Weather : Bright day, starry night | Winds of change expected
HAVANA, CUBA WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
Long live the revolution
PARLE AGRO ON THE VERGE OF ANOTHER REVOLUTION
Sometimes, all it takes is one man to create a revolution
Prakash Chauhan personally invites TOI’s Namrata Singh to witness the event Parle Agro, the company that has given the nation brands that have gone on to define a generation, is all set to redefine the industry once again. To Prakash Chauhan, Executive Chairman and Mentor-in-Chief, Parle Agro, this is a dream he has been nurturing for over a decade. After years of research and an in-depth market study, he believes the time is right to launch what is definitely a first in the market, and will change the
aerated beverages segment as we’ve known it forever. The official unveiling is scheduled for the 24th of September, at Amadeus, NCPA, Nariman Point. And Prakash Chauhan has handpicked a select few of Parle Agro’s closest friends from the media, to be a part of this intimate gathering. And he’d love to make this an experience that’ll stay with them, for a long time to come.
The official unveiling is scheduled for the 24th of septeber, at AMADEUS, NCPA, NARIMAN POINT.
Prakash Chauhan, Executive Chairman, Parle Agro Picture this. He was part of the team that created some of India’s most iconic brands – Citra, Limca, Gold Spot, Maaza and Thums Up. He was the first in the country to use Tetra Pak to package fruit drinks. With Frooti, he gave the country its favourite fruit drink. With the launch of Appy Fizz, he revolutionized the soft-drink category by introducing fizz in fruit drinks. He spearheaded Parle Agro’s entry into the health snacks segment. Mr. Prakash Chauhan has, quite literally, been there and done that. But going by his plans, looks like he’s in no mood to slow down. After his schooling in Panchgani and degrees from Boston University and R.C. Institute, New York, he returned to India to take over the reins from his father, the visionary founder of the Parle Group. In spite of having rather big shoes to fill, Prakash Chauhan’s nimble feet seemed rather snug in them. A man of extraordinary vision, he spotted an opportunity in the non-fizz beverage segment and launched Frooti in 1985. This, apart from defining the mango drink segment in the country. With a 90% share in its category, it still is India’s biggest mango fruit drink,
Make food, not war
Takeout serves cuisines only from countries in conflict with US PITSBURGH, PA -- Every three months, Americans are settling their conflicts with a new nation over a hearty meal. Conflict Kitchen is a takeout on East End in Pittsburgh that serves food exclusively from controversial countries in American foreign policy. The kitchen aims to give their guests a taste of the issues concerning the ‘enemy’ country that they are featuring at the time. The entire experience is heightened by events, performances, discussions and stories that bring the concerns of that nation to life. Conflict Kitchen rotates its concept every three months to feature a new country. They have previously featured the food, politics and culture of countries like North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan. Currently, both the menu and the flavour of the place, are informed by all things Cuban. For instance, they are using food wrappers that have printed on them interviews of Cubans living in Cuba and the United States. This kind of insight is not readily available to most people. Even the name of the joint has temporarily been changed to the Spanish Cocina del Conflicto. “It all started with the realization that people don’t know the difference between Cuban and Venezuelan, or
SCROLL OF HONOUR
The Lok Shree Award for social commitment The Udyog Shree Award for contribution to industrial development The Kashalkar Memorial Award for his marketing skill and exceptional service to the industry Under his leadership, Parle Agro was also conferred the award for the ‘best managed supply chain’ and an award for highest retail availability. and the largest user of Tetra Pak in the country. Frooti went on to be ranked 23rd among India’s Most Trusted Brands. Apart from Frooti, his constant quest for innovation has led to a host of firsts in the industry. Appy, India’s first and most popular apple drink; Appy Fizz, the first ‘fizzy’ fruit drink; Hippo, the first baked munchies brand, and the list goes on.
Turn to page 3
For some, a revolution is nothing but a force of habit How Parle Agro manages to bring about a paradigm shift, time and again, in not just its segment, but an entire industry To anyone else, ‘Refreshing India’ might seem like a daunting task. But for Parle Agro, it’s just another day at the office. One of India’s largest and most iconic F&B companies, they quite simply seem to have perfected the fine art of innovation. With an enviable portfolio of beverages and snacking products like Frooti, Appy, Appy Fizz, Bailley and Hippo, Parle Agro’s journey has been nothing short of revolutionary.
Iranian and Afghan food.”Once the owners, Jon Robin and Dawn Weleski, put their heads together and started naming these countries, they realized that these were all cuisines from countries with which the US government was in conflict. In a sort of a lightbulb moment, the concept of Conflict Kitchen was born.
Turn to page 2
With a strong presence in over 44 countries, they are set to become the first Global Food & Beverage Company from India In their constant quest for innovation, they are the only beverage company in India to manufacture its own PET preforms. And with a strong presence in over 44 countries, they are set to become the first from India Global Food & Beverage Company.
MILESTONES ALONG REVOLUTIONARY ROAD 1959: Operations started as Baroda Bottling Company for carbonated beverages 1985: Launched Frooti, India’s first fruit based drink 1986: Launched Appy, the country’s first apple nectar 1986: Started Preform (PET) Division 1993: Introduced Bailley packaged drinking water 2005: Launched India’s first sparkling apple drink, Appy Fizz 2009: Launched Hippo toasties, India’s first baked snack 2010: Introduced Hippo Round Round in a variety of flavours 2011: Launched Bailley Soda 2012: Launched Hippo World Toasties in a range of international flavours
Here’s a look at some of the products and brands that Parle Agro created. Brands that have revolutionized the segment and, in turn, the industry. Frooti: Launched in 1985, it was the first Indian beverage to come in a Tetra Pak. And over time, it has become synonymous with the king of fruits. And today, found in every 3rd shop in the country, it is India’s largest selling mango drink. Frooti has also been rated as India’s most trusted fruit beverage brand. And is soon becoming an international favourite with exports to over 44 countries. Hippo : Hippo Baked Munchies, launched in early 2010, was Parle Agro’s entry into the foods segment. Tapping into the growing trend of healthy snacking, its wide range of flavours from around the world, with an equally charming advertising campaign, has managed to win hearts, tastebuds and wallets. It followed this with Hippo Round Round, featuring flavours from around India.
Turn to page 5
LA REVOLUCIÓN THIS WEEK IN REVOLUTIONS 16
John Flamsteed witnessed the first known astronomical observation, a solar eclipse.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
IS SCIENCE MEDDLING WITH THE RELIGION OF SPORT?
17 th Sept, 2011 The Occupy Wall Street campaign was started in Zuccotti Park, NY.
18 th Sept, 1960 Fidel Castro arrives in America as head of Cuba’s UN delegation.
19 th Sept, 1926 San Siro, the shared home of Italian football giants, AC Milan and Inter Milan was inaugurated.
20 th Sept, 1989 F.W. De Klerk, the man who brokered the end of Apartheid, sworn in as the State President of South Africa.
21 st Sept, 1949 Mao Zedong announces the new Chinese government; the start of the Red Revolution.
22 nd Sept, 2007 Italo Marchiony patented the mould for the ice-cream cone.
While technology is revolutionising the way decisions are taken on-field, the tools of this revolution have been questioned quite a few times. So where does HawkEye, a decision making tool, used extensively in cricket and tennis fall short? The recently concluded Ashes was mired with controversy around the use of technology for taking decisions. This is an issue which has plagued international cricket ever since the Hawk-Eye was introduced. Opinion within the cricketing fraternity has been divided over the accuracy of the technology. Hawk-Eye: Hawk-Eye is used in tennis as well as cricket, but for different purposes. Hawk-Eye uses an area of modern technology called Computer Vision (CV). CV uses captured images to infer information about the physical environment around us. In tennis, the player’s position does not affect decision-making, except during serves. What is important is where the ball bounces relative to the lines on the court. There have been instances where the line umpire has over-ruled the HawkEye decision by taking a look at the actual spot where the ball has landed (this is surprisingly accurate on clay courts). Whereas in cricket, the motion of the ball is very important as what we really want to know is where the ball may go after it has bounced. Hawk-Eye uses exactly the same technology to provide these two
contrasting pieces of information about the travel of a ball. It uses very clever algorithms, but it has a very serious failing: it makes a “secondary” measurement. This secondary measurement measures the flight of the ball relative to its position in the playing area. Simply put, Hawk-Eye is used in tennis for observation, and in cricket for prediction.
Opinion within cricket has been divided over the accuracy of the technology. The larger question which looms, however, is whether or not the element human error makes the game more exciting. Now assuming the cameras are true to the actual nature of the flight of the ball, this is one serious difference in its usage in cricket and tennis. While some people cry foul against non-human interference, there is also a strong case for integrating technology in its present form. Hot-Spot: Hot-Spot is an infrared based system which determines whether there has been contact between the bat and the
ball. This is a primary measurement based on actual observation. Thus the margin of error is very low. The only time it is difficult to determine the veracity of the decision is when the bat touches the ball as well as the pad or the ground in the same area. By and large, the technology is pretty accurate and you rarely see any controversy when the batsman is given out through Hot-Spot. In football, adopting technology at crucial points could have avoided howlers committed by referees, which have altered the course of many important games. Who can forget, June 27, 2010, one of the most infamous days in the history of football. On this day, referees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup failed to identify a goal struck by England’s Frank Lampard in a quarterfinals matchup that ended in a 4-1 victory to Germany. The goal would have tied the game at a crucial 2-2 and had the potential to provide just the momentum England needed to close out the game and advance in the tournament. Can we trust the predictive ability of technology as much as its observational ability? For the time-being the sceptics have enough reasons and the believers are taking these falls in their stride. The ones who are really feeling the heat are the referees and the umpires, who now have to think more than twice before pulling out that card or raising that finger. Source: The Conversation
While nations run short on fuel, sweden runs short of garbage Sweden's waste-to-energy as well as its recycling program are an environmentalist's dream come true. Even as other developed countries end up dumping their waste in the ocean or filling up landfills leading to environmental degradation, the Swedish story plays out a little differently. Half of the refuse of US households ends up in landfills, as compared to a mere four percent in Sweden. The Swedish waste management system converts waste in order to power its quarter a million homes and to provide 20 percent of the population with heating. And it does this so effectively that the Nordic country is now confronted with a unique problem. It currently is facing a shortage of trash. As a result, Sweden now has to import garbage from the landfills of other countries, to provide fuel for its wasteto-energy factories. And it is paid to do so by those countries. This means Sweden actually makes money importing fuel. Norway already pays Sweden to take its garbage. Sweden is also eyeing Bulgaria, Romania and Italy as future trash exporters, according to Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country’s environmental protection agency. This model of sustainable development looks towards a future where countries could potentially be making money off their trash, since we are constantly running out of resources. “I would say maybe in the future, this waste will be valued even more," agrees Catarina. “So maybe you could sell your
The Swedish waste management system is so effective in converting waste to power quarter a million homes and provide 20 percent of the population with heating, that the Nordic country is facing a rather singular dilemma. They are facing a shortage of trash. waste, because there will be a shortage of resources within the world." Apart from making economic sense, the country's sustainable system will do wonders for the environment. It will significantly decrease its carbon footprint. A true success story of a revolutionary waste management system, this Scandinavian nation gives meaning to the phrase --One man's trash is another’s treasure. Source: NewYork Times
Software helps paralysed artist draw with eyes
Tony Quan, or Tempt One as people call him, is an L.A. based graffiti writer, publisher and activist. He was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2003. While his body, except for his eyes, was completely paralysed, his mind was awake to the impossibility of him creating any piece of art ever again. Mick Ebeling made it his project to turn this impossibility into a reality. His Ebeling group teamed up with members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks and the Graffiti Research Lab to create the EyeWriter. This revolutionary piece of technology is an eyetracking system that uses inexpensive cameras and open-source computer vision software to track the wearer’s eye movements. In Tempt’s case, this meant he could use his eyes to draw. “ We weren’t trying to create the next big thing. We didn't have visions of
revolutionizing the medical device industry. We wanted to help Tempt.” said Ebeling when asked why he chose to work on this project, which got listed in the TIME magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2010. One important aspect of the project was that it was open source. This meant that anyone could find online the documentation required to build their own EyeWriter. “I can say, without a doubt, that the act of giving the EyeWriter away was one of the most important and the most powerful components of the project,”” expressed Ebeling. He feels that the project is like a story, which never ends. “People tell it, and someone picks it up and keeps telling it in a different, new way and as they add to it and make modifications. Source: NPR.org
Make food, not war Cont. from page 1 One of the things that makes Conflict Kitchen special is the fact that they serve cuisines which are almost non-existent in the city, sometimes even the country. They have been the only Iranian, Afghan, Venezuelan and now Cuban restaurant in Pittsburgh. They have had people of Irani origin stopping in the middle of the road and exclaiming with excitement, “Oh my gosh, they're selling kubideh!" But more importantly, they have become a unique point of contact between cultures torn apart by politics. They offer a context to places seen by the public through rather prejudiced eyes. A few years back, while the country featured was Venezuela, they put actors at the lake in Porto Alegre’s Central Park portraying Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and United States President Barack Obama. The two gave free rides to people in
their swan-shaped boats, recorded the public's opinions towards the leaders and gave speeches from the politicians’ perspectives. Even the restaurant staff is hired keeping this intellectual ambience in mind. “Our employees are trained to engage strangers in conversation, to admit their ignorance and to talk about what they do know. We then decided we needed to do some sort of public programming, not only in our local community but for our global community." What started as a means of trying new cuisines has turned into a bid to work towards the vision of a global community. And what better way to bridge the gap between countries than over food. After all, the shortest way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Source: Untappedcities
Sometimes, all it takes is one man to create a revolution Cont. from page 1 Innovation is an integral part of Parle Agro’s plans, and they’ve set an example in backward integration by being the first and only beverage company to manufacture its own PET preforms. And apart from serving their own brands, this venture is now a separate profit centre for the F&B giant. Apart from being the vision, and the action, behind the sensational success of Parle Agro, his contribution to the food processing industry as a whole, especially fruit-based beverages and packaged drinking water, is unparalleled. When asked what drove him, the man of few words had this to say, “A leader is only as strong as the team he leads.”” Prakash Chauhan believes his success has been the incredible team around him, who’ve steadfastly stood beside him over decades. And today, Parle Agro, apart from being a major national player, also exports its products to 44 countries across the globe. And now Mr. Chauhan, purely out of habit, aims to revolutionize the beverage industry yet again, with plans for a dream launch up his sleeve.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
Why Bolivia’s not loving it
International fast food giant fails to gain popularity and runs heavy losses in Bolivia. Is forced to shut down The good folks of Bolivia said their final goodbyes to the many burgers that failed in their country, as company that brought them, is finally wrapping up its operations. The South American country doesn’t seem to have gotten tricked by the bombardment of advertising and fast food cooking methods that so easily swamps countries like the United States. Bolivians are a tough crowd to please. They simply don’t trust food prepared in so short a period of time. The mass production method of fast food doesn’t exactly float Bolivia’s boat in any direction possible. Sixty percent of Bolivians are a native population who generally don’t find it worth their health or money to step foot in a fast food joint. The eight remaining outlets of the fast food behemoth in the Bolivian cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, had reportedly run on losses every year for over a decade. The franchisees had been persistent over that time, flexing its deep pockets to continue business in Bolivia. Despite its friendly fast food prices
and a multimillion dollar advertising campaign ‘I’m loving it’, they couldn’t coax enough of the population of Bolivia to eat their burgers, nuggets and ribs.
Bolivians are a tough crowd to please. They simply don't trust food prepared in so short a period of time. When the Bolivian locals were interviewed for a documentary that traced the fast food giants’ fall, they said that their concept of food comes from a homely place and that was one of the main reasons for rejecting the standardized food that’s made with an obvious indifference. So now, the failure of one fast food player can serve as a warning call to others who had planned Bolivia to be another untapped market. Source: The Guardian
Jurassic Park might just become a reality after all Scientists may have brought back to life an extinct goat species. But is this the Jurassic Park fantasy or the nightmare? Revival of a lost species thus far existed only in science fiction. But on July 30, 2003, a team of scientists from France and Spain may have realized what was before a mere figment of imagination, even if for just a short while. They managed to bring back an extinct wild goat species called bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, which had come to be extinct in recent years. The bucardo, as it is commonly called, had been living for thousands of years in the Pyrenees, the mountain range between France and Spain. Their population had started depleting due to human encroachment and excessive hunting. By 1989, there were just about a dozen of them left. The last surviving bucardo, nicknamed Celia, died ten years from then. This was the bucardo that the scientists used the DNA of in their cloning project, in an attempt to de-extinct the animal. Celia’s cells were preserved in labs in Zaragoza and Madrid. Using goat eggs removed of their DNA and 57 surrogate mothers, they managed to achieve one successful
pregnancy without miscarriage. The bucardo was born into the arms of the wildlife veterinarian Fernandez-Arias, struggling to breathe. Born with a huge extra lobe in one of her lungs, the baby
animal died within ten minutes. Yet scientists saw this as a major breakthrough. The concept of de-extinction was first brought to popular imagination back in 1990s by the Jurassic Park books. But in reality, Celia’s clone is thus far the closest anyone has gotten resurrecting a species no longer in existence. Does this mean a return of the Jurassic Age? Science writer Carl
Zimmer says not. “In reality the only species we can hope to revive now are those that died within the past few tens of thousands of years” he explains, “and left behind remains that harbour intact cells or, at the very least, enough ancient DNA to reconstruct the creature’s genome.” The natural rate of decay is so fast that we may never be able to recover the full genome of dinosaurs that have died off several millions of years ago. There are several other considerations involved when a matter so delicate as cloning is in question. “What we really need to think about is vwhy we would want to do this in the first place, to actually bring back a species,” said Ross MacPhee, curator of mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Another opposition comes from religion. The question is raised if we’re trying to play God by recreating life. At the end of the day, any great scientific achievement comes with great potential, as did nuclear energy. Source: Nat Geo Magazine
WALLETS SOON TO BECOME OBSOLETE IN KENYA
With just a mobile phone and a registration with Safaricom, Kenya’s mobile giant, you can pay for anything in seconds. You need no cash, no long travels to towns to reach a bank, and no long lines when you finally get there. All this, thanks to M-Pesa, a joint venture between the mobile phone giant Vodafone and Safaricom. The ‘M’ in the name stands for mobile, whereas ‘Pesa’ is Swahili for money. Put together, they mean ‘mobile money’. M-Pesa wasn't a household name five years ago. Yet this unique kind of service has caused quite a stir. It has also contributed to the independence and innovation of Kenya’s economy. In a country where almost all households have access to at least one mobile phone, this invention had the best timing possible. This service was launched in 2007 and it’is not just something available in big cities. By 2010, over 50% of Kenya’s rural villagers had already used this system as a means of transaction for vegetables etc. And they were using only their mobile phones to make these deals. The awe-inspiring success of this break-through technology has seen the linkage between banks and M-Pesa network with coverage of 700+ ATMs. One can now transfer money from their bank accounts to M-Pesa and vice versa. One can also wire their money straight to their account from their phone. They can even withdraw cash through someone else’s phone, without having to step into a banking hall at all. Using your mobile money account, you can pay for your transport, meals, grocery or anything at a retail store. You can also pay bills including electricity and water bills, pay for your air ticket, receive your month’s pay, all via your phone, without the need of standing in any lines whatsoever. This service makes everything just a click away. And to seal the deal, it allows you to retract your transaction in case you accidentally send some money to an incorrect number. This innovative approach to banking is changing the money game across Africa. It is no longer business as usual. Source: B BC News
SCIENCE HAS YOU COVERED EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT
KOREAN SCIENTISTS CREATE HANGOVER-FREE ALCOHOL USING OXYGEN BUBBLES Anyone who has ever had a drinktoo-many knows what a hangover feels like. The aching head. That nauseous feeling. The inability to get out of bed. But thanks to the efforts of Korean scientists, hangover mornings could be a tale of the past. Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University have discovered that drinking alcohol with oxygen bubbles added leads to fewer hangovers and a shorter sobering up time. People drinking the bubbly booze sobered up 20-30 minutes faster and had comparatively less severe and fewer hangovers than people who
drank the non-fizzy stuff. Kwon said: "The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage reduces “plasma alcohol concentrations” faster than a normal dissolved-oxygen alcohol beverage does. This could provide both clinical and real-life significance. The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage would allow individuals to become sober faster, and reduce the side effects of acetaldehyde without a significant difference in alcohol's effects.” The researchers also asked a few people what would change if someone were to drink multiple oxygen-enriched drinks over the
course of the night. Would there be a cumulative effect? Again, the answer was yes: People who drank oxygenated alcohol had milder or fewer hangovers than people who drank the unaltered drink. But how does oxygen affect the taste of the alcohol? What drink types does it work with? While more research is needed, this study is one more step towards not spending a morning feeling as though someone's kicked your skull in with jackboots. If you want beer that won't give you a hangover, there it is Source: SkyNews
Reddit post to be made into a hollywood blockbuster “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?” This is the question James Erwin posted on Reddit, the social and entertainment website. And he even wrote a reply, a whole story of it. As Erwin's version, called ‘Rome Sweet Rome’, with its detailed and exciting plot garnered many readers, it was brought to the notice of Adam Kolbrenner of Madhouse Entertainment. He contacted Erwin and began working with him for a movie pitch. This is when Warner Bros came into the picture. In 2011, they snapped up the story idea. But it was only recently that studio made the announcement via Variety that Apollo 18 screenwriter, Brian Miller, has been hired to rework the original screenplay Erwin had written. So, his comment on
Reddit may actually become a feature film. Now that's a story worth telling! So u rce: io9
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
India has always been a huge inspiration, says Mick Jagger
No electricity to light your home? Try a plant instead
“Mick showed me an image of the Goddess of Kali which was the starting point to our discussions for the design.”
The Rolling Stones legend, Mick Jagger, recently said in an interview that he has always found much in India to be inspired by. The lead singer of the band that revolutionized the rock genre, recalled how the very logo of the band drew inspiration from the Hindu Goddess Kali. John Pasche, the designer of what has now become one of the world’s most recognizable logos of all time, remembers the story of the lips and tongue motif. “Mick showed me an image of the Goddess of Kali (the goddess of time and change),” he relates, “which was the starting point to our discussions for the design.” The idea for the design with Mick’s famous pout and the tongue of the Goddess came to him almost immediately, and he came up with many variations in just a week’s time. Jagger, who recently turned 70, has
-John Pasche, designer of the Rolling Stones Logo
had a long standing fascination with Indian culture. Back in 2007, during his visit to Rajasthan, he was enchanted by the history and beauty of Udaipur and expressed a desire to buy land there. Then in 2010, while working on an album with A.R Rehman, he sang the Sanskrit song, ‘Satyamev Jayate’. And of course, one of the Rolling Stones’ classic numbers, ‘Street Fighting Man’ written by Mick, makes use of the Indian shehnai. In any case, the revolutionary musician has been inspiring and fascinating fans in India for decades together. Source: Vam
The bid for the whistle of the international whistleblower
THE ORIGINAL WIKILEAKS SERVER UP ON SALE ON EBAY BY BAHNOF CEO This is the same machine that hosted the Iraq War Logs and secret State Department cables that exposed the US. And it can now be bought by anyone willing to pay the highest price for this historical piece of hardware. Between late 2010 and early 2011, WikiLeaks had rented server space from Bahnhof. As Sweden’s first and oldest independent ISP, Bahnof had a tradition of never giving in to pressure of the authority or putting restrictions on freedom of speech. Now, as the actual owners of the server, they have put it up for auction on eBay. The Swedish ISP is planning to donate
the money that is made of the sale. The French non-profit, non-governmental organization, Reporters Without Borders
The Seeds of Noah
You can’t build castles in the air, but you can now doodle them
and the 5th of July Foundation, who work for liberty and privacy on the internet are to be the beneficiaries of this sale.
On a remote island between Norway and the North Pole lies a priceless safety deposit box.
The world’s first 3D pen fetches 2.3 million dollars on Kickstarter
This is no adventure “treasure” story. This is about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a state-of-the-art seed storage facility that stores duplicates or ‘back ups’ of about 700,000 seed samples taken from gene banks worldwide. The intention behind this facility is to create a refuge for seed varieties in case of large-scale man-made or natural disasters. In other words, the bank has been established with the same motivations as those of Noah in the biblical story. It is the planet’s safeguard in the event of a doomsday. This, in many ways, is the insurance policy for our food supplies in a world with an increasingly unpredictable future. Even if the power in the facility fails, the permafrost and thick rock within it will ensure that the seeds remain frozen for centuries. Gene banks have been erstwhile present to help preserve biodiversity. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization currently oversees 11 such gene banks scattered around the world. But these are far more vulnerable. For instance, both Afghanistan and Iraq lost their gene banks due to political turmoil in the countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively. This doomsday vault is designed to survive everything from nuclear strikes, nuclear winter, disease outbreaks, to catastrophic natural disasters. The management of the seed bank is taken care of by three parties - Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen). It was established in 2008 through an international consortium led by the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
It may not be a creation straight of a science fiction movie, but it certainly is our childhood fantasy coming to life. WobbleWorks, a toy company founded by Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth, has created the world’s first 3D pen, calling it the 3Doodler. The working principle is fairly simple. As you doodle in mid-air, the pen’s nib extrudes hot plastic that cools and solidifies instantly on coming out. The pen's key component is a tiny fan that cools the plastic as it leaves the nib. "This makes it solidify very quickly," says company spokesman Daniel Cowen. Earlier this year, the company launched a Kickstarter project to seek funding. The project went on to storm the funding website and fetched over 2.3 million dollars. Way above the 30,000 mark they set out to achieve. If you can scribble, trace or wave a finger in the air you can use a 3Doodler. You can draw on any surface and lift it up into the air to create 3D objects.” the creators told La Revolucion over a telephonic chat. The creators say it can also be used to repair items through using it as a plastic welding tool. The company aims to have the pen ready for sale later this year for $75. They have already given prototypes to artists to create everything from 3D animals to reconstructions of the Eiffel tower. So what's the thing like to use? The first thing you notice is it sounds like a tattoo pen. It's hot to the touch too, inevitably, but WobbleWorks assured us it was safe and within regulations. However, the company does issue one warning on its website: “While the plastic extruded from 3 Doodler is safe to
touch once it has left the pen, the pen itself has a metal tip that can get as hot as 270°C.”
“If you can scribble, trace or wave a finger in the air you can use a 3Doodler. You can draw on any surface and lift it up into the air to create 3D objects.”
They also said, “There is no reason for any user to touch the tip while in use, but safety comes first, and our forthcoming videos will explain how to use the 3Doodler, covering the different techniques and safety precautions necessary.” It's not a pick-up-and-play kind of thing. It takes some practice and patience as drawing in the air takes some getting used to. So, expect your first attempts to be full of unidentifiable wiggly squiggles. But we reckon the learning won’t be too steep if you’re willing put the time in. The creators are also planning to release 3Doodler Stencils online: sophisticated print-out stencil kits to help you create awesome objects. They’ll be hosting these on their website, the3Doodler.com, for anyone to download and use for free. WobbleWorks are also considering making a version for creating food, letting people make lattice-structured sweets and candies. We can only hope that they succeed in creating that pen as well. If that happens, we can all make our doodles and have them too. Source: Kickstarter
The server has been wiped clean. There are no secret WikiLeaks logfiles, documents, or cached data. But WikiLeaks isn’t very happy. "Bahnhof did not seek permission to auction the WikiLeaks server or to use it for marketing purposes, or to send the proceeds to others," they have tweeted. On the other side, Bahnof defend their good intentions. Their spokesperson, Jon Karlug said on their behalf, "I see this auction of hardware as great opportunity to raise interest for freedom of speech on the Internet." Source: Crazy Engineers
Every day draws closer a future where we might finally run out on our natural resources. This makes for an urgency to find alternative solutions to meet our demands for fuel and electricity. For most people, genetically modified plants are meant for improving agricultural production on fields. But this Kickstarter funded project of genetically altered seeds might chane this perception. They could be useful for lighting our cities, without any electricity. This April, three Stanford-trained biohackers based in California posted a project on Kickstarter to crowdsource the funding of a genetically modified plant which glows in the dark. The Glowing Plant project could significantly decrease our consumption of power. It could be used to light up the streets in lieu of street lamps and inside our homes. “A rose that lights up your life. Or a glowing willow tree – that would be beautiful,” said tech entrepreneur Antony Evans, calling it ‘the first step in creating sustainable natural lighting.’ This futuristic organism, that looks as if it is straight out of the sets of Avatar, generated a lot of intrigue. It also, at the same time, raised many ethical, environmental and legal questions. These plants were not falling under the preview of
The Glowing Plant project could significantly decrease our consumption of power. It could be used to light up the streets in lieu of street lamps and inside our homes. existing governmental agencies for monitoring genetic modification. “Regulations need to be amended,” said Pat Mooney, ETC Group's executive director “to address the particular issues raised by synthetic biology and this particular project.” The other issue was with the fact that team had promised many of their supporters glowing-plant seed packets, with growing instructions for their support. Some organizations had reservations about such giveaways. Kickstarter fixed its rules to disallow offering backers genetically modified organisms as rewards. These are all valid concern for an invention this radical. But once these hiccups are worked out, this project could possibly be one those revolutionary ideas that change the world. Source: Kickstarter
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
For some, a revolution is is Raspberry Pi nothing but a force of habit The taste of
things to come?
Cont. from page 1
UK’s Raspberry Pi Foundation is changing the way we look at today’s computers
Within just 3 years of its launch, Hippo was among the top 3 food brands. It was the first brand to use Twitter for inventory tracking. It has been applauded by marketers and has even become a case study in business schools for its innovative marketing and digital strategy. Appy: In 1986, Parle Agro launched India’s first apple nectar, Appy. Made from the freshest apples, it aims to quench every Indian’s thirst for something refreshing. Apart from being the first, it is also the most popular drink of its kind in the entire country. Appy Fizz: Launched in 2005, Appy Fizz is India’s first and premier sparkling apple drink. Starting out as a bettertasting, healthier-alternative to colas, Fizz soon became a rage among the youth. What made Appy Fizz stand out was its mascot, the bottle itself, or should we say Fizz himself ? A walking, talking character with a quirky sense of humour.
Bailley was launched with a vision to have a manufacturing unit every 300 km across the length and breadth of the country, in order to be able to provide safe drinking water to every Indian. Bailley: This brand was launched with a vision to have a manufacturing unit every 300 km across the length and breadth of the country, in order to be able to provide safe drinking water to every Indian. Today, Parle Agro has over 47 state-of-the-art plants strategically located to both cater to consumer demand and to increase cost-effectiveness.
While everyone’s up to making the most powerful and sleek computing devices, one non-profit foundation in UK has stripped a computer to a bare credit card sized chip called Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is changing the world, it costs less than Rs.1600 ($25). With 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, SD card slot and 521 MB RAM Graphic card, the Raspberry Pi Model B can do almost everything a regular CPU does. One just needs to plug it to a display like a TV or a monitor and you’re ready to go. Built primarily to help school children learn computer programing, Raspberry Pi has become a hacker’s delight. The versatility of this system can be seen in the home projects that users have undertaken. From dynamo powered projection system and live LED ticker synced for updating basketball scores to rigging the Pi to old NES gamming consoles, users are revolutionizing DIY projects. And the kids are happy too. Of the more than 1.6 million units shipped, many are procured by schools. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is also working with the UK government to revise the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) curriculum of schools. The foundation maintains that Rasberry Pi will not be able to solve all of the world’s computing issues. But they do believe that they’re being a catalyst. And with the success they’ve achieved in little over a year, looks like this catalyst will only gain in potency. Source: RaspberryPi
Literary treasure: lost and found Five hundred fairytales by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth found in Germany
Our childhoods were full of stories of brave princes, magical creatures, evil witches and damsels in distress. And Disney fleshed out these magical, magnificent characters in animated forms like Snow White, Beauty, the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin and the list goes on. Just when one is seduced to think that every last one of these stories has been read, reread, told and retold, history gifts us with five hundred more fairytales. More than five hundred previously unpublished stories were discovered in Germany last year. About the same time as the Grimm Brothers, a local historian of the Bavarian region, named Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) compiled these myths, legends and fairytales. He spent decades speaking to the peasants and the workers about the local traditions, habits and histories. The tales he heard, that had before been carried only by word of mouth, he meticulously wrote down. In fact, evidence suggests that he was known to the Grimm Brothers, who were rather impressed with his detailed accounts of the peasants’ tales.
“Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear,” said Jacob Grimm about him in 1885. He even told King Maximilian II of Bavaria, that Von Schönwerth was the only one who could replace himself and his brother. Von’s book, called Aus der Oberpfalz-- Sitten und Sagen, which came in three volumes, did not become very popular during his time. In 2011, Erika Eichenseer published a book containing some of Von’s stories from the five hundred she found. Some are different version of the fairlytales we recognize as the Grimm’s, like Cinderella, while others are different and unheard of. For instance, one of the tales is a that of a woman who transforms herself into a pond to escape a witch. Eichenseer likes the accurate record of what Von heard in his writing instead of the stylized literature of the Grimms. “There is no romanticizing or attempt by Schnwerth to interpret or develop his own style,” she says. For Eichenseer, fairytales are not just
for kids. “Their main purpose was to help young adults on their path to adulthood, showing them that dangers and challenges can be overcome through virtue, prudence and courage.” All those who can’t wait to get their hands on this new collection would agree. Source: Guardian
Deaths due to lack of clean water might just become a thing of the past
Michael Pritchard's Lifesaver water-purification could revolutionize water-delivery systems in disaster-stricken areas According to the World Health Organization, every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases. Diarrheal diseases like cholera, typhoid fever and hepatitis A are a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The times when these problems are the most acute is during natural disasters. Such was the case when the twin tragedies of the tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina in America occurred in 2004 and 2005. Michael Pritchard, a water-treatment expert from Ipswich, England was stricken by the inability of aid agencies to provide for a need so basic. “Everyone deserves safe drinking water,” he felt. “Traditional methods of trying to solve water poverty dictate that you put infrastructure in, you put pipework in, you put pumping stations in,” Prichard said, trying to explaining why aid agencies fall short of having the problem under control. Many areas are inaccessi-
ble, and creating this kind of an infrastructure becomes extremely expensive. Not only the locals, but even when the security forces face water problems when they go to such areas. To avert this tragic waste of life, Prichard was inspired to invent, after 18 months of dysfunctional prototypes and faux pas, the LifeSaver bottle. The bottle has an interchangeable filter that can remove bacteria, viruses and heavy metals to purify between 4,000 and 6,000 litres of water in total. The bottles have an opening at the back in which you can pour in dirty water. The filtering
process takes just 20 seconds, filling it with 0.71 litres (1.5 pints) of water of filtered water. Considering the gargantuan costs of flying in water bottles as aid, the LifeSaver bottles sure live up to their name. A one time delivery and the people could go on filtering their own potable water. After the bottle, Pricherd’s LifeSaver Systems also introduced the jerry can which allows the filtration of 10,000 to 20,000 litres of water. Apart from serving to their needs, the invention makes a difference to trekkers, people travelling and the military personnel. The only thing is, neither the bottles nor the cans are very cheaply priced, starting from a $100. Yet it’s a good start, and arguably a small price to pay to rid the world of its water problems. “1.1 billion people are trapped in water poverty,””speaks the inventor.““At LifeSaver we have the answer.” Source: TED
Low on charge? Go take a hike
NEXT TIME YOU ARE OUT OF HOME AND NEED TO CHARGE YOUR PHONE, DON’T LOOK FOR A PLUG POINT. JUST CHARGE IT WITH YOUR SHOE. Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site that is the new breeding ground for breakthrough ideas, seems to have given birth to another revolutionary idea. A Pittsburgh startup has designed SolePower shoes, the insoles of which can charge up an external battery, which can then be connected to your mobile device. As you walk, the battery gains charge by converting the kinetic energy of your steps into electricity. This gives about a phone’s battery-worth of energy in about 2 and 1.5 miles of walking, on average. While looking for plug points everywhere to charge cell phones is thought to be a first world phenomenon, this creative solution can help many even in the developing countries. The penetration of mobile phone technology has become very high in areas like Sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. Such devices are crucial to accelerate growth
and development in everything from medicine to commerce in these regions. Yet it is these regions that face the most problems when it comes to access to electricity. In Kenya, for instance, 84% of the population owns cell phones but electricity is available to only 14% of the people. Not only phones, there is also a need of electricity for lighting purposes. The kerosenefueled lighting in these nations is highly expensive and polluting. While theoretically there is a huge potential market in these countries, does the shoe make practical sense for them? According to Mathew Stanton, co-founder of SolePower, the most important challenge is to create an efficient system, with no power loss. This is especially important since there are only 20 watts in a step. The other issue is the price of the
shoe. The shoe is differently priced for different markets. In developed countries, the target group comprises of hikers and travelers, especially backpackers. In these regions, the price of the insert is expected to be between $135 to $150. The expected price in poorer economies with lower per capita incomes is expected to be $35-$50. But these prices are still too high, considering that some of these economies with less than $2 a day market. How many will be able to afford this technology is a question still being grappled with. Perhaps if they adopt an EMI or some other more innovative payment system to ease the financial burden, this technology has the potential to change the way regions with energy poverty communicate and light their homes. Source: The Huf fington Post
LA REVOLUCIÓN TWEETS THAT SPARKED TRENDS The first ever tweet was an automated tweet sent by the co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey’s account on March 21, 2006. “@jack: just setting up my twtter”
Persiankiwi is an anonymous account on Twitter that played a key role in channeling information about the 2009 Iranian election protests. “@persiankiwi: The Gov is collapsing and the system of control is breaking down fast#iranelections”
Janis Krums' tweet at the scene of the Hudson plane landing made the world aware of Twitter’s real-time abilities. “@jkrums: There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick people the up. Crazy” For all the Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates talk, this tweet by Gates got a lot of plaudits. “@BillGates: For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Coming from where no tweet has ever come from before, this was the first ever tweet from space. “@Astro_TJ: Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station—the 1st live tweet from space! :) More soon, send yours?s”
Sohaib Athar unknowingly provided a tweet-by-tweet coverage of the events leading to Osama Bin Laden death as he saw helicopters from outside his house in Abbottabad. “@ReallyVirtual: Helicopter hovering over Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)”
Twitter isn't just for humans anymore. “@MarsCuriosity: Yes, I’ve got a lazer beam attached to my head. I’m not ill tempered; I zapped a rock for science. #MSL #PewPew”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
One’s poop is another’s coffee Add this to your A NEW WAY DISCOVERED TO AUTHENTICATE CIVET’S POOP COFFEE A special kind of coffee comes from the excrement of the animal, the Asian palm civet. It is considered to be high in aroma, smooth in taste and low in acidity. It is as exotic as it is expensive. But this coffee has easily become susceptible to fraud. Manufactures have begun selling exorbitantly priced fake civet coffee, for as much as $150-$227 a pound. The trouble was that until now, there was no way to test whether the coffee was authentic or not. Now, this authenticity can finally be put to test. Kopi Luwak, Indonesian for civet coffee, is made when the small mammals eat ripe coffee cherries, cleaning the fruit of the pulp and defecate the beans. The beans are then cleaned, fermented, sundried and turned into your morning roast. This roast is sold in Southeast Asia and online, and is much sought after by coffee connoisseurs world over. Since the coffee is in high demand and until now, there had been no way to check bona fide beans, the dupery happening was inevitable. But scientists now claim that the metabolic fingerprint allows them to verify whether or not the coffee being sold is in fact real Kopi Luwak. For this, they use metabolomic technology, according to an author of the study, Eiichiro Fukusaki. This technology basically
analyses substances produced during metabolism, call metabolites. Scientists check the levels of citric acid and malic acid as well as a certain inositol/pyroglutamic acid ratio. The chemical footprint of civet coffee is unique and lets them distinguish genuine beans from fraudulent ones.
An obvious question that arises is whether the beans taken from the feces of an animal are healthy to be consumed. Rocky Rhodes, president of International Coffee Consulting, based in Simi Valley, California says they are. In fact, he argues that they are less risky for consumption as the civet picks only the ripest of the coffee cherries. This is because it is looking for a fruit to eat,
Zoologist and self-taught animal behaviourist, Kevin Richardson has a unique relationship with animals. And not just any animals, he shares a bond with dangerous predators, like lions. Nicknamed “The Lion Whisperer", Kevin does not believe in breaking the animal’s spirit with sticks and chains. Instead, he develops an intimate relationship of love, understanding and trust with his lions. In fact, their mutual trust is so strong that he managed to move 27 adult lions from one game reserve to another in a Mercedes Sprinter van! Kevin has reared some of the lions by hand, which allows him access to the pride almost as a member. Over the 15 years that he has been working with them, he has sustained only minor injuries even as he locked lips, put his hand in their mouths and slept with the ferocious big cats at his Dinokeng game reserve, north of Pretoriam, South Africa. He looks them confidently in the eye without any fear of being mauled or injured.
Kevin’s love for animals has been there since his childhood, but it started with the smaller creatures he would keep as pets. He remembers having several crickets and a toad named "Paddajie” as a child. As he grew up, so did his passion for wildlife. He realized he could develop bonds with all animals, even the “wild beats” of the animal kingdom, by tapping into their inner
19 20 21
21. On a collision course with God 24. Shared by miners, cowboys and James Dean 12. He plays Like a Rolling Stone 14. Curvy, small and reliable lemon. 15. We tune in to his invention. 17. Movie that opened a Pandora’s Box. 21. Home to the God Particle. 24. From cowboys to James Dean.
Down 2. I Have a Dream 3. Pasteur 4. Walkman 6. Aspirin 7. Bose 9. Armstrong 12. Dylan 14. Beetle 15. Marconi 17. Avatar 21. CERN 24. Denim
Across 1. Guerrilla 5. Gangnam Style 8. Playstation 10. Paypal 11. TED 13. Server. 15. Model T 16. Mandela 18. Ray 19. Tendulkar 20. Google 21. Cigar 22. Che 23. Kindle
Down 2. A speech worthy of a king. (4 Words) 3. Blame him for burnt milk 4. Because you couldn’t walk with your boombox 6. Cure for Saturday Nights 7. The Fuhrer’s biggest Indian fan 9. Looked out-of-this-world in a white suit 12. The first to knock on heaven’s door 14. Curvy, small and reliable lemon. 15. Video killed this star 17. From Hindu mythology to science fiction
unlike a bored or tired farmer who may end up picking cherries inconsistent in quality. Civets are also likely to keep away from fruits with too much fertilizer. According to Rhodes, the slight difference between the acid content of regular coffee and civet coffee does not drastically affect the taste. It is the ripeness of the cherries that is the deciding factor between good and bad coffee. The expense of the coffee is also due to the intrigue around the process of making the coffee. While the feces story is an ‘‘eww’’ factor for some, it is a ‘wow’’ factor for others. Sellers often stake claims that the protein in the coffee beans is broken down by the enzymes in the civet’s stomach. But Segall, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Drexel University in Philadelphia, also says that it is debatable whether the flavor is affected by the animal’s digestive process. In either case, it is a good thing that the scientific methods for distinguishing the two are being developed. But according to Fukusaki, a professor in the biotechnology department at Osaka University Japan, the method of distinction can be used widely only after certain technical improvements are made.
bucket list: Dine at the birthplace of the Daiquiri and Mojito
La Revolucion traces the history of two Cuban restaurants that gave birth to these iconic drinks
MEET THE REAL LIFE DR.DOLITTLE
CROSSWORD OF THE DAY Across 1. Che, Shivaji and marketing have this in common 5. The only Korean song you know (2 Words) 8. The gaming arcade just came home 10. It paid for SpaceX and Tesla 11. Cuddly toy with great ideas 13. Hands the internet to you on a platter 15. Detroit’s first export (2 Words) 16. Lovingly, Madiba 18. Steven Spielberg’s biggest inspiration. 19. God bleeds blue 20. Your window to the world 21. Goes well with cognac 22. The doctor on your t-shirt 23. The grumpy librarian can finally go home
nature. Now that he is 38, married and with two children, he’s broken all the known rules of the ‘man-beast’ relationship. The zoologist is now offering a hands-on volunteering program in South Africa at The Kingdom, to help take care of the animals. But we suggest you don’t try this on your own. Sou rce: News .com . au
Today every cocktail bar across the globe has variations of the Daiquiri and Mojito. But hardly anyone knows that both these classic cocktails originally hail from two revolutionary bars in Havana, Cuba. El Floridita: The bar now known as El Floridita was first established in Havana in 1820 as ‘La Piña de Plata’ (The Silver Pineapple). Then in 1898, it was rechristened ‘La Florida’. But customers referred to it as “‘La Floridita’”, and the name stuck on. El Floridita eventually became a haven for Cuba’s leading personalities including merchants, politicians and celebrities living in or passing through Havana. It was frequented by several of Hollywood’s greatest - Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper and John Wayne. This was the place where the Daiquiri was perfected by a bartender called Emilio Gonzälez. Soon, the cocktail became famous and El Floridita became known as “‘La Cuna del Daiquiri’” which translates to ‘‘the cradle of the Daiquiri’. La Bodeguita del Medio: In 1942, Bodeguita was called ‘Casa Martinez’. Attracted by the bohemian charm of the place, writers, choreographers, musicians
and journalists made it their haunt. On April 26, 1950, the name ‘Bodeguita del Medio’ was officially adopted. Encouraged by the demand for restaurants in Old Havana at the end of the 50’s, the place grew from a niche to a mass hangout. One of the reasons behind its success was a cocktail called Mojito, made with rum, mint, sugar, lemon and club soda. The Hemingway connect: Whenever Ernest Hemingway visited Cuba, he frequented both the Floridita and Bodeguita. So much was his appreciation for these places that he even wrote ‘My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita’. Till today, there’s a bust of Hemingway in El Floridita at the place where he used to sit. The relation to Hemingway has also played a role in the commercial success for the two restaurants. Both these landmarks are still serving their iconic drinks today and have become popular tourist attractions. So, if you happen to visit Cuba, you’ll know where to get your fix of alcoholic concoctions. Sou rce: Elf lorid ita
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
Somalians fight terrorism with music
War-torn Somalia hasn’t seen a music festival in 25 years. But, that changed thanks to the audacious group of hip-hop musicians who defied death threats and violent attacks from militant extremists to spread its message of peace in battlescarred Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. In 1991, the fall of Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorship triggered more than two decades of devastating civil war, clan battles and Islamist insurgency. Just two years ago, the musical festival would have been unthinkable. Waayaha Cusub, a popular collective of Somali refugee musicians based in Kenya, traveled to the coastal city to stage the Mogadishu Music Festival, expected to be the country’s biggest music event since the eruption of a vicious civil war in 1991. The group, comprised of Somali refugees, angered the Islamist militants who used to run Mogadishu, since their lyrics were attacking al-Shabaab and its al-Qaida allies. In 2007, gunmen, believed to be working for al-Shabaab, fired 17 shots at him and left him for dead in his adopted home, Nairobi. Ali was hit five times but survived to fight back, using words as his weapon. “He’s Martin Luther King crossed with Tupac,” said Daniel Gerstle, one of the festival organizers. At considerable risk, the Waayaha Cusub rappers have used their art to fiercely oppose the Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked militia. The Shabab gained control of much of the country in 2009, imposing an austere version of Islam that banned music and dance as un-Islamic. It was forced from Mogadishu by African Union forces in 2011 and has lost control of many of its southern strongholds. But the extremists are still attempting to recruit
young followers, according to Muhdin. Rappers and traditional musicians from Somalia, Kenya and Sudan are lined up to appear at a series of flash-mobstyle festival events. Venues and times will be sent to ticket holders via text message shortly before each performance in an attempt to limit the possibility of attacks by the Shabab. Music and poetry run deep in Somali culture, but musicians suffered violence and terrorization regularly during the conflict. In 2005, a Somali refugee who was a guest singer with Waayaha Cusub had her face slashed in Kenya by assailants who accused her of violating Islamic laws. She is still in hiding. Three years later, the band’s lead singer, Shiine Akhyaar Ali, was shot five times by Islamic extremists at his home in a Nairobi, Kenya, district known as Little Mogadishu. Even with improvements in security and the presence of a 17,600-strong African Union peacekeeping force, bombings and assassinations continue in the city. Although the festival organizers are relying on Mogadishu’s renewed stability, there are obvious fears that it could be targeted. The performers are well aware of the dangers. “The spirit of hip-hop is to speak up when everyone is silent,” said Sudanese rapper Ahmed Mahmoud, 25, resting in a fortified Mogadishu hotel in advance of the festival. “I’m here to show the youth that there are alternative ways to express themselves, through dialogue.” Keeping in mind the risks the musicians were taking, he said that the message made it worthwhile: “Youth, keep the peace.”
Formula E: Formula racing grows a conscience FIA’S LATEST ADDITION TO FORMULA RACING FORMAT REVOLVES AROUND SUSTAINABILITY Formula 1 is about hearing engines roar. It is to see those overtaking moves that have the finest of margins and all the glamour that goes with it. Formula E is all that, sans the harm to the environment. The ‘‘E’’ stands for Electric. Formula E is the first FIA sanctioned racing event that is exclusively designed around electric powered cars. With F1 cars burning up to 240 liters of fuel during each race, countless miles spent in hauling heavy equipment across locations and many hours spent in developing each car, Formula 1 isn’t kind to the environment. Formula E has a vision set towards the future. It aims to be a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, thus promoting sustainability. When the event takes off next year in September, you’ll see 10 teams with 2 drivers each racing on the back of 200Kw electrical engines (during Raceday, the power will be limited to 233Kw) that emit sounds of approximately 80Db. Unlike Formula 1 in which races happen
mostly on designated circuits, Formula E cars will race on temporary street circuits much like the San Marino circuit. The electric engines are not the only thing that’s unique. The race format is also different. Unlike the Formula 1, which is a 3 day event with practice on a Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the
race on Sunday, Formula E will have practice, qualifying and the race all on the same day. FIA says this move will save on costs and will prove to be less of a logistical hassle for the host cities. Formula E cars will also have a ‘Push to Pass’ mechanism. When activated, the driver will enjoy a 67Kw of power burst
for a limited period of time. This would make for interesting strategic encounters. The cars driving on Michelins will have to make 2 mandatory pit stops that have no provisions for a tyre change, further reducing the costs. And as far as recharging is concerned, to maintain safety standards, drivers will have to change cars twice during the race. With some technological innovation, expect the present day batteries to last longer. Presently, Drayson Racing, headed by Lord Paul Drayson, China Racing led by Steven Lu and leading IndyCar team Andretti Autosport have agreed to race next year. The other 7 teams will be unveiled soon. What remains to be seen is if the viewers will accept such a format? With the Vettels and the Alonsos busy racing in F1, global viewership will be crucial for this novel format to thrive. Formula E might not be racking in the money immediately, but if everything goes according to plan, F1 might be heading towards a sibling rivalry. Source: FIAFormulaE
17-year-old invents cloud to detect breast cancer
The winner of the second annual Google Science Fair, Brittany Weger is a 17 year old who may have revolutionized the medical sciences by developing an artificially intelligent, less invasive system for the detection of breast cancer. The Science Fair is a competition for teens of 13 -18 years in age. In July 2012, it was held in Palo Alto, California. For it, Brittany developed what she called the Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer. She wrote a
computer program coded to think like the human brain as opposed to traditional painful mass malignancy location tests like the biopsy called a fine needle aspirate (FNA). The FNA is one of the minimally invasive procedures that doctors use but also one of the least accurate. And it sometimes leads to further invasive procedures. Brittany’s neural network uses Java and then was deployed to a cloud. To test its accuracy, she conducted 7.6 million trials. Her program could quickly determine whether the mass of tissue is malignant or benign, with 99.11 percent accuracy. The cloud service meant that doctors find invasive testing not necessary to assess tumors. Apart from the joy of having won and the satisfaction of knowing her work could help thousands successfully detect cancerous cells in time, Wenger also took home and array of prizes. She won the grand prize of $50,000 in scholarship money, a personal LEGO color mosaic and some things for her school. She also won herself an internship with any one of the fair sponsors, Google, CERN, or Lego for a year. These could sure help her dreams of majoring in computer sciences or going to medical school, come true. Sources: News Discovery
CHINESE DAM WILL SLOW THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH, SAYS GEOPHYSICISTS Can a man-made feature be too massive for the earth to bear its weight? Can it be so heavy, that it alters the manner in which our planet rotates? It already has. This is no speculation, but an observation made by scientists with regard to Three Gorges Dam in China, which has tampered with the Earth’s rotation. Over the past 40 years, the world’s mushrooming billions, especially those in the temperate regions, have amplified their clamour for water. The natural water storage systems are proving insufficient and thus, dams have been coming up in these areas one after another. Experts are now saying that these reservoirs are affecting the Earth's orbital rotation. The shift in the distribution of water caused by them has been the cause for this. Amongst these smaller structures is China’s Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric station by
Almost 30 million cubic meters of concrete and 4,63,000 tonnes of steel has been used in the construction of the dam. The water when collected to the reservoirs maximum capacity would weight an incredible 39 trillion kilograms. capacity. The project, first conceptualized in 1919 can hold up to 22,500 MW. By the time it was completed in 2012, it spanned the Yangtze River and measured 2.3 kilometres long and 185 meters tall. The reservoir run for 660 kilometres, in which water can collect up to 175 meters above sea level.
But how heavy must it be to actually affect the Earth’s rotation? Almost 30 million cubic meters of concrete and 4,63,000 tonnes of steel has been used in the construction of the dam. The water when collected to the reservoirs maximum capacity would weight an incredible 39 trillion kilograms. A shift in a mass of magnitude is behind the change in the rotating sphere’s moment of inertia. The weight of a body has much to do with the manner in which it spins. For instance, if two balls equal in size but different masses, are spun, the lighter ball will turn more easily than the heavier one. The moment of inertia of an object about a given axis describes how difficult it is to change its angular motion about that axis. The longer the distance of a mass to its axis of rotation, the slower it will spin. To
make it simpler, try to visualize mass displacement on a rotating body by imagining a figure skater. They displace their mass by bringing in or extending their arms upon rotation to speed up or slow down. The consequences of building the Three Gorges Dam, however, are in themselves not that worrisome. According to the calculations of NASA scientists, shift of mass of such as that of the dam would increase the length of day by a 0.06 microseconds and make the Earth only very slightly more round in the middle and flat on the top. It would cause the pole position to shift by about two centimetres. But many such features and we might have the problem. In the long run, if we’ re not careful about what we build, we may end up building ourselves a man-made disaster. Source: Business Insider
THE LONGEST MOVIE, ALL SHOT IN JUST ONE TAKE ‘7333 Seconds Of Johanna’ enters Guinness Book of World Records, beating the Russian Ark. The Swedish filmmaker Anette Skahlberg claims to have shot the longest movie consisting of a single take. Her ‘7333 Seconds of Johanna’ has been in the news for beating Aleksandr Sokurov’s 2002 movie, The Hermitage odyssey Russian Ark, which was 96 minutes long. Anette’s feature debut, ‘7333 Seconds of Johanna’ exceeds his by 26 minutes, qualifying her to get featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. After several months of preparations and rehearsals, the 65-member cast and crew were ready at the city centre on October 7 last year. The film was shot in Uppsala between 9.35 and 11.37am. The representatives of the Guinness Book were on hand to monitor the shoot and ensure that no additional footage was added. Skåhlberg and her collaborators were partly driven by technical showmanship, not to mention one-upmanship. What is interesting is the topic of Skåhlberg’s film and why it needed to be shot in real time without a single cut. ‘7333 seconds of Johanna’ is the autobiographical story of a troubled married woman, Johanna, played by the writer-director herself. Johanna is hurrying through Uppsala’s different quarters, – through churches and hotels, in a boat on the Frysia, trying to find herself amidst marital and economic problems. It took three takes, and only in the fourth did the team manage the perfect shot that made the entire film. The feat was accomplished by cinematographer Jesper Klevenas, who used a Canon C300 full HD digital camcorder. Skåhlberg’s movie is yet to be unveiled to the world. The fact that it is shot in a single take is likely to subject it to scrutiny and not the storyline, maybe. Source: Cineuropa
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
“Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs, maybe even better” Elon Musk is a man with many plans. Born in South Africa and raised in the United States, he went to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to obtain a degree in Economics along with a second degree in Physics. It was only a matter of time for young Elon Musk to start changing the world. It all began when his father, a tech-fan himself, bought Elon his first computer at age 10. His father inspired his love for technology and Musk taught himself how to program. By the age of 12, he had already sold his first commercial software, a space game called Blaster. Over the years Musk has achieved remarkable success in focusing on large-scale problems and realizing them into transformative, and very profitable, solutions. In the early days of the internet, the notion of paying for goods and services online was considered risky at best, limiting the acceptance and growth of e-commerce. By 1999, Musk had launched a new payment system that would eventually become PayPal, the de facto online payment system of choice that now handles over a quarter of a billion dollars in transactions each day. Comparisons with the Apple guru, the late Steve Jobs, started sprouting since Elon took the technology industry by storm. Sure, Steve Jobs was a market-
SKETCHES OF THE HYPERLOOP, AN ULTRAFAST TRANSPORTATION CONCEPT ing master who turned a near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable company in the world. But many people are starting to believe Elon Musk is better than Steve Jobs ever was. There's an insatiable thirst for technical innovation right now, and Musk seems to be one of few people pushing the envelope on what’s possible. Musk is also the founder of SpaceX and electric car company, Tesla. Musk is the brains behind the Hyperloop, a hypothetical transportation system that could get people from New York to
California in 30 minutes. Musk doesn't tweak industries. He thinks in terms of how they should work then simply build according to his vision. In that context, a Hyperloop train is something Musk could doodle on a cocktail napkin and still make it work. What sets Musk and Jobs apart is that to them, it was not just about developing better versions of what had come before, but questioning the need to do so -- do we really need a better paper towel, or an 'all new' toaster oven? They
are thought leaders who maintained a childlike view of how design innovation can transform the way we live each day and inspired those around them to believe it too. Ironically, with an approach that is less focused on selling stuff, they created remarkable, successful companies. Tesla Motors, Musk's emerging car company, is considered transformative in bringing the electric car, if not to a mass market, at least to ones that believe that we are long overdue for a practical and stylish alterative to the century old gas engine. Meanwhile, other big automotive players, have only gone so far as creating hybrid vehicles, possibly because they are pursuing an agenda to protect the petroldriven status quo. Elon Musk's achievements in business and technology have been widely recognized. Time included him on its 2010 list of ‘100 People who Most Affected the World'. Esquire Magazine named him one of its ‘75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century', and Forbes Magazine named him one of ‘America's 20 Most Powerful CEOs Under 40'. Based on his work at SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Solar City, Research and Development Magazine named Musk its ‘Innovator of the Year' and Inc. Magazine named him its ‘Entrepreneur of the Year'. Musk is also the co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors. which
is into long-range electric vehicles and drivetrains. Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests. He is also the primary investor and Chairman of the Board of SolarCity, a photovoltaic products and services startup company. The underlying motivation for funding both the companies is to help combat global warming.
For them, it was not just about developing better versions of what had come before, but questioning the need to do so. In the near future, SpaceX plans to launch more, smaller satellites from companies like Planet Labs, that would enable things like real-time monitoring of crops, volcanoes and hot spots like the Fukushima plant in Japan. It's an inspiring dream. What does the future hold for Elon Musk? From the looks of it, pretty much whatever he wants. Source: Wikimedia
Key to Water flow on Mars in Antarctica Don Juan Pond, a liquid pond in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys, is nothing short of a phenomenon. It is in a fluid state on a continent that is otherwise frozen. This can be attributed to the pond’s salinity - it is the saltiest water body on Earth. The pond may also take us further on our quest to find life on Mars. Most scientists agree that while there may have been prominent rivers and oceans once upon a time in Mars, today, any water still existing on the planet’s surface would be either frozen, extremely salty, or thoroughly mixed with minerals. They also find several similarities between the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the frozen desert of Mars. The study of where the landlocked pond, nowhere attached to the Southern Ocean, gets its salt from could get us to understand flow of water on the Red Planet. While frozen water has been found on surfaces of middle-to-high latitudes, there has yet to be evidence of
liquid water flowing on the surface. The implications of finding of water in liquid state on the search for life on Mars cannot be overstated. With such considerations, researchers from Brown University tried to get to the bottom of the question of where Don Juan gets its salt from. Thus, research was done on the salinity of the pond and its source. These were conducted by James Dickson and James Head of Brown University, Joseph Levy of Oregon State, and David Marchant of Boston University. They took time lapse pictures of the pond, about 16,000 of them over two months to study the water’s flow. Their finds explained the pond’s sources of water. Daily, as the temperature of the area would rise, so would the pond’s water level. But the origin of the salt still remained a question unanswered. More data was collected to monitor the pond and its surroundings. Another set of cameras were put on channels of
loose sediment around the water body. These were rich in calcium chloride salt that would undergo a process called deliquescence. Parched, salty soil would absorb moisture from the air as humidity in the air would increase. Dark streaks would emerge in this soil; water tracks strikingly similar to the recurring slope lineae found on Mars recently.
Furthermore, chloride-bearing salts have been also found on Mars, with a similar potential for deliquescence. This means that if water can stay in the liquid state due to salinity caused by this process in frozen Antarctica, it could also be present in the same form on Mars. The inference the scientists make is thus: the most habitable places on
Mars may mimic the least habitable places on Earth. Perhaps the microbes that flourish in salt water could be present in this form of water if it does indeed exist there. And finding the water could lead us to finding life on the Red Planet. Source: NBC News
LET THE DANES TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE COPENHAGEN’S BIKE CULTURE AND INFRASTRUCTURE HAS THE WORLD CALLING IT “THE BIKE CITY”
There are five and a half million people in Denmark, and one quarter of them live in the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Every day Copenhageners travel 660,000 kilometers by metro. But a total of 1.2 million kilometers are cycled daily almost double the amount. The city has the world’s best urban cycling infrastructure, as well as culture. It has the reputation of being the most bicycle friendly city on the planet, so much so that biking lanes in Melbourne and Australia are called Copenhagen lanes. This is by no accident. On December 2011, the municipal council consciously adopted Good, Better, Best - The – City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025’” to replace previous cycling policies. This was borne out of the understanding that cycling is a healthier, environmentally friendly, cheaper and often quicker way around town than by public transport or car. There are about 300 kilometers of existing biking lanes in the city and another 50 kilometers are getting constructed as we speak. These are separated from motorized traffic by small curbs or other barriers on major roadways, to ensure the cyclicsts’ safety. Through the city, there are dedicated bike signals and designated “Green Wave” routes appropriate for cycling speeds. This should explain why 37 percent of Copenhagen metro area residents commute by bike; perhaps the highest rate you will find anywhere in the world. Visitors can also borrow a city bike at any of the number of coin-operated kiosks during the warm-weather
months. The 20 kroner coin is a deposit, returned when the bike is re-deposited at any other kiosk in town. An interesting extension of bicycle culture from Copenhagen is the Cycle Chic movement. It grew from reactions to a photo of a girl wearing her regular clothes on a bike, which inspired the photographer, Michael Colville-Andersen, to start the blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic featuring mainly female subjects riding their bikes in fashionable clothes. Its popularity has started a global movement with over 100 Cycle Chic blogs featuring similarly themed photography from other cities and areas around the world.
Copenhagen has ambitions to increase the number of two-wheeledcommuters to 50% by 2015. Its well-developed bicycle culture has given rise to the term - “ Copenhagenization. Popularised by Danish urban deisign consultant Jan Gehl, Copenhagenization is a design strategy in which urban planning and design are centered around making a city more accessible to bicyclists, following Copenhagen’s example. This bike culture has now become a phenomenon, working towards getting more people to leave the car and take a bike. Source: Huf f i ng ton Post