October 30, 2003
Some amazing numbers
Taken from the latest issue of the Time magazine:
There are 80,000 patients in mental hospitals across the US. But, in the US prisons there are 370,000 mentally ill people. That amounts to 1 in every 5 inmates. Does this mean that mental illness drives people to commit crimes?
The INS (or whatever it is called now) arrested 300 illegal workers at 61 Walmart stores across US. Some of these people were paid $2 per day for their janitorial job. That is not enough even to eat lunch. Why were they working there?
October 29, 2003
Blogging could lead to unemployment
His immediate firing would make people think that Microsoft has something to hide with respect to use of G5s. But, I don't think that is the case. He was fired because he disclosed company information (location of buildings, what goes on inside, etc.), which could be considered confidential on the web without any consent from the company.
I have no doubt MS uses Apples at its facility. They have to, because they develop Office software for Apples. I am sure they use a lot of Linux there too. Not only because it is more stable and reliable ;) , but because, it is a competing product to their own. They would try and learn things from it to make next version of Windows better(Huh!!), as tough as that may sound.
October 28, 2003
Ads for new MS office
Wonder what is true???
Casper set to reject anti-gay monument
Casper set to reject anti-gay monumentMatthew Shepard was killed in a hate crime because he was gay in 1998. Now, Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS wants to erect a monument in a city park of Shepard's hometown of Casper, WY.
This will be a 6 foot tall granite monument with a brass plaque that would say:
"Matthew Shepard entered hell Oct. 12, 1998, at age 21 in defiance of God's solemn warning."
Isn't this condoning the murder of Matthew Shepard? Isn't this blaming Matthew for his own murder rather than his murderers? And, what about the sixth commandment, Rev. Phelps???? Doesn't 'Thou shalt not kill' apply here? Does being gay make Matthew not human?
Thankfully, the city of Casper is planning to oppose erection of this monument. They are ready to take care of the legal appeals that may rise from another monument currently located in the city park. Here are some 'credentials' of Rev. Phelps from the article...
Phelps, disbarred as an attorney in 1979 for ethical problems, and his congregation, which consists largely of his relatives
Phelps and his extended family of 13 children have lived in Topeka since the 1950s. He opposes school integration and civil rights. Four of his offspring have left and told tales of their father's physical abuse, tax fraud and racial hatred.
In recent years, Phelps also has preached that God hates America, including at a memorial service in Littleton for the Columbine victims.
October 27, 2003
They Misunderestimated Me!
This calendar will make a great christmas gift. Here are a couple of interesting quotes from it...
- I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully. 9/29/2000 during presidential campaign - Hydrogen power will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas admissions. 2/6/2003 speaking on energy independence - Matter of fact, there haven't been a morning that haven't gone by that I haven't saw--seen--or read threat.. 11/12/2002 remarks at DC Police operations center.
Thank God for W. He makes me feel good about my english.
October 22, 2003
October 20, 2003
A couple more images after more processing. The image on the right is a composite of 27 frames.
Saturn on Oct. 19, 2003
This is from the first round of processing with 6 images. More Saturn images to follow soon...
October 17, 2003
Apple Unveils Music Store for
This is great. Now, I don't have to wait till I buy an Apple to use this service.
Public Library of Science
Just heard about this on NPR:
Public Library of Science is open. The website has links to several journals that are freely available online and they debuted the inaugural issue of their first free journal "PLoS Biology". The mission statement on their website reads:::
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.
The internet and electronic publishing enable the creation of public libraries of science containing the full text and data of any published research article, available free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Immediate unrestricted access to scientific ideas, methods, results, and conclusions will speed the progress of science and medicine, and will more directly bring the benefits of research to the public.
They are promoting the idea that publishing results of scientific research in the public domain is an integral part of doing research and should be included in the funding of research projects. This is a different business model compared to the current one for the journal publishing houses.
This is a revolutonary and I must say a very cool concept just like the Open Source Initiative and Free Software Foundation. I know my friends don't agree with me on Opensource and FSF, but, I sincerely believe that their rationale makes sense. When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.
October 15, 2003
Mosaics of Zeugma
Yesterday's Nova featured rescue of some roman artefacts from an escavated villa in Zeugma, Turkey. This site was to go under water after construction of Birecik dam on the Euphrates river. According to the archeological evidence, this site witnessed the last battle between the romans that lived there and their persian attackers.
They showed construction of the dam and how this site along with a village of 30,000 residents gradually submerged under the backwaters of the dam. It was impressive to see the water accumulate slowly over time, swell and capture houses, farms, orchards, anything that came within its reach. The program website
describes other sites around the world that are threatened by submerging under the backwaters of dams.
This includes the Narmada project in India and Three Gorges dam in China among others. The Sardar Sarovar and Narmada Sagar project in India has the great potential of improving life for millions, but, the sad part is that there is no
proper plan for relocation of all the displaced people and historical temples and monuments that will go underwater. Hopefully, the 'Narmada Bachao Andolan' will be successful in taking all this into account.
Anyway, the main focus of the program was the artefacts rescued from the roman site. Initially, they didn't find anything but, fallen pillars, some pottary and a collection of decorative items and coins. The archeologists had almost run out of time when they found some exquisite mosaic floors from some rooms of the villa. Here is an example...
When Helen, the beautiful wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta, was kidnapped to Troy, Menelaus called upon his fellow chieftains to help him recover
his wife. One of them was the great warrior Achilles. Achilles's mother, the immortal sea-nymph Thetis, knowing that her son's fate was to perish at Troy if he went, dispatched him to the court of King Lycomedes. There, at her urging, he disguised himself as a maiden and joined the king's daughters. Odysseus, learning that Achilles was at the palace, appeared before the women as a merchant, offering items for sale, including weaponry. While the daughters naturally gravitated towards the feminine objects, Achilles, as this mosaic depicts,
couldn't resist the arms. Thereby unmasked, Achilles quickly agreed to accompany Odysseus to Troy, where Achilles was eventually killed by a poisoned arrow that struck him in the heel. It was his one weak spot: When he was a baby, his mother Thetis dipped him in the River Styx, which made him invulnerable except where she held him at the heel.
Here is a closeup of one of the faces not from this mosaic but a similar one. It is unbelievably intricate, and must have taken months to make the whole mosaic. I was truly amazed at the detail that is captured in these mosaics. Reminds me of similar mosaics that we saw in Rome.
Here is another of those excellent mosaics.
This mosaic tells the story of Daedalus and Icarus...
When King Minos of Crete decided to keep alive a magnificent bull that Poseidon had given him for sacrifice, the sea god punished him by having Minos's wife Pasiphae (seated at left in the mosaic) fall in love with the bull. To satisfy her desire, the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus (second from right and far right, respectively) built her a hollow cow in which she could hide and mate with the bull. Their coupling produced the half-man, half-bull Minotaur, which was shut away in the maze-like Labyrinth (upper right). Later, when Minos had
Daedalus and Icarus shut up in the Labyrinth, they escaped using wings fixed to their bodies with wax. Daedalus safely reached Sicily, but Icarus, exulting in his new-found abilities, flew too close to the sun; the wax melted and he fell to his death in the sea.
October 09, 2003
Some interesting numbers that I
Some interesting numbers that I just heard.
- has 8 billion shares outstanding.
- is the most traded stock on NYSE.
- accounts for $200 billion worth of transactions on NYSE per year.
- stock worth $2 million is traded every minute on NYSE.
- stock accounts to $1 out of every $50 transacted on NYSE.
October 01, 2003
Chilled Platelet Study Sweetens ExpectationsChilled Platelet Study Sweetens Expectations in Transfusion Medicine This is great news. Platelets are normally stored at room temperature, because they are cleared out of circulation by immune cells after a freeze-thaw cycle and they have to be used within 5 days. With this new research, it will be possible to freeze and store platelets for a longer time. This will reduce loss of this precious resource and also reduce recruiting costs to bloodbanks.
In the Sept. 12 Science, Stossel and his colleagues report how chilled platelets are recognized and removed from circulation by hungry immune cells in the livers of mice. They also demonstrate how this clearance mechanism can be blocked by adding a dash of the proper sugar to the chilled platelets. The added sugar acts like an invisibility cloak, allowing the platelets to evade detection by immune cells and circulate for the normal seven-day life span of platelets, said cardiologist Karin Hoffmeister, first author of the paper and HMS instructor in medicine at the Brigham. In mice, the sugar treatment doubled the useful storage period of platelets to 12 days.