Monthly Archives: July 2011

Advantages of Blogging

A few days back, a few my friends and myself were talking with a teacher. Someone asked me to share my blogging experience with them and also to tell them. I started speaking and that was when I realized that blogging actually has many advantages. Since I do not have anything else to post on right now, I decided that I would post on this. So here goes…

  • Your writing habit improves and your spelling mistakes also decrease.
  • You gain more exposure, when people read your blog. When different people read your blog they comment on it. Thus you gain more exposure.
  • Posting something on a blog becomes your favorite pastime.
  • You gain more knowledge. You learn something new, everytime you put up something. When you post about something, you obviously need enough knowledge about the concept. This makes you search for more information. In the process you learn many new things.
  • You become comfortable with sharing your views.
  • Your creativity improves. When you create a blog, you try to choose themes to make it look attractive. You tend to think of things that may improve the appearance of your blog. This increases your sense of creativity.
  • You gain a lot of new contacts and get to know a lot of people. When people read your blog and comment on it, you get their email -ids(if they have subscribed to your blog).

Guru Purnima

It is a festival celebrated by the Hindus and Buddhists on the full moon day of the month of July – August(Aashad). On this day disciples offer puja to their gurus(teachers) out of gratitude and  for imparting true knowledge. This day is for students who would like to get the  blessings of their teachers to prosper in their academic life as well as in the future. In this year Guru Purnima falls on the 15th of July.

This day is the birthday of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa. This day is also known as Vyasa Purnima. Infact Vyasa Purnima was how it was originally known and it came to be known as Guru Purnima in passage of time. He was the great person who apart from making changes in the four Vedas – the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda, also wrote the Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatham, two very important textbooks of the Hindu religion and the treasures of spiritual teachings. This is also how he got his name Veda Vyas. The word Vyas in Sanskrit, actually means, to edit or to divide.

Maharishi Veda Vyas


The Guru is a very important personality in the life of a student.In the Indian tradition, guru is considered to be the embodiment of Lords Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva. The word Guru is derived from two separate words, Gu – which means darkness or ignorance, and Ru – which means remover of darkness. thus together, Guru means the remover of all darkness. At this point I would like to bring to your notice Swami Vivekananda’s views about a teacher.

“Do you realize now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the Guru’s role in the evolution of man? It was not without reason that the India of the past carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of Guru-Tattva. It is therefore not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates anew this ancient concept of the Guru, adores it and pays homage to it again and again, and thereby re-affirms its belief and allegiance to it. For, the true Indian knows that the Guru is the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, and experience the Consciousness of the Reality.”

For those who want to follow Guru Purnima these are the steps that are usually followed by students on this day.

  1. All students wake up at 4 o’ clock in the morning and meditate upon the teacher and his teachings and chant his prayers.
  2. Later, they perform pada(feet) puja for the guru, washing his feet and seeking his blessings.
  3. Students then worship the Sadhus and Sannyasinis and feed them at noon.’
  4. Ardent students worship their gurus and keep fast throughout the day.
  5. Satsang(here discourses are held on the glory of God) and Bhajans(singing songs in praise of the God) are held throughout the day especially in praise of the Guru.
  6. During Olden days deserving disciples are initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyasas.

Confused ???

The other day, while surfing the net I came across a set of images. They tended to cause what is known as Illusion. Illusion is basically distorting what is real. It tricks our senses. But on observing closely for more than 30 seconds, we realise that the picture shows something totally different from what we saw first. I copied a few of the very many images causing optical illusions, from the website Optical-Illusionist.com , for those people who have not gone through the website.

1. Spinning Circles

Spinning Circles

When you keep looking at the image above, you will feel that the two circles are spinning. To be specific you will feel that the outer circle spins in the counter-clockwise direction while the inner circle spins in the clockwise direction. But in reality, they are not.They are completely stationary.

2. Rubin’s Vase Illusion

(Image Credit : John Smithson)

Rubin’s Vase

This is a simple illusion made by a Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin. On the left  is the picture of a simple vase. On the right is same vase with colour changes but it can also be interpreted as two human faces facing each other. This is one of the simplest and most common examples of Optical Illusion.

3. Seven Faces

(Image Credit : Believed to have been in public domain)

Seven Faces

The image above, consists of seven hidden faces. See if you can find them all. When observed carefully, you will see that the middle face can be interpreted as two side profiles at the sides.

4. Duck Rabbit Illusion


(Image Credit : J.Jastrow -1899)

Duck or Rabbit ?

Can you guess whether this a rabbit or a duck ? When you view from the left side it appears to be duck looking towards the left. But when you look from the right side, it looks like a rabbit facing the right.

5. Leaning Tower Illusion

(Image Credit : Frederick Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi, Elena Gheorghiu)

Which one is more slanting ?

This is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Both of the above pictures are exactly the same. But the tower on the right appears to be more slanted than the one on the left. This illusion won the Best Visual Illusion Award 2007.

6. Table Size Illusion

(Image Credit : Roger Shepard)

  Which one is longer ?

 The above figure shows two different tables which appear to be of different shapes and dimensions. The one on the left appears to be longer and thinner, but actually both are of exactly the same dimensions. Can you believe it ? Both these are tables that were designed by Roger Shepard.

7. Iskander

(Image Credit : Wikipedia User CooKeeN)

3D Floor Illusion

The name of this image is Iskander and this was created by Kurt Wenner on the floor of the National Museum in Singapore. The breathtaking picture is about the last Singaporean King Iskander(in the 14th century) from whom it gets its name.

8. General’s Family


(Image Credit : Octavio Ocampo)

The General’s Family

This was created by Octavio Ocampo. The image is about two people who meet near the archway but together they represent the side profile of a man. The picture has several faces even in the sky.  It is every bit a puzzle as it is an illusion .

Chewing Gum Camera

I find spy gadgets very interesting. Recently, I read this one article about a chewing gum camera which can be used for spying. I found it very intriguing and thus decided to post about it. A chewing gum camera or a chewing camera, as it is also known as, is a mini digital camera, which is an audio as well as video recorder, and it is so small enough that it put inside a chewing gum wrapper.

The gadget has a memory card with a capacity of 8 GB. It has a hold switch to make sure that the camera does not get switched off on its own. Other than this, some models of this device have one touch buttons to start/stop recording, or pause in the middle. This device, like most of the others of its kind, also has a pinhole lens. It has a high picture resolution of 1280×960 and a comparatively good video resolution of 640×480. The image type is JPEG. The video format is AVI(Audio Video Interleave). Its battery is made of a Lithium polymer. It weighs about 24 g.

The device makes use of the CMOS technology. (For the benefit of those who do not know about the concept of CMOS, it is a Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor, that is used in making integrated circuits. This is a technology often used in microprocessors, micro-controllers, digital logical circuits, etc.). In CMOS cameras, the implementation of a sensor takes less power when compared to the CCD(Charge Coupled Device).

Features

Some features of the spy camera are as follows :

  • An 8 GB memory card.
  • Picture Resolution : 1280 × 960.
  • Video Resolution : 640×480.
  • Image type : JPEG.
  • USB plug and play.

Advantages

The advantages of this camera are :

  • Its small size makes it easy to carry about. This is the prime advantage of the gadget. It is because of its small size that it can be easily fitted in chewing gum wrapper.
  • It has a high picture resolution.
  • When fully charged, it can record for 3.5-4 hours at a stretch.
  • It can be easily connected to the PC and the recorded files can be viewed.
  • It is convenient to plug and play.
  • Its USB jack can be used to transfer data at a high speed.
  • Some versions of the chewing gum camera act as 4 GB pen-drive.

Applications

The chewing gum camera finds its applications in a number of fields.They are as follows  :

  • The chewing gum camera is useful newspaper reporters who would like to take some pictures or  videos.
  • The gadget is also of great use to lawyers who want to collect evidences from certain places without letting anyone know, and also in places where the use of cameras is prohibited.
  • It is also used in the fields of business, safety, medicine, tourism, education, and even in day-to-day life situations.

Caught You… Liar !!!

As you all know, a lie is a means to escape from something that we have done which we should not have done. It is a false statement made to intentionally deceive a person. It gives a false impression to the listener.

According to Wikipedia,

A lie (also called prevarication, falsehood) is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others.

Everyone hates being lied to. No one wants to become victim to a lie. All want to be kept in light about what is actually happening around them. Some people who lie are professional and do not cause even a hint of doubt in the minds of those who listen. But some people on the other hand are not so good at it and can be easily caught in the process.Well, here are some methods that help you identify a person who is cheating you. If a person lies to you, you can easily find it out :

  1. The liar hides his palms while lying.The person also tries to avoid direct eye contact with the listener.While speaking, if the person tries to touch his nose or ear you can almost sure that he is  lying. This is because, a person touches his eye or ear only when he does not agree with what he is saying, but is forced to lie.
  2. When a person wants to lie, he looks to the upper left, trying to make up, what may seem to the others as a credible story.But if he looks to the upper right, it means that he is trying to remember something that has already happened and is true. For example, when you ask a person about something he does not have but still lies that he has it, he tries to construct something new, and when he does so, he looks to the upper left. But if on the other hand it exists and the person is genuinely trying to recollect the fact, he looks towards the upper right. If he is asked about some incident that never happened but he lies that it has taken place, he tends to look towards the middle left and if he is not lying and is trying to remember something about the conversation that happened, he tends to look towards the middle right.
  3. No matter how foolproof, story narrated by the liar is, the next he retells the story he may have caused a small deviation from the original version(it happens in most of the cases). The next time narrates the story, he would have added something or missed something from the original version of his lie.
  4. If a person is lying about a particular topic, the chances are high that he may want to avoid speaking about the topic unless of course he very confident about pull it off cleanly without getting caught in the process.
  5. A liar sometimes speaks slowly if he is trying to cook up stories during the course of the conversation. He speaks slowly enough so that he gets time to brew up a story. He takes time making up a credible lie and therefore it can be easily recognised that he is lying.(But this is not applicable if the lie has been well preplanned.)
  6. Unless and until the person lying, is a professional in the same, the tone of the liar will lack a firmness and confidence when he lies. His voice lacks that little component that tells us if a person is lying or not.His voice lacks the assertiveness that should be present in his voice when talking about something he believes in. But if a the person is highly virtuous and does not tell a lie on a regular basis and does not agree with the lie that he is speaking, self-confidence is found missing in him and this can easily be spotted.
  7. A liar is always anxious about not getting caught for the lie he told. There are little indications that show the anxiety of the person. Fidgeting and often changing the position in which you sit, tapping your fingers on your lap, nail-biting, sweating, tapping your feet repeatedly on the floor, etc. . The presence of just one these physical gestures does not prove that a person is anxious. If a person shows three or four or more of these signs he is can be identified to be anxious.

Playing with Numbers

Numerology is the study of relationship between a number and events in life. This study was calculated in many forms and with the help of many systems in olden days. Some of the systems include the alphabetic system, Pythagorean system, etc.. Some countries have their own method of working out Numerology. Earlier Numerology was considered to be a part of Mathematics. But now it included under pseudomathematics(pseudo means artificial). The word Numerology can also be used to describe excessive faith and belief in numbers and related patterns.

Meanings of Numbers

In Numerology the numbers 1-9 have different inner meanings, as shown below:

1. Individual, Aggressor, Yang.
2. Balance, Union, Receptive, Yin.
3. Communication/interaction, Neutrality.
4. Creation.
5. Action, Restlessness.
6. Reaction/flux, Responsibility.
7. Thought/consciousness.
8. Power/sacrifice.
9. Highest level of change.

Alphabetic systems

In this system the alphabets are assigned different values and when a word is written, the values of the letters in the word are added together to obtain a number.If the sum obtained is a two-digit number, the two numbers are added  together again and again till the number obtained is a single-digit.The values for alphabets are given below :

  1.  a,j,s.
  2. b,k,t.
  3. c,l,u.
  4. d,m,v.
  5. e,n,w.
  6. f,o,x.
  7. g,p,y.
  8. h,q,z.
  9. i,r.

These values are obtained by operating the alphabet number with %9.(t=20 -> 20%9 -> 2.)

For example :

6284  = 6+2+8+3 = 19 = 1+9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1.

blog = 2+3+6+7 = 18 = 1+8 =9.

The above calculation is done in decimal system. But these can also done in other number systems like octal, hexadecimal, binary, etc.. In different systems different the same number adds up to different numbers. In the above examples the first number,

628410 = 142148 = 1+4+2+1+4 = 12 = 1+2 = 38 = 310

Pythagorean Method

The Pythagorean Method involves five different numbers and a secondary number. These are :

  1. The Soul Number – This number describes what you feel in your mind. This may not be visible to others but can be determined by the Soul Number.
  2. The Personality Number – This number describes your personality.As opposed to the Soul Number, this is that part of you that the others can see.
  3. The Power Name Number – This number describes the power of your name or the strength that it possesses. A lot depends upon the name that you have.
  4. The Birth Day Number – This indicates the way others see you.It shows what position others give you in their minds.
  5. The Life Path Number – The number shows you what path you must take up in your life to bring goodness and prosperity to your lives.

There is also a secondary number in this  system, called the Attitude Number.This number should be the same as your Life Path Number.If not, you will bring confusion to the people around you.The most important number the Life Path Number.

Chinese Numerology

Since the Chinese believe that good luck comes in pairs, they even certain numbers sacred.

  1. [jɐ́t] — sure
  2. 二 [ji̭ː] —  easy 易 [ji̭ː]
  3. 三[sáːm]  —  live  生
  4. 四[sēi]  —  considered unlucky since 4 is a with the word for death or suffering 死 [sěi] , yet in the , it is a homophone of water (水) and is considered lucky since water is associated with money.
  5. 五[ŋ̬]  —  the self, me, myself 吾 [ŋ̭], nothing, never 唔 [ŋ, m]
  6. 六[lùːk]  —  easy and smooth, all the way
  7. 七[tsʰɐ́t]  —  a slang/vulgar word in Cantonese.
  8. 八[pāːt]  —  sudden fortune, prosperity 發 [fāːt]
  9. 九[kɐ̌u]  —  long in time 久 [kɐ̌u], enough 夠 [kɐ̄u] or a slang/vulgar word derived from dog 狗 [kɐ̌u] in Cantonese.

Apart from the digits, certain numbers are also considered to be lucky. For example, 99 and 168 are some of the numbers that are considered to be good.

Indian Numerology

  1. 1, 10, 19, 28 are ruled by the SUN, count 1 for letters: A I J Q Y.
  2. 2, 11, 20, 29 are ruled by the MOON, count 2 for letters: B C K.
  3. 3, 12, 21, 30 are ruled by JUPITER, count 3 for letters: G L S.
  4. 4, 13, 22, 31 are ruled by RAHU, count 4 for letters: D M T.
  5. 5, 14, 23, are ruled by MERCURY, count 5 for letters: N E.
  6. 6, 15, 24 are ruled by VENUS, count 6 for letters: U V W X.
  7. 7, 16, 25 are ruled by KETU, count 7 for letters: O Z.
  8. 8, 17, 26 are ruled by SATURN, count 8 for letters: F H P.
  9. 9, 18, 27 are ruled by MARS, no letters for 9.

What the Indian system of numerology follow is similar to  Chaldean System, as indicated by the picture.

There is a concept called the Numerology Calculator, which calculates your psychic and destiny numbers.The psychic number describes your character till the age of 35.The destiny number shows your destiny and what you will become in future. It also shows how people see you.If you find out your psychic number and destiny number, you can click here.

Numerological Calculator

I feel that the numerology systems can be used for code languages. The alphabetic system can be used for communicating secretively. Next time you want to convey something to a person without everyone knowing about it Numerology would be a good way to do it.

I got the meaning for each number from Wikipedia.

The Seed Vault

In the freezing regions of the Arctic Ocean, there is a seed vault also known as the seed bank or the gene bank. The name of the seed bank is the  SVALBARD GLOBAL  SEED  VAULT. It is located in the island of Spitsbergen near a town of the name Longyearbyen. It is situated on the Arctic Svalbard archipelago. This seed bank has been constructed approximately 100-120 feet in the interior of a mountain in Spitsbergen a Norwegian island. The place was considered suitable for the construction of the bank because of the permanent frost throughout the year. Since it is a few hundred  feet above the sea level, it will still be safe, should a few icecaps below it melt.

Basically a seed bank is a type of gene bank(or that stores genetic material of any sort, be it the sperms and eggs of a particularly rare species facing the threat of extinction or be it the frozen parts or plants). This seed vault is maintained as a tripartite between the Norwegian Government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center(also known as the NordGen which is a gene bank put together by the combined effort of the Norwegian countries).

Although the primary aim of this gene bank is to provide safety to the other gene banks, should there be any loss of species in their other seed vaults all over the world, some people also say that the seeds can also be used there is a disaster in some part of the world which may lead to a shortage of food in the area.The genebanks have often been destroyed over the years due to wars and strifes.

The seeds here are stored at a really temperature of -18°C(which equals 0°F). They are  stored in four ply envelopes which are put in plastic packets.The plastic packets are sealed with great care so that the entry of moisture into the packets is prevented. The low temperature helps in lengthening the aging of seeds. Low supply of oxygen also serves this purpose. The frost in the area helps maintain the seeds in the vault at low temperature should there be a failure of current(Usually, low temperatures are obtained through electricity.)

I think this is a wonderful idea.It is good to save seeds for the future generations. Besides saving seeds it also preserves diverse species of plants and animals so that the future generations may be able to witness them and realize their greatness. Thinking ahead of times is a really good idea. We should prevent the wastage of foodgrains and when we have excess of it we should save it, so that the future generations do not have to starve. What do you think about this? Please post your comments.

For videos related to the Svalbard seed bang you can go to YouTube. The site has got plenty of videos showing the location of the bank. There are also videos showing the interviews with director of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.