories, like the one built at Mugharah by Hulagu, the son of Genghis Khan, in Persia, and they invented instruments such as the quadrant and astrolabe, which led to advances not only in astronomy but in oceanic navigation, contributing to the European age of exploration.


Muslim scholars paid great attention to geography. In fact, the Muslims' great concern for geography originated with their religion. The Qur'an encourages people to travel throughout the earth to see God's signs and patterns everywhere. Islam also requires each Muslim to have at least enough knowledge of geography to know the direction of the Qiblah (the position of the Ka'bah in Makkah) in order to pray five times a day. Muslims were also used to taking long journeys to conduct trade as well as to make the Hajj and spread their religion. The far-flung Islamic empire enabled scholar-explorers to compile large amounts of geographical and climatic information from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Among the most famous names in the field of geography, even in the West, are Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Batuta, renowned for their written accounts of their extensive explorations. In 1166, Al-Idrisi, the well-known Muslim scholar who served the Sicilian court, produced very accurate maps, including a world map with all the continents and their mountains, rivers and famous cities. Al-Muqdishi was the first geographer to produce accurate maps in color. It was, moreover, with the help of Muslim navigators and their inventions that Magellan was able to traverse the Cape of Good Hope, and Da Gama and Columbus had Muslim navigators on board their ships.


Seeking knowledge is obligatory in Islam for every Muslim, man and woman. The main sources of Islam, the Qur'an and the Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad's traditions), encourage Muslims to seek knowledge and be scholars, since this is the best way for people to know Allah (God), to appreciate His wondrous creations and be thankful for them. Muslims were therefore eager to seek knowledge, both religious and secular, and within a few years of Muhammad's mission, a great civilization sprang up and flourished. The outcome is shown in the spread of Islamic universities; Al-Zaytunah in Tunis, and Al-Azhar in Cairo go back more than 1,000 years and are the oldest existing universities in the world. Indeed, they were the models for the first European universities, such as Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne. Even the familiar academic cap and gown originated at Al-Azhar University.

Muslims made great advances in many different fields, such as geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, architecture, linguistics and astronomy. Algebra and the Arabic numerals were introduced to the world by Muslim scholars. The astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices and maps were developed by Muslim scholars and played an important role in world progress, most notably in Europe's age of exploration.

Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilations from Greece and Rome to China and India. The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid and others were translated into Arabic. Muslim scholars and scientists then added their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the Renaissance. Many scientific and medical treatises, having been translated into Latin, were standard text and reference books as late as the 17th and 18th centuries.


It is interesting to note that Islam so strongly urges mankind to study and explore the universe. For example, the Holy Qur'an states:

"We (Allah) will show you (mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth."
[Qur'an, 14:53]

This invitation to explore and search made Muslims interested in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and the other sciences, and they had a very clear and firm understanding of the correspondences among geometry, mathematics, and astronomy.

The Muslims invented the symbol for zero (The word "cipher" comes from Arabic sifr), and they organized the numbers into the decimal system - base 10. Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unknown quantity, i.e. variables like x.

The first great Muslim
mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi, invented the subject of algebra (al-Jabr), which was further developed by others, most notably Umar Khayyam. Al-Khawarizmi's work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through Spain. The word "algorithm" is derived from his name.

Muslim mathematicians excelled also in geometry, as can be seen in their graphic arts, and it was the great Al-Biruni (who excelled also in the fields of natural history, even geology and mineralogy) who established trigonometry as a distinct branch of mathematics. Other Muslim mathematicians made significant progress in number theory.


In Islam, the human body is a source of appreciation, as it is created by Almighty Allah (God). How it functions, how to keep it clean and safe, how to prevent diseases from attacking it or cure those diseases, have been important issues for Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad himself urged people to "take medicines for your diseases", as people at that time were reluctant to do so. He also said: "God created no illness, but established for it a cure, except for old age. When the antidote is applied, the patient will recover with the permission of God."

This was strong motivation to encourage Muslim scientists to explore, develop, and apply empirical laws. Much attention was given to medicine and public health care. The first hospital was built in Baghdad in 706 AC. The Muslims also used camel caravans as mobile hospitals, which moved from place to place.

Since the religion did not forbid it, Muslim scholars used human cadavers to study anatomy and physiology and to help their students understand how the body functions. This empirical study enabled surgery to develop very quickly.

Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes, the famous physician and scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine and was unrivaled as a diagnostician. He also wrote a treatise on hygiene in hospitals. Khalaf Abul-Qasim Al-Zahrawi was a very famous surgeon in the eleventh century, known in Europe for his work, Concessio (Kitab al-Tasrif).

Ibn Sina (d. 1037), better known to the West as Avicenna, was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years. Ibn Sina's work is still studied and built upon in the East.

Other significant contributions were made in pharmacology, such as Ibn Sina's Kitab al-Shifa' (Book of Healing), and in public health. Every major city in the Islamic world had a number of excellent hospitals, some of them teaching hospitals, and many of them were specialized for particular diseases, including mental and emotional. The Ottomans were particularly noted for their building of hospitals and for the high level of hygiene practiced in them.


The word ISLAM has a two-fold meaning: peace, and submission to God. This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty God. One must consciously and conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah. This means to act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur'an) and what His beloved Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah (his lifestyle and sayings personifying the Qur'an).

Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well.

Islam is careful to remind us that it not a religion to be paid mere lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be practiced continuously for it to be Islam. The Muslim must practice the five pillars of the religion: the declaration of faith in the oneness of Allah and the prophet hood of Muhammad (pbuh), prayer, fasting the month of Ramadan, alms-tax, and the pilgrimage to Makkah; and believe in the six articles of faith: belief in God, the Holy Books, the prophets, the angels, the Day of Judgment and God's decree, whether for good or ill.

There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually all facets of one's personal, family and civic life. These include such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygiene, interpersonal relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal law, fighting in defense of Islam, relations with non-Muslims, and so much more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Firefox claims world record after software downloaded 8million times in one day

The new version of the web browser Firefox was downloaded a record 8 million times on its first day of release, the software's developers have claimed.

At its peak, the Firefox website was serving 17,000 copies a minute. Downloads came from some 200 countries, led by the United States, Germany, Japan, Spain and Britain.

The total could have been much higher if the huge demand hadn't overloaded the servers for more than an hour.

Tuesday's release was delayed after visitors checking for the update overloaded Firefox's web servers. The site was slow or unreachable for about two hours from 5.45pm (BST) on 17th June.

Firefox Logo

Firefox comes from Mozilla, an open-source community in which thousands of people, mostly volunteers, collectively develop free products. Firefox 3 is available in 50 languages.

They were seeking to set a world record for most software downloads in a 24-hour period. Their claim is currently being assessed by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Firefox is the number two web browser behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The latest version, Firefox 3, includes enhancements to help users organize their frequently visited websites and block access to sites known to distribute viruses and other malicious software.

“We’re really proud of Firefox 3 and it just shows what a committed, energized global community can do when they work together,” said John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The stunning fossil of a fish giving birth that proves animals had 'sex for fun' 380 million years ago

Sex for pleasure is a lot older than we thought, according to a stunning new fossil find announced by scientists yesterday.

A fossil of an ancient, extinct Australian fish which died just before giving birth to a live baby is, according to the scientist who made the discovery, 'the earliest evidence of vertebrates having sex by copulation – not just spawning in water, but sex that was fun'.

These are the fossil remains of the 375-million fish - the oldest vertebrate mother ever discovered

The find, revealed in the journal Nature, is by far the oldest 'viviparous', or live, birth yet found by scientists.

The fish, one of a primitive extinct group called the 'Placoderms', lived in the seas of Devonian Earth and has been dated to 380 million years old.

The fossil, discovered by Professor John Long at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, shows the bones of the tiny baby fish, still attached by its umbilical cord. It is thought the mother fish was about to give birth to maybe three or four babies just before she was killed.

“When I first saw the embryo inside the mother fish my jaw dropped, I was silent, stunned like a mullet. I realised that in my hands was the oldest known vertebrate embryo.”

The embryo can clearly be seen in this image of the fossil - even, amazingly, the umbilical cord

The find was made in the Gogo rock formation east of the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, and pushes back the record for a live birth by 200 million years.

The fish, a new species, has been named Materpiscis attenboroughi, 'Attenborough's mother-fish' in honour of Sir David, who featured the extraordinary fossil beds at Gogo in his 1979 TV series Life on Earth.

“The discovery is certainly one of the most extraordinary fossil finds ever made. It is not only the first time ever that a fossil embryo has been found with an umbilical cord, but it is also the oldest known example of any creature giving birth to live young,” said Dr Long.

“The existence of the embryo and umbilical cord within the specimen provides scientists with the first ever example of internal fertilisation - i.e sex - confirming that some placoderms had remarkably advanced reproductive biology. This discovery changes our understanding of the evolution of vertebrates,” he added.

Dr John Long points out the umbilical cord on the fossil, the fossilised remains of the oldest mother ever discovered

The fossilised fish has been named in honour of Sir David Attenborough

The vertebrates consist of the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Only birds, among these, are exclusively egg-laying but live births among fishes were thought to be confined to the sharks and rays.

Like the sharks, this species of Placoderm possessed a pair of bony graspers with which the male grasped the female while fertilising her with his sperm. “It might have been fun, for the male at least,” said Dr Long.

Placoderms were fearsome looking creatures, with powerful nutcracker jaws, clad in bony armour plating and thought to be efficient predators. The fossil is of a specimen about the size of a mackerel but some placoderms grew to a length of nearly 20ft, and the group as a whole formed the dominant vertebrates of the Devonian era, a time when other species of fish were starting to crawl out onto the land and evolving into the first four-legged animals.

It is thought the placoderms became extinct as a result of climate change at the end of the Devonian; their place in the pecking order was taken by a new group of fishes to have evolved: the sharks.

The announcement of the finding was made at the grand opening of the refurbished Royal Institution in London yesterday, at which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were present at the press conference.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The amazing telescope that lets you see New York from London's Tower Bridge

Deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean, forgotten for the best part of a century, lies a tunnel linking London and New York.

It was built on the whim of a Victorian inventor with the aim of linking two great cities and developing the kind of friendship that still exists today.

London waving: Looking down the Telectroscope at Tower Bridge end

But bad fortune befell the venture - and the tunnel lay idle ever after.

Until today, that is, when the project was rekindled with a modern twist.

Using a giant "electronic telescope" and state-of-the-art technology, England and America were joined once again when the tunnel entrances were reopened beside Tower Bridge in London and Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

It meant that New Yorkers and Londoners could wave to each other across the sea and begin the kind of mute dialogue that was only a dream all those years ago for eccentric engineering entrepreneur Alexander Stanhope St George (deceased).

Or at least, that's the way the story goes.

What is certain is that now you can indeed stand on the South Bank of the UK end of the 21st century "Telectroscope" - and see someone standing 3,460 miles away across the water.

It's raining in New York: Taking in the view on Brooklyn bridge

And - oh dear - it didn't take us Brits too long to utilise it for a bit of fun at the expense of our American cousins.

First there was the chap unbuttoning his shirt for an interested party on the other side.

Then came the group whose hand-held banner urged an assembly of curious New York cops to hop on one leg (which, incidentally, they declined).

Goodness only knows what everyone will get up to when darkness falls. But artist and creator Paul St George is delighted that this reworking of his great-grandfather's project is helping to spread a little happiness.

It takes some while to grasp the concept of the Telectroscope, unless you're happy enough to accept as gospel the story behind its creation.

According to the publicity material being handed out yesterday, the original tunnel was pioneered by an orang-utan running its entire length in a safety test before disappearing with the wife of the New York City mayor. Perhaps you get the picture now.

The truth is that the Telectroscope - installed by Artichoke, the same people who spectacularly paraded a mechanical elephant through London two years ago - probably employs the latest broadband, camera and satellite technology to close the gap between our two great nations.

Anyone you asked today, however, simply put it down to magic.

The Telectroscope uses 6ft screens and a Jules Verne style telescope that gleams with brass and an array of Victorian dials. Participants peer into one end of the screen - and hey presto - they can see anyone standing at the other side.

Much of the first few hours of this morning were taken up by bemused-looking Americans gazing cautiously at the antics of the London transatlantic gazers before realising that it wasn't a set-up, that they weren't being filmed for a candid camera TV stunt, and that it wasn't a terrorist threat.

Aliens at City Hall? The London Telectroscope looks like something out of War Of The Worlds

One of them broke the ice with a message they must have thought was a subject close to British hearts - the weather.

"Raining here!" said the Yank's handwritten note, pressed tentatively to the screen. "Sunny here!" replied a trio of blondes in London, before fanning their faces and performing heat-wave actions in mime.

Jewellery company worker Annie McDonald, from North London, exchanged kisses at a stranger standing beneath Brooklyn Bridge after beginning a semaphore style conversation with him.

I tried it with a 30-something who looked as if she was on her way to work - but she just giggled, pointed to her watch, and disappeared from view. Ho hum. That's the thing about Telectroscope flirting - if you don't fancy it, you can just step aside.

So unless you happen to find someone in Brooklyn who can lip-read, it's impossible to talk the talk.

But you can still chalk the chalk. Thus, with the used of a liberated restaurant blackboard, I tried a transatlantic conversation with Todd Glass, 41, who was pushing his five-month-old son Simon in a buggy.

He assured me he was not a hologram - but, crucially perhaps, was unable to tell me who the next President would be. So was he really real? "You bet," he replied.

Andy Slater, 28, from Edinburgh, visited the Brooklyn screen with his girlfriend Sarah Cook, 33, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The message from these Brits abroad was classically simple: "Send Tea!"

Police chase: Keeping an eye on crime in New York from Tower Bridge

Visitors to the Telectroscope web site - - have already revealed online that they will use its wizardry to bond with friends or relatives abroad, show off an unseen grandchild to grandparents in New York, and - who knows - maybe even to propose marriage.

One couple plan to use it so their Manhattan friend can flick through brochures of apartments they are trying to rent.

Designer: Paul St George

"Part of the idea is just to allow people to use it in whatever way they want," said Mr St George, 53, from Bristol, who insists he developed the Telectroscope after discovering his great-grandfather's dusty notes and diaries in an attic.

"The thought of a tunnel under the Atlantic is fascinating," he said.

"What child has never dug a hole at the beach and wondered how long it would take to go through to the other side of the world?

"The Telectroscope is a stage, and the people who use it are the performers.

"Their unpredictability is all part of it. It's encouraging people think about different ways of communicating, to see people living everyday lives thousands of miles away - and, perhaps, to study the way everyone reacts differently to something they're not quite sure about."

As we speak, another group of NYPD cops pulls up at the Brooklyn end in a squad car with flashing red lights.

At first they give only wooden waves to the Brits assembled at Tower Bridge. Then one of them - dressed in uniform and packing a handgun - is encouraged to assume a cowboy-style pose. Across the Atlantic, an unheard cheer goes up.

The cop becomes an instant hero. Here's lookin' at you, kid...

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Art of Extreme Sleeping!

Sweet dreams are only part of the story
Like any extreme activity, it requires the nerves of steel, good choice of timing, location and the absence of suspicious cops. All this however is easier to achieve, because you are, well... asleep, so you can trust the unseen powers to take care of the rest. Long & restful sleep is by no means guaranteed, but perhaps somebody will take your picture and you'll wake up famous.

Location, Location, Location

The best site to explore (or to learn this useful skill) is Sleeping Chinese. It's a constantly growing collection of impossible sleeping positions:

Ignore the crowds
According to this site, Japan's Public Sleeping is a constantly evolving art:

Schools are made for sleeping
Studying obviously leads to extreme mental and physical fatigue:

Learn from kids

Of course, children are "professional" sleepers:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Amazing Science Facts

1- Turtles can live for more than 100 years.

2- An elephant trunk has no bone but 40,000 muscles.

3- The cicada, a fly found in Africa, spends 17 years of its life sleeping; and only two weeks is awake during which mates and then dies.

4- The ant can lift things 10 times its own weight.

5- If your skin is laid flat it will cover an area of 18 square feet.

6- A Giraffe has the same number of bones in its neck as a man.

7- Ocean waves can travel as fast as a JET Plane.

8- The first drawings of a helicopter are nearly 500 years old.

9- A butterfly warms up its body up to 81 degrees Fahrenheit before flying.

10- A whale can swim for 3 months without eating.

11- A human being drinks 16,000 tons of water in a lifetime.

12- We blink 25 times a minute.

13- To melt away 1 pound of fat you will need to walk 34 miles.

14- The star fish is actually not a fish, its an animal. ( phylum : Echinodermate )

15- Male mosquitoes do not bite, so blame the females next time.

16- A person will die from total lack of sleep sooner than from starvation.

17- The body's largest internal organ is the small intestine at an average length of 20 feet.

18- Oysters can change from one gender to another and back again.

19- The small intestine is 7-8 meters long, making it the largest organ inside the human body. The large intestine is only 1-1.5 meters long!

20-The largest lizard in the world is the Komodo dragon which reaches up to 3 meters and sometimes longer was named because of it's fiery tongue. It is often longer than a car.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Microsoft makes £22.4bn bid to take over internet giant Yahoo

Microsoft is planning to challenge the dominance of Google with a £22billion buy-out of rival internet search engine Yahoo.

The company set up by Bill Gates has made an offer for Yahoo in what would be one of the biggest internet deals in history.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. The company's bid for Yahoo signals an attempt to grab a bigger chunk of business in online services

But the offer has led to further concerns about the growing power of Microsoft, which makes gross profits of about £20billion and has fought allegtions of anti-competitive behaviour in courts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Late last year it bought a £120million stake in the online networking sensation Facebook. Many fear that if the Yahoo deal does go through the company really will wield too much power.

Among the criticisms levelled at the company is that it deliberately locks customers into its products.

This has led to complaints that computers cannot be bought without a Microsoft operating system being pre-installed.

Many fear that if Microsoft gets hold of Yahoo it will be able to increase its influence over internet usage.

Currently Microsoft and Yahoo's search engines trail a long way behind Google - in America 56.3 per cent of searches are carried out through Google. Yahoo is in second place with 17.7 per cent and Microsoft follows with 13.8 per cent.

Google, founded by Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page, right, faces an assault by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates

Google's success has been based on the perception that its searches are wider and more relevant than rivals.

Microsoft say it wants to create 'credible alternative' to the domination of Google.

But if any deal is agreed it could be subject to heavy scrutiny by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is because, as well as both operating powerful search engines, Microsoft and Yahoo are players in the wider online advertising market.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster has called for UK competition authorities to look at the deal.

"Everybody should be concerned about the growing dominance of Microsoft in every aspect of our lives," he said.

"While they have done much good for us, we have to be incredibly careful that they don't become so dominant that innovation and creativity is stifled."

He urged the Competition Commission to look into the deal, if it was able to.

Yahoo's headquarters in Sunnyvale, in California's Silicon Valley

In the early days of the internet, Yahoo, founded by two U.S. students, was the most popular search engine.

The engines work by picking out key words from every internet page which can be accessed by its network. The contents of each page are analysed and categorised on an database.

When someone enters a query into a search engine it will search its index and come up with the best matches.

While it has been losing out in recent years to Google, it is still widely used for emailing and its news services.

The two Americans behind Yahoo are likely to pocket £2.2billion if the deal goes through.

Jerry Yang, 39 and David Filo, 41, started Yahoo as a website listing board while students at Stanford University in California in 1995.

Originally called Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web, Yang and Filo changed soon switched to Yahoo, named after a race of brutes in the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver's Travels.

The unexpected offer comes as Yahoo and Microsoft have fallen behind Google in the race to capture online advertising.

Internet advertising is a massive growth industry and there are predictions that the online market will double in size to around £40.2billion by 2010.

The potential deal is so big that it boosted shares on the FTSE 100 index yesterday,

A Microsoft spokesman said: 'Today this market is increasingly dominated by one player.

"Together, Microsoft and Yahoo can offer a competitive choice while better fulfilling the needs of customers and partners."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life on Mars? Amazing photos from Nasa probe reveal mystery figure on Red Planet

Perched on a rock, she could be waiting for a bus.

But if so, she could be in for an awfully long wait.

This photo of what looks remarkably like a female figure with her arm outstretched, was taken on Mars.

Call me rocky: The intriguing image captured by Nasa on Mars

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has set the Internet abuzz with claims that there really is life on the red planet.

Others may well feel that it is simply an optical illusion caused by a landscape.

Alien life: What seems to be a human-like Martian is pictured on Mars

The image was among many sent back to Earth by Spirit, Nasa's Mars explorer vehicle which landed there four years ago.

Initial inspections revealed nothing unusual, but closer examination by amateur astronomers has thrown up this intriguing picture.

Painstaking: Space enthusiasts spent four years analysing this image, which on much closer inspection shows the 'alien'

As one enthusiast put it on a website: "These pictures are amazing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what appears to be a naked alien running around on Mars."

Another, dismissing cynicism about the somewhat stony look of the "alien", wrote: "If you show me another rock in another photo from Mars, or Earth, that naturally looks like that, I will reconsider."

Say cheese: The mystery image was captured by Nasa's explorer vehicle, Spirit

A third contributor, who might have come closer to the majority view, said: "Ah, the human eye can be tricked so easily."

Immense knowledge