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

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"Hozur Road" Cartoons :-)

In Bangalore, all the major software companies are located in Hosur Road. Infy campus is about 40 kms from Bangalore city. Came across these funny cartoons about the pathetic state of infrastructure in Bangalore.

[Via Arjun's blog]

| posted by Ramki @ 11:30 PM

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bacterial Cameras

Bacterial Cameras and the Fabrication Future

Unlocking the Code – Science, Systems and Technological Breakthroughs

Jamais Cascio

It may need four hours to take a picture, and even then only create monochrome images, but the bacterial camera made by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, could be pretty important.

Chris Voigt and his team hacked the genome of E. coli, the common food-poisoning gut microbe, to make it sensitive to light by adding sequences from photosynthesizing algae. When activated by light, the new genes can shut off the action of another gene, in this case one controlling the color of the bacteria. A sufficiently large mass of E. coli can then be used to "print" images. Because the "pixels" are bacteria, the resolution is astounding -- over one hundred megapixels per inch.

The goal of the experiment wasn't to produce a slow, massively high resolution black & white camera, however; the goal was to demonstrate the use of light sensitivity as a control for other bacterial functions.

...their success in getting an array of bacteria to respond to light could lead to the development of "nano-factories" in which minuscule amounts of substances are produced at locations precisely defined by light beams.
For instance, the gene switch need not activate a pigment, says Voigt. A different introduced gene could produce polymer-like proteins, or even precipitate a metal. "This way, the bacteria could weave a complex material," he says. [...]
As a method of nano-manufacturing, the biocamera is an "extremely exciting advance" says Harry Kroto, the Nobel prize-winning discoverer of buckminsterfullerene, or buckyballs. "I have always thought that the first major nanotechnology advances would involve some sort of chemical modification of biology."

This bio-photolithography would be a good way of using microbes to construct macro-scale structures without having to develop complex chemical signalling mechanisms.

The image chosen for the experiment, in case you don't recognize it, is the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- and clearly this work has been touched by its noodly appendages.


| posted by Rajan @ 3:30 PM

Monday, November 14, 2005

History's Most Underrated Inventions

Great inventions.

Typically that means big-ticket items. One thinks of dazzling intellectual breakthroughs: the telescope, the steam engine, the airplane, the wheel.... Those were all tremendous, of course.

But often it's some mundane little nothing of a device that changes history. It might be no more than a slight improvement on some earlier invention. If it intersects with a historic moment, it can become a pivot. Then, like the lever that lifts the elephant, it produces consequences far out of proportion to the ingenuity of the thing itself. (Read the article)

| posted by Ramki @ 7:59 PM

Sunday, November 13, 2005

One Teen's Gigantic Contribution to the Internet - New York Times

One Teen's Gigantic Contribution to the Internet - New York Times: "The subject is Blake Ross, who began working at Netscape at the tender age of 14. By 19, he had co-created Firefox: a free, highly regarded, open-source Web browser that, in its very short life, has been downloaded 100 million times, in the process stealing over ten percent of the browser market away from Microsoft. He's now on leave from Stanford, where I met him in his studio apartment."

| posted by Rajan @ 9:31 AM

Lab Notes: Research from the Berkeley College of Engineering

Lab Notes: Research from the Berkeley College of Engineering: "When computers and people communicate, something is often lost in the translation. Essentially, computers don't know how we think. UC Berkeley computer scientist Maneesh Agrawala is helping bridge the gap. From designing systems that generate clearer driving maps to software that produces simpler step-by-step assembly instructions, Agrawala's research is about leveraging our understanding of how humans think.

'My interests are in computer graphics and human computer interaction, specifically perception and cognition,' says Agrawala, who joined the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences faculty this fall."

| posted by Rajan @ 12:19 AM

Monday, November 07, 2005

Smart Lid to Prevent Scorched Tongues

At long last, the wonders of technology have brought a solution to one our species' greatest problems. No longer will we have to suffer the agony and humiliation of eagerly gulping down that first chug of morning coffee only to scald our tongues (or, worse yet, the roofs of our mouths) on the boiling hot liquid. The Smart Lid is coming to save us all.

Made from a plastic that changes color relative to temperature, the Smart Lid will alert us that our coffee is hot before we take that first fateful drink. Bright red means "slow down, cowboy."

Sadly, those establishments that tend to serve their coffee at irrationally high temperatures -- mainly gas station minimarts -- will probably be the last to adopt the Smart Lid, as they obviously prefer stocking the cheapest and thinnest membranes technology can create. (Of course, if you're drinking coffee from a gas station minimart, you get what you deserve.) But overall the Smart Lid is expected to cost just a penny or so more per lid than standard plastic coffee lids, and the return in reduced customer fatalities could be tremendous.

[Via Wired.com-gadgets blog]

| posted by Ramki @ 10:12 PM

Patent Busting project

Start forming your patent busting posses! Here are the EFF Patent Busting Project's ten most-wanted patents—the ones that pose the biggest threat to the public domain. What makes these patents among the worst of the bunch? Try the fact that their owners are threatening and filing suits against small businesses, individuals and nonprofits, not to mention the threats to free expression and innovation that each of them pose.

| posted by Ramki @ 10:03 PM

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Email time capsule

From Forbes: The E-Mail Time Capsule.
Most time capsules involve cramming stuff into a metal box and burying it in a hole in the ground. It's a method that works --but it's so primitive. What if you could write an email to yourself, and be assured of receiving it twenty years in the future?
[Via J-walkblog]

| posted by Ramki @ 10:34 PM

Saturday, November 05, 2005

hard(ly) working guys beware!

check this video!

thanks mukesh...

| posted by raj @ 12:17 AM

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Suicides in Goldengate bridge.

This is like Indian cricket stats.... For some reason, I found it amusing.
Well, there's more stats here as well.

| posted by Ramki @ 11:19 PM

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Contemporary Origami

[Via Ursi's blog]

| posted by Ramki @ 9:37 PM

Room temperature ice

Experiments have proved that it is possible to freeze water at room temperature using energy to trigger hydrogen to bond in the way needed for crystallization. What's more, the phenomenon uses considerably less energy than had been predicted. The catch is that this type of freezing only happens in nanoscale spaces.

The researchers were able to force ice to form in extremely narrow gaps between a gold surface and the gold tip of a scanning tunneling microscope in an electric field as low as one million volts per meter. Previous estimates had pegged the number at one billion volts per meter.

The strength of an electric field diminishes exponentially with distance making it possible for small spaces to have high electric fields. Electric fields of one million volts per meter can be found in nanoscale electrical devices; they also form naturally in extremely small crevices in rocks, and probably in thunderclouds. A household static electric spark generates an electric field of about three million volts per meter.

[Via Smalley's Research Watch]

| posted by Ramki @ 9:33 PM


Wish you all a very Happy Diwali!!
Be careful when you fire crackers and be ruthless while eating sweets! :-)

| posted by Ramki @ 7:52 AM

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