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Posted on Feb 01, 02:07PM | IANS
By Nury Vittachi : A group of Asian sailors reached Australia 4,000 years before Captain Cook, scientists recently learned. And Australian dogs, known as dingoes, are probably descended from the dogs on that ship, the same DNA studies revealed. Wow, just imagine that first historic encounter.
INDIAN SAILOR: Namaste, esteemed indigenous persons! How would you like us to address you? Aboriginals, Maoris?
ABORIGINAL: G'day, mate. The Maoris are next door. We use clan names, so I'm a Koori.
SAILOR: Really? That is similar to our word "curry", which we use for food. This, for example, is a delicious curry called fish tikka masala.
ABORIGINAL: Strewth! Smells ripper. But tell me: Why do some of you have four legs and go round sniffing people's bottoms?
SAILOR: We are calling those members of our team "dogs". They eat the rodents on our ship. We note you have many giant rodents hopping around.
ABORIGINAL: No worries, they can eat as many kangas as they like; we're over-run with the buggers.
INDIAN DOG: Woohoo! Food City!
And so, with a meeting something like the above, the dingo was born, and Asian and Australian gene pools were joined forever.
Reader Karuna Menon tells me that ancient Sangam literature specifically mentions a lost land south of India - a reference to Australia?
Washington woman Donna Lange, 51, was recently accused of smothering her boyfriend to death with her breasts. How did police work this out? Was the corpse smiling?
The Chinese government just passed a new law forcing children to visit their parents or face jail time. I see a problem here. I know several young people who will say: "A week in jail or a week at mom's? SAME THING."
An Air India pilot let her snack addiction over-ride orders from bosses, various media reported recently. Passengers were stuck after Captain Smriti Trehan ignored orders to fly them from Mumbai to Delhi, opting instead to fly a different plane to Jodhpur to buy kachoris (onion pastries), they said. I would love to have heard her cabin announcement: "This is your captain speaking. Don't eat the inflight muck, follow me after landing for a SERIOUSLY cool snack."
Why is everyone raving about how wonderful technology is? I thought that by 2013 we would have spaceships to Mars. Instead we have leaf blowers.
Someone forwarded me a photo of "Mike the Murasai", a fish found near Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant last week. Mike looks normal, but contains 2,500 times the legally allowed limit of radiation. Why call it "Mike"? Surely "Lance Armstrong" would have been a better name?
A parable of modern life: To stop my kids sitting and staring in silence at little screens all day, I forced them to invite their buddies around. Now I have several families' kids sitting around my apartment staring silently at little screens.
Scientists at Toyota HQ have now created driverless cars to match the Google ones in America, a Japanese reader named Ren tells me. The driverless revolution is coming. I can't wait.
About one in 20 taxi-drivers, in my experience, has SERIOUS digestive problems.
I got into a taxi once and I swear there was NOT ONE MOLECULE of breathable air inside. It had all been replaced by lethal gas processed by the driver's colon, which was basically the biochemical weapon that United Nations weapons inspectors have spent years seeking in Iraq. I spent most of the ride with the upper half of my body hanging out of the window.
Filipino reader Otis Schindler told me he plans to get a driverless car with a remote camera to drive from his bed. "If the car gets stuck at a red light, no problem. You can get some snack from the fridge and wait for a green light," he said.
Reader Athena Huang envisaged a world where everybody works from home, but driverless cars scoot around so that the roads and bridges, etc, "aren't wasted". Right, Athena. And let's also shoot people so that guns aren't wasted and set off all the nuclear bombs so they aren't wasted too.
Lawyer Thomas Lowe billed a client for times they met to have sex, a court in the US heard recently, in a report forwarded by several readers. This stinks. When real lawyers behave this badly, those of us who spend hours thinking up lawyer jokes are totally out-grossed.
Are you a lonely loser who sometimes has to eat by himself in a restaurant with only your phone for company? I am. Miso Soup Design, a Japanese-American firm, has come to our rescue. They've made a large bowl with a stand on the opposite side that holds your phone up, so you can read the screen while you eat. It is so big and distinctive that people will stare at you from all over the restaurant thinking, and possibly saying out loud: "What a loser!" I GOTTA have one.
Samsung will soon launch a Wi-Fi fridge, the Korean company announced recently. Hotspots are spreading through Asia. When this columnist set up our home Wi-Fi hotspot, we named it "DON'T STEAL OUR WIFI". But then we thought our neighbours may feel accused of being untrustworthy. So we changed it to "POLICE INTERNET MONITORING SERVICE". No one EVER hooks into our Wi-Fi capacity.
The Hayaa (extremist religious police) of Saudi Arabia recently shut down a dinosaur show and ordered all the children out, the Economist reported. They wouldn't say what law was broken. Theories are circulating on Twitter: 1) Male and female dinosaurs illegally appearing in one show. 2) Female dinosaurs seen in public without male guardians. 3) Dinosaurs not wearing hijabs. I think the hard truth is that Hayaa bosses felt there was only room in the country for one set of ancient anachronistic creatures "and that's us".
A message to all wives on behalf of all husbands: If we tell you we'll fix it, we'll fix it. You don't have to keep reminding us every six months. Geez!
(01.02.2013 - Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send him comments or ideas via www.mrjam.org)