Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Ask whether pearls are natural, cultured, or imitation. Both natural and cultured pearls are made by oysters or other mollusks; imitation pearls are man-made. Naturally-occurring pearls are fairly rare and expensive, so most pearls you’ll see are cultured pearls — pearls made by mollusks with human intervention. An irritant introduced into the shell of the mollusk causes a pearl to grow. A pearl’s cost depends on the size, usually stated in millimeters, and the coating or "nacre", which gives natural and cultured pearls their luster. Imitation pearls are man-made with glass, plastic, or organic materials.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area is situated on the backside of the southwest-facing main ridge of the Syueshan Range, its greater part rising over 2,000 meters above sea level. Long an important logging area in central Taiwan, the area retains few virgin stands and the current forest ecology is composed mainly of second-growth temperate and warm zone species, forming a typical mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest.The upper level of the forest is dominated by Taiwan cryptomeria, red cypress, Taiwan yellow cypress, Taiwan spruce, hemlock and Taiwan red pine.

The local hemlocks are huge and have broad-reaching boughs. The forest is also the most abundant mid-elevation bird habitat in all of Taiwan.Dasyueshan maintains an average year-round temperature of 12 degrees centigrade, making it a popular summer destination. The spring blooms, autumn maples and winter frosts complete the area's seasonally changing scenic attraction. The view of the evening sky and cloud formations set against the mountain ranges is a sight that is hard to surpass anywhere on the island.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Treasury Securities

Treasury securities include Treasury bills (T-bills), notes and bonds. T-bills are commonly purchased through a financial institution.Customers who purchase T-bills at banks that later fail become concerned because they think their actual Treasury securities were kept at the failed bank. In fact, in most cases banks purchase T-bills via book entry, meaning that there is an accounting entry maintained electronically on the records of the Treasury Department; no engraved certificates are issued. Treasury securities belong to the customer; the bank is merely acting as custodian.

Customers who hold Treasury securities purchased through a bank that later fails can request a document from the acquiring bank (or from the FDIC if there is no acquirer) showing proof of ownership and redeem the security at the nearest Federal Reserve Bank. Or, customers can wait for the security to reach its maturity date and receive a check from the acquiring institution, which may automatically become the new custodian of the failed bank's T-bill customer list (or from the FDIC acting as receiver for the failed bank when there is no acquirer).

Even though Treasury securities are not covered by federal deposit insurance, payments of interest and principal (including redemption proceeds) on those securities that are deposited to an investor's deposit account at an insured depository institution ARE covered by FDIC insurance up to the $250,000 limit. And even though there is no federal insurance on Treasury securities, they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government - the strongest guarantee you can get.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Labor contracts of enterprises to be inspected

On 13 June, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs requested that provinces and cities organize the inspection of implementation of labor laws by enterprises.Of which, the attention should be paid to the signing of labor contracts between enterprises and employees; working time, rest time; salary, wages; working conditions, etc. The Ministry also required provinces and cities to publicize hot-line numbers so that the enterprises can contact easily in case of labor disputes.In the past time, many strikes occurred as a result of such violation of labor laws by enterprises as forcing employees working overtime, providing poor working condition, etc.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Caulerpa Marine Algae

Caulerpa seaweed occurs naturally in tropical waters worldwide. Prized for their beauty and ability to uptake excess nutrients, many species of Caulerpa are now widely used in saltwater aquarium systems. In the 1980’s, a cold-tolerant and fast-growing strain of the species, Caulerpa taxifolia,was cultivated in Germany and was eventually distributed to aquarists worldwide.

This cold-tolerant strain was inadvertently introduced into the Mediterranean Sea in wastewater from the Oceanographic Museum at Monaco. The species was first reported in the Mediterranean in 1984. At that time, the algae covered a square yard and it continued to spread rapidly after it was discovered. Even small fragments can start new colonies, and soon other patches began to appear. Caulerpa has now spread over more than 13,000 hectares (32,500 acres) of seabed, and the liklihood of eradication is highly questionable.

This fast-growing "Killer algae" forms dense carpet of algae that covers the bottom in a monoculture, preventing the establishment of native seaweeds and ultimately excluding almost all marine life. Even sea urchins have no interest in eating it. It will colonize any substrate and has been found from the shoreline to depths of up to 250 feet.

In June of 2000, the highly invasive Mediterranean strain of Caulerpa taxifolia was discovered in California's Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, and again 75 miles north in Huntington Harbor. Genetic studies determined that these two infestations were the same strain of C. taxifolia as that in the Mediterranean Sea. The discoveries marked the first known occurrence of this strain within the Western Hemisphere, and are believed to pose a major threat to coastal ecosystems and recreational and commercial activities dependent upon coastal resources. The infested areas are covered with tarp and treated with herbicide. After a multi-million dollar eradication effort, monitoring is still needed for several years to insure no re-growth. Vigilence is also needed to insure any future infestations are identified and eradicated rapidly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama May Delay Tax Rise

President-elect Barack Obama may consider delaying a campaign promise to roll back tax cuts on high-income Americans as he works on a huge stimulus plan to counter the worst economic crisis the world has faced in decades.The policy moves by the Obama team came as Citigroup, the second-largest US bank by assets and one of the best-known American financial institutions, was struggling on Sunday night to restore confidence after its share price dropped 60 per cent last week.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup was nearing agreement with US government officials on the creation of a separate "bad bank" that would house some of its potentially toxic assets.Meanwhile, the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which includes the US, Japan and China, pledged at the end of a two-day summit in Lima that they would take quick and decisive action as they seek to reduce the impact of the recessionary conditions sweeping many economies.And diplomats also said there was a high probability the World Trade Organization would hold a ministerial meeting next month to seek a breakthrough in the stalled Doha round of global trade talks.

But the politicians are up against a steady drumbeat of grim economic and corporate news. On Friday, figures from the euro zone and Japan are expected to show increases in jobless rates, and on the same day the traditional start to the US holiday shopping season promises to be one of the most wrenching for retailers in recent memory.The National Institute of Social and Economic Research forecast early on Monday that the British economy will shrink by 1.5 per cent next year, and for a total six quarters in a row, with a recovery not starting until early 2010.

And Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Canada's economy may be in a "technical" recession in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year, the first time the Conservative government has conceded that possibility.Such news will be vying with any positive investor sentiment created by Obama's moves as global financial markets open on Monday.

Early indications were slightly encouraging for US stock market investors at least, with US stock index futures opening a bit higher. The benchmark S&P500 index futures were up 4.50 points at 796.50 in early Asian trading, though Australian stocks were lower in early trading.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mouse Creek Falls

Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century. At 1.4 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6' falls. At 2.1 miles a short side trail on the left leads to a bench where hikers can rest and view Mouse Creek Falls which is on the far side of Big Creek. The falls are 45’ in height.

The 4-mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall is considered moderate in difficulty.

Access Trail: Big Creek Trail
Trailhead: Exit I-40 at Waterville Road (#451). Turn left after crossing the Pigeon River and proceed 2.3 miles to an intersection. Continue straight, past the ranger station, to a large parking area at road’s end.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height.

Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might tip the balance include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods and not being physically active.

Being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some cancers. If you are obese, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in height; they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see "Cultivation and Uses" below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hamilton Destined For Greatness

Lewis Hamilton has got a bit of a thing about Ayrton Senna.

The Brazilian, considered by many to be the greatest racing driver of all time, was a hero to the new world champion when he was a child.

Hamilton chose to follow Senna in painting his helmet a distinctive bright yellow, and has modelled his aggressive, uncompromising approach to racing on him, too.

The 23-year-old Englishman's detractors - and he has a fair few in Formula One - might also say Hamilton shares Senna's arrogance, and belief that he is on a separate level from his competitors.

The thing is, it is beginning to look as if he is right.

"He's a cut above the rest, isn't he?" says Damon Hill, the last Briton to win the title, in 1996.

Privately, even some of Hamilton's fellow drivers are beginning to admit that he is "that 2-3% above everyone else", as one driver who preferred not to be named put it.

Already the youngest world champion in history, a mantle he has taken from his former team-mate Fernando Alonso, the question now is how good Hamilton can become.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Freshwater aquarium plant

Aquatic plants are used to give the aquarium a natural appearance, oxygenate the water, and provide habitat for fish, especially fry (babies) and for invertebrate species. Some aquarium fish and invertebrates also eat live plants. Recently, there has been a movement in the hobby to use aquatic plants as part of aesthetic aquarium design and aquascaping, spearheaded by Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano.

Most of these plant species are found either partially or fully submersed in their natural habitat. Although there are a handful of obligate aquatic plants that must be grown in water (Cabomba sp., for example), most grow and thrive fully emersed if the soil is kept moist.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Indian Culture and Heritage

The long span of Indian history covering more than 3000 years and enumerating several civilizations has been a constant reminder of the country's rich multicultural extravaganza and world-renowned heritage. The people and their lifestyles, their dance forms and musical styles, art & handicrafts, and such other elements go on to reflect the varied hues of Indian culture and heritage, which truly epitomises the nationality of the country. This section attempts at showcasing all those elements, which act as a window to the culture and heritage of India.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Climate Change Can Grind Down Plate Tectonics

Earth's changing climate has a spectacular ability to reface the planet. Shifting winds and ocean currents can turn rainforests to deserts and back again, while ice ages have covered whole continents in glaciers again and again through time.Now, new evidence has emerged that, given enough time, climate change can even alter the course of plate tectonics.

The march of plate tectonics had previously seemed impervious to water and air's fickle motions. No matter the weather, plates would grind past and crash into one another to build mountain ranges, or sink into the hot depths of the mantle.But, according to Brendan Meade of Harvard University the mighty Andes mountain range, the longest on Earth, might not be here today if it wasn't for a drastic shift in climate 14 million years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain Goes On The Attack In Final Debate

John McCain lashed out at Barack Obama's efforts to link him to George Bush's unpopular presidency. "Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago," McCain said. McCain came out fighting last night in what was perhaps his last big opportunity to turn around a campaign less than three weeks before the election, but Obama emerged from the encounter relatively unscathed. McCain's poll numbers have fallen as Americans appear increasingly unwilling to put another Republican in the White House at a time of financial turmoil and fears of a recession. Major U.S. stock market indexes fell nearly 8 percent or more Wednesday. The 90-minute encounter, at Hofstra University outside New York City, had the fireworks lacking in the candidates' first two debates. With the rivals seated at a round table, McCain assailed Obama's character and his campaign positions on taxes, trade, abortion and other issues.

McCain heatedly demanded that Obama explain his relationship with William Ayers, a Vietnam war-era radical. Obama brushed off the attack, saying he was 8 years old when Ayers was involved in anti-war activities, including the bombing of federal buildings. For all of McCain's intensity, it was far from clear that he managed to undermine Obama's growing popularity. The attacks also risked a backlash: Polls have shown that personal attacks by the McCain campaign — including advertisements about Ayers — have backfired, alienating voters at a time that the economy is the overwhelming concern. When McCain talked about Ayers, Obama countered: "The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Senator McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me." As in the previous two debates, national polls showed a majority of debate watchers rated Obama the clear winner. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed said Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying McCain did better. The poll was conducted by telephone with 620 adult Americans who watched the debate and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Obama Cites Gandhi To Back His Call For Change

Calling Mahatma Gandhi's message and significance as universal, US presidential top-runner Barack Obama has said that real change in America "will not come from Washington - it will come when the people, united, bring it to Washington".

A big admirer of Gandhi, whose portrait hangs in his office, Obama issued a statement on the birth anniversary of the great leader, calling upon Americans to "rededicate ourselves, every day from now until November 4 (election day), and beyond, to living Gandhi's call to be the change we wish to see in the world".

Friday, September 26, 2008

Statement from Vice Chair Donetta Davidson

September 24, 2008 -- Last Thursday, September 18, at an all day Public Meeting, the Commission heard testimony from several panelists including Dr. Merle King of Kennesaw State University who offered probably one of the most poignant observations to date. He quoted a Professor from Georgia Tech who said that “voting systems are not rocket science.” Dr. King replied “No, it’s far more complicated.” He used the analogy that states cannot cancel an election in the way that NASA can scrub a launch at any time if the conditions aren’t ideal. Ready or not the election must go on.

Election officials must be ready for everything and anything that may happen. The EAC has devoted a good deal of time and resources on contingency and disaster planning. State officials have also been working overtime to prepare for the record turnout expected. However, budgets were set before all of the excitement surrounded this particular presidential race. Many of the states set their financial expenditure thresholds before they realized that they would need more equipment, supplies and staff to ensure that November 4th runs smoothly.

One of the other panelists, Doug Lewis of the Election Center, mentioned that there have been local officials who have claimed that they do not have sufficient funds to execute this year’s election and have spent less on this upcoming election than on their previous non-presidential elections. It has been suggested that states should reconsider their application of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to help with their financial constraints in order to keep up with the demand for supplies and resources with this next election. However, this is a situation where states need to be very cautious that they are not supplanting state and local funds with federal funds. This idea could possibly be a good solution as long as officials have properly allocated funding to the local level while in compliance with the guidelines that govern how they spend HAVA money. However, if this solution were to be realized it could constitute a “material change” according to our proposed guidelines.

With the comments which were offered at Thursday’s meeting, it highlighted the concerns that I have had with the proposed guidelines on material changes. HAVA §253 requires that states file a state plan and that the chief State election official file a statement certifying that the State is in compliance with the requirements of §253(b). This is problematic, however, as the state plans submitted do not account for any developments or changes in budget due to unforeseen circumstances. HAVA §254(a)(11) addresses this and requires that states “conduct ongoing management of the plan, except that the State may not make any material change in the administration of the plan.” If material changes are made, they must be done in compliance with §254(a)(11)(A)-(C). This brings me to my concern with sections 3 and 4 of the Proposed Guidelines on HAVA §254(a)(11): Material Changes in the Administration of HAVA State Plans. Section 3 requires that if there is a budget change of 10 percent or more of the HAVA fiscal year’s cumulative budget or a change of more than 10 percent of the cumulative budget of the fiscal years requirement payment from one category to another an amended state plan would be required. Additionally, section four states that if there is a revision in the means by which a State plans to achieve the HAVA objectives then an amended state plan must be submitted. If the proposed guidelines are approved, both of these sections would come into play if there were a disaster or emergency of any kind. We all remember how Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the gulf coast and New Orleans. Elections are unique in that we are dealing with tight and inflexible timelines. If the suggestions in our guidelines cannot be met it will discourage the states from either following the guidelines or taking the necessary action when an emergency arises. The southern states and gulf coast know too well that even with a contingency plan, drastic measures have to be taken to meet their critical deadlines. If the proposed guidelines are implemented sections 3 and 4 will be activated if they utilized their HAVA funds to deal with their emergency situation. They would not have time to amend their state plan before taking action.

It is my strong opinion that the EAC should proceed with caution when creating guidelines that we “suggest” they follow. Best practices on how to improve an election are one matter. However, it is a different matter when we start creating guidance that is suspiciously close to regulation. Under HAVA Congress specifically took the notion that the Commission does not have regulatory authority but serves as a clearinghouse of best practices that states could voluntarily utilize.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Microbial biodegradation

Interest in the microbial biodegradation of pollutants has intensified in recent years as mankind strives to find sustainable ways to cleanup contaminated environments. These bioremediation and biotransformation methods endeavour to harness the astonishing, naturally occurring, ability of microbial xenobiotic metabolism to degrade, transform or accumulate a huge range of compounds including hydrocarbons (e.g. oil), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pharmaceutical substances, radionuclides and metals. Major methodological breakthroughs in recent years have enabled detailed genomic, metagenomic, proteomic, bioinformatic and other high-throughput analyses of environmentally relevant microorganisms providing unprecedented insights into key biodegradative pathways and the ability of organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

The elimination of a wide range of pollutants and wastes from the environment is an absolute requirement to promote a sustainable development of our society with low environmental impact. Biological processes play a major role in the removal of contaminants and they take advantage of the astonishing catabolic versatility of microorganisms to degrade/convert such compounds. New methodological breakthroughs in sequencing, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and imaging are producing vast amounts of information.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Enzyme kinetics

Enzyme kinetics is the study of the chemical reactions that are catalysed by enzymes, with a focus on their reaction rates. The study of an enzyme's kinetics reveals the catalytic mechanism of this enzyme, its role in metabolism, how its activity is controlled, and how a drug or a poison might inhibit the enzyme.

Enzymes are usually protein molecules that manipulate other molecules — the enzymes' substrates. These target molecules bind to an enzyme's active site and are transformed into products through a series of steps known as the enzymatic mechanism. These mechanisms can be divided into single-substrate and multiple-substrate mechanisms. Kinetic studies on enzymes that only bind one substrate, such as triosephosphate isomerase, aim to measure the affinity with which the enzyme binds this substrate and the turnover rate.

Monday, August 25, 2008


After a confirmed test of the anxiolytic efficacy in a mouse model, receptor antagonists haloperidol, mecamylamine, and ketanserin were applied. Haloperidol completely reversed the anxiolytic effects, and mecamylamine and ketanserin nearly completely reversed the effects. This shows that aniracetam's anxiolytic mechanism is facilitated by D2/D3 dopamine, nicotinic acetylcholine, and 5-HT2A receptors.

Aniracetam has also been shown to selectively modulate the AMPA glutamate receptor and was used as the parent compound to derive a class of drugs known as the ampakines which are being investigated as nootropics and neuroprotective drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Despite the fat solubility of aniracetam its half-life is much shorter than common racetam analogs such as Piracetam.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wide Area Augmentation System

The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) is an air navigation aid developed by the Federal Aviation Administration to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS), with the goal of improving its accuracy, integrity, and availability. Essentially, WAAS is intended to enable aircraft to rely on GPS for all phases of flight, including precision approaches to any airport within its coverage area.

WAAS uses a network of ground-based reference stations (Benchmark DGPSRs transmitting differential corrections (DCs, located within spaces protected from the public inside airportsin North America and Hawaii, to measure small variations in the GPS satellites' signals in the western hemisphere. Measurements from the reference stations are routed to master stations, which queue the received DCs and send the correction messages to geostationary WAAS satellites in a timely manner (at least every 5 seconds or better). Those satellites broadcast the correction messages back to Earth, where WAAS-enabled GPS receiver uses the corrections while computing its position to improve accuracy. The longer any given DC has been delayed, the less benefit it will produce.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) calls this type of system a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS). Europe and Asia are developing their own SBASs, the Indian Gagan, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the Japanese Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS), respectively. Commercial systems include StarFire and OmniSTAR.

Monday, August 11, 2008

VersionTracker is a website that tracks software releases. It started out originally as a Mac OS software tracker, eventually expanding into Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Palm OS.

VersionTracker does not host the majority of the software listed (it merely links to them), only in special agreements with the developers.

VersionTracker also offers a software called VersionTracker Pro that checks software versions on a user's computer and then queries its database to see if any updates are available. This feature is available only to paid subscribers. Browsing and searching the database is free.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Neogeography literally means "new geography", and is commonly applied to the usage of geographical techniques and tools used for personal and community activities or for utilization by a non-expert group of users. Application domains of neogeography are typically not formal or analytical.

The term and field owes much of its inspiration to the Locative media movement that sought to expand the use of location-based technologies to personal expression and society.

Traditional GIS Geographic Information Systems historically have developed tools and techniques targeted towards formal applications that require precision and accuracy. By contrast, Neogeography tends to apply to the areas of approachable, colloquial applications. The two realms can have overlap as the same problems are presented to different sets of users: experts and non-experts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Locative media

Locative Media are media of communication bound to a location. They are digital media applied to real places and thus triggering real social interactions. While mobile technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), laptop computers and mobile phones enable locative media, they are not the goal for the development of projects in this field. Rather:

"Locative media is many things: A new site for old discussions about the relationship of consciousness to place and other people. A framework within which to actively engage with, critique, and shape a rapid set of technological developments. A context within which to explore new and old models of communication, community and exchange. A name for the ambiguous shape of a rapidly deploying surveillance and control infrastructure." (Russell, 2004)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Relational model

The relational model for database management is a database model based on first-order predicate logic, first formulated and proposed in 1969 by Edgar Codd.

Its core idea is to describe a database as a collection of predicates over a finite set of predicate variables, describing constraints on the possible values and combinations of values. The content of the database at any given time is a finite model (logic) of the database, i.e. a set of relations, one per predicate variable, such that all predicates are satisfied. A request for information from the database (a database query) is also a predicate.

The purpose of the relational model is to provide a declarative method for specifying data and queries: we directly state what information the database contains and what information we want from it, and let the database management system software take care of describing data structures for storing the data and retrieval procedures for getting queries answered.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Multidimensional database

Multidimensional databases are variously (depending on the context) data aggregators which combine data from a multitude of data sources; databases which offer networks, hierarchies, arrays and other data formats difficult to model in SQL; or databases which give a high degree of flexibility in the definition of dimensions, units, and unit relationships, regardless of data format.

Multi-dimensional databases are especially useful in sales and marketing applications that involve time series. Large volumes of sales and inventory data can be stored to ultimately be used for logistics and executive planning. For example, data can be more readily segregated by sales region, product, or time period.

While many of the major database vendors have recognized and implemented at least a partial solution, most frequently they rely upon a Star schema database design. However, the star design for relational databases can result in "sparse data," or sets of ordered data with large gaps between data entries. While modern database engines use strategies to limit the impact of sparse data sets on query performance, such as compressing large blocks of empty data elements for quicker access, star databases can still present worse performance than other alternatives.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


In the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, the noosphere (sometimes spelled nöosphere) can be seen as the "sphere of human thought" being derived from the Greek νούς ("nous") meaning "mind" + σφαίρα (sfaira) meaning "sphere", in the style of "atmosphere" and "biosphere". In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Transport Layer Security

The TLS protocol allows applications to communicate across a network in a way designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery. TLS provides endpoint authentication and communications privacy over the Internet using cryptography. Typically, only the server is authenticated (i.e., its identity is ensured) while the client remains unauthenticated; this means that the end user (whether an individual or an application, such as a Web browser) can be sure with whom it is communicating. The next level of security — in which both ends of the "conversation" are sure with whom they are communicating — is known as mutual authentication. Mutual authentication requires public key infrastructure (PKI) deployment to clients unless TLS-PSK or the Secure Remote Password (SRP) protocol are used, which provide strong mutual authentication without needing to deploy a PKI.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Trojan horse

In the context of computing and software, a Trojan horse, or simply trojan, is a piece of software which appears to perform a certain action but in fact performs another such as transmitting a computer virus. Contrary to popular belief, this action, usually encoded in a hidden payload, may or may not be actually malicious, but Trojan horses are notorious today for their use in the installation of backdoor programs. Simply put, a Trojan horse is not a computer virus. Unlike such malware, it does not propagate by self-replication but relies heavily on the exploitation of an end-user. It is instead a categorical attribute which can encompass many different forms of codes. Therefore, a computer worm or virus may be a Trojan horse. The term is derived from the classical story of the Trojan Horse.

Monday, June 16, 2008


The Apple iPhone has supported Yahoo! push e-mail since the phone's initial release in 2007. Since July 2008 the release of iPhone 2.0 software brings Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync platform to Apple's handheld thus allowing the iPhone to synchronize e-mail, calendars, tasks and contacts with a Microsoft Exchange Server. The software which will add features commonly found in enterprise mobile devices will be available through iTunes as a free download. MobileMe stores all your email, contacts, and calendars on a secure online server — or “cloud” — and pushes them down to your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. When you make a change on one device, the cloud updates the others. Push happens automatically, instantly, and continuously. You don’t have to wait for it or remember to do anything — such as docking your iPhone and syncing manually — to stay up to date.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Robot kit

A robot kit is a special construction kit for building robots, especially autonomous mobile robots.

Toy robot kits are also supplied by several companies. They are mostly made of plastics elements like Lego Mindstorms and the Robotis Bioloid, or aluminium elements like Lynxmotion's Servo Erector Set and the qfix kit.

The kits can consist of: structural elements, mechanical elements, motors (or other actuators), sensors and a controller board to control the inputs and outputs of the robot. In some cases, the kits can be available without electronics as well, to provide the user the opportunity to use his or her own.

Monday, June 02, 2008


A roboticist designs, builds, programs, and experiments with robots. Since robotics is a highly interdisciplinary field, roboticists often have backgrounds in a number of disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. Roboticists often work for university, industry, and government research labs, but may also work for startup companies and other entrepreneurial firms. Amateur Roboticist is also a growing hobby all over the world.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Human ecosystem

Human ecosystems are complex cybernetic systems that are increasingly being used by ecological anthropologists and other scholars to examine the ecological aspects of human communities in a way that integrates multiple factors as economics, socio-political organization, psychological factors, and physical factors related to the environment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Natural biotic types

Some living things use naturally occurring cellular automata in their functioning.

Patterns of some seashells, like the ones in Conus and Cymbiola genus, are generated by natural CA. The pigment cells reside in a narrow band along the shell's lip. Each cell secretes pigments according to the activating and inhibiting activity of its neighbour pigment cells, obeying a natural version of a mathematical rule. cell band leaves the colored pattern on the shell as it grows slowly. For example, the widespread species Conus textile bears a pattern resembling the Rule 30 CA described above.

Plants regulate their intake and loss of gases via a CA mechanism. Each stoma on the leaf acts as a cell.

Neural networks can be used as cellular automata, too. The complex moving wave patterns on the skin of cephalopods are a good display of corresponding activation patterns in the animals' brain.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)

This is the least restrictive of the Microsoft licenses and allows for distribution of compiled code for either commercial or non-commercial purposes under any license that complies with the Ms-PL. Redistribution of the source code itself is permitted only under the Ms-PL. Initially titled Microsoft Permissive License, it was renamed to Microsoft Public License while being reviewed for approval by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The license was approved on October 12, 2007. According to the Free Software Foundation, it is a free software license and is compatible with the GNU GPL version 3. However, for new software, FSF asks to use an older free software license that serves the same purpose, like Apache License 2.0, “to combat license proliferation”.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Transformation of culture

Transformation of culture, or cultural change, refers to the dynamic process whereby the living cultures of the world are changing and adapting to external or internal forces. This process is occurring within Western culture as well as non-Western and indigenous culture of the world. Forces which contribute to the cultural change described in this article include: colonization, globalization, advances in communication, transportation and infrastructure improvements, and military expansion.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sustainable transport

Sustainable transport, also commonly referred to as Sustainable Transportation or Sustainable Mobility, has no widely accepted definition. Since it is a sector-specific sub-set to the post-1988 sustainable development movement, it is often defined in words such as this: “Sustainable transportation is about meeting or helping meet the mobility needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” But this is only a starting point.

The concept of sustainable mobility is a reaction to things that have gone radically and visibly wrong with current transportation policy, practice and performance over the last half of the twentieth century. In particular unsustainable transportation consumes more energy and creates pollution and declining service levels despite increasing investments. It delivers poor service for specific social and economic groups.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Caecilius Metellus

Pomponius Mela writes, and is copied by Pliny the Elder, that Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer (died 59 BCE), proconsul in Gaul received "several Indians" (Indi) as a present from a Germanic king. The Indians were driven by a storm to the coasts of Germania (in tempestatem ex Indicis aequoribus).

Metellus Celer recalls the following: when he was proconsul in Gaul, he was given people from "India" by the king of the Sueves; upon requesting why they were in this land, he learnt that they were caught in a storm away from India, that they became castaways, and finally landed on the coast of Germany. They thus resisted the sea, but suffered from the cold for the rest of their travel, and that is the reason why they left.

It is unclear whether these castaways may have been people from India or Eastern Asia, or possibly American Indians. Edward Herbert Bunbury suggested that they were Finns. This account is open to some question, since Metellus Celer died just after his consulship, before he ever got to Gaul.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Software development kit

A software development kit (SDK or "devkit") is typically a set of development tools that allows a software engineer to create applications for a certain software package, software framework, hardware platform, computer system, video game console, operating system, or similar platform.

It may be something as simple as an application programming interface in the form of some files to interface to a particular programming language or include sophisticated hardware to communicate with a certain embedded system. Common tools include debugging aids and other utilities often presented in an IDE. SDKs also frequently include sample code and supporting technical notes or other supporting documentation to help clarify points from the primary reference material.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Relational database management system

A Relational database management system (RDBMS) is a database management system (DBMS) that is based on the relational model as introduced by E. F. Codd. Most popular commercial and open source databases currently in use are based on the relational model.

A short definition of an RDBMS may be a DBMS in which data is stored in the form of tables and the relationship among the data is also stored in the form of tables.

Friday, April 04, 2008

4th Dimension (Software)

4th Dimension (or 4D, or Silver Surfer, as it was known during early development) is a relational database management system and IDE developed by Laurent Ribardière in 1984. In 1993, 4D Server, the client/server version of 4th Dimension was introduced and since 1995, 4D has supported both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems.

The 4D product line has since expanded to an SQL front-end, integrated compiler and several productivity plug-ins and interfaces. Some of the more useful plug-ins include 4D Write (a word processor), 4D Draw (to draw shapes), 4D View (somewhat like a spreadsheet, but with extra functionality) and 4D Internet Commands (which let you add all sorts of Internet related functionality to a database). There are also over 100 third-party plugins, free and commercial.

Monday, March 24, 2008


TELNET (TELecommunication NETwork) is a network protocol used on the Internet or local area network (LAN) connections. It was developed in 1969 beginning with RFC 15 and standardized as IETF STD 8, one of the first Internet standards.

The term telnet also refers to software which implements the client part of the protocol. TELNET clients have been available on most Unix systems for many years and are available for virtually all platforms. Most network equipment and OSs with a TCP/IP stack support some kind of TELNET service server for their remote configuration (including ones based on Windows NT). Because of security issues with TELNET, its use has waned as it is replaced by the use of SSH for remote access.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hybrid Locomotive

Hybrid Locomotive is a locomotive or multiple unit train that uses an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) (battery or ultracapacitors) and a fueled power source for propulsion.

Hybrid trains typically are powered either by fuel cell technology or the more conventional diesel-electric hybrid which reduces fuel consumption through regenerative braking and switching off the hydrocarbon engine when idling or stationary (as used in automobiles such as the Toyota Prius).

Energy used by train operations makes up approximately 70% of all energy consumed by railroad companies, so reduction of this not only provides environmental benefits but economic advantages as well.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED), also Light-Emitting Polymers (LEP) and Flexible OLED (FOLED), involve an electroluminescent conductive polymer that emits light when connected to an external voltage source. They are used as a thin film for full-spectrum color displays and require a relatively small amount of power for the light produced. No vacuum is required, and the emissive materials can be applied on the substrate by a technique derived from commercial inkjet printing. The substrate used can be flexible, such as PET. Thus, flexible PLED displays may be produced inexpensively.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Computational chemistry

Computational chemistry is a branch of chemistry that uses computers to assist in solving chemical problems. It uses the results of theoretical chemistry, incorporated into efficient computer programs, to calculate the structures and properties of molecules and solids. While its results normally complement the information obtained by chemical experiments, it can in some cases predict hitherto unobserved chemical phenomena. It is widely used in the design of new drugs and materials.

Examples of such properties are structure (i.e. the expected positions of the constituent atoms), absolute and relative (interaction) energies, electronic charge distributions, dipoles and higher multipole moments, vibrational frequencies, reactivity or other spectroscopic quantities, and cross sections for collision with other particles.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Earth (pronounced /'???/) is the third planet from the Sun and is the major of the terrestrial planets in the Solar System, in both diameter and mass. It is also referred to as the Earth, Planet Earth, and the World, and in several contexts, Gaia and Terra.

Home to millions of species including humans, Earth is the only place in the world where life is known to exist. Scientific evidence indicates that the planet formed 4.54 billion years ago, and life appear on its surface within a billion years. Since then, Earth's biosphere has considerably altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enable the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, jointly with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful emission, permitting life on land.

Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that regularly travel across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is enclosed with salt-water oceans, the remainder consisting of continents and islands; liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist on any other planet's surface. Earth's interior remains active, with a thick layer of comparatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inside the core.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or tiny tree growing to 5–8 m tall. The pomegranate is native to the region from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been enlightened and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region and the Caucasus since antique times. It is widely cultivated throughout Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and India, the drier parts of Southeast Asia, Peninsular Malaysia, the East Indies, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated mostly in the drier parts of California and Arizona for its fruits exploited commercially as juice products in advance in popularity since 2001. In the global functional food industry, pomegranate is included among a novel category of exotic plant sources called super fruits.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is classically in season from September to January. In the Southern hemisphere, it is in period from March to May.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What is Spamdexing?

Spamdexing has frequent methods, such as repeating unrelated phrases, to control the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, in a manner inconsistent with the idea of the indexing system. Some consider it to be a part of search engine optimization; though there are numerous search engine optimization methods that get better the quality and exterior of the content of web sites and serve content useful to many users. Search engines use a variety of algorithms to end relevancy ranking. Some of these contain determining whether the search term appears in the META keywords tag, others whether the search term appear in the body text or URL of a web page. Many search engines test out for instances of spamdexing and will remove believe pages from their indexes. In addition people working for a search-engine organization can quickly block the results-listing from entire websites that use spamdexing, perhaps alert by user objects of false matches. The rise of spamdexing in the mid-1990s made the majority important search engines of the time less useful.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Custom duty

Customs is a power or agency in a country in charge for collecting customs duties and for controlling the flow of people, animals and goods (including personal effects and hazardous items) in and out of the country. Depending on local legislation and regulations, the import or export of some goods may be controlled or prohibited, and the customs agency enforces this system. The customs agency may be different from the colonization authority, which monitors persons who leave or enter the country, checking for suitable documentation, apprehend people wanted by international search warrants, and impede the entry of others deemed hazardous to the country.
A customs duty is a charge tax on the import of goods or export of goods. In England, customs duties were conventionally part of the customary revenue of the king, and therefore did not need parliamentary consent to be levy, unlike excise duties, land tax, or other impositions.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Laser printer

Laser printer is a frequent type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. Like photocopiers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is fashioned by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Clothing is defined, in its broadest sense, as coverings for the torso and limbs as well as coverings for the hands (gloves), feet (socks, shoes, sandals, and boots) and head (hats, caps). Humans generally wear clothing, which is also known as dress, garments, attire, or apparel. People wear clothing for useful as well as for social reasons. Clothing protects the vulnerable naked human body from the extremes of weather, other features of our environment, and for security reasons. Every article of clothing also carries a cultural and social sense. Human beings are the only mammals known to wear clothing, with the exemption of human pets clothed by their owners.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Cricket is a bat-and-ball sport competition by two teams, usually of eleven players each. A cricket match is played on a grass field, approximately oval in shape, in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called a cricket pitch. A wicket, regularly made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch.

The bowler, a player from the field team, bowls a hard, fist-sized cricket ball from the locality of one wicket towards the other. The ball usually bounces once before feat the batsman, a player from the conflicting team. In defence of the wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a made of wood cricket bat. Meanwhile, the other members of the bowler's team stand in a variety of positions around the field as fielders, players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman — if he or she does not get out — may run between the wickets, exchange ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker"), who has been waiting near the bowler's wicket. Each finished exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hit the ball to the border line of the playing area. The match is won by the team that score more runs.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Patrice Luzi

Patrice Luzi Bernardi is a French goalkeeper recently with Liverpool but released by the Anfield club in June 2005. He then signed a contract with Belgian side Mouscron.Having previously played for Monaco and Ajaccio, Luzi made his Liverpool debut in January 2004 against Chelsea in a 1-0 win. He made two wonderful saves to deny Chelsea, but was left frustrated when he later was left out from the first team. His chances where limited when Liverpool loaned in Southampton's Paul Jones to cover from Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland. Patrice Luzi has been described as a good shot stopper with good handling and distribution. The SRBs are the largest solid-propellant motors ever flown and the first of such large rockets designed for reuse. Each is 149.16 feet long and 12.17 feet in diameter.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, and it is the hardest known natural material and the third-hardest known material after aggregate diamond nanorods and ultrahard fullerite. Its hardness and high dispersal of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewelry.

Diamonds are specifically famous as a material with superlative physical qualities; they make excellent abrasives because they can be injured only by other diamonds, Borazon, ultrahard fullerite, or aggregated diamond nanorods, which also means they hold a polish tremendously well and retain their luster. Approximately 130 million carats (26,000 kg) are mined annually, with a sum value of nearly USD $9 billion, and about 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) are synthesize annually.