Oct 22, 2012

Let's Celebrate Lurkers' Day

How about celebrating Facebook Lurkers' Day? On that day nobody will post anything anywhere on Facebook. Everyone will only lurk on other friends' fb pages and groups. In this day and age of social media, a Lurkers Day is so apt. Celebration will be online and worldwide. The idea is to create awareness about the existence of the poor silent souls known as Lurkers.

This day the vociferous, the narcissistic, the vocal amongst us who keep clattering away at the keyboard, shall refrain from posting our witty remarks and high quality images, and experience the feelings of our friends who lurk. We shall experience their feelings of lurk and weightlessness as we silently float in cyberspace along walls, on the edge of groups, occasionally stumbling on the mass of words and sharp image corners. Traveling along our friends' timelines, we shall silently absorb facts about our friends' history, geography, political leanings, sleeping hours, the smarmy images they share, and what they do for fun.

How will we know that people lurked? Well, nobody will post anything. And since no one can stay away from facebook for even an hour, they will have no option but to lurk!

This idea can be expanded to organize Blog Lurkers' Day, Yahoogroups Lurkers' Day and so on.

Mud pack delivery?

Couldn't resist clicking this. The juxtaposition of these two elements made my morning. 

Oct 12, 2012

To believe or not to believe in a heaven?

I came across an interesting article recently, while browsing through some online news sites. The article describes the Near Death Experience of a Harvard Neurosurgeon while he was in a coma, with his cortex apparently shut down. Dr. Eben Alexander saw, or sensed, pink fluffy clouds, angels, and a darkness brimming with light that made him not afraid but happy. Out of the coma, Dr. Alexander now believes not only in heaven but also an afterlife.

I find this somewhat hard to believe. The good doctor says he can vouch for a physical heaven, but how do we know that it is really there in the material sense? If so is it a blackhole? because that is a little like what this doctor describes- "darkness brimming with light". The description also reminded me a little of the film Avatar.

But more importantly, how far do we really understand the functioning of the human brain? From what I understand of the article, it is the cortex that is can produce hallucinations. Can we conclusively say that another part of the brain does not take over (that function) if the cortex is shut down? 

Poet William Blake' saw "A heaven in a wildflower" and as long as we live that is probably the heaven to look out for.  

However the article has raised many questions. What are your thoughts on this? 

Oct 7, 2012

Blog rankings on blogger communities

Blogging platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress are used for posting various kinds of content. Yes, there are the typical blogs that post on all kinds of topics- usually thoughts, opinions, and at times information- especially related to technology.  The frequency of posts on such blogs is high and regular, mainly due to the nature of the blog.

 But many a times blogs are used to present a collection of recipes, poetry, visual art, an interesting project, or expedition. Blogs are preferred over paid websites by the blogger, as blogs are free. In such cases it is not right to rank a blog based on the regularity and frequency of posting. What matters here is the concept behind a blog, and the quality of art or poetry posted.

It is time that blogging communities, directories, other blog forums and search engines take this difference into consideration and use a different system for ranking or rating of such blogs. What do you think?

Roads that move

Nowadays wherever you go there are traffic jams, petrol and diesel fumes, unpredictable travel time, and a lot of resultant anger and frustration.

If you look closely at the cars, jeeps, and vans waiting at a traffic signal you might just realize something very significant. Most of these vehicles use just 25-60% of their seating capacity. So on an average, a car with a seating capacity of 5 people will have just 2 to 3 people in it. Which means, that if 100 cars fit on a stretch of the road, only 250-300 people are utilizing that stretch, whereas 500 people could have done so!

What this boils down to is that on one hand we have traffic jams, and on the other, the people carrying capacity of roads is highly underutilized. This problem prevails in many parts of the world to a greater or lesser extent.

Even more critical is the limited supply of fossil fuels. There have been attempts the world over to use other forms of energy to run vehicles, but with not much success.

Now here is an idea:Why not have roads that move? Right now the roads are stationary and we have vehicles running on them. But what if the roads themselves moved? This concept is not so far-fetched, considering that we already have moving escalators and walking strips at places like airports and malls. But a moving road would be a true path-breaker; please excuse the pun.  

How would a moving road help?
It would:
·   eliminate the need for vehicles for many people, especially for distances that take upto 30 minutes to commute
·   reduce the current traffic jams, as fewer vehicles on the road (with their frequently underutilized capacity feature) would free the blocked space on the road
·   drastically reduce fuel consumption, especially the kind of natural fuels required by vehicles

Design: It could be designed like a conveyer belt, or something else. All you would then have to do is step on to the road, stand or sit till you get to your destination, and then step off the road, as required. There could even be lanes, with faster moving lanes on the inside and slower moving lanes on the outside for people to step on or step off. You could also have some seats on the roads at suitable intervals, for those who need to sit. Solar energy could be used to run them.

Of course there would be a host of practical problems resulting from the installation of moving roads, but then when has this not been the case with any new invention? What one needs to do is perform an analysis to evaluate whether an idea has the capability to provide overwhelming benefit for humankind.