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29 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: 9h Hotel


This is the first capsule hotel built in Japan in 1979. It doesn’t have rooms. It has only capsules.


27 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: Nhow Berlin


The ceiling and walls of this hotel are decorated with guitars and other musical instuments and equipment. The designers assure that the whole building is supposed to remind musical abstraction.


25 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: Corona Save the Beach Hotel


This hotel designed by German architect HA Schult is located in Italy. It is made out of 12 tons of garbage found on European beaches. It features five rooms and reception.

23 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: Tianzi Hotel


This Chinese style 10-story hotel was built in 2001. It looks more like giant sculptures. No wonder this hotel is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the “biggest image building”.


18 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: V8 Hotel


This is an interesting hotel located in Germany. It is a real paradise for car enthusiasts because all beds, tables and rooms are automotive-themed.


16 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: Hamster Hotel


It seems that this French hotel was built for a huge hamster. For 99 euros per night each person can feel what it is like to be a hamster. Hotel guests can even run on the big hamster wheel.


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14 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: The Inntel Hotel


Each hotel looks like a puzzle of small houses placed on the top of each other. The design was developed by WAM Architecten Company. The largest hotel in this hotel chain is 11-story building with 160 rooms.


12 June 2011

Unusual Hotels in World: Dog Bark Park Inn


This hotel is built in the shape of a beagle. The interior is also decorated with dogs.


10 June 2011

Scientists Develop Zebra Barcode Reader


Scientists have developed an image scanning program that can distinguish between individual zebras by their stripes:

When a zebra has been entered into the database and given a StripeCode, the researchers match another picture of the same animal by comparing the StripeStrings of the new and original images. Each image will generate a different set of StripeStrings, but the underlying ratios of black and white should remain similar.

By finding the StripeCode with the most similar StripeStrings in the database, the system is able to accurately identify the correct animal. Other existing zebra identification systems are less accurate, more complex, and require a greater level of manual input from the user.

08 June 2011

Khan Academy: The Future of Education

Khan's YouTube channel hosts more than 1800 lectures on classic school topics. On demand video tutorials could revolutionize education.
Will the school of the future need teachers? Probably. Will it need classrooms and textbooks? Hopefully not. To see what will replace them you only need to look to the ever expanding and educational Khan Academy. Originally developed as a means of helping his cousins with math, Salman Khan’s efforts have expanded into 1800+ videos on YouTube, with nearly 22 million views between them. In these brief 10-15 minute tutorials, Khan explains basic (and not so basic) math concepts in a concise manner that students can easily digest and reference later. The academy also includes many videos on non-math topics like biology, history, and the economics of a cupcake factory. Khan Academy videos are viewed more than 70,000 times per day – that’s more students than most major universities. Check out an example of Khan’s work below, along with a review of the his academy from PBS’s News Hour. Efforts of extraordinary individuals like Khan could revolutionize the way we teach, replacing textbooks and typical lectures with free online tutorials that students can watch at their own pace.
Education may be moving out of the classroom. According to the US Department of Education, more than 1.5 million children were home-schooled in the US in 2007. Similar trends exist around the world, and there’s an even larger group of students in developing nations that lack teachers and textbooks, but may be able to access the internet (sometimes through mobile devices). In this environment, projects like the Khan Academy may be ready to thrive. They take little capital to create (Khan has made the videos on his own, and with simple graphic tools), they are widely accessible, and they can cover a wide range of topics that students need to learn. From a small investment comes a huge impact. That sort of success has attracted a lot of attention, from philanthropists like Bill Gates to media like PBS. Here’s the News Hour’s review of the Khan Academy:

The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit business but it has started to experiment with generating some revenue so that Khan can expand the topics he covers and the detail in which he covers them. You can donate to the academy through the YouTube channel, you can purchase videos for download (for $1), and there are ads on some videos. According to CNN, Khan has also received major donations ($100k) from individual donors who wish to support his work. He’s been able to give himself a salary, produces a few videos every day, and may be receiving a chance to expand his work with the help of Bill Gates.
Clearly, videos are no substitute for having a living human being with whom you can interact with in realtime. We are likely to always need teachers (though they need not be human) who can respond to questions and direct conversations as student’s require. Textbooks, however, are another thing altogether. In the US, schools spend hundreds of dollars on books for each child. Books that are static, heavy, and limited in point of view. Imagine a future where instead of books we give students laptops and let them access a growing library of video lessons online. Non-profit organizations like the Khan academy could create these lessons online for free, or we could pay for more advanced tutorials that have interactive features and tests. Either way, students would be able to review information at their own speed and compare lessons across multiple online academies to find the approach that suits them best.
The Khan Academy isn’t the only not-for-profit education provider in the world, Khan himself works with other groups, like CK12, to create his lessons. No, the Khan Academy is just an extreme example of one man revolutionizing education. In the future, we’ll want to expand and generalize Khan’s approach to create a larger paradigm of on-demand education. Not just for younger students, but for anyone who wants to learn. (Projects like Gapminder, which we’ve covered before, work to educate adults on important global data.) I’m certainly looking forward to browsing through the Khan Academy and brushing up on my cupcake economics.

06 June 2011

New Study links chlorinated swimming pools with increased cancer risk

Spanish researchers from the Centre of Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), based in Barcelona, along with the Research Institute Hospital del Mar, have recently concluded a study involving the cause/effect relationship between body exposure to chlorinated water in indoor swimming pools and ‘mutagenicity’, the permanent mutation of the DNA, which can lead to an enhanced risk of cancer.
In a statement released by CREAL on Monday, “The evidence of genotoxic effects were observed in 49 healthy adults after swimming for 40 minutes in a chlorinated indoor pool.”
Although initial results appear to indicate a direct cause/effect relationship between the chemicals and an increased cancer risk, as stated by Manolis Kogevinas, co-director of CREAL, “The positive health impacts of swimming can be increased by reducing the levels of these chemicals.”

The solution is not to avoid or reduce swimming, but to curtail the level of chlorine chemicals in pools

Kogevinas went on to note, “In no case do we want to stop swimming, but to encourage the reduction of chemicals in swimming pools.” He offered that the problems caused by a reduction in levels of disinfectant could be offset if swimmers were to shower prior to swimming, wear bathing caps and curtailed urinating in the water.
A series of three articles published AOP (Ahead of Print) in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), represent the first research of its kind to provide a comprehensive characterization of DBP’s (Disinfection By-Products) existing within indoor pool environments.
DBP’s are created in pool water as a result of reactions between chemical disinfectants like chlorine and organic matter introduced by swimmers (sweat, skin cells, urine). There have already been studies that have shown a relationship between DBP’s in drinking water and risk of bladder cancer as well as an association as a result of dermal or inhalational exposure, as occurs as a result of showering, bathing or swimming activities.
It is also important to note that this study was conducted in a controlled environment and does not necessarily include or represent all conditions of swimming pool maintenance and use that would be encountered in normal or everyday situations.
EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. EHP is an open-access journal and all EHP content is available online for free. (www.ehponline.org)

04 June 2011

BIRTH OF THE FAMOUS NAMES


STRANGE NATURAL CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED THE FAMOUS NAMES




MERCEDES
This was actually the financier's daughter's name.
  



ADOBE


This came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of founder John Warnock. 



APPLE COMPUTERS

It was the favorite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call 
his company Apple Computers if 
the other colleagues didn't suggest a 
better name by 5 O'clock that evening.
 


CISCO
It is not an acronym as popularly believed. 
It is short for  San Francisco .
 


COMPAQ  

This name was formed by using COMp, for computer, and PAQ to denote a small integral object.   




COREL
The name was derived from the founder's 
name Dr. Michael Cowpland. It stands for  COwpland REsearchLaboratory
.


GOOGLE

The name started as a joke boasting about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named 'Googol', a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders- Stanford graduate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their project to an angel investor, they received a cheque made out to 'Google' ...thus the name.



HOTMAIL 
Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in 'mail' and finally settled for hotmail as it included the letters "html" - the programming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective uppercasing.
  



HEWLETT PACKARD 

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. 


INTEL 
Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company ' Moore Noyce'but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics. 



LOTUE (Notes) 

 Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from 'The Lotus Position' or 'Padmasana'. Kapoor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation of  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  



MICROSOFT 

Coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' was removed later on. 


MOTOROLA 

Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time was called  Victrola.
  




ORACLE 
Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project was called
Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or something such). The project was designed to help use the newly written SQL code by IBM. The project eventually was terminated but Larry and Bob decided to finish what they started and bring it to the world. They kept the name Oracle and created the RDBMS engine. Later they kept the same name for the company
. 



SONY 
It originated from the Latin word 'sonus' meaning sound, and 'sonny' a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster. 


SUN 

Founded by four  Stanford  University buddies, SUN is the acronym for  Stanford  University Network. Andreas Bechtolsheim built a microcomputer; Vinod Khosla recruited him and Scott McNealy to manufacture computers based on it, and Bill Joy to develop a UNIX-based OS for the computer. 


  YAHOO!  

The word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book 'Gulliver's Travels'. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! Founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.



02 June 2011

Luggage piles up at Jeddah airport

JEDDAH The departure lounge at King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA) has been turned into a storeroom for the luggage of Umrah pilgrims. This is because many pilgrims arrived too early for their flights or brought too many bags in excess of the weight allowance.

The airport has recently been in the headlines after conveyer belts and computer systems broke down causing massive delays and widespread anger among travelers. On Wednesday there was a similar chaotic situation. Pilgrims had brought three to five pieces of luggage for every one piece allowed. This is not a new situation. Every year, foreign and local airlines have to contend with overloaded flights. 
This is in addition to some Umrah pilgrims coming to the airport much too early for their flights. This happens out of ignorance and also because some unscrupulous Umrah travel companies want their groups to leave early so that they can get money from new groups.
“We have many daily flights. So when Umrah pilgrims come to the airport early, they cause overcrowding and leave behind a great deal of waste,” said an airport official. He added that the airport is not responsible for the behavior of some Umrah companies. 
Many stranded Africans Saudi Gazette spoke to complained about the delay of their flights. Leman Hassan, a Nigerian, has been waiting at the airport for five days to go home on Sudan Airways.
“Our organizer told us that we are going to be leaving as soon as possible. However, we have been waiting here for five days for the promised flight home,” he said. 
He said the airport has now become their accommodation. “I have no money to buy food for my children. The food at the airport is expensive. I have to spend between SR35 to SR50 to get one meal,” he said.
Moreover, three international flights were delayed Wednesday morning without any notification to passengers. The three flights were to Karachi, Alexandria and Dhaka. – SG.

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