Saturday, November 8, 2008

India enters supercomputing race

A year old news , but nevertheless something that makes us proud.
A computer system designed in India has made it into a top ten of the world's fastest supercomputers.
Computer giant IBM continues to dominate the list - which is compiled twice a year - with a total of 232 out of the top 500 supercomputers.
Its Blue Gene/L supercomputer - used to ensure the US nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable - comes out at number one.
The Indian system - known as EKA - made it into fourth place.
The world's fastest supercomputer - BlueGene/L - has been significantly upgraded in the last six months.
It can now deliver a sustained performance of 478 trillion calculations per second (478 teraflops), nearly three times faster than any other machine on the list.
Petaflop barrier
IBM's BlueGene/L - 478 teraflops
IBM's BlueGene/P - 167.3 teraflops
SGI Altix ICE 8200 - 126.9 teraflops
HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c (EKA) - 117.9 teraflops
HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c - 102.8 teraflops
Second place went to another IBM system - a newer version of BlueGene/L known as BlueGene/P. The system, introduced this June is the first in a batch of IBM machines designed to operate at a petaflop and beyond.
Breaking the petaflop barrier - the ability to process 1,000 trillion calculations every second - has long been a key milestone in supercomputing and would allow highly detailed simulations.
For example in earthquake simulations it could show building-by-building movements of regions in earthquake zones, improving future structural designs.
India has also entered the exclusive list for the first time with a Hewlett-Packard designed system that has a performance of 117.9 teraflops.
Codenamed EKA - Sanskrit for number one - it is installed at the Computational Research Laboratories in Pune.
The system will be initially targeted at developing applications such as neural, molecular and crash simulations, and digital media animation and rendering.
"The supercomputer system will have a direct effect on the lives of Indians, espcially in areas such as earthquake and Tsunami modelling, modellings of the economy and potential for drug design," said Mr S. Ramadorai, chairman of the Computational Research Laboratories, which is a subsidiary of Indian firm Tata.
The next step for the system is to put more applications on it.
"While the ranking is important the more important thing is to keep on improving performance and applications," said Mr Ramadorai.
Third place on the top 500 list went to a new supercomputing centre based in New Mexico.
Fifth place went to another Hewlett-Packard system installed at a Swedish government agency

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Indian-origin mathematician honoured

Posted May 29th, 2008 by rkm

SYDNEY:Nalini Joshi, an Australian of Indian origin, has become only the third woman inmathematics to be elected to the prestigious Australian Academy of Sciences(AAS), founded in 1954 by Australian Fellows of the Royal Society ofLondon.Joshi, head of the School ofMathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney, was made a fellow of AASin recognition of her life-long achievements in the field ofmathematics.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

As Jaipur bleeds, volunteers apply much-needed balm

As Jaipur bleeds, volunteers apply much-needed balm

16 May 2008, 0312 hrs IST,Avijit Ghosh,TNN

JAIPUR: Calamity often brings out the best in humans. And the Tuesday serial blasts in Jaipur was no exception. From sewadaars of Dera Sacha Sauda to RSS swayamsevaks, from Muslim youths of Pathan Chowk to Nirankaris, not to forget corporate houses and co-operative groups, everyone has set up their tents and stalls outside the city's Sawai Man Singh hospital where a majority of the blast victims are undergoing treatment. Donating blood, working as hospital's unofficial fourth-grade employees, ensuring relief money reaches the right people, offering free food, medicine and telephone services — they are doing it all.

Dera Sacha's sevadars arrived with 30-odd members within an hour of the blast, says Kulbhushan, among the the organisation' s senior volunteers. By morning, the number of volunteers dressed in their cream and green uniform had swelled to 350. "So far we have donated 132 units of blood. We are ready to donate more units but the doctors say there is no more requirement, " he says. They plan to hang around for a couple of days more in case of an emergency.

The blast also prompted a group of Muslim youths who call themselves Pathan Chowk Vikas Samiti into action. Shahid Khan, an advocate and the group's leader, says that the decision to help the blast victims was carried out with rapidfire immediacy. "We not only helped lift the dead but also carried the injured to the hospital. Thirty of our members have donated blood," he says. Now, says Murad Baig from another youth group in the Amagarh area, their efforts are to ensure that the injured and the relatives of the dead get prompt relief. He says there is no competition, only co-operation, among the different groups.

"We have also been co-operating with the RSS volunteers and they with us," says Baig. Relatives of injured are happy with the work done by RSS volunteers who are prominently visible in their khaki shorts. "They have been almost working as ward boys," says Manoj Chhipa, whose father was injured in the blast. Even the Nirankaris of Jaipur have joined relief work in a big way. They have opened a 24-hour langar and donated 150 units of blood. Like the RSS volunteers, they also have sewa dal members who are acting as parallel fourth-grade staff. "We have the phone numbers of 647 volunteers with us. We have their blood group with us. We are ready to provide help at a moment's notice," says Satish Khurana of Sant Nirankari Mandal. That apart even a couple of mobile phone companies have set up their help vans where free calls can be made. Small organisations such as Seva Bharti, Jaipur and Shri Agarwal Vaishya Samaj Samiti have provided free services. Even Rajasthan Co-operative Consumer Federation has, as its assistant manager O P Verma puts it, come up with "a human response." The organisation is providing free medicine to every injured victim. So far, 16 have availed the facility.

Monday, May 5, 2008

PSLV-C9 blasts off from Sriharikota

PSLV-C9 blasts off from Sriharikota

SRIHARIKOTA: India's PSLV-C9 blasted off into space, carrying ten satellites including the country's latest remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A, from ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre here on Monday.

Scientists cheered as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirteenth flight, soared into the clear sky in a perfect lift off at 9.23 am from the second launch pad.

Besides the 690 kg CARTOSAT-2A, the PSLV is also carrying ISRO's Indian Mini Satellite-1 (IMS-1), weighing 83kg, and eight nano satellites built by universities and research institutes in Canada and Germany.

While the CARTOSAT-2A, carrying state-of-the-art panchromatic camera (PAN), will be used for mapping purposes and management of natural resources, the IMS-1 will be used as a platform for trying out advanced technology in future launches.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Initiative by priest for Rama Navami celebrations


A sankalpa karyakram was held at Sri Sainagar Weaker Section Society on Ugadi by the assistant priest of Raamalayam, Sri Srinadh who is also a swayamsevak. Twenty Two (22) families of the basti vowed to recite the japa "Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama" 21 times everyday and lay off from liquor and meat during the 9 days ( Navaratri). They also put some rice grains aside every day which was then collected and used as "talambraalu" during the Seeta Rama Kalyanam during Sri Rama Navami

On Rama Navami day, the women of the basti came to the temple singing bhajans and then participated in the kalyana utsav.The initiative was taken by the families of Guru Gobind Prabhat Shaka, Saidabad, Bhagyanagar.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bringing light to needy students

Bringing light to needy students
Wednesday April 2 2008 09:08 IST

P S Dileep

TUNIVALASA: Reddipalle Jagadish is just one among thousands of government teachers working in rural schools across the State.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about his duties at the Mandal Parishad Elementary School in Tunivalasa of Padmanabham mandal, about 15 km from Vizianagaram. But what makes him truly stand out is that since his appointment as a secondary grade teacher (SGT) in 2003, he has been doing whatever he can to make a difference to the lives of his students and has helped 45 indigent ones continue their education beyond Class X.

“I had seen many friends drop out of school and college due to financial problems. They ended up working in small jobs for paltry amounts only because they hadn’t the means to study further,” says the 27-year-old youth.

Jagadish spends about Rs 30,000 (nearly 50 per cent of his annual income) to sponsor students every year. Currently, he is helping 10 boys through Inter, four to complete graduation and a visually-impaired student B Ed.

“I am single. My family does not require my income. I keep some for my expenses and the rest is for helping the poor,” he says.

Many junior colleges in Vizianagaram who are familiar with Jagadish’s efforts get into the spirit of things by waiving the fee - in part or in two - while Jagadish takes care of the books and other expenses.

“Some friends too chip in. I hope to see these students go on to help others in need,” he says.

“Helping others is not a matter of capability, but rather that of commitment and determination,” observes Jagadish. And determination is a quality he has in ample measure.

It is proved by the fact that his own visual impairment has not come in the way of his lighting the path for others - and lightening their difficulties.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

We do not want Sarabjit in exchange for terrorists: wife

http://www.hindu. com/2008/ 03/20/stories/ 2008032060470100 .htm

Amritsar: In a bold statement on Wednesday, the wife of Sarabjit Singh said the family did not want him repatriated from Pakistan if it meant India releasing some terrorists in exchange.

"Myself and my daughters would never like Sarabjit freed in exchange for any hardcore Pakistani terrorist lodged in Indian jails," Sarabjit's wife, Sukhpreet Kaur, told PTI.

Ms. Kaur said that for the family, "nothing is above the nation and we can't go against the interests of our motherland."

Sister's visit

She said the family was informed by journalists that Sarabjit's sister Dalbir Kaur would be going to Pakistan and the government had assured her a passport and visa.

"I would urge the government to give me and my daughters travel documents for visiting Sarabjit in the Kot Lakhpat Jail," she added. - PTI

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Setting Standards through Community Binding

An oasis of abstinence
Author: Shyamlal Yadav ; Publication: India Today; Dated: March 13, 2008

As far as villages and Indian values go, Miragpur in Uttar Pradesh stands out as an examplary model of social conduct. Not only do people here keep away from tobacco, liquor and non-vegetarian food, they also do not consume cabbage, garlic and onion. This is a tradition they have been following for over 400 years- since the seventeenth century. Even the hukka, synonymous with north Indian villages, is frowned upon here.

Located near Deoband of Saharanpur, around 120 km from Delhi, Miragpur has a population of around 10,000. The village is proud that only two shopkeepers,out of a dozen, sell bidis and cigarettes.

Says Rajpal, a shopkeeper: "Only two shops have started storing bidi and cigarettes and that too for labourers from other states." According to the villagers, the unique tradition started in 1610 AD when mendicant Baba Faqira Das settled down here. The villagers, who still recall his saying,
"Jovan, dhan, jal nadi ka aur megha ki chhaon; kahe faqira sthir nahi, jaise jal par nao," (Youth, wealth, river water and the shade of clouds are not constant, like a boat on water), have built an ashram in his memory and offer prayers twice a day.

This is a tradition that is followed religiously. Says, village pradhan Karan Pal, "Once our daughters marry, they are free to decide whether they want to follow these traditions, but it is mandatory for our daughters-in- law to follow these once they step into the village." A fair, held in the first week of March every year, brings together their relatives from far flung places across the country.

The village which is located on the bank of river Kali is dominated by Gujjars but has a significant number of other castes-Valmiki, carpenters, Brahmins and Dheemars-as well.

The villagers are steadfast about their beliefs. Says Ompal Singh, a villager, "We do not let off the violators. Sometimes we punish them and at other times our guruji punishes them."

But they are not usually harsh on violators as they believe their guruji will take care of that. They say some families were wiped out due to unnatural deaths when they did not follow the tradition. The Gujjars strictly enforce prohibition and other restrictions amongst their community but allow other castes to take their own stand.

Ompal adds: "Though it is voluntary among other castes but they also follow these usually." But it is remarkable that the village, located in one of the richest farming areas, does not need either a campaigner or an activist minister to rid them of smoking and alcohol.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heart Surgery - Free of cost

I received this message from one of my friends.

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: Sri Sathya Sai Institute Higher Medical Sciences, E.P.I.P. Area, WhiteField, Bangalore
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bana Singh : a hero of our times

Bana Singh : a hero of our times

Bana Singh was born on 6 January 1949 and now lives in R.S.Pura near Jammu. He joined Indian Army's Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) on 6 January 1969 After training at the High Altitude Training School along with his battalion at Gulmarg, he was posted in Siachen in April 1987. Pakistan had already occupied a vantage point called Quaid Post named after Mohammad Ali Jinnah. This is the most important and highest post in the area. From the top of this post the
entire Saltoro range is visible, including other posts like the Amar and Sonam which get food and other materials by Indian helicopters. On April 18, 1987, the Pakistan army at Quaid post began
firing at the Indian troops. A Junior commissioned Officer and five soldiers were killed at Sonam. It became necessary to gain control over the post for the safety of the men and supporting helicopters. It was therefore decided to recapture Quaid Post.
On 26th June 1987, Bana Singh got the green light to lead his platoon up the 90° slope with iced walls, after two previous attempts failed with heavy casualties. This is how he remembers it:
"Though it was day time, because of the heavy snowing we could not say if it was day or night. The Pakistanis must have been knowing that something was going on because our troops were firing at them from the base camp (to divert their attention). When we reached the top, there was a single bunker. We had been trained for such a fight. I threw a grenade inside and closed the door. At the end, a total of six Pakistanis were killed. We brought back their bodies which were later handed over to the Pakistanis authorities during a flag meeting in Kargil. Some must
have escaped towards the Pakistani side, perhaps over the cliff. I think that I have bayoneted three or four persons, I don't remember now."

For this act of valor Bana Singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra.and was presented the Param Vir Chakra on January 26 1988.The Quaid Post was renamed as Bana Post after its liberation by Bana Singh. Today some twenty years after liberating Quiad Post and earning a PVC, Bana Singh
is sad man, because of the indifferent attitude of the J&K government who pays him paltry Rs 166 per month whereas neighboring state of Panjab, HP and Haryana pay much higher amounts to PVC winners. (in Punjab a PVC winner gets Rs 12,500 every month, in Haryana it is Rs
10,400 and in Himachal Pradesh it is Rs 10,000).
How can a nation retain its independence if it does not reward its defenders suitably? Does it behove a great country like India to treat one of its greatest present day heroes, one of the
three living PVC recipients, so shabbily? This is why we have decided to bestow our
first Shivaji-FACT award of Courage to Captain Bana Singh and are trying to raise money to hand him over as well a substantial prize money. the Shivaji-FACT award of Courage, which will be handed over by HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 12th March 2008 in Mumbai on the occasion of the opening of the Shivaji exhibition (see below), " A Hero for Modern India".

François Gautier
Venue P.L. Deshpande, Maharashtra Kala Academy, Prabhadevi, Mumbai
Date 12th March 2008.
Time: 4.30 pm.
4.30 pm - Arrival of Chief Guests His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Chief Minister Gujarat Shri Narendra Modiji, Shri Uddhav Thackerayji, Shri Gopinath Mundeji
4.40pm – His Holiness chants a mantra at the venue
4.45pm – His Holiness and Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, Shri Uddhav Thackerayji and Shri Gopinath Mundeji light the lamp in turns to inaugurate the exhibition
4.45 to 5.00pm - the Chief guests view the exhibition.
5.00pm - Chief guests proceed to auditorium
5.05pm - Vande Mataram
5.10pm – Francois Gautier gives the welcome address
5.15pm- Film 'Heros of Kargil' to be screened
5.20 pm- All the Chief guests are requested to sit on the stage.
5.25pm- Shri Gopinath Munde will address the audience.
5.35pm – Shri Uddhav Thackerayji will address the audience
5.55pm- Hon Chief Minister Gujarat Shri Narendra Modiji will address
the audience. Topic " Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj- a Hero for Modern India"
6.10pm - His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji will address the audience
Session will end with a guided meditation by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foot soldiers of Jaipur

Foot soldiers of Jaipur
Author: Rohit Parihar
Publication: India Today
Date: February 25, 2008
http://indiatoday. digitaltoday. in/index. php?option= com_content& Itemid=1& task=view& id=4605&sectioni d=24&issueid= 41&latn=2

Introduction: An organization working for the handicapped takes the
science of artificial limbs forward

It is probably the only city in the world to have lent its name to a
prosthetic, but now limbs other than foot-like a Jaipur knee or
wheelchair-may soon be associated with the pink city.

The leader of the team that invented the Jaipur foot, Dr P.K. Sethi,
died recently but the organisation which helped make it a reality, the
Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, is still working to take this
legacy forward.

The Samiti, founded in 1975 by retired IAS officer D.R. Mehta runs
institutes in its endeavour to provide low-cost limbs and tools to the
physically challenged.

In January, Steve Goldband, director of private sector initiatives,
Centre on Longevity, Stanford University, US, visited the Samiti to
assess its functioning. Also on the agenda was development of low-cost
above-knee limb replacement. "Our major challenge is to create a cheaper
version of an above-knee limb," says Goldband.

Work on this project is proceeding at a brisk pace. The needy will be
identified in Jaipur through video conferencing and trials of the
prototype will take place here. "It may turn out to be as revolutionary
as the invention of the Jaipur foot," says Mehta.

In what could be a major diversification project for the Samiti,
production of low-cost, high quality wheelchairs is also set to begin
soon in collaboration with Whirlwind Wheelchair International, US, a
non-profit organisation.

The initial numbers to be produced, within a year if everything goes on
schedule, are slated to be 500 chairs a month. The Samiti will donate
150 chairs to Iraq through the Joint Iraqi Development and Unity
Foundation which provides chairs for exports.

At present the Samiti procures and donates 100 wheelchairs every month.
Mehta says last year the organisation donated 20,000 limbs compared to
8,800 by an international agency like the Red Cross.

Besides providing the Jaipur foot and wheelchairs, the Samiti caters to
the needs of the handicapped by giving them calipers and hearing aids

As the number of the Samiti's beneficiaries crosses a million mark, a
retired Mehta-who also headed the Securities and Exchange Board of
India- has reason to smile. Having been conferred the Padma Vibhushan on
Republic Day this year, Mehta says "it is crucial for us to move ahead
and tie up with the best in the world to improve upon technology."

He nearly lost a limb in an accident in Jaisalmer decades ago. But that
miraculous escape seems to have become a source of inspiration for him
to do the same for others.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mystery Factor Gives Ganges a Clean Reputation

DELHI, INDIA, FEBRUARY 17, 2008: Hindus have always believed that water from India's Ganges River has extraordinary powers. The Indian emperor Akbar called it the "water of immortality" and always traveled with a supply. The British East India Co. used only Ganges water on its ships during the three-month journey back to England, because it stayed "sweet and fresh."

Indians have always claimed it prevents diseases, but are the claims wives' tales or do they have scientific substance?

Independent producer Julian Crandall Hollick searched for the "mysterious X factor" that gives Ganges water its mythical reputation.

He starts his investigation looking for the water's special properties at the river's source in the Himalayas. There, wild plants, radioactive rocks, and unusually cold, fast-running water combine to form the river. But since 1854, almost all of the Ganges' water has been siphoned off for irrigation as it leaves the Himalayas.

Hollick speaks with DS Bhargava, a retired professor of hydrology, who has spent a lifetime performing experiments up and down Ganges in the plains of India. In most rivers, Bhargava says, organic material usually exhausts a river's available oxygen and starts putrefying. But in the Ganges, an unknown substance acts on organic materials and bacteria and kills them. Bhargava says that the Ganges' self-purifying quality leads to oxygen levels higher than any other river in the world.

The best answer for the Ganges' mysterious substance may come from Jay Ramachandran, a molecular biologist and entrepreneur in Bangalore. In a short science lesson, Ramachandran explains that benign microorganisms fight the harmful bacteria found in the water. But even the scholar can't, however, explain why the river alone has this extraordinary ability to retain oxygen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Jagannath temple in Gaya takes a step forward

http://www.thaindia /india-news/ jagannath- temple-in- gaya-has- a-low-caste- priest_10017603. html

Jagannath temple in Gaya has a low caste priest

February 14th, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by admin - Email This Post
Gaya, Feb 14 (ANI): Jagannath temple in Bihar took a bold initiative
by anointing a low-caste to perform temple rituals, considered a
strict prerogative of the Brahmins.

In a path-breaking reconciliatory gesture, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS) Chief K.S. Sudarshan graced the ceremony kicking off the
renovation of the temple under the guidance of the new head priest
Deepak Das, a low-caste person.

"We are all children of god. Nobody is a low-caste (dalit). That is
the reason why the word dalit is not mentioned in our Constitution, "
said Sudarshan.

Buddhist monks from the Mahabodhi temple, who attended the ceremony,
said the move would go a long way in the betterment of the Hindu

"It is done as an experiment. I think if it is continued, it will lead
to the betterment of the society," said Pragyadeep, General Secretary
of the All-India Monks Union.
At present, non-Brahmin priests perform rituals in just a few temples
of certain sects.

In 2002, the Supreme Court had ruled that members of the so-called
dalit could also be appointed as priests in temples as long as they
were qualified to conduct the rituals. (ANI)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Doctor's initiative saves thousands of patients

Pathologist Dr. Himmatrao Bhavaskar hails from Jalna, Maharashtra (Bharat). He worked in Bhiwandi near Mumbai, where 30 % deaths were caused by scorpion bite. He discovered that the PRAZOSIN tablet available in medical stores is a cure. He saved many with this tablet. He used to sleep in the night outside his house in Mahad under a net so that patients were not sent back. His workload increased. He traveled from village to village explaining the treatment to doctors, treated more than 4,000 patients and brought down deaths due to scorpion bite to less than 2%. In 1986, in a single month, 65 patients survived. It was published in LANCET, the renowned medical journal. Prazosin is used today on scorpion bites and snake bites. Countries like Israel, Peru and Brazil use it.

From an interview of the doctor in FROZEN THOUGHT, April, 2007.

Monday, February 4, 2008



Dharmapuri, (VSK) --

Jan 2008
Swayamsevaks of Kurinjipuram village in Dharmapuri district (Tamilnadu) celebrated the Makar Sankranti (Pongal) this year in a novel way. They gathered the youngsters of the village and explained to them the harm done to human beings and the cattle by plastic bags and other wastes. It was rightly understood by the villagers and they immediately swung into action. With the guidence and support of Swayamsevaks numbering 21, the entire village was completly rid of plastic waste. The celebration of Sankranthi thus got tuned to a neighbourhood cause. A couple of villages nearby quickly followed the example and became plastic-free

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Samskrita Bharati and TTD - Initiatives for propagating Samskrit

At Bal Mandir, an orphanage run by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (in Andhra Pradesh, Bharat), no child is an orphan; every child has the initials `SV' added to its name. For example, `S.V.Ramudu'. Incidentally, SV stands for Lord Sri Venkateswara of Tirupati. Shri. Mukteswara Rao, Joint Collector of Hyderabad, shared this heartening information with senior Samskrita Bharati functionaries at Hyderabad (formerly known as Bhagyanagaram) on March 17, 2007. He was present at the inaugural of the two day `Akhil Bharatiya Upavesanam' (annual all Bharat meet) of Samskrita Bharati. He reminisced how how 400 chidren of Harijan community once recited Samskrit shlokas soulfully at the altar of Tirupati Venkateswara. He described the work of Samskrita Bharati in taking Samskritam – "that is a unifying force" – to all sections of society as an "extremely great service". As part of of its growth in all the 32 provinces of Bharat, Samskrita Bharati recorded a phenomenal 350 % increase in the number of Shibhirams (10 day spoken Samskritam course). These 12,500 Shibhirams were conducted during the Shri. Guruji Golwalkar Centenary Year (February 2006 - February 2007), as per the provincial reports. Remarkable was the visit of Shri. Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, to one of those Shibhirams in Akola, Vidharbha province (Maharashtra, Bharat). Prakashji was "greatly impressed by the work of Samskrita Bharati", the Vidarbha karyakartha said. Nearly 700 of these Shibhirams were held in Harijan localities, according to Samskrita Bharati.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Synthesis of scientific knowledge and agriculture yields results

Though I feel that BT cotton could get him into problem in the long run, it is a great initiative by Venugopal.

Engineer spurns dollars, strikes white gold
Friday January 25 2008 02:59 IST

S Nagaraja Rao

PRODDATUR: Who could have imagined a young engineer striking it rich in farming at a time when others of his kind are frantically chasing dollar dreams?

K Venugopal Reddy, Best Farmer awardee, from Rajupalem mandal in Proddatur, just smiles away the query.

Growing cotton is a risky venture but by adopting modern pre and post-harvest practices and following the advice of scientists, Reddy has realised 13 quintals of cotton per acre that won him the award from the State Government.

A mechanical engineer by education, Reddy toiled hard for years raising the risky cotton crop, also known as White Gold. The engineer-turned-agriculturist adopts modern harvesting and management practices.

He has raised cotton in a 15-acre plot out of his 20-acre holdings. In the remaining five acres, he has raised other crops.

“I cultivated three varieties of BT Cotton of which Mico Nikanj and Krushidan have given good yield. I produced 13 quintals of cotton per acre.

It’s possible if we follow the advice of agricultural scientists and officials. Investment was less and the yield, much better,” he explains.

Recognising his hard work, the State Government has conferred the Adarsa Rythu award on him at the district level. Kadapa Mayor Ravindranath Reddy gave away the award during the recent Sankranthi Sambaralu.

“Even though I did a course in mechanical engineering, I have always been interested in agriculture and wanted to convert our fields into money spinners. I am happy and proud that my efforts are bearing fruit,” Venugopal Reddy says

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PSLV successfully puts the Israeli satellite Tecsar into orbit.

Once upon a time, we would take the help of foreign countries to put our satellites up into orbit. It is a matter of pride that our scientists at ISRO have now not only made us self-reliant but also put us up in the global map of successful service providers for satellite launching.


Photo courtesy: ISRO

ON A MISSION: The PSLV-C10 lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Monday. —

CHENNAI: On a cloudy day when the mist hung heavily in the air, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C10, successfully put the Israeli satellite Tecsar into orbit. It was a textbook launch with the “core-alone” configuration of the PSLV lifting off on time from the first launch pad at Sriharikota at 9.15 a.m. on Monday and injecting Tecsar into its precise orbit 19 minutes and 45 seconds after the lift-off. Tecsar, weighing 300 kg, is a remote-sensing satellite that can take pictures of the earth 365 days of the year, 24 hours of the day, through rain, clouds, day and night. It has a one-metre resolution. It was earlier known as Polaris.

It was a smooth countdown without any hiccup. At the appointed time of 9.15 a.m., the PSLV-C10 rose from the launch pad, built up momentum, and knifed into the sky with a reverberating roar. It was visible for a few seconds as it sped into a bit of a clear sky, then disappeared and became visible to be sheathed by the clouds again. The four stages of the PSLV-C10 ignited on time and jettisoned immaculately. Finally, the fourth stage put Tecsar into orbit. This was the 11th successful launch in a row for the trusty PSLV.

Contrary to custom, reporters and photographers were barred from entering the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota to cover the event. Israel reportedly wanted the launch kept under wraps.

The launch was executed under a commercial contract between the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), to which belongs Tecsar, and the Antrix Corporation, marketing agency of the Department of Space. Antrix has received a handsome amount from the IAI for launching the satellite. Satellite builders from Israel were present at Sriharikota.

G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation, told The Hindu at Sriharikota: “It was an absolutely perfect launch. Whatever we planned, we achieved on the dot. The satellite was injected into the desired orbit.”

Top ISRO rocket engineers said it was “one of the very best launches” of the PSLV. They called it “an excellent performance with a perfect injection of the satellite into orbit” with an apogee 580 km and a perigee of 450 km. The injection was done by the PSLV core-alone in which the six strap-on booster motors are removed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scientists, pundits, converge on Vedic Science

Scientists, pundits, converge on Vedic Science
( Ashok B. Sharma )

Visakhapatnam, January 6:
Scientists and pundits were of the view that essence of scientific truth in ancient Vedic and post-vedic Sanskrit literature was still relevant in modern times. Particularly the prescriptions of life style away from today's consumerism and deep insight into reality can be of help to the society.

The vacuum state described in quantum physics can be compared to the Brahman of Hindu metaphysics. This was for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress that vedic science got recognition and two successive plenary sessions were held on the issue on Sunday. The plenary session on Vedic Science was chaired by the Chancellor of the Tirupati-based Rashtriya Sanskrit University, VR Panchamukhi. The other plenary session on Brahman of Physics: Interface Between Physics and Vedanta, was chaired by SS Rama Rao Pappu of Miami University, US.

An exclusive exhibition was arranged to display scientific insight of Vedic rishis and scholars. Panchamukhi spoke about the essence of social sciences like economics, law, political science found in ancient texts. PV Arunachalam from Triupati highlighted the simple formulae of calculation in Vedic mathematics developed by the former Puri Shankaracharya, Swami Bharatiya Krishna Tirth from Atharva Veda mantras. However, VLS Bhimasankaram of Osmania University was of the view that the scientific knowledge contained in many Sanskrit
texts cannot to termed as Vedic, as these literatures were written in post-Vedic periods.

The keynote speaker of the second plenary session, ECG Sudarshan of the University of Texas said, "Physics deals with existence and change. As per quantum physics, an observer is an active agent in the process of change, while as per Adwaita Vedanta philosophy, he can be the presiding intelligence, ie. the Brahman of Physics." Sudarshan, who is a professor in Physics, is also reputed for discussing the relevance of Adwaita Vedanta philosophy in the West. He had been awarded Padma Vibhushan.

P Venugopal Rao from the US-based Emory University said: "the vacuum state described in quantum physics is nothing but Brahman of Hindu metaphysics. "

SS Rama Rao Pappu of US-based Miami University said, "Newtonian physics is similar to the Hindu Sankhya philosophy."

BD Nageswar Rao of Indiana University said: "the biological molecules cannot be explained without the help of bio-physics. In physics there are four force fields - ultimate substratum - namely gravitational field, electromagnetic field, weak interaction field and strong interaction field.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nano technology not new to Indians - Robert Curl

HYDERABAD: Nanotechnology might be of raging interestto scientists world-over now. But Indians had usednano materials in the 16th century “unwittingly” andenabled Arab blacksmiths in making “Damascus steelsword” which was stronger and sharper.

Delivering a talk on ‘The contributions of elementalcarbon to the development of nano science andtechnology’ at the Indian Institute of ChemicalTechnology (IICT) here on Monday and while interactingwith the media, Nobel laureate Robert F. Curl saidthat carbon nanotechnology was much older than carbonnano science.For the Damascus sword, Indians produced the rawmaterial -- mined iron ore and exported it. He saidthat up to the middle of 18th century, the steelswords depended on this particular material and whenthe mines in India stopped, “they lost thetechnology.” The Damascus sword when subjected toscrutiny by an electron microscope in 2006 had shownto contain large amounts of nanotubes.Similarly, glass materials produced in the Roman timehad nano materials. He said the glass was covered withnano particles of gold and silver. He said the peoplewere using such materials without understanding whatthey were doing for a long time.Prof. Curl shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996for discovery of fullerenes along with Richard Smalleyand Harold Kroto.

Replying to a question about the use of nano materialsin facial creams, he wondered whether they made anydifference. Asked whether he approved of their use, hereplied that he did not approve of using chemicalswhich were not thoroughly evaluated. “I feel with newmaterials, you have to be careful.” Asked about thediscovery of fullerenes, he said “this was all a luckyaccident.”

Prof. Curl was later given the ‘Lifetime AchievementAward in Science’ instituted by B.M. Birla ScienceCentre. Nirmala Birla, president of the sciencecentre, presented the award. The Nobel Laureate gaveaway B.M. Birla Science prizes to six young scientistsin the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Biology andMathematics.Dr. Krishna Dronamraju, President, Foundation forGenetic Research, also spoke.

http://www.thehindu .com/2008/ 01/01/stories/ 2008010155200600 .htm

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New institute for Ramayana studies

New institute for Ramayana studies 13 Jan 2008, 1103 hrs IST , PTI

NEW DELHI : People across the globe interested in studies on the Ramayana can now look forward to Assam's main city of Guwahati where an institute devoted to research on the epic will come up later this month. "The institute will be solely devoted to research on the Ramayana," noted Assamese litterateur Indira Goswami, in whose residence the institute will be set up, said. "At the beginning two students -- from anywhere in the world -- will be admitted for research work on the epic," Goswami told reporters over phone. The institute will be declared open on January 20. "Assam has a vibrant cultural tradition and the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have linked the state with the rest of the country in a strong way," she said. Goswami had approached the Assam government seeking sponsorship of scholarships for the researchers and the state promised to extend all possible help to her endeavour, she said. "The government's response has been positive," she said. There has also been an attempt to get affiliation of the studies at the institution with the Gauhati University. Goswami, given the Jnanpith Award in 2000, acquired her PhD in 1973 from Gauhati University for her thesis "Comparative Study of Goswami Tulsi Das' Ramcharita Manas and Madhab Kandali's Assamese Ramayana ". The first-ever Ramayana in the modern Indo-Aryan languages is believed to have been written in Assamese in the 14th century by Kandali.

Samartha Ramdas Swami - an inspiration

Had a darshan of Samartha Ramdas Swami’s “Samadhi” which has in the Sajjangarh fort. Ramdas swami remains an inspiration for the technique he developed in infusing Nationalism and Dharmic devotion among ordinary people across the country by his concept of Hanuman temple, a akhaada and a Paathashaala. His emphasis on Rashtra chintana along with spiritual sadhana is more relevant today than it was anytime before.

Makara sankranti

May this Makara Sankranti give us the light and vision to work together for a "Samarasa Bharat".