Month: September 2008
Fridges that run without electricity!
London: An Oxford electrical engineer has come up with a refrigerator that runs without electricity. Not his own idea. He has based it on a model invented by Albert Einstein in 1930.
Einstein and his colleague, Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, patented a fridge that had no moving parts and used only pressurised gases to keep things cold.
The idea is to eventually stop using modern refrigerators, which use gas that harm the environment. They work by compressing and expanding man-made greenhouse gases called freons – far more damaging that carbon dioxide.
Almost every household in the developed world owns a fridge and its sales are rising as demand increases in developing countries.
Malcolm McCulloch, an electrical engineer at Oxford who works on green technologies, is leading a three-year project to develop fridges that can be used in places without electricity.
The Einstein-Szilard model design was partly used in the first domestic refrigerators but the technology was abandoned when more efficient compressors became popular in the 1950s.
Einstein and Szilard’s idea avoids the need for freons. It uses ammonia, butane and water and takes advantage of the fact that liquids boil at lower temperatures when the air pressure around them is lower.
‘If you go to the top of Mount Everest, water boils at a much lower temperature than it does when you’re at sea level, and that’s because the pressure is much lower up there,’ says McCulloch.
At one side is the evaporator, a flask that contains butane. ‘If you introduce a new vapour above the butane, the liquid boiling temperature decreases and, as it boils off, it takes energy from the surroundings to do so,’ says McCulloch. ‘That’s what makes it cold.’
He is not the only one interested in environment-friendly fridges. Engineers working at a Cambridge-based start-up company, Camfridge, are currently using magnetic fields, instead of gas, to cool things.
Managing director Neil Wilson says: ‘When the magnetic field is next to the alloy, it’s like compressing the gas, and when the magnetic field leaves, it’s like expanding the gas. This effect can be seen in rubber bands – when you stretch the band it gets hot, and when you let the band contract it gets cold.’
Indo-Asian News Service
Talcum powder ‘can raise cancer risk’
28 Sep 2008, PTI
LONDON: Ladies, please note — the next time you use talcum powder to keep fresh, make sure you don’t sprinkle it in your lower body.
A new study has revealed that women who use talcum powder around their private parts everyday are actually 40 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer — the risk is only restricted to the lower body.
Talc is made from a mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate which is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products.
And, according to researchers, powder applied to the private parts in the lower body may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.
Lead researcher Dr Maggie Gates said that until the outcome of further researches, women should avoid using talc in the genital area, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.
Dr Gates and colleagues at Harvard Medical School have based their findings on an analysis of over 3,000 women — the study found using talcum powder once a week raised the risk of ovarian cancer by 36 per cent.
The risk increased to 41 per cent for those applying the powder every day, the researchers found.
The study also revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile. Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1, were three times likely to develop tumours.
The study has been published in the latest issue of the ‘Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention’ journal.
NEW DELHI: Ignoring your adolescent child’s chest discomfort or presuming it to be muscular pain might be dangerous as it could actually be a precursor to a major heart attack.
Given the higher propensity in Indians towards cardiac ailments as compared to people of other races, there is an urgent need to make people aware of the danger from an early age, doctors say.
Nineteen-year-old Prakash Gupta (name changed) from East Delhi suffered extensive heart attack and was admitted to a hospital in Noida. Angiography showed blockage of major artery and significant dysfunction of his left ventricle.
Don’t ignore child’s chest discomfort
28 Sep 2008, PTI
It was later revealed that the boy had suffered from chest discomfort lasting for half-an-hour two months prior to the attack. However, it was diagnosed as muscular pain then.
In another case, 17-year old Sunil, who underwent coronary angiography at a heart institute following a heart attack had to undergo angioplasty.
The analysis of these patients and that of some others showed that all of them had suffered from chest discomfort which was misdiagnosed as muscular pain, leading to heart attacks in the following months that could have been averted by timely action.
“Other cases of individuals slightly over 20 years of age point to a common thread of a history of chest discomfort, which was overlooked and the high risk children suffered from massive heart attacks with poor functioning of the pumping chamber due to block in major artery,” said Dr Purushottam Lal of Noida’s Metro hospital.
Pistachio nuts keep heart healthy
28 Sep 2008, ANI
WASHINGTON: Eating pistachio nuts every day can keep your health hale and hearty, says a new study.
According to researchers at Penn State conducted the study to investigate the way pistachios lower cholesterol.
“We investigated mechanisms of action to explain the cholesterol-lowering effects of the pistachio diets,” says Sarah K. Gebauer, recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient, currently a post-doctoral research associate, USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center.
The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study segment.
The participants began the study by eating a typical American diet consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat for two weeks.
They then tested three diets for four weeks each with about a two-week break between each diet. All three diets were variations on the Step I Diet, a cholesterol-lowering diet in general use.
The diets included, as a control, a Step I Diet with no pistachios and about 25 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat. The pistachio enhanced diets were Step I Diets with 10 and 20 percent of the energy supplied by pistachio nuts, respectively.
The 10 percent pistachio diet had 30 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat and the 20 percent pistachio diet had 34 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat.
The participants ate half their pistachios as a snack and the rest incorporated into meals.
The researchers report in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that “Inclusion of pistachios in a healthy diet beneficially affects cardiovascular disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner, which may reflect effects on Stearoyl CoA Desaturase (SCD).”
The researchers used the ratio of two fatty acids, 16:1 and 16:0 in plasma as a marker for SCD, an enzyme that is involved in the body’s synthesis of fatty acids.
“SCD is an important enzyme involved in cholesterol metabolism,” says Gebauer.
Into the final stages of the TALENT SHARE 2008 competition, I am thrilled to see the responses coming in from children all over. See and realise yourself, how their mind is travelling and bringing out images which we have long forgotten. What more we need. An opportunity for them to showcase their talents and an opportunity for us to revisit our childhood memories.
Yes, what a lovely feeling when we go back years behind. As for me, I still cherish those good old days, when after school, take my privilege to go to the ration shop with our maid servant. It was an opportunity to walk all the way to the most important place in our village in those days. It was also an opportunity to go and meet many people from the small village where I lived, listen to all the news discussed between them, while we were in the que. It was also an opportunity to read through the various newspapers stacked there near the big long balance to wrap various grocery items. Those were the days, when newspapers and news items were not so common for those interested to read. Other than the regional malayalam daily Mathrubhumi and the English daily The Hindu, there was nothing to read. As eager as ever to read all what comes in front, it was an opportunity to read thsoe bits of newspapers, which normally would have come from other places or from those who bring it to sell them for some grocery items. Many times it contained papers which were normally banned at our conservative home – papers like those which carried communists views etc. So, it gave a different angle to what I gathered normally from the views and eyes of the editorials of Mathrubhumi and The Hindu. Those were not the age of television and movies. Radio was the other medium which was available to pile upon knowledge. Incidentally, the village library which was in front of this ration shop played all the programmes available through the national radio channel Akashvaani and also some times, played BBC programmes and Srilanka radio according to the mood of librarian.
Gone are those days. Now, a normal child gets to read newspapers at home. Any paper you take out here carries at least 50 pages of materials to read. They are in plenty too. For instances in UAE, we have now, three or four mainstream newspapers. Starting with Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Gulf Today and the new entrant The National. Then there are tabloids and additional pull out for each one of them and their weekly magazines in addition. Add to them, the small time news prints like 7 Days news etc. Include several newspapers now coming here daily in the morning. In fact all Indian regional news are available here in the morning itself. A child or a family with little flare for reading has no dearth of substance available. In fact it has gone to a serious situation that if one has to read at least the main section of each of these newspapers, one has to take half a day leave from work. If he has to read complete all of them, like actor Mohanlal said in one movie, you have to get a good job to take leave (and read news in complete).
Opportunities available are plenty for those who look for it and accept it. Otherwise, you will never see it. It is how we look at things. Each moment is an opportunity in life. The other day I was mentioning about crazy driving on the road and life being generously given to other drivers by those who driver erratically without care for their life and fellow drivers. I wish if they had a visit to emergency ward of any of the major hospitals around. My thoughts are being de-railed by a near miss I had on the way, the other day, as early as 4:45 am on the highway. If someone is driving rashly at that time of the morning, I cannot imagine, when is safe to drive or which road.
Well, back to our topic, my experience so far with the TALENT SHARE 2008 programme is interesting and bringing out several new topics of knowledge to my life. As usual, any project is precious for me, and as one progresses, and as I enjoy it’s progress, knowingly or unknowingly, I would have already started working on the next project. It is one way of fine tuning the project’s finer aspects from closer and distant perspective. It is also another way of looking that project from a totally different angle. It is not easy, but is not difficult too. It is like the same way, a fast bowler or a spin bowler comes in and bowl 6 different bowl to an excellent batsman without giving him an opportunity to score. How many times he would have practised for that to happen in real time. The batsman would have had all the probabilities to hit those six balls for fours or sixers. But, it didn’t happen, or rather he didn’t allow it to happen. It is practise, Practise, PRACTISE. Nothing else. Practise in real, and practise in mind. This is my answer to all those who says that I am busy and I do not have time to do a thing. May be you were not courageous enough to say that you are not interested to do it and why to blame time. Time is precious and it will be found available only for those who value each second or millisecond in life. Keeping self busy is a good thing, but how you keep yourself busy is the most important thing.
Many of us have cameras, all different types of it. Have you ever tried shooting a bee or a butterfly using it. Then you will realise, how busy their life is and how difficult is to follow them. Then a little more into it, you will realise what is required for achieving success. Practise, followed by Patience. If you do, it victory will be yours. If not today, definitely tomorrow. What is the point of a golden sword if it’s edges are not sharp enough to cut the throat of an attacking enemy?
Wishing you all a slow and safe Eid Al Fitr holidays.
Thoughts and Photos by Ramesh Menon
റമദാന് ചിന്തകള് 27
ഇന്നലെ വളരെ വലിയ ഒരു പോസ്റ്റ് കുറെ നാളുകള്ക്കു ശേഷം എന്റെ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് ബ്ലോഗിന് വേണ്ടി ഞാന് എഴുതുകയുണ്ടായി. ഇതിന് മുന്പും ഞാന് ഇവിടെ പറയുകയുണ്ടായി, ഓരോ ഭാഷയും അത് പ്രയോഗിക്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരത്തിന്റെ ഒരു പ്രതിനിധി ആണെന്ന്. ആ പോസ്റ്റ് വായിച്ചവാള് മനസ്സിലാവും അതിന്റെ ശൈലിയും രീതിയും. അതില് ചില കാര്യങ്ങള് ഞാന് പറഞ്ഞിരുന്നു. ഒന്നു മരണവും, മറ്റൊന്ന് റോഡിലെ രീതികളും. ഓരോ ദിവസ്സം ചെല്ലും തോറും കാലത്തു വീട്ടില് നിന്നു വണ്ടിയെടുത്തു ഇറങ്ങിയാല് തിരിച്ചെത്തിയാല് പറയാം എത്തി എന്ന രീതിയില് ആയി കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു. പലരും ഓടിക്കുന്നത് കണ്ടാല്, അവര് മാത്രമല്ല നമ്മളെയും ഇനി വീട് കാണിക്കില്ല എന്ന മട്ടിലാണ്. നമ്മള് ഒന്നോ രണ്ടോ പേര് വിചാരിച്ചാല് ഒന്നും നടക്കാന് പോകുന്നില്ല. എന്നാലും അണ്ണാരകണ്ണനും തന്നാലായത് എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞ പോലെ നമ്മള് ആവുന്ന രീതിയില് നമ്മളെ തന്നെ നിയന്ത്രിക്കാന് ശ്രമിക്കുക. ബാക്കി എല്ലാ ദൈവ നിശ്ചയം.
ഈ റമദാന് മാസം അവസ്സനത്തോട് കൂടി തന്നെ കുട്ടികള്ക്കായുള്ള ടാലെന്റ്റ് ഷെയര് മല്സരവും നടക്കും. ഇതു അവര്ക്കായി ഒരുക്കിയിട്ടുള്ള സുവര്ണ അവസ്സരം ആണ്. സമ്മാനങ്ങള് ഒന്നും തന്നെ ഇവിടെ പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. എന്നാലും അവര്ക്കായി ഏതാനും നല്ല കാര്യങ്ങള് ഒരുങ്ങി കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. എല്ലാവരും അതിന്റെ വിജയത്തിന് അകമഴിഞ്ഞ് സഹകരിക്കും എന്ന് വിശ്വസിച്ചു കൊണ്ടു,