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Archives – January, 2011

Weekend Video: “Antikythera In Lego” and Water Sculpture

I have not been able to add new posts recently but I won’t be skipping posting some beautiful and interesting videos. They are fun to watch and it doesn’t take much time for me to post them. I will be busy in coming days, so you can expect more videos and picture posts instead of longish posts. For this edition of weekend videos there are two awesome ones. The first one is a video showing working replica of world’s oldest computer “Antikythera— all made using Lego. This precise replica was created by Apple software engineer Andrew Carol and the video above explains the working of Antikythera. Antikythera is an ancient 2000 year old mechanical computer which was used to precisely calculate astronomical positions. The precision of measurements is even comparable to 19th century Swiss clocks. The amazing machine was found from a ship-wreck  in 1900-1901. It took almost 20 years to clearly understand and appreciate this complex but precise machine. Equally amazing is Andrew Carol’s recreation of this amazing machine using just the legos!

The second video is just magical– beautiful sculptures and calligraphy created by using water and colors. Artist Shinichi Maruyama uses adhesive forces between water molecules to create beautiful sculptures which he calls Kusho or “writing in the sky.” Enjoy!

Leave a Comment January 31, 2011

India Celebrates 61st Republic Day

Tomorrow, 26th Jan, India will be celebrating 61st Republic Day, the day India adopted it’s constitution. The day also marks 81st anniversary of original declaration of independence from British Rule in 1930. The day is celebrated all across the country with the main function being held at New Delhi which includes a massive parade and colorful display of cultural diversity of the country. It has been a roller coaster ride for the country since Independence and the future lies in the country’s youth and how they tackle various issues including corruption, education system, caste system etc. The above picture shows President’s Residence, Rashtrapti Bhawan, decorated with lights on the eve of the republic Day (picture taken last year). In the picture below, an artist looks at other performers and waits for his chance to perform during the rehearsal for the main event (picture taken last year). Happy Republic Day!

Image credits: Boston.com/BigPicture | AP Photo/ Gurinder Osan

Leave a Comment January 25, 2011

Belated Weekend Videos: Refraction And Aurora Borealis


I know the weekend is gone and it’s Monday today, but I can’t skip the most popular section of this blog, the weekend videos. So here they are. The first video is a beautiful display of oil in water using macro lens by Jesse Zanzinger. Beautiful video and great choice of music as well. The second video is a time-lapse video of beautiful Aurora Borealis as observed in Norway during August 2010 and photographed by Tor Even Mathisen. It’s just spectacular. As described in my earlier posts (here and here), when high energetic ions ejected from sun interact with our atmosphere, they energize Oxygen and Nitrogen atoms which then emit radiations; green color is due to Oxygen. Enjoy the videos, I hope you all had a great weekend!

Leave a Comment January 24, 2011

It’s Snow Time In Cincinnati

It’s snow-day in Cincinnati today. Schools were closed and my office was also closed early during the day so that people could avoid slippery road conditions and reach home safely. During the evening, I decided to step out to have some coffee and click some pictures. I was not the only one out in the snow as there were bunch of people including kids playing slip-n-slide on the snow.

1 Comment January 20, 2011

Synaptic Exuberance: Babies Overdo It

Brains of babies are simply amazing. Babies are like little scientists or explorers collecting data/information from their surroundings and analyzing them every moment, every second they are growing up. It’s just amazing to observe how the brains of babies work. When babies are born, their brain cells lack the synaptic connections (connections between brain cells). As they explore their new world, these experiences  lead to building of connections between different cells (“synaptic exuberance”). During the first few formative years baby brains are very active, building up millions of such links between the cells. The process starts at birth and peaks up when they are 8-9 months old.

Cerebral cortex produces most of its synaptic connections after birth, in a massive burst of synapse formation known as the exuberant period. At its peak, the cerebral cortex creates an astonishing two million new synapses every second. With these new connections come a baby’s many mental milestones, such as color vision, a pincer grasp, or a strong attachment to his parents. By two years of age, a toddler’s cerebral cortex contains well over a hundred trillion synapses. [Zerotothree.org]

In the above time-lapse video , Francis Vachon who is a journalist and photographer in Quebec, Canada, recorded the 4-hour activity of his 9 months old son Edward. You can see how baby Edward is exploring his surroundings during his 4-hour stay in the room.  (If some of you wonder whether the baby was left alone in the room for 4-hours, don’t worry he was not left alone. The shots of adults in the video has been cut to increase the cuteness factor of the video.)

If you look at the plot below, it’s the formative age when most of the cell connections in the brain are made and then the connections start dying out during teenage years. It’s not like we are becoming dumber as we grow up (or maybe we are), but the baby brains overdo the process of making cell connections. As we grow, our life style preferences, nurturing,and  social influences starts  optimizing or fine tuning these connections. The ones  we need are retained and strengthened while the ones which are no more required starts dying out. This process makes each individual unique with a unique personality trait, mentality, aptitude and so on.

Story Source: NPR Robert Kulrwich

Plot credit: Peter R. Huttenlocher/Elsevier Ltd

1 Comment January 15, 2011

Weekend Video: Dilla The Film & Paranoia


There is so much creativity involved in making animated films and its sheer fun to watch good animated films. This weekend’s video edition showcases two beautiful animated shorts created by students as part of their graduation work. The first one “dilla The Film” tells a story about an armadillo whose perfect world is threatened when a hunter enters his jungle. The animation is done by 4 students of Ringling college of Art and Design. Awesome job guys, the animation reminds me of sunday morning cartoons. The second animated short titled “Paranoia” is work of 4 students of Thakur-Toonskool Advanced Animation Academy. It’s a story of a guy who is traveling in a late night Mumbai local train. The coach is empty except for a few sleepy passengers. A man with a briefcase boards the train at a station and decides to sit directly in front of him and then… watch the video. Good work guys. Have a great long weekend!!

dilla The Film: Mike Klim, Stanley Moore, Dominic Pallotta, Mikey Sauls

Paranoia: Sandeepan Chanda, Sunil Kumar Yadav, Amrita Mukhopadhyay, Nitesh Mishra

1 Comment January 15, 2011

Memorial To Tucson Victims

Leave a Comment January 13, 2011

Global Warming Trend

Global Warming deniers should look at this plot depicting warming trends measured by four different institutes. Different agencies, independent measurements but the result remains the same– our earth is warming. 2010 has been declared to be the hottest year on record tied with 2005 by NASA GISS and NOAA. Japanese Meteorological Agency’s preliminary data shows that 2010 is the second hottest year. Absolute surface temperature is difficult to calculate, instead relative temperature is measured which is here referred to as temperature anomaly. Average temperature of a particular location is compared with average long term temperature (base temp) and the difference is termed as temperature anomaly. Different agencies use different base temperature, e.g. NASA GISS uses average temperature from 1951-1980 as the base temperature while Japanese Agency uses 1971-2000 as the base temperature. This may lead to some differences in the measurement by different agencies. Also, the way data is processed can lead to some differences in the temperature reported. This sometimes canlead to confusion in public as why the temperatures reported by different agencies are different and can give an impression that the temperatures reported are not accurate. If you look at the plot closely, you can see slight differences in the values, but the overall trend remains the same. Global temperatures are meaningful only when observed over a span of time rather than just for an year or two and you can clearly see the trend– the earth is warming.

Image and info credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Robert Simmon

1 Comment January 13, 2011

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