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Thursday, December 27, 2012


Eben Alexander did not believe in spirituality and was fond of para-jumping which he had done several times. Once he was about to dash against another trooper while on JUMP, but some part of his brain (he calls it CORE - Not the one that does analysis, neither the one that controls body parts), shifted him to his utter astonishment to safety.

Later he had an attack from E.Coli bacteria (1 in 1,00,00,000 of meningitis patients!) that lead him to COMA for 7 days. He describes those days as touring the Universe beautifully with something that was always pleasant, like sun-rise, green-cover, water-falls, canals etc. He could find himself flying above these.

For a neurosurgeon who had performed 100's of brain surgeries, opened the skulls, injected plasma, no amount of antibiotic worked and his return from death-bed, he says, was due to pure LOVE from God.

Out of his coma he was given a picture of his birth sister, whom he’d never met because he was adopted and she had died. He was shocked to find that she was the angelic guide who gave him the tour of the universe.

On Science he writes that "our focus on exponential progress in science and technology has left many of us relatively bereft in the realm of meaning and joy, and of knowing how our lives fit into the grand scheme of existence for all eternity".

About BRAIN: The brain does not REALLY THINK!!!. It filters bits and pieces of information and formulates a story. This is what it decides is reality, all the while true reality lies outside its awareness. Our daily experiences are an illusion. However, love is the true reality and the love we have for our children, spouses, friends, pets, etc. never dies.

# Time does not exist in reality. Time and space are only a function of the dualistic nature in the physical universe.

# We are loved, innocent and there is nothing to fear.

# We must choose love instead of fear because we are allowed to choose what we will experience.

# The false belief in separation from God is the source of all anxiety and problems and the solution for every problem is recognizing that we are one with each other and God.

# Physicality is characterized by defensiveness. There is no loss in Spirit, therefore nothing to defend.

He also refutes other scientific versions in an appendix, with medical language that only a physician would understand.

Excellently narrated, this book should become must read for everyone who love spirituality and who believe in life-after-death. I would go to an extent suggesting that this book could even be included in some 'literature' part of the College syallbus. I am thankful to Prof. Rahmatullah Vellore for referring us to a review about this author in 'Newsweek' some time back.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Inside NASA's mission control centre

10 Everyday Things that Cause Brain Farts

Our brains balk at the thought of four-dimensional hypercubes, quantum mechanics or an infinite universe, and understandably so. But our gray matter is generally adept at processing sensory data from the mundane objects and experiences of daily life. However, there are glaring exceptions. Here are 10 things that unexpectedly throw our brains for a loop, revealing some of the bizarre quirks in their structure and function that usually manage to slip under the radar. Read more at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eye Vs Camera

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Laplace Demon

"We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes."

If we imagine the exercise as purely mental, involving only the idea of such knowledge, we can see the Laplace's demon as a secular substitute for an omniscient God with perfect foreknowledge.
Laplace's view implies that the past and the present always contain exactly the same knowledge. This makes information a constant of nature. Indeed, some mathematicians think that information is a conserved quantity, like the conservation of mass and energy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Moving Rows Paradox

# At a given time the trains are positioned as in first figure.
# A second later they are all aligned as shown in next figure.
# Look at train B: in one second it has move the length of ONE carriage p
ast train A, right?
#But at the same time it has moved two carriages past train C!!

The paradox is that train B has moved a distance and twice that distance at the same TIME!!!! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka: A Prose Poem, 1848

Were the succession of stars endless, then the background of the sky would present us a uniform luminosity, like that displayed by the Galaxy - since there could be absolutely no point, in all that background, at which would not exist a star. The only mode, therefore, in which, under such a state of affairs, we could comprehend the voids, which our telescopes find in innumerable directions, would be by supposing the distance of the invisible background so immense that no ray from it has yet been able to reach us at all.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Suitable Fit

In 1966, Austrian mathematician Leo Moser asked a pleasingly practical question: If a corridor is 1 meter wide, what’s the largest sofa one could squeeze around a corner?  That was 46 years ago, and it’s still an open question. In 1968 Britain’s John Michael Hammersley showed that a sofa shaped somewhat like a telephone receiver could make the turn even if its area were more than 2 square meters (above). In 1992 Joseph Gerver improved this a bit further, but the world’s tenants await a definitive solution. Similar problems concern moving ladders and pianos. Perhaps what we need are wider corridors.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Benham’s Top

Cut out this disc, pierce it with a pencil, and spin it like a top. The colors that appear are not entirely understood; it’s thought that they arise due to the different rates of stimulation of color receptors in the retina. The effect was discovered by the French monk Benedict Prévost in 1826, and then rediscovered 12 times, most famously by the toy maker Charles E. Benham, who marketed an “artificial spectrum top” In 1894. Nature remarked on it that November: “If the direction of rotation is reversed, the order of these tints is also reversed. The cause of these appearances does not appear to have been exactly worked out.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shuttles Come Nose-to-Nose

NASA's space shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis switched locations today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and in the process came "nose-to-nose" for the last time in front of Orbiter Processing Facility 3.

Endeavour was moved from Orbiter Processing Facility 2 to the Vehicle Assembly Building where it will be housed temporarily until its targeted departure from Kennedy atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in mid-September. After a stop at the Los Angeles International Airport, Endeavour will move in mid-October to the California Science Center for permanent public display.

Now in the processing facility after leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building, shuttle Atlantis will undergo preparations for its move to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in November, with a grand opening planned for July 2013.

Monday, August 13, 2012

From Pedro A. Pisa in Scripta Mathematica, September 1954 — this identity:

1234 + 2484 + 3674 = 1254 + 2444 + 3694

… remains valid when the digits in each term are permuted in the same way:

1234 + 2484 + 3674 = 1254 + 2444 + 3694 
1243 + 2448 + 3647 = 1245 + 2444 + 3649 
1324 + 2844 + 3764 = 1524 + 2444 + 3964 
1342 + 2844 + 3746 = 1542 + 2444 + 3946 
1423 + 2448 + 3467 = 1425 + 2444 + 3469 
1432 + 2484 + 3476 = 1452 + 2444 + 3496 
2134 + 4284 + 6374 = 2154 + 4244 + 6394 
2143 + 4248 + 6347 = 2145 + 4244 + 6349 
2314 + 4824 + 6734 = 2514 + 4424 + 6934 
2341 + 4842 + 6743 = 2541 + 4442 + 6943 
2413 + 4428 + 6437 = 2415 + 4424 + 6439 
2431 + 4482 + 6473 = 2451 + 4442 + 6493 
3124 + 8244 + 7364 = 5124 + 4244 + 9364 
3142 + 8244 + 7346 = 5142 + 4244 + 9346 
3214 + 8424 + 7634 = 5214 + 4424 + 9634 
3241 + 8442 + 7643 = 5241 + 4442 + 9643 
3412 + 8424 + 7436 = 5412 + 4424 + 9436 
3421 + 8442 + 7463 = 5421 + 4442 + 9463 
4123 + 4248 + 4367 = 4125 + 4244 + 4369 
4132 + 4284 + 4376 = 4152 + 4244 + 4396 
4213 + 4428 + 4637 = 4215 + 4424 + 4639 
4231 + 4482 + 4673 = 4251 + 4442 + 4693 
4312 + 4824 + 4736 = 4512 + 4424 + 4936 
4321 + 4842 + 4763 = 4521 + 4442 + 4963

And everything above holds true if each term is squared.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Imagine two concentric roulette wheels, each divided into 100 sectors. Choose 50 sectors at random on each wheel, paint them black, and paint the rest white. Prove that we can now position the wheels so that at least 50 of the aligned sectors match.


Follow a sector on the inner wheel through a complete revolution: That sector will find exactly 50 matches. The same is true for each of the 100 sectors on the wheel; altogether, as the wheel turns through 100 positions, there will be 100 × 50 = 5,000 matches. This means that the average number of matches per position is 50, so there must be at least one position with 50 matches.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Hustle and Bustle of Our Solar System

This diagram illustrates the differences between orbits of a typical near-Earth asteroid (blue) and a potentially hazardous asteroid, or PHA (orange). PHAs are a subset of the near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and have the closest orbits to Earth's orbit, coming within 5 million miles (about 8 million kilometers). They also are large enough to survive passage through Earth's atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale.

Our yellow sun sits at the center of the crowd, while the orbits of the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars are shown in grey. Earth's orbit stands out in green between Venus and Mars. As the diagram indicates, the PHAs tend to have more Earth-like orbits than the rest of the NEAs. The asteroid orbits are simulations of what a typical object's path around the sun might look like.

The dots in the background are based on data from NASA's NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, which scanned the whole sky twice in infrared light before entering hibernation mode in 2011. The blue and orange dots represent a simulation of the population of near-Earth asteroids and PHAs, respectively, which are larger than 330 feet (100 meters).

NEOWISE has provided the best overall look at the PHA population yet, refining estimates of their numbers, sizes, types of orbits and potential hazards. The NEOWISE team estimates that about 20 to 30 percent of the PHAs thought to exist have actually been discovered as may 2012, the date of this image.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Exploring the Quantum World

Researchers at JPL and Caltech have developed an instrument for exploring the cosmos and the quantum world.

This new type of amplifier boosts electrical signals and can be used for everything from studying stars, galaxies and black holes to exploring the quantum world and developing quantum computers. An amplifier is a device that increases the strength of a weak signal.

One of the key features of the new amplifier is that it incorporates superconductors--materials that allow an electric current to flow with zero resistance when lowered to certain temperatures. For their amplifier, the researchers are using titanium nitride and niobium titanium nitride, which have just the right properties to allow the pump signal to amplify the weak signal.

Although the amplifier has a host of potential applications, the reason the researchers built the device was to help them study the universe. The team built the instrument to boost microwave signals, but the new design can be used to build amplifiers that help astronomers observe in a wide range of wavelengths, from radio waves to X-rays.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Higgs boson made simple

So what's the Higgs boson, and why are people spending billions of dollars to find that god-danged subatomic particle? I've rounded up a variety of resources aimed at showing you why the hunt for the Higgs is a big deal.
First, a little context: The Higgs particle, and its associated field, were hypothesized back in the 1960s by British physicist Peter Higgs and others to fill a weird gap in the Standard Model, one of physics' most successful theories. The model as it stood had no mechanism to explain why some particles are massless (such as the photon, which is the quantum bit for light and other types of electromagnetic radiation), while other particles have varying degrees of mass (such as the W and Z bosons, which play a part in the weak nuclear force). By rights, all particles should be without mass and zipping around freely.
The Higgs mechanism sets up a field that interacts with particles to endow them with mass, and the Higgs boson is the particle associated with that field — just as photons are associated with an electromagnetic field. For more than four decades, physicists have assumed that the Higgs field existed, but found no experimental evidence for it. It requires a super-powerful particle smasher such as the Large Hadron Collider to produce energies high enough to knock a Higgs boson into existence under controlled conditions.
But the heavy particles created in a collider exist for just an instant before they decay into lighter particles. The LHC's physicists have been looking for particular patterns in the spray of particles that match what they'd expect to see from the decay of the Higgs boson. They've collected data for roughly a quadrillion proton-on-proton collisions, and on Wednesday they'll announce the status of the Higgs search based on those conclusions.

The teams at the LHC's ATLAS and CMS detectors are likely to say they're pretty sure they see a new type of particle with Higgs-like characteristics, but will need more time to nail down those characteristics completely. If that's the case, physicists can then go on to find out if the Higgs mechanism works exactly the way they expected it to, or whether there are unexpected twists. Some of the theories about how the universe is put together are pretty far-out — for example, suggesting that there are several dimensions in space that we can't perceive directly, or that there are huge troops of subatomic particles that we haven't yet discovered. Following the tracks left behind by the Higgs could reveal whether there's any truth to those theories.
Analogies, please!
For decades, experts have been trying to come up with analogies to illustrate how the Higgs mechanism works. One of the best-known was proposed in 1993 by David Miller, a physicist at University College London. Imagine looking down from a balcony in a ballroom, watching a cocktail party below. When just plain folks try to go from one end of the room to the other, they can walk through easily, with no resistance from the party crowd. But when a celebrity like Justin Bieber shows up, other partygoers press around him so tightly that he can hardly move ... and once he moves, the crowd moves with him in such a way that the whole group is harder to stop.
The partygoers are like Higgs bosons, the just plain folks are like massless particles, and Bieber is like a massive Z boson.
The Guardian's Ian Sample demonstrates a variant of this analogy in a 4.5-minute video: Imagine a tray with ping-pong balls scattered on it. The balls roll freely around the empty tray. But then, if you spread a layer of sugar over the tray, the balls sitting on the piled-up sugar don't roll so easily. The grains of sugar introduce a kind of inertial "drag," and that's the kind of effect that the Higgs field supposedly has on particles with mass.
In a 60-second shot of science written for Symmetry magazine, Howard Haber of the University of California at Santa Cruz uses a livelier comparison to a high-speed bullet plowing through a vat of molasses.
What good is it?
Particle physicists try to avoid forecasting the applications of an experimental advance before the actual advance is confirmed, but in the past, advances on a par with the discovery of the Higgs boson have had lots of beneficial applications, and some that are more questionable. The rise of nuclear power and nuclear weaponry is a prime example of that double-edged sword.
The discovery of antimatter is what made medical PET scanning possible, and antimatter propulsion could eventually play a part in interstellar travel, just like on "Star Trek." Particle accelerators have opened the way to medical treatments such as proton eye therapy — as well as advances in materials science, thanks to neutron scattering.
It's conceivable that the discoveries made at the Large Hadron Collider will eventually point to new sources of energy, Michio Kaku, a physicist at City College of New York, told me during a discussion of the LHC's promise and peril. And if the discovery of the Higgs leads to fresh insights into the fabric of the universe, it's conceivable that we could take advantage of the as-yet-unknown weave of that fabric for communication or transportation. Who knows? Maybe this is how "Star Trek" gets its start.

Courtesy :

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dirac's Poser

While a student at Cambridge, Paul Dirac attended a mathematical congress that posed the following problem:

After a big day’s catch, three fisherman go to sleep next to their pile of fish. During the night, one fisherman decides to go home. He divides the fish in three and finds that this leaves one extra fish. He throws this into the water, takes one third of the remaining fish, and departs.

The second fisherman awakes. Not knowing that the first has left, he too divides the fish into three piles, finds one fish left over, discards it, and takes a third of the remainder. The third fisherman does the same. What is the least number of fish that the fishermen could have started with?

Dirac proposed that they had begun with -2 fish. The first fisherman threw one into the water, leaving -3, and took a third of this, leaving -2. The second and third fisherman followed suit.

This story was recalled by “a well-meaning experimenter” in the Russian miscellany Physicists Continue to Laugh (1968). “I could tell many other stories about theoreticians and their work,” he wrote, “but they have told me that one theoretician is writing a story under the title ‘How Experimental Physicists Work.’ That, of course, will be presented upside down.”

Of the integers from 1 to 1,000,000, which are more numerous: the numbers that contain a 1 or those that don’t?

To list the numbers that don’t contain a 1, imagine six spaces and fill each with the digits 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. The number of ways of doing this is 96. There’s one exception: 000000 doesn’t fall between 1 and 1,000,000. So the number of integers without 1 is 96 – 1 = 531,440, and the number with 1 is 468,560.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Transversal of primes

Choose a prime number p, draw a p×p array, and fill it with integers like so:

Now: Can we always find p cells that contain prime numbers such that no two occupy the same row or column? (This is somewhat like arranging rooks on a chessboard so that every rank and file is occupied but no rook attacks another.)

The example below shows one solution for p=11. Does a solution exist for every prime number? No one knows.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A problem from Litton Mathematical Recreations, which attributes it to Fermat circa 1635:

What is the remainder upon dividing 5999,999 by 7?

When successive powers of 5 are divided by 7, the remainders form a repeating series:
51 / 7 = 0 remainder 5
52 / 7 = 3 remainder 4
53 / 7 = 17 remainder 6
54 / 7 = 89 remainder 2
55 / 7 = 446 remainder 3
56 / 7 = 2232 remainder 1
57 / 7 = 11160 remainder 5
58 / 7 = 55803 remainder 4
59 / 7 = 279017 remainder 6
510 / 7 = 1395089 remainder 2

The 999,999th term of the series is 6.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

1234567891, 12345678901234567891, and 1234567891234567891234567891 are prime.

So are

19793393 and

And so are

742950290878080878092059247 and

If the nth term of the Fibonacci series is prime, then n also is prime (where n > 4). For example, the 17th term, 1597, is prime, and 17 is prime.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Endeavour for Endeavour

What would it be like to fly a space shuttle? Although the last of NASA's space shuttles has now been retired, it is still fun to contemplate sitting at the controls of one of the humanity's most sophisticated machines. Pictured above is the flight deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour, the youngest shuttle and the second to last ever launched. The numerous panels and displays allowed the computer-controlled orbiter to enter the top of Earth's atmosphere at greater than the speed of sound and -- just thirty minutes later -- land on a runway like an airplane. The retired space shuttles are now being sent to museums, with Endeavour being sent to California Space Center in Los Angeles, California, Atlantis to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island, Florida, and Discovery to the Udvar-Hazy Annex of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. Therefore sitting in a shuttle pilot's chair and personally contemplating the thrill of human space flight may actually be in your future.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Brain is Full of Surprises

Maybe you heard about the study published last week that compared the brain’s wiring to the streets of Manhattan. It made me wonder if this had anything to do with how active my brain’s fear center gets when I’m in the back of a New York taxi, but apparently the scientists did not see the value of this line of research.

They did, however, find that the connections in our brains seem to follow a fairly basic design, that instead of resembling a bowl of tangled spaghetti, as once thought, they’re laid out like a grid. (Well, that’s reassuring.) And, says the study’s lead author, Van Wedeen, of Harvard Medical School, that helps clarify how a relatively small number of genes can produce a blueprint for something so complex. It also explains how the basic brain of a flatworm could evolve into a stunningly complicated human mind. To extend Wedeen’s Manhattan analogy, it’s a case of adding a lot more streets to the grid.

The value of the study, along with other major brain mapping undertakings, such as the Human Connectome Project, is that they’ll help scientists see what goes wrong to cause disorders such as autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

more at

Are we alone?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It’s impossible to trisect an angle using a compass and a straightedge, but in 1947 Leo Moser showed how to do it with a pocketwatch. At noon align the watch’s hands with one side of the angle (above, XII), then wait until the minute hand has crossed to the other side (III). At that point the hour hand will have measured one-twelfth of the angle. Double that twice and you have your trisection.

“Now you can trisect an angle anytime, anyplace, for anyone who asks,” writes Underwood Dudley in A Budget of Trisections. “But no one ever will.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


                     -- SHELDON GLASHOW, 1979

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Richard Feynman, the late Caltech physicist, is famous for working on the atomic bomb, winning a Nobel Prize in Physics, cracking safes, playing drums and driving a 1975 Dodge Maxivan adorned with squiggly lines on the side panels. Most people who saw it gazed in puzzlement, but once in a while someone would ask the driver why he had Feynman diagrams all over his van, only to be told, “Because I’m Richard Feynman!”

    Feynman diagrams are simplified visual representations of the very complex world of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in which particles of light called photons are depicted by wavy lines, negatively charged electrons are depicted by straight or curved nonwavy lines, and line junctions show electrons emitting or absorbing a photon. In the diagram on the back door of the van, seen in the photograph above with Tufte, time flows from bottom to top. The pair of electrons (the straight lines) are moving toward each other. When the left-hand electron emits a photon (wavy-line junction), that negatively charged particle is deflected outward left; the right-hand electron reabsorbs the photon, causing it to deflect outward right.

Is Carbon di oxide Poisonous?

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is present in the air you breathe. Plants "breathe" it in order to make glucose. You exhale carbon dioxide gas as a by-product of respiration. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is one of the greenhouse gases. You find it added to soda, naturally occurring in beer, and in its solid form as dry ice. Based on what you know, do you think carbon dioxide is poisonous or is it non-toxic or somewhere in between?

Ordinarily, carbon dioxide is not poisonous. It diffuses from your cells into your bloodstream and from there out via your lungs, yet it is always present throughout your body.

However, if you breathe high concentrations of carbon dioxide or re-breathe air (such as from a plastic bag or tent), you may be at risk for carbon dioxide intoxication or even carbon dioxide poisoning. Carbon dioxide intoxication and carbon dioxide poisoning are independent of oxygen concentration, so you may have enough oxygen present to support life, yet still suffer from the effects of rising carbon dioxide concentration in your blood and tissues. Symptoms of carbon dioxide toxicity include high blood pressure, flushed skin, headache and twitching muscles. At higher levels, you could experience panic, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, vomited and potentially unconsciousness or even death.