திங்கள், ஜனவரி 12, 2009

Cool Bus Stops around the World

This increible bus stop was designed by Dennis Oppenheim in Ventura California 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

This bus stop allows skaters to go on a mini ramp attached to a bus stop, 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

It's a Quiksilver ad Swing on a Bus Stop in London, part of Bruno Taylor's "Playful Spaces" 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

Art project 

Air-conditioned bus stop, presumably near Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

Advertising for the movie This Star Wars "faux light saber" bus stop ad lights up at night. 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

Soviet era bus stop 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

This living room bus stop was created by Ikea as marketing for the Design Week 2006 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

Australia Post Bus Stop Advertisement 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

3M was so sure their Security Glass was unbreakable, 

they put a large stack of cash behind it and shoved it in a bus stop. 

Cool Bus Stops around the World

Views of Kanyakumari

Sweet Littles Yawning


 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Kalam's condition improving; to be discharged soon

New Delhi (PTI): Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, currently undergoing treatment at an Army Hospital in New Delhifor a skin ailment, is likely to be discharged in a day or two.

Suffering from eczema, the 77-year-old missile scientist was admitted to the AHR&R on Sunday.

Commandant of the Army Hospital Research and Referral (AHR&R) Lieutenant General O.P. Mathew said Kalam, who was admitted for a routine check up, will be discharged either on Friday or Saturday.

Hospital sources said since Kalam was diabetic, skin infection had aggravated last week, which resulted in his admission to the hospital.

"His insulin level has been checked and he has undergone a complete health check-up. His diabetic condition was responsible for spreading of his infection," the sources said.

Meanwhile, President Pratibha Patil, who is in Hyderabad, sent a bouquet to Kalam and wished him speedy recovery.

Titanic survivor auctions relics

Titanic survivor auctions relics 

Last Titanic Survivor Auctions Relics

Miss Dean's father Bertram died when the Titanic sank
The last remaining survivor of the Titanic plans to sell mementoes from the ship to pay hernursing home fees. 
Now 96, Millvina Dean was nine weeks old when the liner sank in the North Atlantic in 1912. 
She hopes to raise £3,000 by selling items including a suitcase full of clothes given to her by the people of New York after her rescue. 
The auction in Wiltshire will also feature compensation letters sent to her mother by the Titanic Relief Fund. 
They explained that she would be awarded one pound, seven shillings and six pence per week. 
Several rare prints of the Titanic - including one of it leaving the White Star dock in Southampton - will also go under the hammer. 

I am selling it all now because I have to pay these nursing home fees 

Millvina Dean
Last Titanic survivor
Miss Dean moved into a private nursing home in Ashurst, Hants, two years ago. 
She told the Southern Daily Echo: "I was hoping to be here for two weeks after breaking my hip, but I developed an infection and have been here for two years. I am not able to live in my home any more. 
"I am selling it all now because I have to pay these nursing home fees and am selling anything that I think might fetch some money." 
The Dean family were emigrating to Kansas when the Titanic went down. 
Miss Dean was placed in a sack and carried to safety along with her mother and brother. 
But her father Bertram was one of more than 1,500 people who died. 
The auction will take place at Henry Aldridge and Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wilts, on Saturday. 
Andrew Aldridge said: "The suitcase is a very emotive and unusual item and epitomises what the people of New York did for the Titanic survivors. 
"It also highlights what state the survivors were in when they got to New York. Many people lost everything down to the clothes they were standing in." 
Miss Dean is the last survivor of the Titanic after Barbara Dainton, from Cornwall, died last year aged 96.

Different venues, but single theme

 
SETTING THE TONE: Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan performing at the event in 2003 in New Delhi.

CHENNAI: On a wintry day in January 2003, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan, in their 80s, and Ustadji, older than Panditji by four years, came together for the first time to perform a ‘jugalbandhi.’

The concert was yet another demonstration of their mastery of the sitar and the shehnai. That marked the inauguration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention, an event in which the Indian diaspora converge annually to celebrate the commonwealth of kinship.

The ‘jugalbandhi’ of the two Bharat Ratnas captivated the audience, who included the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Once the musical notes set the tone for the conclave, words took over. Addressing the gathering, which represented non-resident Indians (NRIs) and people of Indian origin (PIO), Mr. Vajpayee said: “We do not want your riches; we want the richness of your experience.”

Inspiring moments apart, the inaugural meeting witnessed policy announcements by the authorities and plainspeaking by some prominent ‘Pravasis.’ Mr Vajpayee said his government decided to permit dual citizenship for PIOs living in some countries. He also said a compulsory insurance scheme was being framed for Indian workers migrating to the Gulf.

Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate, cautioned Indians against adopting a “frog in the well” attitude and forcefully made out a case for valuing, defending and fighting for the spirit of openness, through which the Indian civilisation blossomed. Mahendra P. Chaudhry, who was ousted from the post of Prime Minister of Fiji in a coup in 2000, said India ought to have used its diplomatic clout to ensure that the “disenfranchised” PIOs in his home country got their constitutional right.

The idea of the convention originated from the report submitted by a 25-member high-level committee on Indian diaspora. It was set up in September 2000 with L.M. Singhvi, a renowned jurist, as chairperson. As a sequel to the committee’s report, the government decided to observe January 9 as the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, as it was that day 94 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa. His fight against discrimination, deprivation and exploitation of Indians in South Africa not only caught the imagination of Indians but also spurred freedom movements across Africa.

The NRIs and PIOs, with an estimated strength of 25 million, are spread across 110 countries. Their composition includes 29 lakh people in Myanmar, 16.8 lakh in the United States, 16.7 lakh in Malaysia, 15 lakh in Saudi Arabia, 12 lakh in the United Kingdom, 10 lakh in South Africa, 9.5 lakh in the United Arab Emirates, 8.5 lakh in Canada, 7 lakh in the Mauritius, 5 lakh in Trinidad and Tobago, nearly 4 lakh in the neighbouring Guyana and over 3 lakh each in Singapore and Fiji. The Singhvi committee recommended that the Divas be held in recognition and appreciation of the constructive economic, political and philanthropic role played by the diaspora.

The second edition of the programme took place in New Delhi in January 2004, with the country’s foreign exchange reserves exceeding $100 billion. Announcing more concessions for the Indian corporate sector to invest abroad, Mr. Vajpayee said these would encourage it to become global players. He also announced his government’s decision to establish a Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra.

The then President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, hosting tea for the NRIs and PIOs at the Moghul Gardens of the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, appealed to them to help India lift all its people out of poverty.

The next year, the conclave moved to Mumbai. But the mood was sombre. The country had not yet recovered from the shock of the tsunami that slammed the coast just a few weeks prior to the event. Thousands of people had died, mostly in the southern parts and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and many more lost their homes and belongings. One of the participants subsequently wrote in a daily that there were even rumours that the government was planning to reduce the frequency of the conference. But such rumours turned out to be false, as the conclave has become an important event for the Indian government too. Inaugurating the conclave for the first time, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered dual citizenship to those who migrated from India after January 26, 1950. Of course, this was subject to the laws prevailing in their home country.

Participating in the deliberations, Mr. Kalam called upon the diaspora to launch an overseas Indian foundation to promote research in areas such as earthquake prediction. Two representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, one a member of Parliament and the other a former Attorney-General, wanted India to use its economic and technological clout in support of Indians facing “persecution and discrimination” and to raise the issue on international fora such as the United Nations.

In 2006, Hyderabad was the venue. Dr. Singh, announcing a slew of concessions, said a decision would be taken on granting voting rights to the NRIs in the Gulf. He also inaugurated the scheme of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), under which a life-long multiply entry visa is granted.

An easy-to-use electronic remittance gateway, developed by the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs and the erstwhile UTI Bank, was launched. Several Chief Ministers competed with one another to attract NRI investments.

When Mr. Kalam presented an award to a member of the diaspora, a group of overseas Indians objected to the selection of the awardee.

Taking part in the inauguration of the 2007 edition in New Delhi, Dr. Singh said the government was considering a proposal to establish an Indian Overseas Facilitation Centre that would offer investors advisory services. He made a mention of the idea of setting up a university for PIOs he talked about the previous year.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said the government decided to extend a wide range of benefits to OCI cardholders. The first mini-PBD conclave took place in New York in September that year. In 2008, the event was held in New Delhi. Dr. Singh announced the establishment of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council of People of Indian Origin and the formation of the India Development Foundation, which would serve as a single window to lead diaspora philanthropy into India’s development efforts.

More importantly, the year saw Singapore hosting the first-ever Asia-Pacific event, “PBD Singapore” in October. It focussed on economic issues. Senior leaders of the host country wanted India to “change its mindset” about domestic politics and economic development to keep pace with China in the post-modern age.

All these years, the conclaves generated debates on a variety of issues concerning the diaspora. Perhaps, this is why the organisers have appropriately chosen the theme for 2009, ‘Engaging the Disapora: The Way Forward.’

Kalam indisposed, cancels Meghalaya visit

Shillong (IANS): Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has cancelled his scheduled visit to Meghalaya to inaugurate the Children's Science Congress for health reasons.

"Dr.Kalam will not inaugurate the Children's Science Congress due to his ill-health,", Thirumalchari Ramasami, general president of the 96th Indian Science Congress, said here.

Kalam was to inaugurate the Children's Science Congress Monday. M.G.K. Menon will inaugurate the congress which is one of the major event of the Indian Science Congress.

The former president was scheduled to arrive here Sunday evening and deliver a lecture at the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.

He was also slated to inaugurate the state-of-the-art PARAM Sheersh, a supercomputing facility for bio-informatics and computational biology at the Northeastern Hill University.

Kalam not to attend Children Science Congress in Shillong

Shillong (PTI): Former President APJ Abdul Kalam has cancelled his visit to the 96th Indian Science Congress owing to ill health.

"Kalam is not attending the Science Congress as he has taken ill," General President of the Indian Science Congress 2009 Thirumalchari Ramasami said here.

Kalam, popularly known as the "missile man", had attended the annual event even during the five years he was President of the country.

The former President was to inaugurate the Children's Science Congress tomorrow and deliver a public lecture.

On the wings of change

 
Future Vision: Nandan Nilekani.

Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century, Nandan Nilekani, Penguin, p. 380, Rs. 699.

This book is the maiden attempt by an accidental entrepreneur. The person happens to be Nandan Nilekani, one of the well-known faces of India’s IT industry.

If you thought the book would be on how to create wealth or the story of IT or about building successful business models or companies, you would be in for a surprise .

Nandan Nilekani has chosen to address a bigger canvas (challenge), India — the opportunities and challenges in the new century. In many ways, Nilekani seems well suited to undertake this exercise. For one, he happens to be part of the bright, young students at the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), where the dominant tendency in the 1970s and 1980s was to go to the U.S. for higher studies and achieve fame.

Unique perspective

That he chose to tread a different path to emerge in the Indian firmament as a software entrepreneur and co-founder of Infosys Technologies, India’s biggest entrepreneurial success story scripted and driven by youngsters from ordinary backgrounds under testing times, gives him the unique advantage to venture into “Imagining India”, with both well-known and fresh ideas in the thick, 531-page, work.

Laced with personal experiences and interactions with over 100 opinion leaders from different walks of life, Nilekani pieces together an exciting journey for the reader. There are ample examples of the impediments to technology infusion to the role of bureaucrats who made a difference, which in essence give an insight into history that was made. This, in a way, places the book in the genre of non-fiction as a well researched effort and a good reference for students.

Though the author has addressed the paradoxes facing India’s forward march, with all its strengths and weaknesses, he cannot hide his bias for the IT industry. It’s not surprising and deservedly that he places IT and telecommunications as the trigger for the new image of India as an emerging superpower. None can deny that these two powerful tools have touched every aspect of human life from banking, booking rail tickets to cheaper connectivity, which started bringing a transformation in people’s lives.

The IT sector has also unleashed the rising aspirations of the middle class as it offered countless jobs, growth mobility (both upward and abroad), spawned a new breed of entrepreneurs (of Indian origin) in Silicon Valley, U.S, and in India’s own clone in Bangalore and many more cities cutting across caste, religion and regional barriers.

Laudable approach

While the ideas on which the author dwells at length are not new, the approach to tap them and convert them into growth engines for national prosperity is laudable. The chain of issues that engage his attention are: population-English language-entrepreneurship-IT-globalisation and democracy.

Unlike his fellow Kannadiga and well-known cartoonist, R.K. Laxman, who eloquently mirrored the many facets of a struggling India during the 1960s to early 1990s through his “Common Man” in a telling manner, Nandan Nilekani uses his long conversations with a cross section of contemporary Indian leaders to highlight some of the key ideas that have the potential to be translated into successes. Of course, he throws in enough caution on how the progress can be impacted. There is specific focus on the Indian demographic advantage (read young, productive population), the evolution of English as an asset in the global arena, the political diversities, the reform-driven, new economy/industry with lucid examples. On the India-China demographic edge, he points out an interesting aside. China is heading grey, before becoming rich and by 2040, the world’s second largest population after India’s would be Chinese pensioners, estimated to be over 400 million. In essence, he is conveying that India’s demographic dividend projected up to 2040 needs to be carefully exploited, lest it becomes a bigger burden.

Post Mumbai terror attacks, which are seen as an assault on the “idea of India”, it could perhaps be appropriate that those concerned about the India story give the author’s work a read. The book in ample measure sets out to present the complexity of issues that need to be addressed to realise the India dream. The target audience being predominantly the youth, there is a definite case to make it more affordable in price so that its message reaches them fast. In the final analysis, Nilekani could rest on well-founded optimism, that the ideas for the new century that he has presented and many others, including our former President Dr, Abdul Kalam, are propagating tirelessly, taking shape as the ordinary Indian gets more involved and pushes them forward. A whole new class of entrepreneurs is emerging across the country. In the last one year, nearly 70 per cent of IITians who graduated, to quote the Secretary, Union Department of Science and Technology, Dr. T. Ramasami, stayed back in India, a reversal from the author’s days in the hallowed portals of the IITs.

India to double investment in science: PM

Shillong (IANS): While announcing a doubling of the investment in science from 1 to 2 per cent of the national income, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday urged the Indian industry to invest in research and development aimed at boosting science and technology so that young minds are attracted to seeking a career in science.

"We need a new wave of investment from the private sector so that young people will be encouraged to seek a career in science," the prime minister said while inaugurating the 96th Indian Science Congress at the Northeastern Hill University in Shillong.

"India is lagging behind not just in comparison to developed Western nations, but also the new industrialising economies of Asia. While the government is doing its bit to ensure quantitative development, the leadership for qualitative development must come from you (students, researchers and scientists)," Manmohan Singh said.

The Prime Minister announced doubling of the investment in science from one per cent of the national income to two per cent.

"Today we can say with pride that we have launched five new institutions dedicated to teaching and research in sciences," he said. "New institutes for research in Himalayan glaciology, molecular materials, nano science and technology are to be created."

Stressing that the central government was committed to enhancing the budgetary allocations for science and technology, Manmohan Singh said the budget outlay for the ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences have been trebled in the last four years (2004-2008).

Singh said the parliament recently announced the setting up of a National Science and Engineering Research Board that would work towards formulating plans for scientific research funding in the country.

Stating that the government has placed the highest emphasis on making a career in science attractive to young students, the Prime Minister said that his government has widened the higher education base of the country by investing in the creation of 30 new central universities, five new Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology.

There are also proposals from the Ministry of Science and Technology to adopt a Cancer Research Institute in Chennai, Institute for Advanced Study in Science and Technology in Guwahati and the National Innovation Foundation as grantee institutions.

A large number of scientists, engineers and technologists from India and abroad have gathered for the annual science congress, which this year is on the theme of 'Science education and attraction of talent for excellence in research'.

At the inauguration, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sabil said scientists of Indian origin scattered in various parts of the world were willing to contribute to Indian science.

"We are devising special programmes to encourage return of scientists to India and work in areas related to life sciences and bio-technology," he said.

The five-day congress will see a galaxy of eminent scientists taking part in various seminars. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is scheduled to inaugurate the accompanying Child Science Congress in Shillong on Sunday.

NASA partners India on moon mission


Houston (PTI): American space agency NASA, partnered India in its first lunar mission 'Chandrayaan' in 2008, a venture that is contributing to the agency's increased understanding of the lunar environment.

The partnership came in the golden anniversary year of NASA, even as financial crunch cast a shadow over its mission of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.

NASA partnered with India to fly two instruments aboard the country's first lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1, which was successfully launched by the ISRO on October 22 and entered the lunar orbit on November 8.

In the 'Moon Mineralogy Mapper', NASA planted aboard the Indian mission an instrument that surveys mineral resources of the moon, while the 'Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar' is mapping the moon's polar regions and looking for ice deposits in the permanently shadowed craters.

Data from the two instruments is contributing to NASA's increased understanding of the lunar environment as the agency implements the nation's space exploration policy, which calls for robotic and human missions to the moon.

Besides taking part in the lunar science mission with India, NASA during 2008 landed on Mars, photographed distant worlds, added to the International Space Station and made major progress towards returning astronauts to the moon.

Meanwhile on Earth, NASA researchers recorded the continued decline of Arctic sea ice, won awards for aviation breakthroughs, discovered the cause of storms that brighten the Northern Lights and helped create state-of-the-art swimsuits worn by Olympic gold medallists.

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing


Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing

Amazing Space Shuttle Processing