Happy New Year 2015


Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Thought for Today-65: August 30, 2007

"Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm." - Earl Nightingale

A Thought for Today-64: August 29, 2007

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist." — Louis Nizer, American lawyer (1902-1994)

A Thought for Today-63: August 28, 2007

"He who sees Me everywhere and all Me, I am not lost to him, nor he is lost to Me." - Bhagavad Gita

A Thought for Today-62: August 27, 2007

"When you have found your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall." - C.S. Lewis

A Thought for Today-61: August 26, 2007

Following your dream is like learning a foreign language; you will make mistakes but you will get there in the end - Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

A Thought for Today-60: August 25, 2007

"Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just moneyor things. Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not justa lack of money or things." - Eric Butterworth

A Thought for Today-59: August 24, 2007

"Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach

A Thought for Today-58: August 23, 2007

"Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven." - William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English Poet, Playwright, Actor

A Thought for Today-57: August 22, 2007

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American Writer

Eyecatchers-25 : 'India in Numbers' - India Today

Excerpt from the Editorial of India Today, Aug.21, 2006 (Mr.Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief):

It is now 59 years since we made that historic tryst with destiny. Today, most Indians can take pride in the enormous strides we have made. There is, of course, the downside. Nothing illustrates the dual face of 59 years of Independence, the gains and losses, as forcefully as numbers. Our Independence Day special is a statistical snapshot of India. When our research team started compiling the statistical bedrock for the stories in this issue, we unearthed some startling facts. To make the exercise more meaningful, we collected data to show where we stand compared to the rest of the world.

Some of our findings are troubling. We are, for example, a young nation: our median age is 24.9 compared to 32.7 years for China. Yet, their life expectancy is 72.58 years compared to 64.71 years for India. Some of the data is fun: 23 million people watch Indian movies every day, compared to 20 million in the US but Indians are far less addicted to TV than the Americans. Some numbers demolish myths: It takes a business 264 hours to file taxes in India, much less than 325 for the US. India is a scientific superpower but the gross expenditure on R&D for every Indian is $ 19.8 compared to $56.2 for China and $ 1005.9 for the US. We are an IT superpower but have only 32 Internet subscribers per 1,000 people, compared to 73 in China.

From other pages inside the same issue:

There are 17,189 colleges and universities in India, while the US has 4,182.
India has held 14 general and 283 state assembly elections so far.
Indians watch 2 hours of TV every day, while it is 6 hours in the US.
86% Indians have access to clean water, in comparison to 77% in China.
The Indian Railways covered 576 billion passenger-kilometres in 2004-05, compared to 571 billion by the Chinese Railways.
125 Fortune-500 companies have research bases in India, while 400 are in China.
1050 movies are produced annually in India, compared to 250 in the US in 2005.
Rs.13,200 crore is the advertising revenue in India which is 0.34% of the GDP, while the global average is 0.98%.
64.9% men read English newspapers, which is less than the percentage of men who read English magazines (67.3%).
The percentage of women who read English newspapers is 35.1, while those who read magazines is 32.7.
4 billion tickets of Indian movies sold annually compared to 3 billion in the US. In 2004, the box office collection was $ 1.3 billion in Bollywood while it was a whopping $ 51 billion in Hollywood.
108 million homes with television sets in India. It is the same as in the US. But while India has only 51% TV penetration, the US has 100% TV coverage.
86% is India's success rate in treating tuberculosis, which is better than US record of 70%.
94.1% is the literacy level among Jains, the highest for all communities in India. The Muslim literacy rate is lowest at 59.1%.
5,00,000 soldiers guard the borders of north and north-eastern India. That is equal to the number of soldiers in the US Army.
47% children are malnourished in India, compared to 25.2 in China.
2.73 million international tourists visited India in 2004, compared to 5.3 million in Indonesia.
India's rank on the Happiness Index based on a study of 178 countries is 125. Denmark is the happiest country and China, at 82, is happier than India.
5.7 million people have HIV/AIDS in India, the highest in the world, according to WHO.
The number of Indian students in the US in 2005 is 80,466, compared to 62,523 Chinese.
51.6% Indian Americans have high skill jobs, compared to 21.4% white Americans.
33,608 murders in India as against 16,137 in the US in 2004. There were 18,233 rapes in India in the same year and 94,635 in the US.
1.88 million Indian-Americans reside in the US, the largest Asian community after the Chinese.
28.3% of India's total labour force is female. 36.1% of them are in the age group 15-64.
133 million is the number of Muslims in India, more than the number in Pakistan, which stands at 125.4 million.
308 million people live in urban India which is 29% of the total population. The US has 80% of its population in urban areas.
10,500 students studied at the world's first university at Takshila in 700 BC.
2,00,00 science degrees are awarded every year. It is 6,00,000 in China.
13 million children do not attend school in India according to an SRI-IMRB survey.
93,000 elementary schools with computers in India, compared to 1,10,000 in the US.
8,00,000 complete MBA every year, compared to 2,00,000 in the US.
5.7 million school teachers in India as against 2.2 million in China.
400 medical colleges in India. The US has 125 colleges.
3,50,000 engineers are produced annually, compared to the highest in China, 6,00,000.
9070 doctoral degrees were awarded in 2005, less than 42,700 in the US but more than 6,000 for China.
334 number of Airports in India compared to 14,883 in the US. AAI handles 59 million passengers annually, Atlanta airport alone serves 80 million.
5,58,000 sq km was the total land under irrigation in India in 2003, compared to 5,45,960 sq km in China.
260 million Indians live on less than Rs.50 a day.
100 million mobile phone users in India in 2006, compared to 194.5 million in the US in 2005.
Rs.7,85,000 crore is the value of India's forex and gold reserves. It is Rs.43,00,000 crores for China.
93 amendments in the Indian Constitution, compared to 27 in the US Constitution in 217 years.
Grateful thanks to Mr.Aroon Purie and India Today.

Eyecatchers-24 : 'Bored Student Invents New Language' - LATWP

Booming Tongues: Bored Student invents new language

Toronto, Aug.29: In any language, Sonja Elen Kisa was depressed. The world was overwhelming, and the thoughts that swirled through her mind in French, English, German or Esperanto echoed that.

So Kisa, 28, a student and translator in Toronto, decided to create her own language, something simple that would help clarify her thinking. She called it Toki Pona - 'good language' - and gave it just 120 words.

Ale li pona," she told herself, "Everything will be OK."

Kisa eventually sorted through her thoughts and, to her great surprise, her language took off, with more than 100 speakers today, singing Toki Pona songs, writing Toki Pona poems and chatting with Toki Pona words.

It is all part of a weirdly Babel-esque boom of new languages. Once the private arena practice of J.R.R.Tolkien, Esperanto speakers and grunting Klingon fanatics, invented languages have flourished on the Internet and begun creeping into the public domain.

The Website Langmaker.com now lists more than 1,000 language inventors and 1,902 made-up languages, from Ayvarith to Zyem.

The language inventors have, of course, created a word to describe what they do - conlang,' short for constructed languages.

In this realm of art, Toki Pona is white canvas with scattered brush strokes of primary colors.

Kisa created Toki Pona as an exercise in minimalism, looking for the core vocabulary necessary to communicate. With only 120 words, a Toki Pona speaker must combine words to express more complicated ideas. For example, the Toki Pona phrase for 'friend' is jan pona (the 'j' sounds like a 'y'), literally 'good person'.

Kisa, who is studying speech language therapy, tried to focus Toki Pona's vocabulary on basic, positive concepts. "It has sort of a Zen or Taoist nature to it," Kisa said.

Tolkien liked to call invented language his 'secret vice.' He spent hours at this hobby, designing grammars and modifying words from Latin, Finnish, Welsh and others for his languages. Eventually, his languages needed tongues to speak them, and they needed a place to live. Thus Middle-Earth was born - LATWP

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.30, 2007)

Eyecatchers-23 : 'Life on Mars' - Reuters


London, Aug.28: Ancient bacteria are able to survive nearly half a million years in harsh, frozen conditions, researchers said on Monday in a study that adds to arguments that permafrost environments on Mars could harbour life.

The findings also represent the oldest independently authenticated DNA to date obtained from living cells and could offer clues to better understand ageing, said Eske Willerslev, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen who led the study.

"When it can live half a million years on Earth, it makes it very promising it could survive on Mars for a very long time," Willerslev said. "Permafrost would be an excellent place to look for life on Mars."

The international team, which also included researchers from US, Canada, Russia and Sweden, tested the microbes living up to 10 metres deep in permafrost collected from Northern Canada, the Yukon, Siberia and Antartica.

When a cell dies, its DNA fragments into pieces but the samples the researchers studied were all very long strands - evidence the cells were able to continuously repair genetic material and remain alive, said Willerslev, whose findings were published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences.

"These cells are active cells repairing DNA to deal with continuous degradation of the genomes, which is the genetic material that is key to life," he said in a telephone interview. "It is the same thing with humans."

The scientists do not yet know the mechanism driving the continuous repair but Willerslav said the cells survived by eating nutrients like nitrogen and phosphate lodged in the permafrost.

This is interesting because the temperature in Mars is much colder with more stable temperatures, representing an even better environment to sustain this kind of life, he added.

While most scientists think our neighbour in the solar system is lifeless, the discovery of microbes on Earth that can exist in environments previously thought too hostile has fuelled debate over extraterrestrial life.

Researchers had known these microbes could survive for a long time without food but until now there was little agreement on how long they could live, Willerslev said. Knowing this, and eventually pinpointing the key to the longevity, may also help scientists better understand the ageing process, he added.

"It is interesting to see why some cells can survive for a very long time," he said. "That can be a key for understanding ageing." - Reuters
(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.29, 2007)

Eyecatchers-22 : 'First Ecological Prison' - The New Indian Express

Norway put on show on Monday what it calls 'the world's first ecological prison,' where inmates play important roles in daily operations and learn to do their bit to protect the environment.

The Bastoey Island low-security prison uses solar panels for energy, produces most of its own food, recycles everything it can and tries to reduce its carbon footprint. (Agencies)

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.29, 2007)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eyecatchers-21 : 'Sugar Batteries to Power Walkman!' - The Hindu

Tokyo: Bread and potatoes are staple sources of human energy, and now a carbohydrate diet is set also to power the Walkman portable music device.

Japanese technology company Sony, seeking to project an eco-friendly image, said it has developed a prototype battery cell that generates electricity from carbohydrates and sugar.

The test cells have achieved an output of 50 milliwatts, enough to play a Walkman, Sony said.

In a demonstration here on Thursday, a Sony employee poured a sugary sports drink to power a music player and its speakers.

The company said it came up with the battery essentially by studying how living creatures generate energy.

Sugar batteries would be biodegradable and the source material can be found in plants grown around the world.

Plants regenerate through photosynthesis, "underlining the potential for sugar-based bio batteries as an ecologically friendly energy device of the future," a Sony statement said.

The company said it would continue to develop the prototype and study ways to put it into practical use.

Sony, which changed the way the world listened to music with the Walkman, has vowed to rededicate itself to innovation after suffering a troubled patch with the success of Apple's iPod.

Sony was hit last year by the recall of millions of laptop computer batteries over fears that they could catch fire - AFP

(Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, Saturday, Aug.25, 2007)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Thought for Today-56: August 21, 2007

"Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water" - Miguel de Cervantes

A Thought for Today-55: August 20, 2007

"For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour" - Mary Kay Ash

A Thought for Today-54: August 19, 2007

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Gil Bailie

A Thought for Today-53: August 18, 2007

"Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you" -Wayne Dyer, American Psychotherapist & Author

A Thought for Today-52: August 17, 2007

"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. A goal is what specifically you intend to make happen. Dreams and goals should be just out of your present reach but not out of sight. Dreams and goals are coming attractions in your life." - Joseph Campbell

A Thought for Today-51: August 16, 2007

"Peace without justice is tyranny" — William Allen White, American writer and newspaper editor (1868-1944)

A Thought for Today-50: August 15, 2007

Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius - Benjamin Disraeli

A Thought for Today-49: August 14, 2007

"Among those whom I like, I find this common denominator, all of them make me laugh." - W H Auden

Eyecatchers-20 : ' In Death, Woman gives Life to Three' - UNI

New Delhi, Aug.27 : A woman suffering from fatal brain tumour, gave life to three other persons in her death through multiple organ transplant.

Leela Devi, 26, lost the battle with her brain tumour on Sunday. But showing the courage and compassion, the husband, Lance Naik GS Bisht of 26 Rashtriya Rifles, consented to donate her organs after she was pronounced brain dead.

A combined team of over 40-doctors and para-medical staff from army hospital and base hospital here on Sunday successfully transplanted her liver into a serving soldier with terminal cirrhosis due to Hepatitis B and one kidney into a 12-year-old daughter of a soldier suffering from end-stage kidney disease.

The other kidney was handed over to AIIMS, where it was transplanted into a 45-year-old with chronic kidney failure. Organ donation after brain death is rare in India. The armed forces launched the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplantation Authority (AORTA) earlier this year to increase awareness on organ donation. According to Col. A.K.Seth, director of AORTA, hundreds of serving personnel and their families have already pledged to donate their organs following a sustained campaign.

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.28, 2007)

Eyecatchers-19 : ' A Baby named '@'

Beijing: A Chinese coupled tried to name their baby "@" , claiming the character used in e-mail addresses echoed their love for the child, an official trying to whip the national language into line said.

The unusual name stands out especially in Chinese, which has no alphabet and instead uses tens of thousands of multi-stroke characters to represent words.

While the "@" symbol is familiar to Chinese e-mail users, they often use the English word 'at' to sound it out - which with a drawn out 'T' sounds something like 'ai ta', or 'love him', to Mandarin speakers - World Vignettes - Agencies

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.17, 2007)

Eyecatchers-18 : 'Motilal Nehru's Bank Account' by Piyush Srivastava

It is a savings account that no one has operated for the past 76 years. The family members forgot all about it as did the State Bank of India, Main Katcheri Branch, Allahabad, till someone recently stumbled upon the name of the account holder: Motilal Nehru - freedom fighter, the father of the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, the patriarch of India's most influential political dynasty.

Opened in 1897, the account still has Rs.2,650/-. Incidentally, during the last 200 years the bank has destroyed many of its old records and ledgers, but somehow 1897 and 1907 survived. "As we say, history is eternal, so is the record which informed us about the glorious past of our bank," said K.Vaidyanathan, the AGM of the Bank.

(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Aug.17, 2007)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shvoong.com : Free Essays, Term Papers, Articles, Summaries & Abstracts

Free Essays, Term Papers, Articles, Summaries & Abstracts

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eyecatchers-17 : 'Scientists seek ways to feed the world', The New Indian Express, Aug.18, 2007

On an agricultural research station, south of Manila, a group of scientists are battling against time to breed new varieties of rice as global warming threatens one of the world's major sources of food. According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), more than than half the world's 6.6 billion people depend on rice for nourishment.
Indian plant geneticist, Kumar Singh, grows 2000 rice varieties inside giant metal cabinets, the seedlings sprouting above styrofoam trays soaked with varying degrees of brine to simulate the seawaters that threaten to engulf rice-growing areas over the next century.

The three IRRI scientists (Moroccan crop physiologist, Rachid Serraj; Chinese scientist, Peng Shaobing and Indian plant geneticist, Kumar Singh) are entrusted with ensuring that the half of mankind who depend on rice will not go hungry as rising temperatures and ocean levels threaten one of the world's most important crops.

(Excerpted from 'World Panorama' of The New Indian Express (Madurai) of Aug.18, 2007)

Eyecatchers-16 : 'Blu-ray Disc' : Education Express, The New Indian Express, Aug.17, 2007

With the introduction of high storage Blu-ray Discs, the music and film industry is set for yet another revolution.

What about the idea of getting eight of your favourite movies copied in single disc? Wondering how it is possible? The introduction of VCDs and DVDs had revolutionalised the film and music world and the industry is set for yet another revolution with the introduction of Blu-ray Discs (BD). With their high-storage capacity, Blu-ray Discs can hold and play large quantities of high-definition video and audio, as well as photos, data and other digital content.

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of world’s leading consumer electronics, p[ersonal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

A single-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25 GB data and a dual-layer, 50 GB. Over nine hours of high-definition (HD) video can be stored on a 50 GB - BD. BDs are more durable and less susceptible to dust, fingerprints and even scratches.

(Compiled by Edex Team)
(Excerpted from ‘Education Express’, Supplement to The New Indian Express, August 17, 2007)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Small is Beautiful

When we light a small earthen lamp, without a question and with least hesitation it sheds its humble light. It does not look around to watch if any other lamp is shedding its lustre. It is not dismayed also if no other light is burning in the vicinity.

It is content to be given to shed its own little light. It is not worried how much more darkness need to be removed from over the world. Is it a small privilege to be given to remove even a jot of darkness?

The small is beautiful. Have you not seen a tiny grass flower? Natured needed to exercise all its talents to create that tiny flower, complete in its own size of glory. If little things had no meaning they would not be there. Scientists have by now told us how much power, mystery and glory are there in in the tiny atom.

Let us not be nervous about our smallness. For, without grains of sands, even the loftiest monuments could not be built. In fact, the ultimate brick of the greatest monuments is the sand particle.

There are people who think too highly of themselves. They have what is called a superiority complex. That abominable thing is too bad for themselves, and not good for others.

There are, again, those who think too lowly of themselves. They have an inferiority complex. This is worse than the superiority complex. They think that they are good for nothing. By continuously thinking that way, they really become so.

Such people can never become good citizens. When we discuss momentous issues concerning mankind, and the responsibility of doing our mite, they throw up their hands and dogmatically declare that small persons like them can do nothing about these great problems.

So they shy away even from discussing these problems. Taking shelter behind their so-called or supposed smallness they take an inverse pride in declaring that they have nothing to do with the ambitious scheme of solving world problems.

We should clearly understand that even a small lamp has the capacity and the privilege to give light. Often enough, these days, thanks to frequent power shortages, we are given the opportunity to appreciate the usefulness of the good old, humble candles. When proud powerhouses fail, humble candles give light. Even today the basic measure of all magnificent light is the candle power!

If thousand suns do not suddenly burst forth in our horizon, there is no reason to be disheartened. In fact that would be too tragic for our planet. Let us light thousand small lights.

Enlightened citizenship is every individual’s responsibility. That is the spirit of the times. That is the basic assumption of democracy. This is also the teaching of Vedanta. You are, whoever you may be, the centre of light, you are verily that! "Tat Tvamasi!" True enlightened citizenship cannot be worked for in lesser terms. We can gain nothing by letting go our grip on the highest truth, whereas by remaining anchored in the highest truth we can eventually enlighten ourselves and others.

Swami Vivekananda teaches: You are part of the Infinite. This is your nature. Hence you are your brother’s keeper. Not one can be happy until all are happy. When you hurt anyone, you hurt yourself, for you and your brother are one. …Each is responsible for the evil anywhere in the world. He is indeed a yogi who sees himself in the whole universe and the universe within himself.

Enlightened citizenship is very much a home-grown affair, in the sense that your home can become a light-house. The light that is within you, when that shines without also, that is enlightened citizenship.

The greatest legacy that Gandhiji has left to mankind is to have shown by his own example that each human being has a direct responsibility to world peace by the progressive day-to-day transformation of the individual soul. In fact, for all practical purposes, enlightened citizenship is a spiritual adventure.

Courtesy: “ENLIGHTENED CITIZENSHIP” - A Ramakrishna Math, Delhi, publication

A Thought for Today-48: August 13, 2007

"Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs." - Malcolm Forbes

A Thought for Today-47: August 12, 2007

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." - Rabindranath Tagore

A Thought for Today-46: August 11, 2007

"Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought." - Henry David Thoreau

A Thought for Today-45: August 10, 2007

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Paul Boese

Ten Pledges for Students from Dr A P J Abdul Kalam

1. I shall pursue my education and my work with dedication and I shall excel in it.

2. From now onwards, I shall teach at least ten persons who cannot read and write to read and write.

3. I shall plant at least ten saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care.

4. I shall visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least five persons from addiction and gambling.

5. I shall constantly endeavour to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.

6. I shall not support any religious, caste or language differentiation.

7. I shall be honest and endeavour to make a corruption-free society.

8. I shall work for becoming an enlightened citizen and make my family righteous.

9. I shall always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and shall work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us.
10. I shall proudly celebrate the success of my country and my people.

Eyecatchers-15 : R K Narayan Birth Centenary Celebrations

R.K.Narayan, the master storyteller, whose sensitive, well-drawn portrayal of twentieth-century Indian life is set mostly in the fictional South Indian town, ‘Malgudi’, received rich tributes from the students of Madura College during his birth centenary celebrations organized by the English Dept of the college recently.

About 200 teachers and students participated in a seminar on ‘R.K.Narayan – the Master Storyteller’ sponsored by the Madura College Board. Thirty papers were presented dealing with the works of Narayan, followed by a brainstorming session.

Prof.Jamuna Rani of Sri Meenakshi Govt College, Prof.Thayyalnayaki of GTN College and Prof.Padma Srinivasan chaired the paper presentation sessions. The students also presented skits based on short stories of Narayan as a part of the celebrations.

(The New Indian Express, Madurai, Aug.13, 2007)

Eyecatchers-14 : Scientific Breakthrough in Oxygenation of Blood - Express News Service

A professor from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and a cardiothoracic surgeon from the Apollo Hospitals claimed to have come out with a pathbreaking concept to help treat acute and chronic lung failures.

After two years of joint research, A.Subrahmanyam of the Dept of Physics, IIT-M and consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon of the Apollo Hospitals, Dr.Paul Ramesh on Friday shared the details of their new method, ‘Photocatalytic oxygenation of human blood’ with the mediapersons.

In the acute and chronic lung diseases, often there is a need for oxygen to be supplied from external sources. Presently, ventilators or extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) is used to provide oxygen to the patients. “However, ventilators cannot increase the amount of oxygen in tissues beyond a point. The ECMO too has many limitations,” explained Dr.Ramesh.

However, the duo have now developed an easier way to send oxygen to lungs which helps patients to make oxygen using sunlight.

Subrahmanyam explained, “Blood contains 80% of water which has oxygen and hydrogen. So, we thought of splitting the oxygen from it.” The oxygen thus formed could be sent to the blood and delivered to the tissues circumventing the lung.

The method goes like this – researchers have used a thin film technology and developed a nano porous layer of titanium-dioxide and indium tin oxide which is only 500 nano metre thick (thickness of a human hair) and used UV light to demonstrate effective oxygenation of human blood.

Soon, they will conduct tests on animals and later clinical trials. “The functional device should be ready in two years,” said Dr.Ramesh.

At present, the experiments were conducted in-vitro (laboratory) conditions. But the duo are planning to create a device which could be fixed inside the body of the patient.

According to Dr.Ramesh, this would help in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases which has a prevalence of 11.6 and 8.77 per 1000 in men and women respectively.
(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, August 12, 2007)

Eyecatchers-13 : India’s Best and Worst: NDTV Poll Findings

Mahatma Gandhi has been voted the greatest national icon in an opinion poll of icons, events and landmarks conducted by NDTV for the program “India at 60”.

Other findings are:

Democracy is the greatest national pride and Bribery its worst shame; the IT revolution is the one event that changed the country, while Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots are its greatest political blot. The NDTV poll was conducted using direct questionnaires administered at street corners in 13 cities, SMS responses, and voting on the worldwide web.

Sachin Tendulkar was voted the country’s greatest sportsperson; ‘Mother India’ the greatest film; and the patriotic ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’ the greatest song.

In the perception of the respondents, the Mahatma was ahead of Mother Teresa. Other personalities in the list of icons are JRD Tata, Indira Gandhi, Narayana N.R.Murthy, Amitabh Bachchan, and Jawaharlal Nehru.

The poll found that the national achievements, besides democracy, that give Indians the greatest pride are secularism, the IT industry, the armed forces, the Railways, and the judiciary. Hunger comes next only to bribery as the worst shame, followed by untouchability, dowry and manual scavenging.

(Courtesy: The Hindu, Tamil Nadu Edition, Madurai, Sunday, August 12, 2007)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"What makes you Happy in Life?" by Fr.Jose Panthaplamthottiyil

"What makes you happy in life?" My question was not pre-meditated or well-planned. As I saw his angelic face bubbling with joy and enthusiasm, the question popped out of my mouth before I knew it.

He paused. Then with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, he said: "I am happy when I do the right things in life."

"Excellent!" My response was spontaneous. Then I realized there was a tear in my eyes. For a brief moment I was choked with emotion by listening to the wisdom of an eleven-year-old boy.

A few months later, as I walked into Christ College, as a lecturer in 1991, I was curious to find out how our first year Pre-University students would respond to my question. In some of the classes I went to, I asked the students to write-down-three most important things that make them happy in their life.

Their answers were diverse and numerous. However, some of them were common and identical. Most students wrote their family makes them happy. The second most common answer was that their friends make them happy. Here are a few other things they thought would really make them happy in their life: good marks, sports, movies, good jobs, helping others and being loved.

As I scanned through their answers I was pleasantly surprised in several respects. Is it not a familiar saying that 'getting things and having things' really make us all happy? Then how is it that most students chose family and friends as what really make them happy? Another thing that surprised me was the near absence of the mention of money in their answers. Am I to believe that they know better when the world seemingly is going after money as if nothing else matters in this life? Anyway, they seemed to think that money is something that can buy everything in this world except happiness.

Also, they did not think of food and drink either when they searched for answers to my question. It is like they have already learned at this young age that the pleasure derived from food and drink is transient while happiness is something that really runs deep in our lives.

Our young students seem to find happiness at home with parents who care and with brothers and sisters who share their love. They find happiness when they are with their true friends. They also find happiness when they help others. Their happiness is real. No doubt about it. If they can find happiness in so many different ways, why is it that some of the adults among us think that true happiness is like a butterfly that is always beyond our grasp?

As I walked back to my residence, the words of Jesus came to my mind: "Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever, you have revealed to the merest children."

Yet, I sadly remembered that some of these very same students will probably lose their innocence very fast as they begin to grow up in our confused world. That made me wonder whether the grown-ups could do anything to make this world a better place to grow up for our students. Then I heard the eleven-year-old boy saying with a chuckle: "By doing the right things in life!"

(Courtesy: Children's Digest, Feb.1999 - Pub. Rashtra Deepika Ltd, Kottayam, Kerala)

Eyecatchers-12 : A Healthier Tomorrow by Arjun Jassal

Atoms, the building blocks of the universe, come together in diverse and complex arrangements to form molecules. These in turn join each other to build the world around us.

Everything, even the human body, is made of molecules. Although some of them are found in nature, others have to be designed and built for applications like medicines to new materials.

Dr.Goverdhan Mehta, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has been awarded Gujar Mal Modi Science Award for 2007 for designing and building molecules.

He says, "Organic molecules are very important. They form important drugs, plastics, dyes and most lifestyle materials. All of them don't just fall from heaven, they have to be made. We are also working on molecules that could be used to treat cancer and diabetes. We are also concentrating on neuro-degradation."

Apart from this, Mehta also has been building long-chain carbon atoms that have symmetries and are not found in nature. As of now these molecules do not have any marketable use.

However, he feels that this will change with time. "That is the nature of research, if something is predictable it is not science; we would already know what it is", he adds.
(From "A scientist's bid for a healthier tomorrow" by Arjun Jassal, The New Indian Express, Madurai, August 11, 2007)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Eyecatchers-11 : The Brain in Love

Science is just beginning to parse the inner workings of the brain in love, examining the blissful or ruinous fall from a medley of perspectives; neural systems, chemical messengers and the biology of reward.

It was only in 200 that two London scientists selected 70 people, all in the early sizzle of love, and rolled them into the giant cylinder of a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, or fMRI. The images they got are thought to be science's first pictures of the brain in love.

The pictures were a revelation, and others have followed, showing that romantic love is a lot like addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Human brains are complicated, with additional neural systems that seek romance, others that want comfort and companionship, and others that are just out for a roll in the hay.

Yet the chemistry between two people is not just a matter of molecules careening around the brain, dictating feelings like some game of neuro-billiards. Attraction also involves personal history. "Our parents have an effect on us," says Helen Fisher, evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University who studies human attraction. "So does the school system, television, timing, mystery."

Every book ever read, and every movie ever wept through, starts changing a course toward the chosen one.

(Excerpted from 'The New Indian Express', Madurai, dated August 10, 2007)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

An anecdote from Isaac Asimov’s Life

Isaac Asimov, one of the great science story writers, once wrote, “In 1939, at the age of 19, I wrote my first robot story. I had changed the world and I did not know it. In 1950, someone took my first nine robot stories and put them together in a book. A gentleman named, Joseph Engel Berger, read and was inspired with a life long desire to build robots. He has since become world’s leading manufacturer, installer and maintainer of these machines and he makes millions – He gives me all the credit but keeps the money.

Courtesy : Science Express

'The Art of Living' by Swami Atmananda

Socrates says that many of us live, but do not know the art of living. That is why we are always miserable. He who knows the art of living alone can enjoy life.

The art of living makes life worth living. In the absence of such an art, man tends to be like an animal driven by instincts. Thinkers and law-givers have referred to a person devoid of such an art as an animal without horns and tail. There is a story of a dog which had saved a child from a wolf; but for that reason, nobody would gratefully garland it. This is because the dog acts in this manner not due to its intellect, but purely due to its natural instinct and inherent tendency. The art of living is directed by our intellect and not by instinct.

Man makes himself miserable by being ignorant of the art of living. A number of examples can be given, but one will suffice.

One of my friends is holding a very high position in the Indian Administrative Service. He is very honest and hardworking. But he never learnt the art of living and so he has become outspoken. Honest people become somewhat rough. Very often, those who speak the truth are short-tempered. This friend of mine is also a strict disciplinarian, and does not like to bow down before anyone. As a result, everyone curses him behind his back. When he comes to know about it, he becomes a bit depressed. Living constantly under such circumstances, he has become a victim of tension and neurosis. For example, when someone asks him to do some work, he at once shouts back at him that work would not be done. Later, however, he might even do the work, yet he has already made him an enemy right from the beginning. So, even if the work is done, the person does not think that it was possible only due to the officer, because he had already rebuffed him. So I suggested to him that whenever someone approached him for any work, let him not shout at him, or rebuke him. But instead, let him express sympathy and make him understand that although it was difficult to do that work due to some reasons, he would do his best to help him. After all, a man wants to listen to a few sweet words. We cannot always oblige everyone, but at least we can talk obligingly. This is one aspect of the art of living.

There is another aspect to it – to be ready to face anything unexpected. Let us understand very well that the world does not go on according to our wish and will. As long as life is smooth, we should thank God for it, considering it to be His grace. When the happenings are not according to our calculations, and things become topsy-turvy, we should not become depressed or hopeless but must pray to God to give us mental strength to face such difficult situations. Actually, only under such unfavourable circumstances, a man is put to real test. We must realize that prosperity and adversity, happiness and sorrow, make the warp and woof of life. Such a realization saves us from faltering and falling during such moments of adversity.

There is a third aspect of the art of living – converting the habit of fault-finding into creativity and through practice, trying to develop in us a habit of seeing virtues. The faults of others appear too tasty to us – we delight in them and go on spreading them around. We should try to convert this tendency of fault-finding into a creative activity. For example, a doctor looks at a patient’s faults, nay, he even magnifies them with the help of instruments. But his idea behind it is to remove them from the patient. This is known as creative and positive fault-finding. In order to learn such an art, we should try to develop the tendency of looking for good in others. Unfortunately, it is not our nature. We shall have to cultivate it by conscious effort. It is natural that we see others’ faults all at once. But when this tendency of finding fault in others arises, let us also try to see their virtues. There can be no one with only good or with only evil.

These three aspects of the art of living enrich us spiritually and help us to make our life meaningful.

(Excerpted from 'The Vedanta Kesari'. December 2000, A Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai Publication)

Gandhiana-1: "Gandhiji’s Talisman"

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.”

Courtesy: "Living Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi" - Edited by Mulk Raj Anand
An NCERT publication

Some Ideas basic to Enlightened Citizenship

1. Human family is one.
2. We must own the entire human family as our own.
3. My welfare is best guaranteed in your welfare. So I must promote your welfare to be sure about my welfare.
4. Truth is one but is called by various names.
5. You cannot judge without being judged.
6. You can claim without forgetting others’ claim.
7. You can give up without insisting on others to do likewise.
8. You can serve and never ask for return.
9. How wonderful it is to be given to immolate one’s little self and emerge in the great self of all.

Courtesy: ‘Enlightened Citizenship’ - Published by Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi

A Thought for Today-44: August 9, 2007

If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather look up to your own faults with a view to correct them. - Holy Mother Sarada Devi

'Tips to Save Time' by Gowri Ramnarayan

1. Note down goals, tasks.
2. Make a daily and weekly time table
3. List out priorities in the order of importance.
4. Focus on the most important goal first
5. Be honest in keeping to schedule
6. Give full attention to the task on hand
7. Allot time for checking and revision
8. Balance work-time with play-time
9. Stretch yourself
10. Don’t make impractical demands on yourself
11. Allow time for mistakes, accidents
12. Finish work before starting to play
13. Complete one task before going to the next
14. Attend to details
15. Have alternatives ready in case of mishaps.

Courtesy : Signpost, The Hindu, 1.12.2000

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Thought for Today-43: August 8, 2007

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." - Sir Winston Churchill

A Thought for Today-42: August 7, 2007

"Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign." - Theophile Gautier

Eyecatchers-10 : Plutonium is deadly! by R.P.Subramanian

100 grams of Plutonium can kill one billion people if 'properly' delivered. ... read the U.S.Dept of Energy documentation on the effects of plutonium (Pu) dust that leaked from the Hanford n-facilities in the U.S. for over four decades from the 1940s (made public, thanks to the efforts of former U.S.Energy Secretary, Hazel O'Leary), and how the U.S. Dept of Health is still monitoring - and indeed paying compensation to - tens of thousands of families that have suffered the horrific effects of Pu poisoning even though they lived hundreds of kilometres away from Hanford.

Similar stories, but with less transparency, may be found on the Pu contamination from the Chelyabinsk-Mayak n-plants in Russia, and the Sellfield n-facility (earlier called Windscale) in Britian. (Excerpted from the 'Open Page', The Hindu, August 5, 2007)

Eyecatchers-9 : 'Free Hugs' campaign in Japan by Kanako Nakanishi

Tokyo: As passersby look on suspiciously, a group of university students works the streets on a mission to change Japan - by making people hug.

Inspired by Australian Juan Mann, who has earned international fame through Internet by standing in central Sydney with a sign reading "FREE HUGS," the Japanese students are determined to shake up a culture famous for its reserve.

They spend weekends in trendy Harajuku, holding their cardboard replica of Mann's sign and throwing their arms around anyone who takes them up on the offer.
"Being hugged by a mother is essential to make a baby feel safe, loved and welcomed, and the same effect through hugs is expected for adults as well." (Courtesy: AFP - Excerpted from Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, April 27, 2007)

Eyecatchers-8 : Long Journey to Mars begins

A U.S. space probe named Phoenix Mars Lander was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and began its nine-month journey to Mars, where it will dig for clues to past and present life. It will also analyze the Martian soil and ice. (Excerpted from The Hindu, Newscape, Aug.5, 20070).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Thought for Today-41: August 4, 2007

"The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%." - Andrew Carnegie

A Thought for Today-40: August 3, 2007

"Youth is not a time of life - it is a state of mind.... It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over a life of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty, more than in a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old by deserting their ideals." - Samuel Ullman

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Thought for Today-39: August 2, 2007

Truth leads to the Lord. The search for Truth is the Raison d'etre of life - Sri Sri Vinoba Bhave

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -
This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Bio of Emerson at Wikipedia:
(Works of Emerson at Project Gutenberg:
(Complete Works of Emerson from University of Michigan Digital Library Collections and Publications:

Bill Gates Wealth Index etc

While browsing to learn about 'uncopyrighted' materials and issues relating to copyright, I stumbled across Brad Templeton's Homepage and came across this 1998-article on Bill Gates wealth. It was funny and very interesting. The homepage also has three more pieces on Bill Gates.
Bill Gates aficionados, why, detractors also, may find the article enjoyable, with all the statistics about what Gates earns every second. To read the article, you can click the following URL : http://www.templetons.com/brad/billg.html
Thank you very much, Mr.Templeton, thank you! To know more about, Brad Templeton, just click: ( He seems to be a very interesting guy.) http://www.templetons.com/brad/#faqs
My efforts to understand copyright laws, I propose to post in a day or two.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Thought for Today-38: August 1, 2007

"The curse which lies upon marriage is that too often the individuals are joined in their weakness rather than in their strength - each asking from the other instead of finding pleasure in giving. It is even more deceptive to dream of gaining through the child a plenitude, a warmth, a value, which one is unable to create for oneself; the child brings joy only to the woman who is capable of disinterestedly desiring the happiness of another, to one who without being wrapped up in self seeks to transcend her own existence." - Simone de Beauvoir

(Courtesy: http://www.bartleby.com/66/28/6128.html)