Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Chances are that you have heard of Wikis by now -- they seem to be popping up everywhere. For example, The most famous wiki is called Wikipedia, a massive online encyclopedia. Wikipedia has become so large (more than a million articles) that you run across it all the time in Google. It is so popular that it is now one of the Top 100 web sites in the world!

Despite their popularity, Wikis seem very strange to many people. Where does all the information come from? Is it reliable? What stops people from vandalizing a wiki until it dies? These questions and many others will be answered as we dive into the world of wikis...
Wikis are growing because, at their core, they are about as simple as can be. That simplicity means that people find them easy to use, just like e-mail and blogs. Like e-mail and blogs, wikis also perform a very useful service in a simple way. A wiki allows a group of people to enter and communally edit bits of text. These bits of text can be viewed and edited by anyone who visits the wiki.

That's it. What it means is that, when you come to a wiki, you are able to read what the wiki's community has written. By clicking an "edit" button on an article, you are able to edit the article's text. You can add or change anything you like in the article you are reading.

Padmarajan: A Loss in January

Padmarajan died in a cold January, untimely. He was in a hotel at calicut, in the middle of a celebration of his latest film Njaan Gandharvan (I, the celestial enchanter), in 1991. It was as if audience of the show was subjected to a dismayed silence, and the show was stalled. I for one who had just begun waking upto adolescence and the charm of his creative genius, felt the void, instantly.

Padmarajan started his career as a writer. Unfortunately I have not read any of his books. I know him from his films. If the literary quality of his films is anything to go by, they must be a world to discover. In fact like most of the films, his first film was based on his own novel Peruvazhiyambalam (The grand roadway Inn, 1979). The movie tore down the mythical fence between popular and art house movies. He pioneered the middle of the road solution for commercially succesfull good films and began a short lived golden period of malayalam films alongside Bharathan, Aravindan and M.T. Vasudevan Nair.

The plot of Peruvazhiyambalam was set in a non-descript village somewhere in kerala. It revolved around Raman, an adolescent who inadvertantly killed Prabhakaran Pillai in a scuffle. Pillai, a local bully persecuted him and coveted his sister. After the incident Raman lived in hiding with the help of a truck driver and a prostitute. The movie ended with Raman's realization of his persona as a ravager of Pillai's hapless family. We find the extra-ordinary circumstances in the lives of ordinary people and the choices they made to deal with them.

However the movie was a riot in a deeper sense when Padmarajan ever so subtly slipped in the psychoanalytical threads to metatag the life of Raman in lieu of his insecurities as a teenager, his perceptions of sexuality and growth in a seemingly hostile world. Another aspect of the movie was the use of violence as a leitmotif, which later became an identity of his oeu·vre. He was perhaps the only indian director to deal with psychosis and clinical psychology with some competence. Its interesting to watch him map the animalistic psychological behaviour of his characters to the spatial fields of social consciousness, with an amazing flair for story telling.

Padmarajan is known for his native and localized plots and characters. It is a little unfair on the non-native viewer to pick up on the nuances, but then so was Faulkner's art and so was Ozu's art. I have marvelled at this comparison for sometime. Faulkner's southerner retard Benjy imparted a shock to the readers and similarly viewers were shaken by Padmarajan's blend of anarchist and sexually challenged protagonists.

He made Oridathu Oru Phayalvaan (There lived a wrestler, 1982), a folk parable about the success and failure in the life of a wrestler whose successes in the wrestling arena were starkly contrasted with his sexual impotency. This film portrayed the marginal characters (like the frog catchers) with such brilliance that the movie had an organic existence delineated in a multi dimensional narrative. It provoked an urgent and instant response from the audience. Kallan Pavithran (Pavithran, the thief, 1981) and Arappatta kettiya gramathil (The village with a waist band, 1986) - the story of a bunch of prostitutes and pimps in a village) had the stamp of his magic with precision, warmth and an empathy devoid of prejudice. It was life unclassified.

Like Ozu, Padmarajan was a story teller and relied on the total impact rather than partial brilliance. Philosophically he seemed to share Ozu's social conservatism and perennially interested in the concepts of epic and lyrical times. He even made a movie similar to Ozu's Tokyo Story, Thinkalazcha, Nalla Divasam (Monday, the Good Day).

He went on to make major movies such as Namukku Parkan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986) (Vineyards for us to live), Thoovanathumpikal (1987), Moonnaam Pakkam (The third day) (1988), Aparan (1988), Innale (1989) and finally Njan Gandharvan - 1991 (The Celestial Lover). Each movie followed a different genre in themes, techniques and plots. If the movie, Vineyards to live was an inspired take off on Solomon's song and a beautifull thought on the biblical promise of vineyard for each other by lovers, The Celestial lover was about the phantasmagoric life of a nubile where she found her heavenly lover out of the blue sky, only to be punished by higher powers.

Ironically Padmarajan vanished abruptly, amid life's celebration and at the peak of his almost ethereal creative powers. His films spanned a little over a decade. In the first half he displayed an exceptional ability to bring raw power and subliminal nature of human relationships and the next half lingered more on his liking for variety and experimentation. He endeared most of the viewers like myself with his earlier movies. I was hoping to watch him cover unchartered waters, with the unprecedented support from almost all sections of movie goers. Everything looked perfectly set. But then there was this intervention of death.

The source:Chronicles
A page on Padmarajan maintained by his family

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

topic for mechanical engineering

Green Engine

This seminar representing the Green engine effect. That is for increasing the efficiency of the engine and avoiding excessive pollution a new method adopting, a ceramic coating [non-metallic solid coating]is done on the parts like piston and crown of the engine used in automobiles
Factors affecting the efficiency
Incomplete combustionCarbon depositionThermal shockingPollution control
For avoiding these factors we adopt the method of ceramic coating on the engine Features of ceramic coating We conduct various process in this coating
1. Physical vapour deposition2. Chemical vapour deposition 3. Ion plating4. Spattering5. HAIPAP
1. This prevents he deposition of carbon over the cylinder head and piston
2. It acts as a thermal barrier which reduces the amount of heat leakage
3. It help complete combustion of fuels
4. It avoids thermal shocking
5. All the factors above contribute increases the efficiency up to 9% and reduction in pollution in a wide rate
1. Additional reactions takes place due to coating. 2. High expense for coating.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This site has interesting articles and features:

Please check it out

college graduates!

Quantum cryptography

Quantum cryptography is an effort to allow two users of a common communication channel to create a body of shared and secret information. This information, which generally takes the form of a random string of bits, can then be used as a conventional secret key for secure communication. It is useful to assume that the communicating parties initially share a small amount of secret information, which is used up and then renewed in the exchange process, but even without this assumption exchanges are possible.
The advantage of quantum cryptography over traditional key exchange methods is that the exchange of information can be shown to be secure in a very strong sense, without making assumptions about the intractability of certain mathematical problems. Even when assuming hypothetical eavesdroppers with unlimited computing power, the laws of physics guarantee (probabilistically) that the secret key exchange will be secure, given a few other assumptions.

Artificial eye

The retina is a thin layer of neural tissue that lines the back wall inside the eye. Some of these cells act to receive light, while others interpret the information and send messages to the brain through the optic nerve. This is part of the process that enables us to see. In damaged or dysfunctional retina, the photoreceptors stop working, causing blindness. By some estimates, there are more than 10 million people worldwide affected by retinal diseases that lead to loss of vision.
The absence of effective therapeutic remedies for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has motivated the development of experimental strategies to restore some degree of visual function to affected patients. Because the remaining retinal layers are anatomically spared, several approaches have been designed to artificially activate this residual retina and thereby the visual system.
At present, two general strategies have been pursued. The "Epiretinal" approach involves a semiconductor-based device placed above the retina, close to or in contact with the nerve fiber layer retinal ganglion cells. The information in this approach must be captured by a camera system before transmitting data and energy to the implant.
The "Sub retinal" approach involves the electrical stimulation of the inner retina from the sub retinal space by implantation of a semiconductor-based micro photodiode array (MPA) into this location. The concept of the sub retinal approach is that electrical charge generated by the MPA in response to a light stimulus may be used to artificially alter the membrane potential of neurons in the remaining retinal layers in a manner to produce formed images.
Some researchers have developed an implant system where a video camera captures images, a chip processes the images, and an electrode array transmits the images to the brain. It's called Cortical Implants.

3D PC Glasses

Only a few years ago, seeing in 3-D meant peering through a pair of red-and-blue glasses, or trying not to go cross-eyed in front of a page of fuzzy dots. It was great at the time, but 3-D technology has moved on. Scientists know more about how our vision works than ever before, and our computers are more powerful than ever before -- most of us have sophisticated components in our computer that are dedicated to producing realistic graphics. Put those two things together, and you'll see how 3-D graphics have really begun to take off.

Most computer users are familiar with 3-D games. Back in the '90s, computer enthusiasts were stunned by the game Castle Wolfenstein 3D, which took place in a maze-like castle. It may have been constructed from blocky tiles, but the castle existed in three dimensions -- you could move forward and backward, or hold down the appropriate key and see your viewpoint spin through 360 degrees. Back then, it was revolutionary and quite amazing. Nowadays, gamers enjoy ever more complicated graphics -- smooth, three-dimensional environments complete with realistic lighting and complex simulations of real-life physics grace our screens. But that's the problem -- the screen. The game itself may be in three dimensions, and the player may be able to look wherever he wants with complete freedom, but at the end of the day the picture is displayed on a computer monitor...and that's a flat surface.

That's where PC 3-D glasses come in. They're designed to convince your brain that your monitor is showing a real, three-dimensional object. In order to understand quite how this works, we need to know what sort of work our brain does with the information our eyes give it. Once we know about that, we'll be able to understand just how 3-D glasses do their job.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Computer memory based on the protein bacterio-rhodopsin

With existing methods fast approaching their limits, it is no wonder that a number of new storage technologies are developing. Currently, researches are looking at protien-based memory to compete with the speed of electronic memory, the reliability of magnetic hard-disks, and the capacities of optical/magnetic storage. We contend that three-dimensional optical memory devices made from bacteriorhodopsin utilizing the two photon read and write-method is such a technology with which the future of memory lies.

In a prototype memory system, bacteriorhodopsin stores data in a 3-D matrix. The matrix can be build by placing the protein into a cuvette (a transparent vessel) filled with a polyacrylamide gel. The protein, which is in the bR state, gets fixed in by the polymerization of the gel. A battery of Krypton lasers and a charge-injection device (CID) array surround the cuvette and are used to write and read data.

While a molecule changes states within microseconds, the combined steps to read or write operation take about 10 milliseconds. However like the holographic storage, this device obtains data pages in parallel, so a 10 Mbps is possible. This speed is similar to that of slow semiconductor memory.


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