Coconut Head Smashing Festival

From Thaindian news:

In a unique ritual, a priest broke coconuts over the devotees” heads during a temple festival in a village in Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu, as part of their abeyance to the deity.

The ritual, which is unique to the festival of Veerapathiran Samy temple, is an annual ritual in which hundreds of devotees participated on Wednesday at Parvathanullur village

By breaking the coconuts over their heads, the devotees pay gratitude to the deity for fulfilling their wishes.

“The people of around seven-eight villages got together to celebrate this Veerapathiran Samy temple festival. Hundreds of the devotees come here and break coconuts on their heads for offering prayers to the deity. Devotees taking part in this ritual should maintain some devotional discipline then only the coconut will break, otherwise, they might suffer injuries,” said Muniyappan, the temple priest.

(via Blame it on the Voices)

Documenting the Return of U.S. War Dead

From The Big Picture:

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush implemented a ban on media coverage of returning war dead and their dignified transfer process at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Shortly after he assumed office, President Barack Obama asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review this policy, and Gates later reversed it, giving family members of the fallen the right to allow or disallow media coverage. On April 5th, 2009, the repatriation of the remains of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Meyers became the first such event to be covered by the press in 18 years. This process has taken place, undocumented, over 5,000 times since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001. Collected here are photographs documenting the transfers of nine soldiers that have taken place since April 5th, 2009.

The Cost of Running YouTube

From Slate:

Everyone knows that print newspapers are our generation’s horse-and-buggy; in the most wired cities, they’ve been pummeled by competition from the Web. But it might surprise you to learn that one of the largest and most-celebrated new-media ventures is burning through cash at a rate that makes newspapers look like wise investments. It’s called YouTube: According a recent report by analysts at the financial-services company Credit Suisse, Google will lose $470 million on the video-sharing site this year alone. To put it another way, the Boston Globe, which is on track to lose $85 million in 2009, is five times more profitable—or, rather, less unprofitable—than YouTube. All so you can watch this helium-voiced oddball whenever you want.

YouTube’s troubles are surprisingly similar to those faced by newspapers. Just like your local daily, the company is struggling to sell enough in advertising to cover the enormous costs of storing and distributing its content. Newspapers have to pay to publish and deliver dead trees; YouTube has to pay for a gargantuan Internet connection to send videos to your computer and the millions of others who are demanding the most recent Dramatic Chipmunk mash-up. Google doesn’t break out YouTube’s profits and losses on its earnings statements, and of course it’s possible that Credit Suisse’s estimates are off. But if the analysts are at all close, YouTube, which Google bought in 2006, is in big trouble. As Benjamin Wayne, the CEO of the rival video-streaming company Fliqz, pointed out in a recent article for Silicon Alley Insider, not even Google can long sustain a company that’s losing close to half a billion dollars a year.

(via GeekPress)

Fan Fights NY Yankees ‘God Bless America’ Ejection

From Yahoo! Sports:

NEW YORK (AP)—A baseball fan who says he was ejected from Yankee Stadium by police after he left his seat to use the bathroom during the playing of “God Bless America” sued the New York Yankees and the city on Wednesday.

Bradford Campeau-Laurion says in his federal lawsuit his rights were violated at an Aug. 26 game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox when he tried to pass a police officer.

The lawsuit said the officer did not let him take a step before grabbing his right arm and twisting it behind him. It said two officers marched him down several ramps to the stadium’s exit, where he was pushed out as one officer told him to leave the country if he didn’t like it.

Campeau-Laurion, a director of Web productions for a media company, does not participate in religious services and objects to being required to do so, the lawsuit said. He is proud to be an American but objects to being required to participate in displays of patriotism, it added.

“God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin in 1918, was played at big league ballparks throughout the country when baseball resumed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It was discontinued in some cities the following seasons but remained a fixture at Yankees games, at which security personnel and ushers use chains to block off some exits while it’s played.

City lawyer Muriel Goode-Trufant said the city hadn’t seen the lawsuit but planned to review it thoroughly. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a ruling that the city and the Yankees acted unconstitutionally.