Archive for the ‘ Personal ’ Category

We only use 10 percent of our brains – FALSE

It’s the old myth heard time and again about how people use only ten percent of their brains. While for the people who repeat that myth, it’s probably true, the rest of us happily use all of our brains. That tired Ten-Percent claim pops up all the time. In 1998, national magazine ads for U.S. Satellite Broadcasting showed a drawing of a brain. Under it was the caption, “You only use 11 percent of its potential.” Well, they’re a little closer than the ten-percent figure, but still off by about 89 percent. In the beginning even I looked at that concept and thought of it as a plausible explanation for  a lot of things including magic, psychic abilities etc.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=brain&iid=287909″ src=”0284/92a31411-b35a-4f7c-a5d9-efdaaeaae122.jpg?adImageId=12426315&imageId=287909″ width=”500″ height=”332″ /]

During the past few years and after various rounds of debates with friends, doctors and with engineers alike, I started to doubt it. One reason this myth has endured is that it has been adopted by psychics and other paranormal pushers to explain psychic powers. The biggest of these would be main stream media, there have been a few hundred movies showing psychics who have been seen saying “We only use ten percent of our minds. If scientists don’t know what we do with the other ninety percent, it must be used for psychic powers!” There have been even scores of books to those who are not exposed movies that time and again mention this tidbit saying that the rest is for the subconscious mind. Bollywood is not left far behind as well, Karthik calling Karthik was another movie which used this point.

The argument that psychic powers come from the unused majority of the brain is based on the argument from ignorance. In this Argument, lack of proof for a position (or simply lack of information) is used to try to support a particular claim. For example: Two people see a strange light in the sky. The first, a UFO believer, says, “See there! Can you explain that?” The skeptic replies that no, he can’t. The UFO believer is gleeful. “Ha! You don’t know what it is, so it must be aliens!” he says, arguing from ignorance. I am not a person who would say that UFO’s dont exist, neither do I say that they do. But I think there is not enough information to make a judgement on the same.

Getting back to the point, technology is working in my favor when it comes to proving this myth wrong.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=brain&iid=253943″ src=”0250/2594f3a5-762e-4e7d-b09a-6211baf8409c.jpg?adImageId=12426336&imageId=253943″ width=”500″ height=”331″ /]

  1. Brain imaging research techniques such as PET scans (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that the vast majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don’t use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don’t use all of their brain at once. For any given activity, such as eating, watching television, making love, or reading, you may use a few specific parts of your brain. Over the course of a whole day, however, just about all of the brain is used at one time or another.
  2. The myth presupposes an extreme localization of functions in the brain. If the “used” or “necessary” parts of the brain were scattered all around the organ, that would imply that much of the brain is in fact necessary. But the myth implies that the “used” part of the brain is a discrete area, and the “unused” part is like an appendix or tonsil, taking up space but essentially unnecessary. But if all those parts of the brain are unused, removal or damage to the “unused” part of the brain should be minor or unnoticed. Yet people who have suffered head trauma, a stroke, or other brain injury are frequently severely impaired. Have you ever heard a doctor say, “. . . But luckily when that bullet entered his skull, it only damaged the 90 percent of his brain he didn’t use”? Of course not.

I guess I am at this time convinced that the myth needs to be busted for all, and the fable of sort needs to end.

A lot more can be read on this topic with references here.

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Facebook and Death

A while ago I wrote two posts, one about Facebook learning to deal with Death and the second asking the question what happens to your digital self when you die ? Yes, FaceBook did come up with a solution to Memorize pages of friends who were no longer amongst us, but Facebook has now gone one Up with the concept of a sort of a virtual cemetery: a place where people could record their thoughts, memories and life lessons for their family and the public to learn from and discuss. Our Facebook pages are our living testaments. They feature some of our most important memories, the people we care about, and in some cases, our life’s work. They’re a version of our autobiographies and when we die, they can serve as a form of our obituaries.

If your friends have lost someone recently, you’ve probably seen them mourn and celebrate the person’s life online. Sometimes friends or family will create a group dedicated to the memory of that person., and people will add in the memories that they have had with them. When the family or close relatives of that person visits the page, I imagine the feeling is rich and meaningful in a way that’s different from visiting the cemetery.

Facebook’s addition of the ability to “memorialize” pages — a policy born of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was a good start. Memorializing pages turns a personal page into a memorial page. The page is only accessible to confirmed friends and sensitive information like phone numbers and status updates are removed to protect the privacy of the individual. Friends can leave messages on the page and look at the deceased person’s wall postings and photos.

If nobody goes through the process of having the page memorialized or taken down, the page lives on indefinitely and can lead to the jarring experience of seeing their photo pop up on your page with a message to “say hello” to them or add them as a friend. Facebook sets up those notifications to get infrequent users more involved so, naturally, people who have died are among those who show up most.

I suggest to utilize groups and group discussions to mourn and remember the deceased. The group pages allow anyone to join, not just people who were Facebook friends with the deceased. Groups are set up to be more of a community so it facilitates interaction among people. People can discuss specific memories, or upload photos for example.

Facebook doesn’t have specific numbers of memorialized pages or groups, but as Facebook users get older, the numbers will increase. Perhaps someday there will be more memorial pages than pages for living people.

To report a deceased person’s profile on Facebook, and turn it into a memorialized account.

For more information on creating and managing a Facebook group.

What if the Gods were on Facebook ?

[tweetmeme] These days everyone is on Facebook, young and old. I guess someone thought that it might be a very good Idea to make the Facebook Page with the updates of Ramayan and Mahabharatha. Interestingly, when snooping around I found some more. I have just added these that I found. I think it is hilarious. All this after I first received Ramayan on Facebook by Anup. Thanks Dude ! Click on the images below to see them full size.

Story of  Ramayan

Continued …

Mahabharat

http://krishashok.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/facebook-mahabharatha.jpg

The Creation in the Bible

http://antoniofarinha.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/facebook-of-genesis.jpg

Jesus Facebook Page

Continued …

http://www.facebook-status.com/2010/02/05/jesus-o-nazareth-on-facebook/

When you have the Gods, How can you leave Satan

http://www.pcworld.com/zoom?id=162166&page=1&zoomIdx=5

If used intelligently, GenX can be taught stories using this method I guess, I am sure that they will be able to grasp it better. For the time being its funny and hilarious. Guess my next round should be celebrities. 🙂

Wordless Thursday – History of Marketing

[tweetmeme]

How to Download movies from the Internet using BitTorrents

A Beginners Guide

I have been asked a few times, how people are downloading movies from the Internet, People with nearly no technical skills want to but don’t really know how to download movies. Before I can do a how to on this one I definitely need to mention that I quite frankly do not support downloading illegal content from the Internet. You have to be careful when downloading torrents as many of them are copyrighted and illegal. Now that that is out of the way, lets see how we can download a movie from the internet. For this How To I am going to use a website that hosts free public domain movies like http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com/ which do not carry copyright infringement in doing so.

Step 1 : Get yourself a Bit Torrent ‘client’

Bit Torrent is a process where you can share files with many people called lechers, through a process known as peer to peer networking. Peer to peer is actually a form of networking where unlike accessing google.com or yahoo.com where you request information from the Google server, you would request this information from a private user connected to the internet elsewhere in the world. Since this is different from just plain ‘browsing’ you would need a specialist software to actually connect with many peers or seeders. Unlike browsing where you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome which are browsers, what you would need is a Bit Torrent ‘client’ software. There are possibly hundreds of free Bit Torrent Clients out there, but the most popular among these are Vuse, uTorrent and BitTorrent. The process that you would use for downloading would be more or less similar regardless of what client you use. I would however suggest using uTorrent as it is not only the most popular but also the best of the lot according to me. To download uTorrent, Go to uTorrent.com and click on the big Free download button to get the Bit Torrent client. Once it is downloaded you could follow the procedure to install the software on your computer, it’s pretty straight forward to do so. Now you are ready for step 2.

Step 2 : Get the torrent file

Once you have the Torrent Client installed on your computer, you will then need to tell the client what file you want to download and from where. For this very purpose seeders or people who share for information on the internet, create a file with extension .torrent. Just like your word or excel files have an extension .doc or .xls and open in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, the .torrent file opens up in your Bit Torrent client when you open it. There are many hundreds of torrent sites on the internet and most of these offer various downloads like music, movies, documentaries, books, games and even software. You could search for your choice of downloads on these sites and obtain the .torrent file. This is usually marked with, “download torrent here” or “Download this Torrent”. Examples of sites which provide torrents are http://www.thepiratebay.org, http://www.mininova.org, http://www.demonoid.com and then there are other websites that act as torrent search engines that actually bring together the torents from various torrent sites online, these might be http://www.torrentfreak.com, http://www.cinematorrents.com/ and others.

Step 3 : Open the .torrent file in your client and wait

Once you have downloaded the .torrent file from the site that you want, Usually, the web browser’s file download manager will ask what to do with this file. You want to open the file with your torrent client. If it doesn’t open that way, just save the .torrent file to an easy to locate place. Then open your torrent client and use the “Open Torrent” feature(Most torrent clients support click & drag). Now you can let your Bit torrent Client do the work for you while you can go away and do something else on your computer or kill time, because torrents do not require your attention and will download in the background. How long a torrent takes to complete the download is completely dependent on how fast is your internet speed, How many people are sharing the file (seeds) and how big the file that you are trying to download is. Usually movies are about 700 MB – 1.37 GB and this would mean that it would take about 8 hours of download on a 512KB connection with a few hundred seeds.

Tips and Warnings

· You can close your torrent program and turn off your computer when you need to. Most torrent programs will resume download process automatically when you start them back up. If the download doesn’t resume automatically, there should be an option to start downloading, by either right clicking on the file and choose “Start” or a button somewhere in the program.

· There are other torrent clients (programs) that can be used so do your research on these also. The most popular torrent programs are uTorrent, Azureus and BitTorrent.

  • There are Torrent search engines that search the popular torrent clients (programs). This saves you time by not having to search each individual torrent client site. The most popular torrent search engines are TorrentReactor.net, Nowtorrents.com and Qtorrents.com .
  • When looking for torrent files, try to find ones with plenty of Seeders. When searching for torrents, you can often sort the results by seeds, simply by clicking on the seeds column header.
  • Seeders (Seeds): Are people who have a complete copy of the torrent’s files and are only uploading (sending) data to the people who are downloading (peers).
  • Leechers (Peers): Are people who have a portion of the torrent’s files while they are downloading they are actively uploading to help others download more quickly.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your computer down depending on how well your computer performs. Recommended specs for each client vary, but on average you should have at least 512 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz CPU. You will also need space for the files you want to save.
  • In certain jurisdictions it is illegal to download content through peer to peer networks such as bittorrent. There is a program which blocks certain IP addresses from communicating with your computer and can help protect you while downloading. PeerGuardian can be found at:phoenixlabs.org/pg2or [1]
  • Keep your anti-virus program and its definitions fully up-to-date, downloaded software from ‘sharing’ sources carries a high risk of infection.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your overall internet connection down if you don’t properly tweak your upload rate. DSL and Cable modems have problems downloading if you’re uploading at your maximum rate. Set your clients maximum rate to 80% of your maximum upload rate if you can adjust it. If you set your upload rate too low, your downloads will slow to a crawl.
  • It’s important to know about bittorrents so that you know the risks, consequences, and best practices.
  • Make sure you check the comment section before downloading, if there is one, to see if the torrent is real or not.

All I can say now is Happy Downloading .

Websites that create .. fun

Bored out of your mind, looking for some time pass stuff online ? Or just want to get your creativity juices flowing ? Or just want to check out the new offerings from the internet ? I thought it could be an interesting time to actually bring up a list of time killers.

Make your own Batman and Robin Comic

The Batman franchise is really revived after the Dark Knight as well as Batman Begins, interestingly though the older batman toons actually look like fun to read and we all grew up on them. So trying to get your hand at making your own version of the Batman comic strip, albeit a single clip is still fun.

Head over to their website to get your creativity flowing and generate your own : [ Batman and Robin ]

Create a Picture Story

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, how about one word. Imagine you could get a picture for every word in your story and that can be made into a photo collage. Enter FlickerPoet.

Go to FlickrPoet and type a sentence. When you click on the ‘Show Story’ button, FlickrPoet will browse the Flickr database and pull an image for each word/phrase used in your sentence. These images will be organized to provide you with a picture story.

[ FlickrPoet ]

Always thought that one liner comeback that you gave to your co-worker might just be a good interesting t-Shirt ? Well here is a chance for you to actually design it that way and wear it off to rub it in their face for a long time.

[ T-Shirt Maker ]

The Generator Blog

I have to admit it, I spent more than a few hours on this site, it lists more that a thousand generators like the one listed above. From Victorian Sex cries right upto Your very own Oscar Speech. Definitely something worth trying. I just listed out the ones that appealed to me in the first look. Dont forget to Bookmark it !!
.

A Story of Easter, Eggs and Geeks

First things first, Happy Easter to one and all, and hope you have a good celebration today. One of the oldest and famous traditions of Easter is of course Easter Eggs, and the idea of Parents hiding the easter eggs for the kids to find it was just something that kinda makes Easter fun for the kids. Dont get me wrong Christmas is still my favourite christian festival. Well what is Easter Eggs doing in a tech blog ? Well, we geeks have a good sense of humour and patience to include all things around us into geeky versions of them. I am talking about Software Eggs, or hidden pieces of code or functionality that shows up when you look for it in a software. If that was confusing then I guess you can check out the definition in Wikipedia:

A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in an object such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, web page or video game. The term was coined—according to Warren Robinett—by Atari after they were pointed to the secret message left by Robinett in the game Adventure. It draws a parallel with the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many Western nations as well as the last Russian imperial family’s tradition of giving elaborately jeweled egg-shaped creations by Carl Fabergé which contained hidden surprises.

Well hoping that is clear I would like to point out some cool Easter Eggs in popular software such you can go out on your own Easter Egg trail. Well these were actually by lifeHacker, I am just reposting for people who might not have had the chance to check it out there.

10. Firefox Book of Mozilla Easter Egg

How to find it: In all versions of Firefox, in the address bar, type about:mozilla.
What you get: A quote from the “Book of Mozilla” about the birth of Firefox.

9. Internet Explorer 6/7 credits

How to find it: Using Internet Explorer 7 (not IE6 or the IE8 beta), typejavascript:window.name=”TheWCEE”;location.href=”res://shdoclc.dll/wcee.htm”into the address bar.
What you get: A hidden page of IE developer credits.

8. Firefox Kitchen Sink

In Firefox 2 and higher, type about kitchensink (no colon in there, unlike about:mozilla!). Update: A commenter points out that this is Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” search in action, not an Easter egg at all. Our bad!
What you get: An automatic redirect to an animated, ASCII art kitchen sink.

7. Google Earth 4.2 Flight Simulator

How to find it: Launch the latest version 4.2 of Google Earth (free download) and hit Ctrl+Alt+A (Mac users: Cmd+Opt+A.)
What you get: A full-on flight simulator that lets you choose an airport, plane type, and lets you fly inside Google Earth. It is fun but it’s not easy; here’s more on how to navigate in flight in Google Earth.

6. OpenOffice.org Calc Tic-Tac-Toe and Space Invaders Games (also works in NeoOffice on the Mac!)

How to find it: Using OpenOffice.org’s Calc spreadsheet program, type=GAME(A2:C4;”TicTacToe”) into any cell.
What you get: A game of Tic-Tac-Toe! For Space Invaders, type =GAME(“StarWars”). Here are more OpenOffice.org Easter eggs.

5. Emacs Therapist

How to find it: In the Mac Terminal (or at any command line), type emacs, hit Enter, press Escape, type “xdoctor” (no quotes).
What you get: An interactive dialogue with a shrink named Eliza. To get out of it, hit Control+X Control+C.

4. Minesweeper Reveal Mines Cheat

(Note: Technically, this is more a cheat than an egg.)
How to find it: In Minesweeper, type “xyzzy.” Then press Shift+Enter.
What you get: A single pixel on the upper-left hand corner of your monitor will turn black when you mouse over a block that contains a mine. Get the high score on the family computer! (Note: several people report that this cheat works on Windows XP with SP2, but those with widescreen monitors like myself might have trouble. Let us know if it works for you in the comments.)

3. Excel 97 Flight Simulator

How to find it: This one’s an oldie but a goodie. Using Excel 97 (doesn’t work in later versions), create a new worksheet, and press F5. Type “X97:L97” and press Enter. Press the Tab key, hold down Ctrl and Shift, and left-click the Chart Wizard toolbar icon.
What you get: Launched into a nifty flight simulator that glides you over the surface of a planet (the moon?) and shows you Excel developer credits. (I don’t have a copy of Excel 97 any more, but definitely got this puppy to work back in the day.) Thanks to EggHeaven for reminding us of the steps to get there.

2. Picasa Teddy Bears

How to find it: In Picasa, press Ctrl+Shift+Y.
What you get: Your photo library taken over by teddy bears! Keep hitting the key combo to add more bears. Update:Apparently this is one of the Picasa programmer’s teddies, named Thomas. Thanks, telekinetyk! [via PC
World
]

1. uTorrent Tetris

How to find it: In uTorrent, go to the Help menu and choose “About uTorrent.” Press the letter T.
What you get: A game of Tetris while you wait for your download to complete. Thanks, computer joe!

Thanks to EggHeaven for tipping us off to many of these eggs. You can also head out to http://www.eeggs.com/ and find more for yourself.