Category Archives: Science

The Internet has changed our lives

Since the dawn of time technology has played a vital role in the way that mankind’s life has changed. The discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel started the cycle that would enable man to rule this world. Then the invention of paper and the building of ships and aeroplanes allowed man to travel to lands on the edge of this earth. Today it is the Internet that is shaping and reshaping our lives.

internetThe jobs that we work in

Even as this essay is being written, millions of people on this planet owe their livelihood to the Internet. They work in dot com companies and Internet start-ups, cloud computing firms and network agencies, call centres and knowledge process operations. They service clients who are sitting on the other side of the world. They owe their livelihood to the ability of companies to be in touch with their customers in real time, all thanks to the Internet.

The banks that we transact with

So much of banking and money management is now done on the Internet. People simply sit in front of their laptop computer and transfer their money from one account to the other. They make credit card payments over the World Wide Web allowing them to buy goods and services in an instant. They check their financial statements online and file income tax statements over the Internet.

Finding your soul mate online

Yes, people make friends over the Internet, they find their weekend dates over the Internet, and they find a spouse over the Internet. So many sites have come up in recent times that allow people to find their loved ones by chatting on social media sites or in community chat rooms.

Driving economies

There was a time when the workers of Third World countries like India and the Philippines had to leave the streets of Mumbai and Manila and travel to far off lands to find work. They no longer have to do that. The numerous outsourcing companies that have emerged in these countries have given many people a source of livelihood. The workers are able to live in their own cities among their own people within their own culture and earn a decent living even though they cater to customers in London and New York. This phenomenon that drives the economies of these nations has been made possible only because of the World Wide Web.

Getting the news out there

How often have we been witness to blogs and Internet journalists driving the news and telling the stories that traditional print media and television stations have been slow to catch upon. Such is the threat from the online sources that almost all newspapers and television studios have an online version to cater to the needs of the public.

There are many more things that can be done on the Internet. Think of this the next time a flight ticket is purchased, a hotel room is booked, a movie from the Internet is downloaded, or research is being done for a PhD thesis.   

When inventions should be patented

When an inventor invents something that is of value, a thought arises in his mind whether it is worthy enough for him to patent it. Plagiarism is quite common in the world of science and the inventor stands to lose millions in case somebody was to copy his idea. If an invention was to be patented then the investor can get protection against those greedy eyes that fall on his products. On the other hand, not every product can be patented. That is why the inventor needs to consider some factors.

inventionsThe invention should be of use to society.

Some inventors come up with ideas that are very creative. They dazzle the audience and elicit wonder from everyone who lays eyes on it. But they are of no use. They cannot be used for making anything that serves a purpose, and generally the inventors have a hard time finding buyers for such products. Naturally, such products cannot be patented.

But there are other inventions that are of great use to the human race. They save users time, effort and money. They might even change the way we go about our daily life. They might alter the way we look at the world around us. These products can and should be patented. The inventors deserve all the credit for having come up with the idea and for having built such a product, and they need to be recognised for their brilliance.

The product needs to be completely original.

Is the idea and the invention absolutely new or has it just been rehashed from something that has already been made before and thought up before. If it is just a rework of an earlier product then don’t bother patenting it. In case it is not; in case the idea and the invention have never been created before then it deserves to be patented.

It needs to fit in a class.

Every product that is sent for being patented needs to fit into a class. Now what are these classes? There are four of them. The first one is for a new process that has been invented. The second one is for the invention of new machines. The third class refers to new articles of manufacture. And the final one is for newly invented compositions of matter. The invention can get patented only if it fits into one of these classes. In case it does not then the patent will be rejected. That is why many creative works are often rejected because they do not fit into any of these classes.

The ownership needs to lie with the inventor.

The product can only be patented in the name of the inventor if he works for himself. If the inventor worked for a company when he made the product, and used the resources of the company to make the product then it will be the company that will get the patent, not the inventor. So check the ownership before the claiming the product in your name.

Tutoring Styles And Techniques

There are certain subjects which are inherently easy to teach. The subject matter is interesting and students are naturally drawn towards learning it. It is also easy to quote real life examples when one is teaching these subjects. This makes it easy to learn and straightforward to coach. But on the other hand there are many subjects, especially science based subjects, which are very dry and too theoretical. Apart from being tough to understand, they are also hard to lecture. Tutors should therefore analyze what subject is easy for them to teach and in which area they will be able to hold the attention of the student.

Tutors also need to analyze in which industry there is a demand for additional academic guidance. The field of education always has various easily identifiable trends from time to time. There was a time when everybody wanted their children to become doctors and engineers. Then came a time when cracking government examinations were the desire of most graduating students and their parents. Now getting finance jobs has become fashion. Identifying these trends will help tutors decide where their expertise is needed the most.

Unity of Consciousness and Language

Just as any other phenomenon, consciousness has its own modes and forms of being, outside which it cannot exist. Language is such a mode of its being. Ever since its emergence, consciousness has existed in the material integument of language. Through language, it is actualised and becomes accessible for perception and apprehension by other people. Both his own and other people’s thoughts become accessible to man only through words, through language. Language and consciousness cannot exist in isolation from each other and the fact that children who have, for some reasons, not learnt any, language do not have a consciousness is graphic proof of that. Language exists in the form of an integral and historically established system of symbols. That system has a specific structure and is governed by certain objective laws of development. This shows that language has some independence.

But just as consciousness, language is socially conditioned. It took shape simultaneously with consciousness as an instrument of human communication and knowledge, an instrument of man’s social and labour activity. Whereas consciousness reflects reality, language designates it and expresses ideas. In language and speech, human ideas, notions and feelings are given a material form perceptible for the senses and are thus put within the reach of other people. That is why speech is a powerful instrument enabling some individuals to influence others and society to influence the individual.

In the formation and development of consciousness, language performs several functions. First is a designative function. People use words to designate surrounding objects and phenomena, their connections and relations, their own subjective states, their attitude to the world and so on. The word is a vehicle of human knowledge about the world; an intermediary between ideas and things, for it simultaneously reflects and designates the object. It records the abstractive activity of thinking. The word in a way substitutes for the object, representing it in the human consciousness. It makes possible the process of thinking itself, the mental manipulation of ideal images symbolising real things, their properties and relations.

Creating the best model for inclusive growth

He is taller than most people, he earns a big salary and he lives in a stable country. Growth will always create imbalances; governments talk about inclusive growth just to make everyone happy.

Governments can be biased. When a government treats its citizens equally it will lead to inclusive growth. We see dictators, cruel kings and other evil powers ruling different countries. These people don’t believe in human beings and their rights. We should fight against them and destroy their authority.

The Internet brought the entire world into a great space. Now this space can be used for our growth. Designing a website is an easy way to get people interested in your businesses or life. Unbelievable amount of information is available on the Internet so we should take what we need to improve our selves. Many websites are interactive and will allow us to participate in the services they offer. You must spend a lot of time online and learn more about how the Internet can help you. The best thing about the Internet is that you can meet billionaires and lazy men here. This space is evolving rapidly and we must take advantage of its positive qualities.

Businessmen and businesswomen who want to make a real contribution to the society should be encouraged. Our governments should recognize the value of these special people and support their ideas. A country prospers when these businesses use the talents of people from all backgrounds to sell their products and services. Your country will be a happier land. When the unemployed youth get jobs they will be enthusiastic workers. They will need help but they will be able to provide solid support to a business. We must think about starting businesses in rural areas and creating jobs for the poor and the ignored. Competition is healthy. We will sharpen our skills and get ready to face any situation. A country that has many businesses offering the best salaries and work will grow at a very fast rate.

We should develop our own methods to grow. The person who is waiting for help is a fool. Decide what you want to achieve and then try to move towards that point. Improvise when necessary. You should not be discouraged by small failures. You will create techniques to strengthen your willpower. It’s a gradual process. Learn to be happy with what you have achieved. Create your special rules.

TECHNOLOGY

The successive stages in man’s technical progress are readily associated with particular well-known periods in his historical development: fire, writing, the wheel, sails, bronze, iron, water power, steam, explosives, electricity, light alloys, wireless, television, nuclear energy, automation, flight, rockets, and space travels etc.etc.

In any age, people view each major discovery achievement as the inventor’s final answer to an old question. Real progress is achieved only when certain problems, some of them centuries old have been solved.

Wherever one can penetrate the darkness which hides the early history of mankind, traces of astonishing technical achievements can be found. For instance, the gigantic old-age stone monuments, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and clay tablets, ancient weapons, jewellery, f fortifications, palaces, burial chambers, ships and tools and all that is unearthed by archaeologists. Then think of the most outstanding discovery of all-the wheel.

Very little is known of the science and technology of those days. It is not known who discovered the lever, the roller or the wheel. Nor can it be said when these fundamental achievements of man’s brain and hand became the daily tools of his craft; the wheel must have been discovered and forgotten many times.

For various reasons man’s ideas did, nevertheless, triumph and his efforts throughout the ages did ultimately take effect, although only slowly at first. His artefacts furthered and supported his authority and glorified him in the wielding of it. The development of a kind of everyday technology was therefore directed to the construction of houses, to the manufacture of clothes as a protection against the elements, to the manufacture of weapons for hunting or for defence against enemies-human and animal. This emphasis on means of survival led man to change the world around him in many ways.

We live in an artificial technological world from which it is now virtually impossible to escape, since it provides all the material aids to our existence, whether they be clothing, houses, lighting, heating cooling, air conditioning and sanitation or supplies of drinking water, gas, electricity, vitamins, medicines or vaccines.

Many advances must have been due to the creative powers or ingenious inventors and thinkers, who opposed the inertia of traditionalist and unadventurous. In this way they assisted the gradual unfolding of science and technology.

Technology in the modern sense originated in the 7th century. Thinkers advocated the measurement of natural processes and derivation of laws from such measurements as the proper field of the natural sciences, and prepared the way for experimental science. Once natural laws had been formulated, they were increasingly used to replace investigation by trial and error, and soon came to determine the limits of possible technical achievement.

Research innovations in Information Technology

Research and innovations are integral parts of any technological development and advancement. Without research and innovation, we would not have high-powered machines and revolutionary programmes that enhance our lifestyles and make our lives easier. Although humans have been storing, manipulating and communicating information since 3000 BC, the term ‘Information Technology’ came into existence only in 1958. Since then, humans have been trying to employ various technologies to store and process information quickly and efficiently.

Research is all about analysing problems and coming up with solutions that address these problems. Research and innovation go hand in hand and through scientific research innovate ideas emerge. The Centre for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), located in the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world’s leading institutions in Information Technology. The research institute was created in 2011 to ensure rapid transfer of technology from businesses to consumers. CITRIS supports the development of technologies to maximize the potential of the Smart Grid. By working closely with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Institute for Energy and Environment, CITRIS has come up with environmentally friendly buildings, energy efficient transport systems and more renewable energy.

Many people have the misconception that research innovations in Information Technology are limited to enhancing the speed and efficiency of computers and related devices. This is not true. Research innovations in Information Technology span across many industries and refer to advancements in technology with the help of computers and other communication devices too. Research innovations in Information Technology should keep pace with our needs and requirements. Today, we witness more and more people working in the comfort of their home, without travelling to a physical office on a regular basis. To ensure that teleworkers have access to corporate documents anywhere in the world, scientists in the field of Information Technology came up with the concept called ‘Cloud Computing’, where applications and databases can be accessed from any corner of the world 24/7.

Today, majority of the universities in the world have in-house research centres where students, professors and budding researchers work closely with businesses in the field of Information Technology to enhance the lives of people and make the world a more comfortable place to live in. In January 2013, Microsoft India launched a hub for Computer Science research called Research Connector. It is hoped that through this venture, high quality researchers will be produced in India who will define technologies for future generations. Research is important for the advancement of technology in any field; more so in a field as dynamic as Computer Science where innovations can become obsolete and outdated in no time.

Rooting Around for the Right Temperature

According to biologists, plant roots can seek out warm patches, in the soil. They have shown that roots can detect and respond to tiny changes in temperature.

They found that maize roots can detect a difference in temperature as small as 0.05 C degrees. This may sound impressive but according to biologists, it is nowhere close to being a world record. Previously it was shown temperature differences which are one-hundredth of this size could be detected by slime moulds.

In response to gravity roots grow usually grow straight down. The root bends towards the warm side if one side of the root is warmer in comparison to the other.

In order to bring difference in temperature, special aluminum block with two parallel channels running through it was constructed. By piping cold water through one channel and hot water through the other they were able to create a temperature gradient between the two. The researchers, attached agar, a jelly-like substance, to the metal between the channels to provide a surface for the roots to grow down.

It was found that maize roots are most sensitive to temperature differences at around 15 degree Celsius, which is a normal soil temperature for maize. At higher temperatures of around 32 degree Celsius the researchers found that the roots do not respond to temperature differences at all.

This shows that the response is important in nature. This is actually of considerable advantage. If roots went straight down, they would very quickly get out of the nutrient-rich zone. Instead roots which use this ability will stay in the warm, upper layer of soil, where nutrients are most plentiful.

The biologists do not know how roots detect temperature differences. All biological thermometers are still a mystery. Almost nothing is known about temperature sensing in any organism. It is clear that humans sense hot and cold, but on a molecular level it is not clear what they are using for a thermometer.

One idea is that temperature sensing might involve fats or lipids which are embedded in biological membranes. Cells could gauge the temperature by monitoring when particular lipids solidify or melt.

In the bacterium Escherichia coli, temperature sensing has been linked to a protein which is involved in detecting the concentration of a particular nutrient. E coli uses the protein to help direct its movement towards high concentrations of the nutrient and regions of optimal temperatures. Scientists do not know if other organisms do this.

A biologist suggests that the root’s thermometer might be in its apex. This is where roots sense both gravity and moisture and it is possible that the three root senses are linked.

No one knows if shoots can sense differences in temperature. But shoots will normally grow towards warmth anyway because they grow towards the light.

An Electronic Finger on the Pulse

Haemoglobin is the substance which carries oxygen in the blood. Saturated with oxygen, it has the bright red color of arterial blood and stripped of oxygen, the bluish color of venous blood. This color change is the key to pulse oximetry. Absorption of light is measured at two wavelengths, 660 nanometres (red light) and 940 nanometres (infrared light). The ration of these Absorption coefficients describes the proportion of saturated and desaturated haemoglobin.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) provide high intensity light at the two selected wavelengths. Shown through a fingertip, the transmitted light is detected by a silicon photodiode. But early attempts at optical oximetry were confounded by the variable background absorption of light by the skin, pigments and tissues. Recalibration was required for every subject and at frequent intervals thereafter, making the device inconvenient and unreliable.

The breakthrough which led to the modern self-calibrating instrument was the observation that light transmitted through tissues has a small pulsatile element superimposed on the background intensity. Amplification of this pulsatile signal reveals the signature of the arterial pressure waveform and this component of absorption is found to depend only on arterial blood within the tissue. In contrast, venous blood flows steadily and contributes only to the static background absorption.

The silicon diode converts the transmitted light into electrical current, with DC and AC components corresponding to the static and pulsatile components of light transmission. Electronic signal processing separates out the AC component which contains information only about the color changes in the arterial blood.  The AC signal has a different amplitude at the two wavelengths and the ratio of these amplitudes predicts the degree of oxygen saturation of arterial blood.

Total light transmission varies greatly, depending on the thickness of a finger or pigmentation of the skin. The DC, or static transmission is measured at each wavelength and used as a scaling factor to correct the corresponding variation in amplitude of the pulsatile signal. Optimum performance of the photodiode is ensured by varying the brightness of the LEDs, so that the intensity of transmitted light falls within the dynamic range of the photodiode.

The two LEDs are strobed so that the photodiode measures red, infrared and ambient light in turn, in a cycle repeated many hundred of times during each pulse. Ambient light levels can then be subtracted from the measurements of transmitted light.

Operating theatres are full of electrical equipment that produces high levels of electromagnetic interference. In addition, artifacts may be produced by movement by the patient (such as shivering) or flickering lights. The best pulse oximeters employ sophisticated algorithms for the detection and rejection of artifact and also generate warning messages such as probe off patient or pulse signal small.

The net result is an instrument of remarkable accuracy which gives continuous non-invasive measurement of arterial oxygen saturation in a wide variety of clinical settings.

The need for E health

These days E health care has become the buzz word. This term is comparatively new in the industry of healthcare. Before the year 1999 this term was not in use to this extent. E health does not just confine itself to procuring medicines on the internet but anything and everything that could connect internet to medicine. The use of the terms e health was first found in the industry and largely by the marketing experts rather that by the academic experts. The term was an extension of other terms like the e business, e commerce, etc. There was so much of hype around the newly found terms of e commerce that e health had to be introduced in the health care industry. This was done in order to match steps with the trends in the business world. Intel came up with a comprehensive definition of E health, defining it as a rigorous endeavour by pioneers in health care and technology intensive industries to make use of the benefits available through union of the Internet and health care.

The internet created a new opportunities, as well as, challenges in the traditional healthcare set up. It was required and quite appropriate to involve the internet in the health care sector, largely because no other sector was unaffected by the internet fever. The e health care system would take care of the problems of healthcare that cropped up due to distance, availability of expertise, procurement of specific medicines, checking of reports and diagnostics. However, internet created further challenges for the e healthcare sector. These new challenges were:

  • The subjectivity in the capability of the consumers to be able to interact with the systems.( business to consumer)
  • Better chances for transmission from one institution to another (business to business).
  • Better scope and chances for consumers to communicate with each other hence more awareness (Consumer to consumer).

In the academic environment E health can have a slightly distinct definition. In the initial times it was stated by the academicians that E health should remain confined to the business and the marketing perspective of healthcare and not step into the diagnosis and consultation arena. However, it has been long that e heath care has stepped into the scientific literature of the industry. With its wide penetration and constant changes it is very difficult to pin down a comprehensive definition of e health care. It is certainly the need of the IT dependent world. However, the environment is largely dynamic and constantly moving, making it difficult to pin down one specific definition.