The Candid Eye

April 15, 2010

Zinc Production in Ancient India

Many believe that technology was not advanced in India, and was all imported from Europe. On the contrary, science in Ancient India was a beacon of knowledge for the rest of the world. Here is an example of Zinc Production at Industry level by India, when Europe hardly had any clue:-

Zinc Production in Ancient India

The difficulty in Zinc production arises from its close melting and evaporation points. It melts at 950 deg C, and evaporates at 1000 deg C. While all other ores are dealt with by heating the ore from the bottom and then extracting the metal, this cannot be done for Zinc. when you heat it from bottom, the liquid goes on top and evaporates as temperature touches 1000 C.

Indians were clever to supply the heat from the top, and give a cooling platform for collecting molten drops of zinc! So the moment Zinc melts, it is collected from the bottom and solidified.

The Iron pillar of Delhi still stands as a marvel for advanced Chemistry, and Scientists are yet to figure out how to make a rod that will not rust away!

The Technology of spirituality was the driving force behind these and many more discoveries, including Medicine and Astronomy. Check out this series of videos for more details.

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January 4, 2010

Google and India Test the Limits of Liberty

Filed under: India,Indian Media,Indian Politics,Technology — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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The rules of political speech on the Internet are usually pretty simple. In America, almost anything goes. In places like China, the censors call the shots. But in India — a boisterous democracy that’s riven by religious and ethnic tension — the game is far trickier, as Google is discovering.

In September, lawyers at Google Inc.’s New Delhi office got a tip from an Internet user about alarming content on the company’s social networking site, Orkut. People had posted offensive comments about the chief minister of India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, who had died just a few days earlier in a helicopter crash.

Google’s response: It removed not just the material but also the entire user group that contained it, a person familiar with the matter says. The Internet giant feared the comments could heighten tensions at a time when thousands of mourners of the popular politician were emptying into the street.

The incident shows the treacherous terrain Google must navigate as it expands in India, the world’s most-populous nation after China and a major growth market for Web searches, online advertising and mobile phone software. As Google broadens its reach, it must increasingly tweak the way it operates to suit new cultures. While authoritarian countries pose well-known challenges, Google is learning that even democracies such as India can be fraught with legal and cultural complications. Its experience here could serve as a precedent for other Web companies.

The nation of 1.2 billion is the world’s largest democracy and in principle affords free speech to its citizens. But the country has a volatile mix of religious, ethnic and caste politics and a history of mob violence. So, the government has the authority to curtail speech rights in certain cases. India’s Constitution encapsulates that gray zone: Free speech is subject to “reasonable restrictions” for such purposes as maintaining “public order, decency or morality.”

Protest against Google

Authorities say Internet companies in India, including Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter, are expected to help government enforce those standards online by removing objectionable material and, occasionally, helping to track down users. Under a law that took effect in October, corporate officials from any Web site that fails to comply with requests to take down material or block sites can face a fine and a jail sentence of up to seven years.

Indian Muslims protest against postings on Google’s Orkut site.

India is a secular state, but its people are predominantly Hindu, with a large Muslim minority and significant populations of other religions. Religious and caste tensions have periodically erupted in bloodletting in the 62 years since independence from Britain. In 1992, Hindu activists destroyed a mosque that they believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama, setting off riots that killed more than 1,000. The memory remains raw in India.

“If you are doing business here, you should follow the local law, the sentiments of the people, the culture of the country,” says Gulshan Rai, an official in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, who is overseeing implementation of the new law. “If somebody starts abusing Lord Rama on a Web site, that could start riots,” he said.

Iqbal Chagla, a leading Indian attorney on civil liberties and public interest litigation, says fears of public rioting sparked by Web content — or incendiary content in any medium — are overstated. “Communal tensions become largely an excuse for denial of civil liberties and denial of freedom of speech,” Mr. Chagla said. “It’s a very thin line that’s being tread.”

Still, Google has learned to be wary of material that could ignite unrest, from incendiary comments about politicians such as Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi to user groups bashing revered historical or religious figures.

“In those gray areas it is really hard,” says Nicole Wong, Google’s deputy general counsel, who oversees the legal aspects of new Google product launches. “On the one hand, we believe very strongly in political speech and, on the other hand, in India they do riot and they blow up buses.”

Google’s policy, Ms. Wong says, is to review material flagged by Indian users of Orkut and other Web services it owns, such as YouTube. Google checks whether the content violates its global rules for users, which ban materials like child pornography and hate speech. The company pledges to abide by the laws of the countries it operates in. In India, that means making some content inaccessible from the local versions of its sites, such as orkut.co.in.—the default page users see when accessing Orkut from India. Google says it only blocks content brought to its attention by users or law enforcement authorities and only when it considers the request valid. The company cannot control what content is posted on third-party Web sites but controls what can be found through its search engine.

YSR Reddy's sudden death left many clueless!

The Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist political party in India, is known for coming down hard on its critics in the print and TV media. The group is targeting Google for content on social networking sites like Orkut.

There are several user groups on Orkut with harsh rhetoric targeting political and religious figures. One anti-Sonia Gandhi group has an “X” through her photo and describes her as “Lady Hitler,” accusing her of not supporting the cause of ethnic Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka. (Ms. Gandhi’s husband, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated in 1991 by a Tamil Sri Lankan extremist.) Congress Party representatives didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Google began ramping up in India in 2007 to capitalize on burgeoning Internet use. The country has about 52 million Web users, according to the International Telecommunication Union, making it one of the largest markets in the world. There is room for growth, since only about 5% of India’s population is yet online. Google declined to comment about the finances of its India operation.

Orkut, with 17.6 million users in India in October, is the country’s third-most visited Web site, according to comScore Inc. Google acknolweges that it was taken aback early on at how the site gave rise to explosive debates on topics like religion and politics. In mid-2007, the company began fielding complaints from police and users about profile pages with derogatory comments about figures living and dead. These have included B.R. Ambedkar, an architect of India’s Constitution who was an activist for lower-caste Indians, and Ms. Gandhi of the Congress Party.

Supporters of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, chief minister of of India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, rallied in September following his death in a helicopter crash.

The Web giant ran into particularly fierce opposition from supporters of the Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist political party that wants to increase the influence of ethnic Marathis — natives of Maharashtra, the state that includes Mumbai.

In June 2007, Shiv Sena supporters stormed cyber cafes outside Mumbai, damaging computers and harassing owners, when they discovered postings on Orkut denigrating Balasaheb Thackeray, the group’s founder, and Chatrapati Shivaji, a 17th century warrior king revered by Marathis for battling the Mughal Empire. Google removed certain Shiv Sena-related groups at the request of local authorities.

Shailesh Patil, a spokesman for the Shiv Sena, says the group’s media division in Mumbai regularly fields complaints from the public about Orkut and YouTube and passes them to Google and local police. Last year Google removed a YouTube video that was “asking questions about Shiv Sena, and whether it is good or bad,” Mr. Patil said. “This is a country with a lot of religions and sentimental values,” he added. “If that censorship is not there, some people may utilize these mediums to disturb the harmony of the country, and it may lead to chaos.”

Mr. Patil said not every site that criticizes the Shiv Sena should be taken down, because that might just give the content more publicity. Recently, a local Web user complained about a site that allows viewers to hurl virtual tomatoes or garlands at politicians, including Mr. Thackeray. “We told people to throw more garlands, so automatically the proportion of tomatoes will go down,” Mr. Patil said. The site is no longer up.

Police in the cities of Mumbai and Pune began paying greater attention to Web content and passing complaints to Google. The Mumbai police set up an around-the-clock facility for trained staff to “cyber patrol” the Web and look for violations, while also responding to outside complaints from Internet users.

The city’s cyber enforcement efforts are much broader than Google. Officials are also tracking things like credit card fraud, pornography and hacking. But one of the nine categories of complaints Mumbai tracks is simply titled “Orkut.” Local officials said they keep an eye on other social networking sites, too, including Facebook, but Google’s site receives the most complaints and gets the most attention.

Google’s New Dehli office subsequently removed offensive material about Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy posted on the company’s social-networking site.

“We’re trying to educate youth. Don’t think if you’re posting something wrong, no one is watching you,” said Deven Bharti, a commissioner in Mumbai police’s crime branch. “It’s just the opposite. Every footprint is being tracked. It’s easy to detect these crimes.”

Free speech is important, Mr. Bharti said, but religious, regional and caste sensitivities have to be taken into account. “You have to consider India’s peculiarities,” he said.

The police, central government officials and Google declined to comment on most specific cases in which material has been taken down. But a few have spilled into public view because the police have prosecuted alleged wrongdoers.

In May of 2008, police from Pune arrested a 22-year-old tech worker in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi, for content on an Orkut profile titled, “I hate Sonia Gandhi.” Google took down the material and gave the user’s IP address to police, allowing them to track down his physical whereabouts, said Chandrakant Thakur, a constable sent to make the arrest.

Google wouldn’t disclose what precisely was posted about Ms. Gandhi, but said it determined the material violated India’s obscenity laws. The company said it provided the user’s IP address only after police obtained a court order. The defendant was released on bail, and D.M. Bhandkoli, a senior inspector for cybercrime in the Pune police department, declined to comment on the status of the case.

Some Indian Web users are conflicted about how far free speech should go on the Web. “If someone wants to say anything negative about the government or politics, they should be able to express it, but they shouldn’t hurt any individual (ethnic or religious) community’s feelings,” said Gaurav Singh, a 26-year-old New Delhi resident who has been an Orkut member for two years.

Some lawyers say Google doesn’t push back much on requests to take down Orkut content. “Sometimes they are uncomfortable about it, but they tend to accede to most requests,” said Lawrence Liang, a civil liberties attorney Google consulted in 2007 when it was devising a strategy on how to deal with Orkut controversies in India.

Gitanjali Duggal, Google’s in-house litigator in India, says Google now has an organized approach. The company tries — even if doesn’t always succeed — to resist many requests to remove material. “We do have elbow room in exercising our discretion,” she said. “Literally on a daily basis we push back on these kinds of complaints.”

Ms. Duggal says she has argued to authorities that whatever is allowed in print should be allowed online. The Indian press is full of biting political commentary. Newspaper and television journalists regularly skewer public figures for being corrupt, ineffective, or soft on Pakistan, India’s rival. Ms. Duggal says there has to be something especially incendiary in Internet content to warrant intervention by Google. The company declined to provide any data on the proportion of complaints that result in content removal.

“Saying ‘I hate Shiv Sena’ is one thing, but saying ‘I Hate Shiv Sena because they hate Muslims’ is another thing,” Ms. Duggal said, because it “brings in the concept of religion.” She said Google is especially sensitive to any comments that might be seen as defamatory against a public figure, since libel in India is a criminal offense punishable by jail time.

However murky the free-speech zone in India may be, experts say the country has steered far clear of the systematic censorship of many other countries. Saudi Arabia bans Orkut entirely. China maintains what many experts believe to be the most sophisticated Web filtering system in the world, known as the “Great Firewall.”

Google’s Ms. Wong notes that in India, cultural nuances pose a different set of challenges. “India does value free speech and political speech,” she says. “But they are weighing the harm of free speech against violence in their streets.”

Source : The Wallstreet Journal

October 26, 2009

Dinosaur extinction caused by Shiva??

Filed under: Geology,Technology — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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EVERYONE knows that the dinosaurs were exterminated when an asteroid hit what is now Mexico about 65m years ago. The crater is there. It is 180km (110 miles) in diameter. It was formed in a 100m-megatonne explosion by an object about 10km across. The ejecta from the impact are found all over the world. The potassium-argon radioactive dating method shows the crater was created within a gnat’s whisker of the extinction. Calculations suggest that the “nuclear winter” from the impact would have lasted years. Plants would have stopped photosynthesising. Animals would have starved to death. Case closed.

Asteroid hitting Earth

Asteroid hitting Earth

Well, it now seems possible that everyone was wrong. The Chicxulub crater, as it is known, may have been a mere aperitif. According to Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, the main course was served later. Dr Chatterjee has found a bigger crater—much bigger—in India. His is 500km across. The explosion that caused it may have been 100 times the size of the one that created Chicxulub. He calls it Shiva, after the Indian deity of destruction.

Dr Chatterjee presented his latest findings on Shiva to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, on October 18th. He makes a compelling case, identifying an underwater mountain called Bombay High, off the coast of Mumbai, that formed right at the time of the dinosaur extinction. This mountain measures five kilometres from sea bed to peak, and is surrounded by Shiva’s crater rim. Dr Chatterjee’s analysis shows that it formed from a sudden upwelling of magma that destroyed the Earth’s crust in the area and pushed the mountain upwards in a hurry. He argues that no force other than the rebound from an impact could have produced this kind of vertical uplift so quickly. And the blow that caused it would surely have been powerful enough to smash ecosystems around the world.

Double whammy

In truth, agreement on the cause of the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous (when not only the dinosaurs, but also a host of other species died) has never been as cut and dried among palaeontologists as it may have appeared to the public. One confounding factor is that the late Cretaceous was also a period of great volcanic activity. In India, which was then an island continent like Australia is today (it did not collide with Asia until 50m years ago), huge eruptions created fields of basalt called the Deccan Traps. Before the discovery of Chicxulub, the climate-changing effects of these eruptions had been put forward as an explanation for the death of the dinosaurs. After its discovery, some argued that even if the eruptions did not cause the extinction, they weakened the biosphere and made it particularly vulnerable to the Chicxulub hammer-blow.

Dinosaur extermination by Asteroids

Dinosaur extermination by Asteroids

There are also puzzling anomalies in the pattern of extinction. The greatest of these is that, as fiery and horrible as the impact would have been, the survivors included many seemingly sensitive animals like birds, frogs and turtles. Moreover, close inspection of the fossil record shows that many “Cretaceous” species disappear both well before, and well after, the signs of the impact that are found in the rocks.

Ironically, it was while he was investigating the Deccan Traps that Dr Chatterjee came across the evidence for Shiva. First, he found dinosaur nests that had been built between lava flows 10-15 metres thick—evidence that the animals were coping well with the volcanic activity rather than being weakened by it. Then, quite suddenly, 65m years ago, a layer of lava nearly 2km thick appears. This led him to wonder what could possibly have caused such a sudden volcanic surge.

He knew that the west coast of India had been the site of an ancient impact of unknown age and size. It was not until he was reading through a paper published by an oil company that had collected geological information in the area that he realised the volcanic surge he had seen might be related to a cosmic collision.

Further examination revealed a crater rich in shocked quartz and iridium, minerals that are commonly found at impact sites. (These are also the telltales in distant layers of ejecta that the rock in question has come from an impact.) Most important, the rocks above and below Shiva date it to 65m years ago. Dr Chatterjee therefore suggests that an object 40km in diameter hit the Earth off the coast of India and forced vast quantities of lava out of the Deccan Traps. As well as killing the dinosaurs the impact was, he proposes, responsible for breaking the Seychelles away from India.These islands and their surrounding seabed have long looked anomalous. They are made of continental rather than oceanic rock, and seem to be a small part of the jigsaw puzzle of continental drift rather than genuine oceanic islands.

Read the full story here.

October 20, 2009

The Future Cars!!

Filed under: Automobile,Technology — thecandideye @ 9:30 AM
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Think of this scenario.What if your car gives the same mileage as your bike?What if your car gives 5 times more mileage for a litre of petrol/diesel?What if your car pollute only 1/10 th of its current pollution rate?Isn’t remarkable?

Gad Assaf, the CTO of Agam Energy Systems along with his company CEO, Moshe Maroko have invented a new path breaking technology for Automobile technology that has not changed since the invention of piston based engine.

Turbine based Engine

Turbine based Engine

Heat engines usually use piston drives and crankshafts to convert linear motion to rotating motion. There were many attempts to convert gas turbines, which dominate the aviation industry, into a compact vehicle engine. In these attempts, the small turbine rotate at 60,000 rpm or so, which requires expensive transmission or electric power generation that reduces shaft work efficiency.

Liquid ring machinery are simple, reliable and low noise compressors and vacuum pumps, which convert the shaft work to radial compression without utilizing pistons and crankshafts. Analysis of the different components of shaft work in liquid ring compressors indicate that close to about 50% dissipate at the Liquid Ring-Casing boundary. With the LRRCC, the boundary friction is replaced by frictional bearing, which is less than 10% of the liquid ring dissipation. This makes the LRRCC a competitive partner in the compressor’s and the expander’s machinery.

The Israeli air-conditioning company, Agam Energy Systems Ltd., is expanding its energy conservation technology to develop fuel-efficient technology for car engines.

“Cars are very inefficient,” said Ofer Spottheim, business development manager at Agam. “It’s the same idea that has been used for the past 100 years. When I took my driving lessons 25 years ago it drove at 10 km/1 litre. It still drives at 10km/1 litre.”

Electric cars offer promise, but switching over still has limits: infrastructure is lacking, new cars need to be built, and the electric car just doesn’t have the same “muscle” as the petrol-fueled machines that people love.

Instead the new engine developed by Agam will enable cars to drive at 45 km/litre. The engine is more efficient even in start and stop city driving because the car stores recoverable kinetic energy.

With oil on a worldwide price hike, Spottheim is confident that there will be a big market for fuel-conserving technology.Compared to a regular car that runs on a piston engine, Agam’s prototype uses a turbine that allows for an 80 percent gas reduction and a 90% reduction of C02.

Previous attempts at creating a turbine engine have failed mainly because of the extremely high amount of energy required to move the compressors.Since cold air is compressed much easier, Agam devised a water-ring compressor that cools the air by spraying cold water.

The engine can also be used as a small to medium sized electricity generator, eliminating the need for coal. Up to 22% more efficient than typical electricity generators of the same size, the price will also be lower per kilowatt.

So far, Agam’s prototype has lived up to expectations and the product is expected to be implemented in 2011 in power plants and in 2012 for cars.Agam, run by reserve colonel Moshe Maroko, a former commander of the IDF technology unit, who was twice awarded with the ‘Israel Defense Award’, was able to make the leap from air conditioners to engines because both technologies are based on the laws of physics.

Agam added that the company has not neglected original products and is developing an air-conditioning system at double efficiency that is entirely devoid of Freon – a destroyer of the ozone layer.

The mind behind these efficient products is a former senior scientist at the Weizmann Institute Dr. Gad Assaf, who is a specialist in energy and thermodynamics.

Agam’s turbine engine could be fitted into a regular car with some gear modifications, such as a Toyota Camry, and offer 100 miles to the gallon, the company boasts. This compares to about 21 miles to the gallon of today’s average car. Road efficiency in cars is about 10 percent, says Spottheim, while Agam’s engines promise 55% efficiency.

And of course Agam’s engine is good news for the environment too: It consumes about the fifth of the petrol of a piston-based engine, and emits one-tenth of the CO2 fumes that contribute to global warning.

Agam is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel and currently employs five people. The new engine, the company adds, is designed not just for vehicles but also for industrial machinery and power plants.

Sources:

Agam Energy Systems – Green Prophet.Com

Agam to develop fuel efficient car engines – The Jerusalem Post

Heat Engine Invention – FreshPatents.com

September 23, 2009

Broadband+

Filed under: Technology — thecandideye @ 4:21 PM
Tags: ,

For quite some time in the past, there were not many posts on a daily basis.This is partially because of not having an internet connection at home.

Now that, I have got a new Reliance Broadband+ connection.So you can expect uninterrupted posts hereafter.Thanks for your patience and valuable support so far you have given to us.

As far as the speed of the internet is concerned,I would say “Awesome”.But you need to wait for a looooong time for activation.Customer care really sucks.

July 7, 2009

Triple eclipse interests rationals

Sri D. K. Hari has published a fantastic book combining Astronomy, History and Geography, Archeology and a huge literature survey (with Lots of color pictures!!) :-

The Triple Eclipse of 2009

 grahan

Here is a news summarizing view of Historian and Astrophysicist.

An article has appeared on rediff here.

The book is available in divine shops of Art of Living and major book stalls in the city. You are welcome to read the book and then participate in the comments on above rediff article.

June 30, 2009

Hot Chilli Grenades

Indian defence scientists in DRDO are determined to make use of Naga Chilli (in the image below),which measures over a million SHU(Scoville Heat Units) in their attempt to create grenade bombs,loaded with Naga Chilli – Bhut Jolokia,which was awarded, the hottest of all spices by Guinness world records in Sep 2006.

Bhut Jolokia

Hottest in the World!!

Defence Research Laboratory (DRL), Tezpur is harnessing all this spice, particularly Bhut Jolokia,into military applications, such as high-effective tear gas.The WWF has asked DRL to explore the possibilities of using Naga Chillies to keep the wild elephants away from entering villages and fields.

Researchers say the idea is to replace explosives in small hand grenades with a certain variety of red chilli to immobilise people without killing them.
The chilli, known as Bhut Jolokia, is said to be 1,000 times hotter than commonly used kitchen chilli.

Researchers say the idea is to replace explosives in small hand grenades with a certain variety of red chilli to immobilise people without killing them.The chilli, known as Bhut Jolokia, is said to be 1,000 times hotter than commonly used kitchen chilli.The powder will also be spread on the fences around army barracks in the hope the strong smell will keep out animals.Other forms of pepper spray are commonly used for crowd control in many parts of the world.

What makes DRL Tezpur different from every other DRDO laboratory is its sharp focus on the specific problems of northeast India. For jawans deployed here, few issues are as important as the provision of clean drinking water in remote posts separated from each other by days of marching across mountains and jungles.

DRL’s first developed a portable water testing kit, with which soldiers could test water wherever they moved. The kit monitored 11 parameters, including pH level, hardness, and iron content. Initially it lacked an arsenic detector; that was developed and patented last year. The technology for the water testing kit was transferred to three private companies. It proved highly effective during the floods around Nasik last year.

Sources:

India Plans hot chilli grenades – BBC

The Naga Chilli – Spicing up DRDO research

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