Archive for the ‘General Knowledge’ Category

In late summer, the stars Altair and Vega are high in the night sky, and the Chinese tell the following love story, of which there are many variations:

A young cowherd named Niulang (Chinese: 牛郎; pinyin: niú láng; literally “the cowherd”, the star Altair) happens across seven fairy sisters bathing in a lake. Encouraged by his mischievous companion the ox, he steals their clothes and waits to see what will happen. The fairy sisters elect the youngest and most beautiful sister Zhinü (simplified Chinese: 织女; traditional Chinese: 織女; pinyin: zhī nǚ; literally “the weaver girl”, the star Vega) to retrieve their clothing. She does so, but since Niulang has seen her naked, she must agree to his request for marriage. She proves to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven (in some versions Zhinü’s mother) finds out that a mere mortal has married one of the fairy girls and is furious. (In another version, the Goddess forced the weaver fairy back to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds in the sky because she could not do her job while married to the mortal.) Down on Earth, Niulang is very upset learning that his wife is gone. Suddenly, his cow begins to talk telling him that if he kills him and puts on his hide, he will be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. With tears flowing, he killed the cow, put on the skin and carrying his two children with him and off he went to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess found out he had come and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratches a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever (thus forming the Milky Way, which separates Altair and Vega).

Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar and takes care of their two children (his flanking stars β and γ Aquilae or by their Chinese names Hè Gu 1 and Hè Gu 3).

But once a year all the magpies in the world take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鵲橋, “the bridge of magpies”, Que Qiao) over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, the seventh night of the seventh moon.

It is said that if it rains on the night of Qi Xi, they are the tears of Niulang and Zhinü crying at the misery of their life.

Believe it or not, it’s raining heavily now.


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We spend one-third of our lives sleeping. Our mind is active even in sleep and our dreams are said to be a reflection of our innermost fears, hopes and desires. Some other people also believe in the power of dreams to predict the future.

Find out the significance of your dreams. What are ordinary symbols by day, whether they are animals, people or things, take on a significance in our dreams at night. By recognising the symbols and understanding your emotions surrounding them, you can unlock the secrets of your most obscure dreams.

Here is a guide to some common dream subjects and their possible meanings:

Such figures strolling into your life mean some form of new authority has entered your schedule – whether it’s a new teacher or your college examinations result.

Haunted House
Being trapped in a place where you feel fear, perhaps overrun with creepy-crawlies, means you have a problem which you don’t want to face. If you walk downstairs you’re looking through your past to find a solution to a problem you may be currently facing.

If you dream about falling off a cliff or experience a sudden falling sensation, it could be a warning that a critical stage has been reached in your life, which requires a conscious course of action to deal with something that’s bothering you. Falling into a hole in a forest or juncle means you are trying to find an answer to a problem in your dreams.

This is one of the commonest fantasy features and illustrates emotion. Deep water in which you are struggling means you are feeling overwhelmed by current events in your life and cannot cope with them. Rough water suggests that you think life is giving you a tough time. Smooth water indicates confidence and contentment.

Feeling your muscles tense up and being unable to breathe as if there was a heavy load crushing your chest is one of the most terrifying dreams or nightmares. People who’ve had this experience say they thought they were dead. The way to end this nightmare is to consciously relax.

Although nasty at the time, they are often simply an indication that a problem needs solving. Being chased through the dark by an unseen terror is among the commonest nightmares. You keep running and never see your pursuer (the problem) because you never find the courage to turn around. The fear could be caused by fear of terrible illness or bad results, the end of a special relationship or loss of any kind.

General scenes of collapse and disruption are a warning that you have not adapted to some upheaval in your life.

For teenage girls there’s a sexual connotation about them. For businessmen, however, a nest of snakes implies threats from rivals.

Violent Attack
Dreaming that someone stabbed you in the back indicates being in the grip of a problem that you can’t handle.

Planes represent ambition. The position of the plane, in the sky or grounded, implies an individual’s level of achievement. If the plane crashes, better, more down-to-earth planning is required.

Normally a good sign as they are the dream-image for friends. A dog snarling or barking, however could be a warning that someone close is feeling jealous or threatened by you.

A baby is a symbol for an idea or scheme. Welcome the baby and you are confident of your idea’s success; reject it and you may be fearing failure.

Getting Lost
Being left alone in a strange town with no familiar faces means you are unsure of your real life position. The future is full of uncertainty.

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You can get almost anything cheaper by using some simple bargaining techniques, says an expert.

Here are some tips for becoming a successful haggler:

  • Bargain with the right person. Don’t waste time on a clerk – go to the storeowner or manager whenever possible.

  • Let the merchant make the first bid. Then just shake your head and walk away slowly. He’ll probably stop you with a lower price.

  • Take the merchant’s time. The more time a salesman invests in you, the more he’ll want to justify it by making a sale. So ask plenty of questions and get him to show you different models or styles.
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  • Bargain within the merchant’s mark-up range. That’s the store’s profit margin.
  • Tell him that the item doesn’t quite meet your needs. He may try to tempt you by lowering the price.
  • Mention other stores selling the item for less. The salesman will often match the lower price.
  • Use cash. It’s a great bargaining tool because a merchant can save by not having to do paperwork for monthly payment and billing charges.

  • Ask what the price includes. If delivery is included, tell him to knock off the value of the service and you’ll get it home yourself, somehow.
  • If a delivery charge isn’t included, tell him you’ll buy it if he throws in free delivery.
  • Look for items already on sale. Merchants realise they’re not going to get full price for these and might be more willing to negotiate.
  • Buy in bulk when possible. It’s easier to get a price break when you’re buying a dozen or more of an item.

  • Bargain Monday through Thursday. Merchants are less likely to bargain on busy days like Friday and the weekend.

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We drink them everytime we pop up at some fast food joint. Nothing like a cold coca-cola on a hot summer day or in the case of Malaysia, every other bloody day. But do you know that this amazing drink has got other uses besides drinking it, you will be surprised. Continue reading and you will know how much you don’t know.
Clean a toilet bowl. Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl. Let the real thing sit for one hour, then brush and flush clean. The phosphoric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

Remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers. Rubbing the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola will help remove rust spots.

Clean corrosion from car battery terminals. Pour a can of carbonated Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

Cook with Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Consumer Information Center offers a free packet of recipes including a Mustard Herb Dressing (an Italian style salad dressing made with one-half cup of Coca-Cola), a Twin Cheese Dip (requiring three-quarter cup of Coca-Cola and doubling as a sandwich filling), and Sweet-Sour Cabbage (using one-half cup of Coca-Cola and two tablespoons of bacon drippings).

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Loosen a rusted bolt. It is suggested that applying a cloth soaked in a carbonated soda to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

Bake a moist ham. Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

Remove grease from clothes. Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy work clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular wash cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

Clean rust in a bathtub. Saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca-Cola and scrub the rust stain. The phosphoric acid in the Coke removes rust.

Clean milk stains from clothes. Saturate the milk stains with a can of Coca-Cola, let the garment sit for five minutes, then launder in your regular wash.

Make barbecue sauce. Make an excellent barbecue sauce by mixing Coca-Cola with Heinz Ketchup. Brush the mixture on chicken or ribs while grilling.

Prevent an asthma attack. If you feel the onset of an asthma attack, drink two cans of Coke. The caffeine in Coke can help thwart an asthma attack, according to the book Home Remedies from the Country Doctor.

Relieve constipation. Drinking a can of the real thing can have a laxative result.

Prevent diarrhea. When traveling through developing countries where the risk of getting diarrhea is high, drinking Coca-Cola helps minimize your chances of getting the trots, according to The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. The acids in Coca Cola help reduce the amount of E. Coli bacteria in your intestines, inhibiting the production of toxins that would otherwise prevent your intestines from absorbing water.

Condition hair. To give your hair a great shine, pour a can of Coca Cola into your hair, working it in well, then rinse your hair with water.

Fertilize azaleas or gardenias. Watering azaleas or gardenias with Classic Coke increases the acidity in the soil, which azaleas love, and boosts plant performance. The sugar in the Coke feeds microorganisms in the soil, increasing the organic matter in the soil.

Clean eyeglasses. The phosphoric acid cleans the grunge from eyeglasses, then rinse with water.

Clean tarnished pennies. Fill a drinking glass with Coca-Cola and drop in the pennies. Let sit for one hour, then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Strip paint off metal patio furniture. Cover the spot you wish to strip for one week with a bath towel saturated with Coca-Cola. Add more Coke every day to keep the towel wet. The paint strips right off.

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Get rid of fruit flies. Use an electric drill with a one-quarter-inch bit to drill a hole in the cap of a two liter Coke bottle. Leave one inch of Classic Coke (not diet or caffeine-free) in the bottom of the bottle, and set outside. Fruit flies will crawl into the bottle to enjoy the Real Thing, but won’t be able to get back out.

Boost a compost bin. Pouring flat Coca-Cola into the compost pile helps jump start the microorganisms. The Real Thing increases the acidity and the sugar feeds the microorganisms, increasing the organic matter in the compost.

Prevent flatulence. Add a can of Coca-Cola to a pot of pinto beans when cooking to neutralize the gas.

Relieve an upset stomach, nausea, or the pangs of food poisoning. Open a can of Coca-Cola, let it sit until it goes flat (roughly thirty minutes), then drink the defizzed real thing. Coca-Cola syrup is used an elixir to cure upset stomaches, and it still works, according to The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. Letting the bubbles out of the soda prevents the carbonation from further upsetting your stomach.

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Kill slugs or snails. Fill jar lids with flat Coca-Cola and set in the garden. Slugs and snails, attracted by sweet soda, will slither into the jar lid and be killed by the acids in the Coke.

Mousse hair. Mix equal parts Coca-Cola and water in a trigger spray bottle and shake well. After getting out of the shower or bath, spray a light coat of the diluted Coke over your hair to give your locks a tousled look.

Soothe a jellyfish sting. Pouring the real thing over a jellyfish sting relieves the stinging pain. The acids in the Coke seem to neutralize the venom.

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Clean blood stains from clothes. Saturate the blood stain with Coca-Cola, let sit five minutes, then launder as usual. Coke removes blood from clothing—even dried blood that has gone through the washing machine and dryer.

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Soothe a sore throat. Gargle with Coca-Cola. The carbonation in the cola loosens phlegm.

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Neutralize skunk odor. Pour four two-liter bottles of Coke into a bucket, sponge yourself down in shower, and rinse clean. The acids in the Coca-Cola kill skunk odor.

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