Friday, February 27, 2009

Water vapour adds a degree to global warming..

Water vapour released into the air adds one degree Celsius to global warming for every one contributed by humanity through other greenhouse gas emissions.

The evidence for this phenomenon, long-debated among climate scientists, is now indisputable, according to a review of the evidence by Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University and Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Known to science as water vapour feedback, it is responsible for a significant portion of the warming predicted to occur over the next century, according to Dessler and Sherwood. This is because water vapour itself is a greenhouse gas.

As a result of burning fossil fuels and other human activities, rising temperatures are increasing the volume of naturally occurring evaporation on our warm, watery planet, they point out. In turn, that evaporated water contributes additional global warming.

Dessler and Sherwood based their statement on studies of how atmospheric water vapour varies in line with the natural cycles that warm and cool the planet, such as the cyclical temperature change caused by the seasons and El Nino events.

'It's a vicious cycle: warmer temperatures mean higher humidity, which in turn leads to even more warming,' says Dessler, a professor.

Recent estimates suggest the earth will warm by between two to four degrees Celsius over the next century - a scenario that could have devastating long-term consequences, said an UNSW release.

The study was published in the latest issue of Science.

Aravind T,,

Monday, February 23, 2009

ஏ.ஆர்.ரகுமானுக்கு 2 ஆஸ்கார் விருதுகள்..

தமிழகத்தை சேர்ந்த பிரபல இசையமைப்பாளர் ஏ.ஆர்.ரகுமான், சிறந்த இசையமைப்பாளர் மற்றும் பாடலுக்கான இசையமைப்பாளர் ஆகிய பிரிவுகளில் 2 ஸ்கார் விருதுகளை பெற்று இந்தியாவுக்கு பெருமை தேடி தந்துள்ளார்.

திரைத்துறையில் உலகின் மிக உயரியதாகக் கருதப்படும் ஆஸ்கார் விருதுகள் வழங்கும் விழா, அமெரிக்காவில் உள்ள லாஸ் ஏஞ்சல்ஸ் நகரில் இன்று காலை தொடங்கியது.

A.R. Rahman
இதில், முழுவதும் இந்தியாவில் தயாரிக்கப்பட்ட இந்திய தொழில்நுட்பக் கலைஞர்கள் பெருமளவில் பங்கேற்ற ஸ்லம் டாக் மில்லியனர் திரைப்படம் மொத்தம் 10 பிரிவுகளில் போட்டியிட்டது.

இப்படத்திற்கு இசையமைத்த தமிழரான ஏ.ஆர்.ரகுமான், சிறந்த இசையமைப்பாளர் மற்றும் பாடலுக்கான இசையமைப்பாளர் ஆகிய 2 பிரிவுகளில் விருதுக்கு பரிந்துரை செய்யப்பட்டிருந்தார்.

இந்நிலையில், இந்த இரண்டு பிரிவுகளிலும் இரண்டு ஆஸ்கார் விருதுகளை வென்ற முதல் இந்தியர் என்ற புதிய சாதனை படைத்துள்ளார் ஏ.ஆர். ரகுமான்.

இந்த விருதுகள் அறிவிக்கப்பட்டதும் பலத்த கரகோஷங்களுக்கு மத்தியில் மேடையேறிய ஏ.ஆர்.ரகுமான், விருதை பெற்ற பிறகு 'எல்லா புகழும் இறைவனுக்கே' என்று தமிழில் பேசினார்.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Leading a Project Team......

Cross-functional teams are becoming increasingly prevalent in business today because of their role in enhancing efficiency. But managing a group made up of staff from other departments as well as your own can be challenging. It's critical to maximize the contributions of each team member.

Building your Project Team

The first step is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of goals and objectives for the team. Clarify any key points and expectations for the project with your immediate supervisor. If you are responsible for determining who should participate on the team, consider how each potential member can help you accomplish the assignments ahead. Keep the team as small as possible while still bringing in all the skills needed to fulfill objectives. The smaller the team, the easier it will be to manage and to keep focused on specific tasks. If other departments or senior managers have already appointed some of the members, arrange to meet with those who've been selected. Inform them of the purpose of the project and invite them to the first meeting. Collect information about their specific skills, how they can be used for the project and how much time they will have to devote to the team. And finally, make sure that each team member and his or her manager understand the time commitment and the importance of this project to the company.
Launching the Project

The initial meeting will lay the foundation and set the tone for the duration of the project. Keep it organized, upbeat, and on task. Start by outlining goals and objectives. The agenda should include the structure and mechanics of how the group will work together, the budget and resources that are available, and the development of initial strategies, task plan and timeline. Strive to reach agreement on which team member will be responsible for each assignment in the plan and try to establish realistic deadlines for delivery of key elements of the project.
Decide when the next meeting will be held and what progress reports are required. Follow up the meeting promptly with a written summary of what took place. Use the group's time wisely. Meetings should be useful and efficient; reports and other communication should be clear and consistent. It's a good idea to maintain a written schedule or timeline for the project that can be adjusted and updated as the work proceeds, and don't forget to provide regular progress reports to the executive who gave you the leadership assignment.

Sharing Leadership

Some of the major responsibilities of leading a team are maintaining and communicating a consistent vision, keeping the group on course, motivating team members and recognizing their accomplishments. Your role is to coach and to lead -- and never to micromanage.
The most effective team leaders share the management with team members, making decisions by consensus whenever possible. This helps build a cohesive group that places a high value on cooperation and taps into the energy, ideas and initiatives of each participant. In your coaching role, check in periodically with individual team players on an informal basis to see how each is doing. Frequent communication will help resolve problems and keep the project on track. Let the team know that you are available to assist when they encounter problems or have scheduling conflicts between the project and regular work responsibilities. Learning to manage the many intricacies of the team process is worth the effort. It will give you the opportunity to expand your circle of colleagues, increase your effectiveness as a leader and add value to your employer.

Research Analyst,

Maintaining self-discipline in the office,,,,

(This article explores the relevance and application of Principles and Strategies of Chanakya as discussed in his 3rd Century BC treatise, Kautilya’s Arthashastra, in Today’s Corporate World)

All of us, at sometime or the other, have to do a job that we don’t like. It’s a universal truth and will remain an eternal requirement. In this environment, self discipline becomes the key to success.

Chanakya says, “One doing whatever pleases him does not achieve anything” (7.11.35)

There are many things in life that we like to do but should not - eating junk food, sitting late at offices even when it is not required, browsing the net without a purpose, all these add up to make a person unproductive and inefficient in the long run.

Hence, discipline becomes a must, especially in an office atmosphere. It could initially be just ‘external’, like a boss guiding, directing and controlling an employee. However, in the long run, external discipline should become internal discipline.

The following are some tips on how to self discipline yourself in the office:

Plan You Day In Advance
Most employees in office do not have a purpose. Neither do they have an idea of what they are supposed to achieve when they leave their homes. It is more of a routine for them to travel to and from office. They hardly have any enthusiasm. To avoid all this, an employee needs to, before leaving the office itself, plan his next day.

A good time-table will help tackle not only such regular activities as mailing, report preparation, calls etc but also special activities like presentations and meetings which need to be looked at in detail. Keep one hour extra in your plan to accommodate unexpected events.

Do Not Be Impulsive
Most problems happen when one becomes impulsive, especially when faced with a new or unexpected work. For instance, if you are doing a particular work and someone calls up or comes up to you for a different task, do not jump at the new project immediately. Slow down. Complete the work in hand first before you take up the new task. Your original plan for the day is more important. In fact, you should keep track of what you have planned for the day on the hour, every hour.

Be Proactive
Stepen Covey, in his book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ says that being proactive is the most important habit of a successful person. So do not wait for problems to crop up; find solutions even before they arrive. The more you get into the habit of ‘right thinking’ the more focused and sharp you will become.

Remember, discipline is not an inborn thing - it needs to be cultivated. We may fail many times but just don’t give up, it is important to get up and keep going.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Drink Beer, Make Fuel,,...!!

A brewing company in Chico, Calif. is adapting a new system at its brewery that will make its own high-quality ethanol fuel from discarded beer yeast.

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., working with the E-Fuel Corporation, will start testing the system in the second quarter of this year, and hopes to move to full-scale ethanol production in third quarter.

"This has the potential to be a great thing for the environment and further our commitment to be becoming more energy independent," said Ken Grossman, founder and president, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Currently, Sierra Nevada resells almost 1.6 million gallons of unusable "bottom of the barrel" beer yeast waste to local farmers to be used as dairy feed. The waste contains 5 to 8 percent alcohol content, including enough yeast and nutrients to enable the ethanol system, the MicroFueler, to raise that level to 15 percent alcohol, allowing for an increased ethanol yield.

"Creating ethanol from discarded organic waste is an excellent example of how the MicroFueler can help eliminate our reliance on the oil industry infrastructure. This is especially true when considering Americans reportedly discard 50 percent of all agricultural farmed products," said Tom Quinn, E-Fuel founder and CEO. "Using a waste product to fuel your car is friendlier to the environment and lighter on your wallet, easily beating prices at the gas pump."

The Technology:

The EFuel100 MicroFueler is the world's first portable ethanol micro-refinery system. The system also comes in a household appliance-sized unit, making it possible "for homeowners and small businesses to safely and cost-effectively create their own fuel, on-site," according to the company.

Aravind T.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Mummies found in newly discovered tomb in Egypt..

In this photo released Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 by Egypt's Supreme Council of AP – In this photo released Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, a newly-discovered …

CAIRO – A storeroom housing about two dozen ancient Egyptian mummies has been unearthed inside a 2,600-year-old tomb during the latest round of excavations at the vast necropolis of Saqqara south of Cairo, archaeologists said Monday.

The tomb was located at the bottom of a 36-foot deep shaft, said Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass. Twenty-two mummies were found in niches along the tomb's walls, he said.

Eight sarcophagi were also found in the tomb. Archaeologists so far have opened only one of the sarcophagi — and found a mummy inside of it, said Hawass' assistant Abdel Hakim Karar. Mummies are believed to be inside the other seven, he said.

The "storeroom for mummies" dates back to 640 B.C. during the 26th Dynasty, which was Egypt's last independent kingdom before it was overthrown by a succession of foreign conquerors beginning with the Persians, Hawass said. But the tomb was discovered at an even older site in Saqqara that dates back to the 4,300-year-old 6th Dynasty, he said.

Most of the mummies are poorly preserved, and archeologists have yet to determine their identities or why so many were put in one room.

The name Badi N Huri was engraved into the opened sarcophagus, but the wooden coffin did not bear a title for the mummy.

"This one might have been an important figure, but I can't tell because there was no title," Karar said.

Karar also said it was unusual for mummies of this late period to be stored in rocky niches.

"Niches were known in the very early dynasties, so to find one for the 26th Dynasty is something rare," he said.

Excavations have been ongoing at Saqqara for 150 years, uncovering a necropolis of pyramids and tombs dating mostly from the Old Kingdom but also tombs from as recent as the Roman era.

In the past, excavations have focused on just one side of the site's two most prominent pyramids — the famous Step Pyramid of King Djoser and that of Unas, the last king of the 5th Dynasty. The area where the current tomb was found, to the southwest, has been largely untouched by archeologists.

In December, two tombs were found near the current discovery of mummies. The tombs were built for high officials — one responsible for the quarries used to build the nearby pyramids and the other for a woman in charge of procuring entertainers for the pharaohs.

In November, Hawass announced the discovery of a new pyramid at Saqqara, the 118th in Egypt, and the 12th to be found just in Saqqara.

According to Hawass, only 30 percent of Egypt's monuments have been uncovered, with the rest still under the sand.

Aravind T


Friday, February 06, 2009

World’s Billionaires 2009...

Presenting list of World’s billionaires for 2009. Bill gates is no longer world’s number 1 and the richest man in the world’s honor now goes to Warren Buffet, Bill’s old friend.

1- Warren Buffet now tops the list of world’s billionaires for 2009 with net worth of over $62.0 billion.

2- Carlos Slim Helu & family, a mexican with net worth over $60.0 billion is now ranked 2nd most richest man in the world.

3- Bill William Gates has been dropped down to #3 with a fortune of $58.0 billion.

4- Lakshmi Mittal, a great Indian who took over the steel industry, #1 richest man in Europe and #4th richest man in the world is worth $45 Billion.

5. Mukesh Ambani another Indian, heads petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries is ranked #5th in world’s richest billionaires with over $43 Billion.

6. Anil Ambani, brother of Mukesh Ambani, is the year’s biggest gainer with $23.8 billion in the past year, and is closing gap with estranged brother, Mukesh, who ranks one spot ahead of him in the world at number five.

7. Ingvar Kamprad & family, a self made billionaire, started selling furniture in 1947 is now ranked #7 in the world’s billionaire for 2009 with a net worth of over $31 Billion.

8. KP Singh is now world’s number 1 richest real estate giant, another Indian with a net worth of over $30 Billion.

9. Oleg Deripaska, a 40 year old self made billionaire from Russia who studied at Moscow State University, Plekhanov Academy of Economics. His holding company, Basic Element, now owns Russian Aluminum (UC Rusal), automobile manufacturer GAZ, aircraft manufacturer Aviacor and insurance company Ingosstrakh. He’s worth $28 Billion

10. Karl Albrecht, another self made man who is Germany’s richest man, with his brother, developed their mother’s corner grocery store into discount supermarket giant Aldi, which now has more than 8,000 stores and $67 billion in sales. He’s worth $27 Billion.

Aravind T

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Microsoft offers to just 'Fix it'...

When people encounter a problem with their PC, they often go to the Web and do a search to see if others have had the problem. If they are lucky, someone has found a fix and listed the steps on either a support document or within a user forum.

Now, they may have an even better option.

Over the past six weeks, Microsoft has quietly added a "Fix it" button to a few of the thousands of help documents on its Web site. When clicked, the computer then takes all the recommended steps automatically.

An example of the "Fix it" button that has started showing up in some Microsoft help documents, offering users a one-click solution.

(Credit: CNET News)

"If we know what those 15 steps are why shouldn't we just script it," said Lori Brownell, Microsoft's general manager of product quality and online support

The "Fix it" option is still fairly rare, showing up in around 100 different help documents. The effort is growing rapidly, though, up from just four such fixes when the program quietly began in December.

Microsoft continues to offer users the option of doing things on their own if they either don't trust Microsoft or just like being in control.

"We're not trying to hide anything," she said.

The first fixes included a number of common issues, including restoring a missing Internet Explorer icon to the desktop, how to enable the DVD library in Vista's Windows Media Center as well as what to do when encountering the error message in Street & Trips 2008 that "Construction information for routes could not be downloaded"

For now, Microsoft is having to go back and search its archives to see which of its problem solving tips can be automated. Eventually, it hopes to create the automated fixes at the same time the help articles are created.

Where it can, Microsoft is also adding the "Fix it" option into the error reporting tool built into Windows. Initially, all users could do when a program crashed was send a report to Microsoft. More recently, the system has started checking to see if there is any information on the issue. Next up, said Brownell, is offering the option to have the issue solved automatically.

Long term, the company has even broader hopes.

While it would like to just eliminate bugs and glitches, Brownell said that is not an attainable goal.

"We'd love for our customers to never have problems," she said. "We'll never ship bug-free software as hard as we try."

Instead, she said she is aiming for a day when Microsoft's products themselves will be able to spot problems and proactively offer fixes. As an example, she noted that in Exchange, it's a pretty safe bet that once one gets low on disk space, bad things will happen. Making sure that users take action before problems occur is an example where the company is headed.

Another example, she said, would be for Microsoft to be able to notify users if they are running two drivers that others have found to conflict with one another. Assuming the appropriate privacy safeguards were in place, Brownell said it would be great for the user to be alerted and offered a fix before a problem occurred.

That proactive world is still largely a vision rather than a reality. That said, Brownell said that the company is putting in place some of the plumbing necessary to make such things possible.

With Windows 7, Microsoft has added an "action center" that Brownell said offers the underlying capability needed to serve up fixes within the operating system. She said that she would expect some opportunities for that over the life of the product, though the current beta version of Windows 7 has few examples of that.

Personally, I'd just like to see the "Fix it" button extended to other areas of my life. I'd really like one that would make travel plans, fill out my expense reports and hire a plumber. That would make me (and my partner) much happier.

For what would you like to see a "fix it" button?

Aravind T


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New iPhone firmware reveals code for next model,,

What will Apple's next iPhone look like? The only changes might be under the hood.

(Credit: Apple)

As might be expected, it doesn't seem that the iPhone 3G will be Apple's last iPhone.

MacRumors has discovered code inside the OS X 2.2.1 firmware released earlier this week that describes an "IPhone 2,1" model. Previous discoveries have shown that Apple uses this labeling nomenclature for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

The original iPhone was labeled "1,1", while the iPhone 3G was model "1,2." The iPod Touch has already advanced to a second-generation design, as the iPod Touch released at September's music event received the "2,1" label inside its firmware.

Little else is known about iPhone "2,1." It's reasonable to assume that since the iPod Touch number changed significantly with the addition of a new processor, that such an upgrade might be coming to the next iPhone. P.A. Semi has been working on iPhone chips since last spring, and other evidence has surfaced indicating that Apple might be planning to upgrade the iPhone's graphics sometime in the near future.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller seemed to imply earlier this year that Apple was locked into a June/July upgrade cycle with the iPhone, noting that Macworld's January date conflicted with a number of Apple's regular product cycles. So, perhaps another summer iPhone release is on tap.

Before that, however, I still think there's a solid chance Apple doubles the capacity of the iPhone and iPod Touch without making any other major changes, just as it did last February.

Aravind T


Global Warming..

What Is Global Warming?

Earth is naturally insulated by a delicate balance of heat-trapping (or "greenhouse") gases in the atmosphere. When the sun shines on the Earth, some of that heat is absorbed, keeping Earth warm enough to support life.

The problem is that over the last century, we humans have been releasing more and more carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere when we burn fuels and cut down forests. These additional gases have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere, trapping more heat than is healthy for the Earth.

The result is human-caused global warming, which brings serious threats from increased flooding to the spread of disease to the disruption of agriculture in many parts of the world.

Scientists tell us that stopping global warming is urgent -- we have just a few years to turn around the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst effects. The good news is that we can achieve these emissions reductions with effective national policies and international treaties. We must insist that businesses and governments join individuals around the world to greatly increase energy efficiency, widely adopt renewable energy, and commit to stopping climate change. Success is possible, but we need your help.

Climate crisis

No human challenge is so potentially uniting as the climate crisis. Our human drive to invent and build has led to extraordinary advances and great technological promise. It's also had grave, unintended consequences. And unless we face the climate crisis with ingenuity, resolve, and a sense of urgency, much of the world as we know it will begin to unravel before our eyes.

The warning signs are plain to see. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1990. Mountain glaciers are fading on every continent and the sea ice is melting. The seas have begun a slow but menacing rise.

What is global warming?

The science behind global warming is often portrayed as enormously complex, but some of it is quite simple. It begins with a ray of light, shot through space from the staggering inferno of our sun. That sunbeam delivers energy to earth, giving us light and warmth and life.

As some of this energy radiates back toward space as heat, a portion is absorbed by a delicate balance of heat-trapping (or "greenhouse") gases in the atmosphere that create an insulating layer. Without the temperature control of this greenhouse effect, the Earth's average surface temperature would be 0°F (-18°C), a temperature so low that the Earth would be frozen and could not sustain human life as we know it.

The most abundant of the greenhouse gases is water vapor. In addition, there are other powerful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide. Each of these is a natural part of the never-ending cycle of life, death, and decomposition on Earth. But since the onset of the Industrial Revolution humans have been pumping out more and more of these and other greenhouse gases. Scientists are clear: human activities are contributing to global warming by adding large amounts of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Our fossil fuel use is the main source of these gases. Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the air. The second most important addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere is related to deforestation, mainly in the tropics, as well as other land-use changes.

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is now 380 parts-per-million (ppm), 100 ppm higher than at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But we can look back even further. By drilling into the deepest glacial ice we can measure CO2 deep into time. And this ice library shows more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than at any time in last 650,000 years.

As a result of the build up of gases, the temperature is beginning to rise. Adults today have already felt the average global temperature rise more than a full degree Fahrenheit (0.8°C) during our lifetimes. We expect another degree F by 2020 due to past emissions. Based on modeling by an international body of experts studying the climate crisis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the temperature could increase by more than 7°F (4°C) by the end of the century in the absence of meaningful efforts to rein in global warming pollution.

What happens when the global temperature rises?

For a global system that is delicately balanced, the rise in temperatures will pose serious threats:

  • Rising sea levels, leading to more coastal erosion, flooding during storms, and permanent inundation
  • Increased drought and increased incidence of wildfires
  • Severe stress on many forests, wetlands, alpine regions, and other natural ecosystems
  • Impacts on human health as mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects and rodents spread diseases over larger geographical regions
  • Disruption of agriculture in some parts of the world due to increased temperature, water stress, and sea-level rise in low-lying areas such as Bangladesh or the Mississippi River delta

Other projected impacts include increased intensity of hurricanes; the long-term destabilization of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, leading to much greater sea level rise; the acidification of the world's oceans; and a vastly increased rate of species extinction. Wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon could collapse under the weight of just a few more degrees. And hundreds of millions of people may be forced from their homelands as the climate shifts, creating increased political and economic instability.

What are the economic costs of the climate crisis?

The projected economic costs of the climate crisis are extraordinary. By mid-century, extreme weather alone could cost 0.5 - 1% of the global economic production. A seminal study led by a distinguished British economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, suggests that under business-as-usual scenarios climate change could reduce overall economic activity in the range of 5 to 20%-more likely on the high side of this range. Think Great Depression, or world war.

Can we solve it?

We can - and must - act urgently if we are to limit and eventually halt the impacts of global warming on human communities and natural ecosystems. The greater the magnitude and rate of warming, the greater the chances are for truly devastating - and potentially irreversible - changes in the Earth's climate system. Even by acting today to reduce our emissions from cars, power plants, land use, and other sources, we will see some degree of continued warming for a period of time because past emissions will stay in the atmosphere for decades or more. But, the window for effective action is closing fast and responding to the climate crisis will take commitment and ingenuity. The actions we take in the next several years will determine the kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit. Click here to read about solutions.

How much will it cost to solve?

The IPCC has estimated that stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at levels that will limit long-term temperature rise to a few degrees will slow the rate of global economic growth by only about a tenth of a percent per year. Based on the expected growth rate of the global economy, that is about equivalent to the world reaching the expected 2030 economic levels in 2031 in return for preventing the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Fortunately, we have the tools we need to start on the path to a stable climate. Fuel-efficient vehicles and higher efficiency appliances; advanced wind turbines, next-generation solar photovoltaics and other renewable energy technologies; proven strategies to protect threatened forests; communities making it easier for people to walk and bike. These are just a few of the common sense solutions that will not only reduce global warming, but can save us money and create new business opportunities.

What should I do to help?

We have lacked full global leadership and political will to implement these solutions as if our future depended on it. But now we need to insist that businesses and governments all over the world join individuals in taking the steps needed to get the job done. We need to help citizens everywhere understand how the choices they make in their daily lives can make a real difference, and we need to provide incentives for all of us to make better choices.

The climate forces we have set loose are great indeed. But the world we build as we move forward to meet this challenge will be a sight to behold. This is our opportunity to come together to make a real difference. Add you voice today. Or start taking action for solutions.

Aravind T


82-yr-old woman donates organs,,

82-yr-old woman donates organs

New Delhi: January 29, 2009 - Even at her death bed, 82-year-old Gyanant Kaur did not forget the lessons of kindness and sharing she learnt way back in school. She became one of the oldest woman in India to donate her organs after her death.

Widow of an honorary lieutenant in the Indian Army, Late Tarlok Singh, Gyanant had been admitted at the Army Hospital (research and referral) for sometime now and had expressed her desire to donate her eyes and liver to needy patients after her death.

On Tuesday, she breathed her last at the hospital and as instructed, her family gave their consent for retrieving her organs after her death, said a defence ministry official. This is the the third multiple organ donation at the hospital this year and the 18th since the organ donation program started in the armed forces in April 2007.

Gyanant's liver was donated to a serving army officer who is undergoing treatment for a terminal illness due to which his liver has stopped functioning. Her eyes were donated to two visually challenged patients in the hospital who had suffered severe damage to their corneas. Doctors at the hospital expressed happiness because Gyanant's donation had become an example to other patients. "Her family was very supportive of her decision and said that this way, she could live through the people who receive her organs,'' said a doctor at Army Hospital.

The Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplantation Authority started the organ donation programme in 2007 and over 3,000 armed forces personnel have already pledged their organs for donation in the event of a comatose vegetative state orbrain dead. The authority has also been organising regular awareness programmes to encourage more people to donate their organs after their death so that they can be used to treat others' ailments.

Aravind T


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Exoplanet Atmospheres Detected from Earth

Exoplanet Atmospheres Detected from Earth

Two independent groups of astronomers have detected the atmospheres of planets around other stars from ground-based telescopes.

Previous observations of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets had been made almost entirely by space-based instruments, such as the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, although another team last year detected the signature of sodium in an exoplanet atmosphere.

To date, astronomers have detected several key gases in planets' atmospheres, including:

  • Carbon dioxide – a potential sign of life, though the planet where the gas was observed was too hot to be habitable.
  • Water vapor – a key molecule required to support life as we know it.
  • Silicates (combinations of silicon and oxygen) – components of most rocks on Earth, likely in the form of clouds of dust grains on massive exoplanets.
  • Sodium – detected in 2001, it marked the first space-based observation of an exoplanet atmosphere.

Ground-based detection is becoming a priority as Hubble ages and Spitzer is set to run out of cryogens, which keep its instruments cool enough to detect infrared radiation (heat), limiting its abilities.

"Others have tried to detect planetary atmospheres from Earth, but to no avail," said the co-author of one of the new studies, Mercedes López-Morales of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. "We hit it right two nights last summer."

López-Morales and her team observed the planet OGLE-TR056b, a so-called "hot Jupiter."

Hot Jupiters

Hot Jupiters are massive gaseous planets that orbit very close to their stars, whipping around them in two to three days. Their proximity to their parent stars indicates the planets are hot enough to emit radiation in the optical and near-infrared wavelengths and that their radiation is detectable from Earth.

But OGLE-TR056b is faint, sitting about 5,000 light-years away and in a crowded part of the night sky, located in the direction of the center of our galaxy from the Earth's perspective. So López-Morales and her colleagues used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (on July 2) and Carnegie's Magellan-Baade telescope (on Aug. 3). Both telescopes are located in Chile.

Only about one out of every 3,000 photons from the star comes from the planet itself. The rest is from the overwhelming light of the star. So astronomers wait until the planet is eclipsed as it orbits behind the star (from the Earth's perspective), which allows for separation of the emissions of the planet from those of the star.

"The planet is glowing red-hot like a kitchen stove burner, but we had to know precisely when the eclipse was going to happen and measure the stellar flux very accurately so it could be removed to reveal the planet's thermal emissions," said lead author of the study David Sing of Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris.

Real hot

The team took more than 600 images of OGLE-TR056b with both telescopes. The planet is hotter than any detected by Spitzer so far — its atmosphere is more than 4,400 degrees Fahrenheit (2,400 degrees Celsius).

The observations also indicated that the planet has little to no cloud cover and a static atmosphere with little circulation, López-Morales told in an email.

Their work will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

In the same issue of the journal, a Dutch team will explain their detection of the thermal emission in the near-infrared of another exoplanet dubbed TrES-3b. Its atmosphere registered at about 3,000 F (1,700 C)

Aravind T

Oddball 'Blue Stragglers' Are Stellar Cannibals

Oddball 'Blue Stragglers' Are Stellar Cannibals

Astronomers have found what they say is the strongest evidence yet that a mysterious class of stars known as "blue stragglers" are the result of stellar cannibalism.

Blue stragglers are found throughout the universe in globular clusters — which typically are collections of about 100,000 stars, tightly bound by gravity. Because all the stars in these clusters are thought to have been born at the same time, they should all be the same age, but blue stragglers appear to be younger than their cluster peers.

The origin of these strange, massive stars has been a longstanding mystery, said study leader Christian Knigge of Southampton University in England.

"The only thing that was clear is that at least two stars must be involved in the creation of every single blue straggler, because isolated stars this massive simply should not exist in these clusters," Knigge added.

Since these oddball stars were first discovered more than half a century ago, two competing explanations for their formation emerged: "that blue stragglers were created through collisions with other stars; or that one star in a binary system was 'reborn' by pulling matter off its companion," said study team member Alison Sills of the McMaster University in Canada.

A 2006 study examined the chemical signatures of 43 blue stragglers in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, and found that six of the unusual stars had less carbon and oxygen than the others. The anomaly indicated that their surface material had been sucked from the deep interior of a parent star in a binary system.

The new study, detailed in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Nature, provides even more evidence in favor of the stellar cannibalism idea.

The researchers looked at blue stragglers in 56 globular clusters and found that the total number of blue stragglers in a given cluster didn't match the predicted collision rate – dispelling the theory that blue stragglers are created through collisions with other stars.

But there was a connection between the total mass contained in the core of the globular cluster and the number of blue stragglers observed within it. Since more massive cores also contain more binary stars, the researchers could infer a relationship between blue stragglers and binaries in globular clusters. This conclusion is also supported by preliminary observations that directly measured the abundance of binary stars in cluster cores.

"This is the strongest and most direct evidence to date that most blue stragglers, even those found in the cluster cores, are the offspring of two binary stars," Knigge said. Though there is still plenty of research on these stars to do.

"In our future work we will want to determine whether the binary parents of blue stragglers evolve mostly in isolation, or whether dynamical encounters with other stars in the clusters are required somewhere along the line in order to explain our results," Knigge said.

The study was funded in part by the United Kingdom's Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Aravind T

Monday, February 02, 2009

Virtual phone book

Virtual phone book

First came .com. Next were .net, .org, .biz and .mobi. The number of top level domain names (tld), the letters that follow the final dot of any domain name, is likely to grow at a fast pace this year.

If buzz generated by .tel is any indicator, cyberspace seems to have appetite for more. The suffix .tel stands out because of the way it uses the internet's Domain Name System (DNS)—the internet location where IP addresses are stored. Instead of using DNS as a hook to hang a website, it utilises DNS to store contact information in the heart of the internet. This means it can act as a repository of a company's or individual's contact details, without the need for a website. "We are removing websites from the equation by allowing businesses and individuals to store all of their contact information on DNS—the backbone of the internet. This has advantages in terms of speed and offers live data," explains Fabien Chalandon, vice-chairman, Telnic.

Telnic, the UK-based company that is promoting .tel, has just got an approval from ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a private nonprofit group that oversees technical aspects of the internet's address system. Individuals can use .tel domain name to store contact information—telephone numbers, links to websites, email addresses, instant messaging names and even identities for virtual games, like Xbox Live or Second Life, directly into the DNS. Businesses can use their .tel urls to set up contact service hubs constructed to store all the different contact details of those who buy their service, and manage the connections to which ever devices are live and connected at the time.

Telnic, which is hoping to create a second revolution after .com, is expecting to be a bigger success on mobile devices. Similar efforts were made with Enum earlier, where the user could type in the telephone number of an organisation to access its site. The browser queries the domain name server, which in turn returns the various internet service addresses that are linked to this telephone number. But Enum was limited to a conventional Web-based access. Since .tel is optimised for smartphones, it could have a greater impact on emerging markets like India, where people are bypassing PCs for mobile devices. In fact, at least one of the three Indian registrars Net4India is planning to offer the contacts details even on non-internet phones by offering the requested contact details through an SMS. This service is expected to be ready in a couple of months, according to Chalandon.

Storing the data directly in DNS could add immense value. Since it is DNS-based, a .tel lookup is much quicker than loading a typical webpage. Also, whenever you update your data in DNS, the change goes live immediately. As a result, rather than sending a note out to all of your contacts, like some contact management services, the update is seamless. Traditionally, search engines are forced to read entire webpages and guess the keywords. The .tel uses the data you supply to the DNS to tell search engines exactly where the keywords are, thereby improving your control over your search results. The traffic generated by a .tel lookup is so small that it remains inexpensive for consumers. The data is also presented in such a simple way that the .tel easily integrates into address books and allows for advances navigation on all mobile devices.

Clearly, this was a revolutionary idea when Telnic proposed it in 2000. But ICANN took almost six years to approve. And these six years have multiplied the challenges manifold. Social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace and professional networking sites like LinkedIn offer to host your contact details free of cost today. For a .tel domain name, users would need to pay between $15 to $20 depending on the registrar they chose next month. Chalandon is betting on "aggregating all your internet profiles at one place without any intrusion of ads". His confidence seems to stem from the corporate bigwigs, rushing to register .tel domain for their businesses. And the action will only intensify as landrush period begins towards the end of next month. Since domain names will then be given on first come first serve basis without any verification, domain sellers will also rush in to make a buck by selling them to brand name owners at a premium later.

He will surely make money from those who want to protect their brand names from cybersquatting. The real test, however, lies in taking it beyond this and creating a Google of contact information. To take on online directories, yellow pages and networking sites, Telnic will need to be innovative and move fast. To begin with, Chalandon is now talking to telcos to see how it could be integrated into their services. It needs to build a critical mass and a few third party applications integrated very well into it to create value that a Facebook can't before the world dials into the 'online business card'.

Aravind T

Ten new amphibian species discovered in Colombia

Ten new amphibian species discovered in Colombia

Ten new species of amphibians -- including three kinds of poisonous frogs and three transparent-skinned glass frogs -- have been discovered in the mountains of Colombia, conservationists said on Monday.

With amphibians under threat around the globe, the discovery was an encouraging sign and reason to protect the area where they were found, said Robin Moore, an amphibian expert at the environmental group Conservation International.

The nine frog species and one salamander species were found in the mountainous Tacarcuna area of the Darien region near Colombia's border with Panama.

Because amphibians have permeable skin, they are exposed directly to the elements and can offer early warnings about the impact of environmental degradation and climate change, Moore said. As much as one-third of all amphibians in the world are threatened with extinction, he said.

"Amphibians are very sensitive to changes ... in the environment," Moore said in a telephone interview. "Amphibians are kind of a barometer in terms of responding to those changes and are likely to be the first to respond, so climate change ... impacts on amphibians heavily."

Amphibians also help control the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue fever, because they eat the insects that transmit these ailments to people.

The new species discovered in Colombia include three poison frogs, three glass frogs, one harlequin frog, two kinds of rain frogs and one salamander.


The expedition that turned up the new amphibians also recorded the presence of large mammals like Baird's tapir, which is considered endangered in Colombia, four species of monkeys and a population of white-lipped peccary, a pig-like creature.

"Without a doubt this region is a true Noah's Ark," said Jose Vicente Rodriguez-Mahecha, the conservation group's scientific director in Colombia.

"The high number of new amphibian species found is a sign of hope, even with the serious threat of extinction that this animal group faces in many other regions of the country and the world," Rodriguez said in a statement.

The area where the new species were found has traditionally served as a place where plants and animals move between North and South America. While the terrain is relatively undisturbed now, its landscape faces threats from selective logging, cattle ranching, hunting, mining and habitat fragmentation.

Between 25 and 30 percent of the natural vegetation there is being deforested.

Moore said protecting the Tacarcuna area where these amphibians were found could also benefit local people by preserving an important watershed.

"We don't go in there and try and tell them to protect the forest for frogs," Moore said. "It's more a case of working with them to find more sustainable long-term solutions that will protect these resources that are ultimately benefiting them."

Aravind T

How to impress opp sex,,?

How to impress the opposite sex - do you need to impress others ? Does a man need to impress a woman and does a woman need to impress a man ??

How to impress the opposite sex
- do you need to impress others ?
Does a man need to impress a woman and does a woman need to impress a man ??

if you want to "impress" the opposite sex - a girl or man - then you want to pretend to be different than you are

if however you want to touch someones heart - then all you need is true love
be true
be honest - say what you feel, say what you mean - do what you feel but do it with all the power of love from the bottom of your true heart
be natural
be all you - never play another role or copy / clone someone else - be YOU
be the way you love to be from the bottom of your heart
be like God made you
- drop all masquerading
- drop all fake aliases
- drop all titles - titles are needed to pretend, titles are needed to cover up weaknesses of ego - love needs neither titles nor costumes
- drop all signs of money or poverty
- remove all lipstick and make up - the most beautiful body and face is a person in love
- avoid any after-shave or perfume - the most magic perfume is the natural scent of your skin and body

be clean and take a shower in fresh water - then face the one you love to touch in her/his heart as natural as God made you !!
that is the single most efficient method to touch another persons heart deep inside
if you are natural and open for true love

love and bliss