Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Take Tata logo off game: HC advises Greenpeace ‎

Hearing a Rs 10-crore defamation suit filed by Tata Sons against environmental NGOs Greenpeace India and Greenpeace International, the Delhi High Court “advised” Greenpeace to consider removing Tata’s logo from a game which the company has alleged as “disparaging” and “libelous”.Justice S Ravinder Bhat granted the NGOs 10 days to file a written reply in the defamation and trademark infringement suit against a online game ‘Turtle vs Tata’, modelled on a popular computer game called Pacman.The controversial game devised by Greenpeace is about a battle between four-headed spherical creatures looking to capture turtles and the turtles trying to escape. The four-headed creature has Tata insignias embossed on it.Justice Bhat told Greenpeace: “It (removing the logo) is only a suggestion and not a direction. We are not directing you to stop using the name but you can consider not using the logo.” The counsel for the NGOs said they would respond to court’s advice on the next date of hearing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nokia Siemens Buys Motorola Division

For $1.2 billion, Nokia Siemens agreed to buy Motorola’s division of wireless network equipment.This Motorola unit is the one that maintains cellular networks and buys infrastructure needed for the fourth generation phone technologies like WiMax.
Around 7,500 employees of Motorola will work for Nokia after the deal is closed at the end of the year.Motorola has its plan of splitting the company into two before. One for making handsets, and one for making the equipments.The co-CEO of Motorola said that selling the unit will help make this plan come true.However, the consumers need not to worry so much because Motorola will keep its iDen technology which ables the function push-to-talk.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Ad Engine to Put ‘Mad Men’ Out of Business

NO costly copy writers or heirs of “Mad Men” are needed to write a new kind of ad for
small businesses that want to advertise on the Web: computers create the ads instead.
After scouring the Internet for images and text related to small businesses like Polka Dog Bakery in Boston, the PlaceLocal software creates an ad.New software called PlaceLocal builds display ads automatically, scouring the Internet for references to a neighborhood restaurant, a grocery store or another local business. Then it combines the photographs it finds with reviews,customer comments and other text into a customized online ad for the business.The program, developed by PaperG, an advertising technology company in New Haven, Conn.,is aimed in part at small businesses just beginning to advertise on the Web sites of local newspapers or television stations, said Victor Wong, its chief executive. Such advertisers will have a growing number of choices as national companies like ESPN create local Web franchises like ESPN New York, said Randall Rothenberg,the president and C.E.O. of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group of more than 400 companies selling online advertising.

Even though not fully convertible, the Indian rupee will soon have a distinct identity.With a blend of the Devanagari ‘Ra' and Roman ‘R' as its unique symbol, the Indian currency will be joining the elite club of the US dollar, the European euro, the British pound sterling and the Japanese yen to mark its presence in the global arena.Designed by Bombay IIT post-graduate D. Udaya Kumar, the symbol was approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday to distinguish the currency of the over $ 1-trillion economy from the rest, such as the rupee or the rupiah of Pakistan, Nepal,
Sri Lanka and Indonesia.Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said: “It's a big statement on the Indian currency. The symbol would lend a distinctive character and identity to the currency and further highlight the strength and global face of the Indian economy.”Unlike the pound sterling among the four currencies with distinct identities, the Indian currency symbol will not be printed or embossed on paper notes or coins.It would be included in the ‘Unicode Standard' and major scripts
of the world so as to ensure that it is easily displayed and printed in the electronic and print media.Ms. Soni pointed out that the symbol would be adopted within a span of six months in the country and in about 18-24 months globally.Mr. Kumar's winning entry was chosen from 3,000 designs received for the currency symbol competition. He will get an award of Rs. 2.5 lakh from the Finance Ministry. The jury, headed by an RBI Deputy Governor, had sent five short-listed entries
for the Cabinet's approval.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No GPRS? ‘Jaamun' offers email on any phone

Ashamed to pull your phone out in a gathering? If you have a phone that would be hidden in the darkest corner of a museum of phone-snobs, all is not lost yet. Thanks to Indian entrepreneurs ‘Jaamun,' you can now whip out that museum piece and check email on it. Oh yes, and without those GPRS charges too.‘Jaamun's tagline is “email on any mobile,” and this simple service is what they are providing — for the simplest of phones.‘Jaamun' is a venture by IIT Delhi alumni Pratiroop Mehta and Mayank Kumar. Mr. Mehta was previously working for the new product development team at Reliance, while
Mr. Kumar was part of the enterprise software division at Microsoft India.They started out building a mobile email client, but found that a lot of users have phones that do not support GPRS.The solution, they found, would be to leave GPRS out of it.“Any IMAP/POP supporting email server can be configured via ‘Jaamun.' And you can sign up online or by sending an SMS with the email ID and password to 9773467755. Once you map the mail ID and Twitter handle to the mobile number,
you are ready to receive, reply, forward and compose mails on your basic phone,” Mr. Mehta says.The advantage with ‘Jaamun' is that it can work on any mobile and any network, the creators say — there is no need for either GPRS or for installing an application on the phone.As far as the service goes, there is smart message extraction, compression, auto spam filters and attachment alerts. So if you are not ready to get rid of that decadent phone yet, here, finally, is a way you can redeem yourself.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spanish blood bank is saving money and increasing safety with RFID technology

Quickly finding the right blood product among 30,000 bags is never an easy task, especially when
bar codes have to be scanned manually in a -35°C deep freezer. When a study revealed that RFID would cut costs and increase safety, Spain's Balearic Islands Blood and Tissue Bank (FBSTIB) turned to Barcelona-based Aifos Solutions for an RFID system, and Salo, Finland's Nordic ID for handheld readers that would operate in subarctic temperatures.Until now, bar code scanning has meant unpacking entire crates of frozen blood bags and scanning or reading up to six labels on each bag in turn—no small task with 30,000 bags packed 80 to a crate…in a deep freezer. Finding the right bag can take so long that staff members often take crates out of the
deep freezer to search for the right bag, putting plasma in jeopardy of thawing. Blood extracted from donors at any of several mobile units in the Balearic Islands follows a complicated journey, requiring up to six bar codes to ensure that red blood cells, plasma or platelets reach the right patient in perfect condition. Then, when a hospital sends over blood parameters, the blood bank has to respond as
quickly as possible.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Obama puts clean economy at heart of mid-term election campaign

The central role the low-carbon economy is likely to play in November's US mid-term elections will be underlined later today, when president Obama calls on Congress to extend a manufacturing tax credit designed to bolster investment in clean energy.

The president will round off a two-day campaign swing through Missouri and Nevada with a speech at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, highlighting the economic benefits associated with investment in clean energy.

White House officials said he would use the speech to urge Congress to pass a $5bn (£3.3bn) extension to the clean energy manufacturing tax credit. This was introduced in 2009 as part of the administration's economic recovery package.

Obama will speak alongside executives from solar panel manufacturer Amonix, which is planning to use the tax credits to help it build a new factory in Las Vegas.

He is expected to say that the additional $5bn in tax credits will help to attract up to $12bn in private investment, that will in turn create tens of thousands of jobs and help the US to cut its carbon emissions.

However, the proposed extension is likely to face considerable opposition in Congress, where Republicans are seeking to position the US deficit and rising government spending as the defining campaign issue for the upcoming mid-term elections.

In contrast, the Obama administration is increasingly touting its low-carbon job creation programmes as it seeks to drum up support for embattled Democrat senators, such as the Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who is facing a tough re-election battle in his home state of Nevada.

Obama this week announced the award of $1.85bn of loan guarantees for two large-scale solar power projects and yesterday toured an electric truck manufacturing plant in Kansas that received a $32m grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The White House said the Smith Electric plant had created more than 220 direct and indirect jobs and will produce up to 500 electric trucks a year with companies such as Coca-Cola and AT&T already signed up to test the zero-emission vehicles.

Meanwhile, energy secretary Steven Chu yesterday announced the planned conversion of part of a former nuclear test site in Nevada into a state-of-the-art solar technology demonstration zone.

Cell Phone Towers Don’t Raise Cancer Risk

A recent study by British researchers at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health has found that, despite widespread concern over the safety of cell phones, children born to mothers who lived near cell phone towers while pregnant do not have an elevated risk of cancer.

The team examined nearly 2,000 cases of childhood cancer in Britain between 1999 and 2001, and found that there was no correlation between how close their mother lived to cell phone towers and incidence of cancer.

Various cancers were examined, including cancers of the brain and central nervous system, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The researchers concluded, “There is no association between risk of early childhood cancers and estimates of the mother’s exposure to mobile phone base stations during pregnancy.” The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Despite the alarm and media scares, repeated studies have found no link between cell phone use and disease. In fact, as physicist S.T. Lakshmikumar noted in Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the power in a standard cell phone would not be enough to cause problems: “The small amount of power being transmitted by the phone is traveling several kilometers to the tower. Also, the cell phone has to transmit this very little power in all directions. The small power in the direction of the tower passes through several walls and other obstructions, even people, without impeding the communication”

Thus, cell phone signals are everywhere—and probably passing through you as you read this. If the signals were carcinogenic, nearly everyone would have cancer.

There’s no question that cell phones can be dangerous. Many scientific, reputable studies have proved that. In fact, cell phone use has been banned in many states for exactly this reason. But the chief threat of cell phones is the distraction they cause, not the electromagnetic fields they emit. According to one study, drivers who are busy texting on their cell phones are six times more likely to get in an accident than those who do not.

Bury Cardboard boxes to grow trees

Recycling that does double duty. Ship a package and the recipient could plant 100 native trees from seeds embedded in The Life Box for a little woods of Hemlock, Sycamores and Birch trees. Created by mycologist Paul Stamets (one of Treehugger's Top 5 TEDsters), the boxes are infused with seeds and spores. Instead of breaking down cardboard boxes to be recycled for reclaimed paper waste, just rip them apart, plant in soil, and water. Then follow the tree as it grows. Here's how:

Post the GPS coordinates or location address and follow the tree's life-cycle on an interactive website will allow people to track their trees online. "I want my grandson's grandkids to walk through a forest that came from Life Boxes," says the inventor Stamets.
Part of "Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign", the non-invasive species of seeds, native to North America, in the cardboard boxes include Tsuga mertensiana (Mountain Hemlock), Thuja occidentalis (an evergreen shrub), Plantanus occidentalis (Sycamore, American plane, Buttonwood), Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum -- native to warm temperate areas like Tennessee, and Betula papyrifera (Paper or Canoe Birch).
It was one of the big hits of the Sustainable Brands Conference, said Jana Branch of Articulo Consulting, who attended the recent event in Monterey, California. Every director of sustainability was present, from Wal-Mart and Hewlitt-Packard, Ford, Gap, eBay and Coca-Cola, as well as the EPA, Nature's Path and companies you'd expect to share the latest innovative green ideas.
The Life Box won a Green Packy Award for sustainable packaging. A detailed planting guide is available with the boxes online with tips on flourishing trees. Of course, whoever you mail stuff to may not have room for 100 trees in their yard, but they can be given away and replanted, not unlike seeded greeting cards. The boxes are available to consumers for $33 to $58 for various sizes in sets of 10, but the real opportunity is for companies that regularly ship products to get aboard a reforestation program. Partnerships with wholesalers and retailers are in process. Plant-a-pizza box? Hello, Amazon?

Heat Waves Could Be Commonplace in the US by 2039

In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities. Those kinds of severe heat events also put enormous stress on major crops like corn, soybean, cotton and wine grapes, causing a significant reduction in yields.
In that scenario, the mean global temperature in 30 years would be about 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) hotter than in the preindustrial era of the 1850s. Many climate scientists and policymakers have targeted a 2-degree C temperature increase as the maximum threshold beyond which the planet is likely to experience serious environmental damage. For example, in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Accord, the United States and more than 100 other countries agreed to consider action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions "so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius."
It is expected that we'd see large temperature increases later this century with higher greenhouse gas levels and global warming.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cell phone Payments Offer Alternative To Hard Currency

A number of companies are making cashless transactions a reality even in remote areas where electronic payment solutions are difficult to implement. These companies, ranging from EBay’s PayPal service to others like Intuit, VeriFone and Square are creating innovative ways for individuals to avoid cash and checks and settle all their debt, public and private, using their cellphones.Some have developed small credit card scanners which attach or plug into a cellphone and for a small fee enable individuals and small businesses to turn a cellphone into a card processing terminal. Even simpler is PayPal’s app
which only requires two cellphones to be bumped together to transfer the requisite amount of money.This app is currently available on the Aplle iPhone.The transactions through these devices are even more secure than the standard credit card swipes, since they provide e-mail receipts, and those from Square include photos and a map of where the transactions were made.Though cash is not yet extinct in a society where the older generation still prefers cash and checks, the newer generation could shift to electronic modes, growing up as they are with the iTunes store and virtual cash on Facebook.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nanotechnology: Small Technology, Big Impact

You might be surprised to find out how many products on the market are already benefiting from nanotechnology.New products incorporating nanotechnology are coming out every day.Wrinkle-resistant fabrics, deep-penetrating cosmetics, liquid crystal displays (LCD) and other conveniences using nanotechnology are on the market. Before long, we'll see dozens of other products that take advantage of nanotechnology ranging from Intel microprocessors to bio-nanobatteries,
capacitors only a few nanometers thick. While this is exciting, it's only the tip of the iceberg as far as how nanotechnology may impact us in the future.Nanotechnology may have its biggest impact on the medical industry. Patients will drink fluids containing nanorobots programmed to attack and reconstruct the molecular structure of cancer cells and viruses.There's even speculation that nanorobots could slow or reverse the aging process, and life expectancy could increase significantly.The most immediate challenge in nanotechnology is that we need to learn more about materials and their properties at the nanoscale.Universities and corporations across the world are rigorously studying how atoms fit together to form larger structures. We're still learning about how quantum mechanics impactubstances at the nanoscale.

Nilekani pooling in 60 crore in phase-I of UIDAI

With the launch of the first phase of UIDAI targeting to register 600 million populace
of the nation into its catalogue in the coming next four years and its probable utilization in improving the Public Distribution System, however the Authority Chairman Nandan Nilekani expressed that the voyage shall be pretty long and tough.He further added that the contentment over the velocity of the project and voiced that the Unique Identification Authority of India is trailing on the right tracks.This Authority has been brought into inception to offer a sole 12 digit figures to each of the resident of the nation targeting to launch the first number from August 2010 to February 2011.As per the former chief of IT giant Infosys expressed his views on the tangential of a occasion in New Delhi that it is a very
multifaceted project and it is expected that we shall now start the issuance of first Aadhaar number,which shall only mark the beginning of the heights.They have assured that they shall enroll approx 600 million residents in the coming next four and half years.And that shall be a tough task along with a long journey entailing with the paths.

Water harvesting :Save Water

Towns and cities across India are today haunted by a common menace-severe water crisis.Unplanned urbanisation, leading to a huge hike in demand, has had the inevitable fallout-overuse of groundwater. Result? Depleted aquifers and rivers. Parched urban tanks and lakes. Urban water management is in shambles.And the problem shows no signs of abating. In fact, it threatens to get worse in the future.
The solution lies in reviving the age-old Indian tradition of water management.
It was built on two principles: one, rainwater harvesting had primacy over river water or groundwater harvesting; and community and household management had primacy over state supply of water. So every household had a role to play in catching rain. Every drop was harvested.As the taps dry up, many innovative, farsighted individuals and groups across the country have begun to explore the potential of rainwater harvesting.

Coca-Cola to focus on water harvesting

Consuming half-a-million cubic litre of water a year, Coca-Cola's bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages is boosting its water conservation drive. The company hopes to be water-neutral in one year by replenishing the amount consumed.T Krishnakumar, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, says the company plans to invest 2 million dollars in its water conservation efforts, mainly in rainwater harvesting and desilting lakes. "We are not really putting a cap on what we want to commit at this point of time. To give you a rough indication, we expect that in the next 12-18 months, we would committing somewhere in the range of $2 million for water conservation and water recharge projects."Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages is investing over $1 million for the revival of Nemam lake near Chennai, and is working with the Tamil Nadu government for the same. It is looking to expand its presence in Karnataka with a third bottling plant, and has submitted a request with the state government.Krishnakumar said: "We have two facilities currently in Karnataka - one just outside Bangalore in Bidadi and the other in Hospet. Both of them are good facilities. We are looking at possibly a third facility in Karnataka from
a futuristic perspective because we believe this business will need it."Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages has been facing flak from the Kerala government,
and a panel has ordered the company to pay Rs 216 crore for environmental damages caused by its Palakkad plant.

Is Strike a final solution to get noticable

There seems to be no end to the common man's worries and woes. With the central government deregulating oil prices and inflation(currently 30%) already at a record high,Indians are gasping for breath as prices of essential commodities spiral out of control.Amid this, the National Democratic Alliance and the Left parties have announced a 12-hour nationwide strike on July 5 to protest against petro price hike while demanding a rollback of the hike.How effective are these strikes to solve an issue as vexing as this? Aren't strikes a bane for a nation already reeling under a heavy dose of inflation? Don't strikes put more pressure on an inflationary economic structure like India's?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and five years' probation Wednesday by a Tokyo district court judge

Anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and five years' probation Wednesday by a Tokyo district court judge for his role in boarding a Japanese whaling ship.
Bethune was found guilty on five charges, ranging from assault against whalers to trespassing into a whaling vessel. Bethune had previously pleaded guilty to all charges but assault. He could have received up to 15 years behind bars on charges.
Reported by CNN.

Researchers scanning the Peruvian desert for whale fossils have stumbled upon the remains of a "sea monster"

Researchers scanning the Peruvian desert for whale fossils have stumbled upon the remains of a "sea monster" three times the size of a modern day killer whale. The teeth of "Leviathan Melvillei" were so large it was initially assumed they were elephant tusks. "There were no elephants in South America before 3 million years ago, and the specimens found have an age of 12 to 15 million years, so that was impossible," said Professor Jelle Reumer, one of the team of scientists who found the fossil in the Pisco-Ica desert in coastal Peru.
Reported by CNN.

Painitng the Mountains white to revitalize an extinct glacier in the Peruvian Andes

High up in the Peruvian Andes an experiment has begun to revitalize an extinct glacier.The Chalon Sombrero glacier dried up many years ago, but Eduardo Gold thinks he can create the conditions that will allow ice to form once again. Armed with a boiler suits, some white paint and a few llamas to carry equipment, Gold and a team of four helpers make the daily trek up to nearly 5,000 meters above sea-level to paint rocks on a mountainside.So far Gold and his team have covered three hectares. Their aim is to paint three peaks in the Andean region of Ayacucho in southern Peru totaling 70 hectares (around 170 acres).
Reported by CNN.