Happy New Year 2015

WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY, HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS AND PURPOSEFUL NEW YEAR 2015

Sunday, August 31, 2008

S&T Watch-25: "Brain Chemical and Obesity"

Researchers studying people with a rare genetic disorder have identified a brain chemical that may play a role in appetite and obesity, a finding they say could lead to drugs to help some obese people. Previous animal studies had pointed to this chemical as helping regulate appetite and weight, but the new study is the first to show such a role in people - Reuters.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Chennai, August 29, 2008.

Wikipedia article on "OBESITY":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity

Grateful thanks to Reuters, The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

S&T Watch-24: "Secrets of Immortality"

Scientists working on mechanisms that determine lifespan increasingly believe that the secrets of immortality could be tantalisingly close, a survey has suggested. The survey of anti-ageing research has concluded that a longevity pill to "cure" ageing remains a possibility.
Scientists argue there is no known scientific reason why ageing cannot be prevented. The goal is seen as being similar to preventing age-related diseases - PTI.
Courtesy: PTI and The Hindu, Chennai, August 29, 2008.
Wikipedia article on "IMMORTALITY":
Grateful thanks to PTI, The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Eyecatchers-101: "Ankle Alerts"

Convicted South Korean sexual offenders are required to wear electronic tracking devices around their ankles from September 1, 2008.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Chennai, August 29, 2008.

Wikipedia article on "SEXUAL ABUSE":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_abuser

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia.

Facts & Figures-44: "Breastfeeding Champ!"

Four-month-old Raul Montoya won the King of Breastfeeding contest held in Lima, Peru, to mar the Breastfeeding Wekk that ended on August 29.

Excerpt from The Hindu, Chennai, August 29, 2008.

Wikipedia article on "BREASTFEEDING":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

S&T Watch 23: "Cell Phones Powered by Fuel Cells"

In the near future, you might own a cell phone equipped with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell. The cell phone would come with an insert-ready hydrogen pack and a small solar array for charging.
Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 28, 2008 (From "Snapshots")
Wikipedia articles on "FUEL CELLS" and "PHOTOVOLTAIC ARRAY":
Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Letters-38: "Burning Persons Alive"

1. Burning persons alive is an act of cruelty that only dehumanised people are capable of. The country's competitive strength lies not in unethical leaders but in those who know the difference between right and wrong. - K.G.Koru Kuttan Nair, Palakkad.

2. The barbarous and gruesome killing of two innocent persons during the bandh organised by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists is shocking. This lunatic fringe which is trying to push India into the dark ages should be stopped and the perpetrators of the horrendous acts punished immediately. - Jabez Pradeep Roy Chennai.

3. The Orissa government was sufficiently warned of an outbreak of communal violence in September 2006, with the publication of Communalism in Orissa - the Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights, headed by Justice K.K.Usha, former Chief Justice of the Kerala High court, Democracy is at stake in a country where citizens live in the shadow of terror. Any form of religious communalism mars democracy and should be resisted tooth and nail, regardless of our political inclinations and affinites. - Fr.Adolf Washington, Bangalore.

4. The violence in Orissa exposes the destructive character of communalism. The attacks on the minorities and their institutions are unacceptable. Violence should be contained at the earliest. Religious leaders should rise above parochial considerations and come forward with a positive solution. - R.S.Sreeram, Thiruvananthapuram.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 27, 2008 (Selected Letters From "Letters to the Editor" column).
Grateful thanks to M/s.K.G.Koru Kuttan Nair, Jabez Pradeep Roy, Fr.Adolf Washington, R.S.Sreeram and The Hindu.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Thought for Today-128:

Grateful thanks to Jon Sullivan and www.public-domain-photos.com for the above photo.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited - Plutarch.

S&T Watch-22: "A new magnetic Carbon"

The newest form of carbon is almost nothing at all - but it will stick to a refrigerator for a few hours. Carbon was known to come in four configurations: diamond crystals, flat sheets of graphite, soccer-ball-shaped cages known as bucky balls and rolled-up cylinders called nanotubes. The new form also consists of narrow tubes, but the tubes are connected in a willowy lattice. The surprise discovery is that nanofoam, unlike the other four forms of carbon, is magnetic. In the first few hours after it forms, nanofoam is attractive enough to stick to a refrigerator. The magnetism then wanes and disappears. It is one of the airiest materials known; a gallon of nanofoam weighs about a quarter of an ounce. - New York Times News Service.
Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, details not available.
Wikipedia articles on "Nanofoam" and "CARBON":
Grateful thanks to New York Times News Service, The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Facts & Figures-43: "Rarest Disease in the World"

The rarest disease in the world, called Kuru or Laughing Sickness, affects only the cannibals of New Guinea and is believed to be caused by eating human brains.
Courtesy: '501 Fascinating Facts'
Pushtak Mahal, Delhi
Grateful thanks to Pushtak Mahal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Thought for Today-127:

(Grateful thanks to Jon Sullivan and PublicDomainPhotos.com for the above photo- http://www.public-domain-photos.com/)

Whatever liberates our spirit without giving us self-control is disastrous - Goethe.

India Watch-11: "Rs 900 crore Bribe for Civic Amenities!"

Poor paid Rs 900-crore Bribe in 2007 for Civic Amenities
Police Force Most Corrupt Service: Study
Agencies
The Times of India, Chennai, June 30, 2008

One third of the people living below the poverty line(BPL) in India paid bribes to access healthcare, education and water among otehr basic facilities, says a new study which also dubs the police force the most corrupt among the services surveyed.

The joint study by Transparency International India and the Centre for Media Studies(CMS) in 2007 found that one-third of BPL households paid Rs.900 crore as bribes in the year to avail of one or more of the 11 public services covered in the survey. The services include the public distribution system, hospital service, senior secondary school education, electricity and water supply. Need-based services including national rural employment guarantee scheme, land records and registation, forest, housing, banking and police service.

The "TII-CMS India Corruption Study 2007" revealed that the police top the chart as far as corruption in 11 selected public services is concerned.

Of the 5.6 million BPL households that interacted with the police last year, a whopping 2.5 million paid Rs.2,150 million as bribes for some work or the other and most of them went to the police station for simple registration of a complaint, it said.

Land records and registration services comes secon d in terms of monetary contribution as nearly 3.5 million BPL households paid Rs.1,224 million as bribes. A total of 22,728 BPL households were surveyed across the states throughout the country.

Courtesy: The Times of India, Chennai, June 30, 2008.
Wikipedia article on "CORRUPTION IN INDIA":
Grateful thanks to The Times of India and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Environment-11: "Exchange Ten Plastic Bags for a Cloth Bag!"

Exchange Ten Plastic Bags for a Cloth Bag!
Times News Network

In a novel initiative to rid Coimbatore of plastic mounds clogging the city, corporate companies and students have come together to pick up at least 50 lakh plastic bags and instead, hand over 5 lakh cloth bags to the residents - one cloth bag in exchange for 10 used plastic carry bags.

Students from 98 schools and 29 colleges have already collected 35 lakh plastic carry bags from residents.

Students of Sri Krishna College came up with the idea "to give 10 plastic bags and take one cloth bag". They have installed four anti-plastic monsters at public places to warn residents of the dangers of plastics.

"We decided to make this anti-plastic drive a people's movement. We roped in city residents, school children and college students to be our green volunteers," says T.Soundararajan, the Managing Director of CRI Pumps Ltd and the vice-president of Residents' Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC). Leading corporates, including Pricol, Lakshmi Machine Works and Annapoorna Group of Hotels, who came together to launch the RAAC, sponsored the cloth bags for the anti-plastic program.

Excerpt from "Exchange 10 Plastic bags for a Cloth bag", Times News Network, The Times of India, Chennai, June 30, 2008.

Wikipedia article on "Plastics":
Wikipedia article on "Plastics Materials in India":
Grateful thanks to The Times of India and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

S&T Watch-21: "Diode that detects Bioterrorism Agents!"

Researchers in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer "Engineering have shown that a new class of ultraviolent photodiode could help in the development of compact, reliable and cost-effective sensors to detect anthrax and other bioterrorism agents in the air. New research shows that ultraviolent avalanche photodiodes offer the high gain and reliability needed to detect these agents and help authorities rapidly contain an incident like the 2001 anthrax attacks. ECE professors Douglas Yoder, Shyh-Chiang Shen and Jae-Hyun Ryou collaborated on this research.
Courtesy: Times of India, Chennai, June 30, 2008.
Wikipedia article on "Bioterrorism":
Grateful thanks to The Times of India and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Eyecatchers-100: "800 Terrorist Outfits functioning in India!"

"800 Terrorist Outfits are functioning in India with the support of other countries" - Mr.Narayanan, National Security Adviser, Govt of India.
Courtesy: 'Ananda Vikatan', Tamil weekly, August 27, 2008.
Wikipedia article on "Terrorism in India":
Grateful thanks to Ananda Vikatan and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Have a Hearty Laugh-5:

"If he (Shah Rukh Khan) is my fan, I am his air-conditioner" - Union Railway Minister, Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav. (Report from a Tamil daily).

Open Access-3:

Open Access-3: Another interesting and informative mail from Mr.Subbiah Arunachalam

Research in Indian academic institutions - universities, IITs, IISc and other deemed universities and national laboratories - is by and large supported by taxpayers' money. But when the researchers finish some work and want to publish it, they give away the ENTIRE RIGHTS to journal publishers. Often these are commercial firms like GReed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer and John Wiley. As most of these journals are very expensive - some of them charging annual subscription of over $10,000 - most Indian libraries would not be receiving them. As a result work published by an Indian researcher often goes unnoticed by researchers in the same field working in other Indian institutions. Besides the government which supported the research has no claim on its results. I suggest that we work towards mandating open access for all publicly funded research and Indian authors NOT surrendering all rights to publishers when they sign the publishers' copyright agreement.

Incidentally, no research performed in US Government laboratories (such as Brookhaven National Laboratory or Oak Ridge National Laboratory) is copyrightable! We should enact legislation in India to the effect that copyright to all research performed in government laboratories (CSIR, ICMR, ICAR, DAE, ISRO, etc.) will vest with Indian entities (say the laboratories or the council or department) and that all research supported fully or partially with public funds will be made freely available through open access. Faculties in both Harvard and Stanford Universities (some and not all) have voted unanimously to mandate open access to their research publications. The National Institutes of Health in the USA and six of the seven research councils in the UK have long ago mandated open access to all research they support. The Wellcome Trust, a major funder of biomedical research, has also mandated open access for all the research it supports. We need to adopt a similar nationwide open access mandate in India.

I tried to convince the Bioinformatics centres supported by the Department of Biotechnology. We first talked about it seven years ago at the annual meeting held at Pune. The idea was approved, but till this day the DBT has not implemented it, although this topic comes up virtually in every annual meeting of the coordinators of the Bioinformatics centres. I have also written to many other science managers of the country with limited success. Three CSIR laboratories have set up institutional open access archives and it is likely many more will do so in the near future. May be we should alert the CGA!

I request this group to take this up as its agenda.

Best wishes.

Arun
[Subbiah Arunachalam]

Grateful thanks to Mr.Subbiah Arunachalam.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Letters-37: “Muslims in India-3”

1. Does Shabana know that all Indians are discriminated against for one reason or the other at least once in their lifetime by a fellow Indian? It could be because of anything – language, community, food preference, the State or region to which one belongs, and so on. Talk to someone who has been looking for a house in any of our metros and you will come across stories after stories. A person of Shabana’s stature should have refrained from making statements that can deepen the communal divide. – Murali Saranadhi, Chennai.

2. That Shabana Azmi finds it difficult to buy a flat in Mumbai does not mean that Muslims across India face the same problem. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, one can say with certainty that Muslims do buy houses or lands in predominantly Hindu areas. The two communities coexist peacefully. – E.Sathyamurthy, Chennai.

3. Ms Azmi would do well to introspect. There could be a host of reasons other than her being a Muslim for her inability to buy a flat in Mumbai. Many of us belonging to the majority community encounter similar difficulties. But unlike Ms Azmi, we do not have the luxury of wallowing in self-pi8ty or blowing them out of proportion. – Premilla V.Nair, Thiruvananthapuram.

4. Muslims perhaps find it difficult to buy or rent houses in Hindu-dominated areas and housing complexes because they are non-vegetarians. But is equally true that bachelors and single women, and people working in BPOs are not preferred as tenants in many cities, including Chennai. The issue, therefore, has nothing to do with religious discrimination. – Surendra Kumar Srivastava, Chennai.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 22, 2008 (Selected letters from “Letters to the Editor” column).

Wikipedia article on “Religious Discrimination” and “Religious Intolerance”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_discrimination

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_intolerance

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Letters-36: “Muslims in India-2”

1. Ms Azmi’s claim that she could not buy an apartment in Mumbai just because she is a Muslim is unacceptable. Is it her case that there is no Muslim in Mumbai who owns a house? She must apologise to the nation for tarnishing its secular image by making such an irresponsible statement. – V.Govindarajan, Singapore.

2. It is difficult to believe that a prominent film personality who has won several national awards is unable to buy a house in Mumbai because she is a Muslim. What about Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and others who are among the most highly paid actors in Bollywood? Are they also having problems purchasing houses in Mumbai? – S.Gurumurthy, Chennai.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 20, 2008 (“Letters to the Editor”)
Grateful thanks to Mr.V.Govindarajan, Mr.S.Gurumurthy and The Hindu.

Facts & Figures-42: "Inflation surges to 12.63%"

Rising prices of food items such as fruits, vegetables and milk pushed up inflation to 12.63% for the week ended August 9 from 12.44% a week ago. Inflation was 4.24% during the corresponding week last year.
Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 22, 2008 ("Briefly")
Grateful thanks to The Hindu.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Letters-35: “Muslims in India-1”

1. Ms Azmi’s remark that the Indian polity has been unfair to Muslims is uncharitable. Ms Azmi is the recipient of many government honours. India has had four Muslim Presidents. Many Muslims serve as Ministers and occupy high offices. Bollywood is dominated by the three Khans. Remarks like the ones made by Ms Azmi only serve to widen the social divide. – K.P.R.Iyer, Bangalore.

2. Ms Azmi made no mention of Muslim women who have been discriminated against in the name of religion in Independent India. How come she did not point a finger at the clergy who issued a fatwa against a rape victim? She should set her house in order before accusing fellow Indians. – V.S.Ramachandra, Visakapatnam.

3. The actor’s comments were uncalled for. Many Indian Muslims, including her, have risen to great heights because of the secular and liberal policies followed by the country. Her comments are ill-timed and come at a time when the country is passing through a turbulent period and the Amarnath Shrine Board row is threatening to divide the people on communal and sectarian lines. – V.Padmanabhan, Bangalore.

4. Ms Azmi, who claims she has been up in a liberal family, has shocked us by saying Muslims are discriminated against in India. If the Indian polity is unfair, how is it that the film industry is dominated by Muslims? – G.Swaminathan, Chennai.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai (Letters to the Editor).

Wikipedia article on “Islam in India”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslims_in_India

Grateful thanks to The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Thoughts-13: Indian Independence Day

India celebrates its 61st Independence day today.

We have been through many, many difficult and some turbulent times. With corrupt, self-serving and bungling politicians on the one side; arrogant, callous and indifferent government officials on the other side; and submissive, easily-intimidated, easily-forgetting and cynical public on yet another side, makes one despair of the future and one is inclined to be hopeless and pessimistic. But still, there are silver linings. There has been tremendous progress on some areas like IT. There has been progress at snail's pace in some other areas. There has been backslidings.

My personal feeling is that the fundamental problem, from which arise all other problems, is nobody really cares about "WAYS AND MEANS" . Whatever you want, you want to get it "SOMEHOW". If only all of us realize that ways and means are equally, if not more important than the goals themselves, our country will be a great country. Come to think of it, it is not just in India but everywhere else one encounters the same problem.

In spite of all these, we have remained a democracy. That itself is a great achievement, though we are far from perfect and a long way to go before we can be really proud of ourselves.

On this happy occasion, my hearty greetings to fellow-Indians. Let us be optimistic and strive for the best.

Open Access-2: "NIH mandates open access to all research it funds"

eMail from Mr Subbiah Arunachalam dated August 14, 2008. This may be of great interest to all Open Access enthusiasts, particularly in the S&T field:

Friends:

NIH has mandated open access to all research it funds. Now a taskforce appointed by NSF has recommended open access to be followed consistently by all US government agencies. Six of the seven research councils in the UK have mandated open access. It is high time that Indian funding agencies mandate open access to all research supported by them. Equally imporant is that the Indian funding agencies should stop Indian researchers giving away all rights to the published papers (resulting from work supported by the Indian taxpayers) to journal publishers. In the US research papers written by scientists working in US government laboratories are UNCOPYRIGHTABLE. We should follow this example in India.

I am recommending mandating open access not because the American and British funding agecies have adopted it. But because of the tremendous benefits OA can bring.

Best wishes.
Subbiah Arunachalam
Grateful thanks to Mr.Subbiah Arunachalam.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Photo Album-51: "My Guruji"

This is my revered Guruji, Srimat Swami Gahananandaji Maharaj. I got initiated by him when he visited Madurai Ramakrishna Math for laying the foundation stone for the Ramakrishna Temple. I had the good fortune to stay at the Sri Ramakrishna Yododyan Math, Kankurgachchi, Kolkata for a few days, where he was having seat as Vice President.

Again I got another opportunity to be with him when he visited Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai and visited the various centres of the Math nearby (Chingleput and other places). I accompanied him in another vehicle and attended all his functions that day. That was a memorable and happy day.

He joined the Ramakrishna Order in 1939, that is ten years before I was born. He became President in 2005 and attained Mahasamadhi on November 4, 2007 at the ripe age of 91.

This photograph was scanned from a magazine (probably Prabuddha Bharata (Awakened India) and during the scanning process something went wrong. There were smudges everywhere and I have tried to improve it to the best of my knowledge. Here again, any suggestion to improve the quality is most welcome.

Wikipedia article on my Guruji:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Gahanananda

Grateful thanks to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

My Photo Album-50: "Another Photo of Dad"



Another photograph of dad, probably a year or two befoe his demise. Again in an effort to improve the photo, probably somebody has spoiled it. You can see the eyebrows, which look different. They should be white too. Again any advice to improve the quality of the photo is most welcome.

My Photo Album-49: Vinod during his +2 days



This photograph of Vinod was taken for his identity card while he was doing 11th or 12th Standard. The photo was damaged and I have tried to improve it to the best of my knowledge. Any suggestion to impr0ve the photograph is most welcome.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How To: "How to Solve a Sudoku"


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Sudoku is a puzzle that has swept the world. It is very fun to play, but can be tricky and confusing at first. The object is to put the numbers 1-9 in every row, column, and 3x3 square block.

Steps

Easy
  1. Use the counting principles to solve the puzzles. Since you already know that you can't have the same number in any row, column, or nine-square block, you can use that to help you get a number. The difficulty depends on the placement of the numbers given to you.
  2. Seek "definites". When solving an easy Sudoku, the first thing you should do is look for definites. Definites are numbers that are definitely going to be there. Starting at 1, draw imaginary lines through boxes in that 1's row and/or column. When there is only one box left in the 3x3 box, you know that is a definite. (See images one and two).
  3. Work your way through the numbers until 9. Since you have filled in some numbers, this should help get other numbers that had more than one possibility before. (See images three and four. Notice how the 3s could not have been solved before, but are solved in the final).
  4. Look again when stuck. If you get stuck, go back and make sure to look at everything. It is almost guaranteed you missed something. That one number is usually all you need to get going again. If you still cannot find any solutions, start labeling every block with every number that could possibly go in that box. For example, in image one, all the empty boxes have numbers that could possibly go there. Fill these in. If there is a 1 in the row or column of that box, you know that 1 is not a possibility.
  5. Start by doing Sudoku in the newspaper or online (see links below). The newspaper Sudokus are usually easier on Monday and Tuesday. The difficulty increases as the week passes.
This particular Sudoku (images one through four) could be solved with only definites, but what do you do if it can't? Hard
  1. Start at number 1. Use the same logic from an easy puzzle to fill in every empty box with all of the possible numbers for that box. If possible, put in definites. For example, picture three shows that you can't solve for 3. In a hard Sudoku, you won't be able to solve from the start, so just fill in what you know it could be.) This will help later when you have two or three options per box and you can't remember what they are.
  2. Note that if two boxes in a block, column or row must be one of two numbers, you can use those to eliminate other possibilities. For example, in a block, there are four open boxes. From your analysis, you have determined that:
    • box A can be 1, 2, 3, or 4;
    • box B can be 1, 2, 3, or 4;
    • box C can be 3 or 4; and
    • box D can be 3 or 4.
    • From this we know that box A and B cannot be 3 or 4, because they have to be either 1 or 2. Box C and D have to be either 3 or 4. This information might be useful in solving other boxes.
  3. Recognize that hard Sudokus can take time - a lot of time. A hard Sudoku can actually take days to complete, but they are still fun. The harder they are, the more fun it is when you finish. A hard Sudoku can be solved the same as an easy one, it just gives you less to start with. The logic of a hard puzzle is that if you know everything that can go in every box, it is very simple. For example, if you have two possible 2s for a particular nine-square box, and they are in a row or column and you know that 2s cannot go anywhere else in the nine-square box, then you know that the row or column those 2s are in cannot have 2s in it except in this nine-square box. This sounds confusing, but when applied, it is actually very easy and it helps a lot.
  4. Consider this alternative, sure fire way to always solve a puzzle accurately and quickly. In this method, fill in each block with all the possible numbers that could go there. Write all the numbers small at the top of the block. You can recreate the puzzle on bigger paper to help with this. Write all the numbers that don't appear in that row, column or square. Once you have done this for a whole column or row, start filling in the obvious answers. You will have solved the puzzle by the time you do this for every row.
Samurai
  1. Be a confident and advanced Sudoku player. The Samurai Sudoku puzzle is a puzzle only to be attempted by a skilled Sudoku solver. It is basically five Sudokus in one. The corners of each are interconnected with a middle puzzle (see image below). These puzzles can be long and difficult.
  2. Keep the connections in sight. When solving these, you must always remember that the corner connected with the center puzzle must work with both puzzles.
  3. Look at the lines. The lines that are twenty-one boxes long are going to be looked at as if there were three separate nine block lines, one of which is comprised of pieces of the other two.
  4. Solve just as you would a regular puzzle. Just remember that you can have up to three of the same number in lines that connect to the center puzzle.
  5. See External Links below for Samurai Puzzles.
Killer Samurai Sudoku Killer Samurai Rules
  1. Be aware that "Killer Samurai" is a modification of the samurai puzzles listed above. The basic rules of the puzzle are as follows: (note: the standard Sudoku rules apply to this puzzle as well, i.e. each nine square box has to have the numbers 1-9)
  2. Look within each of the colored blocks for a small number. This denotes the total value of the squares within that block. For example, if a colored block comprising 3 squares totals 7, then the individual squares must be 1, 2 and 4, but it is down to the reader to ascertain in which order they must be placed.
  3. Notice that within each colored block, a number may be repeated, although this is rare.
  4. Note the total. Each nine square block must total 45, as must every row and column.
  5. Realize that in a Killer Samurai puzzle there are 4 instances where 3 x 3 grids belong to two different nine square blocks. In this situation the same rules of Sudoku apply, i.e. the numbers 1 – 9 must be used once only. It stands to reason that these 4 grids can hold the key to solving the entire puzzle.
Advice for Solving the Puzzle
  1. Look for colored blocks which contain high or low totals. These have fewer combinations of numbers and are, as such, easier to solve.
  2. Look for a group of colored blocks which protrude beyond the boundary of the nine square blocks by one square only. This will allow the reader to determine at least one square of a colored block.
  3. Don't just think of a single block totaling 45. It may sometimes be possible to ascertain a number by adding colored blocks in 2, 3, 4 or more nine square blocks totaling 90, 135, 180 etc to ascertain a single elusive number.
  4. Look for intersecting coloured blocks with high or low totals. For example, where a colored block totaling 3 is at 90 degrees to a colored block totaling 4, the values of the blocks should be easy to work out as there is only a choice of 3 numbers; 1, 2 and 3, but don`t forget that each row and column must contain the numbers 1 – 9 once only.
  5. Look to eliminate 'pairs'. If a colored block of 2 squares totals 4, 6, 8 etc., logic tells you that the numbers contained within cannot be 2 & 2, 3 & 3 and 4 & 4 etc. thus reducing the permutations.
  6. Look for colored blocks that form 'lines'. For example, if 4 colored blocks of 2 squares form a line, then the missing number can be calculated by deducting the total from 45.
Number Combinations 2 Square Combinations 3 = 1 & 24 = 1 & 35 = 1 & 4, 2 & 36 = 1 & 5, 2 & 47 = 1 & 6, 2 & 5, 3 & 48 = 1 & 7, 2 & 6, 3 & 59 = 1 & 8, 2 & 7, 3 & 6, 4 & 510 = 1 & 9, 2 & 8, 3 & 7, 4 & 611 = 2 & 9, 3 & 8, 4 & 7, 5 & 612 = 3 & 9, 4 & 8, 5 & 713 = 4 & 9, 5 & 8, 6 & 714 = 5 & 9, 6 & 815 = 6 & 9, 7 & 816 = 7 & 917 = 8 & 9 3 Square Combinations 6 = 1, 2 & 37 = 1, 2 & 48 = 1, 2 & 5; 1, 3 & 49 = 1, 3 & 5; 1, 2 & 6; 2, 3 & 410 = 1, 3 & 6; 1, 2 & 7; 1, 4 & 5; 2, 3 & 511 = 1, 2 & 8; 1, 3 & 7; 1, 4 & 6; 2, 3 & 6; 2, 4 & 512 = 1, 2 & 9; 1, 3 & 8; 1, 4 & 7; 1, 5 & 6; 2, 3 & 7; 2, 4 & 6; 3, 4 & 513 = 1, 3 & 9; 1, 4 & 8; 1, 5 & 7; 2, 3 & 8; 2, 4 & 7; 2, 5 & 6; 3, 4 & 614 = 1, 4 & 9; 1, 5 & 8; 1, 6 & 7; 2, 3 & 9; 2, 4 & 8; 2, 5 & 7; 3, 4 & 7; 3, 5 & 615 = 1, 5 & 9; 1, 6 & 8; 2, 4 & 9; 2, 5 & 8; 2, 6 & 7; 3, 4 & 8; 3, 5 & 7; 4, 5 & 616 = 1, 6 & 9; 1, 7 & 8; 2, 6 & 8; 2, 5 & 9; 3, 4 & 9; 3, 5 & 8; 3, 6 & 7; 4, 5 & 717 = 1, 7 & 9; 2, 6 & 9; 2, 7 & 8; 3, 5 & 9; 3, 6 & 8; 4, 5 & 8; 4, 6 & 718 = 1, 8 & 9; 2, 7 & 9; 3, 6 & 9; 4, 5 & 9; 3, 7 & 8; 4, 6 & 8; 5, 6 & 719 = 2, 8 & 9; 3, 7 & 9; 4, 6 & 9; 4, 7 & 8; 5, 6 & 820 = 3, 8 & 9; 4, 7 & 9; 5, 6 & 9; 5, 7 & 821 = 4, 8 & 9; 5, 7 & 9; 6, 7 & 822 = 5, 8 & 9; 6, 7 & 923 = 6, 8 & 9 24 = 7, 8 & 9
  • Remember that Killer Samurai Sudoku is an advanced variant of Sudoku and it is highly recommended that you try to complete a normal and also Samurai Sudoku before undertaking these more complex puzzles. These are extremely hard puzzles. They may take days to complete. Just have patience.

Tips

  • Check twice, put a number once.
  • If you're having a block, stop, and take a break for a couple hours. Take a nap, do some errands, play a game, etc.
  • Another good place to practice your Sudoku skills is in a book. There are many books with Sudoku puzzles in them. Some even have step by step instructions to improve even more.
  • Have contests with your friends or coworkers. Make copies of a puzzle and try to see who can finish the fastest. Doing this once a day or once a week will help to dramatically increase your speed.
  • Use the web-pages below to help you. They are all very useful, but try to stay away from the auto-fillers. Where is the fun if the computer does it all for you?
  • Copy the puzzle onto a grid much bigger than the ones in the newspaper, using a marker. Now solve the puzzle using the bigger squares to clearly write in pencil all the possible numbers.
  • Try to find the obvious first.
  • Go by box, then by row, then column.

Warnings

  • It is considered cheating if you guess at where a number could be. All true Sudoku puzzles are solvable with only logic. If there are two possible numbers that could go in a space and you just choose one and hope it's right, this is cheating.
  • Before using solvers, try to solve it yourself. Where is the fun if something else solves it for you?
  • For every cell you fill in, make sure you double, or even triple check your logic; one single error could mess up the entire puzzle. If you are almost sure a three can go in a box, triple check why you think this. If there is even a remote possibility of a three going in a different box, don't put a number down! Many a person has almost finished a puzzle only to find that they put one number in the wrong place.
  • Try to look at the puzzle both ways; rather than working north to south all the time, try east to west. Remember, it's always a good idea to look both ways before crossing the street.

Things You'll Need

  • Time
    • 10-20 minutes for easy to medium after you've become a little experienced.
    • 30-45 minutes for medium to hard.
    • 1-4 hours for Samurai (unless you are very skilled).
    • 4 hours+ for Killer Samurai
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Patience
  • Logical ability

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Information Teams/Leagues Puzzles Programs Solvers

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Solve a Sudoku. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Eyecatchers-99: Ashwin Sundar creates a Record!

17-year-old Indian race-car driver, Ashwin Sundar, has created a record. As brand ambassador of Volkswagen, he gets Rs.6 crores.

Courtesy: ‘Ananda Vikatan’, Tamil weekly, August 6, 2008.
Article from The Hindu: “Ashwin Sundar Excels”:
http://www.hindu.com/2006/09/18/stories/2006091809181800.htm

Grateful thanks to Ananda Vikatan and The Hindu.

Facts & Figures-41: ‘Tsunami 2004”

The Tsunami which hit India and seven other nations in December 2004 killed a total of 157,577 people and an additional 26,763 were missing.

According to Wikipedia, the death-toll is more than 225,000 people in eleven countries.

Sandra Petersen has written an interesting article, “Causes of the December 2004 Tsunami” in Helium.com. If you want to read the article:
http://www.helium.com/items/1126400-tsunami-of-christmas-2004

Article on “2004 Indian Ocean earthquake” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami_2004

“Tsunami Pictures” from Tsunami.com (Some awesome photos):
http://www.tsunamis.com/tsunami-pictures.html

BBC News In-depth report on the Tsunami disaster of 2004:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/world/2004/asia_quake_disaster/default.stm

“Article on Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004” from The Guardian, UK:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/tsunami2004

“Monday, December 27, 2004, 311 front pages of different newspapers from 39 countries – covering Tsunami Disaster” from Newseum, World’s Most Interactive Museum: (an interesting website to be studied in detail later):
http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/default_archive.asp?fpArchive=122704
Grateful thanks to Helium.com; BBC News; Guardian, UK; Tsunamis.com; Newseum.org; and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Letters-34: “Stringent Laws to fight Terrorism"

1. The mind without fear, which Tagore referred to, remains a dream. The country is in the clutches of fear even while it is set to celebrate another Independence day. While we were busy with the trust vote, the terrorists tightened their hold on our country – Shibin Joseph, Kozhikode.

2. After every terror attack, the same rituals are performed by the media, politicians, and the government of the day. They condemn the attacks on innocent lives, demand action against terrorists, point a finger at a neighbouring country and the Opposition demands that POTA be brought back and Afzul Guru be hanged. Is anyone serious about combating terror? I don’t think terrorism can be addressed by investing in police intelligence and investigative capabilities. That no action has been taken against those responsible for the Gujarat riots, the Delhi anti-Sikh riots, and Babri mosque demolition shows that the culprits are more powerful than the rule of law. And when people don’t get justice from the government, they become vulnerable to those who exploit their sentiments and seek to create trouble by dividing society. The solution to terrorism is enforcement of the rule of law in letter and in spirit. This will restore the people’s faith in the government and law-enforcement agencies. It will be the first step in the right direction – Rakesh Vats, Beijing.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, July 29, 2008 (“Letters to the Editor”)

It is painful and nauseating to read about repeated terrorist attacks and with ever incident, the inadequacy, impotency, inefficiency and lack of seriousness of the legislative bodies and enforcement-agencies are time and again exposed. For example, if the law-makers are really serious they can take hint from anti-terrorist legislations from outside. I am furnishing below some relevant foreign legislation against terrorism and how others are tackling terrorism. Also about our own experiments with ‘TADA’ and ‘POTA’.

Related Articles from the Internet:

1. “Counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism organizations” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-intelligence_and_counter-terrorism_organizations

2. “Terrorism in the United States” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States

3. “Intelligence analysis management” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_analysis_management

4. “Anti-terrorism legislation” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-terrorism_legislation#India

5. “TADA” (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_and_Disruptive_Activities_%28Prevention%29_Act

6. ‘POTA’ (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act) from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_Terrorist_Activities_Act

7. “Terrorism Act of 2006 (UK)” from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_Act_2006

8. “Terrorism Acts (UK)” from Wikipedia: (From 2000 to date)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_Acts

9. “Terrorism Act 2006(c.11)” from The UK Statute Law Database (Full Text of the Act):
http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=2321013
Grateful thanks to M/s. Shibin Joseph, Kozhikode; Rakesh Vats, Beijing; The Hindu; The UK Statute Law Database and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eyecatchers-98: "Solzhenitsyn is dead"

Solzhenitzyn is dead!
By Vladimir Radyuhin


Nobel prize-winning Russian author and thinker, Alexander Solzhenitsyn died on Sunday (August 3, 2008), ending a bitter and illustrious life journey that reflected Russia’s tumultuous history through the 20th century.

Aged 89, Solzhenitsyn died of heart arrest close to midnight at his home on the outskirts of Moscow. His family said he worked till the last minute and died a happy man.

Excerpt from The Hindu, Madurai, August 5, 2008.

For the full article from The Hindu.com:
http://www.hindu.com/2008/08/05/stories/2008080551292000.htm

For the BBC News article:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7540038.stm

For the CNN.com article:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/03/solzhenitsyn.dead/

Wikipedia article on “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn

For the New York Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Obit-Solzhenistyn.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Grateful thanks to Vladimir Radyuhin, The Hindu, BBC News, CNN.com, New York Times and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Facts & Figures-40: “A Dime Costs Rs.5.7 crores!”

$13,22,500 (Rs.5.7 crore) was the price at which a dime struck in 1894 at the San Francisco mint was auctioned at Baltimore, USA.

Courtesy: The Week, March 20, 2005.

Wikipedia article on “Numismatics (Coin Collection)::
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numismatics

Grateful thanks to The Week and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Facts & Figures-39: 16 million descendents of Genghis Khan!

16 million is the number of male descendents of the Mongol Emperor, Genghis Khan, result of his 40-year policy of systematic rape of female prisoners, according to Professor Bryan Sykes, Dept of Human Genetics, Oxford University.

Courtesy: The Week, June 27, 2004.

Detailed Wikipedia article on Genghis Khan:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan#Descendants

Grateful thanks to The Week and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Letter-33: “Shocking – Mud Cakes are Staple Diet in Haiti!”

1. This refers to the article “Food Crisis Pushes Them Toward Starvation” (The Hindu, July 30, 2008 - http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2008073055201100.htm&date=2008/07/30/&prd=th&). It is shocking to see that the people of Haiti are heading for starvation in the next six to 12 months and that mud cakes have become the staple diet for many families. While the global oil and food crisis is the main reason for the present state of affairs, it is also because of the country’s IMF-dictated policy. To get an IMF loan in 1986, Haiti had to import rice and other agricultural products. Local rice farmers went bankrupt. Today, although food is available, most people cannot afford to buy it. It is the responsibility of the global community to intervene to resolve the crisis in Haiti. The situation the country finds itself in is also a lesson for developing countries including India. They should think twice before allowing the import of food and other commodities without encouraging local production. – S.M.Wasiullah, Hyderabad.

2. I read with shock and disbelief that the people of Haiti eat mud cakes. Such instances of acute human suffering should serve as an eye-opener to us and strengthen our resolve to prevent the wastage of food. - M.Vidya, Hyderabad.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, (“Letters to the Editor”), August 1, 2008.

Detailed articles on “Haiti” and “Starvation” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation

Grateful thanks to Mr.S.M.Wasiullah, Ms M Vidya, The Hindu and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Have a Hearty Laugh-4:

"There is no groupism in the Congress Party" - Thangabalu, President, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.
Source: Kumudam, Tamil Weekly, July 23, 2008.
Grateful thanks to Kumudam.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Health Warnings-3: “Asbestos Roofing Harmful”

Some schools in the city have asbestos roofing. Asbestos exposure is prone to fatal diseases like mesothelioma or lung cancer. It is very dangerous for the children who inhale the asbestos dust. The time-limit between asbestos exposure and disease onset is longer in many cases. Although institutions are aware that asbestos sheets can be replaced with other substitutes like glass fibre, carbon fibre and organic fibre, the alteration is not done. The school authorities must take the matter seriously.

- K.Aravind, Pazhavanthangal, Chennai

Courtesy: “Vent Your Anger”, Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, July 28, 2008

A detailed article on “Asbestos” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos#Health_and_the_environment

Articles: “Stop Asbestos!”, “ILO to promote global asbestos ban”, “Breathtaking” and “Selling death” from Hazards Magazine. UK:
http://www.hazards.org/asbestos/

Article on “The Wittenoom Tragedy” from the site of Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc.
http://www.asbestosdiseases.org.au/asbestosinfo/wittenoom_tragedies.htm

Article on “Asbestos is the UK's biggest workplace killer” from the Trade Union Congress, UK, website:
http://www.tuc.org.uk/h_and_s/index.cfm?mins=262

Article on “Asbestos Deadly Serious – Prevent Exposure!” from
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s Website:
http://osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/asbestos

Article on “Hazardous Materials: Asbestos” from the website of
Heggies Pty Ltd, Australia:
http://www.heggies.com/website/content/hazardous/asbestos.html
Article on “Asbestos Danger: Do You Have Zonolite In Your Attic?” from the website of NBC5.
http://www.nbc5.com/money/1993941/detail.html

Grateful thanks to Mr.K.Aravind, Deccan Chronicle, Hazards Magazine-UK; Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc.; Trade Union Congress, UK; European Agency for Safety and Health at Work; Heggies Pty Ltd, Australia; NBC5; and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Health Warnings-2: "Is Your Cell Phone Trying to Kill You?"

"Is Your Cell Phone Trying to Kill You?"
by Mike Elgan, Computerworld, 08/01/2008

Don't look now, but your cell phone is out to get you. This deadly device can cause accidents, give you cancer or even kill you, according to a rising chorus of alarmist reports.

Excerpt from "Is Your Cell Phone Trying to Kill You?" by Mike Elgan, Computerworld, 08/01/2008, which appeared on Network World at: http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/080108-is-your-cell-phone-trying.html

To read this interesting article in full, click the URL above.

Grateful thanks to Mike Elgan, Computerworld and Network World.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How To: How to Find What You're Good At


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

An editor has suggested that this article be merged with: "How to Find a Talent" Per the merge policy, if these topics are determined to be similar but distinct, then the articles will remain separate. Please comment on the discussion page. Notice added on 2008-02-10.
This is for the people who don't think they are good at anything. This can happen if you see someone do something that you can't do. Here's a step-by-step guide.

Steps

  1. Think of things that you have always wanted to do. Don't go overboard, like bungee jumping or sky diving; do simple stuff like music, sports, or art.
  2. It may help to write down the things you have wanted to do. This way, you can easily eliminate things you could not do for whatever reason. (Like if you live in Kansas, you couldn't learn to surf).
  3. Don't get mad if you can't do something right. No one can do everything perfectly.
  4. Don't be discouraged by people who think you'll fail. Putting your all into it and having the guts to do something new is a great thing!
  5. If you can't do something that well, its okay. Practice makes perfect, and everyone has a talent. Some people are just still looking for their own.
  6. The most important step of all: Have FUN!!

Tips

  • Don't get mad if other people make fun of you, just keep trying. Their opinions don't count. If you think you are doing good, then you are doing good.
  • Everyone has talent, but sometimes they are either too negative to find that talent, or they think the talent will come to them. Always try new things... you never know what happens when you do.

Warnings

  • Don't try to do certain things without the right gear or protection, especially if it's your first time.

Things You'll Need

  • Ambition
  • Self-motivation

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Find What You're Good At. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Environment-10: “Pollution of Yamuna Waters”

Rs.872 crore was spent for cleaning the Yamuna river since 1994. However, the pollution level in the water has only been increasing.

Courtesy: The Week, April 24, 2005.

Wikipedia articles on:

“Yamuna” (with pollution and other details)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamuna_river#Pollution

“Water Pollution”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_pollution

Grateful thanks to The Week and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Health Warning-1: “Poisoning”

In India, 47% of the poison cases reported at the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, are because of:

1. Mosquito Repellents
2. Detergents
3. Antiseptics and
4. Cosmetics.


Courtesy: The Week, May 8, 2005.

Wikipedia articles on:

“Poison”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison

“List of Extremely Hazardous Substances”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extremely_hazardous_substances

Link to NPIC Webpage at the AIIMS Website:
http://www.aiims.edu/aiims/departments/NPIC/NPICIntro.htm

Grateful thanks to The Week, NPIC, AIIMS and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

S&T Watch-20 : “Genetic Mutations”

On a rough estimate, each newly-conceived human being has around 300 harmful genetic mutations.

Courtesy: ‘Prospect’ magazine (quoting
www.edge.org, ), May 2005.

Wikipedia article on “Mutation”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_mutations

Grateful thanks to Edge.org, Prospect magazine and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Facts & Figures-38: “Coca-Cola’s Profit”

The world’s biggest soft drink company, Coca-Cola earned a profit of Rs.4500 crores in just three months! (i.e. in the first quarter of 2005 alone).

Courtesy: ‘Dinamani’, Tamil daily, April 21, 2005

Wikipedia articles on:

“Coca-Cola”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-cola

“Soft drink”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_drink

Grateful thanks to ‘Dinamani’ and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Eyecatchers-97: “Drought Deaths”

2,80,000 deaths occurred in the world due to drought during 1991-2000.

Courtesy; The Week, July 3, 3005.

Wikipedia articles on:

“Drought”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought

“Natural Disaster”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_Disasters#Droughts

“List of Famines”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

Grateful thanks to The Week and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

India Watch-8: “Knowledge Sharing”

Rs.731 billion will be generated by India by 2010 by knowledge sharing, says the CII.

Courtesy: The Week, May 29, 2005.

Wikipedia article on “Knowledge Sharing”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_sharing

Grateful thanks to The Week and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Letters-32: “Fighting Terror”

There are two modules of terrorism. One that preaches terrorism and another that executes it. Those who preach terrorism are more dangerous than those who act on their hate philosophy. The state should identify them first if terrorism is to be curbed. – K.R.Vimalchand, Chennai.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Madurai, August 2, 2008 (“Letters to the Editor”)
Wikipedia articles on:
"Terrorism"
"War on Terrorism"
"Terrorism: Opposing Viewpoints"
From the Institute of American Values (www.AmericanValues.org) an interesting article:
"What we are fighting for?"
Grateful thanks to Mr.K.R.Vimalchand, Chennai; The Hindu, The Institute for American Values and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.