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The week in re(ar)view

Bangladesh's dubious distinction
We have yet another first place distinction for Bangladesh dubious as it may be. This time we are number one for software piracy in Asia Pacific. But that's also because we are the fourth highest in illegal software usage in the world. All this comes courtesy of yet another market research study.

Considering such high usage of software, does it mean we are just that productive?

Very little has been done to combat software piracy or promote respect for intellectual property in Bangladesh, the study revealed.

A memo issued the Ministry of Cultural Affairs on October 2, 2007 to the Register of Copyright Office states that recording or distribution of drama, literature, computer software, music, art and movies is a crime worth punishing.

Any person who violates Copyright Law 2000 (amended in 2005) shall be imprisoned for five years and shall be fined Tk 500,000.

Snakes need rescuing
Generally it is people who need rescuing from snakes. A snake charmer named Tota Miah had hundreds of snakes in his farm in Thakurgaon. Sadly he died leaving his beloved slithery friends at a loss for food. And now the snakes are dying themselves as there is no one to look after them. If you are wondering how he died well, it was a snakebite.

Sources said around 250 of Tota's 400 poisonous snakes have already died and the rest have remained almost unfed since Tota's tragic death from snakebite.

No one knows what to do with them and committees have been set up in this regard. If nothing else, committee forming is something we do very efficiently.

We figure the snakes can be employed and paid in food. They would make good security guards placed in cars and wrapped around the entrance to a house. That would work better than a “Beware of Dog” sign and deter even the peskiest relative from showing up.

Obscene movie films destroyed at FDC
Last week, Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (FDC) burned many reels of film that were considered obscene.

It is a move to free the film industry from obscenity. Task force members who had set up an office at FDC on Thursday asked the film producers and directors to destroy all the reels of obscene films. So that should technically mean all the movies ever made in the last decade or so. While movie genres all over the world are described as horror, comedy, action etc, genres here are described as obscene horror, obscene comedy, obscene action and obscenely etc.

Bangladesh gets aboard Trans-Asian Railway
Bangladesh joined the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) on 9 November. This means theoretically our rail system is connected to a 81,000km network stretching from Europe to East and South-East Asia.

The 81,000km (50,200 mile) network, first mooted by the UN back in 1960, is also dubbed the "Iron Silk Road" after the ancient trade route. It would link capitals, ports and industrial hubs across the 28 Asian countries all the way to Europe.

That's how long it took just to sign up. Makes you wonder when it will actually happen.

A similar road agreement, the Asian Highway network, is yet to be signed even though the council of advisers had given its approval back in April.

Fascinating fish facts

* Fish are numerically the largest group of vertebrates and account for roughly half (50%) of all vertebrate species. More than 20,000 species of fish exist in the world.

* Fish is found in almost every aquatic habitat ranging from hot soda springs where temperatures exceed 40 0C (e.g. Cyprinodon macularius in warm springs in Death Valley, California, USA) to the waters beneath the Antarctic ice-sheet where the temperature is below 0 0C (e.g. Dallia pectoralis in Siberia).

* Some fishes are named after other animals as they resemble those animals someway in appearance or nature. Such fishes include catfish, dogfish, cowfish, zebra fish, porcupine fish, rabbit fish, lizardfish, tiger fish etc.

* Fish is shortest-lived vertebrate. A tiny coral reef-dwelling fish called the coral reef pygmy goby or seven-figure pygmy goby (Eviota sigillata) has the shortest lifespan of any vertebrate. The species lives for 59 days at the most and completes its entire life cycle within this period.

* The world's largest fish is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) which may grow up to 18 m (about 59 feet) in length and can weigh up to 15 tons. But despite its huge size, the whale shark is harmless to humans and usually indifferent to divers.

* The world's smallest fish is the stout infantfish (Schindleria brevipinguis). Males of this species mature by 6.5 mm to 7 mm. The largest specimen known is only 8.4 mm long. This species is believed to be the smallest vertebrate of the world. It is known from Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Previously the dwarfgoby (Trimmatom nanus) (max. size 1 cm) was considered to be the smallest fish.

* Sharks are potentially the most dangerous fish that attack people. But in fresh water, piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) is significantly dangerous fish. They have very large teeth and travel in groups. They don't kill their prey first; they just start eating the victim alive. They can devour a 135-kilogram hog in minutes.

* Some species of fish can produce electric currents. The electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) found in South America can generate pulses of over 500 volts. Reports exist of fishermen who have received severe electric shocks from handling such types of fish.

* Atlantic flyingfish (Cheilopogon heterurus) can fly over a long distance. Before a flight, this fish builds up speed in the water and then rises into the air and glides up to 90 m at 1.5 m above the surface. Most flights last about 10 seconds.

* The fastest species of fish over short distances is the Indo-Pacific Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus). It has been clocked in excess of 110 km/h (68 mph) over short periods. By comparison, the cheetah, the fastest land mammal over short distances, can reach top speeds of around 96.5 km/h (60 mph).

* The ocean sunfish (Mola mola) lays the most eggs. It produces up to 30 million eggs at a single spawning, each measuring about 1.3 mm. (0.05 in.) in diameter.

Compiled by Md. Yusuf Sarker

You know you’re Bangali...

I. I'm Troy Mcclure. You might remember me from such articles as When the Wind Shines, and How the Sun Blows. I'm here to- [bzzzt]

We're sorry for this technical difficulty. There was a goof up with something or the other. But, we're back on track. And now. To Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today. Enjoy.

Hi, again. This is Mokhles. I'm here to report on the super-cool condition and way of life and lifestyle for and of our fellow countrymen. It gives me great pleasure to give you a gist of how we're all doing these days.

What does this button do?
If Darwin's Theory of Evolution was/is correct, then it would take a very, very long time for that certain bit in our genes to be finally selected out, if ever at all. I'm talking about the bit that makes us so idiotically nosy, that we have to examine every single thing- but more particularly, every single event that has graced, or graces, this Earth. And then turn it into a nation-wide phenomenon.

Hypothetical Scenario:
Automated announcing voice: You are approaching the Sun. Please be cautious and be seated. DO NOT TOUCH BIG BALL OF FLAMES.

Bangladeshi: Why not? I wonder… Let's see what happens. [Touches BIG BALL OF FLAMES and dies in flaming agony]. Oh.

Honky Tonky Men
As ever, like always, you can rest assured that you can still rely on our people to honk their horns like anything, be it in a traffic jam, a traffic signal, and even to an oncoming train- whenever, wherever! as Shakira would say. Hips don't lie, baby. Go BD.

Hypothetical Scenario:-
[Man dead on the street, bloodied and mangled. Mourners surround him, crying their hearts out. 90% of the mourners didn't know the man. Mourners blocking cars.]

Men in cars: Move, damn it!!! [honk, honk] [Multiple swears in Bangla] [honk, honk] Can't you [honk, honk] find somewhere [honk, honk] else to cry, damn it?! [honk, honk]
[honk, honk] [honk, honk] [honk, honk] [honk, honk] [honk, honk] [honk, honk] [honk, honk]...

November Rain, December Sun
If you thought that last year's weather was pretty messed up, if it was, this year is totally off the scale of messed-up-ness.

In the first few days of October, we had blazing hot days that just literally took everything out of us. Then, suddenly, overnight, we were graced with cool rain that just made us all happy little critters. But, then the rain decided not to let up for some days, so, we were all miserable little critters again. But, we were sort of happy, because we knew winter was just about here. Then, just as suddenly as before, the darned heat decided that it wasn't quite done with us. And so, then, we were slightly-more-miserable critters.

Now that November is here, one wonders if it'll be more messed up than Oct- Oh. It seems we have a breaking news bulletin. Or something like that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems that in the somewhat early morning hours of November 5th, 2008, (Monday, as it were), the sun was out… yes. The sun was out. And it was really, really hot. Really hot, I say. And… there was fog. That is right, ladies, gentlemen and friends. You've read right. There is nothing wrong with your eyes. Nor is my brain malfunction. “It is the true.”

There was fog. Even though, people were burning under the sun, there was fog

By Emil




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