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

Monday, September 26, 2005

Watching World Series Causes Drop In Hospital Visits

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Watching World Series Causes Drop In Hospital Visits: "What factors determine whether a medical emergency is truly an emergency? According to a new study, the answer depends on how well your favorite baseball team is doing. A report published in the October issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine reveals that the number of visits to emergency rooms in Boston-area hospitals was inversely related to how well the Red Sox performed in the 2004 World Series."

| posted by Rajan @ 9:15 AM

Friday, September 23, 2005

How are Hurricanes Named?

Wondered why they have a desi touch to the hurricane names!

Hurricane Names

All hurricanes are given names. Why is that? To help us identify storms and track them as they move across the ocean. Remember, there can be more than one hurricane at a time and without naming them, we could get confused and which storm we're talking about.

For hundreds of years, hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint's day on which the hurricane occurred. An Australian meteorologist began giving women's names to tropical storms before the end of the 19th century. In 1953, the U.S. National Weather Service, which is the federal agency that tracks hurricanes and issues warnings and watches, began using female names for storms.

In 1979, both women and men's names were used. One name for each letter of the alphabet is selected, except for Q, U and Z. For Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, the names may be French, Spanish or English, since these are the major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean where the storm occur.

So who decides what names are used each year? The World Meteorological Organization uses six lists in rotation. The same lists are reused every six years. The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is very deadly or costly. Then the name is retired and a new name is chosen.

* Atlantic Hurricane Names
* Pacific Hurricane Names
* Retired Hurricane Names

| posted by raj @ 11:03 PM

Thursday, September 22, 2005

America's shame

From this Frontline article:

 While the citizens suffered in the Superdome, the federal government began to plan for the rebuilding of the city. Lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, a former FEMA employee and Bush's campaign manager in 2000, represents two of the main firms that will benefit from the contracts to rebuild the city: the Shaw Group and Halliburton. On September 7, Allbaugh visited the Gulf Coast, where he told reporters, "I don't do government contracts. I'm just trying to lend my shoulder to the wheel trying to coordinate some private-sector support that the government always asks for."

Nevertheless, Halliburton, Vice-President Cheney's former firm and major beneficiary in Iraq, has been tapped to clean up the Navy bases along the Gulf coast (at a cost of $29.8 million). Shaw earned a $100 million from the Corps of Engineers to rebuild homes (Bechtel, another major player, has been called in to build homes). These are all no-bid contracts.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, 40 members of the New Orleans elite (all established, moneyed, white families) met to discuss the fate of their city. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically, and politically," said James Reiss to The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Cooper (September 8). "I'm not speaking for myself here," he continued. "The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out." Incidentally, when Reiss fled the city before the storm, he flew in an Israeli security firm by helicopter to protect his Audubon Park mansion.

The government and these established families have tried to remove the black poor from the city for several decades. The hurricane's destructive force has done their job for them. Now they will try to keep the poor blacks out. The federal government has already shipped people across the country. Inside the Houston astrodome, military recruiters went among the refugees. On September 7, the military conducted a Job Fair inside the astrodome "as a blatant effort to exploit the despair of masses of Americans evacuated from the Gulf coast", in the words of a community organiser.

| posted by Ramki @ 2:47 PM

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Zimbabwe bids adieu to Cricket...

According to news agencies, the whole Zimbabwean team is going to resign at the end of the current series. No international cricket will be played by or in Zimbabwe after the current test series is over. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) will also be dissolved. Zimbabwean cricket captain Tatenda Taibu and senior member Heath Streak were unable for comment when contacted by Reuters. President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe described the decision to dissolve ZCU as "a sad day for Zimbabwe cricket". When asked about the reason for the action, President Mugabe said "It is a great loss for the country of Zimbabwe. Not only the cricket team, but the entire nation is demoralized. We could have easily continued playing cricket after losing to any country in the world, but the shock of watching India's captain Sourav Ganguly make a hundred against us was too much to bear. That is all I have to say."

.. a very sad day indeed.

| posted by Ramki @ 7:10 AM

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sky news

| posted by Ramki @ 5:55 PM

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kleptography : An amazing photo blog

| posted by Ramki @ 4:28 PM

Learn to sue. Who knows - u could be a millionaire.

Here is one classic news:
A Hong Kong woman has sued Rolex, alleging that a watch she bought caused her psychological trauma because she had to wear long sleeves to cover up an itchy, unsightly skin allergy triggered by a label on the underside of the luxury timepiece, a newspaper reported Thursday.

| posted by Ramki @ 4:24 PM

Fun with fountains!

| posted by Ramki @ 4:22 PM

Beer and break dance

| posted by Ramki @ 4:10 PM

Cultural vision

It seems that people from the opposite ends of the earth tend to look at things differently.

A study examining the way American and Chinese students look at photographs that contain an obvious focal point and a complex background revealed distinct differences. The study tracked students' eye movements as they looked at pictures including a tiger in a forest and an airplane with a landscape behind it.

The American students were quicker to look at the focal point and looked at it longer, while the Chinese students made more quick glances around the rest of the picture.

There have been hints of this cultural difference before -- previous studies (1 , 2) have shown that North Americans tend toward the analytical and tend to pay more attention to focal objects, while East Asians tend toward the holistic and tend to pay more attention to context.

The difference also translated to differences in remembering the objects later. The Chinese students remembered the photographs slightly better, but the American students were better at remembering they had seen the focal object before when it was put in front of a new background.

[Via Smalley's Research Watch]

| posted by Ramki @ 4:07 PM

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Be Careful Next time you visit a doctor!

Working long hours is considered a hallmark of a medical residency. But in recent years, concerns have risen about how shifts that can last days affect a doctor's ability to function. The results of a new study quantify the negative effects and show that the performance of fatigued residents is comparable to how they would act after imbibing three or four cocktails. (Link)

| posted by raj @ 9:42 PM

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Polymer e-reader

originally uploaded by jujubi.
Pretyy nice huh. "The Readius, a concept gadget from Philips Polymer Vision, contains a flexible, scrollable display. The pocket-size "e-reader" stretches out to provide a 5-inch monochrome screen with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels."

| posted by Rajan @ 9:30 AM

Saturday, September 10, 2005

BBC NEWS | South Asia | India sends aid for New Orleans

BBC NEWS | South Asia | India sends aid for New Orleans: "India has dispatched an air force plane laden with 22 tonnes of relief supplies to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

India has already given the American Red Cross a donation of $5m to help relief efforts.

US officials now say that fears that up to 10,000 died in the disaster may be an overestimate.

The air force plane is expected to deliver its load on Monday after a first stop at Boston.

The Indian Ilyushin plane is carrying tarpaulins, blankets, personal hygiene kits and sheets, officials say.

Next week, a team of Indian divers and salvage experts is due to fly out to join US rescue workers.

India turned down offers of international help when its commercial capital, Mumbai (Bombay) and surrounding areas were battered by monsoon rains earlier this year that left hundreds dead."

| posted by Rajan @ 5:35 PM

IEEE President's column

Came across this nice piece of editorial column from
the IEEE president. Talks about the vision of an engineer
for an improved world. He mentions Dr Kalam's vision in
his book "India 2020"

| posted by raj @ 10:28 AM

Three-parent embryo research gets green light | The Register

Three-parent embryo research gets green light | The Register:
We moved from asexual to secual reproduction to get more variation, does this work on the same lines. This can be very interesting and scary. " UK researchers have been given the go-ahead to create an embryo that will contain DNA from three people, after the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) reversed its decision to ban the procedure.

The technique in question could eventually be used to prevent a series of genetic disorders, known collectively as mitochondrial myopathy, which include muscular dystrophy. These are triggered by defective genes in a woman's mitochondrial DNA. The researchers want to try to prevent these genes being passed on."

| posted by Rajan @ 9:47 AM

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Slashdot | Scientist Says Most Scientific Papers Are Wrong

Slashdot | Scientist Says Most Scientific Papers Are Wrong: "An anonymous reader writes 'According to epidemiologist John Ioannidis, the majority of published scientific papers are wrong. If Ioannidis's own paper is right, a randomly chosen scientific paper has less than a 50% chance of being true. He also says that many papers may only be accurate measures of the prevailing bias among scientists. However, a senior editor of a scientific journal says that scientists are already aware of this: 'When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about.''"

| posted by Rajan @ 12:50 PM

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