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The Taj Mahal made it to the final list of the new Seven Wonders of the World, much to the pride and joy of Indians.

The final list is:
The Great Wall, China
Petra, Jordan
Christ Redeemer, Brazil
Machu Picchu, Peru
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
The Roman Colosseum, Italy
The Taj Mahal, India

This was the first ever global vote with more than 100 million votes determining the final list.

The announcement of the final wonders was made in Lisbon on the ‘auspicious’ and rare date 7 July 2007. The event was hosted by actors Ben Kingsley, Bipasha Basu, and Hilary Swank.

The original Seven Wonders, referred to as The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World, were selected over 2000 years ago, making this a rare event in world history.

Interestingly enough, seven wonders were selected because seven has been proven as the maximum number of things the average person can remember!

2000: Colin Powell becomes the first black secretary of state.

2002: Halle Berry becomes the first black woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress.

2002: Vonetta Flowers becomes the first black female US athlete to win a gold medal in a Winter Olympics. She wins in the women's bobsleigh event on February 19th.

2005: Condoleezza Rice, the first black woman to serve as US secretary of state.

2007: Tony Dungy becomes the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.

E-mail, blogs and chat rooms are an inseparable part of our internet vocabulary. We use these words and the features themselves almost every single time we log onto the internet. These features were incorporated into the internet almost as soon as the internet evolved into a global phenomenon. Here is a look at how they began.

First E-Mail Service
With the development in the early 1960's of timesharing computers that could run more than one program at once, many research organizations wrote programs to exchange text messages and even real-time chat among users at different terminals. However, these early systems were limited to use by the group of people using one computer. In the early 1970's, Ray Tomlinson was working on a small team developing the TENEX operating system, with local email programs called SNDMSG and READMAIL. In late 1971, Tomlinson developed the first ARPANET email application when he updated SNDMSG by adding a program called CPYNET, capable of copying files over the network, and informed his colleagues by sending them an email using the new program with instructions on how to use it. To extend the addressing to the network, Tomlinson chose the "commercial at" symbol to combine the user and host names, providing the naturally meaningful notation "user@host" that is the standard for email addressing till today.

First Blog
Initially, the USENET application (early internet) featured the Moderated Newsgroup which allowed all posting in a newsgroup to be under the control of an individual or small group. Most such newsgroups were simply moderated discussion forums; however, in 1983-84, one exception, named mod.ber, was created by E. Redmond. Regularly, Redmond and a few associates posted summaries of interesting postings and threads taking place elsewhere on the net. With its serial journal publishing style, presence on the pre-HTTP web and strong similarity to the common blog form which features links to interesting places on the net chosen by the blogger, mod.ber had many of the characteristics commonly associated with the modern term ‘blog’.

First Chat System

IRC was born during the summer of 1988 when Jarkko "WiZ" Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server at the University of Oulu, Finland. Jarkko intended to extend the software he administrated to allow news exchange and real time discussions. The first part he implemented was the chat part, which he did with borrowed parts written by his friends Jyrki Kuoppala and Jukka Pihl. It was initially tested on a single machine and worked without too many glitches, leading to the development of the first chat system. Jarkko got in touch with the University of Denver and Oregon State University. They had got an IRC network running and wanted to connect to the Finnish network. IRC then grew larger and got used on the entire Finnish national network - Funet - and then connected to Nordunet, the Scandinavian branch of the Internet. In November 1988, IRC had spread across the Internet.

Games are a part of all our lives. We play different games for fun, as recreation and as professionals. But the origin of these games and their evolution is just as interesting as the games themselves. They all started from simple forms and finally ended up as complex sports with rules and points systems. Here are the origins of some popular games we enjoy playing.


The modern game of badminton is possibly a descendant of a popular children's game called Battledores and Shuttlecocks played in medieval England. British Army officers posted in Pune, India, gave badminton its present form in the 19th century when they added a net and played it competitively. As the city of Pune was formerly known as Poona, the game was also known as Poona at that time. Some of the officers went home and introduced the new sport in Britain during the early 1870s. The game owes its name to the Duke of Beaufort's country place, Badminton, where the game was played at a lawn party hosted by the Duke. In the 1920s, badminton acquired an organized structure in India and all India tournaments began to be hosted in the thirties.


Tennis origins are almost unknown. Some people trust it came out as a variation of those ancient ball games practiced by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Some others believe it comes from a Roman game called "harpastum", and was adapted in the Basque country, where it was named "jeu do paume" because the ball was hit on a wall with the hands. In the Twelfth Century, "paume" were spread all over France, with many modifications - rules and fields configurations. It was no longer played hitting the ball on a wall, but on a rectangle divided by a rope. Thus, "longue-paume" appeared, being played by up to six players on each side of the rope. The racket, Italian invention, appeared in the Fourteenth Century, making the game less violent, more interesting and easier to be played. With the appearance of the rubber ball in Great Britain an outdoor tennis, or "Real Tennis", quite similar to "court-paume", emerged.

Table Tennis

The origin of table tennis has never been exactly pinpointed, even though it's a relatively young sport. The earliest known form of the sport, called indoor tennis, was played in the early 1880s by British army officers in India and South Africa, using lids from cigar boxes as paddles and rounded corks from wine bottles as balls, with a row of books set up across the middle of a table to form the net. Other versions developed in England during the 1890s, known variously as "whiff whaff" and "gossima," and Parker Brothers began manufacturing an indoor tennis kit that included a portable net that could be set up on a table, a small ball covered with netting, and miniature paddles. James Gibb, an Englishman who visited the United States in 1900, brought some hollow celluloid balls home and began playing indoor tennis with friends, using the new balls. Gibb apparently came up with the name "ping pong," representing the sounds of the ball hitting the paddle and then the table.
Famous Female Firsts

Throughout the ages women have defied the odds and subverted gender stereotypes to make their marks. Female pioneers have made several valuable contributions to various fields and have paved the way for future generations. Here are some famous firsts by women -


Mary Katherine Goddard and her widowed mother become publishers of the Providence Gazette newspaper and the annual West's Almanack, making her the first woman publisher in America. In 1775, Goddard became the first woman postmaster in the country (in Baltimore), and in 1777 she became the first printer to offer copies of the Declaration of Independence that included the signers' names. In 1789 Goddard opened a Baltimore bookstore, probably the first woman in America to do so.

Heads Of State

In 1960 Sirivamo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became the world's first female elected Prime Minister and in 1974 Isabel Perón of Argentina became the first woman President - one woman had been Acting Head of Government and two women Acting Heads of State before that. Today the only two countries, which have never had a female member of government in at least a sub-ministerial position, are Monaco and Saudi Arabia. The Vatican has got one Assistant Vice-Minister. In 1999, Sweden became the first country to have more female ministers than male - 11 women and 9 men.

Nobel Laureates

In 1903 Marie Curie became the first female Nobel Laureate who was awarded the prize in Physics in recognition of the extraordinary services she rendered in research on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel. In 1911 she was Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element. Women have been winning Nobel Prizes ever since. In fact, one woman, Bertha von Suttner was influential in convincing Alfred Nobel to establish a Prize for Peace. Women have won Prizes in all categories with the exception of Economics.

In the 10th century, coins in China were so heavy and worth so little that people preferred to leave them with merchants and use the handwritten receipts the merchants gave them instead. In the 11th century, the Chinese government took over and began to issue printed receipts with fixed values. These were the first bank notes. The idea caught on in Europe in the 17th century, and Europe’s first printed notes appeared in Sweden in 1661.

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce made one of their first cars in 1906, and the sheer quality of their craftsmanship earned the vehicle the description of “the best car in the world.” Its ghost-like quietness and shiny aluminum body suggested the name “Silver Ghost.” The car boasted a folding windscreen for rear seat passengers, a hand brake, and the now famous mascot on the front, called “Spirit of Ecstasy.”

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