Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anime Cine Experience In Delhi


Cine Darbaar, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, Directorate of
Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of
India, Japan Foundation and Asian School Of Graphics And Animation
[ASGA] as knowledge partners is organizing a 3-day Animation film
festival at Siri Fort auditorium on the 20th, 21st & 22nd August,
It’s the first time that a festival will be celebrating
Japanese-Anime, Manga (Comics) and Pop-culture in India. Anime Cine
Experience will be bringing the great anime works of Japan with films
like The Girl who leapt through time, Grave of the fireflies, 5cm per
second, Voices of Distant Star and The Place Promised in Our Early Days.
“To give the audience a wider understanding of Anime, the festival will
have workshops and special discussions will be conducted by Shubham
Mauria and Kshitiz Anand’’ informed Sandeep Marwah, President of Marwah
Studios and Director of Asian School Of Graphics And Animation.

Apart from these workshops, festival is also organizing a short-film
competition. A Short Anime corner will screen the 10 best short films
and the top three films will be awarded. The festival will also have a
photography exhibition on Japan.
A film journal Indian Auteur will be publishing a special issue on Anime for 

the festival with the help of Japan Foundation and knowledge partners 
Asian School of Graphics and Animation.The Festival is supported by 
International Film And Television Club, International Children’s
 Film Forum and Radio Noida.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday the 13th Superstitions Rooted in Bible and More


This year Friday the 13th superstitions get a break—luckily for triskaidekaphobes.

The Last Supper, after restoration.
Legendary traitor Judas (fourth from left) is said to have been the 13th guest at Jesus' Last Supper.
Painting by Leonardo da Vinci via Getty Images

John Roach
Updated August 13, 2010
They date back to at least ancient Roman times, but Friday the 13th superstitions won't be getting much of a workout this year. Luckily for triskaidekaphobiasufferers, today is 2010's only Friday the 13th.
That must come as a relief, after 2009's nine Friday the 13ths—the maximum possible in a year, at least as long as we continue to mark time with the Gregorian calendar, which Pope Gregory XIII ordered the Catholic Church to adopt in 1582.
"You can't have any [years] with none, and you can't have any with four, because of our funny calendar," said Underwood Dudley, a professor emeritus of mathematics at DePauw University in Indiana, and author of Numerology: Or, What Pythagoras Wrought.
The calendar works just as its predecessor, the Julian calendar, did, with a leap year every four years. But the Gregorian calendar skips leap year on century years except those divisible by 400. For example, there was no leap year in 1900, but there was one in 2000. This trick keeps the calendar in tune with the seasons.
The result is an ordering of days and dates that repeats itself every 400 years, Dudley noted. As time marches through the order, some years appear with three Friday the 13ths. Other years have two or, like 2010, one.
Curious Calendar Encourages Friday the 13th Superstitions
"It's just that curious way our calendar is constructed, with 28 days in February and all those 30s and 31s," Dudley said.
When the 400-year order is laid out, another revelation occurs: The 13th falls on Friday more often than any other day of the week. "It's just a funny coincidence," Dudley said.
Richard Beveridge, a mathematics instructor at Clatsop Community College in Oregon, authored a 2003 paper in the journal Mathematical Connections on the mathematics of Friday the 13th.
He noted the 400-year cycle is further broken down into periods of either 28 or 40 years.
"At the end of every cycle you get a year with three Friday the 13ths the year before the last year in the cycle … and you also get one on the tenth year of all the cycles," he said.
2009, for example, was the tenth year of the cycle that started in 2000.
Friday the 13th Superstitions Linked to Triskaidekaphobia
Friday the 13th superstitions are rooted in ancient bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday, said Donald Dossey, a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun.
The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.
Dossey traces the fear of the number 13—aka, triskaidekaphobia—to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, Norse mythology's heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous god Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
"Balder died, and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day," Dossey said.
There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. (See "Lost Gospel Revealed; Says Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him.")
As for Friday, it's well known among Christians as the day Jesus was crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by his brother Cain on Friday the 13th.
Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.
In modern times, many triskaidekaphobes point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
Thomas Fernsler, an associate policy scientist in the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware in Newark, said the number 13 suffers because of its position after 12.
According to Fernsler, numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus.
In exceeding 12 by 1, Fernsler said 13's association with bad luck "has to do with just being a little beyond completeness. The number becomes restless or squirmy"—not unlike some folks with triskaidekaphobia today.
Paralyzed by Friday the 13th Superstitions
Some people are so paralyzed by Friday the 13th superstitions that they refuse to fly, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip, for example.
"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," said Dossey, the historian, who is also the founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.
Among other services, Dossey's organization counsels clients on how to Friday the 13th superstitions, which fuel a phobia that he estimates afflicts 17 to 21 million people in the United States.
Symptoms range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks. The latter may cause people to reshuffle schedules or miss an entire day's work.
When it comes to bad luck of any kind, Richard Wiseman—a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England—found that people who consider themselves unfortunate are more likely to believe in superstitions associated with bad luck.
"Their beliefs and behavior are likely to be part of a much bigger worldview," he said. "They will believe that luck is a magical force and that it can ruin their lives."
Triskaidekaphobia'as Architectural Effects
Triskaidekaphobia can even be seen in how societies are built. More than 80 percent of high-rise buildings lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 1/2. In France socialites known as the quatorziens ("fourteeners") once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
DePauw University's Dudley said nobody really knows why Friday the 13th has spawned so many superstitions.
"You've got to have something that is unlucky, and somehow they hit on 13," he said. "But all these explanations are just moonshine."

Monday, August 9, 2010

IISc opens doors to Undergrads from 2011


By Staff Reporter       Published: August 09 2010 

Good news for all students who are looking for a good undergraduate program, IISc is planning to introduce a UG course that can help take the first step towards success.
One of Bangalore's premiere institutions Indian Institute of Science or IISc. Established back in the year 1909, it has become one of the top ranked institutes in the country. The degrees offered by this institute can be divided into two categories, Degrees by coursework and Degrees by Research and from 2011 the institute shall also offer undergraduate courses . All major universities across the world have proper UG courses that help students take the right step towards their future but in India, students do not have as many options therefore IISc is making a conscious effort to bridge the gap in education. 

Once the program gets the green signal, the institute shall offer a four year interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science programme. Taking inspiration from the program being offered at the California Institute of Technology, this particular proposal seeks to create human resources that can make positive contributions to industry, in the field of medicine or in research institutes. The UG course will combine both science and engineering although the primary focus would be on science.  

Also, the report presented by the committee, led by Yash Pal - a noted academic, has suggested that it be made mandatory for all the universities in the country to offer weighty undergraduate programmes. This particular proposal seeks to develop a much needed connection between undergraduate and postgraduate programs. In addition to the basic sciences, the interdisciplinary programme will also include the humanities namely philosophy and history.  

The institute shall probably witness growth and expansion in regards to the infrastructure along with human resources once the course is introduced.  
A professor says, ““The problems we face today are very different from those that needed to be addressed 100 years ago when the IISc began — we have issues such as environment and energy to contend with. These problems can only be solved through an interdisciplinary approach.” 

Although it was assumed a while back that the campus in Chitradurga would probably house the programme, it has been recently reported that the existing IISc campus would offer the undergraduate programme. Each batch comprising of about 50-200 students, the programme will most probably be small. Since the changing world calls for a mix of science and engineering, this UG course seeks to provide exactly that so as to make the students capable of contributing both in industry as well as in research. The program would be started in a number of fields including Physics, Biology, Math etc. It would also allow students to pick the minors and major after about three semesters.   

Prof Yash Pal had this to say about the course, “marvelous news and a move in the right direction.” He dismissed doubts and worries about losing research time and resources, “If you’re teaching an undergraduate programme, you’ll find that you will come across a certain energy and even questions that will widen the horizons of your research too. It is very valuable, and that is where you will get your best material from.”    

As you are already aware the admissions into the institute is no piece of cake but with loads of hard work and determination, it is possible for you to become a part of the world renowned institute.  

Indian Institute of Science

No.259, Iisc Campus,
Malleswaram, Bangalore -5600012 Map
91-80-2293 2004/2228/2001

Abandon Earth or Face Extinction, Warns Stephen Hawking


Jan. 14: Stephen Hawking speaks via satellite during a Science Channel presentation in Pasadena, Calif.

It's time to abandon Earth, warned the world's most famous theoretical physicist.
In an interview with website Big Think, Stephen Hawking warned that the long-term future of theplanet is in outer space.
"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet," he said.
"I see great dangers for the human race," Hawking said. "There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future."
"But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space," he said.
That said, getting to another planet will prove a challenge, not to mention colonizing it for humanity. University of Michigan astrophysicist Katherine Freese told Big Think that "the nearest star [to Earth] is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away. That means that, if you were traveling at the speed of light the whole time, it would take 4.2 years to get there" -- or about 50,000 years using current rocket science.
Still, we need to act and act fast, Hawking stated. "It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space."
Hawking has become quite outspoken in recent months. In April, he warned of the dangers of communicating with aliens, telling the Discovery Channel that extra-terrestrials are almost certain to exist -- and humanity should avoid contact with them at all cost.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”
The answer, he suggests, is that most of alien life will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals -- the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history -- and they could pose a serious threat to us.
In May Hawking said he believed humans could travel millions of years into the future and repopulate their devastated planet. If spaceships are built that can fly faster than the speed of light, a day on board would be equivalent to a year on Earth. That's because -- according to Einstein -- as objects accelerate through space, time slows down around them.
“Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a crank," he said in Stephen Hawking's Universe.
"These days I’m not so cautious.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Zimbabwe fools media with plane accident report


HARARE, Zimbabwe — Around the world, the news went out: Plane accident in Zimbabwe, black smoke on runway, ambulances screaming in.
Except the disaster never happened.
Harare airport authorities tricked the public and the world's media into believing a security drill Thursday was a crash to make the drill and the emergency response seem more real.
It's a practice that's been used elsewhere, but is seen as especially risky in a world where panic is only a few tweets or clicks away.
"Emergency drills are all well and good as part of regular safety procedures and operational awareness in the event of the real thing, but there is a danger of a 'cry wolf' syndrome if emergency drills are repeatedly confused with 'real-life' events," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.
Financial markets appeared unperturbed by Thursday's incident in economically and politically isolated Zimbabwe. But the lie disrupted hospital staff in the country's capital, confused airport passengers, and provoked worries about its impact on the struggling air industry.
It started around midday, when Zimbabwean aviation officials told news organizations that a Boeing 767 arriving from London was involved in an accident at Harare's airport.
Soldiers, paramilitary police and security agents sealed off approaches to the airport and guarded the perimeter. Military helicopters hovered aloft as smoke rose from one runway. Ambulances rushed in.
At Harare's Parirenyatwa hospital, extra doctors and nurses were rushed in and told to expect casualties from the airport. The atmosphere at the hospital was tense with staff evidently believing it was a genuine emergency.
All-news TV networks and websites in several countries flashed the reports of an accident, and the alerts were passed along dozens of times via Twitter.
Several hours later, David Chawota, head of the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority, told journalists that the drill's scenario — involving a nonexistent Boeing 767 airliner arriving from London — was designed to simulate a hijacking in which nine people had been killed and 30 were injured.
"Telling the media was part of the exercise. We wanted to see how the media would react," he said. "In the event, the drill was a success because all our systems worked perfectly. Police, security and hospital staff reacted swiftly" — along with the media.
Emergency hospital facilities in Zimbabwe have suffered acute shortages of equipment and drugs in the nation's economic meltdown. Emergency services are ill-equipped to handle bus crashes and highway accidents.
It was not the first time civil aviation authorities have intentionally issued fake statements to the public, only to retract them after the exercise ended.
In 2002, a false report of an airplane crash at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport sent journalists rushing to the scene only to discover it was a practice drill. And in 2006, Kenyan officials again told journalists that a passenger plane had crashed near a Nairobi airport with 80 people on board — but when reporters arrived, they found that nothing had happened. Nairobi saw similar cases in 2001 and 1999.
Media watchdogs warned against such manipulation.
Gilles Lordet, editor-in-chief at Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, called the incident "totally absurd" and said the media should have been warned in advance.
"You must think about the human consequences, but also those for the media," he said. "This further discredits journalists, and encourages those who say journalists only flap their gums."
He said that there is more of a risk in today's interconnected world that rumors and misinformation could spread farther and faster than in the past.
News that it was all just a drill traveled swiftly too, however, and produced far more action on Twitter and elsewhere online than the original false report.
Aviation analysts also say the practice, which has also been used in Europe, has troubling implications for an industry still struggling to recover after a deep downturn caused by the global economic crisis and the volcanic ash cloud that blocked European air traffic earlier this year.
"Safety-related stories like this do get into the press very, very quickly, and people will be concerned that there has been a plane crash that hadn't really occurred," said Richard Maslen of Airliner World, a British aviation industry publication.
"This shouldn't happen if the drill is managed and organized properly and information is provided so that the public understands what's happening."
The spokesman for the umbrella group for world airline pilots said he was puzzled by the need to mislead the public.
"It's kind of surprising, why anyone would do that. It's difficult to see what kind of benefit would that bring to a drill," said Gideon Ewers, from the 105,000-member International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations.
Experts agree that while emergency procedures need to be practiced regularly to make sure that all elements of the system work together, it's important not to make them too real. A number of such exercises have gone badly wrong recently, including some that have placed the traveling public at risk.
In January, airport police in Slovakia slipped 3.4 ounces (96 grams) of plastic explosive into the check-in luggage of an Irishman returning home after Christmas holidays.
The move was supposed to be part of a training test for a bomb-sniffing dog, but an the ensuing mix-up, the bags were loaded onto the plane and allowed to fly across Europe to the passenger's destination.
Several years ago, French police discontinued the technique of using unsuspecting travelers' luggage in exercises after a bag containing explosives disappeared on a conveyor belt ferrying luggage to dozens of international flights. The explosives were never recovered.
"It's not just Zimbabwe's goof," said William Voss of the Flight Safety Foundation based in Alexandria, Virginia. He cited examples in the United States where security exercises had caused alarm among people convinced that a real attack was taking place.
"The planning of emergency preparedness drills is something that needs to be thought out carefully, because they can easily go wrong," he said.
"There's a very fine line between simulating emergencies and actually creating them," Voss said.
AP Aviation Writer Slobodan Lekic reported from Brussels. Associated press writers Angela Charlton in Paris and Pan Pylas in London contributed to this report.

Google Wave failure may help Google Me succeed


As Google Wave is tossed aside, analysts say Google has learned important social networking lessons

By Sharon Gaudin
August 5, 2010 11:01 AM ET

Computerworld - Lessons learned from the demise of Google Wave -- Google threw in the towel on its first social networking offering this week -- could provide the company's engineers with a chance to come up with a far more viable service, analysts say.
Google announced on Wednesday that it is killing off its collaboration and communication tool about a year after the Google Wave service was launched.
In a blog post yesterday, Urs Hoelzle, Google senior vice president for operations, acknowledged that the social networking service was unable to gain any traction with users.
While Google Wave will be just another failed product by the end of the year, pieces of it will live on in other Google projects, the company said.
And that leads some industry watchers to wonder if Google is cutting bait so its developers can dust themselves off, use some lessons learned and some of Google Wave's most interesting features to begin work on new social networking product.
"This is typical Google-like behavior. They aren't shy about killing projects that don't hit their expectations," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "I don't think that users really got it when it came to Wave. But this was a good learning experience for Google. They now know they need to bring a more fully baked product to the market. They also have to clearly articulate why users should jump on board. I don't think this is Google's last run at social networking. There are rumors about a new product -- Google Me -- that looks to be their next shot at this market."
Talk started circulating around the Internet about Google Me late in June. While Google hasn't confirmed any of the widespread speculation, the reports of efforts to build a Facebook-killer persist.
Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, agreed that if Google can learn from the failure of Google Wave, the company will have a better shot at building and launching a successful social networking service the second time around.
"Social networking is absolutely harder than it looks," added Enderle. "It's not a technical problem as much as a social problem. It's trying to solve a people problem and engineers, by their nature, suck at solving people problems. Google is going to have to address behavioral and social skills to build another service."
Both Enderle and Olds believe that Google is working on another social networking service ... a Facebook-like offering that's more attractive to consumers -- and less about collaboration.
"Why not? Facebook is making itself an easy target," added Enderle. "I think Google will go down this path and it's probably closer to what Google should be doing anyway. It's a Web property. The social networking aspect of the Web is more closely related to search than almost any other successful thing out there."
Olds noted that a new Google social network better have a lot of notable contrasts with Google Wave.
"Social networking is a tough racket," said Olds. "If they come out with a new service, it will have to have a feature-packed tool that is easy to use, secure, and be highly scalable. And then they'll need to attract swarms of users quickly to gain enough momentum to get it off the ground. It isn't easy to pull off. If it were, we'd see a lot more competitors taking a run at Facebook."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter@sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS. Her e-mail address
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