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Showing posts from July, 2008

A Quiet Ride

It seemed came from a horror novel crafted master writer like Stephen King. The sheer violence, fear and coldness in this bizarre news story published in The Globe and Mail show how reality sometimes can be more crude and raw than the pages of genre fiction. Here is the link: A Quiet Ride - Then Carnage

How Computer Geeks can Save the Planet

"Robocars are essentially a computer project. There's lots of cool automotive engineering to be done, but the real wizardry will come from hardware and even moreso from software. The hardware needed includes cheap, powerful sensors, faster processors and specialized hardware for machine vision and pattern recognition. The software needs to drive all that, and combine machine vision, awareness and navigation with many other factors to produce the solution. It's an Artificial Intelligence (AI) problem, but it's what is sometimes called a "weak AI" problem. It doesn't need a self-aware human equivalent being. It needs the more basic tools we're already getting good at. It's the sort of problem skilled computer wizards were born to solve." Link to full article: Click here.

Darwin's Legacy -- Interview Clip of Richard Dawkins

Here is a clip from Al Jazeera.


Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB4BWPeyMpQ

Richard Dawkins talks about evolution, spirituality, Darwin's theory, answered a few skeptics' questions regarding "point of origin", Adam and monkey, relation (or no relation) between Darwinism and 2nd world war. He tackled questions like "Can evolution and religion coexist?" Richard Dawkins repudiates creationism and Intelligent Design, a "total non starter as explanation". How will we end up millions years down the road? Asked the interviewer. Dawkins answered, "whole lot different species, which will be doing pretty much the same thing as present species are, but all will be different,............a different settings, what you can't predict, similar range of species, doing similar range of things, you can't predict in detail what one species will be doing............."

Richard Dawkin's interview is interesting and stimulating.

The Chosen One - a Poem by Tom Sleigh

This poem is about God and dog. A man's angst, anger, frustrations and depressions in the moment of his approaching death are sprinkled deftly in this free flowing poem written by Tom Sleigh for Ploughshares. Here is the link: The Chosen One

The Chosen One by Tom Sleigh

The embarrassment of wanting to pray to God,
the demand that God give a good Goddamn
had made him pretty nutty by the end; a lifelong Marxist,
he took up with Ouspensky, then spent all his money
(and he had tons, all those years in the bank
when Das Kapital and the Wall Street Journal
vied for subway reading time) on learning Gurdjieff
Sufi dances, spinning round and round in an ecstasy
of sweating, chanting, his happiness making him
call you on the phone to tell you in a way that made you
wince that he loved you for your holiness, regardless
of your failings that he would then go on to list
in rigorous, half humorous detail. But now, he was dying,
and dying fast, and he was pissed; pissed at life, more pissed
at death, most pi…

Archaea -- The Undead

Their usage of energy is so little that they may be called as "undead" rather than living organism. This is an exciting time for biologists as "Our whole concept of microbial evolution is up for grabs," Lake said. "People are realizing there is lots of exchange and gene transfers between organisms, and I think the whole area is about to explode."

Here is an interesting excerpt: "Subseafloor microbes are genetically distinct from life on Earth's surface and oceans. The Archaea the Penn State researchers found might look like bacteria, but they don't eat or work like them. While E. coli might double its numbers in 30 minutes, Archaea could take hundreds or even thousands of years to accomplish the same amount of growth."

Article Link: Barely Alive, Seafloor Microbes Might Resemble Exo-Organisms

Summer Evening by the Window with Psalms

Read this beautifully crafted poem by a great poet of our world, Yehuda Amichai. I got introduced to his melancholic poetry of truth and metaphors about five years ago. A poet and his poetry transcend man made artificial national boundaries. Poetry is indeed universal.

Here is the link to New Yorker where this recently translated poem was published: Link


Summer Evening by the Window with Psalms

By Yehuda Amichai
Close scrutiny of the past.How my soul yearns within me like those soulsin the nineteenth century before the great wars,like curtains that want to pull freeof the open window and fly.We console ourselves with short breaths,as, after running, we always recover.We want to reach death hale and hearty,like a murderer sentenced to death,wounded when he was caught,whose judges want him to heal beforehe’s brought to the gallows.
I think, how many still waterscan yield a single night of stillnessand how many green pastures, wide as deserts,can yield the quiet of a single hourand how many v…

Adding Lime to Seawater may Reverse Global Warming

This process does need "careful consideration" as it has the potential of reversing global warming. Here is an extract: "The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore 'carbon negative'. 'This process has the potential to reverse the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would be possible to reduce CO2 to pre-industrial levels...'"

Article Link: A Dash of Lime

Sit-Ups

Improper sit-ups technique can cause more harm than good. Here is a demonstration video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygmgGqzsSiU

Can World's Strongest Dad

Democracy: The lessons of history

Despite their many shortcomings, those ancient Athenians and Florentines still can illuminate democracy's more aesthetic values. Miles J. Unger writes in his Boston Globe article: "While it is unrealistic in a nation of more than a quarter billion people to revive the direct street-corner democracy of ancient Athens or Renaissance Florence, we could learn valuable lessons from our predecessors. True democracy requires a level of engagement long missing from our political system. It demands that we be citizens, not merely voters."

Link to article:Democracy: The lessons of history

A Fairy Pic

Image
Don't know how to interpret it, but it is certainly comical seeing the "fairy" the President trying to "catch". Here it is: http://afrojacks.com/images/bush%20fairy.gif

MiniBookExpo

I found out about MiniBookExpo from blog BoingBoing a couple of days ago. Noble idea. If you are a bloogger and love to read books, this is a site to visit frequently. The rule is simple it seems. No shipping cost for the readers which is covered by book publishers, and one can claim two books. After receiving the claimed books, within one month a review for each book has to be published in a blog or if one doesn't have a blog, review can be sent to MiniBookExpo's publisher. When two reviews are published, two more books can be claimed following the same pattern. For many readers this is going to be a hit I believe. Here is the link: http://www.minibookexpo.com

Seymour M. Hersh's article in The New Yorker

Haven't seen much discussion about this article by Seymour M. Hersh. Is it the similar preamble just before 2003 when Iraq war had started? Is another disaster for another nation in the same volatile region waiting to be unfolded just around the corner, perhaps for the convenient expediency of political trumpets? War profiteers design and implement wars after wars, and millions of people suffer the dooming consequences.

Link to the article:
Preparing the Battlefield

Decades Later, Toxic Sludge Torments Bhopal

Hundreds of tons of waste still languish inside a tin-roofed warehouse in a corner of the old grounds of the Union Carbide pesticide factory here, nearly a quarter-century after a poison gas leak killed thousands and turned this ancient city into a notorious symbol of industrial disaster.
The toxic remains have yet to be carted away. No one has examined to what extent, over more than two decades, they have seeped into the soil and water, except in desultory checks by a state environmental agency, which turned up pesticide residues in the neighborhood wells far exceeding permissible levels. Nor has anyone bothered to address the concerns of those who have drunk that water and tended kitchen gardens on this soil and who now present a wide range of ailments, including cleft palates and mental retardation, among their children as evidence of a second generation of Bhopal victims, though it is impossible to say with any certainty what is the source of the afflictions. Why it has taken so l…

Rare English Gandhi Recording from 1947

Hear this rare audio where Gandhi talked about peace, East and West and non-violence, recorded in April 2, 1947.

Gandhi Audio Link

An accompanied article in The Washington Post with this audio link analyzes Gandhi's belief and philosophy:
Gandhi's self-denial and tour of rural poverty was rooted in political philosophy. The central reason people turn to violence, Gandhi believed, was that they were afraid. Fear of others, fear of the unknown, fear of losing one's possessions and fortunes, fear of loss, fear of death -- these were the things that prompted people, groups and nations to seek physical protection, to seek arms and armies. Fear was the root cause of corruption and greed. The way to destroy fear, Gandhi argued, was to give up the things that people held precious in the first place. When you have no possessions, you fear no thieves. So Gandhi gave up most of his possessions. He gave up emotional ties to family and friends. Sacrificing food, sleep and sex were only a …