Try this incredible interactive four BILLION pixel image of Everest


Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres above sea level.
In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. Waugh named the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest.
It has become a mecca for climbers, and has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal and the north ridge from Tibet.
The southeast ridge is technically easier and was the route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 when they reached the summit for the first time.
·

THIS INCREDIBLE INTERACTIVE FOUR BILLION PIXEL IMAGE OF EVEREST LETS YOU ZOOM IN AS IF YOU WERE ACTUALLY THERE ON THE MOUNTAIN 

·
  • Astonishing image was created from 477 photographs stitched together

  • Created by filmmaker David Breashears and nonprofit organisation GlacierWorks to highlight the effect of climate change on the area

  • Team also produced stunning ‘then and now’ pictures to show the effect climate change on the area since 1921

  • Working with Microsoft on even more detailed version

·
·

by Mark Prigg

·

It is an astonishing image that shows the beauty and majesty of the Himalaya region.

A climber and filmmaker has created the stunning mosaic of images to show the effect of climate change on the the area surrounding Mount Everest.

The 477 individual images that make up the gigapixel image of the Khumbu glacier were captured by David Breashears during the spring of 2012, from the Pumori viewpoint near Mount Everest. 

To view the interactive gigapixel photo, click through to the Glacier Works website.

(more…)

Palm Culture


What is this loony fixation we display more and more where palm/date trees are concerned? We can’t seem to get our fill of plonking them wherever we can. We are a funny lot indeed. First we pull down whatever we can and then we bulldoze whatever we can’t pull down.
We build then yet another monstrosity of steel and cement and replicate it. Then we uproot everything around the new ugly one and throw in more steel and cement. When we are done, that is if we are ever done, having gotten rid of thousands of trees that stood for years, we next haul in (God knows from where), the flavour of the decade – date palms without dates.
·

IMPLANTING DESERT CULTURE IN THE STREETS OF LAHORE

·

by Masood Hasan

· 

What is this loony fixation we display more and more where palm/date trees are concerned? We can’t seem to get our fill of plonking them wherever we can. We are a funny lot indeed. First we pull down whatever we can and then we bulldoze whatever we can’t pull down.

We build then yet another monstrosity of steel and cement and replicate it. Then we uproot everything around the new ugly one and throw in more steel and cement. When we are done, that is if we are ever done, having gotten rid of thousands of trees that stood for years, we next haul in (God knows from where), the flavour of the decade – date palms without dates.
These are then burrowed into the soil where they stand for weeks – dry, dusty, ugly and apologetic. Some don’t make it; some do, after a straggly start to life, but what comes up is a tree that has nothing going for it.

It is not a particularly beautiful tree. In fact it is as good looking as say the actor Ernest Borgnine was if compared to Clark Gable. It is a spindly, spiky tree with all kinds of warts and protuberances sticking out. Not the kind of tree you can lean against and sing a song or two about lost love. Then it also offers no shade whatsoever.

Since it is most often planted near roads, what kind of a tree is it that cannot provide shade to anyone wishing to cool off for a few minutes? Stand under a palm tree and all you will get is what a good working sauna will deliver on any given day. For thousands of years we planted yew trees, built guest rooms and stables for horses complete with ponds where all could rest. What happened to that culture?

What good is the date tree? Even the fruit, the best part of the tree, is simply not present in the variety we have. What it offers as ‘dates’ are anything but. In any event what is the great idea behind planting these trees near roads and intersections, be they in cities or on the highways? These places are not exactly orchards, are they? And even if the variety we are planting like crazy does bear fruit, what are the authorities thinking of?

Will people rushing from one city to another suddenly see a date tree and slam on their brakes, shimmy up the nearest tree like brainless monkeys and stuff the fruit into their mouths? Hardly.

Perhaps the only few things going for this pimply tree are that it does not require much water. Neither, it seems, would most remote parts of Pakistan and the entire province of Balochistan. So what are we going to do about that? Plant the Baloch into the rocky, unfriendly and sandy soil and watch them boil? Who knows what Herr Malik is thinking these days? When he doesn’t utter a goofy one for 24 hours, I start to get edgy. What’s The Brain thinking? Banning buffaloes and ice lollies? The other reason – and this is stretching things as far as they would go – is that it would please their exalted highnesses from the sandy lands of yon, who will see a warped and sullen looking date tree and go cuckoo. But they have these by the zillions in their backyards so why in heaven’s name would they come here and faint with excitement seeing the dumb tree? It is like bringing an Eskimo from Greenland to show him three inches of a snow pile and expect him to collapse with heaving chest and cries of pleasure.

The thing is that, if I am not wrong, these trees started their social life in Lahore when Gulberg’s Main Boulevard got a face lift and up came the dateless trees. In those days, and later when Islamabad got the ‘date-tree infection,’ it was rumoured that these had been imported from Brunei, had cost an arm and a leg – ours that is, not the tree’s – and in the process had made many people very happy and very rich. The ‘leaders’, blind as bats can be, beamed at their latest folly and smacked their lips with delight. If they did a little jig around the ruddy tree, I at least have no way of knowing unless I can get Herr Malik to share a few inside details but then what chance is there to pounce on a man who is so busy saving the world that he hasn’t had a decent shampoo in weeks for his spectacular afro cut. Eat your heart out Lionel Richie. You are a poor second to Herr Malik.

As for the expensive import of these trees, Lord Lashari, is the one who springs to mind. Held in great esteem as some modern day prophet of landscaping, it was widely believed that he was the one who inflicted the uninspiring date trees on us.

The thing is that Arabs may swoon at the sight of these creatures from outer space, but we are not Arabs and in spite of our best effort, still don’t have enough sand. However, if the holding on to the knot of Allah’s rope via the Bedouin Brothers is the going thing, then the date trees are our bestest friends and need to be hugged at all hours of the day.

Seeing that the idea of modern art in public places comprises largely of ‘kulfi’ ice cream cones in various flavours – go to any smog-infested city of the republic and sooner than later, up pops the ‘kulfi’, a sight for sore eyes. If it is not that, we have hopelessly made replicas in fibreglass (I ask you!) of that great explosion in Balochistan where we blew into smithereens a miserable-looking dry-as-dust hill and proclaimed to a waiting world that we had indeed arrived on the nuclear stage. This monument of our five seconds of glory is visible to anyone who is not suffering from advanced cataract. Maybe fibreglass date trees are the next art forms that will shake the globe.


Lashari decorated the La
hore Main Boulevard and, because you can never keep a good man down, he next rose in the once-pristine valley of Islamabad replete with leafy plants and natural springs. And hey presto, we had date trees. As it turned out, Islamabad was never the same again.

The arrival of the date trees was also a kind of opening salvo of unfettered construction.

Tree cutting being a national pastime – the Punjab government has struck down thousands of trees in full bloom – the same philosophy soon found its way into Islamabad. The springs died, green open areas turned to garbage dumps, the burger syndrome stuck the people in the midriff section and Islamabad was raped. Average temperatures between the two cities are now marginally different and smog hangs over the capital like a Supreme Court edict.

The irony is that, while it might rain in Lahore, Islamabad has little luck. How things change!

And while this won’t cut any ice, large-scale deforestation and degradation of natural forests have put our country’s forestation area somewhere at about three percent as opposed to the global standard of 25 percent. Maybe the date palms are the forerunners of the desert culture that will overtake Pakistan sooner than we all think.

The writer is a Lahore-based columnist. Email: masoodhasan66@gmail.com
Related articles:
1. Trees and Us 2. Lahoris don’t care about their trees 3. Trees and Us

 YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

 

 

The Thirsty Crow and Other Tales of Wisdom


Once, when it was raising such a ruckus, I stepped out to ask what was wrong, since there already was some ‘food on the table’. The crow picked up each piece, one by one, and threw it down as if to say, “Do you think I am going to eat this? Hurry along now and get us some fresh ones!”
Its sense of ‘ownership’ has become so strong that it admonishes us strongly if we try to feed a stray cow or dog, regardless of whether or not it has had lunch.
·

AN OLD STORY FOR TODAY

·

by Sidhusaaheb

·

Note for WoP readers: 

Sidhu Saaheb is a blogger from Delhi, India. He is a young man, loves bikes and is equally adept at writing small, beautiful notes, a prerequisite to be successful blogger in electronic media and e-publishing. Although I would very much wish him to put up regular notes on his blog but it appears that he is so much engaged in his other professional works that he doesn’t find much of a time to add regular notes to his blog which Sidhu’s readers including myself would wish him to.

Or it could also be a reason that free blogging is a thankless job and, therefore, those who do it, they do so mainly out of a passion for writing – even though it takes much of their time and a mental exercise that makes them sweat, yet to earn bread for themselves, they knock other doors, other avenues.

In this context, am not sure about specific reason/s for Sidhu absenting from his blog, however, whatever he puts up there, I and am sure, his other readers find worth reading.

Sometime back Sidhu put up one such note and that particular one is about our wonderful world of birds, a world so sweet, so lovely it can be enjoyed only by those who are keen bird watchers. Though myself am not a regular bird watcher, yet I do love to see these small flying objects which is in itself a view worth watching.

Interestingly like Sidhu’s mom, my wife too is very fond of putting something to birds to eat. Sometimes there is bajra like his mom does for her share of birds to feast, another time she offers them rice and when she starts preparing a daal dish for the family, its the daal feast that she offers to her share [of flying guests].

And dear readers, she is such a lover of birds, ever since I came to know of her [and its since she became my better half] she would ask me to drive her to Lahore Liberty Market roundabout, where three or four persons would be hawking caged birds, and these birds include common house sparrows, parrots, Mainas, and such fowls. She would purchase a dozen or so of them and then set them free and as she always says: The free birds need free world and therefore I do this because I can’t tolerate keeping these free souls in confines of a cage, a prison like situation for them.

Its really thus unfortunate that in this age and race of modernism, we are forgetting the ornithological world with its sweet, innocent inhabitants.

Another aspect of what Sidhu tells in his story of feeding the common crows, makes me ponder over the possibility that had the Indian and Pakistani leaders demonstrated the common wisdom as done by the blackbirds (which perhaps in character are more white than our leaders with white bright clothes but dark, black  minds) the conditions between Pakistan and India would have been much better, much friendlier and much luckier than they are now. [Nayyar]
(more…)

Published in: on 12/12/2012 at 9:34 am  Comments (2)  

Vulture population stabilising in Pakistan




Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds. They clean the environment by eating dead animals and also control the spread of disease-causing organisms from the carcasses. The populations of many species of vultures are under pressure and some are facing extinction.
There are a total of nine species of vultures found in South Asia and Pakistan has eight of these. In Pakistan, a major decline has been in two of the Asian Gyps species called white-backed vulture and long-billed vulture. The population of these two vultures had declined to about 95 per cent.
Listed as critically endangered, which means only conservation efforts can save these species from extinction, thankfully the conservation efforts particularly by the WWF-Pakistan their population in the country is now stabilising.
ATION EFFORTS IN PAKISTAN

·

STRENGTHENING THE VULTURE CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN PAKISTAN

·

by Zofeen Ebrahim

·

The alarming decline in a critically endangered species of vulture in Pakistan appears to have been halted, according to surveys of the birds. They indicate the population of the long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) is stabilising.

The species had declined rapidly in the late 1990s because of the deadly effect of the cattle drug diclofenac. The birds died after eating carcasses contaminated with the drug.

Now fieldwork carried out in the Nagarparkar desert in Sindh, south-east Pakistan, by The Peregrine Fund, has shown that the population of the long-billed vultures has stablised over the past four breeding seasons with no obvious signs of decline.

The 2006 annual report by the US-based TPF had reported 103 occupied long-billed nests, down from 290 in March 2003. WWF-Pakistan verified the same. In 2010/11 it counted 172 long-billed vultures in the same area.

TPF’s Munir Virani, now working as an ornithologist for the National Museum of Kenya, says banning diclofenac and increased awareness of the role of vultures in the ecosystem has proved effective.

Diclofenac was banned in 2006 and replaced by Meloxicam. However, the form of diclofenac given to human patients is still available and is sometimes given to animals.

Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus) has a length of 80-100 cm and a wingspan of 205-229 cm. It may have a weight around 5.5 Kg to 6.3 kg.
Long-billed Vulture is the smallest of the vultures.
The particular vulture species is Critically Endangered since declines occurred in the early 1990s.
Conservation and protection measures are already in progress, and the governments of Pakistan and Nepal and India joined in order to stop the veterinary use of the cattle drug which has been the major cause of fatality in the long billed vulture populations in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s wild life authorities haven’t been able to reverse the decline in the population of the white-backed vultures (Gyps bengalensis).

In 2007, WWF-Pakistan had set up Vulture Conservation Centre in Changa Manga forest to retain and increase the population of white backs. About 22 birds from the wild were put in centre. However, the aviary has still not succeeded in breeding any from its stock. Last year a few eggs laid turned out to be infertile. Authorities are hoping the October egg-laying season this year would be different.

The forest, 50 miles southwest of Lahore, in Punjab, was once a stronghold of these birds with as many as “1400 active nests till the late 1990s” said Uzma Khan, project coordinator with the WWF.

Information gathered from 22 different sites (which had major colonies of white-backs till 2000), by the WWF in 2006 revealed only about 220 white-backed vultures remained in the Punjab. Today, Khan estimates there are not more than 100.

Early this year, the WWF also set up a 62-mile diameter vulture safe zone in the Nagarparkar desert. “The aim is to provide drug free food to the vultures close to their breeding areas,” said Uzma. It is also running an awareness programme for the local population and veterinarians informing them not to dump infected carcasses in the open and promoting the use Meloxicam.

Zofeen Ebrahim is a Karachi-based journalist who has been working independently since 2001, contributing to English dailies, including Dawn and The News, and current affairs monthly magazines, including Herald and Newsline, as well as the online paper Dawn.com 

Related articles:

1. Cruel corruption 2. Why Bats are Awesome + Bat Crafts (theselightfootsteps.com)
Source  Title image  Image next

 YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

Cruel corruption



g that bats are much more than essential to our planet and ecosystems than thought of earlier. They’re incredibly fascinating, delightfully likeable masters of our night.
So if we want to keep our cities bug and mosquito free, we must save the bat and clear our head of all those vampire stories. Because. They are just that- stories!

·

BUTCHERING THE INNOCENT

AUSTRALIAN SHEEP & A BLANKET OF LIES TO COVER THE CRIME

·

by Masood Hasan

·

I guess there must be other nations too which exhibit the same level of cruelty to animals as we do without fail but when one dastardly act is repeated by another in Pakistan, it becomes difficult to rationalise things.

The horrible way in which over 7,000 Australian sheep were recently butchered on the utterly false and self-serving orders of the government of Sindh must jolt this nation, particularly its greedy and utterly corrupt officials who are regally indifferent to the damage they have inflicted.

Our trade relations with the rightly indignant Australians have taken a nosedive. As usual a blanket of lies now covers the crime.

As is the hallowed tradition here, those who were guilty of merciless sheep-slaughter and personal profiteering have vaporised. Accountability? You must be joking. What’s 7,000 sheep anyway? Oops sorry, we slaughtered them. Didn’t they have anthrax?

The Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 1890 – has it not been upgraded? It is already 122 years old – states that ‘if any person kills any animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner, he shall be punished….’and yet this law is flouted day and night, with hardly anyone ever ‘brought to book.’

Of the 20,468 sheep imported from Australia, the 7,667 allegedly suffering from anthrax (a fabrication) were culled on Sindh government’s orders by slitting their throats, stabbing or clubbing them.

Shocking video footage aired in Australia showed many animals were still alive when they were thrown into trenches. People who have seen this are simply horrified and are led to wonder what kind of beasts populate this country called Pakistan?

A long process established that the sheep were in 100 percent good health, as tests at the established and reputable Pirbright Institute overseas specialising in infectious diseases in farm animals, verified. It is now established that underlying political/profit-based motivations of some officials and elements in the media led these people to generate a public scare. A public scare was thus created, enabling the culling ‘in the public interest.’

About 7,000 sheep thus lost their lives in a bloodbath enacted by the faithful. Since then the Australian government has expressed its horror and concern to the highest level – our prime minister – who told his counterpart recently: ‘I will look into it’. In Pakspeak that reads, ‘we will do nothing’.

Back here, the buck is passing furiously like a hot potato from one official to another and one venal department to the next. I am told this entire matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Quarantine Department which had slept through all this. The National Veterinary Laboratory should have been involved, but became mute overnight. The entire behaviour and attitude in Pakistan was professionally inexcusable and the blood of 7,000 innocent sheep is on their hands.

I must confess this sounds more like cuckoo-talk. What are we really talking about? No one that triggered the whole thing off has so far been charged or arrested, and they won’t be.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) rolled their eyes and professed ignorance. The Ministry of Commerce feigned total surprise but remembered enough to pass the buck to the Ministry of Food Security & Research, whose Secretary Sahib Bahadur Allah Buksh Lehri said a ‘fresh team of technical experts has been constituted.’

Is the first team exhausted or tainted or both? Mr Lehri obviously won’t answer that one. And so this too shall pass. We know the black sheep but no one will be awarded the punishment they deserve. It is clear that corruption, inefficiency and greed were at the bottom of this scandal, which will have a grave impact on our trade relations with Australia and further damage us globally.

My heart goes out to those innocent sheep, who endured the long ship journey, and days of waiting at ports, finally arriving in Killing Country. I can and do believe the wanton cruelty that we must have exhibited because that is the essence of the people we are now.

Pictures and stories of how the large animals are brought down and killed with great cruelty abound but we choose to be indifferent. Our national attitude to animals is well known. Our visionary solution to rabies is to shoot stray dogs! Many die of injuries and pain.

Time and again governments have been implored to follow the scientific and humane system adopted elsewhere in the world, but it’s like talking to a large and stupid rock. There is no answer.

Bear baiting is a terribly cruel and inhumane blood sport that – for the most part – still persists in the Punjab and Sindh regions of northern Pakistan
Its a harsh cruel stage of life for a bear to go through and very sad and upsetting. Many bears are mantained for baiting.
They are kept in arenas other known as bear gardens were they will be shackled and chained by there legs in a little fenced in area. Later someone will bring in a small pack of fighting/hunting dogs usually 2-4 dogs. The dogs will be then allowed to attack the bear for a short period of time leaving the bear to fight for his/her life.
Many of the baiting bears suffer bloody gums, cuts, ripped noses and mouths, broken jaws and other injuries. Most of them are permanently scarred. Most of the bears die.

Bear and dog fights abound all over the land and gambling is rampant. The animals are maimed, grievously hurt and die painfully but there is no end to the plight of their kind. Bears, teeth extracted, chained and attacked by savage and hungry dogs? Is this sport? Snakes and mongoose spectacles are crowd pullers and even cock-fights draw large crowds. In all these, the ones who suffer are the animals and birds. Hundreds of anguished complaints have resulted in nothing. What kind of demented blood-lust is this? Entertainment for the masses?

Look at the way we transport chickens across our cities? Does anyone ever protest? And our zoos should be a blot on our conscience. The Lahore Zoo broke all sale records last Eid but how fare the animals? Zoos should be abolished and animals put on display in open lands, not confined to narrow, dirty and broken cages. But that won’t happen.

For years some of us have written columns, filed reports, and exhorted chief ministers – with no result. We have set a new record this year by issuing 30 hunting permits. Our brethren will be arriving soon, if not already here, and the killing will start.

The hunting of exotic and migrating birds by hunters from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain are adversely affecting some endangered species. The chief victims are birds like the Houbara bustard and some types of falcons exclusively found in the provinces of Balochistan and the southern parts of Punjab.
Houbara Bustard, an endangered bird is hunted with eagles by influetial gulf sheikhs putting Pakistan’s beautiful wildlife to all sorts of perils.

The Houbara Bustard, an endangered species (don’t the wildlife folks have any shame left?) will register another drastic fall? An eyewitness account says that when the our brethren arrive in Rahim Yar Khan, it is like the arrival of extraterrestrials. The night skies are filled with big birds as plane after plane lands. Hundreds of our ‘brothers’. Thousands of grovelling shameless Pakistanis. No government has ever had the moral courage to take a principled stand.

Many of us, idiots that we are, pleaded with the current CM Punjab to conduct a surprise raid to that hell hole of death and disease, the so-named Tollington Market in Lahore – I challenge any one of you to visit it. The Black Hole of Calcutta seems like a luxury holiday resort compared to this nightmare.

Thousands of birds are slaughtered and flung into bloodied blue bins, and terrified small pups, kittens, pigeons, parrots all wait for a mercy release.

The stench is enough to make you throw up. Please Mian Sahib, ban this market. You have ripped open Lahore. What’s one diseased market block to you? Have it cleaned, disinfected and allow some humanity to cast a light on this horror.

The writer is a Lahore-based columnist. Email: masoodhasan66@gmail.com
Related article:
Source  Title image  Image next  Image next to next

 YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
%d bloggers like this: