Archive for the ‘ history ’ 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.

Advertisements

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.

Wordless Thursday – History of Marketing

[tweetmeme]

Augmented Reality Apps that I want to see today !

and How long it might take in reality.

[tweetmeme] Everyone remembers the movie Terminator 2, where Arnold gazes around his surrounding to find a lot of information about his environment which he uses to make appropriate decisions. The viewer is told about this awesome gadget when we are allowed to view through his eyes per say. Augmented Reality is demoed sort of for the first time, commercially.

Engineers, designers and futurists have been trying to make it a reality along with making demos of how it is going to look like. Based on what we have been seeing in the past few months, it is clear that it is possible and the feasibility and working details need to be worked out. Various smartphones have started offering clunky AR apps that show you things like restaurant reviews when you point your camera at a store’s facade. But with all the crazy technology already on today’s market, we’re saying that’s not enough! Here are some applications we want to see today.

1. Augmented Reality Gaming :

The experience of gaming is to take an awesome overhauling through Augmented Reality, there are a few demos available on YouTube. With the advent of the Playstation EyeToy as well as Microsoft Project Natal the gaming industry is reaching a point where they are not only happy to embrace the technology but also make it awesome.

I Want to have awesome gaming experience like first player shooter games to be available now. But seriously I think this can be made completely available after the invention of good AR spectacles or the contact lens (See below)

2. Augmented Reality Windscreen for the Car

Yes I did write about how GM is working its way forward to getting this feature enabled in our cars. But having this instead of a normal screen is so much more cooler, getting all the information that you would need while driving around is a great feeling along with making life so much more simpler.

Driving around to not only not loose your way, but be guided to emergency services when you are lost for direction is also an advantage of Augmented Reality.

GM / Siemens already have prototypes available, so this might be available in the next 2 years on a large scale.

3. Door Peepholes with embedded AR

Augmented Reality in doors can enable to have a look at the person on the door, making it safer to check on the person. When someone knocks on our door, we want to know not only if they look like a murderer, but also their name and age. This could be possible using a facial recognition camera built into the peephole. While we’re at it, why not a quick popup of our visitor’s Facebook profile or their most recent tweet? In an AR world, ain’t nobody taking us by surprise!

We already have Business cards which make use of Facial Recognition for identifying people. This needs to get extended. Lets hope that this happens soon and the product can be available in two years tops.

4. Augmented Reality Maps

Be it the Pandora of Avatar, or just Lakshya from Bollywood, 3D maps are cool. Not to mention the fact that in the age of combat preperation and planning they provide an added advantage to be able to see the actual scene where you would be able to go. Add to it, Google Maps, Sketchup and the Google Map Builder. You have all the information available to make a 3D map of most of the  places.

This technology will not only help combat, but will be able to provide support in terms of relief as well as interesting addition to the classroom as well. I would say this should be available now, as the technology allows it to be possible.

I guess I will do more of these applications in the part 2 of this post. Look out for it 🙂

Is Dell Going to Follow Suite to What Google is doing ?

Past few days there have been unconfirmed reports of DELL having talks with the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and discussed its intent to move from China into safer Markets. Apparently, DELL sees huge potential in India as the country is playing a dramatic shift towards selling services to business clients after shaking off its singular dependence on direct sales of personal computers, as per the Economic Times. Add to it the fact that India has showed proven growth in the recession when other states have not been able to (finger pointed to China).

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was quoted in the Hindustan Times as saying he’d just met with Dell’s chairman, who would like to move all of their set-up to a country “with security of legal system”. They’ve currently got one factory in India already, so it might seem an obvious choice. Mr. Dell, the founder of Dell is quoted to be saying, “India is a great place to be in. It is growing faster than China for us”. Dell, whose return as CEO in 2007 redefined a hardware company that once championed the direct sales model, sees the Indian market helping its offshoot Dell International Services expand beyond technology and consulting services to healthcare, insurance and governance. In India, the company won a Rs. 90-crore contract from Max Healthcare late last year.

Dell generates annual revenues of nearly $1 billion and has a free cash flow of $4.6 billion from India. “Over the last three years, consumer, public sector and small medium businesses have been growing in India.” On India’s ambitious Unique ID (UID) project, Dell said that he is keen on participating, particularly on aspects such as how it can the used to deliver healthcare by storing patient records. The company is also eyeing the smart phone market. “There’s a huge market to be tapped out there if we go by the smart phone user base,” he said, adding that just 1.5 percent of the world’s 4-billion mobile phone users have a smart phone.

Everyone knows about the Google – China fight and Google to leave China soon. Well after that, GoDaddy the domain registration firm has mentioned that it will leave china as well. Now Dell. Could this be the beginning of a mass exodus. Might be, considering the famous Chinese legislation which might have companies manufacturing in China to provide their schematics

Via Gizmodo via HindustanTimes via SiliconIndia

10 Websites that changed the Internet (India Edition)

Ever wonder what made the Internet the monster it is, starting only within the CERN research facility to now reaching nearly ever home with a computer ? Well it was the services and the websites that were there online. The more people saw value and entertainment, the more they got involved and more the internet grew. Influenced from the article here, I wanted to make a list of my 10 websites that actually made a difference to the Internet.

1. Geocities.com

Like a few million people around the planet, this was one of the sites that helped amateur web enthusiasts like me to enable my first attempt at making an online presence. I saw a lot of web pages, self learnt HTML from the pages and got to a stage where I wanted to really make a mark online. Unfortunately engineering in Instrumentation and Technology did not make it any easy to keep in touch with the internet. But it sure told a lot of us that making and keeping a website was not very very hard, and its a skill that can be learnt with a bit of patience and a liking for web design. However, amateurs like me are responsible for most of those ugly websites that started during the days of Geocities and exist even until this day. The internet bid farewell to this beauty last year. Geocities will be missed but the job is now taken on by a few websites out there like Google Sites, Tumblr etc

2. Wikipedia.org

With an intent to enable the entire world free access to knowledge, this was one of the real success stories of the Internet. I think the donation doors have time and again raised enough money to ensure that such a great resource as wikipedia stays alive and more importantly free. Giving a major competition to closed loop education and knowledge resources like the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, this is one world class product and project that definately changed the internet. Did you know that you can download a copy of the latest backup version of wikipedia ? Check it out at this location for yourself. http://download.wikimedia.org/

3. Hotmail.com

India’s first big mark on the online world came from a relatively unknown guy then named Sabeer Bhatia, and what he did was not only did he give a face to email but also a big mark for startups that get bought up. Starting Hotmail with some investment from a venture capitalist this Indian American Entrepreneur sold Hotmail for about $400 Million to Microsoft. Hotmail generated the interest in people to actually go online and create the account for an Email Address. Later the major chunk of the emails was taken up by USA.net which converted to a paid service at which point people moved to Yahoo Mail or Gmail. This was the state in India at least.

4. Rediff.com / Indiatimes.com

Between the international players, India had some shining stars for web portals. Rediff.com and Indiatimes.com are two sites that are running successfully even today. Both the sites integrated the online news / mail / sports / entertainment sections so well that it seemed that a lot of people had accounts with Rediff or Indiatimes at one time. After the popularity of Gmail this is shifted a little bit. However quite a few friends of mine still use their Rediff account as their primary communication medium. Interestingly, these sites were the first news sites in India, additionally they added the other craze of India cricket with live scores etc. Other similar sites at that time were sify.com and Indya.com.

5.  Amazon.com / eBay.com

The entire eCommerce bubble I would say was fuelled by these websites. Amazon and Ebay showed how to legitimately make money and substantial amounts of it. They provided customers a lot of support for people who were looking for collectibles, home appliances etc. Interestingly they grew so big that there were individuals who survived by searching eBay and providing people who were looking for stuff from stamps and coins to electronics and real estate; all for a small premium. They provided people a platform to buy and sell things and make money with garage sales and second hand goods and make money without having to build their own website.

6. Youtube.com

You tube provided the missing piece to the expanding internet, Video. Vanity is one of the most famous things that gets people do unbelievable interesting or goofy things. You tube gave people an outlet to get their 15 minutes of fame. Be it by making their dog sing a song or perform bizarre stunts. However, it now is one of the most visited website on the planet. Providing millions of hours of entertainment to people with a lot of time on their hands and looking for entertainment. From movies to the present IPL, India is all over the You Tube.

7. Blogger.com


Blogger is an awesome platform that provides amateurs like me a platform to post their views about anything under the sun. Although I am not using Blogger anymore and have moved on to WordPress.com, it is still one of the first services with Live Journal that enticed users to blog and made the buzz on the blog-o-sphere. Blogger is not only easy to use but also allows users to monetize their blog by posting Google Ads on it. It is one of the services that encourages users to write and make money at the same time.

8. Facebook.com


There is no introduction required for facebook.com. Nearly everyone is hooked on to this magical website. Although there were earlier sites that encouraged people to network socially like orkut.com, hi5.com, friendster.com, facebook is the one that we can see taking over the internet. In fact it just surpassed Google as the most visited website within the U.S. Facebook not only revolutionized social networking, but also sharing photos, websites, videos, messaging, walling and the ever famous pokes.

9. Twitter.com


It is not something that can be comprehended in the world of blogging, websites etc, a website that restricts you to 140 characters is now taking the internet to the next phase of its evolution. The Mobile. Before twitter, Mobile internet was completely restricted to emails through exchange and messages and some websites that were wap friendly. But twitter along with good mobile hardware has just changed how people use the internet on their phones. This definately is worth the mention.

10. Google.com

The Search Giant that indexed the Internet and provided information to all people for free to be able to get around the vast and ever growing Internet. AdSense provided them with enough revenue for them to be able to provide a lot of services from the Google stables for free. Gmail, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Sketchup, Google Picasa and many other services that we have come to love have all been born out of the revenue of AdSense. Google is one of the most loved and most visited single website on the world and they definately changed the Internet for good.

On a more personal note, the very first website that I had visited was unbelivable http://www.bharat-rakshak.com which is not as popular as one wold think, considering that they are almost like an unofficial website of the entire Indian Armed forces, the Army, Nave and the Air force. I was then looking for information related to getting to the NDA and this was one of the best resource, The internet was at a cyber cafe off Brigade Road in Bangalore and they were charging about Rs 140/- per hour, the internet connection was dial up and the one hour that my friend and I used the Internet we just browsed about 8 pages of that website.

The new ABC on Einstein’s Birthday

[tweetmeme]

A for Apple

B for Bluetooth

C for Compact Disk

D for DELL

E for Energy Star F for Facebook

G for Google

H for HP

I for Intel

J for Java 

K for KDE


L for Lenovo

M for Microsoft


N for Ning

O for Orkut


P for Pokemon


Q for Quicktime

R for Real

S for Skype


T for Twitter

U for USB


V for Vista


W for Wikipedia


X for Xerox


Y for YouTube


Z for ZooZoo