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Showing posts with the label knowledge center

The God Particle

The God Particle By C.R. Manmadhan Digital image on canvas, 68x91 cm, 2012 Amid living matter and endless space, C.R. Manmadhan Juxtaposes Shiva and Parvati with a contrasting red spot that represents the enigmatic "god particle" of physics, after which this work is titled. Based in Kochi, Manmadhan, 65, took to art seriously after he retired in 2006 as News Editor of Mathrubhumi, the Malayalam daily. He says that his works, whether acrylics or digital, draw from all his resources, including his training as a journalist and his master's degree in zoology. Manmadhan recently held third solo exhibition at David Hall, Fort Kochi.

Be smart with your provident fund

Many younger employees complain that their take home salaries get reduced because of compulsory 12% cut that goes to their provident fund. Why brother, they'd think, retirement is 35 years away! But that's naïve thinking for several reasons and here's why. The power of compounding. With compound interest, your Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) money grows surprisingly fast and the annual interest earned will become higher than your contribution after a while. Moreover, with your employer contributing an equal amount, it grows faster than any bank account. The longer you are in the fund, the better, since the power of compounding is maximized. So try not to withdraw any EPF money before you retire. And transfer your EPF to a new employer if you change jobs. Add your own power. This is something people neglect and often don't know about. While 12% of your salary is compulsorily deducted, you may voluntarily add any amount you like from your salary. This will boost th

Waterproof your device

Lots of cellphones die from drowning (raise your hand if you've dropped yours in a puddle, washing machine or the toilet). In the past, if you wanted to waterproof your phone, you had to buy a special plastic case or pray that the rice trick would revive it (see How to save a soggy phone, below). But solution may be at hand. Tech research company Liquipel (see ) has invented a new technique that covers devices, inside and out, in a razor thin, nearly invisible waterproof shell. When water hits the device, it beads up and rolls off, leaving the phone or tablet dry. In a test, popular Science editors sent an iPhone 3GS to Liquipel for waterproofing. When they got the phone back a few days later, they turned it on and ran it under a tap for five minutes. The phone operated normally while under the faucet. Afterwards, the touch screen was slow to respond at first, probably because of water droplets on the screen that hadn't yet rolled off, but after few seconds, the p

Bringing a pet into your home

Dogs and cats live for between ten and twenty years. An animal is a source of joy but it also brings obligations: walks, grooming and healthcare, finding a pet-sitter when you're away. Is my family prepared to help? It's no good getting a pet simply because the children want one. Everyone will end up looking after it. Do I have time? A dog needs to be taken out 3 or 4 times a day. A cat despite its independent nature, likes having its master around. " Tip : Birds love fresh fruit. Make sure to change the fruit every day so that the leftovers, breeding grounds for bacteria, don't lie rotting on the bottom of the cage." Can I afford it? Food, grooming, healthcare and vet's fees add up to significant expenditure. Be sure you can afford it. Am I obsessively houseproud? Even with regular brushing, dogs and cats shed hair which has to be wiped or vacuumed regularly. Do I have sufficient space? A cat or a couple of parakeets just about fits into a studio flat, but fo

Night grinder

For some people, chronic grinding of their teeth causes major problems. Some patients are completely unaware that they clench or grind their teeth until a check-up shows damage, says Dr Peter Alldritt of the Australian Dental Association. "Sharp teeth like canine teeth may have worn flat, crack lines may be appearing in the enamel, or fillings may be starting to crack and break." Teeth grinding medically known as bruxism can use facial pain, too. "People can wake up with a sore face or a bad headache because the muscle in the face have been activated all night while they have been clenching," he says. The ligament of the jaw joint just in front of the ear can also become very tender. If you grind during sleep, a dentist can fit you with a night guard, says Alldritt. "It's a barrier separating the upper and lower teeth so they can't come together and cause further damage." Beat the daily grind First you must realize what you're doing, says Alldr

How germ expert stay healthy

They're less paranoid than average folk, but what they worry about (airplanes, laundry!) will surprise you. Here are the result of a survey of health experts in the US. 71% don't clean hands after touching public surfaces I'm just careful to wash my hands before eating. I didn't get a respiratory infection because I touched a door handle after a sick person touched it; I got it because I then touched my hand to my eye or nose. - Michael Pentella, PHD,    clinical associate professor,   University of lowa College of Public Health I press buttons with my knuckle especially the ground floor elevator button, because everyone touches that or I use my middle finger because I'm less likely to then touch my face with it. - Charles Gerba, PHD,   Professor of microbiology, University of Arizona 29% carry hand sanitizer I prefer soup and water. If that's not available, I'll use sanitizer but I'm not religious about carrying it. - Rima Khabbaz, MD,   director for in

Soothe your achy, breaky back

Back pain prompts millions of visits to the doctor ever year. A study suggests one way to improve on your doctor's result: listen to music. Researchers from the University of Salzburg in Austria followed 65 patients with slipped discs or recent back surgery. All were given physiotherapy; half also spent 25 minutes a day listening to music while followed guided imagery relaxation exercises. After three weeks, the music listeners had pain levels much lower than the other group. The researchers did not distinguish between the effects of music and of relaxation, but a previous study found the pain relieving effect of a music only group slightly greater than that of a guided imagery only group. Music is thought to lower levels of chemicals that relay pain, says psychologist Franz Wendtner. Study subjects used a special CD. But, Wendtner says, "any relaxing music with quiet rhythm will do." Are you sitting comfortably? The slightly odd looking backstretcher chair is worth a try

Lessons from the unlucky in Love

Starting in 1986, psychologist Terri Orbuch, author of the recent book Finding Love Again , followed the lives of 373 married couples. More than two decades later, nearly half of them have split up. The good news? What they learnt during their divorces may help other couples stay together, says Orbuch. Here are top four takeaways. " Divorced people open up about their biggest regrets " 1.Show your care Fifteen percent of the divorced people said they regret not giving their spouse more affection. "You have to show your partner how you feel," says Orbuch. 2.Talk about money Nearly half of the divorced individuals said they fought over money in their past relationship. "Talk money often - not just at tax time or when bills come along," Orbuch says. 3.Let the past go Divorced people "realized that jealousy can eat away at the happiness in the relationship," says Orbuch. One way to let go of feelings for an old flame: Write but don't send a lette

Uncle Willy and the real great escape

Late last year, I received an email from the Czech Republic. It contained an invitation from a total stranger. The sender, Michal Holy, explained that a memorial was to be unveiled to four men who had been secretly executed near the northern town of Most. The men where my uncle, World War II fighter pilot John "Willy" Williams, and three other Allied air force officers. Official Military portrait of  John "Willy" Williams on joining the RAF officers' program, December 1937. Michal, a commercial pilot and amateur historian with no direct connection to any of the dead men, was attempting to contact relatives of all four, hence the email that found me, my brother Richard and my mother. Michal wanted us to attend the unveiling, and then to join him in a very special journey. He planned to retrace these men's fateful last days on the run in Nazi controlled Europe. Their extraordinary exploits beginning with an audacious mass escape from a prisoner of war (POW) ca

A taste of Macau

With diamond rings on manicured hands (men included), my fellow passengers in the "super class" section of the hydrofoil boat appear to be native to this luxurious habitat. Women with glossy black hair and stiletto boots smile easily as their rotund companions accept food and drinks from smart dressed waitress. St Domonic's Church, a tired 17th century structure in Senado square in the Historic District.  I, on the other hand, am here by accident; I intended to purchase an economy seat, but my inability to decipher Chinese characters landed me among the first class travellers. I'm on my way to Macau, a special administrative region of China. A peninsula and two island connected by bridge lying across the Pearl River Delta from its bigger and better known Hong Kong, Macau was the first European colony in China when Portugal settled it in the 16th century and was also its last colony when handed back in 1999. A lineup outside the Louis Vuitton store at the popular Wynn

Improve your Eyesight with an App

Hate reading glasses? A new app called Glasses Off might let you drop them by training your brain to better interpret that fuzzy print in the newspaper. Users play quick games that employ special wavy images to stimulate connections in the visual part of the brain. In a recent small study, people could read paper without reading glasses after three months of training (15 minutes three times a week), and their reading speed increased by 17 words per minute. The developers plan to launch the app for iPhones and iPads by early 2013, followed by an Android version. Calculate your Heart Rate with your face Cardiio , a new app for iPhone and iPad developed by Harvard and MIT researchers, can calculate heart rate by merely gazing at your face. It uses your device's camera to measure tiny changes in blood flow in your face that occur when your heart beats. Simply line up your image with the displayed target, and the app reports your heart rate in seconds; when use in a well lit environmen

Tolkien 'bout a Revolution

It's the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit - just 36 years short of Bilbo Baggins' fabled eleventy-first birthday! The occasions is, of course, being celebrated by Tolkien fans all over the world, and will culminate in the release of the first of director Peter Jackson's three over $500 million Hobbit films at Christmas. It's a remarkable achievement for a book that was written for the literature professor's personal amusement and sneerily dismissed by many of his Oxford University colleagues. "How J.R.R and his merry band of hobbits changed our world" With total sales of his novels estimated at around 300 million, Tolkien remains a publishing powerhouse, but his influence stretches far beyond the world of books. From music to green politics, he's had a surprisingly broad impact on our lives. - Danny Scott The godfather of film epics Most experts agree that the movie blockbuster was born with  Jaws  in 1975. But Tom Craig, senior lecturer in film at Derby

Why do they do that?

You know all those jumbo shrimp you just ordered at the restaurant? Chances are they're prawns. But put the word jumbo in front of anything and customers are bound to buy it. Similarly, dry cleaning isn't really dry. Instead of using water to clean the fabric, the launderer uses an equally wet solvent called perchloroethylene. Does "dry cleaning" sound so much better than "wet cleaning"? Some launderer thought so. In this article, we'll demystify a few more intriguing business practices. We'll reveal the magic employed, the common sense practiced, the manipulation perpetrated and arm you with facts you can use to protect yourself. Why do wafer companies put so much air in their bags? To dupe us into thinking the foil bags are filled with chips? Actually, no. In fact, the bag don't contain oxygen. They're filled with nitrogen. Oxygen would quickly turn the chips rancid. The nitrogen preserves the freshness of the chips, prevents combustion, an

An Eye for business

The ancient Romans believed that Vulcan, their god of fire, lived deep inside a fire-breathing mountain where he practiced his skill in forging weapons and armor and bolts of lightning flung by Jupiter, the father of the gods. Although local people and tourists won't find these sorts of military goods at the Vulcano Buono (The good Vulcano) shopping center near Naples (picture below), the artificial crater designed by top architect Renzo Piano does contain shops, a supermarket, restaurants, cinemas, a gym and a hotel. The Italian got his inspiration for the shape of the complex from nearby Mount Vesuvius. Perhaps he chose the location near Nola because the little town survived when the volcano erupted in 77AD. Not a good idea The central motif of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lords of the Rings is that Rings of Power can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. Frodo played in the film by Elijah wood achieves the almost impossible. But the suggestion which frequently appears on th


Volcanoes can change the course of history. On 24 August 79 Ad the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were laid waste by eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which cost many thousands of lives. In April 1815, Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted with such force, fine particles floated into the northern hemisphere by the next year and caused "the year without a summer" in parts of North America and Europe, leading to crop failure and starvation. On 27 August 1883 the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa literally blew its top, causing the deaths of around 36,000 people. And the threat to human life from these types of events happening in the future remains the same. That's because there's no way of preventing volcanic eruptions. The forces lying dormant in the earth are too powerful. The only way of protecting people is to evacuate them in time. Luckily, most eruptions give us some degree of advanced warning. "The heat is on. Beautiful and terrible in equal measure -- volcanic

The Riddle of Pandit Nehru

In some respects, America's best friend in Asia is Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India. This view is so contrary to general belief that I must explain it. For six weeks I travelled across India talking to people about Nehru. Peasants, land lords, shopkeepers, maharajas advanced their theories. Here are the facts that help to explain the man who rules India. Pandit Nehru is an aristocrat. He was born a Brahmin and although he has discarded the Brahmin religious customs, he continue to to think like one. He believes that a few superior people must rule a partly illiterate, unformed nation like India. As a child Nehru knew substantial wealth servants, big homes, influential friends. He was a typical Indian aristocrat. A friend points out, "He is the kind of man Communists shoot when they take over". Nehru is like an Englishman. He was born in India, Of Indian blood, but he grew up an Englishman. His governess was English. He was educated at Harrow and Cambridge,