Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rahul Dravid announces retirement from ODIs, T20s

Veteran Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, who was surprisingly recalled to the Indian limited-overs squad, had a surprise announcement of his own after the practice match concluded: he said he would retire from the shorter formats.
On the day that he was handed a shock recall to the one-day side, Rahul Dravid has said that the England series will be his final limited-overs assignment. He said he wanted to retire from the shorter forms and concentrate on Test cricket.

Dravid, like his teammate Sachin Tendulkar, has over 10,000 runs in both the Test and ODI cricket, with 10,765 runs in 339 one-dayers -- the seventh highest scorer in that format.

“Since I had not been picked for one-day cricket for the last two years, I was obviously a little surprised and to be honest, because I had not been picked,” he said in the statement issued after the warm-up game.

He said he now wants to concentrate on Tests in the future though he had not informed about it to the BCCI before his selection.

Notorious Facebook 'spam king' Sanford Wallace

An American guy charged with sending more than 27 million spam messages to Facebook users has turned himself in. Sanford Wallace, who is known as the Spam King, surrendered to FBI agents in California.
Sanford Wallace, 43, was indicted in July by a San Jose, Calif., grand jury on three counts of intentional damage to a protected computer and two counts of criminal contempt, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of California. Wallace allegedly compromised approximately 500,000 Facebook accounts during three separate attacks on the social-networking giant between November 2008 and March 2009.

Wallace gained fame as one of spam's most vocal defenders back in the 1990s and he has faced numerous civil actions over his activities, including lawsuits from MySpace and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

However this is the first time he's facing criminal charges.

Wallace appeared in federal court on Thursday (04-Aug-2011) afternoon and was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond. He was again ordered not to access sites like Facebook and MySpace. He is scheduled to appear in court on August 22.

If convicted of all charges, Wallace could face nearly 40 years in prison and fines of more than $2 million.

Sun-powered NASA spacecraft Juno begins 5-year trip to Jupiter

NASA has launched a probe on a five-year mission to Jupiter to learn more about the giant planet and how the solar system was formed. It's the first solar-powered mission to venture so far from the Sun.

The unmanned Juno spacecraft costing $1.1bn (£0.7bn), launched from Florida, will cruise beyond Mars to put itself in orbit around the gas giant in 2016.

Scientists said the spacecraft will study the giant planet's core, atmosphere, powerful magnetic field and auroras.

Once it reaches its target it will be the furthest-travelled solar-powered probe and the fastest man-made object in history after travelling at 160,000mph.

If you take everything else in our solar system (not including the sun), it would all fit inside Jupiter. In terms of understanding our solar system, NASA says, Jupiter's importance cannot be underestimated.

Now NASA is looking for the clues to help answer pressing questions about the early days of the solar system. Because whatever was in Jupiter at the beginning — more than 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system was formed — is still there, scientists say, hiding in a mysterious gas giant made up of dust and gas left over by the Sun.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sonia Gandhi recovering after surgery outside India

Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India's governing Congress party, has undergone surgery abroad for an undisclosed illness. A spokesman for the party said on August 5 that the surgery had been successful.
Sonia underwent an operation yesterday (04-Aug-2011), which was described by her surgeon as “successful,” Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said in a text message sent to reporters today (05-Aug-2011). While her party has refused to state where Gandhi went for treatment, Indian media have reported that she is in the U.S., citing Congress officials they haven’t named.

The Italian-born Mrs Gandhi, 64, holds no official government post but is seen as India's most powerful politician.

Wishes for speedy recovery

The BJP on Thursday wished speedy recovery to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has gone abroad for a surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

“We wish her a speedy recovery. We hope and want that she regains her health quickly and return,” Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who was accompanied by her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, told journalists.

DMK president M Karunanidhi today expressed "shock" over Congress President Sonia Gandhi taking ill and wished her a speedy recovery and early return to the country.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also wished ailing Congress President Sonia Gandhi a speedy recovery. Modi has conveyed his best wishes for speedy recovery to Sonia who is under treatment abroad, a Gujarat Government statement said. In his message, Modi said he prayed to the almighty for her speedy recovery and return to best of her health, it said.

I AM KALAM film reviews

Bollywood film I Am Kalam, released this Friday (05-Aug-2011) in India, has been showcased in various film festivals and has bagged various awards and honors.
I am Kalam revolves around the story of a child who is inspired by Dr. Abdul Kalam (former Indian President); and his trials and tribulations when he dares to dream to become like him. The film has so far won 1 National Award and 11 international awards.

The film celebrates the survival of human spirit against overwhelming odds and highlights the need for underprivileged children’s education. The film, aims at inspiring the poor to educate their children.

Rediff Review

Devoid of absolutely any known name in its cast, save for Gulshan Grover [ Images ], I Am Kalam is a welcome addition to the children's film genre which has often received short shrift from mainstream Bollywood.
On the basis of its story alone, this is a winner. However, director Nila Madhab Panda builds maudlin subplots around Chhotu which takes a great deal away than adds to the film. Chhotu itself is a wonderfully alive character, at par with Swami of Malgudi Days or Chaipau of Salaam Bombay!

There's a possibility that some day boys like Chhotu will grow up to lead this country. Whether he wears a tie, a Nehru jacket or styles his hair like Kalam, is entirely his discretion.

NDTV Review

His toothy, high-wattage grin is an outright winner. It lights up the desultory desert landscape. But there is infinitely more to I Am Kalam than child actor Harsh Mayar’s heart-warming screen presence.
This sparkling little tale of ordinary people with their desperate dreams and tremulous hopes, their stray highs and persistent heartbreaks, follows a genteel, unhurried narrative trajectory.

I Am Kalam draws its lifeblood primarily from the innate authenticity of its tangible characters and the sustained evenness of its pragmatic tone.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wrapping up of filming the SRK starrer RA.One celebrated

From dancing on the tables to cutting a three-tier cake, Shah Rukh Khan had a blast at the RA.One wrap up party on Sunday (31-July-2011) at the nightclub, Escobar, in Mumbai.

Shah Rukh Khan came in a rather relaxed mood with wife Gauri, as the film’s cast and crew celebrated the wrapping up of the shoot of their forthcoming film.

Kareena Kapoor looked pretty hot in a black number after apparently shooting all day long for another of her film. But going by her excitement, she didn’t seem to mind her hectic pace at all.

However, model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal, who plays a villain in RA.One, missed the wrap-up party of the mega-budget film due to the shooting of Rascals.

"In Bangkok for Rascals, missed the RA 1 wrap party cause was on flight, want to thank the whole team, for the special film," Arjun posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Human brain may have reached its full capacity of intelligence

The human brain has reached the physical limits of intelligence and is physically impossible for us to become any smarter, according to researchers.
A team at Cambridge University, led by Professor Simon Laughlin, says this is because the people are unable to provide the amount of extra energy and oxygen needed to become more intelligent.

The scientists have based their findings after analysing the structure of the brain and worked out how much energy its cells use up.

"You pay a price for intelligence. Becoming smarter means improving connections between different brain areas but this runs into tight limits on energy, along with space for the wiring," said Ed Bullmore, a professor of psychiatry at Cambridge.

As increases in brain power require disproportionate increases in energy consumption, human intelligence faces tight constraints, the study said.

Researchers even claim that the human brain could shrink in size over time, towards our Neanderthal ancestors, in order to reduce the amount of energy it needs.

Speaking on the topic, Professor Simon Laughlin said, “We have demonstrated that brains must consume energy to function and that these requirements are sufficiently demanding to limit our performance and determine design.”

Researchers also claim that the human brain’s network of fibres that link different areas to one another can’t get any better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DIRTY PICTURE heroine Vidya Balan rubbishes marriage rumours

Vidya Balan and her rumored marriage to UTV top honcho Siddharth Roy Kapoor has sent fans and movie buffs on an overdrive on social networking sites.
The latest buzz in tinsel town is that Vidya Balan has secretly married her beau, UTV top honcho Siddharth Roy Kapoor. Fans and movie buffs are on an overdrive on twitter commenting on the issue and discussing it at length.

Finally the actress reacts to rumours on her hush-hush marriage with Siddharth Roy Kapur. Rather than being angry, she just laughs off the news.

The actress clarified through her spokesperson that she hasn’t tied the knot yet.

"I am NOT yet ready to make a WEDDING album. I'm busy making Dirty Pics for the moment," quipped Vidya. The Dirty Picture is a biopic based on the life and death of southern siren Vijayalakshmi, popularly known as Silk Smitha and her journey to stardom and the fall. The 33-year-old actress, Vidya Balan, is playing the role of Silk Smitha in the film.

Earth may once have had two moons

Two moons may have once circled the Earth in the same orbit until a slow-motion collision blended the larger object with a sister satellite one-thirtieth its mass to create the Moon we see today.
A whack from a smaller sibling could, it seems, account for one of the abiding mysteries about the Moon — why the side seen from the Earth is so different from its other hemisphere.

Researchers suggest the collision may explain the mysterious mountains on the far side of our Moon.

The scientists say the relatively slow speed of the crash was crucial in adding material to the rarely-seen lunar hemisphere.

The nearside is low and flat, with lava-filled basins that are readily visible as dark patches which early astronomers mistakenly labelled as ‘maria' (or seas). In 1959, the Soviet Union's Luna 3 became the first spacecraft to go behind the Moon and the photographs it sent back showed the far-side to be mountainous.

Later studies also showed that the Moon's crust was much thicker on the far-side. The nearside, on the other hand, has rocks rich in potassium, rare earth elements and phosphorous, which the other side lacked.

The moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, after a Mars-sized body slammed into the molten Earth and flung a ring of debris into space. Much of that debris coalesced into a rocky satellite, which was roughed up about half a billion years later by a barrage of asteroids and other interplanetary material, leaving scars in the form of craters.

But at what point the moon became lopsided, and how, is still unclear.

Some scientists speculated that the moon's internal dynamics pushed material around. Others wondered whether the mountains were created by debris ejected from a freshly smashed crater.

Massive cyberspying across the globe detected

In the biggest ever series of cyber attacks uncovered to date, hackers were found to have broken into networks of the Indian government, United Nations and US defence companies, with security experts pointing to China as the culprit.
The security company has said it believes there was one "state actor" behind the attacks but declined to name it, though one security expert who was briefed on the hacking told Reuters that the evidence points to China.

Beijing has always denied any state involvement in cyber-attacks, calling such accusations "groundless,"

The company, McAfee, said it had alerted the 72 targets it identified and also informed law enforcement agencies, which it said were investigating. The 14-page report calls the attacks highly sophisticated and says they appear to have been operated by a government body, which it declined to name.

McAfee said that it had come across the extent of hacking in May and had dubbed the uncovering of the plot as ‘Operation Shady RAT’.

In his 14-page report on McAfee's findings, Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee's vice president of threat research, asserts that Operation Shady RAT may have cost its victims billions in terms of lost revenues and stolen secrets.

"What we have witnessed over the past five to six years has been nothing short of a historically unprecedented transfer of wealth," he said.

Deepika Padukone has no problem with Kareena

Deepika Padukone started her bollywood career with SRK in Om Shanti Om and will be seen with Big B in Aarakshan. After an eventful 2010 where Deepika had as many as five of her films arriving in quick succession, she also gained in her personal life with love coming her way.
Not quite worrying about any preconceived notions that come with a quintessential Bollywood heroine - This is pretty much the 'mantra' that Deepika Padukone is following when it comes to 'Aarakshan'. When majority of other actresses have reservations about being a plain Jane for a film, especially when they are known for their glamorous image and are relatively new in the industry, Deepika is taking a different route.

Deepika Padukone wasn’t at ease while working with Amitabh Bachchan in the initial days of the shoot of Aarakshan.

In the movie, Amitabh Bachchan plays a college principal and Deepika plays his daughter. The actress says she was quite flustered by the idea of shooting with Big B.
Quiz her on working with the rest of the cast and Deepika adds, "Prateik was like a breath of fresh air and his spontaneity is remarkable. I didn’t have much on screen space with Manoj (Bajpai) and Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) is truly a stalwart. It’s a dream come true."

Of course, there’s Saif too, who Deepika has worked with before in the hit Love Aaj Kal and for yet another home production of his. "Just like there’s excitement to work with a new face, especially because of the unpredictability, it’s reassuring to have someone I’ve worked with before. And Saif makes me comfortable. I’m very fond of his works and think he’s one of the finest actors today," she explains.

When asked if there is really a cold war between Kareena and Deepika, here comes the smart reply: That is not true at all. In fact, it is upsetting when people say that because we have actually reached the stage today where we are very comfortable with each other. We sit together and we can talk. When she came to London and Hyderabad to meet Saif we all hung out together. So, it is upsetting when they report something that is not true.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Remains of 20 million-year old ape unearthed in Uganda

Researchers working in Uganda say they have unearthed the well-preserved fossil skull of an ancient primate. The 20 million-year-old specimen comes from the site of an extinct volcano in Uganda's north-east Karamoja region.
The skull belonged to a male Ugandapithecus major, an ancestor of today's great apes.

The expedition was led by Pickford, of the Coll├Ęge de France in Paris, and professor Brigitte Senut of the Paris-based National Museum of Natural History, reported Uganda's New Vision website.

Preliminary studies of the fossil showed that the tree-climbing herbivore, roughly 10 years old when it died, had a head the size of a chimpanzee's, but a brain the size of a baboon's, Pickford said.

The team said their discovery at Napak XV is a ‘sub-complete’ Hominidae skull and it is believed to be aged between 19 and 20 million years.

The term Hominidae refers to a scienticic family classification which included chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans which are closely related to humans.

The discovery will enhance understanding of the development of apes and humans, the scientists said.

Ugandan Tourism Minister Agnes Okiror said he believed the latest discovery would help put his country "on the map." Last year, researchers in Chad unearthed a 6—million—year—old hominid fossil, which was considered one of the great modern discoveries in the field, as it helped clarify the evolutionary chart.

The physics of the mysterious crop circles

There's no reason to think that Crop Circles are the work of aliens - particularly when human pranksters have already admitted to making them - but they're still mysterious... not to mention a fascinating junction point between physics and art.
Crop circles, elaborate designs that are etched into farmlands that are a thing of beauty when viewed from the air have long been determined to be the work of pranksters.

Crop circles have confounded farmers and scientists alike since they were first recorded in the 17th century, and now physicist Professor Richard Taylor says the phenomenon is growing alongside advances in technology.

Taylor says physics could hold the answer, with crop—circle artists possibly using the Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as lasers and microwaves to create their patterns, dispensing with the rope, planks of wood and bar stools, the journal Physics World reports.

Microwaves, Taylor suggests, could be used to make crop stalks fall over and cool in a horizontal position - a technique that could explain the speed and efficiency of the artists and the incredible detail that some crop circles exhibit, according to an Oregon statement.

And another question -- why does an academic feel the need to get caught up in the world of alien landing conspiracies?

Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World, said Taylor was "merely trying to act like any good scientist -- examining the evidence for the design and construction of crop circles without getting carried away by the side-show of UFOs, hoaxes and aliens."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hina Rabbani Khar would not like to be depicted as Fashion Icon

Pakistan's youngest foreign minister Hina made a style-statement with her three-day visit to India. Hina Rabbani Khar, aged just 34, is the first woman to be appointed foreign minister of Pakistan.
Hina, who was only appointed recently after serving as a junior foreign minister since February, has become the face of Pakistani diplomacy at a critical time, despite questions over her youth and inexperience.

Pakistan's youngest foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar might have held the Indian media in thrall with her precious South Sea pearls, Roberto Cavalli shades and Birkin bag, but the media spotlight on her style and fashion statements left her incandescent with rage.

Hina, a headscarf-wearing mother of two daughters, is inevitably compared to Benazir Bhutto, the charismatic female prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated when trying to regain power in 2007. She reacted angrily to questions pertaining to coverage of her fashion style in leading Indian dailies.

"You see paparazzi are every where. Besides, you (referring to media) should not do such acts," Ms. Khar said, replying to a question at the Lahore airport on her arrival from India.
So irked was she at the question that she refused to take any more questions and left for Islamabad.

During her visit to New Delhi, she was the talk of the town, with the media closely following her fashion accessories.

With the media spotlight focused on her fashion accessories during her recent trip to India, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar wonders whether a man in her position would have attracted similar attention.

The 34-year-old is quite a style icon back in her own country, reveal Pakistan’s noted fashion designers.

The Twitter world reacted strongly to the 34-year-old's upmarket dressing. Some, including actress Gul Panag, gave it a thumbs up, while others questioned the viability of flaunting expensive brands.

World Breastfeeding Week - 1 to 7 August 2011

With a goal to boost the health of infants worldwide and encourage mothers to breastfeed, nearly 120 countries around the world celebrate World Breastfeeding Week from 1-7 August every year.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

“Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare, especially when it can be avoided. Why let this happen when you can protect the health of your child simply by breastfeeding him or her?” asked Dr RK Agarwal, a paediatrician.

The World Health Organisation declared the first week of August as World Breastfeeding Week in a bid to ensure that children are not denied of the right to live simply because of lack of awareness on the part of the care takers.

Breastfeeding is known to reduce deaths among children aged below 5 by 13%.

According to statistics, out of 27 million babies born in India each year, close to 1.2 million babies do not get past the first one month. This is due to poor neonatal care and malnutrition which are the main reasons for infant mortality in India.

One million infant lives can be saved by just breast feeding in the 1st Hour following the birth of the child. If mothers and families comprehend the benefits of breast feeding for six months, it can save the lives of 250,000 babies annually.

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