Saturday, December 31, 2011

Order

order of nation
order of individual
who's first? who's not?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Papa,

It's been two years.
And I've finally learnt all (or a few) of the lessons you tried to teach me.

Thank you and love you always and forever and ever and ever.

Yours,
Jaya

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nassim Haramein on Sacred Geometry & Unified Fields

Last night, I watched this documentary, which talks of a geometry/pattern as a unified field. Nassim brings up a lot of topics that I've wondered about: role of assumptions in science equations (the build up that's been neglected), the observation/derivation of constants, the hidden patterns, and the mystery of the big and small looking much the same. I need to look into the physics more deeply for comparisons, but I did notice that some of his facts were off by some orders of magnitude. What I'm really interested to know is how different is this from what physics is already chasing. In this particular talk, he too limits himself to the how rather than the why.



This talk gives a great idea for journals like Science and Nature or perhaps publishers like Elsevier to start "Science Talks" at a generalist audience where they feature the breakthrough science discoveries as explained by the discoverers. The talk then can be recorded and put online for the world. It would make a big difference in closing this gap between science and the public.

A major obstacle right now in informal learning is the language and format of scientific literature. To reach a wider audience, and for the wider audience to see the novelty and spark further creation given their own limitations of time, videos and talks have shown to be successful in transmitting complex information in an engaging format. So it could be a start.

A lot of scientists are invited to TED Talks and even Google Talks, but this concept should be tied into the authors more deeply, a step towards bringing Science Shows back into fashion. We may not have the 3D theatrics of the 1800s, but our computers can do a lot :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why is Using Others' Work so Problematic in the Western Academic World?

I've been wondering about this obsession of attribution of ideas (in particular, those of scientific value rather than economic value). I see most pros, especially those related to communication/collaboration on future work, any monetary gains due, validity of the idea in the first place, and so on. However, what are the cons to this system and have we made provisions for minimizing them?

Considering that most humans are so little self and so much influence, more so in today's law-based society, the extent of emphasis paid to individual contributions particularly in science is something non-intuitive to me. On the one hand, science goes out of its way to talk about the science and not the "person/people" behind the science in the publications themselves, and on the other, scientists are always in a race to be acknowledged as the first. Just to clarify, I'm a fan of the individual (to a certain extent) but I fail to fully understand why this attribution is important on a historical timescale (say 100 years) if we aren't going to draw hypotheses or conclusions on the person/people behind the science to advance the process of scientific thought (which we don't really do). For example, the scientific method, "a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses," (Wiki) is still the only method of science. My problem would be the word "systematic" because a lot of the reading that I've been doing on these so-called geniuses in science seem far from systematic in their approach to life.

Today, I came across this super clear explanation, which kind of puts things into perspective for me. But this thought is definitely something I would like to revisit, evaluating if and what you are losing because of this obsession (time, progress?), and what are you gaining from it?

---------------------
Source: http://www.umass.edu/cie/Themes/APARules-3rd%20ed.pdf

There are widely varying cultural assumptions about how knowledge is created and legitimated, and varying norms about the treatment of existing writings by subsequent authors. The Western academic world is highly individualistic and places emphasis on being able to judge and give credit for the work of each student or researcher. "World majority" students from collectivist societies come from nations where one's experiences, thoughts and ideas are interwoven with those of others, both living and dead (Fox, 1994, p. 37). For them, the idea that one must sort out which individual is associated with each idea is both novel and incomprehensible.
In contrast to our [U.S.] emphasis on individual effort and personal success, where children learn to think of themselves as "I" instead of "we," where shades of individual opinion are carefully studied and singled out for praise or criticism, collectivist societies teach that in group harmony lie security, contact, comfort, and identity. (Fox, 1994, p. 36)

Some of you may have been taught that your own words are not important, that scholarship consists of knowing and using the words of well-respected authorities. Others of you may come from cultures where claiming individual credit is inappropriate, where such behavior is seen as putting yourself forward in undesirable ways. For some, writing has always meant finding and using the writings of others. Being a student in a U.S. university may require that you make adjustments in your assumptions about knowledge, ownership and individual work because these may differ from the academic rules for scholarship in U.S. institutions.

Because Western culture is individualistic, it places value on being clear about which individuals created an idea or wrote about it. Similarly, written words are viewed in some sense as belonging to the individual who wrote them.
---------------------

(and I'm from the latter school of thought)

Baby Gone

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ahem

So I went for a haircut today and the stylist asked me if I was from India.

So I said yes and was generally chatting. Then she said: Isn't India very poor and dirty? So I clarified the situation of how to imagine India when your world view is that of a typical closed-minded Dutch-e. She went on to ask me bordering-on-racism questions like whether I intend to live in the Netherlands blah blah.

What I would like to say to her:

Netherlands: For a population of 16 million
Gross external debt$373.3 billion (31 December 2009)

India: For a population of 1.2 billion
Gross external debt$238 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

PS: And the hair cut wasn't great either :)

"Mr. Attila"

Source: Haynes: From alchemy to artificial intelligence
Public Understand. Sci. 12 (2003) 243-253

Albert Einstein so successfully cast himself in the role of benign, absent-minded genius that his involvement at a theoretical level in the development of nuclear weapons was glossed over, overshadowed by the one formula that everyone remembers. But the poet Carl Sandburg was not deceived. In his black poem dated, significantly, August 1945 he presented a seemingly harmless, absent-minded atomic physicist, Mr. Attila.
They made a myth of you, professor,
you of the gentle voice,
the books, the specs,
the furitive rabbit manners
in the mortar-board cap
and the medieval gown.

They didn’t think it, eh professor?
On account of you’re so absent-minded,
you bumping into the tree and saying,
“Excuse me, I thought you were a tree,”
passing on again black and absent-minded.

Now it’s “Mr. Attila, how do you do?”
Do you pack wallops of wholesale death?
Are you the practical dynamic son-of-a-gun?
Have you come through with a few abstractions?
Is it you Mr. Attila we hear saying,
“I beg your pardon but we believe we have made
some degree of progress on the residual
qualities of the atom”?
Carl Sandburg
[August, 1945]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thought of the Day

Science is something special that stems from curiosity. Philosophy is science’s mother. Science was first (and still is) at unrest with religion and now it’s at unrest again, or steered by economics (sort of losing itself in the process). Science should wear a different attitude that’s more “why” seeking and not just “how” seeking.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"VCR"



You, you used to have all the answers
And you, you still have them too.
And we, we live half in the day time
And we, we live half at night

Watch things on VCRs with me and talk about big love.
I think we're superstars,
you say you think we are the best thing,
but you, you just know. You just do

When i find myself by the sea, in another's company by the sea,
want to go out to the pier, gonna dive and have no fear,
because you, you just know, you just do

Watch things on VCRs with me and talk about big love.
I think we're superstars,
you say you think we are the best thing,
but you, you just know. You just do
~The XX

Must Understand!

"Nurse Cat"

Medical science
Does not recognize
The warm soothing properties
Of your light
Furry body,
Now stretched gently
Over my incision.
Your throaty
Purr
Is part of the
Healing,
Millenniums older than
"Electrical Nerve Stimulation."


Your unblinking
Yellow eyes are gentle
Sedative.
At an occasional
Night sound
Your whiskers
Brush my chin
In reassuring
Communication.
The periodic light
Kneading
Of you snowy
Fore paws
Is indeed the
Laying on of hands.
~Mary Peat McDonald

Surya Namaskar



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Purpose Behind the Science: Nikola Tesla |1 Tesla = 100 Gauss ;)

In physics, we study Tesla in the context of someone who contributed to discovering the harnessing of electricity and as the master of magnetic flux. Let's start with a basic understanding of magnetic flux. Magnetic flux can be seen as the amount of magnetic energy flowing into a surface. A magnetic field, in turn, is a mathematical description of a particular field pattern created by electric currents in a material or environment. The environment can be as large as the Earth (and has no bounds) and the pattern of the Earth's magnetic field is shown below.


Any object with a flow of current (or electron motion relative to an observer) has a magnetic field.  Too much physics?

Coming back to Tesla, his claim to fame was for proposing "the" method to produce electricity on a large scale, and several other inventions. But Tesla was much more than his discoveries. He had vision. And this documentary will tell you all about it:



Sadly, Tesla was born in unreasonable times and it's strange that we're still living in the same sort of unreasonable times. Wake up science, expand your horizons to encourage and guide and be guided by men like Tesla.

"Fragments of Olympian Gossip"

While listening on my cosmic phone
I caught words from the Olympus blown.
A newcomer was shown around;
That much I could guess, aided by sound.
"There's Archimedes with his lever
Still busy on problems as ever.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"Below, on Earth, they work at full blast
And news are coming in thick and fast.
The latest tells of a cosmic gun.
To be pelted is very poor fun.
We are wary with so much at stake,
Those beggars are a pest—no mistake."
"Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"I am much too ignorant, my son,
For grasping schemes so finely spun.
My followers are of stronger mind
And I am content to stay behind,
Perhaps I failed, but I did my best,
These masters of mine may do the rest.
Come, Kelvin, I have finished my cup.
When is your friend Tesla coming up."
"Oh, quoth Kelvin, he is always late,
It would be useless to remonstrate."
Then silence—shuffle of soft slippered feet—
I knock and—the bedlam of the street.
~Nikola Tesla

Monday, December 12, 2011

Who Defines Progress?

While researching science centers and museums, I read the following on under the heading "Who Defines Progress?" in the book Museums in Motion by Edward P Alexander and Mary Alexander. The question of defining progress also came up in my last Science and the Public class and it intrigues me.

In his book Museums of Influence, Kenneth Hudson closes his chapter on science, technology, and industry museums with this admonition: "In today's world, a museum of science and technology which does not encourage its visitors to think of the human and social consequences of new developments is acting in a singular irresponsible and out-of-date fashion. To worship Progress uncritically may suit the manufacturers and advertisers but it is not in the best interests of humanity." Environmental advocacy is not within the missions of most science and technology museums or centers, so how does an institution confront the impact of science and technology on the earth? What are the boundaries between representation of current environmental conditions and advocacy? And, who sets them?


Misleading

I recently read two things about the Netherlands via a newsletter from IamExpat-NL.

First, the Netherlands ranks 3rd in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI) by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Study, but with an open mind and make studies across countries flexible and fluid. Otherwise, you are creating a false ego, and ego is the direction you'll move in. The Dutch are amazing, but to be bound by indexes like these is sad.

To understand what they mean by "human development", I looked into their criteria.
"The 2011 HDI covers a record 187 countries and territories. To enable cross-country comparisons, the HDI is calculated based on data from leading international data agencies and other credible data sources.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of human development and measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions:
› A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth
› Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio
› A decent standard of living, as measured by Gross Domestic Product per capita (Purchasing Parity Power in US dollars)"

How can UNDP be so narrow in their criteria for measuring "human development." What about all the aspects that make us human?

I also read: The Netherlands ranked 7th in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2011. The survey was conducted by Transparency International, who broadly define corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This can happen anywhere, and can be classified as grand or petty, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs." Ahem. I really don't know about the public sector in the Netherlands but sure I can see how corruption is less in countries where "everything" is very expensive limiting the opportunities for corruption.

I think if you're holistic in your definition of "human development" and really want to make a good index that helps people to create models for bettering their society rather than feeding egos, then such indexes are a relevant spending of money, otherwise such a study is a form of corruption isn't it?

I don't know, but both these results don't seem to be particularly true to me about the Netherlands; within the constraints of the definition and criteria used to arrive at these conclusions, the situation changes.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Skinny Love


Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

I tell my love to wreck it all
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Right in the moment this order's tall

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
In the morning I'll be with you
But it will be a different "kind"
I'll be holding all the tickets
And you'll be owning all the fines

Come on skinny love what happened here
Suckle on the hope in lite brassiere
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Sullen load is full; so slow on the split

I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted?
Then who the hell was I?
Now I'm breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines

Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?

Voice chilling in my head

Long Time No Hear

Slavoj Zizek in Examined Life on Nature and Ecology

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Lost Pyramids of Caral

The lost pyramids of Caral, Peru, are one of the largest in the world, covering an area of 15 football fields. The magnificent ancient city was discovered in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilization in the Americas and, at 2,627 BC, is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Monday, December 05, 2011

More on the Truth Languages by Marta

As far as the "truth" languages are concerned, the ones I've heard of are Amazonian. These languages are constructed to keep very good track of what is and has happened; who owns or owned what (there is the famous "past for nouns", translated like "ex", so my ex-house for instance, but they also change the meaning so an ex-person is a corpse) and they keep track of what changes to what (that's the so-called "transformation morpheme" - since everything is constantly transforming in the amazons).

Also, there is something which is not only found in these languages, but in a lot of languages of the world, and is called evidentiality. Evidentiality means that when you report information, you have to mark it grammatically for the source. So, if you have witnessed something with your own eyes, you will use one construction, and if you have heard it, you will use a different marked construction. That helps keeping track of who said what and weather you can guarantee the information.

Such aspects when combined make the language more "explicit", and by that I mean, that it is difficult to be vague when speaking these languages. That's why all newer cultures appear as liars, because they do not specify enough when they speak. The "truth-telling" tribes can also lie, I'm sure, but probably not in the way of "omitting" the truth. For instance, imagine if I were showing you where I lived last semester, and I would say "This is my house"; well, these people would probably consider this a lie, because it actually "used to be my house", right? While we don't think it's such a big problem saying something like that.
Or even if I wanted you to think this is actually my house now, and then you found out it wasn't, I could say it was just a way of expression when I said "This is my house". I don't think the "truth-tellers" tolerate this. But the fact is that our languages are constructed in a way that there is much more room for manipulation, since it is not expected that you always give every detail about anything.

Lets just say these people are much more thorough when speaking.
~Marta

A Full Liver

Yesterday a philosopher-linguist friend was telling me about how in the Tupi Gurani language family, they refer to the liver and not the heart for matters of emotion, or of the heart. So, they'd say: My liver is full of joy :)

I also learnt that some older languages were geared towards "truth" telling. For example, in some language, there is no generalization like "a liver", just "my liver" or "his/her liver". Because everyones liver is unique. So limited generalizations need a limited set of words. Hmmm, tough concept to digest ;)

The heart-liver fun fact of the day led me to refresh my memory about the human body and its functions.
We'll start with a photograph of where the (general) liver and heart are.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Mayan View of Consciousness

The Mayan story talks about the evolution of consciousness through nine eras running parallel to each other. So for example, something that started in the cellular cycle is still going on:
Source: Tadeja Jere Lazanski, PhD | upr.si

For a complete explanation of this theory, it may be worth your while to watch a video series by Ian Xel Lungold:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

An interdisciplinary view of higher education

Yesterday I attended a talk by Avi Loeb on the future of research for young astronomers. A copy of a similar talk can be found here: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/itc/events/Loeb.Future_Frontiers.mov

I was very inspired about what he had to say about the current state of scientific research, and spoke to him about his views on introspection and intuition in the scientific method, as well as looking for clues in ancient texts.

His view was that not (m)any researchers are looking into that area, and it could be a possible area of research after acquiring a PhD in astrophysics and moving forward with the connections and clue digging.

I also sent him this email, summing up most of my thoughts:


Dear Avi,

Thank you for taking the time out to talk today.

I've only started thinking about the philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism (since 2009), but immediately get the feeling that they have a lot to offer science. I imagine other cultures have similar warehouses of information and knowledge that should be explored in a scientific and coordinated manner.

Personally, I see disciplines of cosmology, spirituality, and philosophy as languages that employ completely different methods and approaches but all work towards the same goal: explaining life and consciousness and the role of humans (if any) in the universe.

What's happening in the world today is people and scientists in particular tend to disconnect the two worlds: that of intuition and knowing with that of knowledge and discovery. This disconnect and much larger political and economic forces have divided spirituality (the intangible and not yet explained by science) and science (the tangible and proved within reason) to the extent that a person feels scared to very honestly accept both as real or explore two thoughts (or two methods) in parallel.

My intent (and of this email) is of an information propagator and inter-connector, in the hope of sparking thought and creation.

Regarding Sagittarius, it is considered as the abode of Yamraj (who is the carrier of death), not of Brahma, who is considered the creator, which makes better sense relating to the black hole at the centre of our milky way. What is also interesting is the texts talk of forces, and not "beings"; and it acknowledges that "beings" are the face for comprehension and imagination. And regarding the source of the universe, I couldn't find an online account of "initial" creation, just one of creation involving darkness and emptiness, a state of sleep, and a golden egg, out of which Brahma emerges and creates the universe dividing light and matter (in Sanskrit, the root "bṛh" means to swell, grow, enlarge). I am also fascinated by the Hindu cosmological time cycles as they deal with timescales of 10^-7 s to 10^22 s.

What I try to constantly take away from most of the literature is the essence rather than concentrating on the known inaccuracies in the schematics (with regard to the positions, time scales, distance scales, nomenclature etc.). As you said, those were different times with different limitations, and clearly a different thought process. I think the coincidences in scientific findings and ancient pursuits is undeniable. It could also be a chicken or the egg effect: where our current pursuits lead to future coincidences based on past knowledge.

At this present time and with our current technology, I would really like to see science combine its methods with "all" existing knowledge to make a newer, stronger framework, without bias. Such a line of thought may help answer questions that are neither being explained by science, nor philosophy, nor spirituality. So far, no one discipline has been able to show the whole picture and I believe that it's because we are failing to see the interconnectedness of it all.

As one approach, I propose literally digging through all the cultures and using the main scientific ideas as data to develop new possible theories or areas of investigation. I am sure that this has been done in part through our history, but I believe never in a coordinated manner. (Similarly, astrophysics, molecular genetics, neuroscience, and psychology need to start cracking their heads on consciousness).

Regarding a direction of innovation in terms of gigantic leaps rather than incremental steps, mixing knowledge and interdisciplinary studies are definitely a gateway. For example, interdisciplinary astronomy could look at:
> comparative studies between ancient cosmologies and modern cosmologies
> whether there is any legitimacy in the energy vortexes of planet earth (also called earth's chakras -- similar to energy chakras in Hinduism/Buddhism or the Chi in the orient)
> the accuracy of the Mayan calendar and evaluating it in their contextual knowledge framework (for example, according to the Mayan calendar, which speaks of the evolution of consciousness, the birth of the universe was 16.4 billion years ago)
> evolution of energy and human culture (where energy encompasses all the energy that falls on humans, so extending the SED)

If you meet thinkers or groups that have similar views, I would greatly appreciate being put in touch with them to take these thoughts further.

Thank you once again for your time and attention.

Kind regards,
Jaya

------------------------
Jaya Ramchandani
MS Astronomy and Science Based Business (2012)
e. jayar@strw.leidenuniv.nl
p. +31 646 208 017
w. http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~jayar/

Ancient Science by Rakesh Maniktala


© Rakesh Maniktala
E-mail: rock@hwr.bhel.co.in


Introduction: Spiritualism, Modern Science and Ancient History
Spiritualism, Modern Science, Ancient History. These three words at one place might appear to many as highly unrelated – but they are as much related to each other as the three corners of an equilateral triangle. Without any one of the corners, the identity of the triangle itself (i.e. Humanity) would not be there.
Scientific advancement sans spirituality is like body without soul – the form of science we see today. It leads to a society with all the attributes of self-destruction: Greed, Selfishness, Intolerance and Bloated Egos. Today we have become slaves of the gadgets and scientific infrastructure we have put together for our service.

What humanity needs is a humane and progressive culture on Earth, where spiritualism and scientific development go hand in hand. A culture based on the principles of love, tolerance, brotherhood and a desire to grow, to move forward… And do we have any precedence for such a culture, such a society? That’s where ancient history comes into picture.

Human race on our planet Earth is very old, as discussed further in the "Beliefs" section. In ancient history, there have been times when our culture was highly advanced – scientifically as well as spiritually. The society was guided by highly evolved rishis (sages), master exponents of metaphysical skills who had conquered death through yoga and meditation. These sages, the great scientists, knew of environment friendly and unlimited resources of energy. People traveled to farthest stars and solar systems in sophisticated spacecraft, and by astral travelling. They had mastered anti-gravity, and had contacts with other advanced civilizations of the universe. But human culture and its development always follow a sine wave. People leave the middle path tilting more towards materialism, and knowledge decays. There were natural calamities due to toying with environment, and nuclear wars, resulting in total destruction.

Radioactivity mutated human genes and so there were primitive Neanderthal men. And this has happened not once, but many a times in the past. Physical evidence for this might not be available today, but documentary information in symbolic or parable form is still available in some ancient Indian scriptures (Puranas), and in scriptures of other civilizations too.

Can We Revive Our Glorious Past?
To realize the dream of a spiritual-scientific culture on Earth, the spiritual level of the society has to go up. There must be a large number of people with high spiritual level to bring about a change at a very fast rate (referred to as a critical mass by some). This might sound difficult, but things are actually moving in a positive direction. Despite all the greed, hatred and materialistic hullabaloo, many of us are feeling a need for an inner quest: What are we here for? Why so much misery and pain in life? Can we rise above this and make our lives more meaningful… can we? This inner quest is actually helping us rise above the ordinary. And so the long queues at the doorsteps of Gurus and religious preachers.

But only the desire for an inner quest may not help much. To hasten the pace of this change, something more is required: dedicated and evolved groups of people, working specifically and steadfastly to bring about the change. And one of the paths for them is to look for scientific-spiritual advancements of the past.

To Find Scientific Advancements In Ancient History
A two pronged action plan is required for this:
1. One certain source of scientific knowledge is Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures, written in the ancient and sophisticated language of Sanskrit. Many other Sanskrit scriptures and ancient books from other parts of the world and in other languages may contain advanced scientific knowledge. Various research programs on Vedas are already in progress, here in India and abroad. Specific and coordinated research programs on such texts have to be initiated.
2. Scientific remains of certain ancient civilizations must still be hidden somewhere - beneath some ancient ruins, or pyramids, or in some caves/ highlands of Himalayas. Or there could be some ancient library, or manuscripts/ texts, which might have survived the ravages of Dark Age wars. These have to be traced - through dedication, meditation and intuition.

The aim of these words is to bring together all such like-minded people who resonate with these thoughts, to launch a concerted and dedicated effort in this direction (points 1 & 2 above).
The evidence for many of the ideas mentioned above might not be forthcoming, and so may appear to some of us as hypothetical, and based on wild imagination and faith. But imagination and faith are amongst the strongest forces of nature capable of doing many a miracles in life. So if we have faith in our imaginations and in our inner quests, we surely can do some miracles. Let’s come together.

God
There is one Supreme being, called by the names of GOD, the Parmatma (the soul of universe), the Almighty Lord. God is sat (truth), chitta (intelligence) and ananda (happiness). He is absolutely holy and wise. He is omnipresent, incorporeal, unborn, immense, omniscient, omnipotent, merciful and just. He is the creator, protector and destroyer of the worlds. He is the lord of the universe.1

There are three distinct eternal identities: (1) God, (2) Souls, (3) Prakriti – the material cause of the universe. All three have the attributes of eternal existence in common. But they differ in other respects. Matter is inanimate and inert while God is all-life and all-power. The soul is limited in its intelligence and powers, while god is unlimited. The soul is confined in a body – God pervades all space. The former is finite – the latter infinite.2

The Universe
In the early part of this century, two opposing theories about the origin of the universe were postulated. (1) The Steady State theory, which says the universe is never born, never dies, and is always like what it is. (2) The Big bang theory, which says the universe began with a point of energy exploding in a "big-bang". All the matter came into being from energy continuously expanding and changing form. Ultimately the expansion will stop and it will start contracting, ending into nothingness with a "big-crunch". What is before big-bang or after big crunch, the theory doesn’t know.

In reality, both the theories are correct. The universe begins from a point with a bang and ends in a point with a crunch. This duration we call one Kalpa (cosmos) or Brahma Diwas (eternal day). It is preceded and succeeded by an equal period during which matter lies in a dormant, inert state and that is called a Brahma Ratri i.e. a divine night (for the nature that sleeps as it were). All the souls also remain in a dormant state, a sort of hibernation, during this period. The evolution of cosmos from dormant state may be called a ‘creation’ or ‘srishti’, and its involution back into inert state is called dissolution (pralaya). As days and nights succeed each other, so do cosmos and divine nights in this eternal sinusoidal cycle of evolutions and involutions 3 (Figure 1).

All matter, i.e. nature, has three basic attributes/forces – satva, rajasa and tamasa. During brahma ratri, these forces remain in a balanced state. After the big bang, the three forces get realigned to form elementary particles called Mahat or Aapah, which combine further to form other basic particles, atoms and so on. 4

A – "Big Bang" B – "Big Crunch" A to B – One "Kalpa"
Figure 1


Age of the Universe
The age of each Kalpa (eternal day) is 4.32 billion years (4,320,000,000 years). According to Hindu scriptures this is further subdivided as below:
1 Kalpa = 1000 Chaturyugis
= 14 Manvantars + Buffer Periods of 6 Chaturyugis
1 Manvantar = 71 Chaturyugis
1 Chaturyugi = 4,320,000 years

Of the 14 manvantars, the universe expands for the first seven, and contracts for the next seven.
Each chaturyugi is subdivided into four Yugas:
1. Krit yuga = 1,728,000 years
2. Treta yuga = 1,296,000 years
3. Dwapar yuga = 864,000 years
4. Kali yuga = 432,000 years

At present, kaliyuga of the 28th chaturyugi of the 7th manvantar is in progress. According to this calculation, 1,972,949,100 years have elapsed since the evolution of present cosmos began, and it has 2,347,050,900 years still to go before the "big-crunch".5

The Earth
All planets prior to their formation are part of their parent stars, like the nine planets of our solar system were part of the Sun. After parting from the Sun, it took millions of years for our Earth to cool and become solid. The Earth is hollow inside, with a tiny white-dwarf "sun" at its center. Most of the other planets in this universe are hollow inside. And most of the planets are inhabited too, because the basic purpose of planets is to support life – as that of stars is to support planets. On a planet, both the outside surface and the inside surface, or any one of them, could be suitable for life. For our Earth, both the surfaces support life – in fact, the "inside world" (referred to as Pataal Loka in Hindu scriptures) is more suitable for life as is protected from outside natural calamities. 6

Life on Earth
Presently, the twenty eighth chaturyugi of the seventh manvantar is in its last phase. The Earth was formed in the second manvantar, while the Moon was formed in the third. Continents came out of the oceans in the fourth manvantar. Vegetation was born in the fifth, animals in sixth and humans at the beginning of the current seventh. So, human life on Earth is roughly 120 million years old.7

At first the humans were born by asexual means – in fully grown-up and knowledgeable state – in the Meru Parvat region in Himalayas (Tibet). They further carried on the chain of life through sexual means.8 At the birth of every cosmos the complete knowledge of God is transmitted in wave-form and spreads out with the expanding universe. This knowledge was received by the foremost of the earliest humans – the four rishis (sages) – through meditation, and given to the humankind in the form of the four Vedas. 9

Population increased, Vedic knowledge spread, and human society flourished. Since the very beginning, humanity has taken two paths, the Devas and the Asurs, the believers in God and the worshippers of nature, the good and the evil. The society got divided along these two paths. The Deva or Aryan culture believes in scientific development supported by equal spiritual enlightenment for the ultimate betterment of humanity. On the other hand, the Asur culture believes in extreme materialism and considers the nature to be all powerful, leading to usage of science for destructive purposes.10

The fight for supremacy between the two cultures, between good and bad, follows a sinusoidal path, and so do peace and wars, and the scientific and spiritual development of humanity. Today it’s the asur culture that is on top, but the fight is still on.

Human Body: Birth to Rebirth
What we call human body actually is a combination of three bodies
1. The Physical body (Sthula sharira), one which we ‘see’ and ‘feel’ with our senses.
2. The Astral body (Sukshma sharira), our higher dimension body, and connected with our physical body by means of an infinitely extensible ‘silver cord’ at the naval.
3. The Cause body (Karana sharira), much subtler than the astral body, plus the wave form record of all our Karma and desires (vasana), good or bad.

This "combination" human body is the carrier, the vehicle of our "Atma", the Spirit, the actual "me". During our sleep – unconsciously, and during meditation – consciously, our astral body can leave the physical body. For astral body being at a much higher vibration level, physical things are no barrier to it. When we "die", only our physical body is destroyed. We, the "spirit" along with the astral body and cause body are born again in another physical body, as directed by our Karmic record. In between the death and rebirth, the spirit, along with the astral body goes to a particular astral plane depending on its level of evolution. There it experiences a detailed review of its latest life before being born again in another life. And this cycle of birth & death continues. The process of rebirth causes a memory loss, and we humans forget the real purpose of our lives. The aim of human life is to remember who we are, and to work towards the goal of evolution and the ultimate "moksha" (freedom from the cycle of birth and death). 11

The Law of Karma
All human actions/deeds, performed voluntarily or involuntarily, are termed as Karma. Broadly, karma are divided in two categories.
1. Nishkama Karma – performed as a duty, without expecting any "karma-phal" (result/ benefit) out of it. Karma of highly evolved yogis fall into this category.
2. Sakama Karma – where the performer wishes a particular result out of the karma. Karma of most humans falls into this category only. It can be good, bad or mixed type of sakama karma.

Hindu scriptures consider nishkama karma to be the highest form of karma that leads the soul towards salvation. 12

Categorizing as per mode, human beings perform three types of karma
1. "manasa" – by thought
2. "vacha" – by speech
3. "karmana" – by actions

All three have different karma-phal, and based on it a spirit’s next incarnation is decided. Three attributes of the next life are decided by karma-phal
1. "yoni" – Species (human/ animal/ plant)
2. "aayu" – Age
3. "bhoga" – Comforts

Only human form is the one where a spirit is free to do karma. In rest all life forms – all animal and vegetation species – spirit is not free to do karma, only to endure the results of previous karma.
Apart from the above classification, the karma is also classified in two types
1. Personal Karma, a persons individual karma which effect him alone
2. Societal Karma, the karma of individuals of a society counted together, whose reward/ punishment has to be borne by every individual of the society, in addition to the effect of the personal karma.

Knowledge is Eternal
The knowledge of God is eternal, and is present everywhere around us in energy form. So are the past and prospective futures. These can be "tapped in" by sufficiently spiritually advanced individuals. Without the spiritual development, knowledge and science always decay.

At the end of every chaturyugi, there is always a pralaya – mass destruction in the form of natural or man-made cataclysms – in which most of the knowledge in physical form is destroyed. But humanity survives in the form of a few human beings to carry forward the human race into next chaturyugi, like "Manu" (Noah) did at the end of last chaturyugi 3,893,100 years ago. Scientific remains of ancient, advanced civilizations of present chaturyugi may still be present and could be discovered by evolved and dedicated groups of people.13

Suggested Topics for Research
Before starting any research program, following points have to be taken care of:
1. Identification of ancient texts/manuscripts known to contain scientific knowledge.
2. Programs to trace out such texts/manuscripts which are not available today.

Research programs on available texts can then be initiated. Research topics could include the following.
• Anti Radioactivity: Chances of a nuclear war can never be ruled out, until of course, the earth rids itself of the piles of nuclear weapons. And in this context, research on anti-radioactive device/ radiation assumes paramount importance. Some basic leads are available – they need to be further researched and put together.
• Vimanas: Research on Vedas and other texts like "Brihad Vimanashastra" for developing special airplanes and space vehicles. This will also involve research on special alloys/ materials/ fuels as described in these texts.
• To realize Anti-Gravity.
• The study of human Aura for research in medicine and surgery.
• To find unconventional and environment friendly Energy/ electricity resources.
• The study of Yajna, and how to achieve special effects, like health and medicine, reinforcement of ozone layer and removal of atmospheric pollution, through it.

Above all this, blueprint for a program to educate specially chosen children in ancient spiritual and scientific techniques should be prepared, so as to produce leaders for a new world order.

References
1. RigVeda 10-129-7
YajurVeda 13-4; 31-1; 40-1; 40-8
Bhagwad Gita 13-16
Brahma Sutra 1-3-10
2. RigVeda 1-164-20
Shwetashwatara Upnishad 4-5
Sankhya Darshan 1-97, 98
3. RigVeda 10-129-1 to 4; 1-163-1
RigVeda 10-190-1, 2, 3
Vrihadaranyaka Upnishad 1-1-2
Manu Smriti 1-5, 6, 7, 80
4. Sankhya Darshan 1-61
Manu Smriti 1-14, 15
RigVeda 1-163-2, 3, 4; 10-129-5, 6
RigVeda 10-121-7 or YajurVeda 27-25
Shatpath Brahman 11-1-6-1
Brahma Sutra 1-4-6
5. Surya Siddhanta 1-14 to 23
Manu Smriti 1-67 to 73; 1-79
AtharvaVeda 8-2-21
YajurVeda 30-18
Bhagwad Gita 8-17, 18, 19
6. Ramayana & Puranas
7. Manu Smriti 1-62
8. RigVeda 1-164-7, 8, 9
Vaisheshik Darshan 4-2-5
Mahabharata (Aadi Parva) 65-10, 11
9. RigVeda 10-130-4 to 7; 8-100-10, 11
10. RigVeda 1-51-8
YajurVeda 40-3
11. Bhagwad Gita 15-8; 2-22
Kath Upnishad 2-18
Mundaka Upnishad 3-2-2; 3-1-10
Vrihadaranyaka Upnishad 5-4-6
Brahma Sutra 3-1-1
12. Bhagwad Gita 2-47
Mundaka Upnishad 2-2-8
Yoga Darshan 2-12, 13
13. Mahabharata (Vana Parva) Ch. 187
Vayu Purana 50-88
Shatpath Brahman 1-8-16

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wake Up Action Plan: Step 1

will there ever be one?

i was thinking of all the things to personally do to start the change i so desperately want.
so how do i go about doing it?

here's some (that have already started):
1. stop to purchase things i don't really need
2. stop wasting water and electricity, really trying, not fake trying
3. regularly practice yoga and meditation
4. smile at everyone, irrespective
5. really stop judging, it's fucking tough, but can be done, discern but don't judge
6. love without expectation, this is an even tougher one!
7. find out where everything you consume comes from and make responsible choices
8. try and make my moral code as sincere and living by that moral code also sincere (though they can and should still be fluid morals)
9. send out as many good thoughts as i can in a day to everyone who needs them
10. start to connect with people more without being afraid of their judgement
11. don't eat non-veg food with bad animal-living practices (i.e., become vegetarian)

harder ones:
1. towards making "learning" a lifelong process through different media
2. towards taking the "evil" out of money
3. towards helping people realise their natural calling in karm

Waking up in Kymatica

Most of the evil in the world is the fear that lives within us.
The remainder of evil feeds off that fear.

Kymatica from Ressourcenbasierte Wirtschaft on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Too lazy to be ambitious"

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
~Ryokan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Useful software to transfer big files

If you don't have FTP or Dropbox, try these:

1. We Transfer (simple interface, 2 gb limit, no registration required)
2. You Send It (2 gb limit in trial account, registration required to send and receive)
3. Send Space (500 MB limit in free plan, no registration required; paid members have larger storage and fewer ads)

"Fire on the mountain" by Asa



There is fire on the mountain and nobody seems to be on the run
Oh there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a’ running

I wake up in the morning - tell you what I see on my TV screen
I see the blood of an innocent child and everybody's watching

Now, I'm looking out my window and what do I see?
I see an army of a soldier man marching across the street, hey...

Hey Mr. soldier man, tomorrow is the day you go to war
But you are fighting for another man’s 'cause and you don’t even know him

What did they say to make you so blind to your conscience and reason?
Could it be love for your country or for the gun you use in killing?

So there is fire on the mountain and nobody seems to be on the run
Oh there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a’ running.

Hey, Mister Lover-man can I get a chance to talk to you?
'cause you are fooling with a dead man's corpse and you don't know what you do.

So you say you have a lover and you love her like no other
So you buy her a diamond that someone has died on
- don’t you think there’s something wrong with this?

Tell me, who’s responsible for what we teach our children?
Is it the internet or the stars on television?
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Why oh why? Why oh, why oh? Oh!

So little Lucy turns sixteen and like the movie she's been seeing
she has a lover in her daddy - she can't tell nobody till she makes the evening news.

For there is fire on the mountain and nobody seems to be on the run.
Oh there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a’ running. Oh yes.

One day the river will overflow and there'll be nowhere for us to go
and we will run, run...wishing we had put out the fire, oh no...

For there is fire on the mountain and nobody seems to be on the run.
Oh there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a’ running. So yeah, yeah, yeah!

There is fire on the mountain, (fire in Africa) and nobody seems to be on the run (everywhere,in the city)
Oh there is fire on the mountain top and no-one is a’ running (no-one is a running)

There is fire on the mountain (fire, fire, fire) and nobody seems to be on the run….

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Waking up in science

In Astronomy and Cosmology studies, they should not only teach us the theories of scientists like Einstein, Bhor, Planck, Heisenberg, Friedmann and the one million other scientists from every culture in the world, but also about the people they were. What was their life philosophy? What was their relationship with nature? How did they live their life? How did they think in that spectacular manner? What was their perception of consciousness? What was their understanding of religion?

This holds true for every discipline. Then perhaps we'd be able to see one more very "real" side of the picture that is our universe.

They say the answer to what's going on in the universe lies at the sub-atomic level. I've only begun to scratch the surface to understand what this really means.

Religion and spirituality have a lot to offer science. And vice-versa. Science is a modern language. But we shouldn't forget the stories told by the older language of religion.

But I'm perplexed. If religion (and here I speak of the vedas) had it right with the concept of a supreme creator existing in universal consciousness, then why did the world become the place it is today. It doesn't add up.

Why did science branch out from religion in the first place, when I'm certain that they're fighting towards the same goal: A means to explain the enigma that is life and the enigma that is the creation of our universe. The proverbial why.

Religion has failed and is failing more every day. Ever since it got trapped in the material world. But if religion disappears, who will teach us compassion, truth, love, generosity, tolerance, all teachings of religion---across religions. Will it be our society which functions via a government of politicians who operate in an economic system? Are there enough of us to not get lost.

I urge all scientists out there who have figured out something more, who exist in two worlds, to stand up and talk about it without fear. Science and spirituality are perceived as two unconnected things. But they're not. They're more connected than anyone is willing to acknowledge. They are parallel concepts operating at two distinct levels.

Can spirituality even be removed from our world? If it is the force it is, then it seems improbable. Am I worried for nothing? Will everything figure itself out?

I feel quite lost today. We've (and when I say we I mean I) invested so heavily in the material world, we've totally ignored, blocked out, and escaped from other non-material matters. And yet, I feel sad when I see my world around me. Where your धर्मं, कर्म, योग (karma, dharma, and yoga) don't mean anything. And another conflict, if we're all meant to contribute through karma, dharma, and yoga, then what are we contributing towards?

Those are my questions for today. And my learnings: everyone should be a teacher; everyone should be a student; everyone should question; everyone should share.

My Nephew Marc!


M: "It was a relationship where words weren't needed."
C: "I see."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"100,000 Monks in prayer for a better world"

~source unknown

I spend a lot of time in denial that the world we live in is not that bad. No one wants guilt.

I attended a talk last week by Suprabha Seshan hosted by Shibumi friends in Amsterdam called "Rainforest Etiquette in a World gone mad". It was both inspiring and in retrospect, as Lipika said, depressing.

Suprabha's message was simple "where does one end and another begin." We like to imagine different aspects of our universe are disconnected. So the impact of our lives and our lifestyles are minimal to nothing. However, the truth is that everything is connected--I learn this every day in science; I learn this every day in life. And if we remember and incorporate this simple understanding in our actions, there is most certainly hope.

She also spoke of the living Earth. That the Earth is living, for me, is a fact. Perhaps our definitions of "living" differ because it is surely a different perspective. One that we have systematically removed from our modern culture to reduce our own guilt. The industrial civilization has removed other facts as well, and suppressed a number of our senses.

You can't deny the larger-scale forces, everywhere. As individuals we're different. As a group we're different. The bigger the group the greater the propensity for change -- good or bad, it REALLY is up to us and within our control.

In the universe, there is matter, and there is non-matter. It's a game, a dance. The human body is made of matter, but there's distinctly something non-matter in all of us. That's what religion really speaks to us about --  in ALL older civilizations. I'm not talking about today's organized religious practices (which have made me run away from this understanding for too long).

There's a lot of wrong in the world today. In India, the ego in Mumbai is rising at an alarming rate. My beautiful wonderful country is slowly but surely becoming a giant landfill of rotting garbage. And everyday, we're happy to continue our plunder without consequence. Just because our political governance does not impose consequences, doesn't mean they're not there. We need to start realizing our own consequences.

So let's take a step towards opening our senses. All our senses, even the unacknowledged ones. Let's welcome the intangible and change. Changes are required at all levels. A world filled with only humans doesn't seem very exciting. A world where humans control EVERYTHING doesn't seem exciting either.

Remember the idea is not to leave everything and go into a forest and live (we'd only destroy the forest). My message today is only awareness. It's to wake up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eureka

I hope I can take all the despair I have about the future and convert it into excitement!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bothered about borders


Situation with Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh on Google Maps:


What is causing this inconsistency?

Friday, October 14, 2011

(Re)Discovering Quantum Mechanics


"Consider throwing dice. One individual die is unpredictable. It could be a 1, or a 3, or a 6, who knows? But when you throw millions of dice, you can confidently predict that the average will be 3.5. So the Correspondence Principle says that classical Physics worked, because it was always dealing with aggregate properties of large numbers of particles (photons, dice) and could make correct predictions. But those predictions and theories don't apply at all to individual particles which may follow very different rules."
~Kenny

The last line sound familiar?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thought of the Day

Something that's been on my mind lately is how we've taken the concept of "selling" to a whole new level. And people are even commended on their ability to convert any concept and sell them.

I wonder about the history of selling. I imagine that it started off with simply food, moving on to clothes, building materials, and the ball just got rolling from there. Today though, it's become quite a different picture. We're selling everything, even intangible aspects: "time" "experience" "knowledge" "advice" "fun" "happiness" -- we're selling everything, without really thinking about the fact that we're "selling" it, for exchange. In Belgium, you can't get "free" water at most restaurants, and water there is more expensive than beer, wine, and coke.

The concept of "selling your soul" is not a new one. So has (wo)man done this before: the cycle of soul selling? Are we headed there again?

Let's think about it for a while: What shouldn't I be selling and how does that affect me, my family, my community, my society, my state, my nation, my world, and finally my universe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Details In the Fabric"


Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling all your threads and
Breaking yourself up

If it's a broken part, replace it
If it’s a broken arm then brace it
If it's a broken heart then face it

And hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything will be fine

Hang on
Help is on the way
Stay strong
I'm doing everything

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything
Everything will be fine
Everything

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Are the things that make you blow
Hell, no reason, go on and scream
If you're shocked it's just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing.

Everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Everything

Hold your own
And know your name
Go your own way

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own)
Are the things that make you panic (Know your name)
Are your thoughts results of static cling? (Go your own way)

Hold your own
Know your name
Go your own way.

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own)
Are the things that make you panic (Know your name)
Is it Mother Nature's sewing machine? (Go your own way)
Are the things that make you blow (Hold your own)
Hell no reason go on and scream (Know your name)
If you’re shocked it's just the fault (Go your own way)
Of faulty manufacturing

Everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Hearts will hold
~Jason Mraz

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Astro Apps for iOS and Android

Here are some useful apps to pimp your astro-mobile. Overall, the apps made for i-phone are more sophisticated and well developed than those for android. Walk into a room full of astronomers, and you'll immediately know why!

iPhone

Star Walk: Star Walk is an award-winning Education app that allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth. Highly praised and the winner of a 2010 Apple Design Award, the latest update adds a Spectrum Bar to view frequencies other than visible light. 

Exoplanet: The "Exoplanet App" is a daily updated database of all discovered extrasolar planets. It has been developed and is maintained by a professional astronomer. 

Portal to the Universe: Access a universe of knowledge about the Universe with the Portal to the Universe app! Designed in a magazine style, this free app brings the latest scientific breakthroughs gathered from hundreds of news and blog sources every day. It’s never been easier to be well informed about the latest space news. 

Space ImagesNASA/JPL’s Space Images V2 has arrived, packing exciting new features, videos and stunning hi-res photos. Already a fan? Upgrade to start sharing images with friends on Facebook and Twitter, browse our new video collection and get even closer to the space you love. It’s all free! 

Particle Zoo: Would you like to get to know the particles that make up our universe a little better? Then carry this convenient list of subatomic particles in your pocket! Based on The Particle Zoo plushies.
Android

Star Chart: The best selling smart phone astronomy app comes to Android!
Now you can have a virtual star chart in your pocket! Look through the eyes of your Android device* to see a virtual window into the whole visible universe. All you have to do is point your Android device* at the sky and Star Chart will tell you exactly what you are looking at

Galaxy Zoo: Perform astronomy on your Android phone and contribute to science!
Galaxy Zoo uses gorgeous imagery of hundreds of thousands of galaxies drawn from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope archive. To understand how these galaxies, and our own, formed we need your help to classify them according to their shapes — a task at which your brain is better than even the most advanced computer.

Astronomy Picture of the Day: Set beautiful astronomy pictures as your homescreen wallpaper! Get the latest pictures from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)! Each day's image can be automatically downloaded and set as your homescreen wallpaper automatically so you can enjoy a beautiful new space background every day! Compatible with all launchers. Read interesting facts about pictures of the universe and expand your horizons!

Exoplanet Catalog: An extrasolar planet catalog and reference guide. An extrasolar planet (or exoplanet) is a planet that is outside our solar system. These planets orbit other stars. The first exoplanets were discovered in the mid 1990's, but exoplanet hunting began in earnest only recently. This catalog is kept up-to-date with the current count of exoplanets, all the latest data for each exoplanet, and the data for every parent star


Solar System 3D Lite: Animated Live 3D Wallpaper of the solar system. This Lite version includes Saturn circled by four of its moons and Earth + Moon with the Sun as Red Giant star with starry background. Slide over the display to move around and double-tap on the screen to switch between the planets. 


For a nice article on top i-pad apps, click here: Best iPad astronomy apps


Simultaneous Translator/Interpreter

I've been waiting for someone to come up with a sophisticated app for simultaneous interpretation of languages.

The idea is quite simple:
Speak into phone (source language) -> Phone converts speech to text (still source language) -> Phone translates text (source to target) -> Phone converts text back to speech (target language) (perhaps with the target text appearing on screen)

The barriers to overcome are
1. More sophisticated voice recognition across languages
2. Accuracy and Speed in text-translation technology
3. Clearer speech to text across languages
4. Keeping the size and memory usage manageable

Today, I found iTranslate, which seems to be close.





And so it is...



Friday, September 02, 2011

Heraclitus on Rivers

Nobody steps into the same river twice.
The same river is never the same
Because that is the nature of water.
Similarly your changing metabolism
Means that you are no longer you.
The cells die, and the precise
Configuration of the heavenly bodies
When she told you she loved you
Will not come again in this lifetime.

You will tell me that you have executed
A monument more lasting than bronze;
But even bronze is perishable.
Your best poem, you know the one I mean,
The very language in which the poem
Was written, and the idea of language,
All these things will pass away in time.
~Derek Mahon

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Ischia"

So after travelling to London, Leiden/Amsterdam, Bruge, Barcelona, and Florence, our last stop was supposed to be Rome for 4 days. But we decided to cop it (to cop = to ditch, change, etc.). After much deliberation we chose this lovely island called Ischia, off the coast of Naples.

Simply brilliant idea.

We stayed in an area called Forio in a super lovely hostel. The hostel was charming and when we arrived there was a note on the desk saying "We're at the beach, please call us." Sigh!

Ischia is famous for it's thermal springs (which were a surprise) and lovely beaches. We went to the one near Panza for a midnight dip and it was perfect. The 1000 steps, the cliff, the wine, the hot water, the stars, the company. Perfect.

We also climbed to the top of Mount Epemo for a stunning view, and the rest of the time, we just bummed on the beaches. The crowd at Ring Hostel was good fun, with our three other roommates being two theater actresses and one urban-planner-traveller. And there was also Shaun of the dead :), a curious Kiwi character, a bar owner turned Ischia-prenuer. We met quite a few people at the hostel who came for a few days but stayed for over a month. Yeah, the island's that great :)




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"wind"

it's a funny thing this wind
the last time i followed
the wind
she led me to the most beautiful place
with sparkling sunlight
and small yellow flowers hiding within
smaller white flowers

i wo(i)nder what bigger patterns
will evolve as i follow her
and what will evolve in a hundred years
a circular splendor or
will she travel straight to infinity

where will she lead me
this wind

and then i turn to her and ask
have you ever followed the wind?