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Friday, November 9, 2018

How Does Bill Gates's Ingenious, Waterless, Life-Saving Toilet Work?

In Beijing today, Bill Gates spoke at a conference with a fantastic name: the Reinvented Toilet Expo. The Microsoft founder took with him to the lectern a sealed jar containing human feces, according to BBC News. Gates reportedly pointed to the poop jar and said that it could contain “as many as 200 trillion rotavirus…20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.”
Gates's stunt was conceived to draw attention to the need for sanitary, off-grid toilets that can remove harmful byproducts from human waste, which helps to stop the spread of disease among the two billion people who don't have access to clean sanitation. The expo, which was the culmination of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative called Reinvent the Toilet, featured 20 toilet designs developed by companies from around the world, most of which used clever engineering to separate solid and liquid waste safely and without odor.

Cityblog Feature: Nayakgiri: Comedy Short Story : Mail That Did Not Bounce

Mail That Did Not Bounce
Today Mr and Mrs Bhatavadekar are the esteemed guests for dinner at our place. I am worried about how I should face them after almost a decade.. Actually I am feeling guilty that instead of being happy and excited about the reunion with someone who had been my best friend during most of my teens and young adulthood. But I am scared about both the past and the  future. Let me take back to the past first to explain root cause of my worries in present and define effects of present in my future.

When I say past , I mean those glorious college days with lots of friends, events, treks, picnics, restaurant food, movies, dramas when in Pune and Infinite fun of hostel life at a remote place. Life was an succession of events as endless like an Ekta Kapoor serial plot where something happens all the time. The most arduous task in life during those days was attending the lectures at 8 am in the morning after waking up at 7 45am squeezing breakfast in between. The most testing times were at the end of each semester where we would attend an event called as End Term Exams. The most bizarre task was to get inside my digestive system the most tasteless, pungent smelling and uncooked food someone can ever eat. I dont know how I could have survived without  those omelets and Maggie dishes served at Naren Da (made to sound as NOren Da in Bengal) night canteen. The best parts of the life were the summer and winter vacations in Pune.

The past which I referring to was enacted in one of those winter vacations and the protagonist was my best friend Harshavardhan popularly knows at HB pencil. The genesis of this name was his pencil like tall and thin stature and his initials. Harshavardhan Bhatavadekar is a long name and if you add middle name it becomes an infinite loop. His fathers name is Shrinivas. I wonder if he gets enough space on the forms he need to fill in. I and HB met at preschool and had been together like a pillow and cushion till we parted ways after 12 th to different Engineering Colleges. We also had few other boys and girls in our motley group. We had named our group as MTV (empty vessels) as we made lot of noise. We had Prakash the eternal  forgetful day dreamer, Sumedh aka KK Kishore Kumar , Seema the emotional fool, Pradnya the fighter. HB was the joker and they called me scholar for my scholastic skills. I parted the group to join my far off college in middle of nowhere..

As we met in that eventful vacation, I found HB always lost like a passenger waiting for his Departure gate  to be announced at an European Airport. He was very uncharacteristically quiet  like a tap in a house where the water supply is cut due to non payment.  I could not trace the reason. I tried to talk to him but the guy avoided the topic like one avoids karela sabzi in the plate . But I am as persistent as a tele-caller. Sunset is the best time and any hill around Pune is the best place for one to feel more philosophical and feel an urge to open out to someone like one feels an impulse to throw out after smelling rotten fish. But what HB threw out was expression of his love he felt for Seema.

Cityblog Special: Rajnikanth Diwali

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cityblog Feature: Nayakgiri: Higher Supreme Court Order

There is a Higher Court Over and above any Man-made Institution. It has decided in favor of all, that there would be no restrictions for anyone to:
Enjoy the Festival with Near and Dear Ones.
Buying Useful things for Self and Near and Dear Ones.
Be Creative in the Decoration, Illumination, Food, and other things during the Festival.
See New and Favorite Places.
Gain Knowledge, Health, Prosperity, Recognition and Self Actualization throughout the Next Year.
Spread Love, Harmony, Peace, Unity, Cleanliness, Discipline and Charity throughout the Next Year.
Help those who need the help throughout Next Year.
Stay Happy

So Please do not Violate this Order. Happy Diwali.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.

Does the Universe around us have a fundamental structure that can be glimpsed through special numbers?
The brilliant physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988) famously thought so, saying there is a number that all theoretical physicists of worth should "worry about". He called it "one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man".
That magic number, called the fine structure constant, is a fundamental constant, with a value which nearly equals 1/137. Or 1/137.03599913, to be precise. It is denoted by the Greek letter alpha - α.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

There’s Worrying New Research About Kids’ Screen Time and Their Mental Health

Young people who spend seven hours or more a day on screens are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety than those who use screens for an hour a day, finds a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports.
The data came from more than 40,000 kids ages two to 17 and was collected as part of the Census Bureau’s 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. While spending seven or more hours a day on screens was not typical among the younger kids in the study, roughly 20% of 14- to 17-year-olds spent this amount of time on screens each day. (This dovetails with a recent Pew Research Center report that found teens use the Internet “almost constantly.” They’re likely following their parents’ lead: some estimates show that U.S. adults now spend roughly 10 hours a day staring at TVs or digital devices.)
Along with the associations between screen time and diagnoses of depression and anxiety, the study found that young people who spent seven hours or more a day on screens (not including schoolwork) were more easily distracted, less emotionally stable and had more problems finishing tasks and making friends compared to those who spent just an hour a day on screens (not including schoolwork).

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