Information – Technology +

News update: Google launches new website to help with coronavirus-related queries

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The internet giant said it worked with ‘relevant agencies and authorities’ to roll out the site, which went live late Friday .

Google launched a website dedicated to information about Covid-19 a week after US President Donald Trump touted the company’s help in the fight against the pandemic.

The internet giant said it worked with “relevant agencies and authorities” to roll out the site – – which went live on the web late Friday offering education, prevention and local resources related to the novel coronavirus.

Read more at: The National

Red light cameras now check for insurance, too

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Red light cameras now check for insurance, too
Tom Barlow Jun 29th 2009 at 4:30PM

Drive without insurance? Then you’d better stay out of Ohio, where the state is considering a program that uses red-light cameras and insurance company databases to check passing traffic for uninsured motorists. The system would use license plate numbers to verify driver insurance. According to the Columbus Dispatch, officials in Chicago, who are considering the same system, from InsureNet of Novi, Michigan, think that such a program could generate $200 million in additional revenue for the Windy City.

When the system identifies an uninsured motorist, the driver would be sent a letter instructing him to take care of the problem. If he doesn’t, a fine will soon follow. In Ohio, that fine is $125 for a first offense, $300 for a second and $550 for a third.

The system is already being provided to law enforcement, free of charge, so even those uninsured drivers who managed to dodge the cameras can be busted if they catch the attention of a local gendarme. The system can also provide them lien reports in real time.

I’m all for requiring drivers to carry insurance, but I’m not pleased by the prospect of insurance company databases being opened for InsureNet’s searches. I can see how this would be a good deal for the insurance companies, because it will drive business their way. For the general public, however, this feels like another step toward a Big Brother future.

To read the original article, click here

Now, ‘Naga chilly’ to scare away wild elephants

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Now, ‘Naga chilly’ to scare away wild elephants
5 Jan 2009,PTI

SHILLONG: The world’s hottest chilly, ‘Naga chilly’, or ‘bhoot jolokia’ in Assamese dialect, could be the latest weapon against marauding wild elephants who have wrecked havoc in many parts of Northeast.

‘Bhoot jolokia’, a chilly pepper that grows mostly in Assam, has shot to limelight after the DRDO developed a non-lethal grenade from it that could be used in anti-terrorist operations.

The DRDO and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are now working on developing the ‘chilly’ into a powder that could be coated on fences and ropes to scare away wild pachyderms.

“Two months back, a WWF experiment observed that the chilly could be a good scaring material. Its’ powder when coated on fences and ropes that are erected on routes of the elephants can scare away the giants,” RP Srivastava, director of the Tezpur laboratory of DRDO said.

He said trials are being proposed on the experiment soon, and the DRDO and WWF are working to come up with an effective substance that can help in mitigating man-elephant conflict.

The ‘bhoot jolokia’ has been branded as the world’s hottest chilly with the pungency of 855000 scoville units, that is nearly double the scale of Mexican chilly.

It is used as a cure for stomach ailments and as a remedy to summer heat, presumably by inducing perspiration.

The DRDO says that the chilly also has qualities that can give physiological impetus, especially to security forces deployed in high altitude areas.

Website on free software inaugurated

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Website on free software inaugurated

Minister M. Vijayakumar inaugurating the website of the ‘Free Software Free Society’ international conference.

Express News Service 14 Nov 2008 THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:

Minister M. Vijayakumar inaugurated the website of the upcoming international conference ‘Free Software, Free Society’, here on Thursday.

The website will provide details of the conference.

The conference is being organised by the State Government jointly with free software community here from December 9 to 11. The conference will bring together the practitioners of free software from across the world. Free Software movement founder Richard M. Stallman, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Free Software legal expert Eben Moglen and Venezuelan former Minister of Planning Prof Felipe Perez Martin are some of the dignitaries expected to participate. The conference is expected to be one of the largest technological conferences held in Kerala. Talks on various free software technologies will also be conducted.

Celebration of software freedom

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Celebration of software freedom
Express News Service First Published : 03 Nov 2008 KOCHI:

IT’S going to be the biggest celebration of software freedom in the state. In an effort to spread awareness about free software and related issues the Cochin University of Science and Technology, IT@School Project of the Government of Kerala, Appropriate Technology Promotion Society Ernakulam and Open Software Solutions Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd, Kochi are together organising a `National Conference on Free Software’ on the Cusat campus on November 15 and 16.

The seminar, with the motto `Free Software, Free Knowledge and Free Humanity’ will be inaugurated by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan.

A series of initiatives including workshops, seminars on various topics and exhibitions will be held during the national conference. The workshops, mainly concentrating on Linux installation, local language computing, statistical analysis tools, open ERP and GNU/Linux servers, are being organised by IT experts Navaneeth, Srikrishnan Sundarajan and P Somanathan.

Teachers, IT students, software developers, service providers, users, industries, free launch professionals and educational institutions are expected to take part in these workshops.

Chicken manure to power homes

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Chicken manure to power homes
7 Oct 2008, ANI

The world’s largest biomass power plant running exclusively on chicken manure has opened in the Netherlands, which will deliver renewable electricity
to 90,000 households.

According to a report in ENN, the power plant has a capacity of 36.5 megawatts, and will generate more than 270 million KWH of electricity per year.

The biomass power plant is more than merely “carbon neutral”. The biomass power plant will utilize 440,000 tons of chicken manure, roughly one third of the total amount produced each year in the Netherlands.

Fridges that run without electricity!

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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

Google Suggest finally goes live!

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Google Suggest finally goes live!

27 Aug, 2008, 0937 hrs IST,INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Another search feature is set to move out of Google Lab and go mainstream. The feature, called Google Suggest automatically recommends options for the rest of your search term as you type based on the most popular searches, will go live next week.

According to Jennifer Liu, Product Manager with Google, “Over the next week we’ll be rolling this out so that more and more of you will start seeing a list of query suggestions when you start typing into the search box.”

According to the blog, Google Suggest will help users in the following ways:

Help formulate queries: Instead of just typing [hotels in Washington] — did you want [hotels in Washington dc] or [hotels in Washington state]? Don’t remember that song title or person’s name? Let Google help you search (and yes, I ended up choosing “From This Moment” as our wedding song).

Reduce spelling errors: Since suggestions are spell-corrected using the same “Did you mean?” feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, misspellings and typos can be corrected ahead of time. Instead of wasting your time with a misspelled query like [new yrok times] or [tomorow never dies], search the first time with the correctly-spelled query.

Saves keystrokes: Who wants to spend their time typing [San Francisco chronicle] when you can just type in San F…” and choose the suggestion right away?

‘Garuda’ to hit road soon

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‘Garuda’ to hit road soon

BANGALORE: A ray of hope for all vehicle owners worried about the soaring crude oil prices has emerged. A light weight car capable of achieving 180 kilometres per litre might hit the road soon.

The car, Garuda, developed by a group of eight students from the RV College of Engineering in Bangalore, is powered by a Honda GK 100 engine. A prototype of the car was unveiled on Saturday by the country’s top car designer Dilip Chhabria.

Explaining the features of the car, Nishant Sarawagi, team leader of the Project Garuda, said: ‘‘Garuda, powered by a 97 cc Honda GK 100 with 2 HP air cooled engine, will represent India at the SAE Supermileage and Shell, United States, and Eco-Marathans, United Kingdom. We will be the first Indian team to participate in these events and we are hoping to enhance the fuel efficiency to 500 kilometres per litre in the coming days,’’ said a confident Sarawagi.

The fuel efficiency of the vehicle was tested on the NICE corridor and under test conditions the car has demonstrated a mileage of 180 kilometres per litre. Tantra Infosolutions, CD Adapco and Chameleon Motors are the main sponsors for the project.

For details contact: 98803 44448 or e-mail: Also visit

A vehicle that stands

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A vehicle that stands
31 Jul 2008, 0010 hrs IST,AGENCIES

LONDON: A British designer has come up with a sports car that can be folded in half to park it in tight spaces.
Daniel Bailey, 22, has revealed that the BRB Evolution jacks up on its nose with its back wheels sliding underneath on two rollers, and thus uses 50% less parking space.

Bailey says that motorists will have to step out of the car before it morphs into its “upright” parking pose.

He adds that the car will run on electricity or hydrogen fuel, and will be more “sexy, sleek and mean” than other eco-cars.

According to him, his invention is inspired by the Lamborghini Murcielago and Peugeot 908.

“I figured two of the main problems of future cities would be pollution and over population,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“With more vehicles needing more places to be stored, I came up with the concept of a folding car.
“The car folds up to 50% of its original size, and uses the negative vertical space, usually disregarded. This potentially doubles the amount of parking spaces,” he added.

Bailey has revealed that he has submitted his concept to Peugeot as part of a design competition.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are also planning to knock up a full-scale model of their “City Car” — an experimental vehicle which “folds” itself in half and snuggles up to other City Cars in the manner of supermarket trollies.

The MIT team, led by architecture professor Bill Mitchell, reckons its revolutionary wheels would solve urban transportation problems at a stroke, with pollution-free electric drive and the ability to park in one-eighth of the space of a conventional car.