Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Home Server

We at our family run on Ubuntu. We also travel a lot. With heavy amounts of data we need a home server a place where we can store and collect data whenever required.

Any PC with a motherboard that supports network boot, connected to the internet via an ethernet cable, with an ubuntu system on it; multiple hard disks connected via sata cables and usbs could increase the database.

The computer must automatically load till a desktop and automatically enable it's ubuntu keyring. It can be configured to do so. It should be automatically connected to a virtual private network It should also allow remote desktop access without conformation.

This PC must be connected to a website that tracks the dynamic ip address of this computer. We will require that ip address to 'wake' the system. With simple apps on smart phones or programs on other computers, you may switch on this computer. Wait till the computer boots and you can access it via your Virtual Private Network. You can then access the computer and it's hard drives via your smart phone or your laptop.

After use, just Shut down or Hibernate the computer and you don't use more electricity than required. Your Home server doesn't require a monitor, a keyboard or a mouse.

With the motion detecting software "motion" you can also use webcams for security and have it put all it's files online!!!

If your home server runs on solar power, we can also eliminate the little bit of power that it consumes. All you would be paying for with this home server is the cost of your individual internet connections and you can access any file from your home server from any part of the world with just an internet connection!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Glass

Trees are being butchered everyday. These organisms convert atmospheric carbon  dioxide and convert it into oxygen and starch, food and air for every other organism on the planet. What makes it so amazing? Choloroplasts, cell organelles in mesenchymous cells in the leaves of plants that do the magic.

With our landscape changing from jungles to the urban jungles... we constantly see trees being cut down to form buildings. Massive constructions with many surfaces covered in glass. A simulation of the green house effect.

Extensive tissue culture projects are making progress in our times, and today struck a chord in my mind that I am to share with you today. How about develop massive leaves in the form of glass. What I mean by that is to beg nature to take its course through an artificially induced worktable for photosynthesis.

If we can culture the very same mesenchymatic tissue as seen in plants. we can have the critical bulk of the leaf right there on a media, right? Now the problem of course is that this is tissue culture, not organ culture. So you can't really supply every cell with nutrients and extract the starch because for all that you need more tissue like the vascular tissue (The veins, the phloem and the xylem etc).

How do we overcome this problem? parallel venation as seen in the banana leaf? Maybe artificial veins made up of zeolites( a microscopically narrow tube made up of aluminium and silicate with a radius large enough)? How about porous polymers with a nature to be able to pull the extracts through it by capillary motion?

The problem arises when we try to mimic nature too much. Nature does that so that it can conserve as much materials as possible. In a scenario where we need to turn green without having to wait for organoculture to develop a little extra materials don't cause much harm, right? Why not have the cells grow to only one or 3 layers and create a membrane right on top of that (Mimicking the basement membrane) and have fluid media spread around on top of it rich and even? The media can be circulated into the glass and out where we could easily remove the starch and enrich the media before recycling it through the Green Glass?

Imagine: Massive buildings covered in green glass carrying out photosynthesis, covering our landscape. We won't need to worry about global warming too much after that, right?

Ofcourse. One has to ignore smaller issues one might encounter in the process as that of contamination, the recycling of the media. These are solutions that can be worked on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wheatgrass and irrigation

So lately I got into the craze of growing some wheatgrass.. it's really easy actually.

Step 1. Get some whole wheat
Step 2. Wash and soak the seeds in water about 3 times its volume for three hours
Step 3. Keep seeds aside for 12 hours in a dry condition to let it germinate and let the excess water not stay and rot the seeds
Step 4. Get some kind of cloth or any matrix that can store some water for hours.
Step 5. Grow it for 3 days in darkness giving it generous amounts of water and letting most of it run off.
Step 6. Once the grass grows tall and yellow enough put it in sunlight for the leaves to turn green keep watering the plants and watch it grow.

However.. I realized quite soon that the sun was too harsh and my grass was drying up real fast. I had to water the plants more than twice a day to keep the plants alive and growing..

My irrigation system consists of  a bottle with 4 holes and a screw cap.
3 holes are lower and stuffed with a strip of cloth. Water travels through this by capillary motion, but gravity pulls it down so the holes have to be high enough for the rest of the cloth to be sloping downward.

The last hole is relatively higher and is made to a specific size. This hole is how i regulate the water flow.

The batches on either side thrive.

I fill up the bottle with water upto the brim while holding down the only free hole, my regulatory hole and I screw the lid back on. I let go of the hole now and the water doesn't trickle out. Instead, every now and then a little bubble gets into the bottle and  goes upto the top.

What's happening is that water travels down the cloth pieces and the decrease in water brings about a slightly lower pressure inside the bottle. this is compensated by with air from the regulatory hole.

Bigger the regulatory hole more air can get in.. this also allows more water to trickle out.

Simple.. now i can fill the bottle up with water and forget about how hot the day is. I now fill my regulatory system everyday. The grass is now growing well and the cloth is soaking wet.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Earth and Gaya - Observations from a simple experiment

An interesting thought came across my mind the other day.. and a very
simple experiment with observations brought me a bit closer to
understanding the complexities of gaya and earth's self healing

Bangalore is also called the silicon city.. mainly cause of the IT
companies but I think its cause of the amount of dust that flies by
here... have an open veranda and you can see how, literally kilos of
dust can pile up in a few weeks.

Now what is dust? when we were kids, we learnt about soil erosion..
when we grew up.. we learnt about silicone oxide being sand and other
such oxides forming what we can hold and call dust.

My experiment was simple.. I collected a quarter kilo of the dust that
i talked about and put it in a pot, with water and some seeds, hoping
to watch it germinate.. experiment failed miserably..

My inference: Silica is not all that matters.. in fact I've never
heard of a plant or any organism having silica in their bodies except
women with boob jobs and some maybe bacteria that orient themselves in
a north south manner cause of certain magnetic minerals in their
bodies and their intricate physiology.. Plants.. none that i know of.
Plants need nitrogen, potassium, calcium, carbon, water, a bit of
phosphorus, sulphur etc.. none of which was there in the almost pure
silica and other oxides that I collected.

My observation: a bunch of people with shovels came by to unclog
drains and clear roads. They happen to clear out a stone corner and
leave it barren. I observed this for months.. at least 5 kilos of dust
collected there and along with water from the monsoons, this dust
turned to abiotic mud... pure wet crystals packed together. Algae and
Cyanobacteria thrive on carbon dioxide and water. When water clogged
in the monsoon, within two weeks, you could see patches of these
wonderful creatures growing, forming beautiful little bubbles of
oxygen. The increased carbon dioxide content in atmosphere, increases
it in the water too. This means more food for them. Every time water
collected, these dried microbes would come back to life and within no
time.That abiotic mud, turned green

Over and over again I noticed before this that grass started
sprouting. And over and over again, with nothing to hold on to, this
grass would soon dry up and the roots wouldn't hold to anything and
just fall off and be carried away. With the heavily interconnecting
cyano bacteria and algal growths, these roots now had substance to
hold onto. Algae and cyano bacteria play a very important role in the
nitrogen cycle.. and within no time.. this mud had heavy nitrogen

Humans throw all kinds of wastes on the streets, soap (Small contents
of phosphorus in the soap accelerated algal growth like crazy), paper,
shit, banana peels, food, puke. etc. this mud has been quietly
collecting all this and developed fungus all over.
Fungus helps a lot in the break down of all these decomposing material
and gives the plants a rich source of phosphorus, potassium nitrogen,
calcium and a lot of other elements in forms that a plant can take up

Every time it rained, the smell of fresh rain, caused by Geosmin, which
is secreted by actinomycetes was very evident. Actinomycetes are sold
at agricultural institutes as a high grade biological manure.

The silica had nothing to do with the soil. It was just a matrix for
everything else to fall upon. What helped silica be an ideal matrix
is.. its inert crystalline form. At a higher level, one learns that a
crystal matrix exists only so cause of a certain charge that they
carry individually at the silica atom and the oxide radical. At the
same time the fact that it didn't decompose into water enough to
matter to react with other physiology matters equally.

Within a matter of two months, dust turned to soil that i can't
  differentiate from that in a pot

The earth healed herself in a matter of two months? do you have any
idea how long it took to turn hard rock into dust? years.

I have new hope for our planet cause I believe it is stronger than we
have misjudged it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Virus Power

Viruses are made up of just two main parts. A protein coat and DNA core. The protein coat is designed to match it's target cell in a complementary manner and thus fuse with it, injecting the DNA core to the cell it is infecting.

Create a protein coat that matches and targets your cell of interest and what you have are viruses that are launched like guided missiles hitting only the cells you want it to.

The DNA core tells the infected cell what to do. It takes over command as the first few things it codes for, it does so at the expense of the cell. Beyond that .. it just doesn't matter if the host sustains its own cellular machinary.

Lets say, i target, by modifying the protein coat, only adipose tissue. I ask the virus to install information for excess insulin production... with a bit of gene regulation, we have a one dose lifetime treatment for obese diabetic patients. 

This virus will slowly feed on the fat, releasing insulin in a regulated manner to control blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, target the myocytes or the muscles and convert cellular matter into neurotoxins. 

At the battlefield, an infection would lead soldiers immobile and crying in agony and pain just hours after the infection.

Questioning Evolution

I recently read this article and being a biologist, I couldn't just let it go. Here is the article and what i think about questioning evolution.


 In the Nature article announcing his latest findings, Jun-Yuan Chen and his colleagues reported dryly that the ancient fish "will add to the debate on the evolutionary transition from invertebrate to vertebrate.

 But the new fossils have become nothing less than a challenge to the theory of evolution in the hands of Chen, a professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology. Chen argued that the emergence of such a sophisticated creature at so early a date shows that modern life forms burst on the scene suddenly, rather than through any gradual process.

 According to Chen, the conventional forces of evolution can't account for the speed, the breadth, and one-time nature of "the Cambrian explosion," a geologic moment more than 500 million years ago when virtually all the major animal groups first appear in the fossil record.

 Rather than Charles Darwin's familiar notion of survival of the fittest, Chen said he believes scientists should focus on the possibility that a unique harmony between forms of life allowed complex organisms to emerge. If all we have to depend upon is chance and competition, the conventional forces of evolution, Chen said, "then complex, highly evolved life, such as the human, has no reason to appear."

 The debate over Haikouella casts Western scientists in the unlikely role of defending themselves against charges of ideological blindness from scientists in Communist China. Chinese officials argue that the theory of evolution is so politically charged in the West that researchers are reluctant to admit shortcomings for fear of giving comfort to those who believe in a biblical creation.

 "Evolution is facing an extremely harsh challenge," declared the Communist Party's Guang Ming Daily last December in describing the fossils in southern China. "In the beginning, Darwinian evolution was as scientific theory.... In fact, evolution eventually changed into a religion."

 Taunts from the Communist Party wouldn't carry much sting, however, if some Western scientists weren't also concerned about weaknesses in so-called neo-Darwinism, the dominant view of evolution over the last 50 years.

 "Neo-Darwinism is dead," said Eric Davidson, a geneticist and textbook writer at the California Institute of Technology. He joined a recent gathering of 60 scientists from around the world near Chengjiang, where Chen had found his first impressions of Haikouella five years ago.

 But most Westerners at Chen's conference came to praise Darwin, not to bury him. The idea that neo-Darwinism is missing something fundamental about evolution is as scandalous to Americans as it is basic to the Chinese.

 Despite their misgivings about Chen's "harmony" proposal - a mysterious mix of scientific caution, Chinese philosophy, and a decidedly non-Western lack of concern for Darwinian orthodoxy Western scientists have no choice but to go to China to learn about the emergence of animal body plans, including that of humans.

 Virtually all of today's living phyla  or major animal groups make their first impressions in the geologic period known as the Cambrian. And Chengjiang, in the southern province of Yunnan, contains the oldest and best preserved Cambrian fossils in the world. Jun-Yuan Chen has coauthored half of all the papers on the Chengjiang fauna.

 Chen's discovery of the earliest creature with a primitive nervous system, called a chordate, is, for him, but one more piece in a puzzle that looks less and less like the conventional picture of evolution through natural selection.

 For Western paleontologists, Haikouella looks like a breakthrough for understanding the origin of the human lineage. "It proves that the direct ancestor of mankind already existed in the time of the Cambrian explosion," said German paleontologist Michael Steiner.

 "Sort of instinctively, I felt I should go and pay homage to this animal," said another scientist at the conference, Nicholas Holland, an authority on primitive chordates at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. "It's the earliest known chordate ancestor. This is going to be page one, two, three and four of vertebrate texts."

 Chen enjoys seeing his fossils get the attention. But to him, the big story is not that he has discovered our earliest traceable ancestor but that the Cambrian explosion of new body plans is proving to be real, not an illusion produced by an incomplete fossil record.

 Because new animal groups did not continue to appear after the Cambrian explosion 530 million years ago, he believes that a unique kind of evolution was going on in Cambrian seas. And, because his years of examining rocks from before the Cambrian period has not turned up viable ancestors for the Cambrian animal groups, he concludes that their evolution must have happened quickly, within a mere 2 or 3 million years.

 According to Chen, the two main forces of evolution espoused by neo-Darwinism, natural selection ("survival of the littest") and random genetic mutation, cannot account for the sudden emergence of so many new genetic forms.

 "Harmony can be a driving force [of evolution], too," Chen proposed at the Chengjiang conference.

 As if to underscore the abruptness of Haikouella's place in the million years old. Darwin wrote that, if his theory is true, then the world must have been swarming with the ancestors of the Cambrian critters during long ages before them. He expected future generations to find them.

 Today, paleontologists still.lack viable ancestors for the Cambrian's 40 or more animal phyla. Most researchers explain this by assuming that Precambrian animals were simply too small or too soft to leave a fossil record, or that conditions were unfavorable to fossilization.

 But, for the last three years, Chen's discoveries at Precambrian fossil sites with Taiwanese biologist Chia-Wei Li have magnified this mystery. While sifting though the debris of a phosphate mining site, Chen and Li eventually discovered the earliest clear fossils of multicellular animals. They found sponges and tiny sponge embryos by the thousands  but nothing resembling the fish-like Haikouella or forerunners of other Cambrian creatures, such as trilobites.

 When word of the discovery got out, Chen and Li suddenly found themselves in the international spotlight. But when the hoopla was over and their discovery established, they wondered what evolutionary problems they had actually solved.

 In fact, the pair had failed to find any recognizable body plans showing steps along the way toward the complex Cambrian animais, with their legs, antennae, eyes and other features.

 What they had actually proved was that phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times. Because they found sponges and sponge embryos in abundance, researchers are no longer so confident that Precambrian animals were too soft or too small to be preserved.

 "I think this is a major mystery in paleontology," Chen said. "Before the Cambrian, we should see a number of steps - differentiation of cells, differentiation of tissue, of dorsal and ventral, right and left But we don't have strong evidence for any of these."

 Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: "No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena."

 In Chen's view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution.

 In the most published diagram in the history of evolutionary biology, Darwin illustrated what became the standard view of how new taxa, or animal categories, evolve. Beginning with small variations, evolving animals diverge farther from the original ancestor, eventually becoming new species, then new genera, new families, and the divergence continues until the highest taxa are reached, which are separated from one another by the greatest differences.

 But the fossil record shows that story is not true, according to Chen. The differences appear dramatically in the early days, instead of coming at the top. Chen suggested that biologists need to seek new mechanisms to explain these evolutionary leaps.

 Wherever the first chordates came from, Nicholas Holland of Scripps agreed that science should now take seriously the possibility that evolution can occur in relatively quick jumps.

 That still leaves a great divide between Chen, Li and the Chinese media on one side and the mainstream Western view, in which scientists are reluctant to admit that the Cambrian explosion poses a difficult challenge.

 But conferences such as the one in Chengjiang may be changing some views. One of the symposium organizers, paleontologist David Bottjer of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said he disagrees with the idea of rapid evolution, but he conceded, "The Cambrian Explosion is going to tell us something different about evolution, in the sense that it's not the same story that we have always been taught."                         "

There has been a mistake. In this article, i find them repeatedly questioning evolution as a process and they are arguing about darwinism and a gradual (most generally accepted form of) evolution.

Fossil records still prove that animals did evolve from being simple to more complex. Isn't that how you start teaching children about evolution?

I agree that evolution may have happened way too fast to accept. But isn't it more accurate to say that we do not fully understand evolution than to say that it just didn't exist?

The main arguments to evolution have been

Thermodynamics, The Cambrian Bloom argument, Formation of the Eye, Evolution of parasites, Simultaneous evolution of Both genders in a species, Magical appearance of the bat or monkeys  etc.

I can argue both sides of evolution pretty well but what i believe is..

All of this is proof of how we don't understand evolution well. What caused the cambrian bloom, the magical appearances, the organs? these are the questions we must be asking, not question basic theories that could be true. Maybe we should be teaching evolution as its principle skeletal form and not go too much into it's details

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Linux Distros

After months and months of searching and researching, downloading and trying out at least 20 iso and distros here is a small conclusion. There is still a lot to discover out there.

1. Best distro for programmers - Gentoo
2. Best distro for networking and security - Red hat and Fedora
3. Best distro for old obsolete computers - Puppy linux
4. Best distro for educational and kids 2 yrs and above - Quimo
5. Best distro for gaming - Supreme Supergamer
6. Best distro for hacking - Backtrack
7. Best distro for Rescue - Trinity
8. Best distro for cloud computing - Peppermint Ice
9. Best live distro - Knoppix
10.Smallest distro - Tiny Core Linux

Ubuntu is the best for a normal user... be it on a desktop, laptop, notebook, mac. Everything.

Also......have you ever wondered what KDE and Gnome are?
Linux is actually like dos, right.. you type commands (which people don't really like).. so there have been a few programs that do that work for you and give you a window to work gui in. KDE and Gnome are the most popular of the lot.

KDE and Gnome users hate each other.. and here is why.

KDE writers believe in having the power to tweak their graphical interface to the maximum. KDE thus has a lot of complex options to make everything look better..

Gnome writers believe in simplicity. Though the power to tweak still exists, it's less versatile. Gnome is for beginners and people who do not wish to be lost in the hassle.

I've just given my opinion on the most controversial topics, am sure i will get a lot of comments on which people think is better, I would love to hear them all and try out what others have to offer. Also if you find other distros that are out there to focus on some task as mentioned above please do let me know.