World’s tallest statue

So huge, it’s scary:

Statue of Unity India

Statue of Unity

The new Statue of Unity, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, is located in the middle of nowhere in the state of Gujarat, India. At 597 feet, it is the world’s tallest statue. The sculpture is of Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Quote from India’s prime minister:

“This statue is an answer to all those who question India’s power and might,” Modi said in his address, before heading to take part in religious rites to mark the unveiling.

And if that’s not enough, this should settle the matter:

Even as the wrangling over the Statue of Unity continues, a taller and possibly even more divisive sculpture is in the works off the coast of Mumbai. Scheduled for completion in 2021, it is of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a Hindu warrior king, revered for battling Muslim rulers.

Statue of Shivaji Mumbai

Statue of Shivaji

Once that monstrosity is topped off, I think India’s status as a global superpower will be firmly cemented.

A glitch in the Matrix?

Berenstain Bears

Do you remember a series of children’s books about a family of anthropomorphized bears? Remember what it was called, and how the series title was spelled and pronounced?

Picture it in your mind and say it out loud before clicking this link. And this.

Yeah. Something isn’t quite right here. I think we’re being messed with. By whom and for what purpose, I’m not sure.

I haven’t exactly done a survey, but it would appear that many tens of thousands of American remember it the way I do. Many, like I do, probably remember it very vividly. The idea that we are all sharing a false memory stretches credibility, but stranger things have happened.

What I’m curious to know is, does *anyone* remember it the way it is “supposed” to be spelled? Seriously now.

UPDATE: Ok, I’ve talked to one person who remembers the “correct” spelling.

The greatness of gait

Ministry of Silly Walks Monty Python

People have been interested in gait since the time of Aristotle. I think it’s one of the most vivid aspects of human individuality. Like snowflakes, no two gaits are alike.

Some people stride from point A to point B. Others trudge. You can also amble, bimble, bounce, clump, falter, gimp, glide, hike, hobble, limp, lumber, lurch, march, mince, mosey, nip, pace, parade, perambulate, peregrinate, plod, pound, power walk, prance, promenade, pussyfoot, ramble, roam, sashay, saunter, scuff, shamble, shuffle, stagger, stalk, step, stomp, stroll, strut, stumble, stump, swagger, tiptoe, toddle, totter, traipse, tramp, trample, traverse, tread, trip, tromp, troop, trot, waddle, and wander. And these are just categories of walking. Each individual has a unique locomotive signature, which is always more complex and distinctive than any of the above words can capture.

Gait should be recognized as a seamless part of one’s personality. For example, I am constantly told that I walk too fast. Criticism is important to me, so I considered this carefully for many years. Finally, I came to the conclusion that the rest of the world walks too slow.

Forensic gait analysis is used by law enforcement to identify criminals on surveillance videos when their faces are obscured. If only the government had the technology to accurately record and identify each person’s gait, then it would be much easier to track everyone.

Wait, did someone say “track everyone”?

China’s on it:

Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras.

Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, “gait recognition” is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is raising concern about how far the technology will go.

Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away, even with their back turned or face covered. This can fill a gap in facial recognition, which needs close-up, high-resolution images of a person’s face to work.

“You don’t need people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity,” Huang said in an interview in his Beijing office. “Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body.”

Camp Fire

Some views of the horrible Camp Fire that is raging in Northern California:

Eerie video that looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie:

(Source)

(Source)

It’s growing rapidly and there are more fires devastating CA:

A wildfire destroyed most of a Northern California town of 27,000 people. A Cal Fire spokesman said “there’s nothing much left standing” in Paradise.

Late Friday morning, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said investigators found five victims’ bodies in vehicles overcome by the so-called “Camp Fire” in Paradise. The victims have not been identified.

Two more fires are burning north of Los Angeles. Fires across the state have forced 157,000 people from their homes, according to Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. […]

A California fire official said the Camp Fire nearly quadrupled in size overnight. Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire near the town of Paradise has grown to 70,000 acres, which is nearly 110 square miles.

The entire city of Malibu was ordered to evacuate Friday morning as the Woolsey Fire roared toward the beachside community that is home for many Hollywood celebrities. A city-wide evacuation was ordered early Friday and then was scaled back, only to be reinstated.

Scientist stabs other scientist who kept giving away the ending

Don’t do this:

A scientist plunged a kitchen knife into his colleague as he was fed up with the man telling him the endings of books, say investigators.

Sergey Savitsky, 55, and Oleg Beloguzov, 52, would pass the lonely hours during four harsh years together in a remote outpost in Antarctica by reading.

However Savitsky became angry after Beloguzov kept telling him the endings, it has been claimed.

Oleg Beloguzov

Beloguzov the blabbermouth

Savitsky is back home in St Petersburg under house arrest.

He has been charged with attempted murder.

It is believed to the first time a man has been charged with a murder bid in Antartica [sic].

Sadly, Beloguzov appears to have ignored the First Rule of Survival with Another Human Being in Close Quarters Over a Long Period of Time, which is also enshrined in Article 15 of the Antarctic Treaty:

Don’t be annoying.