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Monday, May 30, 2011

The 10 Most Expensive Vehicles of U.S. Military

01. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, better known as the Stealth Bomber, can launch conventional and nuclear weapons against the most heavily protected enemy lines on earth thanks to its ability to evade radar detection. Originally, it was supposed to be manufactured in a run of 132, but it was so expensive that the initial 1987 order was slashed to 21.

The cost of the B-2 program in 1997 was $737 million, or just over $1 billion today. Combined with procurement costs, the B-2 Spirit costs over $2 billion. The craft was first used during the Kosovo War in 1999, and it has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan as well

02. Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey

The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey is a versatile aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities similar to those of a helicopter. However, it’s much faster than any existing chopper and it can fly at speeds as high as those of conventional turboprop airplanes. It was first used for combat in 2007 in Iraq, and the Marine Corps intends to use them in Afghanistan by late 2011.

Unfortunately, the Osprey was plagued by a series of accidents during its design and testing phase between 1991 and 2000, and during that period the aircraft was involved in multiple accidents that caused thirty fatalities. Since 2008, the Osprey program has cost $27 billion, and as of 2010, each unit has cost $67 million.

03. USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

Named for World War II veteran and former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is the final Nimitz supercarrier to be produced for the US Navy. It was commissioned in 2001 and built by Northrop Grumman for a cost of $6.2 billion.

The carrier was completed in 2009, and is docked in Virginia. At almost 1,100 feet in length, it’s one of the longest warships in the world. Its top speed is over 30 knots, which it reaches with the help of two onboard nuclear reactors. This power source is capable of keeping the ship running for more than twenty years without once having to refuel.

04. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II was developed as part of a joint program between the US, the UK and other allies known as the Joint Strike Fighter program. It was developed for use in air, ground and reconnaissance missions, it has a wingspan of 35 feet and a length of over 51 feet. Its internal fuel capacity is over 18,000 pounds and it can reach speeds of 1,200 miles per hour.

The F-35 Lightning II is armed with a 4-barreled Gatling cannon and eight types of missiles, and if all else fails, it also has a B61 nuclear bomb. The cost for one aircraft is $122 million. The US plans to purchase over 2,000 units, at a cost of $323 billion. When this deal was cut in 2001, it made Lockheed Martin the recipient of the largest military contract in history.

05. McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

The F/A-18 Hornet was introduced by McDonnell Douglas and is manufactured by Boeing, who acquired the company in 1997. After making it maiden voyage in 1978, it was introduced in 1983 and since then, it has been used in a variety of capacities. It was used in Operation Desert Storm, and it’s the featured aircraft of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. However, its primary functions are reconnaissance and air support.

The Hornet can reach a maximum speed of 1190 miles per hour, and it can climb up to 50,000 feet in a minute. Outside of the US, the fighter is used by the armed forces of such countries as Australia, Canada and Switzerland, and it has appeared in the 1996 science fiction film Independence Day as the aircraft used to defeat the alien menace. A 2006 report by the US Navy estimated that the cost of one unit is $57 million.

06. Boeing EA-18G Growler

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based fighter used for electronic warfare. It can disrupt radar and jam an enemy communication system with electromagnetic radiation and directed-energy weapons. Because of its use as an electronic warfare fighter, it carries no guns, although it carries missiles for self-defense.

The Growler is a modified version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, and it’s relatively new; it went into production in 2007 and only began operating in September 2009. The aircraft has a wingspan of over 44 feet and a length of over 60 feet. According to the US Navy, it costs $67 million to manufacture a single unit.

07. Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle had its fifteen minutes of fame when 2008 presidential candidate John McCain cited the amphibious assault vehicle as the basis for a costly program that was wasting billions of taxpayer dollars. Developed for the US Marine Corps, it is deployed at sea and transports a full marine rifle squad to shore, then operates on land with the full capabilities of a tank.

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is manufactured by General Dynamics, and the cost for each unit is over $22 million. To date, the program, which is expected to be complete in 2015, has a project cost of $15 billion, $3 billion of which has already been spent. T

08. Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

The E-2 Hawkeye is an airborne early warning aircraft that dates back to the 1960s. It has been upgraded to the E-2B and E-2C models when advances were made to its radar and communications capabilities, but the most recent model, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, is the most sophisticated yet. It features a new radar system that triples the craft’s ability to monitor territory.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, which took its first flight in 2007, costs $232 million to produce. It features a brand new avionics suite, complete with satellite communications capability, and the capability for midair refueling. According to Northrup Grumman, the aircraft began delivery to the US Navy in 2010.

09. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

The C17A Globemaster III is a military transport aircraft in operation since 1993. The plane, which can drop over 100 paratroopers into a war zone at one time, has been used to move troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, and has also been used to deliver humanitarian aid and perform medical evacuations.

The price for one unit is $191 million. McDonnell Douglas developed it during the 1980s for strategic and tactical airlift, and it’s used by the militaries of the U . K . and Canada, as well as by NATO. Both the United Arab Emirates and India are planning to use the aircraft as well.

10. Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

According to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, the F-22 Raptor is the best combat aircraft on earth. While this might seem tantamount to saying your son is brilliant, one look at the aircraft’s capabilities actually bears out the manufacturer’s statement. It can break the sound barrier, it can avoid detection by radar and it can shoot down cruise missiles.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Top 10 Most Visited Parks

1. Great Smoky Mountains

Clouds obscure a valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The nation’s busiest park, Great Smoky Mountains draws more than nine million visitors a year, twice the number of any other national park. It's located in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Great Smoky Mountains

Fog casts a veil over Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains at 6,643 feet. The park preserves the world’s best examples of deciduous forest and a matchless variety of plants and animals.

2. Grand Canyon

The setting sun strikes the Grand Canyon's North Rim. Nearly five million people travel to the canyon each year.

Grand Canyon

A visitor takes in the view from the South Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Ninety percent of travelers first see the canyon from the South Rim, but crowds can be avoided by hiking the park’s many trails or driving to the cool evergreen forests of the North Rim.

3. Yosemite

The 317-foot Vernal Fall is seen from a gorge in California’s Yosemite National Park. In addition to waterfalls, the park boasts deep valleys, ancient sequoias, and hundreds of animal species.


Winter sunlight appears to set Yosemite National Park’s Horsetail Fall aflame. The third most visited national park, Yosemite is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

4. Yellowstone

Fog from a nearby hot spring nearly conceals two bison grazing on winter grasses in Yellowstone National Park. The park is also home to elk, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, and other Rocky Mountain fauna.


The Lone Star Geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park. Located in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, the park has more geysers and hot springs than anywhere else on Earth.

5. Rocky Mountain

Sweeping vistas are a main attraction at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The park contains 150 lakes and 450 miles of streams, plus ecosystems ranging from wetlands to pine forests to montane areas to alpine tundra.

Rocky Mountain

An elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. A wide variety of animals inhabit the park, including beaver, elk, and bighorn sheep, as well as many bird species.

6. Olympic

Rock outcroppings called sea stacks are home to birds and other animals on the Pacific shore of Washington’s Olympic National Park. The shore is one of three distinct ecosystems within the park.


Olympic National Park encompasses 1,441 square miles of the Olympic Peninsula. Because of the park’s relatively unspoiled condition and outstanding scenery, UNESCO has declared it both an international biosphere reserve and a World Heritage site.

7. Grand Teton

Autumn brings vibrant color to a valley in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Though visitors can enjoy the park year-round, September and October bring pleasant days, brisk nights, fewer crowds, and a better chance of seeing elk than in summer.

Grand Teton

The peaks of the Teton Range are seen at sunrise from Schwabacher Landing, a popular viewing point. Unencumbered by foothills, the regal and imposing peaks make one of the boldest geologic statements in the Rockies.

8. Zion

Rising in Utah’s high plateau country, the Virgin River carves its way through Zion Canyon to the desert below. The park’s striking vertical topography—rock towers, sandstone canyons, and sharp cliffs—attracts 2.5 million visitors a year.


A climber tests a sandstone boulder in Utah’s Zion National Park. Established in 1919, Zion has more than 100 miles of wilderness trails crisscrossing the backcountry.

9. Acadia

Sea and mountain meet at Acadia National Park in Maine. Most of the park is on Mount Desert Island, a patchwork of parkland, private property, and seaside villages.


Eagle Lake is visible from a wooded hill at Acadia National Park. The park has more than 120 miles of hiking trails, which range from easy strolls along the ocean to steep climbs up Cadillac and other mountains.

10. Cuyahoga Valley

Although Brandywine Falls draws most of the tourists to Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park, less crowded Blue Hen Falls, pictured here, offers an oasis in the middle of a heavily forested valley.

Cuyahoga Valley

A cardinal perches on a branch along the popular Towpath Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Established in 2000, the park features marshes with abundant wildlife, vistas of tree-covered hills, and secluded trails through rugged gorges

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hippo vs. Lion [video]

Waxed Bollywood Stars at Madame Tussauds

Kareena Kapoor has become the latest Bollywood star to join the brigade of waxed celebs at Madame Tussauds. She will be the only other woman in Bollywood, apart from Aishwarya Rai, to have a wax statue in Madame Tussauds.

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan was the first Bollywood actor to have a wax statue at Madame Tussauds and seeing the heights he has achieved in his long career, it is not hard to guess why. In fact, Bachchan was the first Asian to have been immortalised in wax. His statues are in London, New York and Hong Kong.

Aishwarya Rai

Aishwarya Rai became the sixth Indian and the second Bollywood celebrity to get the honour in 2004. The statue is dressed in a heavily embroidered red crepe chiffon sari wearing a kundan set. Ash also became the first Indian celebrity to have her wax model displayed at the Madame Tussauds Museum in the historic Times Square in New York.

Shah Rukh Khan

It was in 2007 that a life-size wax statue of Shah Rukh Khan was installed at Madame Tussauds. He followed the footsteps of two of the most recognisable Indian stars at the global front.

Salman Khan

If SRK could have his wax statue made, how could Salman be left behind? The very next year, Salman Khan became the fourth Indian star to have a wax replica of him at Madame Tussauds. Though Salman and Aishwarya could not be together in real life, they will always by each other's side at the British museum.

Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan was the last Bollywood star to get waxed at the museum. He unveiled his wax statue early this year. The wax replica payed homage to one of his most admired roles viz. 'Dhoom 2'. He is the youngest Indian actor, till date, to have his waxwork at Madame Tussauds.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kids of Bollywood Stars

Aryan and Suhana Khan

SRK's two kids are as enthusiastic and passionate as their father. While Aryan is known as a tech buff, Suhana is reported to be quite a diva already. They are both mastering the art of Taekwondo with both parents taking active interest in all their other activities too. Shah Rukh does not let his superstar status fall ahead of his kids and he he is always seen trying his level best to be the perfect father.

Aarav Bhatia

Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna's only son is pampered by his family a lot. Apparently Aarav wants to become a drummer and have his own rock band when he grows up. Junior Akki has even won the Green Globe Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Child. He was apparently the youngest person to have sponsored a village under the "Light a Billion Lives" campaign.

Nysa Devgan

Little Miss Devgn, all of 8, apparently, is not very fond of cameras as her parents are as she was seen in a grumpy mood recently, when photographers were snapping her pictures. According to mommy Kajol, Nysa is an even better actress than her. That, coming from such a heavyweight of acting, is a sure sign that this daughter will step into her mother's shoes very well.

Arhaan Khan

Arhaan is the son of Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora and is 8 years old. He is the apple of everyone's eye in the Khan household which includes uncle Salman Khan. According to mom Malaika, "Arhaan is the best thing that happened to me" and it was Arhaan who helped saved her marriage to Arbaaz which proves that he is the ultimate priority for both parents.

Sara and Ibrahim Ali Khan

The two are the kids of Saif Ali Khan and ex-wife, Amrita Singh. Saif and Amrita, who split in 2004, however, make sure that their separation does not make a difference in their kids' life. Sara and Ibrahim stay with Amrita and her family but spend ample time with daddy, Saif.

Myra and Mahikaa Rampal

Myra and Mahikaa, aged 6 and 9, are the beloved daughters of Arjun and Mehr Rampal. The two girls lead very normal lives thanks to their parents, who do not want to join the bandwagon of other parents who want their kids to excel in everything. Myra and Mahikaa even turned budding musicians after seeing their father's fantastic performance on the movie 'Rock On'.

Samaira Kapur

Samaira Kapur is the daughter of one time No.1 actress Karisma Kapur and Sanjay Kapur. After her birth, her parents' marriage turned bitter and led to a nasty court battle for divorce and custody of Samaira who was a newborn then.However, the issue is settled now and the family leads a happy life after the arrival of Kiaan Raj Kapur, Karisma and Sanjay's son.

Renee Sen

Sushmita Sen brought Renee home in the year 2000 and her little sibling, Alisah in 2010. Having one of the coolest moms, is probably the best thing Renee could have ever asked for. Sushmita Sen dotes on her daughters and everything takes a backseat for her when her daughters need her.

Renee is an extremely intelligent girl and has traits similar to her mom as stated by Sush's mother.

Hrehaan and Hridhaan Roshan

When not playing intense roles on screen, Hrithik is busy with his two sons, Hrehaan and Hridhaan. The sons have inherited their parents' good looks and extreme good manners as well. The two tiny Roshans are the centre of the world for Susanne and Hrithik and also capture the fancy of their parents' admirers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Top 10 Tragedies in the Sky

Dorjee Khandu (April 30, 2011)

The body of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu was found in an inaccessible village in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday. He took off in a Pawan Hans helicopter from Tawang at 9:50 am on April 30.

Last radio contact with the chopper was established at 10:10 am of the same day. The area where the chopper flew is notorious for extreme weather conditions and in case of an engine failure, chances of a safe landing are slim. Besides, the single-engine Pawan Hans helicopter he flew in is not a very reliable machine.

Subhas Chandra Bose (August 18, 1945)

Several theories of Bose's death have surfaced after 1945. But according to the most plausible theory, the great freedom fighter is believed to have died in a plane crash in Taihoku near Taipei in Taiwan while en route to Tokyo. The Japanese plane he was travelling on had some trouble in the engine and when it crashed Bose was badly burned and died in a hospital four hours later.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha (January 24, 1966)

Renowned Indian nuclear physicist died when the Air India Flight 101 he was travelling on crashed near Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966. Many theories have been advanced for the crash. Some say that it was a conspiracy by the CIA to hamper the India's nuclear ambitions by killing the Father of India's Nuclear Programme.

Sanjay Gandhi (June 23, 1980)

The younger son of Indira Gandhi died in an air crash near Safdarjang Airport in New Delhi. He was flying a new aircraft of the Delhi Flying Club and while performing a loop over his office, lost control and crashed. His co-passenger, Captain Subhash Saxena also lost his life

Madhavrao Scindia (September 30, 2001)

Scindia, a prominent Indian politicial and member of the Scindia royal family, was on his way to Kanpur to address a party rally when his 10-seater chartered plane crashed near Bhogaon Tehsil of Mainpuri district of Central Uttar Pradesh. Air Traffic Control lost contact with the plane about 25 minutes after take-off from Delhi.

GMC Balayogi (Mar 3, 2002)

Bell 206, the chopper carrying the first Dalit Lok Sabha speaker crashed in Kaikalur, West Godavri District, Andhra Pradesh. The helicopter carrying the Speaker developed a technical snag soon after it took off from Bhimavaram in West Godavari District.

Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (September 2, 2009)

The then Andhra Pradesh chief minister (and a leader who had an intense mass appeal) took off in a Bell 430 helicopter from Hyderabad and soon encountered bad weather. Air Traffic controllers lost contact with the chopper shortly and it eventually crashed in Nallamalla forest area. YSR's death was confirmed the next day

Ramon Masaysay (March 17, 1957)

At 1 AM on March 17, he boarded his Manila-bound presidential plane 'Mt. Pinatubo'. His plane went missing in the early morning hours of March 17 and it was confirmed later during the day that it had crashed on Mt. Manunggal near the Cebu city in Philippines.

Yuri Gargarin (March 27, 1968)

He was the first man to make a voyage to the outer space. He was on a routine training flight on a MiG-15UTI when it crash landed near the town of Kirzhach in Russia. The cause of the jet crash is still not certain and there has been lot of speculation (including conspiracy theories) on his death.

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (August 17, 1988)

The Pakistani president took-off smoothly in his C-130 Hercules aircraft but the control tower lost contact with the plane after some time. It was observed that the plane flew erratically and eventuall nosedived and exploded to impact.

Hansie Cronje (June 1, 2002)

The South African cricketer was aboard a Kawker Siddeley HS 748 turbopop aircraft. When the plane was about to land at the airport in George (a city in South Africa), the pilots lost visibility in clouds. Their navigational equipment was unusable to a good extent. The plane ultimately crashed into the Outeniqua mountains