Saturday, July 24, 2010

Space In Pictures: Rho Ophiuchus

Space In Pictures: Rho Ophiuchus

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A symbol for indian rupee

Finally, the Rupee has a symbol like other major global currencies!
In a historic event, a five-member jury set up to finalise symbol for the rupee selected the design presented by IIT-ian D Udaya Kumar.
The Union Cabinet approved the symbol on Thursday noon. The Indian rupee is now the fifth currency in the world to have a distinct identity. The rupee will join the elite club of US dollar, British pound-sterling, Euro and Japanese yen to have its own symbol.
A proud D Udaya Kumar said: "My design is based on the Tricolour, with two lines at the top and white space in between. I wanted the symbol for the Rupee to represent the Indian flag. It is a perfect blend of Indian and Roman letters: a capital 'R', and Devanagari 'ra', which represent rupiya, to appeal to international and Indian audiences."
"I worked on it for few months and made numerous designs. Finally, I shortlisted 8 to 10 designs and then refined them further till I got this one," he said.
"I will be joining the design department at IIT-Guwahati on Friday, and am overwhelmed by the response so far. My phone has not stopped ringing since morning," he added.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said after the Cabinet meeting in Delhi on Thursday that the symbol will be printed or embossed on currency notes and coins.
Soni said that the government will try that the symbol is adopted within six months in the country and globally within 18 to 24 months.
The symbol will feature on computer key boards and software so that it can be printed and displayed in electronic and print, she said.
Soni said it would also help in distinguishing the Indian currency from rupee or rupiah of countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paul the Psychic Octopus

We’re sad and yet glad that the World Cup is over. Sad because it was fun and exciting and we actually hung out more with friends than we have in months because we were always getting together to watch the game, and sharing it with pals worldwide through Twitter. Although the Netherlands-Spain final was the kind of shitty game that makes people who don’t like soccer continue to not like soccer, it wasn’t representative of the tourney as a whole. Sad because there was so much to see and ponder in “the beautiful game.”
But we’re also glad because things that are fun and exciting are the most fun and exciting when they come and go and leave you wanting more.
Of course, the breakout star of the Cup was not Ronaldo or Kaka or Messi but an unassuming mollusk whose psychic powers amazed the world. Yes, it was Paul The Psychic Octopus whose stunning 8-for-8 predictions have left scientists and sports fans reeling with questions regarding cephalopod intelligence, the possibilities of psychic powers, and tentacled understanding of the passing game and the offsides rule.
Housed in a German zoo, Paul correctly predicted all of the German team’s results — including their losses to Serbia and Spain — and Spain’s win over the Netherlands. His method of communicating his predictions to his keepers was a bit unorthodox — Paul would choose a tasty bit of oyster from one of two boxes, each adorned with the flags of the competing teams in each contest — but it worked. He surpassed the efforts of other would-be animal seers at the same zoo: Petty the pygmy hippo, Leon the porcupine and Anton the tamarin monkey all picked wrong in other games. A South American dolphin named Sayco announced his pick and the headline “Dolphin favors Argentina” but we all know how that turned out. Paul’s biggest rival, Mani the Parakeet, picked the Dutch squad in the final.

No, it was Paul who made headlines this time out — but his terrific run in the World Cup followed a lesser performance in the 2008 European Cup where he incorrectly picked Germany to beat Spain in the final.
So how did Paul do it? Octopi have the largest brain of any mollusk, and the limits of their brain capacity are still being studied — they can learn, use tools and recognize complicated patterns and devise cunning strategies for getting food. But they are color blind, leading skeptics to say Paul’s picks were base on the varying attractiveness of the national flags. Since there were only two choices, most say Paul’s picks are the result of random chance, like flipping a coin. But even octopus experts can’t say with certainty what really happened:

Friday, July 2, 2010

The flying car

If you are dreaming of a car that can also fly in case of traffic jams, it could soon come true as the United States aviation authority has given its green signal for the commercial production of such a vehicle.
The vehicle 'Terrafugia Transition' is a two-seater car that can convert from road to air in less than a minute, without the driver leaving the vehicle.
Developed by former NASA engineers and built by a small American company from Massachusetts, Terrafugia Inc, the vehicle can travel at speeds of up to 90 mph in car mode with its wings folded.
The wings then unfold for flight mode in which it can cruise at a speed of 115 mph for up to 500 miles on a tank of unleaded gasoline, the Telegraph reported.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the Transition an exemption -- allowing it to be classified as a 'light sport aircraft' despite being 120 pound over the limit.
The 'roadable aircraft', which is powered by the same 100-bhp engine whether it is on the ground or in the air, will require a 'Sport Pilot license' to fly.
It can take off or land at any public use general aviation airport with at least 2,500 feet of runway.
According to its manufacturer, one of the major advantages of the Transition over ordinary light aircraft is safety, as in the event of inclement weather, it can simply drive home instead of either being grounded or flying in unsafe conditions.
With a deposit money of $10,000 (Rs 460,000), nearly 70 people have already booked the car which is expected to cost $194,000 (about Rs 90 lakh), the company said.
Founded in 2006 by award-winning Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained aeronautical engineers and management whizkids, Terrafugia is a company with a mission: to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation.
The result: the Transition Roadable Aircraft.
Its unique design allows the Transition to fold its wings and drive on any surface road with a modern personal airplane platform.
Once at the airport, the wings extend and the aircraft is ready.
Powered testing of the Proof of Concept has been ongoing since the second half of 2008.
Construction, testing and certification of the Production Prototype will follow completion of the Proof of Concept's testing programme.
To date, Terrafugia remains privately funded by a group of accredited individual investors.
The company is based just outside Boston in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Cruise: 100 kts (115 mph)
  • Rotate: 70 kts (80 mph)
  • Fuel burn: 5 gph (gallons per hour)
  • Fuel tank: 20 gallons
  • Useful load: 430 lbs
  • On road: 30 miles per gallon, highway speeds
  • Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)
1 US gallon = 3.78 litres
  • Front wheel drive on the ground
  • Automotive-style entry and exit
  • Automated electromechanical folding wing
  • No trailer or hangar needed
  • Cargo area holds skis, fishing poles or golf clubs
  • Drive in case of inclement weather
  • Proven 100 hp Rotax 912S engine
  • Full vehicle parachute available
  • Modern glass avionics
  • Automotive crash safety features
  • 6 feet 9 inches tall
  • 6 feet 8 inches wide
  • 18 feet 9 inches long
  • 6 feet 3 inches tall
  • 19 feet 2 inches long
  • 27 fee 6 inches
  • 51 inches at the shoulder
Terrafugia Transition can take off or land at any public use general aviation airport with at least 2,500 feet of runway.
On the ground, the Transition can be driven on any road and parked in a standard parking space or household garage. Once on the ground, with the wings folded, the vehicle can be driven on any road.
The Transition is powered by a certified aircraft engine that runs on unleaded automotive gasoline. Perfect for trips between 100 and 500 miles, the Transition is not designed to replace anyone's automobile.
After landing, the pilot activates the electro-mechanical wing folding mechanism from inside the cockpit.
The wings fold, once at the root and once at the mid-span, and are stowed vertically on the sides of the vehicle in less than 30 seconds.
Simultaneously, the engine power is directed to the front wheels with a continuously variable transmission.
Before flying, the pilot extends the wings and performs a standard preflight. The engine power is directed to the propeller for flight through a carbon fibre drive shaft.
If bad weather is encountered en route, the pilot can land and drive without worrying about ground transportation.
At the destination airport the pilot can fold the wings and drive off the airfield without having to move bags or arrange for additional transportation.
Driving and flying can be combined between multiple airports as it is not necessary to take off and land at the same field.