crazythinker00's Journal
20 entries back

Date:2011-12-30 22:31
Subject:Yeti Finger discovery turns out to be a human finger
Security:Public

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45816366/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.Tv_9QNTOzCs

Yeti Theory for origination of finger is no longer supported )

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Date:2011-12-29 22:18
Subject:Solar Power In India
Security:Public
Mood: curious

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/business/energy-environment/in-solar-power-india-begins-living-up-to-its-own-ambitions.html?_r=1

Increased Use of Solar Power In India )

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Date:2011-12-28 20:52
Subject:Learning Spanish
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

So for some time now, I've been interested in properly learning Spanish. I did take an Intro to Spanish class in undergrad days (probably the equivalent of a high school year of Spanish, crammed into 10 weeks), but that was the only formal instruction I had of the language. Would be possible to pick it up on my own, though.

A valid question would be: why would I want to learn Spanish? Well, Spanish is one of the most spoken languages around the world, in terms of number of people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language). Several people in and around my area (Santa Clara/San Jose, CA) speak the language, too (while they speak English, I'm sure at least some of them prefer to speak in Spanish, as I've seen them speak with one another in Spanish). On top of this, two of my neighbors (next door and upstairs) speak Spanish as their native language at home and are friendly people, so its fun to speak what little I know with them when we see one another around.

Anyway, here is a nice site to get started with learning some basic phrases:
http://www.ielanguages.com/spanish1.html

Lots of good stuff here. Hopefully I will keep learning more gradually as long as I put even just 10 min/day into this.

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Date:2011-12-25 23:45
Subject:Remembering my father...and Happy Holidays!
Security:Public
Mood: melancholy

As several people know, my father passed away on December 25, 2008. Being 2011, this marks the 3rd anniversary of my father's death. Obviously, this is not an occasion to celebrate, but it is undubitably an especially important time in my family's life and we try to do something that he would have also enjoyed, had he been physically around. That said, we drove up to Albany to catch a glimpse of the home my parents had lived in from 1996-2008, and reminisce for a few moments (I say my parents because my sister and I moved away after we started college). We also spent time walking in Berkeley Marina (which is where my father's ashes were scattered after he was cremated). After that, we spent some peaceful moments over at the Berkeley Hare Krishna Temple (see http://www.yelp.com/biz/krishna-temple-berkeley for details) and then went to a concert over at the San Leandro Badarikashrama (http://www.yelp.com/biz/badarikashrama-san-leandro). It was a North Indian Classical Music Concert by a famous singer called Rita Sahai. While we didn't get to stay for the whole thing (my nephew was getting tired, completely understandable), it was good to get out and participate in activities that my father would have enjoyed. Specifically, my father loved spiritual activities, and as a family, we shared many happy memories at the Berkeley Marina and the temples I had mentioned earlier. To this day, it is hard to believe he is no longer physically present, but his soul will always be alive and there with us.

On a much happier note, wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

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Date:2011-12-20 21:57
Subject:a useful trick for cramps (muscle, stomach, etc)
Security:Public
Mood: peaceful

This is an easy and old-school way of getting rid of cramps:
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Rice-Sock

I tried this out for the first time today and it worked well (okay, I had 2 Advils as well). Still, though, I'm trying to keep a habit of not taking pain relievers as much as possible, and usually stick to lots of hot water w/ginger. Anyway, it was fun to try something different for a change - cheap, quick and reusable. Only drawback I see is that I would be too embarrassed to take this rice sock to work, as others would ask what I am doing and may find it strange.

Anyway, just something to share. Enjoy.

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Date:2011-12-14 22:49
Subject:Android smartphones and tablets available for home automation
Security:Public
Mood:nerdy

According to this:
http://www.control4.com/about-us/press/2011/12/14/android-now-available/

Android smartphones and tablets to support home automation )

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Date:2011-09-23 23:45
Subject:Meraki Cloud Computing
Security:Public
Mood:nerdy

http://meraki.com/

Case Study at MIT )

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Date:2011-09-16 22:26
Subject:Hillary Clinton - for women's rights, etc
Security:Public
Mood: rejuvenated

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/16/BUQN1L5JEG.DTL&type=business

No more sexism at work, says Hillary Clinton )

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Date:2011-09-16 21:39
Subject:Colored Feathers found from Dinosaurs
Security:Public
Mood:nerdy

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/215400/20110916/dinosaur.html

Colored Dinosaur Feathers Discovered )
(On a side note, for those of you that have not watched the TV series Friends (please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends for more info on this show in case you have not), one of the main characters is a paleontologist named Ross. I definitely thought of him when reading this article as this is the sort of stuff that really gets him excited). 

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Date:2011-09-13 22:58
Subject:Tennis - Novac Djokovic #1 and a major contributor to the sport
Security:Public
Mood: impressed

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2011/sep/13/novak-djokovic-rafael-nadal-us-open
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novak_Djokovic

For those of you who may not know, I'm a pretty big fan of tennis (both watching and playing, though I hardly have done anything tennis-related in quite awhile). I still think fondly of the good old days of playing with my sister and friends, and sitting around watching the various tournaments (US Open, French Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon) with my family. These days, I just catch the news online about the latest happenings in the tennis world.

Anyway, this post is concerning Novac Djokovic, who's ranked #1 in Men's Tennis.

Novac Djokovic, an incredible tennis player )

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Date:2011-09-08 23:11
Subject:Some thoughts for saving money...and spending, too
Security:Public
Mood:nerdy

So this is something I've been thinking about for a long time (I guess more so since the time I took a closer look at retirement plans, started using credit cards, etc). I suppose its fair to say that most people probably think about this at least every once in awhile (if not more) - at least, most people I personally know do.

Anyway, some suggestions from Wells Fargo Saving Plan website that may come in handy (if you already knew these pointers, please feel free to ignore...as some of them are common sense anyway): https://www.wellsfargo.com/wfonline/savingsplan/security?mplx=6886-36245-3408-27

Suggestions on Saving Money - from Wells Fargo )

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Date:2011-09-06 22:00
Subject:Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his important message for the US
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/06/news/economy/starbucks_ceo/

Per Schultz, a New York native who has made his way up from poverty, is encouraging other CEO's to stop contributing to political causes as a means of stopping the increasing problems in the US - unemployment, etc., not to mention an alarming amount of national debt (quite possibly over $40 trillion per Schultz). So far, several CEOs (including those from AOL, Frontier Communications', Whole Foods', etc) have signed Schultz's pledge to withhold further contributions to political causes.

Basically, the bottom line is that we should all work as a team, and put aside our differences (whether it be political, social, ethnic, or whatever else), and work for the good of the nation. Tough times will continue to come, but we should welcome and embrace any challenge that comes our way and overcome them as best as possible. I know its very easy to say and tough to accomplish, but we can only try our best.

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Date:2011-09-05 22:08
Subject:Texan wildfires - over 500 killed, so sad
Security:Public
Mood: sad

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-texas-wildfires-20110906,0,4287589.story

Fires and Destruction of Over 500 people )


Maybe I'll donate some money through the Red Cross or send over some supplies - every little bet helps.

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Date:2011-09-04 21:51
Subject:Tribute to three amazing women in literature
Security:Public
Mood: pensive

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-literary-20110904,0,1961247.story

<ij-cut>

Edna St. Vincent Millay )

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Date:2011-09-04 21:37
Subject:Three amazing women in literature
Security:Public

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-literary-20110904,0,1961247.story

<ij-cut>

Edna St. Vincent Millay )

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Date:2011-08-31 22:32
Subject:New Stealth Ship to contribute to US Navy Operations
Security:Public
Mood:nerdy

http://www.businessinsider.com/this-new-stealth-ship-is-set-to-revolutionize-2011-8

Looks like there have been plans to design a 150-ft ship that can escape radar, and manages to be extremely fast (over 60mph) and practically invisible. This is due to super-cavitation, which involves surrounding the ship's hull with gas within the water (creating a low-pressure system) and considerably reducing friction. The powerful ship will be able to sink nuclear submarines, and huge vessels.

On a personal note, I used to not care much about stuff pertaining to the army or navy, but I've listened to some of my co-workers chatting over the months about such topics and their personal experiences of serving in the navy. Having never served myself, I cannot relate to this. At the same time, I've been more curious to learn about these areas; while I definitely do not condone violence (and don't personally know anyone who claims to, either), it makes me feel a bit smarter to learn about machines and strategies being used to improve/better handle situations in the US Navy. Maybe someday this knowledge will come in handy.

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Date:2011-08-29 22:38
Subject:Japan's Clean Energy Law
Security:Public
Mood: hopeful

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/investors-need-clarity-changes-in-japan-s-renewable-energy-law.html

Sounds like Japan's clean-energy law will take effect 10 months from now (June 2012). The legislation was passed by Naoto Kan, Japan's prime minister who just left office. This action helps draw attention for wind, solar and geothermal energy, essentially pushing the attention away from atomic energy and more towards renewable energy sources. The idea is to significantly expand its market in renewable energy over time. This seems to make sense, especially after the nuclear disaster involving Tokyo's power plants in March 2011.

In the meantime, those that want to invest into this law will need to know the cost incurred for renewable power. Another important factor is how the utilities monopolize markets. Among renewable energy sources, solar energy is a key area in which higher rates are expected due to increased generation of power from sunlight. In relation to this, availability of power grids also needs to be addressed, particularly when considering that costs will be needed for increasing grid capacity or building more transmission/distribution lines.

One challenge is that stable power supplies need to be maintained. To do this, the amount of a resource (e.g.) that is utilized on a power grid needs to be limited - in the case of solar/wind, the respective capacities for generation are 3.5 gigawatts and 2.4 gigawatts. Upgrading power grids will allow for produced power to apply to more places. In general, a lot of regulations need to be considered before determining how utility companies can support a large capacity of power generated via renewable energy resources.

Will be interesting to see where this goes and how costs for renewable energy become more affordable with time.

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Date:2011-07-30 23:31
Subject:Farmers in drought situation in central US - so sad
Security:Public
Mood: sad

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-07-30-kansas-texas-south-drought_n.htm

Looks like several Southern Central US states, mainly Kansas and Texas but also Oklahoma, have been hit pretty bad by the latest drought. This is particularly unfortunate considering that Kansas and Texas ratnk only behind California in terms of agricultural productivity. On top of this, there is intense heat in the area, requiring a relocation of the cattle on the farms - to auction markets, of all places. The idea is that the money gained from selling the cows will help improve the quality of the range and pastures - and hopefully gain some ground given the unfortunate drought. Farmers are trying to save their crops by irrigating acres of them, but this seems to be a costly effort. As a result, prices of several crops have drastically increased, especially given the high demand; some such crops are corn, cotton, wheat and beef.

I really feel for the farmers as they were hoping for lots of rain to some and help save their crops. Instead, they have lost a lot of acres of crops in spite of their hard work and dedicated efforts. Unfortunately, per weather forecast reports, it seems like Texas' drought will continue on through September, if not longer. This was a pretty widespread drought, too, which makes it all the more unfortunate.

On a side note, this situation reminds me of the Hindi movie Lagaan (from 2001), which means 'tax'. The movie is about how a bunch of Indian village people try to fight for themselves to avoid paying unreasonable taxes to the Britishers, and the trials and tribulations they go through in order to achieve this. They were also hoping for rain to come and save their crops and alleviate their troubles, but unfortunately they faced drought and had to come up with alternatives to save themselves.

Hopefully things will go better for the farmers in Central US as time goes on.

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Date:2011-07-29 22:26
Subject:Saying "no" and knowing when to stop giving to others
Security:Public
Mood: contemplative

I have been fortunate enough to have many wonderful, kind and supportive people in my life - my family, friends, and colleagues, not to mention many random acts of kindness from complete strangers. On my end, I try to be a kind and good person to others as well. At the same time, I have been told by several people, over the years, that I can be "too nice" and that I am a "people pleaser". While I'm not sure this is entirely true, I must admit that when dealing with difficult situations regarding others, I have had many times where I felt guilty when denying help to others - I struggled to say "no" to others, even if it meant putting aside my own priorities and help them out. As a result, I often gave in to others' wishes, only learning to say "no" after years of doing this.

Not too long ago, I was talking to a co-worker about how to say "no" when doing things for others that come into our life and realize that we like to help others. We both agreed that we are "givers" - we like to give others benefit of the doubt, forgive and be nice to them no matter what, and generally give into their wishes. As both of us have been forced to say "no" and be assertive at some point, we know that its important to set boundaries to prevent letting others walk all over us, or to just stop them from always having things only be their way.

Even now, I still feel mean when I say "no" to someone at times, but then I remind myself that saying "yes" may not be the best thing (for them or for me), and that it is okay to be a little, well, selfish at times. For example, I used to give homeless people money (a couple of dollars at a time) when I saw them, but it slowly dawned on me that I may have unwittingly been encouraging them to purchase something that's bad for them (e.g. cigarettes). As a result, I switched to giving them food if I happened to have any. In this way I was able to set a boundary on what I was willing to give and what I was not. I can go on with many more examples but hopefully this one is enough for now.

In the end, I have to remind myself that, no matter what role someone played in my life (or what role I played in theirs), I need to learn to respect myself and stop being a doormat (aka learn to say "no" and stick to my boundaries without being mean), so that I can enjoy a honest, healthy and fruitful relationship with others - whether it be family, friends, co-workers, or others in general.

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Date:2011-07-28 23:37
Subject:Salutations to the Sun God
Security:Public
Mood: peaceful

If you happen to be reading this, here's a warning (and disclaimer) that if this post seems a bit too religious, my apologies.

Anyway, I've been learning a devotional hymn (called 'shloka' in Sanskrit/Samskritam) called the Aditya Hrudayam (meaning 'The Heart of the Sun God'). There are countless resources explaining this shloka - here's one that I like:
http://www.harekrsna.de/aditya-hridayam.htm

As mentioned, this takes place in the Ramayana (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana for details), a major Indian epic which involves an intense rivalry between a holy prince called Rama and a demon called Ravana. The Aditya Hrudayam is what Rama recites in order to gain confidence and strength to fight Ravana.

I can definitely use a boost in mental strength for myself, too - which is one of the main reasons I want to learn this. Also, I remember hearing a young boy (from my Sanskrit class when I was taking lessons) recite this, which made me all the more inspired to learn it myself. Hopefully I can learn it all soon, as its only 30 stanzas long. 

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