Microsoft’s New Play Tool For Search – KUMO

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After so many reports doing the rounds on the utility of the new search engine WolframAlfa, its time for some action from Microsoft too. Next week it would be releasing its brand new search engine, code named Kumo (or something) at the D: All Things Digital conference.


Kara Swisher of AllThingsDigital blogged about this tool way back in March this year. Wonder if this new technology is something to do with Cloud Computing, the new buzz word. If it does then it would be awesome. By the way Kumo means Cloud or Spider in Japanese.

Microsoft search head Satya Nadella had released a few example searches using Kumo. Check one below.


I think, from the screenshot, the most useful thing would be the “Mark as spam” feature. Though it would really take anyone heck of a time to mark results a spam since there are so much of spam results now a days. Wonder how good is the “News Search” feature. It has also tried to incorporate a bit of ads on the result page. Hope the “old ad” strategy works for Microsoft.


The latest buzz doing the rounds on Kumo, is on its name. Yeah, don’t you think Microsoft would like to keep the name of its new product a surprise ? No wonder people have started speculating on some new could-be names like Bing, Hook and Sift.

Whatever be the name, Microsoft is surely trying to put a point across Google and Yahoo that it has not given up yet. Nope NOT yet.

Pics courtesy: AllThingsD

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Children of God

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I had written earlier about Congo being the most unsafe place in the world for women. Let me add children to the list too. Children are being looked upon as unnecessary burden. Families accuse their children of being witches and throw them out onto the streets. It is even worse if it is a girl child because once they are thrown out onto the streets; they are raped and forced into prostitution.

Earlier, families used to accuse older members of being witches and throw them out, when they no longer were useful. With non-existent economy and the civil war still ravaging, children are being viewed as un-necessary burden. Hence, witchcraft is used as an excuse to get rid of them.

Congo being one of the poorest nations in the world, has spawned corrupt Christian pastors who are making a quick buck by performing brutal and mentally scarring exorcisms. Please refer to this ABC News article that chronicles in details the horrific rituals, both in print and video.

According to UNICEF, 70 percent of the 20,000 street children in Kinshasa have been accused of being witches. Most of the families living in Congo have experienced, at one point of time either death, divorce, rape and sometimes all of them. Out of desperation and belief, when they turn to God for deliverance the corrupt pastors mislead them by accusing the children in their family as the root cause for their evils and that they are witches.

It is a costly deliverance too as the pastors’ charge anywhere between $50. It gets worse when families cannot afford the costly exorcism and they resort to beating, burning, starving and in the extreme cases – murder their children. The ordeal does not enc there for families who can afford such barbaric rituals. The children, who are exorcised, are often thrown out of the house as they appear to be tainted in the eyes of their family members.

The Congolese government is of the view that it is legal to accuse children as long as there is proof. All it takes for a child in Congo to be labeled as a witch is to have big eyes, black eyes or a bulging tummy.

I was wondering how much worse it could get. In the near future, will I be writing a blog post on cannibalism in Congo? If parents are desperate enough to throw their own children out on to streets, then the time wouldn’t be far away when we might hear about parents devouring their own children! Maybe I have watched too many horror movies.

Please visit the following links for more details on the horrific witchery that is ravaging Congo:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1130/p12s01-woaf.html
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=7613395
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-01-30-congo-children_N.htm

A quick Google search would throw up many more horror stories.

TIA – This Is Africa, the cradle of our civilization. What went wrong?

80 Feet Road in all its glory!

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What an evening it was, providing some of us a much needed break. We jostled and took turns to stand near the window facing the 80 Feet Road, watching the rain in all its fury (a full 45 minutes of it dumping around 45.6 mm of water) and the hapless motorists and pedestrians struggling in knee deep water.

We gleefully encouraged the hesitant car drivers to go ahead on a 20 meter stretch of road submerged in 3-4 feet of water. We started betting amongst ourselves on which car would die in the pool of water and which one would scrape through safely. We watched in awe as the BMTC bus drivers drove through the pool of water, reminding me of WRC races.

Opportunists were earning money by offering a hand to push the stalled cars to safety. Talk about good Samaritans!

The cyclists were the hapless of the lot, wading in the water with the cars and bikes ploughing ahead around them. Some of them, including the bikers had opted to use the footpaths which were wrought with danger as some of the stone slabs on the footpaths were missing. We were watching all this from the 3rd floor window and only thing missing was a packet of hot roasted peanuts.

Once the water had drained away, the road was left covered with sand and stones, making it quite a motor cross experience riding home.

Bangalore is already groaning while the monsoons are yet to come. As usual, the BBMP, despite their tall claims that Bangalore would be better prepared this monsoon; gave inexplicable excuses for the flooding that Bangalore had witnessed yesterday.

PS: I apologize for the low quality pictures as they were taken using a cell phone camera (2.0 MP) from a window on 3rd floor.

Inter-Religious Dialogue (IRD)

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You know a very nice Muslim man, who always says hello to you on your morning walks…

BUT you’ve seen his wife wearing a burkha, and you don’t understand why his religion promotes subjugation of women.

Your neighbour is a Hindu, a wonderful individual who says he believes in equality…

BUT you know he’s a Brahmin and you wonder what he’d do if an ‘untouchable’ entered his house.

Dear friend,

My name is Beth, and I am a facilitator with Meta-Culture Dialogics (www.meta-culture.org).  Meta-Culture aims to build peaceable and sustainable communities by changing how people in conflict talk with each other.

I am writing to invite your participation in a very exciting project: 
Meta-Culture’s second

Inter-Religious Dialogue (IRD)


WHAT is the Meta-Culture IRD?

You may know the “very nice” Muslim and the “wonderful” Hindu neighbour, but you may never have felt comfortable asking them more difficult questions about their faith and how they practice it. The Meta-Culture Inter-Religious Dialogue will give you an opportunity to honestly and openly express your thoughts and feelings about difficult issues such as the Hindu caste system, how women are regarded in Islam, and religious fundamentalism.  We create a space where you can safely think about and question your stereotypes and assumptions, even the ones you aren’t aware of!  By participating in the Meta-Culture Inter-Relgious Dialogue, you will not only learn about other people’s religion, but also about your own.

While Meta-Culture’s professional facilitators will guide the Inter-Relgious Dialogue, the sessions will not have a preset agenda.  Participants’ concerns and areas of interest shape the course of the discussion.  Through inquiry and deep listening, participants will deepen their understanding of each other’s opinions and ideas about their own identity, the identity of “the other,” and their place in a multi-cultural India.

WHEN and WHERE is the IRD?

The IRD will take place over eight weeks, starting in late June and ending in early August. 

There will be FOUR 3-hour dialogue sessionsheld on alternating weeks throughout the 8-week period.  The day and time of the dialogue sessions will be determined based on the participants’ availability.

All sessions will be held at Meta-Culture’s office in Frazer Town.

WHO are we looking for? 

Meta-Culture is looking for TEN individuals to participate in the upcoming Inter-Religious Dialogue.  We are looking for participants who:

·  Are HINDUS or MUSLIMS living in Bangalore.

·  Are between the ages of 30 and 65.

·  Identify strongly with the religious community they belong to.

·  Are practicing followers of their religion.

·  Have a fair amount of influence within their community (though are not necessarily official religious leaders).

·  Are open to learning about themselves and others.

·  Are able to make a complete time commitment for the entire duration of the dialogue process.

Interested individuals should be aware that:

·  The IRD will not focus on the theological differences between the Hindu and Muslim religions

·  The IRD is not a place for individuals from one religion to try to convince others that their religion is “right.”

·  Participants in the IRD will be expected to attend all four 3-hour dialogue sessions.

·  Participants in the IRD will be expected to participate in three ½ hour one-on-one interview sessions with a Meta-Culture staff person (before, mid-way through, and after the dialogue sessions) so that Meta-Culture can monitor and evaluate the process.

How can you get involved?

If you or someone you know is eligible for and interested in becoming a participant in the Meta-Culture Inter Religious Dialogue, please respond directly to this e-mail.  Please send us your:

·  Full name

·  Religious affiliation/community

·  E-mail address

·  Phone number

·  A brief statement about why you want to participate in the IRD

Expressing your interest in the IRD does not mean you will be selected to participate. Meta-Culture will review the e-mails we receive and select those individuals who we will consider for participation in the IRD.  If you are among the individuals we are considering, we will be in touch with you by phone to learn more about you and your interest in participating. We will then make our final selection of participants.  

We believe you will enjoy and benefit from the experience of participating in the Meta-Culture Inter-Religious Dialogue.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Crazy Gamers on Dope

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Winners don’t do drugs… they take supplements!

Can you believe it? This was one of the slogans that turned up for FpsBrain on Google.

With the nation glued to the telly for the election results and reports of first swine flu case in India, I came across this piece of news – Performance enhancing supplements for gamers.

This company claims to have a magic formula for computer gamers that increases their concentration and reaction times. The company dissociates itself from any forms of doping, according to its website. However, they maintain that performance enhancement matters in every form of professional sport.

The company does not reveal the ingredients of its products.

Being a hardcore gamer myself a long time ago, I did not realize gaming has become such a professional sport that the players need supplements to keep up their concentration levels and improve their reaction times.

What next? Provide urine samples to the WADA before and after a tournament!

I do wish I could go back to the good old days when I stayed up all those nights playing games just for the fun of it. Pure passion was what drove me to spend all those sleepless nights playing computer games.

Image source: http://www.dailyclipart.net

Odourless cocaine

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Last weekend, I saw “Ayyan” movie and was astonished seeing different ways people use for illegal smuggling of drugs. Specifically, I was shocked knowing about illegal smuggling of “odorless cocaine”, cocaine that is undetectable by taste or smell. I never knew such kind of cocaine exists! I heard that sometimes this odorless cocaine is mistaken as coffee sweetener.

The movie mentions about the reaction of cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine) with plaster of Paris to form “odourless cocaine”. In order to transport cocaine abroad, the villain uses Ganeshji idols formed using cocaine and plaster of Paris. This will be identified when these idols will be dipped in some solvent. I do not remember what it was! After dipping these idols in that solvent, a white powder will be obtained. Essentially, it is cocaine appearing in powder form is a salt, typically cocaine hydrochloride (CAS 53-21-4). Cocaine in its purest form is a white, pearly product.

Using the body as container is one of the methods of smuggling heroin and cocaine using drug mules. It is often done by swallowing latex balloons (often condoms, or fingers of latex gloves) or special pellets filled with the goods, and recovering them from the feces later (such a smuggler is called a swallower or internal carrier; the practice is also called body packing or body stuffing). It is a common, but medically dangerous way of smuggling small amounts of drugs: a mule can die if a packet bursts or leaks before exiting the body. And, in “Ayyan” movie they have shown this! A person carrying heroin inside his body by swallowing heroin filled in fingers of latex gloves faces this situation in the movie, where in a packet bursts or leaks before exiting the body. People are sometimes X-rayed at airports etc. to check for drug pellets but not always.

Unlike cocaine, heroin is often smuggled by people who swallow large numbers of small capsules (50-90), allowing them to transport up to 1.5 kilograms of heroin per courier. However, elsewhere cocaine is smuggled this way. World annual cocaine consumption currently stands at around 600 metric tons, with the United States consuming around 300 metric tons, 50% of the total, Europe about 150 metric tons, 25% of the total, and the rest of the world the remaining 150 metric tons or 25%. Organized criminal gangs operating on a large scale dominate the cocaine trade. Most cocaine is grown and processed in South America, particularly in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and smuggled into the United States and Europe, the United States being the worlds largest consumer of Cocaine, where it is sold at huge markups; usually in the US at $50–$75 for 1 gram (or a “fitty rock”), and $125–200 for 3.5 grams (1/8th of an ounce, or an “eight ball”).

Source: Wikipedia

I couldn’t capture a word..

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I couldn’t capture a word..

When I started drawing this picture, I was thinking I’ll write something special about Mom. But now when I started writing, I am finding it difficult to write it down. I am running out of words. I really don’t understand that I am not able to write even a single word. It’s all coz there is no word that can match Mom. I didn’t want to quit that easily. I am trying hard and harder until my love and affection towards Mom will find a word that can best suit her. I still say there is no word. But there should be something that can portray Mom. The love that is unconditional; made of sacrifice and endless. The love that cannot be stolen or destroyed. The love that wipe my worries and face my fears. The love that is unselfishness and endless.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hey I wish there is some special word to portray Mom. When I figure it out, I will make sure to share that with you.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I wanted to share this with you all:

Rahul: Hi..

Raki: Hello…. Hey how ru doing?

It’s been long time since we spoke alwa..

Rahul: Raki, hws u? hws wrk?

Raki: Yup! Evrythng fine kano..

Hey nim mummy ge Mother’s day wishes helbidu

Rahul: raki, actually …

4 months back, Mom expired kano

Raki:

Raki: Hey.. yavaga.. yenaaythu..

Rahul: I will tell u wen I meet u kano

Rahul: last year by this time I was celebrating Mother’s day with her..

Rahul: Now I am feeling alone

Rahul:

Rahul: I am with my bro now

Raki: Nijaa.. I donno wat to say..

Raki:

Rahul: Hey raki, wish your Mom from myside

Raki: sure kano, why don’t u come home today

Rahul: no mood to go out today

Rahul: I am missing her so much

Rahul: even in TV, it’s all about Mom and special programs

Raki: hmm…

Rahul: we wont know the value of someone unless we miss them I think

Rahul: I always loved her so much kano

Rahul: you know alwa

Raki: I knw.. I knw..

Raki: plzz….. dnt feel bad..

Raki: im actually..

Raki: I donnow at to say..

Raki: nothing can replace Mom alwa

Raki:

Rahul: wen I joined office

Raki: hmm… yenaaythu

Rahul: I totally ignored Mom kano. I mean I was just working OT to get some extra

money for my pocket money

Rahul: late nights I used to go home, even Sundays I used to hang out with frnds

Raki: ohhhh..

Rahul: now I want to spend sometime with her, but I don’t have her with me

Rahul: this past 3 months as thought me a lot kano

Rahul: we should always learn to show our love to our dear ones kano

Rahul: see my case, I loved Mom but never showed that to her I think

Rahul:

Rahul:

Rahul: I really think sometime if Mom knew how much I loved her

Raki: cmn rahul.. Mom knws that..

Rahul: illa kano…

Rahul: ningothilla.. how I used to behave antha..

Rahul: but im not bad kano..I always respected her and loved her very much

Raki: hmmmmm….

Rahul: raki, we should always remember not to ignore anyone in life

Rahul:

Raki:

Rahul: what if I am earning, dint I have some time to spend with Mom ahh..

Rahul: y dint I realize all ths that time

Rahul: spending some weekends with her wud have made her happy alwa

Rahul: sumne eeche thirgthaa idde..

Raki: Rahul.. plz….. dnt wory..

(I tried calling him.. but he dint receive the call)

Raki: plzzzzzz receive my call

Rahul: no da I am fine

Rahul: I just wanted someone to share all these

Raki: hmm.. its ok kano.. I can undrstnd hw hard u might be feeling

Rahul: thx kano

Rahul: I guess I bored u

Rahul:

Raki: idiot….shut up..

Raki:

Raki:

Raki: cmn.. wat for frnds.. I will be happy if u r feeling bit relaxed now aftr pouring out ur

feelings

Rahul: raki.. call madla.. plzz.. nin haathra swalpa hotthu maathad thini..

Raki:

(He called me later, we spoke for long time)

This Mother’s Day was really special and unforgettable. I learnt how it feels to miss someone without whom this world is blank. Rahul’s cry is still haunting me. It is so painful to see him like this. Sometime later, I tried to divert the topic and our conversation lead to movies…friends…blah blah…

Friends, all I wanted to say through this post is – Lets spend some quality time with our beloved ones. I know, in this busy world, we are lost. Still there is always a way, just ask the love and care – it’ll lead us the right way to make our dear ones happy.

Lets not be too late to show how much they mean to our lives.

Mom – I love you!

Behalf of me –Plzz.. wish your Moms “Happy Mother’s Day”

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