Monday, September 18, 2006

India's candidate for UN Secretary General

Mr. Shashi Tharoor, the current UN Under Secretary General for Communication and Public Information, is the candidate for the new UN Secretary General. Mr. Kofi Annan will finish his second term soon and we may know the successor by Sept end or beginning of Oct. Although its not a rule, by precedence, its the term for Asia and Shahi Tharoor is a strong candidate, although there is a Korean is equally strong.. It is said that, if you go by history, most likely the front runners will not be the one who will be selected, but a compromise candidate.. This boz of the veto power.. Even if one gets the majority, he can be vetoed out (if I understood it correctly).. So u never know!

Shashi Taroor, being an Indian and a Keralite (from my region), make me little curious to see the outcome, and hope he can make it..

Tharoor launches campaign from Africa

My next passon !

So it was a desire for some time now.. to play tennis.. Now it is getting realised..
I bought one Wilson n Code Racket.. This is not to become the the next star, not boz I dont want to but for obvious reasons :), but just for the sake of learning something u like..
Hopefully I will start this week..

I am bit excited.. Lets see how far it goes..


Monday, September 11, 2006

I created a Sudoku Solver..

I have created a Solver for Sudoku Puzzles.. It was exciting..

As you may have seen in one of my older post, I had started playing sudoku.. But then, in between I started thinking of making a solver in excel.. But that was all what I had got, just an interest.. Then i got a rough logic.. This weekend, I was thinking what to do! So I thought of giving it a try.. Same old destination.. Thanks to all those wonderful guys in Google Groups, I got the syntax for making functions.. The C/C++ fundamentals came handy as well.. One by one the pieces of the puzzle came together and less than 10 hours on the job, I got the first result.. That fealing is wonderfull..

So I have uploaded the file in the following location.. Check that out!
Its just the first cut..

I had made an excel Electronic chart for Worldcup Football.
Along with it, this has been real fun creating & seeing the result, boz i never expected the result i got!!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

My impression about Michael Schumacher as he ready to say good bye..

Michael Schumacher has announced that he will retire at the end of the season, another illustrious carrier is coming to an end..

He has been among the greatest, the sports has ever seen and arguably the best.. He has all the record books under his belt. The seven time (probably the eighth as well) world champion is anything one could wish for in a sports person.. or is he?

As much I have admired him for his skills, abilities and being able to be the best in the world, I never have been a fan of him.. I feel like, he was too professional in sports.. To me, he would do everything to win.. His controversies and not-so-famous tactics are something which I never could accept.. I know he is not the only one with that tag, but then I don’t have high regards for all such.. Its a tag I never want for myself..

He will be remembered for his achievemnts, skills and professionalism.
I wish him good luck..

What David Coulthard had to say..

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marion Jones Acquitted..

After few days of getting tested positive for using Banned substance, Marion Jones has suddenly got cleared, after her B Sample tested negative.. And retain the label, The fastest woman in the world.

C'mon.. What is this A Sample and B Sample.. I will tell you what it is.. These are some of the loop holes provided so that some of them can escape.. At least I see it that way..

How can this be true when both the samples are from the same person from the same time! That's where the game is..

Jacques Pruvost, a former doctor with the French athletics federation, said: "If the samples are small, you cannot find it (EPO) after a few weeks. "It's a game of the athletes, surrounded by lawyers, to ask for the counter-evaluation ('B' test) as late as possible."

Prior to 2003 the old blood and urine test was the method of test. Subsequently they introduced the Urine Only test which has so many flaws one of which is stated above.

In my opinion, this is not something the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is not aware, but rather they use this to protect some of the players. They knew that if they are going to be strict, they will loose so many of the athletes and that's not good the athletics on a commercial basis.. This is really a pathetic situation..

I would rather be happy to see either of the following situation to happen..

1. Keep the current list of Banned substances and enforce it without fail.. (need to take short term detrimental effects)..
2. Make some exceptions in the list considering the situation on the ground and be strict with the remaining substances so that the people who follow the rules will not be at a disadvantage (moral issues!)..

Having said that, But not this and not anyother thing will happen and would be pleased to allow some of those to get away with it.. Probably Marion Jones is one of those.. I dont know, but cant exclude that possibility either..

Anyhow this system is not fair to that minority who insist on not using performance enhancing drugs..

But its the majority that rules and they define the just, UNFORTUNATELY!

Click here to get the news.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Natasha Kampusch.. the Austrian girl..

You would already heard about the teenager from Austria, Natasha Kampusch..

Its truly a horrifying experience and I just wished to say good luck for her..

She had spent her teenage in captivity.. from the age of 10 to 18.. and most of it in a single room.. I just get bewildered by that thinking.. She was kidnapped while she was coming from school and held captive in a sealed garage at the house..

Let us wish and pray that she will be able to leave that behind, however hard that may be and be able to move ahead with her life.. Good Luck!

Read More:

Artificial Heart, AbioCor, is here!! but I wonder where are we going..

I think this is a milestone.. FDA Approves 1st fully Implantable Artificial Heart.

The AbioCor heart:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first, totally implantable artificial heart, the AbioCor heart, for patients with advanced heart disease and too ill for a heart transplant.

It is a pure mechanical Heart being implanted into human body. The use of this new heart will be limited to people with severe heart failure who aren't eligible for a heart transplant and are unlikely to live more than a month. The trial was conducted on 14 men, all of whom eventually died. "The device extended survival for an average of 4.5 months, allowing the patients to spend valuable time with family and friends" said Dr. Bram Zuckerman, director of the FDA's Division of Cardiovascular Devices. "In two cases, lives were extended by 10 and 17 months, respectively. One patient was discharged from the hospital."

On July 2nd, 2001, Robert Tools became the first person to receive an AbioCor, artificial heart implant in a nationwide clinical trial in US. He survived for 151 days. Tom Christerson, the longest surviving recipient, lived for 512 days. He died on February 7, 2003 when the heart wore out!

The Device:

Abiomed Inc. Developed this device. This is one of the most complex and expensive devices in medical history.

Right Click here and save, to get a video on how it works

The device is a two-pound mechanical heart that replaces the patient's own heart, which is removed. In addition, there's a power transfer coil that powers the system across the skin (No Piercing of the skin to pass tubes or wires) and recharges the internal battery. This Wireless Power transfer is achieved with an energy transfer device called TET (transcutaneous energy transmission). There's also a controller and an internal battery, which are implanted in the patient's abdomen.

The controller monitors and controls the heart device, including its pumping rate. The internal battery allows the patient to be free from all external connections for up to one hour. The system also includes two external batteries that allow the patient to freely move around for up to two hours.

The AbioCor is made of titanium, plastic and Angioflex, a unique plastic. Unlike commercially available plastic that would crack if flexed that many times, Angioflex was developed to withstand beating 40 million times a year for twenty years.

Compared to your own 10-ounce, fist-sized heart, the softball-sized AbioCor is heavier. At two pounds it is only suitable for half of all men and a fifth of all women.

It is expected that "second-generation" device, AbioCor II, to be available for human clinical trials in about two years.

Click here to read more on this..

Related News:

Pigs Cloned for Heart Transplants.

Xenotransplantation may be closer to reality than you think. Once the stuff of science fiction, the process of transplanting organs from one species to another is now an emerging field.

Local researchers reported in the journal Science that they have cloned pigs that do not have a certain protein barcode. While the absence of these proteins may prevent the recipient's immune system from attacking the new organ, the organ may still be rejected.

More on Xenotransplantation:

Where are we going:

Of course, this is something to be appriciated. But I just wonder where this is going to.. A pure mechanical heart can replace ur natureal one.. true its not the same but still its a man made one! Next could be other organs..

Sometime back, I heard this in Discovery channel. In fighter aircrafts, the limiting factor for the progress in technology is none other than the Pilot inside it.. Isnt it strange.. Even with the best of Pressure Suits, man cannot handle beyond 8G's and will Blackout.. (Blackout - at High G's/acceleration, the oxygen supply to Brain gets reduced and feels like darkness) So in near future, we may see UAV fighter aircrafts.. Is it the first step of Machines taking over :) Even now we are dependant on machines, but the control is still with us.. I dont know when the MATRIX is going to happen.. but it may!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My first Custom Function in Excel..

The other day, I was trying to make an Excel for planning the tasks for about 5 people.. I havnt finished that yet, but in the process I got to explore something new in Excel and I thought I will share with you..

If you are Excel guru, this may be simple, but that was not the case for me!

I wanted to add N working days to a given date.. that means it should automatically account for the weekend days that come in between.. I searched the standard functions, and I couldnt find one. So i started making a custom function for the same, which i havent had a clue for. But thanks to the Internet and Google Group, I got the fundas of making one.. now the logic.. I got one and looked ok.. I posted that on the Google Group and was pointed out couple of bugs..

So this the out put.. It takes the Starting date, No of working days and (an optional) no of holidays in between.

Here is how it works..

A1: Sept 5, 2006
A2: 5
A3: 2

A4: =addworkdays(A1, A2) Result : Sep 11, 2006
A4: =addwrokdays(A1, A2, A3) Result : Sep 13, 2006

Here is the code..

if you may need it, copy the portion in Italics. In your excel, press Alt+F11, Insert->Module (if necessary), paste the code in Module and thats it..
Start using the function..

Function AddWorkDays(Date_St As Date, Work_Days As Integer, Optional Hol_days As Integer) As Date
Dim WeekDay_St, n_Weekends, n_Shift As Integer

'add Hol_days to Work_days
Work_Days = Work_Days + Hol_days

'Find the starting Week Day
WeekDay_St = WorksheetFunction.WeekDay(Date_St, 2)

'if sunday set as saturday
If (WeekDay_St = 7) Then
WeekDay_St = 6
End If

'Find the number of Weekends in between and calc no of days to add.
n_Weekends = WorksheetFunction.Ceiling((WeekDay_St + Work_Days - 1) / 5, 1) - 1
n_Shift = n_Weekends * 2 + Work_Days - 1

'Retun the final date
AddWorkDays = Date_St + n_Shift

End Function

Interestingly, thru Google Group, I came to know that there is a similar function in Excel already as WORKDAY. It is not part of the regular functions, but is included as an Add-Ins..

Tools-> Add-Ins and check the Analzsis Tool Pack. You may have to insert the CD. Not only this, but there are a whole lot of other functions as well. You can also add other Add-In.

So I created my Add-In. To do that, paste the code in a fresh workbook or File. Save as Excel Add-in (*.xla) to the Addins folder so that it gets loaded everytime.

But there are a few differences between my function (Addworkdays) and standard (Workday).. No, not only the name! :)

- WORKDAY may not function properly if the Start date is a weekend..
- WORKDAY needs dates as holidays and not numbers..

Although we all may curse Microsoft for the bad side of it, MS Excel is such a wonderful tool.. Its an Iceburg and most of us are satisfied with the TIP of it.. There will always be something to learn..

In the end, I chose to retain my function for my use boz of the differences..
And it was kind of satisfactory to find something new, evenif it is not Rocket science!

And if I can be of help related to this, pls let me know..

Click here to know more about Creating Custom Function..


Friday, September 01, 2006

Lockheed Martin lands the coveted Contract from NASA..

Lockheed Martin lands the coveted Contract to build the successor of SPACE SHUTTLE.. a seven-year, $3.9 billion (upto $8 billion) contract to design, develop and build the ORION CREW EXPLORATION Vehicle.. This was contrary to exoectations of the most, boz the rival Boeing + Northrop Grumman had better track record in similar projects.

Orion may start the service between 2012 & 2014.. The Space Shuttle will retire in 2010.

The Orion program will provide a state-of-the-art human space flight system capable of safely transferring astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon, Mars and other destinations beyond low earth orbit (LEO).

Together with the Earth Departure Stage (EDS), the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), and the Ares rocket system, Orion is one of the elements of NASA's Project Constellation.

This Orion project is expected to incorporate the best of Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.. this may have more similarities to the Apollo.. its dubbed "Apollo on steroids".

The Orion Crew Module will use a combination of parachutes and airbags for the final descent to Earth, enabling the Orion CM to come down on land. Thus the more costly option of landing in sea is avoided(although splashdown will be retained as a backup option). Each CM is expected to be used for 10 flights and all but the Heat Shield will be reused.

Together with Ares Series Rockets, this will form the backbone of NASA in the next decade.

The first part of the contract is for two pathfinder spacecrafts: a manned Orion crew capsule and an unmanned variant that can be used to carry supplies and unpressurized cargo to the international space station.

Further Readings: