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Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. - Jules Renard 

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: New Catalyst Produces Hydrogen from Water

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: New Catalyst Produces Hydrogen from Water: "The promise of a hydrogen economy, which would lessen dependence on nonrenewable energy sources such as fossil fuels, hinges on the ability to produce and store large amounts of the clean-burning element. New results from experiments on a novel catalyst suggest that it can be used to coax hydrogen from water without the need for severe reaction conditions.

'We have discovered a catalyst that can produce ready quantities of hydrogen without the need for extreme cold temperatures or high pressures, which are often required in other production and storage methods,' remarks Mahdi Abu-Omar of Purdue University. The compound he and his colleagues used is a so-called coordination complex based on the metal rhenium. Originally looking for a method to convert chemicals called organosilanes into silanols, the team combined organosilanes and water in the presence of the rhenium complex at ambient temperature and pressure. After an hour, the reaction had produced hydrogen gas in addition to silanols. According to a report published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the method generates a large amount of hydrogen compared to the amount of water used."

| posted by Rajan @ 7:55 PM

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Indus-Sarasvati Civilization and its Bearing on the Aryan Question

If you open any good book on the great civilizations of the ancient world, aimed not at scholars but at a wider readership, you will almost invariably find that Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt are given pride of place ; then come, in mixed order, ancient China, Greece, Central and South America, and the Indus Valley civilization, also called the Harappan civilization. Everyone agrees that this early civilization of the Indian subcontinent was one of the largest in extent, that it made great advances in crafts and technology, in trade and agriculture, and that its social organization appears to have been one of the most efficient, methodical and trouble-free ever ; still, in the end, it will rarely be given more than a few pages where dozens will be devoted to Mesopotamia or Egypt, and today, more than seventy years after its discovery, its existence and accomplishments remain largely unknown to the general public outside the subcontinent — and inside, too.

| posted by Ramki @ 7:13 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Subservient Blair

Burger King's "Subservient Chicken" kicked off a series of subservience videos and here is yet another such video: Subservient Blair. Try the key words - dance, kiss , iraq etc.,

| posted by Ramki @ 2:50 AM

Saturday, August 27, 2005

SciAm: Illusions

I found these illusions on SciAm. The first one "holy cow" is really nice.


| posted by Rajan @ 3:20 PM

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Steganography with Flickr

Steganography is not something new, there have been techniques and available programs for hiding data in pictures/audio files for a long time now. However, one step further is using popular online photo sharing sites, such as Flickr in hiding  your data, successfully.

[Via /.]

| posted by Ramki @ 3:26 PM

Funny Movies

Check out these set of funny movies from Netsummary:
1. Cell phone flirt
2. Get slim with AIDS
3. Sign Language

| posted by Ramki @ 1:22 AM

Finger art: Ad from BBC

| posted by Ramki @ 1:07 AM

Insane Japanese Skills in Action :-)

| posted by Ramki @ 12:58 AM

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wired News: The 'Evil Empire' Strikes Back

Wired News: The 'Evil Empire' Strikes Back: "Strapped for cash after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Space Agency made money by having its cosmonauts shoot a Pepsi commercial on space station Mir. That worked out so well that the agency followed up with promos for Pizza Hut, The Lego Company, Popular Mechanics and Radio Shack on the International Space Station. It made even more money by flying the first tourists into space with the help of Space Adventures. Meanwhile NASA remains resolutely aloof from such crass commercialism.

But these commercial endeavors do more than simply keep RKA in the money. They also give it clear purpose: to keep the customer satisfied. In contrast, it's not exactly clear why NASA is going back to the moon, except that the president told it to.

The second moon race will have a decidedly different outcome than the first. But once again, it looks like capitalism will emerge the winner."

| posted by Rajan @ 4:42 PM

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Samsung incentives win Austin's OK

Samsung incentives win Austin's OK: "The Austin City Council passed a 20-year, $58.5 million incentives package for Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Thursday.

It is the first of four political approvals needed before Central Texas can submit a formal incentives package in hopes of landing a proposed $3.5 billion semiconductor factory from the South Korean company.

The package, which is expected to top $200 million in incentives from the city, county, Manor school district and state, has been negotiated in detail over the past four months. It is not expected to encounter much formal opposition, as seen by the City Council's 7-0 approval of the tax and utilities incentives.

The city's incentives package includes 10 years of 100 percent property-tax abatements on the project, followed by 10 years of 75 percent abatements. Without the tax break, Samsung would pay an average of $3.8 million a year in city property taxes for the factory in the first 10 years after it is built.

Central Texas is eager to win the plant. The massive factory would employ 700 Samsung workers and an additional 200 workers from equipment and material suppliers. It also would be the largest user of water and electricity in Austin.

The plant would be Austin's first new semiconductor factory since Samsung completed its first chip plant here in 1998. The company employs about 970 people in Austin."

| posted by Rajan @ 11:15 PM

Monday, August 15, 2005

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day !!
Those of us in India , hope you had a nice long weekend.

Jai Hind !

| posted by Rajan @ 8:53 AM

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Chomsky @ MIT : Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East

MIT World » : Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East:
1 Hour video for the Sunday afternoon :)
"Noam Chomsky paints his own cynical picture of the conflict in Iraq. “The U.S. goal … certainly had nothing to do with stopping atrocities,” he says, and even less to do with advancing political freedom. “The U.S. promotes democracy when it’s in our strategic and economic interests and opposes democracy when it’s not.” Chomsky continues, “It’s almost inconceivable that the U.S. could permit a sovereign, democratic Iraq. The reasons are transparent.” Iraq, he predicts, would form an alliance with Iran, helping foment Shiite rebellion in Saudi Arabia, leading to “a Shiite alliance controlling most of the world’s energy.” Even more worrisome, Iraq would “rearm and develop weapons of mass destruction as a deterrent.” Chomsky notes, “The one thing the U.S. invasion taught everyone is you better have WMDs to protect yourself from U.S. attack.” Poses Chomsky, “Would the U.S. sit by and allow this? …. The chances are zero.” So contrary to our own “messianic vision” of implementing democracy, the U.S. will try to “run Iraq.” Chomsky’s alternative: pay Iraq billions in reparations for having supported Saddam Hussein, for years of painful sanctions, and hand the country over to the Iraqis as soon as possible. "
[ More Chomsky]

| posted by Rajan @ 11:50 PM

Why more women aren't "geeks" | News.blog | CNET News.com

Why more women aren't "geeks" | News.blog | CNET News.com: "Where are all the women who forsake social outings to stay up all night writing computer code and read science fiction?

Most of those computer 'geeks' (as the stereotype goes) live in countries that mandate math and science courses through the teenage years.

That's one of the conclusions of a new study exploring the gender gap in computer science, a profession dominated by men. Professors of sociology at the University of California at San Diego and Western Washington released a study Friday that showed that women are vastly underrepresented in computer science in 21 nations--Germany, Czech Republic and Belgium being among the top countries with few women in tech.

That is because those as well as most countries are influenced by the notion that men and women are naturally suited to different occupations. But what's different is that their schools do not require curriculum in math and science, and therefore encourage fulfilling those roles, according to the findings.

In South Korea, a nation with the highest number of women in computer science, math must be studied through 12th grade, and science through 11th. Ireland, Sweden, Turkey and the United States were also among nations with the highest penetration of women in technology."

| posted by Rajan @ 10:32 PM

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Vertical Farm Project

By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new and (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use.

Over 60% of the human population now lives vertically in cities. The time has arrived for us to learn how to grow our food that way, too. If we do not, then in just another 50 years, 3 billion people will surely go hungry, and the world will be a very unpleasant place in which to live.

The Vertical Farm Project

[Via Ursi's blog]

| posted by Ramki @ 10:24 PM

Singing in the Rain.

| posted by Ramki @ 9:31 PM

Indian Shankar Drum Ganesh Machine

| posted by Ramki @ 8:57 PM

Data retention is no solution!

The European ministers of Justice and the European Commission want to keep all telephone and internet traffic data of all 450 million Europeans.
But Data retention is no solution, say a group of concerned Non-govermental organizations and groups. Take a look at their wiki. It is very interesting!

| posted by Ramki @ 8:49 PM

New Zealand billboard causes stir

More on President Bush...

A decision is due to be made today whether a billboard labelling President Bush as 'evil' is appropriate in the Hell Pizza billboards that have been erected around Auckland and Wellington. Half of the poster is taken up with a photo of the president and the other half has the phrase 'Hell: Too Good For Some Evil B******s.'

Outdoor Advertising New Zealand is reviewing who is behind the boards and whether the Advertising Standards Authority needs to become involved.

Hell's media manager, Matthew Blomfield, says it is meant to provoke discussion and be a little edgy, instead of bland, boring advertising.He is hoping that the reaction will be balanced between those who find it funny and those who are upset by it.

[Via therawstory]

| posted by Ramki @ 8:35 PM

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Phasing out Film cameras for the general public

It's been a little less than a year since UK retailer Dixons' started phasing out VCR sales and to mark the occasion it seems they're going to start phasing out the sale of film cameras (which apparently is what the company first sold when it started). Film cameras, of course, aren't going away just yet, especially for more serious photographers. However, it does seem to be losing the interest of the general public in favor of digital. Of course, for all the sentimental feelings (much more towards the film camera than the VCR) it really doesn't seem like most people will miss it very much.

[Via Techdirt]

| posted by Ramki @ 1:29 AM

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bush spin Doctor

Remember Bust pilot posted on Lazydesi earlier. Here is Bush spin doctor for you. A Must see video...

| posted by Ramki @ 2:37 AM

Monday, August 08, 2005

School is coming

Wake up kids. School is coming! :-)

| posted by Ramki @ 11:56 PM

Remote Controlled Humans!!!

The young lady's vestibular system, which controls her sense of movement and balance, has been thrown off-kilter by two weak electrical currents delivered just behind her ears. This sort of electrical stimulation is known as galvanic vestibular stimulation, or GVS. When a weak DC current is delivered to the mastoid behind your ear, your body responds by shifting your balance toward the anode. The stronger the current, the more powerful its pull. If it is strong enough, it not only throws you off balance but alters the course of your movement.

The most persuasive commercial applications of Maeda's GVS device will most likely be in gaming and in flight simulation. Amazing invention though! Watch the video here.

I think the days of neuro-engineering are not far away!

| posted by Ramki @ 11:47 PM

Adios Amigos

| posted by Shankar B @ 5:41 AM

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Toyota Hilux ad

Here it is..... Good one! :-)

And this one is a very big ad!

| posted by Ramki @ 10:26 PM

BBC NEWS | Americas | First hydrogen plane tested in US

BBC NEWS | Americas | First hydrogen plane tested in US:
"A US company says it has successfully completed test flights of a potentially environment-friendly aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen."

"The aircraft, called Global Observer, looks more like a glider than a conventionally powered plane, with its wingspan of over 15m, small fuselage slung underneath and extended, "dragon-fly" tail."

"Greenhouse gas emissions from air travel are growing faster than those from any other economic sector.

In 1999, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the body which collates and evaluates scientific evidence on climate and distils it for policymakers - calculated that aviation contributed around 3.5% to human-induced global warming.

Passenger travel is now growing by 5% per year, with air freight expanding even faster, at 6% per year. Even with improvements in efficiency, the IPCC believes aviation's global warming contribution will be between 2.6 and 11 times greater by 2050.

New technology which avoids hydrocarbon fuels and their carbon dioxide emissions could be an important way of curbing this trend.

But the advantages of hydrogen power have not been established definitively. Fuel cells produce water vapour, which is itself a greenhouse gas.

Released several kilometres up in the atmosphere, it is not clear how the global warming impact from this technology would compare with emissions from conventional engines."

| posted by Rajan @ 4:46 PM

Today is the Big Day

Pics and stories later.

| posted by Shankar B @ 1:27 AM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Building a low cost Cruise Missle

This low cost missile development project from a researcher in Newzealand has created lot of controversy. Actually this project is about a year old., and the inventor has taken away all the tutorials on how to make a low cost missile. However, if a missile can be built so cheap, soon we might have high school kids sending missiles on neighbouring schools etc. Now I tend to believe that next world war will definitely be fought with stones!

| posted by Ramki @ 2:56 PM

Brain Games

Your brain can pull a fast one on you. Here is the proof (Third illusion is way too cool).

Here is another neat BBC article on how magicians trick people. This is especially interesting as the audience knows that it is being tricked.

I am reading Mind Hacks (kindly gifted to me) and the book has many ways in which brain can be fooled. Fascinating. (The top two stories are not from the book though).

| posted by Shankar B @ 12:02 PM

i-Mature: A parental control device

An Israeli company has developed a unique device that can recognize the age of children and adults thus allowing parents to control their children's access to restricted websites. The same technology might also be used to prevent pedophiles from accessing children and teenagers' chat rooms. The technology uses Ultrasound technology and conducts a bio-metric test to determine the age of the person.

More on this educational video.

[Via Isracast]

| posted by Ramki @ 12:50 AM

Helium-3 from Moon

A single shuttle loaded with helium-3 mined on the lunar surface would be enough to supply the entire electrical power needs of the United States for an entire year, U.S. space researchers have said.
Hence Russian scientists are suggesting more Manned missions to moon and start abusing moon's resourses as well!

| posted by Ramki @ 12:37 AM

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Noli Novak

If you read the Wall Street Journal, you would have noticed that it does not carry photos but neatly drawn illustrations. Noli Novak is it's illustrator. Some samples :

| posted by Shankar B @ 4:43 PM

Wish List

Einstein is interested in Friends' finale. Abraham Lincoln has more than a log house secret - a doll house secret. Hitler is a whole lot egotistical than you can imagine. Bill Gates carefully watches what people talk about him and his company. He has to, because even a Nobel lauerate like Richard Feynman finds Office suite tedious . Dubya has not moved too far from the "Pet Goat" whereas Castro is dealing with financial problems. Homer Simpson wants to take control of his life. So does Michael Jackson : he wants to turn a new leaf in his life too. God likes Harry Potter series, whereas Pope John Paul is getting hip with Beatles.

Become a arm-chair psychoanalyst or get juicy tidbits with Amazon's Wishlist.

PS : You have to scroll through some of the links to see what I am talking about.

| posted by Shankar B @ 4:05 PM

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