IT BHU Chronicle: June '08 edition
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 28, 2008

Published on July 25, 2008

The Chronicle June, 2008 issue.

Vol.2008 : Issue 0006

Send news to : chronicle [AT] itbhuglobal.org, news [AT] itbhuglobal.org

[Click here to start reading]


ITBHUGlobal is the official website of IT-BHU community
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

 (Chronicle note: We have received the following message from IT-BHU Global Alumni Association)

The website www.itbhuglobal.org is the official website of IT-BHU community. The server for the website is located in California and it is own by IT-BHU Global Alumni Association (IBGAA). 

We wish to reproduce the following facts: 

1) Our alumni association has passed resolution stating that www.itbhuglobal.org is the official website for our alumni association. This was published in March 2008 issue of chronicle:

http://www.itbhuglobal.org/chronicle/archives/2008/03/#002238

2) The official website of our institute (www.itbhu.ac.in) points towards www.itbhuglobal.org as the official website of our alumni:

http://www.itbhu.ac.in/alumni/default.shtml

3) The institute administration has approved www.itbhuglobal.org as the official website for IBGAA. The letter from the institute was published in Sept. 2007 issue of chronicle.

http://www.itbhuglobal.org/chronicle/archives/images/sep07/itbhuglobal.org-letter%20of%20approval.pdf

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Below is the email sent to our administration about new website for our alumni organization and the approval received from our Director, Prof. S.N. Upadhyay

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----- Original Message --From: Director ITBHU Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 8:07 am Subject: Re: Official website for IT-BHU Alumni Association

To: Yogesh Upadhyaya

Dear Shri Yogesh

Thanks for bringing IT-BHU Alumni Association activities back to normal and hosting another website.

Good luck to you all.

Yours sincerely,

S N Upadhyay

Director, IT-BHU

----- Original Message -----

From: Yogesh Upadhyaya

To: director@itbhu.ac.in ; dean@itbhu.ac.in

Cc: core@itbhuglobal.org

Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 2:19 PM

Subject: Official website for IT-BHU Alumni Association

 Respected Sirs:

We, the office bearers of IT-BHU Alumni Association, would like to draw your kind attention towards the change of our official website.

So far we have been using itbhu.org (URL: www.itbhu.org) as our official website. However, due to technical and managerial problem in management of the site, which resulted in the content not getting updated on time and not being able to respond to queries, we are now hosting the alumni website under a new name (URL: http://www.itbhuglobal.org) on a different platform. As it can be seen, the new name is more aligned to the global mandate of our association.

We shall be using this new website as the official alumni association website, and request that the institute refers to this website in the Institute's website (www.itbhu.ac.in) and in documents referring to the alumni website.

Hereby we wish to inform you that www.itbhuglobal.org is the official website for our alumni organization. We request you to inform the faculty and the student community about the new website. Thanking you for your cooperation,

With regards,

On behalf of IT-BHU Alumni Association

Yogesh K. Upadhyaya (Chemical 1977) New Jersey

Ujj Nath (Metallurgy 1979) Southern California

Debashish Bhattacharyya (Mechanical 1982) New Delhi

Arvind Gupta (Electronics 1992) New Delhi

Anand Singh (Electronics 1993) Singapore

Jagadish Bandhole (CSE 1995) Southern California

Anshuman Singh (Electrical 1998) Bangalore

Animesh Pathak (CSE 2003) Southern California

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For any questions or clarifications, please contact admin [AT] itbhuglobal.org.


Coming changes in format and issue date for chronicle
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

To make chronicle more readable and for consistent nomenclature, we plan the following two changes in the coming issues of chronicle. The changes will begin from the next issue, to be published around August 20. 

First, the month of the issue will be the month in which the chronicle is published. The current issue is known as June issue, although it is published around July 20. However, the next issue (to be published around August 20) will be known as August issue. This is consistent with the general terminology used by other publications, i.e. the issue month should be the same in which the magazine is published. (Earlier we used to publish magazine around 10th of each month, hence called it issue of previous month). Please note that issue of July is not lost, just that we call it August issue. 

Second, the issue format and layout will change. The current format is one-page continuous format. Although this enables readers to view entire issue in one seating, without flipping over pages, it has become too long to scroll it down. Each issue contains equivalent to 40-60 standard pages. We feel it is better to divide the issue into 4 pages (or sections). All related articles will be combined and put together into respective sections. The sections will be: Editorial, News, Reports and Extra. A reader can go through different sections by either clicking on left-side menu bar or top flaps. That will spare readers to time and efforts needed to scroll entire issue to find a particular article of his/her interest. This will also enable us to put more articles which readers can enjoy


Invitation to students for sharing their experiences during summer internship
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

Dear Students: 

We hope your summer internship (or summer training) must have gone well. We request you to share your experience gained during the training. It will be useful for other students who plan to start summer training next year and will also be enjoyed by our readers. Please state your experience in about 15-20 lines, along with the photo of you/place of training. We shall publish some of the responses in next issue of chronicle. All responses will be edited and condensed (if required) for clarity. 

Please write including following points:

-How the training was arranged

-Place of training, and why it was selected

-Type of environment (manufacturing/IT/management/educational, etc.)

-Experience gained

-What specific things learnt by you

-Stipend received, accommodation, etc.

-What should one look for summer training

-Any other information 

Please mention your full name, branch and year (as of August 2008). Please send your response to chronicle [AT] itbhuglobal.org, latest by August 15, 2008. 

Thanking you,

Chronicle team


Conversion of IT-BHU to IIT-Official update
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

There is exciting news about IT-BHU being converted into IIT. As per govt. press release, the cabinet has approved the decision to convert IT-BHU into IIT. This clears the way for further actions in this regard. 

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=40461

During the monsoon session next month, the parliament will discuss about establishing new IITs. The existing IIT Act, 1961 will be modified to add the names of all new IITs including IIT-BHU. 

After the IIT Act is modified and passed by the parliament, the next step will be the modification of BHU Act, 1915 by the parliament. This is also needed to convert Institute of Medical Sciences (BHU-IMS) into AIIMS. 

After completion of several other steps, it is expected that final official announcement about IIT-BHU will be by the end of the current year, or latest by early next year.


IT-BHU to be upgraded to IIT
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008
Ordinances planned for new IITs, univs
Siddharth Zarabi / New Delhi July 14, 2008, 0:05 IST
 
Against the background of growing political uncertainty, the Centre is planning two Ordinances to fast-track the creation of eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and 16 central universities.
 
A draft Ordinance for 12 new universities and upgrading four — Bilaspur University (Chattisgarh), Garhwal University (Uttarakhand), Goa University and Sagar University (Madhya Pradesh) — is expected to be put up for Union Cabinet approval. This will take the number of central universities to 37.
 
An Ordinance for the new IITs is also being considered to implement the initiatives that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had formally announced in his Independence Day address in 2007.
 
The department of higher education had earlier sought Cabinet approval to amend the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, to include the eight new IITs and to form a society under the Societies Act, 1861, to set them up. The plan to form a society is being shelved to hasten the process. With the Banaras Hindu University's Institute of Technology also slated to be upgraded to an IIT, the number of IITs will increase to 16. 
 
BENEFICIARY STATES: WHO GETS WHAT
Bihar  IIT  CU 
Jharkhand  CU 
Orissa  IIT  CU 
Gujarat  IIT  CU 
Haryana  CU 
Punjab  IIT  CU 
Himachal Pradesh  IIT  CU 
Jammu & Kashmir  CU 
Karnataka  CU 
Kerala  CU 
Tamil Nadu  CU 
Andhra Pradesh  IIT 
Rajasthan  IIT  CU 
Madhya Pradesh  IIT 
CU: Central University, only green-field mentioned
 
For the new IITs, the government has provided for Rs 2,000 crore in the 11th Plan and, to start with, Rs 50 crore has been allocated in Budget 2008. For the 16 central universities, Rs 2,725 crore has been provided for in the Planm, with Rs 50 crore allocated in the Budget.
 
Two sites for the new IITs have been finalised – Bihta in Bihar and Medak in Andhra Pradesh. For the others, an expert committee is examining sites proposed by the Gujarat, Punjab and Orissa governments.

IT-BHU to be converted into an IIT
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

 http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=40243

 Excerpts:

It is proposed to set up 8 new IITs in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat during the XI Plan period.  It is also proposed to convert the Institute of Technology, BHU into an IIT.


IT-BHU welcomes announcement
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

BHU hails Centre's decision to give IIT status to its IT dept

Posted at Friday, 18 July 2008 08:07 IST

Varanasi, July 18: The faculty at the Baranas Hindu University today hailed the Union Government's decision to upgrade the Institute of Technology of the university to Indian Institute of Technology status and termed it as a historic decision.

The Union Cabinet's decision to upgrade IT BHU to the IIT status is a historic decision which will go a long way to the development of the higher research in the institution, the faculty and the students, S N Upadhyay, Director IT, BHU told reporters.

He said that the decision will fulfil the long standing aspirations of the students and the faculty members. It will also facilitate in bringing ample funds for research.

Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, a scientist in the Electronics Engineering department said that engineering college at the University is one of the oldest and best engineering colleges of the country and it should have been granted the IIT status long back.

"The students of the BHU's IT department were more happy than any one else on getting the news of upgradation as they said. Now there will be no discrimination with us vis-a-vis the IITians," he said.

 

 


Nishith Sharma (Metallurgy 1984) launches steel price portal in India
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

The image “http://www.mynews.in/image/logo%20new.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=6535 

steel.PNGSteelGuru launches steelpricesindia.com: An exclusive Web portal for Indian and global steel sector

(Deepali Batra/Neha Kaushik)

Publication Date 24/6/2008 

New Delhi: The rapidly fluctuating prices of steel globally and in India now have an objective observer and provider of information, both in dept and at-a-glance, with the launch by Steelguru.com of the www.steelprices-india.com as portal. 

The massive use and demand of steel in India and role of Indian steel players in the global steel market had generated the need of such an information centric portal as planners and investors raked their brains over steel price trends and twists. Steel, a crucial and often a big ticket item, was always of concern. Steelguru, with the launch of the steelprices-india.com, expects to be service and use for the planners, be it in real estate, auto-industries, manufacturing and a variety of other sectors. 

Steel prices have been rather bullish in year or so impacting the users as well as buyers in a severe way leaving no benchmark for them to compare their transaction prices. In the present scenario where one needs to have nerves of steel to take considered decisions in this sector, www.steelguru.com, the world’s largest English based steel portal has come up with its very own www.steelprices.com as a solution. Steelprices-india.com is, therefore, providing domestic pricing information for steel products in each category at select location in India on a regular basis of 5 days a week. 

Mr Nishith Sharma of steelguru.com said that considering the fact that India is one of the most of the important emerging markets for steel today and it totally lacks services of domestic pricing information, we decided to fill this void. He added  that the positive feedback received during the testing phase has helped us fine tune the features and functions of the website to a great extent to suit the requirements of steel users, in particular and encouraged us to enlarge the product location mix to include more products and markets like china and middle east. 

Steelprices-india.com has prices displayed on daily, weekly and monthly basis with search facilities to access old data from the archives. Graphical representation of trends and comparison of price movement is also available. A calculator to convert domestic prices into comparative CNF and vice versa is provided along with a converter for weight, length etc. One can also monitor currency exchange rates, metal prices, BDI for the day and can take help from glossary and advanced search functions as well. All these features are accessible only to a registered user who is provided with a login id and password. To know more about the services, logon to www.steelprices.com or send a mail to info@steelprices-india.com. 

Steelguru.com is the largest English based steel portal in the world, with more than ONE million page hits per month in just 3 years of operations. It compiles and publishes more than 100 articles every day on the website and also sends out free email based news letter called STEEL TRADE TODAY to more than 35,000 subscribers spread across 138 countries.

www.steelprices.com is an extension of www.steelguru.com and English languages’ largest circulated electronic newsletter for steel called STEELGURU which was a brainchild of Mr Nishith sharma. He completed his engineering from BHU in metallurgy and joined SAIL. Soon he caught the eye of non other than Mr Lakshmi Mittal and went on to head Mittal Steel''s marketing operations in Romania. Mr sharma is highly entrepreneurial and energetic and has a knack of seeing niche areas of business long before others.

Contact info:

Nishith Sharma

Founder & CEO

Major & Minor

B 704 Millennium Plaza, Sushant Lok 1 Gurgaon 122002 India

www.majornminor.com

Email: editor@steelguru.com 


Dr. Manu Vora (chemical 1968) receives Asian American Community leadership Award
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008
manu_vora.PNG

Honorable Dorothy Brown, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago presented the 2nd Asian American Community Leadership Award to Dr. Manu K. Vora at the 8th Annual Asian American Heritage Month Program in Chicago. The award citation reads “In Recognition of His Outstanding Leadership and Contributions to Community Based Organizations and Citizens of Cook County and Beyond”.  Mr. Ashok Kumar Attri, Indian Counsel General in Chicago highlighted Dr. Vora’s contributions over a long period in the Chicago area. Mr. Attri specifically acknowledged excellent work done by the Blind Foundation for India (BFI). BFI’s charter is to prevent and cure blindness and educate and rehabilitate over 15 million blind individuals in India. Dr. Vora is the Founding Director and President of BFI which has raised over $3.5 million for visually impaired people in India. For additional information about BFI, visit www.blindfoundation.org

 Dr. Manu Vora is Chairman and President of Business Excellence, Inc., a global quality management consulting firm. He has over 30 years of leadership experience guiding Fortune 500 companies with Malcolm Baldrige assessment in the areas of leadership development, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and continuous process improvement. As an Adjunct Professor, he teaches “Quality Management” and “Supply Chain Management” at Stuart School of Business at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. He teaches “Quality Assurance Project Management” at School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Manu is a Past Vice President of American Society for Quality (ASQ), ASQ Fellow, and Certified Quality Engineer. He served on Affirmative Action Advisory Committee of Switching Systems Business Unit at AT&T Bell Laboratories for number of years in Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Vora gave a keynote address on “Leveraging Diversity for Organizational Excellence” at the 2008 Asian American Heritage Month Program at Alcatel-Lucent in Naperville, Illinois.

 Dr. Vora has B.S., M.S. & Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA with Marketing Management. He served as a Chief Judge at Illinois Team Excellence Award Program from 1993-1999 and as a Judge on the Board of Examiners of the Asia Pacific Quality Award since 2004. He has published a chapter on “Managing Human Capital” in the book, “Six Sigma for Transactions and Service” by McGraw-Hill (published in 2005). He has delivered over 200 presentations on business excellence and Total Quality Management (TQM) topics around the world.  Dr. Vora has been recognized with numerous awards from ASQ including ASQ Grant Medal, Lancaster Medal, Testimonial Awards, and ASQ Chicago Section’s Joe Lisy & Founder’s Award. He received Professional Achievement Award from IIT, Paul Harris Fellow Medal from Rotary International and Distinguished Service Award from Save The Children Federation.

Contact info:

Manu K. Vora, Ph.D., MBA, ASQ CQE, ASQ Fellow

ASQ Grant Medalist (2001), Lancaster Medalist (2005)

Adjunct Professor, Stuart School of Business, IIT Chicago

Chairman and President, Business Excellence, Inc.

P. O. Box 5585, Naperville, IL 60567-5585, USA

E-mail: manuvora@b-einc.com/

Website: http://www.b-einc.com/

Website: http://www.iit.edu/profiles/alumni/manu_vora.html


Prime Minister's family spends a night at treehouse developed by Mantosh Das (Chemical 1977) and his partners.
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

The tree-house resort project, possibly a unique of its kind in the world, is promoted by a team of 3 businessmen: Mantosh Das, Sunil Mehta and Uttam Kumar. The resort site will be open for general tourists by December 2008. Mantosh Das can be contacted at: mantoshdas@yahoo.com. 

tree.PNG

The promoters team: From Left to Right-Mantosh Das, Mr. Sunil Mehta, Mr. Uttam Tharyamal.

 nature_farms.PNG

Profile of Mantosh Das, Sunil Mehta and Uttam Tharyamal:

http://www.naturefarms.in/promoters.htm

Mantosh Das has worked as project engineer at Pesticides India. Currently he is involved in trading of silk, chemicals, electronics devices, as well as development of nature based properties/ projects.

Education:

MBA, Marketing from Udaipur University (1985)

B. Tech. Chemical Engineering, IT-BHU (1977)

News article about tree-house in Sify.com:

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14711472

Holiday atop tree houses , in Jaipur

Tuesday, 08 July , 2008, 16:44

 

Jaipur: Remember Tarzan, the fictional character in your childhood storybooks, who lived in a ‘tree house’ and you had longed for such adventure. Part of it can be experienced, at least the tree house part.

A Jaipur-based investor has developed a farm where he has constructed what he calls 'Tree Cottages'.

 Tourists visiting Jaipur can now look forward to more than palatial hotels where erstwhile kings of the desert state lived and enjoy an exclusive kind of lodging, as they have the option of staying in well-designed cottages set up on the branches of selected trees and experience the joys of living in nature's lap.

The promoters of 'Tree Cottages' have come up with the idea to offer the tourists an unusual experience of enjoying nature up in the air in the vicinity of birds.

These 'Tree Cottages', in a way, provide a journey back in time when tribals lived in cottages built on branches of trees to escape wild animals.

These cottages, although on trees, have all modern amenities. They are equipped with modern gadgets like telephone, satellite TV and Internet and laced with air conditioned comforts.

To bird lovers these cottages offer an opportunity to enjoy the chirping of birds in nests located at arm's length.

The developer of the tree house has plans to build a resort in Jaipur complete with 23 tree top cottages.

"I have always been inspired by nature. When I saw these trees, I thought that making a house under the tree is a common phenomenon. But to make a house with the birds in the trees is something unique. So that when people wake up and look out of the windows, they could be facing the birds. I have fixed glasses on rooftops so that people can see and live with nature," said Sunil Mehta, Developer of the Nature Farms.

Once the construction of all 23 tree houses is complete, this destination would become one of the rare places in the world having the cluster of over a score of tree houses at a single place providing unique lodging facility to 50 guests at one time. As per the plans, this project is likely to be completed by the end of this year and will cost around ten million rupees.

 

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 Some bird species in nature farm
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News item in Hindustan Times about stay of Prime Minister’s family at Tree House

ht_prime_minister.PNG


Abhishek Kumar (Mechanical 2004)-a political activist in USA
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

Abhishek Kumar, a software engineer from Houston, is a supporter for Barack Obama in US Presidential race. His comments appeared in Washington Post newspaper, hence it is published here. He can be reached at: abhi_614@yahoo.com.

(Please note that the views expressed here are his own and that of Washington Post. Chronicle is non-political newsmagazine.)

abhishek.PNG

(Abhishek Kumar)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/10/AR2008071002716_pf.html

Excerpts from the article:

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 India's Unlikely Obama
Hindu Nationalist Models Campaign for Premier after U.S. Presidential Candidate's

“A month ago, Abhishek Kumar, an Indian-born software engineer from Houston, e-mailed the BJP about his volunteer work for Obama. He organized American young people for the "Nation for Change" rally in April and worked as a phone bank officer. He sent a proposal to the Advani team for drawing in young voters. The campaign team has invited him to India for two months.

"I am not even an American citizen, and I cannot vote," Kumar, 26, said from Houston. "But because of my work, I feel that the Obama campaign is my own campaign. That is the same feeling I want to bring among the Indian youth for the Advani campaign."

But perhaps the most enduring image that many Indians have of Obama is a recently released photograph of his personal luck charms. In the collection there was a Hanuman figure, the Hindu monkey god.

Immediately, a group of overjoyed priests at a Hanuman temple here began performing an 11-day ritual prayer for Obama's victory.”


Govindan Ramu (Metallurgy 1990) launches midcareers.com
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

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Website: www.midcareers.com

Press Release in Business Wire India:

http://www.businesswireindia.com/PressRelease.asp?b2mid=16405

The image “http://www.businesswireindia.com/images/top/businesswire_logo.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Excerpts from the Press Release

 
Press release  
 

Source: midcareers.com 
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 06:35 PM IST (01:05 PM GMT)
Editors: General: Consumer interest; Business: Accounting & management consultancy services, Advertising, PR & marketing, Business services, Information technology; Technology

India’s First Placement and Career Enrichment Portal - Midcareers.com - Launched for Middle Career Professionals

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Tuesday, July 15, 2008 -- (Business Wire India)
Yoganishta Technologi-s, a well known placement services company, has just launched www.midcareers.com, which offers placement and career enrichment services for middle career professionals. This is the first of its kind service in India.

Some of the key highlights:

-- Exclusively for middle career professionals i.e. professionals with over 8 years of experience and in the middle management

-- Career focus, not just jobs – career development is a continuous process, placement is an event. Focus is on both

-- A hybrid execution model – online web applications to relate to wide section of midpros and supported by offline delivery to ensure individual attention

The idea and the model has been built with the experience of G Ramu from interactions with a wide cross section of mid-career professionals while in corporates, later as a placement consultant and after exhaustive research on mid-career professionals. And backed by Yoganishta, a placement services company that has been growing at a rate of 40% year on year since 2003.

Speaking to the media, G Ramu, Chief Architect, said, “Middle career’ professionals face two kinds of challenges as far as career is concerned. One, finding the right kind of job, which fits their profile – professional and personal. Two, addressing their career needs. Typically this includes addressing questions like “Am I in the right kind of job?” “Am I moving in the right direction?” “How do I enhance my capabilities to have better growth?”

Media contact details
KS Rajasekar - Chief Knowledge Officer,
midcareers.com,
+91 (044) 43453333 / +91 9841384190,
raj@midcareers.com

_____________________

Additional links:

1) Looking behind the great wall-article

http://www.midcareers.com/storage/Looking%20behind%20the%20Great%20Wall.pdf

2) Career Portals for mid career pros launched

http://news.webindia123.com/news/printer.asp?story=/news/articles/India/20080709/995681.html

The image “http://news.webindia123.com/123menu.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

News From Webindia123.com Career portal for mid career pros launched
Chennai | Wednesday, Jul 9 2008 IST
 
Midcareers.com, a specialised portal for mid-career professionals aimed at improving their placement and career enrichment, was launched here today. The portal would help experienced professionals find right job in the right Industry, its Chief Architect G Ramu told reporters at the launch function. He said mid-career professionals or midpros as they were called, were uniquely positioned in their career and life. ''A midpro is a mid-career professional who has had around eight years of experience with rich experience at the middle management level and is very focused on his role,'' he added.

Mr Ramu said there was a growing demand in most industries, including IT and manufacturing, to find the right manager to meet their requirements. ''We at midcareers.com aim to bridge the gap by finding the right candidate for the right job in the right kind of industry,'' he added. He said Midcareers.com would work with middle career professionals on the key aspects of placement and career enrichment.

''Career Guide, Career Counseling, Career tools, Thought Exchange and Placement are the five services being offered now by Midcareers.com, each of which has a clear objective in the business plan,'' he added.

3) Placement services for mid-career professionals

About 40 per cent of the mid-career professionals switch jobs

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2008/07/12/stories/2008071251050700.htm

_________________________________________________________________________

Brief Profile of G. Ramu

His career journey has been through Asian Paints, Britannia and leading IT organisations - HCL Technologies and iSOFT.

His public profile can be viewed on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/a50/ab

Education

MBA, Human Resources from XLRI, Jamshedpur (1992 – 1994)

B. Tech, Metallurgy, IT-BHU, Varanasi (1986 – 1990)

G. Ramu can be contacted at: gramu@midcareers.com


Anand Pande (Electrical 1987) joins Amba Research
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

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 (Anand Pande)

____________________________

http://www.ambaresearch.com/

http://www.varindia.com/searchdetails_title.aspx?id=f9d04296bd414d99a092b6af449c3de3

The image “http://www.varindia.com/Images/logo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 Amba research Appoints Anand Pande as Group CEO

 

Amba Research, a firm that provides specialist analytical support services for the global capital markets and banking industry, announced the appointment of Anand Pande as Group Chief Executive Officer. Pande, who previously headed Global Transaction Services, Citi Markets & Banking Indonesia, will have overall executive responsibility to lead and grow Amba's business worldwide. His expertise and track record of building businesses complements the skills of Amba Research's co-founders, who will remain focused on working with key customers as the market for Amba Research's services rapidly evolves.

Commenting on his immediate goals for the business, Pande said, "In these volatile times, our clients in the asset management and investment banking industries are looking for cost effective ways to maintain, support and even grow their analytical and research activities, in a manner that creates a robust platform for revenue growth and investment outperformance. I am confident that Amba Research's domain expertise and widely experienced management team leave it well positioned to meet these objectives. We will continue to work with our clients, offering innovative solutions to effectively meet their changing needs in this dynamic environment."

Andrew Houston, co-founder and Managing Director of Amba Research said, "Anand's experience and skills complement those of our existing management team. His experience in growing top-performing businesses will play an important role in helping cement Amba's leading position in the rapidly growing market for offshore analytical support. Anand's appointment will allow Amba's Founders to focus on using our extensive investment research experience to strengthen the service Amba provides to our banking and investing clients."

Anand Pande, Group CEO Amba Research, was previously Managing Director and Head of Global Transaction Services at Citi Markets & Banking Indonesia. Prior to this, he held several other senior roles outside India but across Asia at Citi.Between 1989 and 1998, he worked for ANZ Grindlays Bank and ICICI in India . Anand Pande has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi and a B Tech (Hons) in Electrical Engineering from IT-BHU.

________________________________________________________________________

Profile of Anand Pande:

1) http://www.ambaresearch.com/amba/people/anand_pande

2) Education

  • 1989 Master in Business Administration, Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University
  • 1987 Bachelor of Engineering, Electrical, Benares Hindu University 

Contact Email

media@ambaresearch.com

(Info provided by Shalini Fernandopulle; shalinif@ambaresearch.com


Manas Maral (Electronics 1994) as Yoga Expert
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008
manas.PNG

Manas Maral is software engineer-turned to Yoga Expert. After working at Tavant Technologies at Bangalore, he realized the benefits of Yoga and started actively involved in spreading the message. His news articles have appeared in many leading news media. At the end, please find a copy of Telugu newspaper Eenadu News, which featured an article about him.

For 34-year-old Manas Maral, his journey from software to pranayama, acupressure healing and now even the opening of a six-bedded care centre has been one of self-discovery. He discovered yoga and pranayama when his wife was severely ill for a few months three years ago and he did not get any relief through conventional medicine. When he realised the benefits of yoga, he attended several camps held by Swami Ramdev and encouraged his extended family to find a cure for their ailments.

Manas first held regular yoga classes at Tavant. After some time when more than 250 persons had started doing yoga in the company on a regular basis, he reached out to other IT firms. Manas started taking classes at other IT firms of Lucent, HP and Mu–sigma and recently also at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Karnataka Reserve Police Force — all free of cost.

Manas dreams his care centre will one day give rise to a hospital which would be run on modern lines to identify diseases and where the cure would be based on yoga and ayurveda. He also wants to provide healthy and balanced food on a large scale to working professionals, who, he feels, eat food which is unsuitable for their sedentary lifestyle.

As Manas states:

“I do not teach Yoga for merely fitness or being healthy. I do treat disease of any kind (minor to major). The treatment methods include Pranayam, Aasans, Acupressure, Home remedies, Food change and Ayurvedic Medicines. I have made a TRUST, "Sushrut Kayakalp Centre",
which got IT exemption for any donation under 80-G.

Under this banner, I wish to open a treatment and research center. The aim of this centre would be diagnosis of disease using modern equipment and correcting it in natural methods. If required, patient will be admitted. Poor will be treated free of cost, including tests / admission / food, everything. Just because they are poor, they should not be deprived of treatment. Since, I am using all natural methods and results are extraordinary, the expenditure for any patient will be minimal. People wish to donate in cash or in kind (medical equipments, vehicle, land etc) are welcome.”

His work is also appreciated by media. Article on his work appeared in Tribune, Eenadu, E-sanje Prajawani, Mid-day etc. Some episode of his Yoga program was also telecasted on ‘IN Bangalore’ TV channel. Some of them can be found at

1) Engineered to heal - in Tribune India

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080112/saturday/main3.htm

2) Price of Success at tribune India

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20071014/spectrum/main1.htm

3) Mission Yoga-in India Today

http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5644&issueid=44&Itemid=1

4) Social Work by Manas Maral-Chronicle February 2007 issue:

http://www.itbhuglobal.org/chronicle/archives/2007/02/#001602

Computer savvy people can join his Google group to seek solutions / remedies for their health problems http://groups.google.com/group/manas_yoga_treatment

Profile of Manas Maral is attached here

 Contact info for Manas Maral:

Phone: 41609291, 25720609 Mobile: 98801-96566                

Mail: manasmaral@gmail.com

Address: Manas Maral F-703 Nagarjuna Green Ridge Apt

27th Cross 19th Main HSR-Sector-II Bangalore-102


Pallab Bhattacharya (PhD student, Biomedical Engineering) to participate at University of Oxford seminar
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

(Forwarded by Arpit Sharma, Final year M. Tech. Biomedical Engineering)

 (Pallab Bhattacharya)

pallab.PNG

 

Mr. Pallab Bhattacharya, PhD Scholar (Supervisor-Dr.Ranjana Patnaik) of School of Biomedical Engineering is selected by Department Of Physiology, Genetics and Anatomy, University of Oxford to participate and share views in the School of Neuroscience sponsored By McDonnell Foundation.UK.

 Pallab is going to participate in University of Oxford McDonnell Network for Cognitive Neuroscience Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience. Venue will be the Department of Experimental Psychology, South Parks Road, Oxford.

 Date of the seminar is 29th Sept to 2nd Oct 2008.

Website of Autumn School is www.dpag.ox.ac.uk.

Pallab is presently working on the role of glutamate exitotoxicity and motor deficit during Focal ischemia and will put his views on it during the Autumn School on Neuroscience. He plans to discuss about the cognitive deficit followed by stroke. Pallab has already worked at Department of Neurophysiology, NIMHANS, Bangalore. Presently his work is being collaborated by NIMHANS, Bangalore. In future his work will relate to study of cerebral circulation disturbances due to diseases.

 He has also received invitation from Prof. Jean-Claude Baron, University of Cambridge to spend some time with him in his lab for discussing some research topics,

 Part of the travel expenditure will be covered by financial assistance from Dean, Student Welfare, BHU. Oxford University will provide travel expense, food as well as accommodation.

Pallab’s work includes:

a) Developing the model and system identification of cerebral pressure and study of auto-regulatory mechanism during normal condition.

b) The auto- regulatory mechanism of the cerebral capillaries is impaired during the stress and stroke conditions. The cerebral circulatory disturbances caused under stroke results into the changes in mechanical properties of cerebral capillaries.

c) System identification and modeling of cerebral auto- regulation mechanism during stroke will be studied    

Pallab Bhattacharya can be contacted at: pallab.bhu@gmail.com

Additional links
 

1) School of Biomedical Engineering, IT- BHU

http://www.itbhu.net/bme/

2) National Institute of mental Health and Neuro Sciences

http://www.nimhans.kar.nic.in/

3) Prof. Jean-Claude Baron, Professor of Stroke Medicine,

School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge

http://www.neurology.cam.ac.uk/stroke/baron/


Dr. A. P Harsha (Mechanical Engineering Dept.) joins Newcastle University as Research Fellow.
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

The image “http://www.ncl.ac.uk/graphics/cvi/fp_cvi_logo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 http://www.ncl.ac.uk/mech/research/researchnews

Appointment
Research Fellow joins School

The image “http://www.itbhu.ac.in/mec/faculty/images/ap.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Dr A P Harsha, a Reader in Mechanical Engineering at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, has joined the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering for one year as a Research Fellow.  Funded by a prestigious and highly competitive Royal Academy of Engineering Research Exchange with China and India - Major Award, Dr Harsha will undertake biotribological research with Dr Tom Joyce, a lecturer in bioengineering in the School.

The research project will investigate novel biolubricants for use in the testing of biomaterials used in total joint replacements.  Dr Harsha will use a state-of-the-art wear test device, the only one of its kind in the world, which will provide copious and vital experimental data for this exciting research project.

Profile of Dr. A. P. Harsha

http://www.itbhu.ac.in/mec/faculty/harsha.shtml


Sameer Kapoor joins NDTV as CEO
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

Jul 05, 08
exchange4media News Service

sameer.PNG

 Sameer Kapoor has come on board NDTV India as CEO. He will be responsible for driving the business of the channel, besides looking at revenues, distribution, general management and exploring new initiatives. Kapoor moves from Metropolitan Media Company Pvt Ltd, the JV between Times Group and HT Media, where he was President.

Previously, Sameer has worked as Managing Director for two years with Scholastic India Corporation, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and multimedia company. He has also worked with various consumer durables companies such as Carrier Aircon Ltd, Whirlpool, Bausch and Lomb, IFB Industries, Singer India and HCL Ltd, specialising in marketing and sales. His last stint in the marketing and sales field before joining the media domain was with Carrier Aircon Ltd, where he was Director, Marketing & Product Development.

Kapoor holds a graduate degree in Economics from SRCC, Delhi University, and has acquired specialisation in Marketing, Master of Management Studies, from Banaras Hindu University.


BHU sets up anti-ragging panel
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

http://www.hindustandainik.com/news/5922_2134023,0015002500030002.htm

BHU sets up anti-ragging panel for better vigil

HT Correspondent
Varanasi, June 12

 

 

WITH THE new academic session about to begin, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) administration has pulled up its socks to assure ‘Zero Ragging’ on the campus.

The varsity administration has formed a ragging prevention committee to keesp a sharp vigil on ragging activities on university campus.

Chairman of the committee ProfGS Yadav of Geophysics Department told Hindustan Times on Thursday that the rules introduced by the Supreme Court to prevent ragging in higher educational institutions would be followed strictly.

To make students aware of the anti-ragging rules, pamphlets and posters would be stuck on campus walls with general instructions.

Any student found guilty of ragging would be suspended from the university and in case of severe ragging activity, students could even be jailed.

Prof Yadav said university vice-chancellor Prof DP Singh would address orientation lectures to the students as per faculty wise.

He said that sub-committees would also be made at faculty and department levels that would observe the day wise activities to avoid ragging.

The sub-committees would also make surprise visits to hostels during evenings to check the ragging practices.

The ragging prevention committee comprises 14 members, including Prof MS Pandey (English department), Prof KK Singh (Statistical department), Prof Sushma Tripathi at Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, Prof Sukhpal Singh (Law Faculty), Prof SK Trigun (Science Faculty), Dr JP Singh (Commerce Faculty), Dr PK Goswami (Ayurved Faculty) while dean of students Prof VK Kumra and chief proctor Prof SK Singh will also help the committee in full implementation
of zero ragging in the university.


HRD Ministry changes NIT admission process
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/HRD_Ministry_changes_NIT_admission_process/articleshow/3158457.cms

HRD Ministry changes NIT admission process
24 Jun 2008, 0343 hrs IST,TNN

MUMBAI: Out-of-state students will no longer be admitted to the country's 20 prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs) on the basis of their state rank in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE). From the 2008-09 academic year, the out-of-state students will be admitted based on their national ranks.

The Central government has just discovered that the admission process to some of India's finest engineering colleges has been flawed all these years, with students having lower marks getting a chance to study instead of their meritorious peers. To rectify this, the HRD ministry has decided to alter the admission process for the NITs.

Since 2002, the HRD ministry has been upgrading Regional Engineering Colleges to NITs on the lines of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to provide quality technical education. The government passed the NIT Act in 2007 and all these colleges were declared institutes of national importance.

Fifty per cent of NIT seats are reserved for students of the particular state where the institute is located. The remaining seats were till now reserved for students hailing from other states and Union Territories according to the population of that state. A specific number of seats were reserved for each state, whose students were admitted according to their state AIEEE rank.

But now, the HRD ministry has realised that such an out-of-state seat quota threw merit to the wind. So while the state quota stays, the remaining 50% of seats in the 20 NITs, which have a total student intake of 9,580, will now be given to out-state students based on their all-India AIEEE rank and not the state rank. NIT-Nagpur director S R Gokhale explained that state-wide seat distribution had several "constraining features".

He described one problematic scenario. Assume two seats were reserved for Assamese students, four for students from West Bengal and so on. If only one student applied from Assam then a seat would go to him no matter what his score. And if 10 students applied from West Bengal, the top four would get seats while the remaining six would be shown the door, even though their scores might be higher than the Assamese candidate's.

The HRD ministry notification points out, "With this system of filling outside state quota seats, there were situations when candidates with higher marks from some states/UTs were not getting admission in NITs, whereas other candidates from other state/UTs with lower marks were getting admission."

The scenario gets even more complex when one breaks down the quota of every state and then bifurcates it among open category and reserved category students. Here too, merit was going for a toss. The notification reasoned the change of admission process to "other demerits like, possible situations where candidates from a particular category with very low marks from certain states getting admission while candidates from the same category with much higher marks but from some other state being denied admission".

___________

Press-release from the ministry

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=39713


CUSAT says no to IIEST status
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News_By_Industry/Services/Education/Kerala_says_no_to_technical_university/articleshow/3142715.cms

 Kerala says no to technical university
18 Jun, 2008, 2034 hrs IST, IANS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The opposition Congress in Kerala on Monday demanded an explanation from the state government on its about-turn on a decision to convert Cochin University into an Indian Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (IIEST).

The leader of opposition in the assembly, Oommen Chandy, said the government had agreed to the project early this year and had even taken advance money from the central government, but later backed down.
"In February, the state government came out with an order stating they have transferred the Cochin University to the central government to be upgraded into an IIEST at a cost of Rs 518.33 crores (Rs 5.18 billion) and even collected Rs 50 crores (Rs 500 million) as advance," said Chandy.

"But in a recent meeting of the top HRD (human resource development) officials, along with IIEST officials in Delhi, the Cochin University vice-chancellor said they (state government) do not want an IIEST. This is a cruel blow to the aspirations of several students who were expecting CUSAT to be upgraded to an IIEST," said Chandy.

The human resources ministry announced setting up of the IIESTs to meet the growing demand for engineering and scientific manpower in the country. These institutes have been marked a 'institutes of national importance' on the lines of Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology.

Chandy alleged that at the same meeting where the Kerala refused IIEST, West Bengal government decided to go ahead with the proposal.

Speaking to media a top official of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), on condition of anonymity, said, "We were all surprised by the stand taken by the vice chancellor at the meeting in Delhi. How can the vice-chancellor take such a stand? Already of the Rs 50 crores (Rs 500 million) of the advance money, CUSAT has availed Rs 20 crores (Rs.200 million)."


UGC to set up 14 World Class Universities
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/UGC_to_set_up_14_world-class_universities_316_colleges_/articleshow/3128004.cms

UGC to set up 14 world-class universities, 316 colleges
14 Jun 2008, 0318 hrs IST, Parvesh Sharma,TNN

 PATIALA: In what would come as heaven sent to the country's students in future and its education system, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has completed all necessary work related to policy matters before it goes on to establish 14 new world class universities and 316 colleges across major metros an cities in India.

"A committee, which was specially formed for the preparation of an Act that would make this possible, would submit a report on this shortly," said Mool Chand Sharma, vice-chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC), in Patiala on Thursday.

The universities, when they come up, will be located at Amritsar, Pune, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Mysore, Visakhapatnam, Gandhinagar, Jaipur, Patna, Bhopal, Kochi, Bhubaneswar, Greater Noida and Guwahati.

Sharma said he wwas "looking forward and positive" about the plan. "We want to maintain global standards in our universities so that our next generation can get the required education," he said.


Wider Horizons-about Indian Institute of Space Technology
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 27, 2008

http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20080718251409800.htm

T.S. SUBRAMANIAN

The Indian Institute of Space Technology is expected to meet ISRO’s demand for quality manpower to launch its ambitious programmes.

S. MAHINSHA

prakar.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(DR. B.N. Suresh, Director of the IIST. The monitor displays a picture of the institute building.)

A BUNCH of youngsters dressed in casuals walk out of the low-slung, tile-roofed building located on the shore of the Arabian Sea at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram. The day’s classes have just ended at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), established by the Department of Space in September 2007, close to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). They belong to the first batch of 138 students (11 of whom are women) who have joined the four-year B.Tech courses in Avionics and Aerospace and the five-year integrated post-graduate programme in Applied Sciences.

Prakhar Agarwal, a tall, bespectacled student from Lucknow, says, “My interest is in aerospace. Nowhere else you can see technology in action when you are studying. Our programme is unique because of its goal. We use space technology for the betterment of humans.” Prateep Basu from Ranchi chips in: “There is a difference between studying in a conventional college and studying in a place that sends up rockets.” Sudha Bendapudi and Megha Garg point out that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) do not offer an undergraduate programme in avionics. “The IIT course deals with aeronautics, that is, flight mechanics. There is not much emphasis on astronautics. The IIST focusses on astronautics,” said Megha.

The IIST is the world’s first space university to offer undergraduate programmes. From this academic year, it will start three post-graduate programmes in areas of specific interest to the ISRO. One student has registered for Ph.D. If things go according to plan, the institute will move to its own spacious campus at Valiamala, 23 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, in September 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone for the campus in July or August.

G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Frontline on June 21: “We want to build the IIST as a world-class institute that can produce high-quality manpower in space science and technology. It is a unique set-up. Most colleges offer only post-graduate courses. But here, we want to train the students at a young age and expose them to space science and technology so that they become leaders in this area tomorrow.”

Admission to the IIST is through the IIT-JEE (Joint Entrance Examination). The IIT-JEE prepares two lists for admission: the main list and an extended list. Candidates whose names figure in the extended list are eligible to join the IIST.

Besides, students from the main list, who are keen on joining the institute can opt for it. About 4,000 students, who have got through the IIT-JEE in this academic year, are expected to register for admission to the 150 seats in the IIST’s undergraduate programmes.

The institute does not charge tuition or other fees and hostel accommodation is totally free of cost. Besides, the students are given Rs.3,000 every semester as book allowance. Students completing the course with a first class will be absorbed into ISRO. They will be asked to sign a bond that they will work for ISRO for five years. If they jump the bond, they will have to pay Rs.10 lakh to the Department of Space.

Quality manpower

Dr. B.N. Suresh, Director of the institute, who recently retired as VSSC Director, said, “We consider the IIST an investment for our ambitious future programme. The idea is to get bright students into the IIST and train them so that they will get plenty of opportunities to work in ISRO.” The IIST will meet ISRO’s demand for quality manpower for its space programmes.

The vision that suffuses the IIST, according to Suresh, is that “it will be a place where technology, research and academics are integrated seamlessly”. “The students are thrilled at the prospect of working in high-end technology areas. We have triggered their initiative by asking them to do their own projects,” he said. For instance, a group of students has designed a rover that can be used for inter-planetary missions. Another group has designed a remote-controlled aircraft.

Another important initiative of the IIST is to expose its students to experiments that have real-life applications. In the last semester, every student did two experiments at the VSSC laboratories. Some students were asked to assemble a gear-box, dissemble it and prepare a report. Another experiment related to the electro-chemical energy system on Chandrayaan-1, the spacecraft that India plans to send to the moon in September. One other related to a Chandrayaan payload.

What motivated the Department of Space to set up the IIST? Despite the best efforts of ISRO, it was unable to recruit high-quality scientists and engineers during the past 10 years. This situation arose mainly because of the prevailing job-market situation wherein engineering/science students preferred to work for software companies. ISRO was unable to attract talent from the IITs, the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other prominent universities. At the same time, the Department of Space had planned several ambitious programmes such as Chandrayaan-1 and 2, a manned mission to space, inter-planetary exploration programmes beyond Chandrayaan, and Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch VehicleMark III.

“All these required high-quality human capital. That is when we came upon the idea of starting our own institute to produce engineers and scientists in space science and technology. That propelled the ISRO Chairman to take the initiative,” Suresh explained.

Moreover, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keen about the management of human resource in ISRO. After every successful rocket launch, he would invariably ask the ISRO top brass: “How are you going to manage your human resource? Are you able to get them?” When ISRO’s plan to set up the space institute was conveyed to him, he appreciated the move. The Central government gave the approval to set up the IIST in April 2007.

The IIST has attracted a young and talented corps of 26 academics. C.S. Narayanamurthy, who has a Ph.D. from IIT Madras, was teaching in the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, before he joined the institute. He is now the Head of the Department of Physics. Raju K. George is the Head of the Department of Mathematics. P.S. Robi, who heads the Department of Aerospace Engineering, earlier taught at IIT Guwahati.

The syllabi

They said the syllabi were tailored to meet ISRO’s needs. A high-powered committee headed by Prof. R. Natarajan, former Director of IIT Madras and former Chairman of the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), spent 400 man-hours to frame the syllabi. The committee comprised professors from the IITs, the NITs and other institutions. Every department’s board of studies, which consists of teachers from the IITs and ISRO staff, refined the syllabi further.

For instance, the syllabus for B.Tech (Avionics) will cover the entire spectrum of electronics. Students will specialise in digital electronics, control systems, radio frequency systems, computer science and software engineering. The Aerospace programme lays stress on aircraft structure, aerodynamics, flight dynamics, machine dynamics, and so on. The M.Sc. course will focus on astronomy, astrophysics, remote-sensing, planetary science and atmospheric science.

“Students who pass out of the IIST will not require separate training. They can be directly absorbed into any programme of ISRO,” said Suresh.

Prakar Agarwal summed up thus: “When we came here, we were a bunch of students who were fascinated by space science. After we joined the IIST, our horizons have widened and our dreams have started materialising into projects.”


South Asian University coming up in New Delhi
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News_By_Industry/Services/Education/South_Asian_Univ_to_offer_science_arts_courses_together/rssarticleshow/3227901.cms

South Asian Univ to offer science, arts courses together
13 Jul, 2008, 0932 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The ambitious South Asian University (SAU), expected to start functioning here by 2010, will be going in for a "cafeteria approach" where students can opt for science and humanities courses side by side.

The common university of the regional grouping, to be set up on the lines of American Ivy League universities, will also induct students and recruit faculty from across the globe so that it is not confined to "narrow distinctive barriers".

The proposal for SAU was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the SAARC Summit in Dhaka in December 2005 and later ratified by the eight member nations.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee laid its foundation at a 100-acre plot in Maidan Garhi, Mehrauli in south Delhi on May 26. The campus construction is due to start early next year.

"You cannot compare this university with any other. It will prepare global students from the region. Faculty, course curricula, facilities and infrastructure will be of global standards," its CEO Prof G K Chadha said.

A course likely on offer is "conflict resolution given that terrorism is a major problem confronting the world", he said but the final decision on academic activities will be taken in February next year when the curricula and by-laws would be drafted.

SAU will have a cafeteria approach where a student pursuing science can also take up a course in humanities.

"In a cafeteria you can pick and choose any item you like. In this university too, you can have more liberty and wider choice and there will be no narrow distinctive barriers," Chadha said.

The initial investment for SAU will be made by the Indian government after which the member countries could contribute and the university would also raise money from international financial institutions and donors, the CEO said.

The university could take up special studies on economy, culture, religion and societies in the SAARC nations, Chadha, who is on the PM's Economic Advisory Council, said.

The progress of the university will be monitored at three layers - inter-ministerial committee, inter-governmental steering committee and a sub-committee.

The sub-committee, which comprises the UGC chairman of each country, is in charge of implementing the project and selected Chadha for the post of CEO.

The governance structure of SAU, with link campuses in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan, will be laid down by February, Chadha said.

Gowhar Rizvi of Harvard University, who was entrusted with the task of preparing the university's concept note, has advised a middle path between government-funded and private education.

The role of the SAARC nation governments will be confined to providing annual subsidies and grants, the concept note has recommended.


Council of Representatives to be formed
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

In the board meeting on 29th June, 2008, the Executive Council of the IT-BHU Global Alumni Association (IBGAA) decided to go ahead with the formation of Council of Representatives (CoR). It is expected that the CoR selection process will begin by the end of September 2008.

It is proposed that representatives shall be selected internally by each batch/class or by each branch. The numbers of representatives is expected to be up to two from each batch/class or a maximum of 10 if selected branch-wise. The total number of Council members is expected to be around 200.

The CoR will be useful in conducting the election for members for Executive Council early next year. Besides, it will be useful in communicating between association and its members, helping in executing alumni projects, etc.

The document “FAQ for Council of Representatives” is attached here

. More details about selection process will be published in the next issue of chronicle.

For any clarification, please contact me at: externalaffairs@itbhuglobal.org

Thanking you,

Yogesh K. Upadhyaya

For IBGAA


Alumni association has filed for tax-exempt status with US government
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

The IT-BHU Global Alumni Association has filed for tax-exempt status with US government. The application has been filed under code 501(c)3 of Internal Revenue Service of US government on July 21, 2008. We can expect an advanced/ provisional ruling (since we haven't completed one full year of operation) in a few weeks.

This will allow our US based alumni to claim income-tax exemption for the donations made through our alumni association for any charitable work related to alumni projects or for the institute. The tax-exemption is effective as of the date of date of formation of our organization, i.e. from March 2008. The average income-tax savings will be about 25-30% of the amount donated for our US donors. The tax-exempt status application is expected to be approved in 2-3 months.

The alumni association is coordinating with different batches/classes to launch a number of alumni projects for improving facilities at our institute. We shall announce about it in the coming issues of chronicle. All alumni desirous of contributing for alumni projects are requested to send their donations to the Association (by checks) or use PayPal / Google checkout. Please see the web-links (http://www.itbhuglobal.org/donate/) and (http://www.itbhuglobal.org/chronicle/archives/2008/04/#002293) for the details. All donations deposited in the alumni operated bank account will be eligible for tax-exempt benefits by the IRS.

For more information, contact Manu Goyal (Mechanical 1993) or Anand Maharana (Metallurgy 1992) at: treasurer@itbhuglobal.org.

For more info about 501(c) 3 tax-exemption by IRS, please visit the following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/ezec/toolbox/501c3factsheet.html

http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/index.html

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p557.pdf

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IIT-JEE: Untold Story
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=7801

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This article is written by Yogesh K. Upadhyaya (Chemical 1977) and editor of Chronicle magazine. The article is prepared by interviewing professors from IIT-Kanpur and Madras, former Chairman of IIT-JEE exam committee and talking with senior engineers who took IIT-JEE in 1960’s. Most of the information about the exam is appearing for the first time in news media.

The news of setting up of more IITs has also brought the discussion about IIT-JEE (Indian Institutes of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination) in the forefront. With over four decades of its existence, the exam has attracted critics as well as admirers.


 http://www.indiaedunews.net/newsimages/iit-jee.gif

Why was JEE introduced?

 Many assume JEE as being associated with IITs right from the beginning, which is not true. According to Bhamy Shenoy, a noted writer and 1962 alumnus of IIT-Madras, from 1951 (when the first batch joined IIT Kharagpur) till 1962, the admission to the IITs was based solely on the PUC (Pre-University College or 11 + 1 standard) marks. The admission was equally distributed among the five zones (north, east, west, south and central) of the country. Many of the admitted students were rank holders of their respective universities.

During 1958 to 1962, four more IITs were established at Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Kanpur. The need was felt for a centralized entrance exam system to meet the challenging requirement for IITs. First, the quality, level of education and curriculum was uneven among different universities. This resulted in some of the students having trouble of understanding the lectures by Indian and foreign faculty at IITs.

Moreover, the IITs had introduced new complex engineering disciplines such as aeronautical, naval architecture, electronics, etc. These subjects were being taught by faculty from overseas. It was planned to replace the foreign faculty by training the bright students. The idea was to admit bright students with a strong grasping power through a competitive entrance exam send them abroad for further study and hire them back as the faculty in the department. Thus the birth of Entrance Exam took place. The plan was largely successful, as many of the alumni returned to their departments and contributed to their alma-mater.

 History of the exam

 The first entrance exam was started in 1963. It was an individual entrance exam conducted by each IIT.  Thus a student had to appear for 5 different exams if he wanted to apply to all the IITs. In the beginning, each IIT had about 100 seats each, with 15 to 20 students per branch.

 To remove the hardship of students appearing for different exams, it was decided to have a common or Joint Entrance Exam of all the IITs. The first IIT-JEE took place in 1967. It was held only in select metro cities. The exam consisted of four papers: English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Each paper was of 100 marks, the exam papers were in English, and marks of English paper were counted for ranks. The five IITs offered about 1,000 seats, for which about 10,000 to 12,000 students appeared in the first IIT-JEE exam.

 Even after JEE was started, IITs continued granting admissions to college board toppers without having to appear for JEE But there were too few such admissions, and there were instances where they did not perform as well, and hence the practice was stopped.

 Another test that must be mentioned in any history of JEE is the JAT - Joint Advanced Test. JAT was administered only for 3-4 years, the last one was in 1980. This test was administered to students who had done one year of school/college more than the minimum requirement of JEE, and if one passed JAT, they would be placed in a fast-track program with fewer science courses and they were able to graduate in 4 years, as opposed to 5 year normal time then.

 During 60’s and early 70’s, the counselling was being done in zones, and seats were being decided on zonal basis. This was done as there were no effective means of reliable telecommunications (fax, internet, etc.) available during counselling to confirm real-time seat allocations; and seats at each institute and branch were distributed under a fixed quota system to other institutes. It was possible for a higher All India Rank candidate (from a zone) to not get a seat while a lower AIR candidate (from another zone) got it, because of the distribution of seats in various zones.

 In 1972 (when I cleared the exam) Institute of Technology-Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU) joined the entrance exam. At that time, 50,000 students appeared for 1,800 seats at six institutes with additional 200 as wait-listed. There were four question papers in English, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry; students from technical high-schools could appear for Engineering Drawing paper along with the combined paper of Physics/Chemistry. The question papers contained long theoretical questions and some marks were given for attempting the question in right direction. The exam roll number and other details of a candidate on the front pink page of answer sheet were replaced with a randomly generated number prior to evaluating, to hide the candidate’s identity. There were no subject-wise or overall cut-off marks and ranking was based purely on the total marks obtained.

 Because of English paper in the exam and the need for coaching classes, most of the students who cleared the exam were from metro areas and many from English medium school background. Following the protest from northern states, the English paper marks were not counted in the exam from 1974 onward (the scores in Science papers were graded only if one passed English paper) and it was dropped in 1990 and replaced by pre-screening test.  Few years later, students were allowed to answer the exam in some of the regional languages.

 Paper setting and evaluation

 The Joint Admissions Board (JAB), consisting of all Directors and JEE Chairmen of all IITs, is the policy making body. Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) consisting of JEE Chairman and Vice Chairman of all IITs is the one responsible for the conduct of the JEE. The Director and the Chairman of JEE of the Organizing Institute are Chairmen of JAB and JIC respectively.

 According to a former member of JAB, the preparation for IIT-JEE question papers begins few months in advance. Each year an IIT (by rotation) is selected to take charge of the exam. First, invitations are sent to select faculty members of different IITs requesting for possible questions in physics, chemistry and mathematics. Then a committee of senior faculty with all the collected questions sits in a room. The room is then locked up and the members are not allowed to come out for few days till the question paper sets are prepared. After discussion among the group, three sets of exam papers are finalized. The representatives of JAB Chairman will then collect all 3 sets of questions papers, pick the final set of exam paper secretly, while the other two sets are kept as standby.

 Nowadays the exam is objective type and the answer sheets are machine scored. First, poor performers are eliminated as per cut-off formula which changes from year to year. For 2008 exam, students getting bottom 20% score in overall score were eliminated. Then individual subject cut-off marks are applied to eliminate further candidates. Finally, an overall cut-off mark of 206 was applied to prepare a list of successful candidates. The ranking was done based on formula, which considers individual subject marks for students with same overall marks; and sometimes there are over 100 students with one mark difference and about 40 students with the same mark.

 IIT-JEE and coaching classes

 When the Entrance Exam was introduced, it was decided to have quiz type questions to test the understanding and grasping power of the students for science subjects. Since different universities had different levels of education, it was proposed to test the students with questions from one additional year of college (Intermediate Science (11+2 standard) syllabus instead of Pre-University College Syllabus). To solve the questions which were not yet studied in college, students needed extra coaching, and thus started the rise of coaching classes. Although the exam syllabus and format is simplified now, the exam papers are still set beyond CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education-12th standard) level, and the scare still remains.

As per various estimates, over 90% of students who appear for IIT-JEE have used coaching classes or individual coaching. Apart from testing the knowledge of physics, chemistry and mathematics, the exam also tests speed, strategy and stamina of the candidates. The coaching classes teach students about strategy of “attacking problems”. It involves identifying the question pattern, applying the learned formula and avoiding difficult questions in first pass. Statistically, there is limitation on the number of types of questions which can be possibly asked in an exam, and a student should be able to study by himself by solving past few years’ question papers.

 The need for coaching classes to solve JEE exam has taken financial toll on individuals and society. For example, a typical candidate for the JEE exam spends money on coaching classes almost equal to his entire fees for 4-yr B. Tech course at IIT (now about Rs. 200,000). No wonder, IIT-JEE coaching is an industry of Rs 2,000 crores (Rs. 20 billion) annual turnover (by conservative estimate), more than twice the annual budget of all IITs put together.

What critics and admirers say?

 However good the IIT-JEE system is, it is not without critics. First and foremost complaint is that it needs the help of coaching classes to qualify. This is true. It is not because the exam has low selection ratio (passing rate). Other similar competitive exam is AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam), for which 800,000 students appeared this year for about 14,000 seats for 20 NITs and for other colleges. Thus AIEEE has low selection ratio (1.8%) compared to IIT-JEE (2.8%). Despite this, AIEEE is a high-school board type exam with CBSE level subjects. The need for coaching classes is due to the extreme desire to join IITs for world-class education and unpredictability and complexity of the JEE questions.

 Prof. T. A. Abinandanan, Professor at IISc, Bangalore and owner of Nanopolitan blog feels that IIT-JEE is discriminatory to girl students as evident from low pass out. However this is possibly due to girls not getting expensive coaching similar to boys and parents’ reluctance to send the girls far away from home. Dr. Dheeraj Sanghi, former Professor of IIT-Kanpur (currently Director-designate, LNMIIT, Jaipur) laments that from one year to the other, there are very little changes in the selection of institutes and branches by students during IIT-JEE counseling, as most candidates use the last year's closing ranks as the sole guide to fill up the choice sheets every year.

 Admirers of the exam points out that the exam is fool-proof and question papers leaked out only once in 1997 (this led to setting exam in two stages for few years after the incident). Many IIT alumni feel that success of IITs is solely due to the entrance exam. However, the IITs have become well known world-wide due to constant govt. support and recognition, dedication of faculty and international, ever-changing curriculum; and then the selection of high-calibre students through IIT-JEE.

 IIT-JEE is perhaps the only quiz type entrance exam of its kind in the world. JEE ranks can be roughly equated to the IQ of the candidates, and top few hundreds of rank holders can be considered as highly intelligent.

 More reforms needed

 Although the JEE syllabus is simplified as per reforms carried out in 2006 by the committee headed by Prof. Idichandy of IIT-Madras, there is still scope for improvement in testing and evaluating the exam. One of the recommendations not accepted was to allow only top 2 percent students of all secondary school examinations to appear for JEE. That number would be around 100,000.

 One of the problems with IIT-JEE is the random and non-standardized format. This results in sometimes board toppers not getting through and mediocre students scoring well. Also, the result will be widely different if someone takes the test again.

 The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) exam of USA is taken by almost all college bound high school seniors in USA, and it is perhaps the most researched and standardized college entrance test in the world. The test has easier questions placed at the beginning (to increase the confidence of test-takers) and the questions become harder gradually. The quality or hardness of the test is maintained uniform over the years. It is done by placing dummy questions in the exam paper which will not be counted for marks, but will be evaluated for year-to-year comparison of the test papers. The test gives almost similar scores even if someone takes the test multiple times, and coaching improves the score only marginally in most of the cases.

 The evaluation of JEE papers and awarding of ranks has to be re-examined. The use for cut-off mark for short-listing of candidates defies logic. The official reason stated is that it is used to screen out a candidate with say, 100 marks in physics/chemistry subjects and possibly 0 in mathematics. However, JEE brochure also states that all subjects are equal. Moreover, it is unlikely that someone scoring perfect in one subject will get zero in another. This policy (of using cut-off marks) has resulted in many qualified students with higher overall score to fail. It would be better (as it was done in the past) to award ranks based solely on overall marks.

 Present and Future of IIT-JEE

 In JEE-2008, out of 311,258 candidates who wrote the examination, 8,652 candidates have been declared qualified to seek admission for 6,872 seats in existing 7 IITs and 6 new IITs, IT-BHU and ISMU, Dhanbad. About 25% of candidates appeared for the exam were girl students, but in the Main Merit List, only 10% (840) selected were girls. This is going to increase to 15% girls in the qualified list, once the proposed (by our President, Shrimati Pratibha Patil) Girls’ only IIT comes up at Amravati, Maharashtra. The overall number of students appeared this year was 28% more than the last year. The number of students qualified for the Main Merit List is about 26% more than the available seats, as not all the successful students join the IITs, due to non-availability of branch or institute of their choice.

 The students who do not qualify for the Main Merit List are placed in Extended Merit List. This list is used for admission to some of the premier govt. institutes such as Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and Rajeev Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) and colleges of Indian Institute of Maritime Studies. The candidates from Main List can join these institutes but those from Extended Merit List cannot join IITs, IT-BHU and ISMD.

 Thus the IIT-JEE is able to maintain 2-3% success ratio (students selected/students appeared for the IIT-JEE). There is a fear about dilution of IIT quality due to increase in available seats at IITs. The fear is unfounded, as more available seats in near future will prompt more students to appear for IIT-JEE.

 Next year, 120 more seats shall be available at each of the new IITs and the existing institutes (IITs, IT-BHU and ISMD) will increase the seats by an average of 9% per year for next three years due to implementation of OBC quota. This will result in about 8,500 available seats and 11,000 students in the Main Merit List for JEE-2009.

 It is expected that by 2012-2013, about 600,000-700,000 students will appear for IIT-JEE, for about 13,000 available seats, maintaining the 2-3% selection ratio.

 The exam was conducted this year at Dubai, and more overseas locations will be announced in coming years. The exam may be conducted online in future.

 Conclusion

 Whatever may be the drawbacks of the IIT-JEE, one must admire that the system has been highly successful in mass screening of students with exceptional quality on a national basis. It is a great social equalizer for our country, else how can a son of an army man from Northeast or a farmer’s daughter from Karnataka can get world-class engineering education at affordable price?

 Several centuries later, when someone looks back at the IIT-JEE exam system, he will admire it just like admission tests of Nalanda University in Bihar 2,000 years ago or Chinese administrative service exam in Middle Ages. The fact that this exam fascinates, amuses, and generates fear and admiration-will be acknowledged even by those who failed to clear it. 

Yogesh K. Upadhyaya is chemical engineering graduate from ITBHU and an MS (chemical engineering) from Rutgers University, New Jersey. He has deeply interacted with the HRD ministry, state ministers, IIT board, IIT Selection Committee. He can be contacted at: yogesh@optonline.net


Interview with Dr. Kewal Krishan Nohria (Electrical 1954)
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

Chronicle is pleased to introduce our alumnus, Kewal Krishan Nohria (Electrical 1954). He has been associated with the Electrical Industry and has held senior positions with a number of organizations, last being Chairman & Managing Director of Crompton Greaves Limited. He is also the past president of AIMA, ASSOCHAM, IEEMA, Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and CII (Western Region). Mr. Nohria also takes active interest in several semi-government and educational institutions.

nohria.PNG

Mr. Kewal Nohria is currently the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Thapar University and member of the governing body of IIM-Indore. Mr. Nohria is on the Board of Directors of several companies and has been honored with various awards including the Golden Key Award for Value Engineering, the Lifetime HRD Achievement Award and Best Corporate Manager of the Year Award.  Dr. Nohria also holds a D. Litt. (Honaris Causa) from Banaras Hindu University.

For Chronicle, Rajat Harlalka (Electrical 2005) took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Nohria.

 

Q-1: Welcome, sir. For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I was brought up in a small town in Punjab, Dharamkhot, where I did my schooling at our family high school. After doing my Inter-Science from near by town called Moga, I joined Benares Engineering College in 1950 and graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1954.

I obtained scholarship from Electrical Industry UK for Industrial training in Switchgear with a company called Ferguson Pailin at Manchester in 1955 for period of 2 years. While at Manchester I pursued my higher studies in Power Engineering as also did my Management studies at Manchester Technical College.

After completing my apprenticeship, I served in UK for 1 year as Commissioning Engineer and was later selected by Crompton Parkinson for their Switchgear Plant in India.

Q-2: Would you tell us briefly how you started Crompton Greaves? What were the challenges you faced?

I returned to India in 1958 to Crompton Greaves as a foreman Switchgear division. (Incidentally, Crompton Greaves was not started by me; it was started by Crompton Parkinson and Greaves Cotton in 1937.) I left Crompton Greaves in 1962 when I was Co-ordination officer to take on General Management assignment at Kolkatta with Electrical Industry Corporation.

In 1968, I moved to Cutler Hammer, Faridabad and in 1976 I moved to SHRIRAM Refrigeration, Hyderabad as their Technical Director.

I returned to Crompton Greaves in 1978 and became their CEO in 1985. I continued as CEO till 2000 and as Chairman till 2004.

Q-3: Having been associated with Electrical and Electronics Industry for more than 50 years, how would you say it has evolved/changed over the years?

Electrical and Electronic industry in India has undergone a sea change. 50 years ago, Indian Engineers were seeking permission from their foreign principles even for minor changes in their product. Today Indian Engineers design and develop on their own their products to International standard.

Electrical & Electronic industry in India has also grown tremendously both in depth or breadth of their products and services. Today Electrical & Electronic Indian industry can claim to be at par with global players and its products and services are well accepted by Global customers.

Q-4: There is a traditional view that India is still lacking far behind in manufacturing and core engineering sectors. What are your thoughts?

I believe India does not lag behind other countries as far as custom built manufacturing is concerned. However it does lag behind China in mass production item.

Basic reason is our rigid Labour laws, which lead to lower flexibility and productivity.

Q-5: India has always hyped the large number of engineering graduates that it produces every year. But of late there has been a suggestion that several of them are not really as good as they are being described. How do you react to this?

Some of the Engineering graduates that come out of the 8-10 Top Engineering Colleges are indeed of high quality and readily employable by the industry.

Unfortunately large numbers of Engineering College do no produce engineering graduates of equal quality and only 20-25% is readily employable.

Q-6: How would you rate the way India's federations of chambers and commerce such as the CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM are playing their role? Are they mutually reinforcing and maximizing their synergy?

India’s federations of Chamber and Commerce like CII, FICCI and Assocham at one time were only asking favours for the Industry from the government. Today in the liberalized scenario their main concern is to help industry become internationally competitive and I believe they are doing good job.

Q-7: Please share with our readers some memories from your days at IT-BHU?

I have pleasant memories of my days at BHU. I still remember with fondness the closeness we had with our teachers and the opportunities to enhance our skills by taking courses in other colleges of the university and of course our great fun at our mess’ and visit to Lanka and Gadowlia. Some of my best friends even today are my BENCO colleagues.

Q-8: What advice will you give to current students/recent graduates to become executives/directors?

The only advice I can give to recent graduates is that to grow, they must take care of their health and pursue career of their choice, remain excited about whatever jobs they are doing and give their best to their jobs.

Q-9: Thank you sir. We hope information provided by you will be useful to engineers who want to become leaders of corporate world.

Dr. K. K. Nohria can be contacted at

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Brief Biography

http://in.reuters.com/money/quotes/officerProfile?symbol=IGAM.BO&officerId=1022994

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Nohria, Kewal Brief Biography 

Dr. Kewal Krishan Nohria is a Fellow of Institute of Electrical Engineering UK. He graduated in electrical engineering from BHU (Benaras Hindu University) in 1954 and pursued post graduation and Management studies at Manchester Technical College, UK. He was awarded an Honorary D. Litt. Degree from Benares Hindu University. He is former CMD (Chairman & Managing Director) of Crompton Greaves Ltd. and has over 50 years experience in Electrical & Electronics Industry. Post Retirement he is mentoring few CEOs and is active investor in few startup companies. Dr. Nohria is currently Chairman TIET (Thapar Institute of Engg Technology) & deemed University. He is also chairman NRBPT (National Board of Registration & Training of Personnel) under QCI (Quality Council of India). He is also on the Board of IIM — Indore, as well as number of Indian Companies. He is Past President/ Chairman of ASSOCHAM (Association Chamber of Commerce And Industry), Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, All India Management Association, All India Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association, CII (Confederate of Indian Industry) Western Region, amongst others. He is Recipient of various awards including Lifetime Achievement Award for HRD.

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 Additional links

1) http://www.eandwgroup.com/promoters.html

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2) http://www.aima-ind.org/about_pastpresidents.asp

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3) http://tiet.ac.in/skin1/forms/sbmbrochure.pdf (page 3)

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 4) http://www.cglonline.com/pdfs/ar0405/32_42.pdf (page 2)

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Govt. announces setting up of new IITs, including converting IT-BHU to IIT
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=40469 

  
   
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Ministry of Human Resource Development 
 
 

Setting up of eight new indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and conversion of it-BHU into in IIT
 13:57 IST
Cabinet has today approved the setting up of eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and at Indore in Madhya Pradesh at a total cost of Rs. 6080 crores (@ Rs. 760 crores per IIT) for 6 years period, and consequently approval for forming of Societies for creating legal entities for the new IITs. Academic sessions are going to commence in 6 new IITs starting from 23.7.2008. The IITs of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are going to commence their classes for about 120 students each for B.Tech programmes through temporary campuses located near the place where the IIT campus is likely to be built. These 3 IITs of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are going to be mentored by the IITs of Madras, Guwahati and Bombay, respectively. The three IITs of Rajasthan, Punjab and Orissa are going to commence their classes in the campuses of their mentor IITs at IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur, respectively.

The Cabinet has also approved the creation of 30 faculty posts per year in the first three years of establishment of each of the new IITs and have also specifically approved the post of a Director in each of the new IITs in the grade of Rs. 26,000 (fixed) and a post of Registrar in the grade of Rs. 16,400-22,400 for each of the new IITs. The Cabinet has also decided to raise the grade of all existing IIT Directors from Rs. 25,000 (fixed) to Rs. 26,000 (fixed).

The balance of two IITs at Indore in Madhya Pradesh and the IIT in Himachal Pradesh are likely to commence their sessions from the next academic year of 2009-10. All the State Governments have identified about 600 acres of land for the location of the new IITs. In case of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, Govt. have accepted the site recommended by the State Govt. and in the rest of the cases, the Site Selection Committee will inspect the offered sites in due course and will give its recommendations to the Ministry.

With a view to ensure good effective coordination as well as maintenance of excellence in the new IITs also, pending selection of regular Directors for the IITs, it has been decided that the Directors of the mentor IITs will work as Directors of the mentored IIT and the Chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the mentor IIT will also be the Chairman of the BoG of the mentored IIT.

With the creation of new IITs, high quality technical education will become accessible to more bright students as now hardly two percent of about three lakhs students who appear in the Joint Entrance Exam of IITs can get admission in them. The new IITs will also facilitate the increased output of high quality Engineering and Science graduates, postgraduates and Ph.D.s; Teachers for Engineering and Science subjects at College/University level and R&D and Intellectual Property generation in Engineering and Science.

Cabinet also approved in principle approval for taking over the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University – a constituent unit of the Banaras Hindu University, a Central University, its conversion into an Indian Institute of Technology and integrating it with the IIT system in the country.

It would also address State/Region specific technology related problems of States/UTs situated in the IITs’ Zones.

***

HB/VL/SB

 


New Girls' only IIT planned for Amravati, Maharashtra
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Indias_first_women-IIT_being_set_up_in_Maharashtra/articleshow/3163539.cms

India's first 'women-IIT' being set up in Maharashtra
25 Jun, 2008, 1440 hrs IST, IANS

NAGPUR: Even as there is talk about starting new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and increasing the number of seats in the existing ones, a move is afoot to open the country's first all-women engineering and technology-oriented institute in Amravati, President Pratibha Patil's hometown in Maharashtra.

Sources said the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has sent a proposal to this effect to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) via the planning commission and that the PMO, at whose behest the HRD ministry moved the matter, is all set to clear it once the plan panel grants its approval.

The suggestion to start India's first all-women IIT at Amravati near Nagpur in Vidarbha had in fact been mooted by Saint Gadgebaba University vice-chancellor Kamal Singh. Patil followed it up when she became the country's first woman president last July.

"A recommendatory note from the president's office was attached to the reminder of the suggestion sent to the HRD (ministry) but we don't know what happened after that," Devi Singh Shekhawat, Pratibha Patil's husband who heads an education society in Amravati, said.

"To my knowledge, the president's office doesn't keep prodding government departments about individual files but if this (women IIT) is happening without that, it is certainly gratifying", Shekhawat said.

Sources said Patil, concerned about fewer girl students making it to the IITs, personally talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and HRD Minister Arjun Singh about the proposal, which apparently led to the speedy progress in the matter.

The 'daughter-in-law' of Vidarbha is also being credited for expeditious sanction of funds for up-gradation of Amravati airport and introduction of three trains in Vidarbha.

Kamal Singh confirmed that she had strongly recommended setting up of the IIT in Amravati though it would be completely outside the domain of her university or even the state government.

"I received a few queries then but was not aware what happened next", she said expressing happiness about the expeditious progress in the matter.

A global research institute on traditional Indian wisdom in science, technology and community management was among several other innovative proposals sent by the vice-chancellor to the HRD ministry and the University Grants Commission, she said.


Faculty quota to be introduced at IITs
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/HRD_orders_faculty_quota_IIT_directors_livid/articleshow/3173620.cms
 

HRD orders faculty quota, IIT directors livid
28 Jun 2008, 0032 hrs IST, Hemali Chhapia,TNN

MUMBAI: Buoyed by its success in pushing through a quota for OBC students in higher education, the government has now ordered IITs to introduce - with "immediate effect" - quotas in the teaching faculty for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs.

IIT directors, not surprisingly, were livid with the decision, though none of the four TOI spoke to were willing to go on record. The high quality of IIT faculty has built the institution into a globally respected brand. Said an IIT-Delhi professor: "It is hard to imagine that even teachers will now use the caste flag to get in."

The government diktat dated June 9, which has been sent to all the IITs, lays down 15% quota for SC, 7.5% for ST and 27% quota for OBCs in teaching positions. IITs currently have reservations for backward category candidates for administrative posts - from attendants to the level of deputy registrar. However, there is no reservation for faculty members in these premier technological institutes.

The order signed by Seema Raj, director of technical education in the HRD ministry, read, "I am directed to say that the matter relating to reservation of SC, ST, OBC categories in recruitment to teaching (faculty) posts in the IITs was considered in the second meeting of the SCIC (Standing Committee of IIT Council) held on 11/2/2008. The recommendations made by the SCIC have been accepted by the chairman of (the) IIT Council. Accordingly, it has been decided to implement reservation for SC, ST, OBC, in recruitment to teaching (faculty) posts in IITs with immediate effect."

For subjects in science and technology, posts will be reserved for lecturers and assistant professors. In areas like management, social sciences and humanities, reservations will be applicable up to the professor level. The ministry allows IITs to dereserve the posts after a year, if they do not get filled "despite all efforts".

Insiders feel that merit, on which brand IIT rests, would be shaken by the decision of the government.

The order specifies that in departments dealing with science and technology subjects, "reservation shall be applied to the extent possible at the school or broad branch of engineering, at least, if not at the individual department level."

The IIT directors TOI contacted, who were yet to convey the order to their faculty members, said they are shocked by the decision.

"Some of the finest people have given up top positions and fat cheques that were offered to them in other parts of the world to come and teach in the IITs, despite the low pay scale that the government offers. With reservation in faculty positions, I see a day, not far from now, when the IITs will crumble," said one director.

Another director said that there had been no bias against hiring backward category candidates to teaching positions if they were found meritorious. "Till now, if a backward category candidate was found on par with another candidate, the former was given preference, but reservation will change the atmosphere on campus," said the director.

All directors agreed that such reservations for faculty posts would mar the quality of education at the institutes.

The lecturer’s post in the IITs is a contractual one and the basic salary is Rs 10,000 per month. Usually, fresh PhD candidates are taken in at this level.

If their services are found satisfactory, they are promoted to assistant professor and get onto the permanent rolls of the IITs. But now, almost half the posts - 49.5% to be precise - will be reserved at both these levels.


Classes delayed at new IITs
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

 

Centre misses IIT target, classes put off

CHARU SUDAN KASTURI

 New Delhi, July 5: The new IITs opening this year will have a delayed start to their first academic session because the government has failed to deliver after scrambling to announce the institutes’ conception.

Teachers have not yet been hired, nor have call letters gone out to the students. The reason is, the Centre is still to register the new institutes, which means they cannot yet be formally recognised, government and IIT officials said.

Any delay in an academic session is hard to make up in the tight IIT calendar, which has three sets of exams every semester, the officials said.

The existing IITs that are handholding the new ones as “mentors” asked the Centre to postpone the launch of these institutes at a meeting yesterday. The government has agreed.

The three new institutes in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat — to be mentored by the IITs in Chennai, Guwahati and Mumbai respectively — will now open in August, or even later, instead of this month. They had earlier been scheduled to start classes at the same time as their mentor institutes in July.

Even when they open, these three will start classes on temporary campuses near their state capitals, using rented infrastructure, the sources said. “It’s impossible to start our own academic session and the classes at the new institutes at the same time,” an IIT director said.

“Since no faculty has been hired for them, our teachers would then have to go and teach at the new venues. The new IITs can only start once we have hired their faculty.”

The decision came at a meeting between the directors of the seven existing IITs and the human resource development (HRD) ministry in Delhi yesterday, the sources said. The directors asked the ministry to speed up the paperwork for the establishment of the new institutes.

“They don’t have even their own insignia or letter pad, and we are expected to start classes! Till they are registered, we can’t even hire teachers or issue call letters to the students,” another director said.

The ministry may approach the registrar of societies next week, sources said.

“We will try and register the institutes as soon as possible,” a senior ministry official said, admitting that bureaucratic lethargy was at fault.

Although registration will allow the new IITs to hold classes, the Centre needs to amend the IIT Act to formally recognise the degrees they would offer. A cabinet note seeking the amendment has been circulated among the ministries.

Classes for the students admitted to the three other new IITs — in Punjab, Orissa and Rajasthan — may also be delayed. Their classes are to be held at their mentor institutes in Delhi, Kharagpur and Kanpur this year.

“Our faculty members’ workload will increase,” a senior IIT Kharagpur official said, adding that no formal decision had yet been taken to delay the classes for the Orissa institute’s students.

Plans to launch an IIT in Himachal Pradesh this year were aborted after IIT Roorkee, its mentor, threw up its hands.

A delayed academic session can later hurt students’ placement chances, IIT sources said. “If even a few days’ delay spills over into the placement season, the students will suffer because of the shorter time within which recruitment must be made,” an IIT director said.


Select IITs news in brief
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

a) Water woes end, IIT (Bihar) on course

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080624/jsp/frontpage/story_9454800.jsp

b) IIT Game: Modi outplays Naveen in Arjun’s court

  (Progress of IIT-Gujarat vs. IIT Orissa)

http://www.odishatoday.com/orissa/Modi_outplays_Naveen_in_Arjun_court_260608-45124563265987.html

c) Syria requests IIT, India demurs

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080626/jsp/nation/story_9465780.jsp

d) In a first at IIT, students protest expulsion of SC/ST undergrads

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/In-a-first-at-IIT-students-protest-expulsion-of-SC-ST-undergrads/327994/

http://www.ibnlive.com/cfs/blog/51767/1953

e) New IITs are coming up speedily

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/New-IITs-are-coming-up-speedily/326231/0

f) Corporates called in to support IIT Gandhinagar

http://www.itexaminer.com/PCs/tabid/75/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1053/Default.aspx

g) IIT-Bombay still tech Mecca for best

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/IIT-Bombay_still_tech_Mecca_for_best/articleshow/3182924.cms

h) In a first, more than 200 to get PhD from IIT-Bombay

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/In_a_first_more_than_200_to_get_PhD_from_IIT-Bombay/articleshow/3154584.cms

i) Faculty quota draws mixed response at IIT-Delhi

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Faculty-quota-draws-mixed-response-at-IITDelhi/328755/

j) IITs set to implement quotas for faculty positions

http://www.business-standard.com/common/news_article.php?autono=328311&leftnm=6&subLeft=0&chkFlg=

k) For one year, Punjab’s first IIT will function from Delhi campus

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/For-one-year-Punjabs-first-IIT-will-function-from-Delhi-campus/328619/

l) Quota dropouts soar in IIT-B

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1174131

m) Choice of toppers; IIT-Bombay

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Choice_of_toppers_IIT-Bombay/articleshow/3182625.cms


Online help for job placement and career advancement
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

Listed below are some of the websites and blogs, which provide info about recruitment process, questions asked during interviews, screening test papers, advice about career advancement, etc. This will be helpful during on-campus or off-campus interviews.

1) Freshers world

http://www.freshersworld.com/

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As its website states:

Freshersworld.com: A Complete Portal for Fresh Engineers. It is an exclusive career website aimed just for the service of fresh engineers in India. It is a common platform where corporate recruiters and fresh engineers come under roof. India produces 1 million engg. graduates and post-graduates a year. Indian knowledge industry will add over 6 million graduates to its work force in knowledge industries over next 5 years. 

It is a one stop information clearing house about jobs and careers for Indians.

2) Career Builder

http://www.careerbuilder.com/

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/worklife/06/23/cb.interview.tips/index.html

http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/careerbytes/CBArticle.aspx?articleID=559&lr=cbcnn

CareerBulder.com is a leading website for job search around the world. In USA, it is the leading website for searching contract and permanent engineering jobs.

It has a section called Advice and Resources:

http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Resources/CareerResources.aspx?sc_cmp2=JS_Nav_CarRes

It has number of useful articles, including how to carry out job search, resume preparation, preparing for job interviews, follow-up, changing jobs, etc.

3) Be seen in good company

(An article about campus recruitment in The Hindu)

http://www.hindu.com/edu/2008/07/01/stories/2008070150020200.htm

Excerpts:

Aptitude, attitude, soft skills come into play during campus placements

It’s that time of the year when all engineering students will fasten their seat belts and get set for their careers to take off. Students will find that they do not have much time to celebrate the completion of their sixth semester examinations. With campus placements round the corner, every student’s eyes will be on the placement cell and the profile of companies coming in.

Campus placements assume a greater aura of importance and criticality this year. With an unstable job market in the face of global recession and constant rumours about job cuts and downsizing, students will find themselves in a tight spot. Sources in placement agencies say that for freshers who do not get through placements and land up in the inexperienced category, the job market will be rather dim. Several companies are reportedly looking at cutting costs and they may try to reduce training costs by focussing on hiring experienced candidates.


IT-BHU Alumni meet at Sydney, Australia- Announcement
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

The Sydney based members of IT-BHU Global Alumni Association invites fellow alumni with families for an afternoon get-together at Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay.  Meeting will be held around mid-August. Exact date will be announced later. The exact time and meeting point is yet to be finalized.
All interested are requested to contact organizers with the contact emails as shown below

All alumni living in the nearby areas are invited to join the meeting. 

The volunteers for the meet are: 

1) Harpreet Marwah (ECE 2003) harpreet.marwah@gmail.com

2) Pramod Tewari (Meta 2003) hellopkt@gmail.com 

For info about Bicentennial Park:

http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/Visiting/venues_and_parks/bicentennial_park


Alumni meet at Bangalore- Report
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 25, 2008

(Forwarded by Rahul Hari CSE 2006)

A meeting of the Bangalore chapter of IT-BHU Global Alumni Association was held on July 5, 2008. The meet was attended by 78 alumni ranging from BENCO class of 1950 to the ITBHU class of 2007. It was held at a farmhouse owned by Sridhar Manthani (Electronics 1982)

The meet started with snacks, followed by some team building games organized by the mike coordinator. All the games made people nostalgic about the fun time they had spent at the institute. The alumni and their families were then given a break to enjoy the facilities available at the farmhouse, and also for networking.

We then had a recital of the kulgeet and some updates from itbhuglobal.org and its projects. An update was provided on the IITization followed by an update on Malaviya Smriti by Mr. Chandramouli (Mechanical 1963). Dr. Sudarshan Maini from class of 1950 provided answers to the various questions by fellow alumni on the Malaviya Smriti, his personal experiences in getting Reva Electric Car out to the market and various other concerns that people had about environment. Mr. U.L Mishra from the class of 1971 then shared his memories of BHU and the fun he had while he was at the institute.

There was an information session organized by Indian School of Business for the alumni who are interested in applying for management courses in the near future. Those who were not interested got grilled with quizzes on ITBHU and Varanasi. This was the best part since this consisted of questions as simple as providing names of all the hostels of ITBHU, even though it was quite difficult to remember all the names.

The alumni meet was organized by Ravish Mishra (Electrical 2004), Girish Gupta (Chemical 2004), Abhishek S L (Chemical 2005), Anuraag Dubey (Electrical 1998), Rahul Hari (CSE 2006) and Sumit Kumar Dey (Electrical 2004)

 We thank our sponsors for their help in making the event successful.

 Sridhar Manthani (Electronics 1982 of NVidia)

Sridhar sponsored Bus travel, Drinks (Soft Drink and Beer), Evening Tea, Gift and Prizes, Dosa Stall and Samiyana. The Alumni Meet was conducted at his farm house.

Saurabh Chandra (Mechanical 2001) and S P Vijay (Mining 2002) of Neev Technologies.

Neev sponsored the mike coordinator/sound system

Mudit Kumar (Electrical 1994 of mymedicalhistory.com). Mymedicalhistory.com was one of the sponsors.

 __________________________

The pictures of the alumni meet are available at 
http://picasaweb.google.com/itbhualumnimeet2008/AlumniMeet2008

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The image “http://lh5.ggpht.com/itbhualumnimeet2008/SILxHrQ8w-I/AAAAAAAAAF0/TWCdA8pgVN4/bangalore_alumni_meet_030.jpg?imgmax=800” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 ______________________

Announcement for next event at Bangalore by alumni association

Entrepreneurship workshop (Date is yet to be decided).

Seats will be limited to 30 which will be on first come first serve basis.

To learn more details, please email to bangalore@itbhuglobal.org


IT-BHU Alumni meet at Washington D.C- Announcement
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

The Washington, D.C based members of IT-BHU Global Alumni Association invites fellow alumni with families for a dinner get-together on Saturday, August 2nd (evening). This is the first ever meeting being organized in the area. The expected turnout is expected to be around 20-25 Alumni’s. The exact time and place is yet to be finalized.

All alumni living in the nearby area (Washington D.C., Virginia, Philadelphia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, etc.) are welcome to join this meeting with their families. This meet is for IT-BHU as well as BHU alumni. Please contact following volunteers for further information.

The volunteers for the meet are:

1) Lakhwinder Singh (Civil 2006) lakhwinder.singh@gmail.com

2) Neha Gupta (Elec 2004) neha.samsung@gmail.com

3) Sanchit Agarwal (Civil 2003) sanchit.agarwal@gmail.com


Mypopkorn.com for Lalu's blog
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

http://www.mypopkorn.com/

http://www.informationmadness.com/cms/images/stories/technology/mypopkorn.jpg

myPOPKORN.com is an interactive video entertainment portal hosted by Essel Group. Essel Group is India's largest vertically integrated media and entertainment group with interest in television broadcasting, cable and satellite distribution, theme parks, packaging, infrastructure, etc. Being one of its kinds in the entertainment field, mypopkorn.com presents voluminous content in TV, Movies and News. Whether it is drama, romance, comedy, fiction, or soap, reality, lifestyle, or behind the scenes tid-bits or superbly created videos, mypopkorn.com has all this and much more to offer.

MyPopkorn.com is owned by Digital Media Convergence Ltd (DMCL), a part of the Essel Group, which also owns Zee Turner Ltd and DishTV. It is a website which showcases three minute videos of soap operas and other TV shows, news and movie clips.

The idea and concept behind the site is actually quite good. If you have missed any of the Soap Operas or want to watch the latest news headlines it (supposedly) brings to you the content in condensed format enough for you to get the gist of the whole thing.

 

 (TV serial-Hamari Devrani)

The blog has become more famous by hosting a blog of Lalu Prasad Yadav, our Union Minister for Railways. This blog has become an instant success and now working as complaint box for the readers about train services. You can read the blog in English or Hindi or you can also listen to his speech.

The image “http://www.mypopkorn.com/media/blogImages/thumb/1213944731_laluji.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. 

(Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav)

http://www.mypopkorn.com/blogs/celebrityblog.html?blogid=MTg=

 index.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://mypopkorn.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-popkorn-never-miss-thing.html


About EarthCam
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

http://www.earthcam.com/

http://infotech.indiatimes.com/quickiearticleshow/msid-2710495.cms 

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Ride the waves. Race down the slopes. Visit Times Square. Take a virtual vacation that requires no money, no vacation days, and no planning.

Webcams, short for web cameras, are capturing more than baby pandas at the zoo. More than a million are offering images in real-time across the Internet, ranging from the not-so-interesting (a pug sleeping on a couch) to destinations like Iceland. Some are live streaming video 24x7, while others refresh the image every few seconds or longer.

Here are some webcam `locations' worth checking out. Note that some of these websites may prompt you to download software before you can view them; many are best viewed at certain times of day, and some can be enlarged for better viewing.

 The image “http://youcreate.com/24.%20%20Big%20Wave%20Surfer,%20Hawaii.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Hawaaii Waves

The most popular webcam site is EarthCam. It also has TimeSquare live view:

http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/

It is one of the best webcams for people who often burn the midnight oil. The cameras show live streaming video of Times Square and the illuminated signs means the view is great 24x7.

The main image captures the “Crossroads of the World” at 46th Street and Broadway and allows users to zoom in or zoom out. EarthCam has a total of 20 cameras in Times Square, including four inside the Hawaiian Tropic Zone Restaurant, Bar and Lounge.

http://www.davidmacd.com/images/new_york/100_7172_time_square.jpg

Catch up at Times Square

There are other webcam sites online. You can find thousands of them on WebCam Central or searching Google for “webcam””

http://www.camcentral.com/

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High-Tech Japan Running Out of Engineers
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/business/worldbusiness/17engineers.html

By MARTIN FACKLER

Published: May 17, 2008

TOKYOJapan is running out of engineers.

 The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/17/business/17engineers-inline1-190.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 Ayumi Nakanishi for The New York Times

At Utsunomiya University, north of Tokyo, graduate students in the engineering department demonstrate an optical system.

Multimedia

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Graphic: Tapping talent abroad

 After years of fretting over coming shortages, the country is actually facing a dwindling number of young people entering engineering and technology-related fields.

Universities call it “rikei banare,” or “flight from science.” The decline is growing so drastic that industry has begun advertising campaigns intended to make engineering look sexy and cool, and companies are slowly starting to import foreign workers, or sending jobs to where the engineers are, in Vietnam and India.

It was engineering prowess that lifted this nation from postwar defeat to economic superpower. But according to educators, executives and young Japanese themselves, the young here are behaving more like Americans: choosing better-paying fields like finance and medicine, or more purely creative careers, like the arts, rather than following their salaryman fathers into the unglamorous world of manufacturing.

The problem did not catch Japan by surprise. The first signs of declining interest among the young in science and engineering appeared almost two decades ago, after Japan reached first-world living standards, and in recent years there has been a steady decline in the number of science and engineering students. But only now are Japanese companies starting to feel the real pinch.

By one ministry of internal affairs estimate, the digital technology industry here is already short almost half a million engineers.

Headhunters have begun poaching engineers midcareer with fat signing bonuses, a predatory practice once unheard-of in Japan’s less-cutthroat version of capitalism.

The problem is likely to worsen because Japan has one of the lowest birthrates in the world. “Japan is sitting on a demographic time bomb,” said Kazuhiro Asakawa, a professor of business at Keio University. “An explosion is going to take place. They see it coming, but no one is doing enough about it.”

The shortage is causing rising anxiety about Japan’s competitiveness. China turns out some 400,000 engineers every year, hoping to usurp Japan’s place one day as Asia’s greatest economic power.

Afraid of a hollowing-out of its vaunted technology industries, Japan has been scrambling to entice more of its younger citizens back into the sciences and engineering. But labor experts say the belated measures are limited and unlikely to fix the problem.

In the meantime, the country has slowly begun to accept more foreign engineers, but nowhere near the number that industry needs.

While ingrained xenophobia is partly to blame, companies say Japan’s language and closed corporate culture also create barriers so high that many foreign engineers simply refuse to come, even when they are recruited.

As a result, some companies are moving research jobs to India and Vietnam because they say it is easier than bringing non-Japanese employees here.

Japan’s biggest problem may be the attitudes of affluence. Some young Japanese, products of a rich society, unfamiliar with the postwar hardships many of their parents and grandparents knew, do not see the value in slaving over plans and numbers when they could make money, have more contact with other people or have more fun.

Since 1999, the number of undergraduates majoring in sciences and engineering has fallen 10 percent to 503,026, according to the education ministry. (Just 1.1 percent of those students were foreign students.) The number of students majoring in creative arts and health-related fields rose during that time, the ministry said.

Applications to the engineering program at Utsunomiya University, an hour north of Tokyo, have fallen one-third since 1999. Starting last year, the school has tried to attract students by adding practical instruction to its theory-laden curriculum. One addition was a class in making camera lenses, offered in partnership with Canon, which drew 70 students, twice the expected turnout, said Toyohiko Yatagai, head of the university’s center for optics research.

But engineering students see themselves as a vanishing breed. Masafumi Hikita, a 24-year-old electric engineering senior, said most of his former high school classmates chose college majors in economics to pursue “easier money” in finance and banking. In fact, friends and neighbors were surprised he picked a difficult field like engineering, he said, with a reputation for long hours.

Mr. Hikita and other engineering students say their dwindling numbers offer one benefit: they are a hot commodity among corporate recruiters. A labor ministry survey last year showed there were 4.5 job openings for every graduate specializing in fields like electronic machinery.

Skip to next paragraph  “We don’t need to find jobs,” said Kenta Yaegashi, 24, another electrical engineering senior. “They find us.” He said his father, also an engineer, was envious of the current sellers’ market, much less crowded than the packed field he faced 30 years ago. Even top manufacturers, who once had their pick of elite universities, say they now have to court talent. This means companies must adapt their recruiting pitches to appeal to changing social attitudes.

So, Nissan tells students they can advance their careers more quickly there than at more traditional Japanese companies. The carmaker emphasizes that it offers faster promotions, bigger pay raises and even “career coaches” to help young talent ascend the corporate ladder.

“Students today are more demanding and individualistic, like Westerners,” said Hitoshi Kawaguchi, senior vice president in charge of human resources at Nissan.

On the more offbeat side, an ad for the steel industry features a long-haired guitarist in spandex pants shouting, “Metal rocks!”

One source Japan has not yet fully tapped is foreign workers — unlike Silicon Valley, filled with specialists in information technology, or IT, from developing nations like India and China.

According to government statistics, Japan had 157,719 foreigners working in highly skilled professions in 2006, twice as many as a decade ago, but still a far cry from the 7.8 million in the United States. Britain has also been aggressively recruiting foreign engineers, as have Singapore and South Korea, labor experts say.

Japan is losing out in the global market for top IT engineers,” said Anthony D’Costa, a professor at Copenhagen Business School, who has studied the migration of Indian engineers.

Companies are scrambling to change tactics now.

For instance, Kizou Tagomori, director of recruitment at Fujitsu, said the computer maker and its affiliates routinely fell about 10 percent shy of their annual hiring goal of 2,000 new employees. Fearing chronic shortages, the company has begun hiring foreigners to work in Japan.

Starting in 2003, Fujitsu began hiring about 30 foreigners a year, mostly other Asians who had graduated from Japanese universities. Initially, many managers were reluctant to accept them. Mr. Tagomori said they are now gaining acceptance.

Fujitsu’s 10 Indian employees in Japan won over some of their co-workers by organizing a cricket team, he said.

But Fujitsu remains an exception. In an economic ministry survey last year, 79 percent of Japanese companies say they either have no plans to hire foreign engineers or are undecided. The ministry said most managers still feared that foreigners would not be able to adapt to Japan’s language or corporate culture.

To combat these attitudes, the ministry began the Asian Talent Fund, a $30 million-a-year effort to offer Asian students Japanese language training and internships in order to help them find work here.

“If these students do well, they can change Japanese attitudes drastically,” said Go Takizawa, deputy director of the ministry’s human resource policy division.

Nonetheless, labor experts warn Japan may be doing too little, too late. They say the country has already gained a negative reputation as discriminating against foreign employees, with weak job guarantees and glass ceilings. Experts say Indian and other engineers will often opt for more open markets like the United States.

Indeed, a growing number of Japanese companies are having more success by building new research and development centers in countries with surpluses of engineers. Toyo Engineering, which designs chemical factories, said it and its affiliates now employ more engineers abroad — 3,000, mostly in India, Thailand and Malaysia — than in Japan, where they have 2,500 workers.

With corporate Japan still reluctant to accept foreigners, a half-dozen staffing companies have stepped into the breach by hiring Chinese and South Korean engineers to send to Japanese companies on a temporary basis. One of the biggest is Altech, which has set up training centers at two Chinese universities to recruit engineering students and train them in Japanese language and business customs. Of Altech’s roughly 2,400 engineers, 138 are Chinese, and the company plans to hire more at a rate of 200 per year.

One of the first it hired was He Xifen, a 27-year-old mechanical engineer from Qingdao University of Science and Technology who joined Altech two and a half years ago. She said her friends back home envy her because she works with advanced Japanese technology, and earns three or four times more than she would in China.

While Japanese clients appear uncertain at first about how to deal with foreigners, she said, they quickly catch on and she usually feels welcome.

“Foreign engineers are becoming accepted,” said Shigetaka Wako, a spokesman for Altech. “Japan is slowly realizing that its economy cannot continue without them.” 


Zimbabwe inflation problem to worsen
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=568530

'A Lot Of Suffering'; One-billion Zimbabwean dollars needed to buy US$1

 Alia Mc Mullen, Financial Post, With Files from Reuters 

Published: Friday, June 06, 2008

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Christophe Simon, Reuters

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, listens to a speech during a UN summit on rising food prices in Rome on Tuesday. The Zimbabwean dollar has depreciated to such an extent that US$1 buys an average...

It's a sad day when those that can afford to buy a loaf of bread need to cart 600-million Zimbabwean dollars to the store. But the situation is only set to get worse in the crippled southern African nation.

Amid surging inflation and political unrest, the Zimbabwean dollar has depreciated to such an extent that US$1 now buys an average Z$1-billion. Traders quoted the currency as selling for as much as Z$1.45-billion against the greenback yesterday, a jaw-dropping Z$700-million higher than at the start of the week. The currency traded at equal value to the U. S. dollar in 1983.

"A currency dropping to 1.45-billion to the U. S. dollar is definitely an indication that the whole currency regime has collapsed -- the economy has collapsed," said Karanta Kalley, regional managing director of Global Insight, Africa Group.

The currency has depreciated 84% since the Zimbabwean central bank floated the dollar on May 5. It had been pegged at Z$30,000 per U. S. dollar since Sept. 7 last year.

Mr. Kalley said the currency was being driven higher by the political unrest in the country, which has caused a massive loss of revenue, cash shortages and the highest inflation rates in the world.

Central bank figures show inflation rose at an annual pace of 165,000% in February, but analysts predict it could have surged as high as 1.8-million per cent in May.

"It's difficult to imagine, especially when you don't live under these conditions," Mr. Kalley said.

He said inflation was being driven higher by the central bank's lack of independence, with the government, led by dictator President Robert Mugabe, ordering more and more money to be printed to meet demand.

Inflation began to surge in 2000 when Mr. Mugabe began to seize land from white farmers and reallocate it to landless blacks. The action caused much instability in the country and a steep drop in agricultural production, the main staple of the Zimbabwean economy.

Mr. Mugabe was prime minister of Zimbabwe from April, 1980, to December, 1987, when he then assumed the presidency. He lost this year's March 29 democratic election to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by two votes, forcing a run-off election to be held on June 27.

"I think it will maybe get worse before it gets better," Mr. Kalley said. "Mugabe is still adamant about staying in power."

The cost of a loaf of bread is reported to have risen to Z$600-million from Z$15-million before the Zimbabwean elections.

"For the day-to-day average people, there's a lot of suffering. Those who could flee, fled," he said.

-----------------

Additional link:

Mugabe rejects call for his ouster

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/world/africa/02zimbabwe.html?ref=africa


Current state of US Economy
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 23, 2008

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0803/gallery.economy_overview/index.html

The economy: How bad is it?

Is it a 'recession'?

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Whether the country is officially in recession is determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit research organization. The group considers several economic indicators, as well as the severity and duration of a downturn.

The NBER says the most recent recession lasted from March 2001 until November 2001 and that the economy has been in "expansion" since then.

The group typically does not declare a recession for anywhere from 6 to 18 months after its arrival.

So far, the group has been mum and it could stay so for quite a while. But with layoffs on the rise and inflation hurting people's wallets, many - including most recently Warren Buffett - say it hardly matters whether we're "officially" in recession. It already hurts like one.

Economic Growth: Slumping

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Gross domestic product - or GDP - is the broadest measure of the nation's economic growth and the government takes its pulse every three months.

Jobs: Labor pains

There is little question that companies are getting more conservative with hiring.

There was a net loss of 49,000 jobs in May, according to the most recent monthly report from the Labor Department.

Overall, the economy has suffered a net loss of more than 300,000 jobs so far in 2008.The traditional unemployment rate is still low at 5%, though that is in part because of discouraged job seekers - those out of work but not looking don't get counted

Inflation: Bubbling up

There are many measures of inflation, and the Consumer Price Index is the most commonly cited.

It's issued each month by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics and measures the change in a hypothetical shopping cart, which includes what a typical family might spend money on each month - everything from a gallon of gas and a box of cereal to rent and doctors' visits. To make the hypothetical cart useful, the BLS has surveyed thousands of families on their actual spending habits.

As of the most recent reading, prices were 3.9% higher in April than a year earlier - not near the runaway inflation of the 1970s, but much higher than in recent history. And the recent spike in gas prices is expected to push the next reading higher still.

Home prices: Falling faster

•  Latest home prices - 151 markets

It's proven difficult for forecasters to keep up with the sliding real estate market.

The National Association of Realtor's tracks home sales in roughly 150 markets. The group's most recent reading, for the first three months of 2008, showed a steep drop in prices of 7.7% - the largest decline since it began keeping track in 1982.

As people's homes drop in value, that means they can't tap home equity to free up cash. A recent report by the Federal Reserve showed that Americans' percentage of equity in their homes has fallen below 50% for the first time on record since 1945.

Some good news: About of a third of the markets in the first quarter showed gains.


US govt. and IBM unveils world's fastest computer
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 17, 2008

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/06/09/fastest.computer.ap/index.html

Government unveils world's fastest computer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer Monday, a $100 million machine that for the first time has performed 1,000 trillion calculations per second in a sustained exercise.

An IBM engineer inspects the world's fastest computer in the company's Poughkeepsie, New York, plant.

ibm.JPG

The technology breakthrough was accomplished by engineers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the IBM Corp. on a computer to be used primarily on nuclear weapons work, including simulating nuclear explosions.

The computer, named Roadrunner, is twice as fast as IBM's Blue Gene system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which itself is three times faster than any of the world's other supercomputers, according to IBM.

"The computer is a speed demon. It will allow us to solve tremendous problems," said Thomas D'Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons research and maintains the warhead stockpile.

But officials said the computer also could have a wide range of other applications in civilian engineering, medicine and science, from developing biofuels and designing more fuel-efficient cars to finding drug therapies and providing services to the financial industry.

To put the computer's speed in perspective, if every one of the 6 billion people on Earth used a hand-held computer and worked 24 hours a day, it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner computer can do in a single day.

IBM and Los Alamos engineers worked six years on the computer technology.

Some elements of the Roadrunner can be traced to popular video games, said David Turek, vice president of IBM's supercomputing programs. In some ways, he said, it's "a very souped-up Sony PlayStation 3."

"We took the basic chip design [of a PlayStation] and advanced its capability," said Turek.

But the Roadrunner supercomputer is nothing like a video game.

The interconnecting system occupies 6,000 square feet with 57 miles of fiber optics and weighs 500,000 pounds. Although made from commercial parts, the computer consists of 6,948 dual-core computer chips and 12,960 cell engines, and it has 80 terabytes of memory.

The cost: $100 million.

Turek said that in a two-hour test May 25, the computer achieved a "petaflop" speed of sustained performance, something no other computer had ever done. It did so again in several real applications involving classified nuclear weapons work this past weekend.

"This is a huge and remarkable achievement," Turek said.

A "flop" is an acronym meaning floating-point-operations per second.

One petaflop is 1,000 trillion operations per second. Only two years ago, there were no actual applications in which a computer achieved 100 teraflops -- a tenth of Roadrunner's speed -- said Turek, noting that the tenfold advancement came over a relatively short time.

The Roadrunner computer, now housed at the IBM research laboratory in Poughkeepsie, New York, will be moved next month to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Along with other supercomputers, it will be key "to assure the safety and security of our [weapons] stockpile," D'Agostino said. With its extraordinary speed, it will be able to simulate the performances of a warhead and help weapons scientists track warhead aging, he said.

But the computer -- and more so the technology that it represents -- marks a future for a wide range of other research and uses.

"The technology will be pronounced in its employment across industry in the years to come," Turek predicted.

Michael Anastasio, director of the Los Alamos lab, said that for the first six months, the computer will be used in unclassified work including activities not related to the weapons program. After that, about three-fourths of the work will involve weapons and other classified government activities.

Anastasio said the computer, in its unclassified applications, is expected to be used not only by Los Alamos scientists but by others. He said there can be broad applications such as helping develop a vaccine for HIV, examine the chemistry in the production of cellulosic ethanol or understand the origins of the universe. 

And Turek said the computer represents still another breakthrough, particularly important in these days of expensive energy: It is an energy miser compared with other supercomputers, performing 376 million calculations for every watt of electricity used.


Anticipating the Future to 'See' the Present
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 17, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/health/research/10mind.html?ref=science

cognitive.JPGBy BENEDICT CAREY

Published: June 10, 2008

Staring at a pattern meant to evoke an optical illusion is usually an act of idle curiosity, akin to palm reading or astrology. The dot disappears, or it doesn’t. The silhouette of the dancer spins clockwise or counterclockwise. The three-dimensional face materializes or not, and the explanation always seems to have something to do with the eye or creativity or even personality.

 The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/10/science/10mind.1-190.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 PERCEPTUAL ILLUSIONS (Leaning toward the image makes it appear as if it is bulging.)

The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/09/health/10mind.2-190.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 (The radiating lines trick the brain into perceiving motion forward, so the center appears to bulge.)

That’s the usual cue to nod and feign renewed absorption in the pattern.

In fact, scientists have investigated such illusions for hundreds of years, looking for clues to how the brain constructs a seamless whole from the bouncing kaleidoscope of light coming through the eyes. Brain researchers today call the illusions perceptual, not optical, because the entire visual system is involved, and their theories about what is occurring can sound as exotic as anyone’s.

In the current issue of the journal Cognitive Science, researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Sussex argue that the brain’s adaptive ability to see into the near future creates many common illusions.

“It takes time for the brain to process visual information, so it has to anticipate the future to perceive the present,” said Mark Changizi, the lead author of the paper, who is now at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “One common functional mechanism can explain many of these seemingly unrelated illusions.” His co-authors were Andrew Hsieh, Romi Nijhawan, Ryota Kanai and Shinsuke Shimojo.

One fundamental debate in visual research is whether the brain uses a bag of ad hoc tricks to build a streaming model of the world, or a general principle, like filling in disjointed images based on inference from new evidence and past experience. The answer may be both. But perceptual illusions provide a keyhole to glimpse the system.

When shown two images in quick succession, one of a dot on the left of a screen and one with the dot on the right, the brain sees motion from left to right, even though there was none. The visual system has apparently constructed the scenario after it has been perceived, reconciling the jagged images by imputing motion.

In an experiment originated by Dr. Nijhawan, people watch an object pass a flashbulb. The timing is exact: the bulb flashes precisely as the object passes. But people perceive that the object has moved past the bulb before it flashes. Scientists argue that the brain has evolved to see a split second into the future when it perceives motion. Because it takes the brain at least a tenth of a second to model visual information, it is working with old information. By modeling the future during movement, it is “seeing” the present.

Dr. Changizi and his colleagues hold that it is a general principle the brain applies to a wide variety of illusions that trick the brain into sensing motion.

“It’s likely that there are many different neural mechanisms involved in perceptual illusions,” said Jacob Feldman, a Rutgers psychologist. “But the idea that there may be some overarching explanation that accounts for these separate mechanisms is compelling and satisfying to some scientists.”

Timothy Hubbard, a psychologist at Texas Christian University, said the principle of perceiving the present was sound, adding, “If a person’s response to an object, to catch, hit, block, whatever, is to be optimal, that response should be calibrated to where the object would be”— not a split second earlier, when the perception occurred.

This is why identical squares arranged around the center of a spoked-wheel image appear misshapen, said Dr. Changizi, who writes about it in a book due in 2009, “The Vision Revolution.” The sides of squares closer to the center appear to bulge. The sides farther out appear shorter. The radiating lines in the pattern trick the brain into perceiving motion forward, so it projects objects forward, making those nearer the center appear closer to the eye.

The same effect can be seen by leaning forward toward a precise checkerboard. The image seems to bulge forward, this time because the eyes are moving.

Dr. Changizi says such illusions can also occur in real life. When a golf ball or baseball rolls through the grass and suddenly drops into a hole, the brain sometimes perceives a trace of the ball on the other side of the hole.

“But these are things that we don’t experience very often,” he said, “because the brain is so good at covering up its mistakes.” 


Move Over, Oil, There's Money in Texas Wind
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 17, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/23/business/23wind.htmlThe image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/02/23/business/23wind.600.1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Jim Albert, front, and Jerry Tuttle, General Electric wind technicians, perch atop a turbine in Sweetwater, Tex. The turbines stand as high as 20-story buildings. More Photos >

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Published: February 23, 2008

Excerpts:

Correction Appended

SWEETWATER, Tex. — The wind turbines that recently went up on Louis Brooks’s ranch are twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, with blades that span as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet. More important from his point of view, he is paid $500 a month apiece to permit 78 of them on his land, with 76 more on the way.

“That’s just money you’re hearing,” he said as they hummed in a brisk breeze recently.

Texas, once the oil capital of North America, is rapidly turning into the capital of wind power. After breakneck growth the last three years, Texas has reached the point that more than 3 percent of its electricity, enough to supply power to one million homes, comes from wind turbines.

Texans are even turning tapped-out oil fields into wind farms, and no less an oilman than Boone Pickens is getting into alternative energy.

“I have the same feelings about wind,” Mr. Pickens said in an interview, “as I had about the best oil field I ever found.” He is planning to build the biggest wind farm in the world, a $10 billion behemoth that could power a small city by itself.

Wind turbines were once a marginal form of electrical generation. But amid rising concern about greenhouse gases from coal-burning power plants, wind power is booming. Installed wind capacity in the United States grew 45 percent last year, albeit from a small base, and a comparable increase is expected this year.

At growth rates like that, experts said, wind power could eventually make an important contribution to the nation’s electrical supply. It already supplies about 1 percent of American electricity, powering the equivalent of 4.5 million homes. Environmental advocates contend it could eventually hit 20 percent, as has already happened in Denmark. Energy consultants say that 5 to 7 percent is a more realistic goal in this country.

The United States recently overtook Spain as the world’s second-largest wind power market, after Germany, with $9 billion invested last year. A recent study by Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., projected $65 billion in investment from 2007 to 2015.

Despite the attraction of wind as a nearly pollution-free power source, it does have limitations. Though the gap is closing, electricity from wind remains costlier than that generated from fossil fuels. Moreover, wind power is intermittent and unpredictable, and the hottest days, when electricity is needed most, are usually not windy.

The turbines are getting bigger and their blades can kill birds and bats. Aesthetic and wildlife issues have led to opposition emerging around the country, particularly in coastal areas like Cape Cod. Some opposition in Texas has cropped up as well, including lawsuits to halt wind farms that were thought to be eyesores or harmful to wetlands.

But the opposition has been limited, and has done little to slow the rapid growth of wind power in Texas. Some Texans see the sleek new turbines as a welcome change in the landscape.

Texas has been looking at oil and gas rigs for 100 years, and frankly, wind turbines look a little nicer,” said Jerry Patterson, the Texas land commissioner, whose responsibilities include leasing state lands for wind energy development. “We’re No. 1 in wind in the United States, and that will never change.”

Texas surpassed California as the top wind farm state in 2006. In January alone, new wind farms representing $700 million of investment went into operation in Texas, supplying power sufficient for 100,000 homes.

Supporters say Texas is ideal for wind-power development, not just because it is windy. It also has sparsely populated land for wind farms, fast-growing cities and a friendly regulatory environment for developers.

Texas could be a model for the entire nation,” said Patrick Woodson, a senior development executive with E.On, a German utility operating here.

The quaint windmills of old have been replaced by turbines that stand as high as 20-story buildings, each capable of generating electricity for small communities. Powerful turbines are able to capture power even when the wind is relatively weak, and they help to lower the cost per kilowatt hour.

Much of the boom in the United States is being driven by foreign power companies with experience developing wind projects, including Iberdrola of Spain, Energias de Portugal and Windkraft Nord of Germany. Foreign companies own two-thirds of the wind projects under construction in Texas.

A short-term threat to the growth of wind power is the looming expiration of federal clean-energy tax credits, which Congress has allowed to lapse several times over the years. Advocates have called for extending those credits and eventually enacting a national renewable-power standard that would oblige states to expand their use of clean power sources.

Skip to next paragraph A longer-term problem is potential bottlenecks in getting wind power from the places best equipped to produce it to the populous areas that need electricity. The part of the United States with the highest wind potential is a corridor stretching north from Texas through the middle of the country, including sparsely populated states like Montana and the Dakotas. Power is needed most in the dense cities of the coasts, but building new transmission lines over such long distances is certain to be expensive and controversial.

“We need a national vision for transmission like we have with the national highway system,” said Robert Gramlich, policy director for the American Wind Energy Association. “We have to get over the hump of having a patchwork of electric utility fiefdoms.”

Texas is better equipped to deal with the transmission problems that snarl wind energy in other states because a single agency operates the electrical grid and manages the deregulated utility market in most of the state.

Last July, the Texas Public Utility Commission approved transmission lines across the state capable of delivering as much as 25,000 megawatts of wind energy by 2012, presuming the boom continues. That would be five times the wind power generated in the state today, and it would drive future national growth.

Shell and the TXU Corporation are planning to build a 3,000-megawatt wind farm north of here in the Texas Panhandle, leapfrogging two FPL Energy Texas wind farms to become the biggest in the world.

Not to be outdone, Mr. Pickens is planning his own 150,000-acre Panhandle wind farm of 4,000 megawatts that would be even larger and cost him $10 billion.

“I like wind because it’s renewable and it’s clean and you know you are not going to be dealing with a production decline curve,” Mr. Pickens said. “Decline curves finally wore me out in the oil business.”


Phoenix Lander finds soil on Mars similar to backyard on earth
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 17, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/science/space/27MARS.html?ref=science

Alkaline Soil Sample From Mars Reveals Presence of Nutrients for Plants to Grow

By KENNETH CHANG

Published: June 27, 2008

Stick an asparagus plant in a pot full of Martian soil, and the asparagus might grow happily, scientists announced Thursday.

The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/27/us/27mars.190.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The Phoenix lander’s scoop gathers samples of the Martian soil for analysis. The image was enhanced to brighten the scene.

Related

An experiment on the Phoenix Mars lander showed the dirt on the planet’s northern arctic plains to be alkaline, though not strongly alkaline, and full of the mineral nutrients that a plant would need.

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past, present or future,” said Samuel P. Kounaves of Tufts University, who is leading the chemical analysis, during a telephone news conference on Thursday. “The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard.”

Mars today is cold and dry, and the surface is bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, making life unlikely, but conditions could have made the planet more habitable in the past. Plants that like alkaline soil — like asparagus — might readily grow in the Martian soil, provided that other components of an Earth-like environment including air and water were also present.

The preliminary findings from Phoenix do not answer whether life ever existed on Mars (or might still exist somewhere underground), only that conditions, at least at this location, are not the harshest imaginable. The soil, taken close to the surface, was similar to what is found in parts of Antarctica, Dr. Kounaves said. The soil elsewhere on the planet could well be very different; even the soil farther down in the ground could turn out to be acidic or otherwise vary in composition.

The Phoenix is capable of performing the same chemical analysis on three more samples.

In a different experiment, a tiny oven heated another sample of the Martian soil to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which released water vapor. “This soil clearly has interacted with water in the past,” said William V. Boynton of the University of Arizona, the lead scientist in this experiment.

Dr. Boynton said he could not say when the liquid water was present or even where it was. The moisture might have come from dust particles that had blown there from other parts of Mars. “At this point, it is difficult to quantify what was given off,” he said.

The oven experiment also found carbon dioxide vapors, not surprising because the planet’s thin atmosphere is primarily carbon dioxide. The data have not revealed any carbon-based compounds.

The Phoenix mission is not directly looking for life on Mars, but rather whether conditions for habitability ever existed. In the wet chemistry experiment, water was mixed into the soil to produce Martian mud. Then the apparatus performed the same sorts of tests that gardeners use to test the condition of their soil.

The pH level was between 8 and 9, Dr. Kounaves said. The pH, or potential of hydrogen, reflects the concentration of hydrogen ions, or acidity, of a substance and usually varies between 0 and 14, with 7 considered neutral. (The water of Earth’s oceans, for comparison, has a pH of 8.2.) The experiment also found the presence of magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride ions in the soil.

“There’s nothing about it that would preclude life,” Dr. Kounaves said. “In fact, it seems very friendly.”

The image “http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/29/timestopics/Phoenix-Mars-395.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


"Nurse" painting by Louis Vuitton
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 17, 2008

The image “http://img.iht.com/images/2008/05/30/rcartaxad388.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Louis Vuitton bags inspired by Richard Prince's "Nurse" paintings.



Dubailand PowerPoint show
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 13, 2008

 (43 slides with amazing view and colors about new construction in Dubai)

 http://digitalads.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/dubailandiaeng.pdf

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 http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/06/25/duibai.tower/index.html?iref=mpstoryview


Amarnath Yatra PowerPoint show
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 13, 2008
SlideShare

Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw is dead
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 13, 2008

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jun/27sam9.htm

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jun/27sam8.htm

http://www.rediff.com/freedom/0710jha.htm

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Calling on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi after the 1971 war.