Don’t Drop It! 4 Ridiculous Cargo Spills

Enjoy this fun and random post. The whale one made me want to laugh and grimace in disgust at the same time!

We’re told not to cry over spilt milk but I think it’s perfectly reasonable to shed a tear when more than 2,000 crates of beer are left scattered all over the road. And this is just one of many incidents where bizarre items have been dropped.

Beer

No one likes to waste a drop of beer. Most of us get upset when we spill the tiniest amount as we walk away from the bar, so spare a thought for the driver who spilt 2,184 crates of Grolsch larger all over the road.

The accident occurred when two vehicles collided, but luckily neither driver was hurt. The road was closed for a few hours to give the authorities a chance to clean up all the broken glass. Well that’s their story, but I think they were just trying to drink as much as they could before it ran away.

Rubber Ducks

Your average housebound rubber duck must go to sleep dreaming of a life spent freely bobbing around the world’s oceans. But this dream became a reality for 29,000 of the little yellow fellows who were spilled into the Pacific Ocean by a cargo ship 15 years ago and have since travelled more than 17,000 miles.

Scientists have tracked the packs movements and used the incident to highlight the environmental problems caused when cargo is lost overboard. After the spill 10,000 ducks drifted north and reached Western Europe after a frozen spell in the arctic. The other 19,000 decided to swim down south and have been washed up in South America, Indonesia and Australia.

Cocaine

This guy from Colombia has got to be the worst drug smuggler in the world. In 2007 a man was driving a truck with a ton of cocaine hidden from the authorities in the vehicles roof and walls. You’d think he’d want to stick to the speed limit to avoid any unwanted attention from the authorities, but that would have been too sensible.

The accident happened on a winding road in Bogota when the driver took a corner too fast, clipped the curb and rolled his vehicle. The class A drugs were scattered all over the road and although the driver came through the incident without any serious injuries he was arrested on the spot.

A Sperm Whale

Don’t worry, this whale was already dead when its entrails were blasted all over a road running through Tainan, a city in Taiwan. Scientists were transporting the 60 ton carcass to their research laboratory for an autopsy when a build-up of natural gas inside the whale’s body combined with the speed of transit caused the carcass to explode.

The whale was 56 foot long, so it created a bit of a mess in the city. And I’d imagine that the smell of a rotting whale carcass isn’t something most people want to encounter on a sunny afternoon. What a horrible scene.

When he’s not dropping Coco Pops all over his Kitchen floor Adam Harrow works as a copywriter for Find Me A Gift, where you’ll find the best men’s gifts for all occasions.

Essential Inventions You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

I love these kinds of posts, just because they’re unique and they help to get my brain churning on different book ideas. Enjoy!

If you were asked to think of the world’s most important and essential inventions, you would probably come up with things like the computer, antibiotics, anesthetics, electricity … things like that.

But without the inventions listed below, many of those innovations would never have come to pass. Mankind has been inventing since the very dawn of man, and many of the things we take for granted today simply did not exist until some bright spark came up with an idea and made them into reality.

 

Coins

Before the invention of coins, the only way you could exchange something you had for something you wanted was to barter it.

Let’s say you had grain and wanted a pig. If you could not find someone with a pig who wanted grain, you would have to barter your grain for something they did want.

Apart from the time this would take, you would also need to transport the grain and worry about it spoiling before you had made your deal. The invention of coins cut away all of this difficulty and made it possible to save the proceeds of a sale for a future purchase.

Imagine heading down to a shop and trying to barter your crops for some remote control window shades and you will realize just how essential the concept of money is to your daily life!

 

Alcohol

Alcohol was not always just something that was drunk for fun. Before the development of modern sanitation, germ theory and medicine, drinking water was a dangerous proposition. While people might not have known that water was full of tiny germs, they did know that it made them sick. So, what did they do?

They brewed beer and drank it instead. The alcohol in the beer helped to kill of the bacteria and other microorganisms that made people sick when they drank water. In addition, brewing beer helped to get nutrients out of the grains, so that a drink of beer was almost a meal.

Without the invention of alcohol, a large number of people would have died from drinking dirty water.

 

Writing

In the western world today almost everyone can write. Indeed, literacy is one of the most important ways to measure how developed a country is. With reading and writing being taught from such an early age, it is hard for us to remember the concept of writing did not always exist – someone had to invent it.

More likely, it was several someone’s working together in communities all across humanity. With writing, messages do not need to be transmitted from person to person, with misunderstandings and confusion. The wisdom of your ancestors can live on after they have died, and you can leave messages for others.

Now that you know more about inventions, you might want to get more acquainted with today’s technology, like remote control window shades.

Post written by guest blogger Shane.

A Tale of Two (Mythical!) Cities

Shamballa

‘Sambhala’ or ‘Shamballa’ as it is sometimes referred to in the West today is a spiritual place, a place mentioned in Buddhist Kalachaklra Tantra texts and claimed to exist in the physical world. Many ideas about where Shamballa and its capital city ‘Kalapa’ were actually located exist but all are focussed around the central Asian area. From near Tibet to South Siberia, the accounts vary widely.

Shamballa is or was ruled over by a King or ‘Kalki’ and its population is said to be made up of only enlightened individuals. Only people who have amassed the right amount of Karma can reach the place. It’s a pure land, a pure Buddhist land, but appears to have its roots in an earlier Hindu myth. It is said that it can be found in outer, inner and alternative states, outer being a physical place, inner being in the mind and one’s self and alternative being reached through meditation.

There have been many attempts in the 20th century to find the physical place of Shamballa but none have been successful. A soviet expedition went to Tibet in 1924 and an expedition was sent on three occasions to Tibet during the 1930’s by the Nazi party to find Aryan links and in turn Shamballa.

The myths of Shamballa have had an influence on the modern world too. Some brands have adopted the word ‘Shamballa’ to describe their products such as the Rocks Shamballa Crystal watches. Shamballa in this sense describes bracelets that contain semi-precious stones which are thought to contain therapeutic attributes. This ties in well with the idea of the place of Shamballa as the practice of Shamballa bracelets like those that make up the Rocks Shamballa Crystal watches have their routes in ancient traditions of meditation and spirituality.

Atlantis

I think it’s okay to say that Atlantis is the most famous mythical city / continent in the world. It is said that throughout history, the story of Atlantis has been considered a myth and that it is only in more modern times that anyone has taken the claims seriously. In recent years Atlantis had received a lot of press. There was the Disney film ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’ in 2001 and the possible sighting of the city on Google Ocean in 2009 which featured prominently in many tabloid newspapers. The latter claimed to show a grid structure the size of Wales off of the coast of West Africa.

Atlantis is said to be an island or a group of islands, home to an advanced civilisation that was wiped off of the face of the Earth by an earthquake and subsequent floods nearly 12,000 years ago. Many people have theorised as to the exact location of the mythical city since Plato mentioned it in 360 BC. He said “the pillars of Heracles”, a term referring to the strait between modern day Spain and Morocco with the northern pillar being generally accepted as the Rock of Gibraltar. There is still some dispute as to the identity of the southern pillar however. This would tie in with the theory that the continent was located off of the coast of Africa. A quick Google search of “Atlantis location theories” will throw up a long list of sites that have been theorised and make for a good read.

One of the sites mentioned is Santorini. Santorini an island in the Mediterranean and was hit by a large eruption which devastated the Minoan island and the city of Akrotiri. Much has been learnt of the devastation through archaeological excavations at Akrotiri. It is thought by some that this was in fact Atlantis, whilst others believe that it was served as the inspiration for a myth, started by Plato in his writings.

Citations:

iclikd.com have a great selection of Rocks Shamballa Crystal watches available in a multitude of colours.

Hope you enjoyed this guest post! I think this kind of stuff is fascinating and can always spark an idea for a novel. 🙂

Artistic Grammar

When my manuscript for Dissension was in its early stages, I had a friend of mine read it so she could give me some feedback. She wasn’t adept at critiquing novels, but had a good amount of experience with copy editing essays and such.

So when she finished reading it, she first told me how much she loved it. (Thank you!) Then she went on to tell me about all of my grammatical errors that needed fixing. When she said that I should never, ever begin a sentence with the words “and” or “but”, I had to disagree with her.

I mean, sure – I went to school and I really do know all of those kinds of basics in the English language. However, when it comes to writing fiction, I feel like we authors have the right to word things in a more artistic manner. I have read plenty of novels that have a lot of sentences beginning with the words “and” or “but”. I also will have a sentence break with “then” instead of the proper “and then” every once in a while just because it sounds like the sentence will flow better that way.

I believe this should especially apply to dialogue. People do not go around saying things like, “Jimmy and I are going to get ice cream. Would you like to join us as well?” Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with someone saying something like that. But realistically, the average person would say something more along the lines of, “Hey, we’re gettin’ some ice cream. Wanna come?” The more unique you can write a character’s dialogue to their talking style, the easier it will be for your readers to understand who is saying what. A good example is the dialogue I used above. You can easily make a guess about the kind of characters with those two different sentences. One might say the first quote is by someone who is more educated/sophisticated. The second could be by someone who’s more down to earth/easy going.

We had a little debate in my critique group the other day about something grammatical.  Person 1 said that person 2’s paragraphs weren’t correct. Person 1 thought that person 2 should turn a three sentence paragraph into two paragraphs because the context shifted slightly in those sentences. Person 2 didn’t agree, and both turned to me to see what my take on the matter was. I simply shrugged and said that I thought it was a fine enough detail that it should be the author’s prerogative to choose what they liked best. That seemed to satisfy them. They agreed with me that it is part of an author’s artistic style in how they use grammar.

With all that being said, do understand that I’m not saying anything goes here. You can’t write a novel without basic spelling and grammar used correctly. I have looked at some people’s work that they’ve posted online and been appalled by some of the things they wrote. So please, don’t read this and think that you can have your manuscript looking like it came straight from texting or from Twitter! 🙂

The point that I am trying to make is that there are certain areas in fictional writing that can be altered to match an author’s writing style. If I were trying to write my work to be perfect in the grammatical sense, I wouldn’t sound like me. I would sound more like a text book or like I was trying to write an essay instead of describe characters and plot.