Monday, July 31, 2006

Excel shortcut keys

A pretty good list of all shortcuts in Microsoft Excel.

Link: Excel Keyboard Shortcut Keys. Hot keys shortcuts

The online museum of online museums

A site that lists all the museums that have an online presence.

Link: Coudal Partners

10 quotes by Winston Churchill

There are many more, but these 10 are my favourites:

  1. "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

  1. Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you
    are drunk.”
    Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

  1. "The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives."

  1. "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."

  1. "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has

  1. "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” ( Reference to World War II

  1. "We are a small island but we are not a small people."

  1. “Never, never, never, never give up.”

  1. "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

  1. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Deadly Poisons, Ingested or Inhaled

A list of the top 10 poisons that work by ingestion or inhaling.

Note: just posting this as information. I am not responsible if some weirdo misuses this information.

Link: Wired 14.08: START

Performancing for Firefox

I use this, so I am advertising for it. Simple.

This is a great Firefox extension for bloggers. Makes blogging really easy. You can drag and drop elements from websites onto the blog entry as well. Works with multiple blogging sites (any site that supports the protocol).



An article that explains many things regarding concentration such as:
  1. Poor concentration
  2. Your body / health and concentration
  3. Maintaining concentration
  4. Tips

Link: Concentration

Friday, July 28, 2006

How to Find What You Love to Do

A nice article that shows you the steps to change your job if you really are not meant to be in the one that you are currently in.

Link: How to Find What You Love to Do

Customizing Mozilla Firefox

Make Firefox do a lot of useful things by adding extensions that suit you.

Very nice article. Detailed list of useful extensions.

Link: Mozilla Firefox - Have it Your Way!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Biomotion lab

See the demo of a person walking under various conditions. Flash movie. Well done.


Take your electronic goods apart

A site that shows you how to dissect electronic goods. They don't show how to put it back together, though.

Disclaimer: Don't blame me if you can't put your goods back together :-).

Link: Take It Apart dot net

Doctors' / Medical slang

A lot of terms collected from docs in the US and UK .. some are funny.

Doctors' Slang, Medical Slang and Medical Acronyms, Veterinary Slang, Veterinary Acronyms

95 Theses of Geek Activism

A list by a guy called Devanshu about what geeks should do ....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Knowing where to tap ...

Ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed? The ship's owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine.

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster.

He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do.
After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life.

He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.

"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"

So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer .. $ 1.00

Knowing where to tap...... $ 9999.00

Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

India struggles to catch China

An article that shows how far we have to go before we catch up with China.  Sad but true.
God willing, we will get there. But there are many miles to go .....

BBC NEWS |  India struggles to catch China

How much caffeine is present in ... ?

A list of most commonly drunk caffeine products and the amount of caffeine therein.
Coffee, grande (16 oz.) Starbucks has 550 mg. WOW !! Might as well take caffeine intravenously  :-).

Nutrition Action Healthletter - Caffeine: The Caffeine Corner

Logarithmic image transformation

An algorithm to transform images. This can be used in a graphics program.

I don't understand the maths part behind it at all, but the effects look neat.

Link: Logarithmic Image Transformation

Thursday, July 20, 2006

GUID Creation on Windows

Information on how to create GUIDs on Windows, in case the need arises.


1. UuidCreate() -->
MSDN link for UuidCreate()

2. UuidCreateSequential() -->

MSDN link for UuidCreateSequential()

3. CoCreateGuid() (COM) --> MSDN link for CoCreateGuid()

4. EXE to generate GUIDs : guidgen.exe. Microsoft link for downloading GUIDGen

5. Site that generates GUIDs for you:

6. GUID structure explained:

Biomedical Image Awards 2006

Some beautiful snaps of microscopic structures of various living organisms.

Link: Biomedical Image Awards 2006 - Gallery

Science Facts that People Get Wrong

Some interesting facts that are misunderstood.

Pressure cookers force heat* into the food, cooking it quicker.

Wrong --> Heating water under pressure raises its boiling point so that the
steam is at a temperature greater than 100C. It is the higher temperature that
causes the food to cook quicker.

Read on ...    Science Facts that People Get Wrong

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Five Steps To Kicking Off A New Software Project

5 great tips on what to do (and what not to do) when you have a new project to start off.
Worth reading.

Link: Technology As If People Mattered : Weblog

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Avoid Taking Undeserved Credit

Integrity in the workplace involves a lot of things. One of them is NOT taking credit for something that you have not done (or not contributed enough to take credit for it). Read on if you are interested ...

Integrity Series: Avoid Taking Undeserved Credit · The Retrospector

Top 10 Ways to Motivate Geeks

Practical tips on how to motivate geeks in your company. Worth reading.

Top 10 Ways to Motivate Geeks · The Retrospector

Invisibility shields moving into the realm of possibility

It may be possible to have invisibility shields. Scientists are exploring ways and means of achieving this goal.
Note: They are nowhere near having a practical device as of today.

Out of Sight: Science News Online, July 15, 2006

How to help someone use a computer

Nice tips for computer-literate folks on helping people who are laymen when it comes to computers.

How to help someone use a computer

The most dangerous road on Earth

Bolivia’s Yungas
is officially the most hazardous on earth. And
all this while I thought India had the most dangerous

Pictures of Yungas Road, Bolivia

Monday, July 17, 2006

[India's National Anthem] Are we still singing for the Empire?

One accusation against India's National Anthem ("Jana Gana Mana") is that it was written in praise of an British King, George V. This controversy refuses to die down. The article below refutes these allegations and categorically states that Rabindranath Tagore would never have written a song in praise of a British Emperor.

India: Are we still singing for the Empire? by Pradip Kumar Datta

Article reproduced verbatim below: | September 8, 2004

[India's National Anthem] Are we still singing for the Empire?

by Pradip Kumar Datta *

One of the many targets of Sadhvi Rithambara's infamous hate cassette -- which did so much to provoke feelings of resentment against Muslims -- was the national anthem. She described it as an act of 'gaddari' (treachery). Hindutva allegations against the Jana Gana Mana are not new. But they have begun to circulate anew with fresh intensity with the growth of the Hindutva brigade in the 80's. And have entered the conversational common sense which has begun to treat these as if they were established evidence. Quite recently a friend of mine abroad alerted me to pro-Hindutva websites such as that had convinced his otherwise secular students that the anthem had been originally composed for Emperor George V. Even more recently, another friend reported that she found herself isolated in a ladies party in Kolkata when she tried to defend the anthem from these charges.

The jingoism of the anti-Jana Gana Mana campaign is based on an appropriate irony. The charge actually rests on false evidence given by the pro-British press. The song was first sung in a session of the Congress in 1911. This session had decided to felicitate George V since he had announced the abrogation of the partition of Bengal, thereby conceding the success of the Swadeshi agitation, the first modern anti-colonial movement that had started in 1905. The day after the session the nationalist Indian papers normally -- and accurately -- reported that a Tagore composition had been sung. The Bengalee -- along with other Indian newspapers as well as the report of the Indian National Congress - reported that it was a "patriotic song". The following year the song was published as "Bharat -- Vidatha". A contemporary commentator in the vernacular Bharati described the song as one in "Praise of the Dispenser of human Destiny, whoÖappears in every age." He probably came closest to capturing its spirit. This song was to later become known as Jana Gana Mana.

The confusion about the song was stirred up by the ineptness of the pro-British Anglo-Indian
press. Their inefficiency was not surprising (The Sunday Times once ascribed the authorship of Bande Mataram to Tagore and described Jana Gana Mana as a Hindi song!) On this occasion the Anglo-Indian press -- led by The Englishman - almost uniformly reported that a Tagore song had been sung to commemorate George V's visit to India. The reports were based on understandable ignorance since the Anglo-Indian press had neither the linguistic abilities nor the interest to be accurate.

Actually, two songs that had been sung that day. The Jana Gana Mana had been followed by a Hindi song composed specially for George V by Rambhuj Chaudhary. There was no real connection between the composition of the Jana Gana Mana and George V, except that the song was sung -- not written - at an event which also felicitated the king. The Anglo-Indian press [luckily for Hindutva enthusiasts and unfortunately for secularists!] heard Indian songs much in the way they looked at foreign faces: they were all the same!

Initially the controversy seemed a non-starter. Contemporaries obviously found it hard to associate Tagore with servility. Tagore was known for this opposition to the government. Indeed, shortly after the Congress session the government passed a circular that declared Shantiniketan to be a "place altogether unsuitable for the education of Government officers" and threatened punitive measures against officers who sent their children there to study.
Undoubtedly helped by these measures which shored up Tagore's nationalist reputation, the song steadily acquired wide acceptability among nationalists in all parts of the country - especially after its translation into English as "The morning song of India" by the poet in Madras. In a survey made just before the poetís death in 1941 at Mumbai, respondents
felt Jana Gana Mana to have the strongest "national characteristics" although Bande Mataram was found superior on some other criteria. The dirt thrown by the pro-British press seemed to have been completely wrung out when Netaji Bose's Indian National Army adopted it as the National Anthem; this was followed by Gandhi's declaration in 1946 that "the song has found a place in our national life": that it was "also like a devotional hymn".

But it was not as if it was all smooth sailing for the story of Jana Gana Mana's popularity. The first round of controversy -- this time by the Indians themselves - had been stoked in 1937. But it became a much more general one from the late 1940's when a debate broke out over what was to be the National Anthem. A section within the Congress wanted the Bande Mataram, a song that was popularly associated with the national movement. But Bande Mataram was controversial since its invocation of the nation as a Goddess went against Islamic theology which forbade the worship of any God other than Allah. Also the Bande Mataram had been successfully converted into a sign of communal antagonism by Hindu communalists (with the enthusiastic participation of their Muslim counterparts who regarded the song as a horrible provocation) and even chanted it as a slogan in riots.

In the 1930's, a Congress sub-committee had short-listed some "national" songs that could be sung together with or instead of Bande Mataram. It was then proposed (on Tagore's initiative) that the first two stanzas of Bande Mataram could be sung. But this catholicity was not felt to be feasible after independence. Occasions involving foreign diplomatic missions or the Defence forces required that a single "National Anthem" be played by a band as a signature of the country. The Constituent Assembly was deputed to select the anthem. It was in the ensuing
lobbying to knock Jana Gana Mana out of reckoning, that outworn and salacious bits of colonial misinformation about the song began to be recirculated.

Jana Gana Mana was chosen as anthem in 1950 over Bande Mataram as well as Iqbal's Sare Jahan Se Accha - although Bande Mataram was given "equal status". An important reason was that Bande Mataram could not be played by bands. Additionally Jana Gana Mana enjoyed an international reputation. It had been greatly appreciated in the United Nations at New York where it was first played as an orchestral arrangement in 1947. Many said that it was superior to most national anthems in the world. Within the country the overwhelming majority of the
provinces supported its nomination.

But there is also an underlying reason that is really responsible for the controversy popping up at regular intervals. The words of Bande Mataram feature India as a homogeneous Hindu nation. Jana Gana Mana evokes the country as composed of a multiplicity of regions and communities united in a prayer to a universal lord. After all, Bande Mataram was composed by a colonial administrator who could only visualize the nation in Hindu terms: religious identity was the only available idiom for conceptualizing the nation then. In contrast, Tagore had seen the riots that broke up the Swadeshi movement and had divined the obvious: religious nationalism easily divided anti-colonial struggles. Jana Gana Mana can be seen as one of the fruits of Tagore's search to find an alternate inclusivist definition for the nation. Incidentally, it was one of the harbingers of a decade that was to see Hindu and Muslim politicians draw together. In short, the two songs embody different ideas, histories and aspirations of the country.

In fairness, the last word on the affair should really be given to the poet himself (incidentally he had composed the music for Bande Mataram). Answering a friend's query about the origins of the Jana Gana Mana in 1937, Tagore said that a loyalist friend had requested him to write a song in praise of the King. He had felt anger at his friends presumption about his loyalism. It was this anger that led him to compose Jana Gana Mana. He had written a song to a superior authority, the "Dispenser of India's destiny". Tagore concluded. "That great Charioteer of man's destiny in age after age could not by any means be George V or George VI or any George. Even my 'loyal' friend realized this; because, however powerful his loyalty to the King, he was not wanting in intelligence." I may add here that we normally sing the first verse alone: the third verse of the song refers explicitly to the eternal lord.

Tagore said that he felt too pained by the unjustness of the charge to come out with a public refutation. Perhaps he was wrong. He could have considered the issue of survival. Not just of his public reputation. But also the survival of self-confidence in some of his future citizens who believe that they venerate their masters fifty years after independence. And that they can sing songs to a King, dead for an even longer period.

(Readers interested in more information may look at P.Sen's India's National Anthem)

* Pradip Kumar Datta teaches at Delhi University.

Monday, July 10, 2006

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Sleep

Some interesting tid bits about sleep.
Most important one: Change your mattress after a maximum period of 10 years.

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Sleep

How to concentrate on writing

Tips on how to concentrate when you are writing a book or something important. Common sense tips, but then again, common sense is NOT common :-).

Bad Language / How to concentrate on writing

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Warriors of the Net

A great animated movie (made in 1999) by Sony Ericsson that shows how TCP/IP makes the internet work. Definitely worth watching.
Only problem is the file size (72 MB).

Warriors of the Net clips