Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marketing Strategy + Technology = A Job!!!

In this blog, I have written about and provided the link to an amazing resume, perhaps one of a kind.....which combines sharp marketing strategy with technology.....this man got to be a genius in the making!

This is a Super Flash animated Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV) which was rewarded by Microsoft with a Job!! "Ultimate CV!!!"

There is a saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words," wonder what phrase to coin after viewing this resume/CV.

This guy posted his resume as a musical on the net and he really got hired by the Microsoft graphics team. This is amazing stuff.....

The man who prepared this resume received job offers from 180 companies. More than 1,000,000 people have viewed this CV so far.......superb self advertisement!!

Click here to view this resume: http://www.paradoxware.com/alstudio/cv/en.htm

Photographs: Cartoons depicting "Office/Work/Hiring Scenarios." Cartoons drawn by Parimal Joshi.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Paid in full with one glass of milk" and other stories.

I found the following two stories to be quite interesting as well as thought-provoking and hence decided to share them on my blog. The third and fourth ones are plain hilarious, conveying a sharp satire.

1) One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water.

She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness."

He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year's later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day onwards he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval.

He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words.....

"Paid in full with one glass of milk."


Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."

2) One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

- "It was great, Dad."
- "Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
- "Oh yeah," said the son.
- "So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:

- "I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
- We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
- We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
- Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
- We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
- We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
- We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
- We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

Pass this on to friends and acquaintances and help them refresh their perspective and appreciation. "Life is too short and friends are too few."

3) Three sons left home, went out on their own, and prospered. When they got back together several years later, they discussed the gifts they were able to give to their elderly mother.

The first said, "I built a big house for our mother."

The second said, "I sent her a Mercedes with a driver."

The third smiled and said, "Ha, I beat you both! Remember how mother loved to read the Bible? And you know that she can't see very well? Well, I sent her an amazing parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took the Church elders 14 years to teach him. Mom just has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it."

Soon thereafter, their Mom sent out her letters of thanks: "Adam," she wrote to one son, "The house you built is so big. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house."

"John," she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay at home most of the time, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!"

"Dearest Gerald," she wrote to her third son, "You have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious....."

4) A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer.

Suddenly, the sky clouded above his head and in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish." The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii, so I can drive over anytime I want."

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific Ocean! The concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that would honour and glorify me."

The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife. I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says 'nothing's wrong', and how I can make a woman truly 'Happy'."

"The Lord replied, "You want 2 lanes or 4 lanes on that bridge?"

Photograph: When God paints - A beautiful view of nature.......

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Jai Ho!" - "May Victory be Yours!"

"Jai Ho" means "be victorious." It can also mean "Praise," "Hail" or "Hallelujah." When translated directly into hindi, "Jai" means "prayer" or "pray." "Jai ho" is usually said collectively during and at the end of prayers. The lyrics are mostly in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi interspersed with some Spanish lyrics. Rahman, who performed "Jai Ho" live on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on February 23, 2009 with the rest of the original performers, was asked by Oprah what the song title means. A.R. Rahman then stated, "Jai Ho" means "May Victory be Yours." In the context of the song, "Jai Ho" means that life is hard but don't fear, never lose hope, victory will be yours.

The song "Jai Ho" is composed by the renowned Indian singer, composer and music director, A. R. Rahman (Note: Full name - Allah Rakha Rahman, but born on January 6, 1966 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India as A.S. Dileep Kumar. The Time Magazine has referred to him as the "Mozart of Madras.") The lyrics of this song is written by the famous Indian Poet, lyricist and director Gulzar (born as Sampooran Singh Kalra on 18 August 1936, better known by his pen name Gulzar.) The lead singer is Sukhwinder Singh (also known as "Sukhi"). The song also features vocals by Mahalakshmi Iyer, Tanvi Shah and Vijay Prakash.

"Jai ho" appears for the end credits of the film "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), where it accompanies a choreographed dance sequence.

Here is the link containing the video of this song from the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" - http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2346544/jai_ho_slumdog_millionaire/

The lyrics of "Jai ho" are as follows. The English translation is given below each line, in brackets. "Jai ho":

Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)

Aaja, aaja, jind shamiyaane ke taley
(Come, come, below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja zari waale neele aasmaane ke taley
(Come under the glittering blue sky)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)
Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho..
(Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee..)

Ratti ratti sachchi maine jaan gawayi hai
(Night after night I lost my life)
Nach Nach koylon pe raat bitaayi hai
(Spent the nights dancing on coal)
Ankhiyon ki neend maine phoonkon se udaa di
(I have blown away the sleep from my eyes)
Gin gin taarey maine ungli jalayi hai
(I have Burnt my fingers while counting the stars.)
Aaja aaja jind shamiyaane ke taley
(Come, come, below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja zari waale neele aasmaane ke taley
(Come under the glittering blue sky)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)
Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho..
(Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee..)

Baila! Baila! (This is the Spanish part)
(Dance! Dance!)
Ahora conmigo, tu baila para hoy
(Now come with me, you dance for today)
Por nuestro dia de movidas,
(On our day of moves)
los problemas los que sean
(whatever problems may be)
Baila! Baila!
(Dance! Dance!)

Chakh le, haan chakh le, yeh raat shehed hai.....Chakh le
(Taste it, Yes, taste it, this night is like honey, taste it)
Rakh le, haan rakh le,
(Keep it, yes, keep it)
Dil hai, dil aakhri hadd hai, Rakh le
(Its the Heart, Heart is the last limit...Keep it)
Kaala kaala kaajal tera
(Your Black eyeliner)
Koi kaala jaadu hai na?
(Isn't it like some black magic?)
Aaja aaja jind shamiyaane ke taley
(Come, come, below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja zari waale neele aasmaane ke taley
(Come under the glittering blue sky)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)

Kab se, haan kab se, jo lab pe ruki hai
(Since when, yes, since when, its been on the lips)
Keh de, keh de, haan keh de
(Say it, yes say it,)
Ab aankh jhuki hai
(Eyes are downcast,)
Aisi aisi roshan aankhein
(Such, such, bright eyes,)
Roshan dono heerey hain kya?
(Are those two bright diamonds.)
Aaja aaja jind shamiyaane ke taley
(Come, come, below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja zari waale neele aasmaane ke taley
(Come under the glittering blue sky)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)
Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho.., Jai Ho..
(Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee.., Victory to thee..)

Note: "Jai Ho" was originally composed for the 2008 hindi (Bollywood) film "Yuvvraaj," but was turned down by director Subhash Ghai who thought the song was not suitable for actor Zayed Khan to perform onscreen. After his Oscar win, A. R. Rahman revealed in an interview that it was Ghai who had asked him to use the words "Jai Ho" in a song. After its inclusion in "Slumdog Millionaire," it was later nominated for "Best song" at the 2008 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, the 2008 Satellite Awards and at the 2008 Houston Film Critics Society Awards. In 2009, this song won the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Original Song, beating out WALL-E's "Down to Earth" by Peter Gabriel, and "O... Saya," also from Slumdog Millionaire and composed by A. R. Rahman.

In February, 2009 Gulzar won the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Original Song for "Jai Ho" from the film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

In 2009, for his composition of the song "Jai ho" for the movie "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman won the Critics' Choice Award, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and two Academy Awards for Best Original Music Score and Best Original Song at the 2009 Oscars.

Photograph: Picture of a magnet inscribed with the words "Jai ho" (meaning, "May Victory be Yours.")

Note: Link to the song "Jai ho" courtesy Metacafe. Information for this blog is courtesy Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Sidhuisms".....from the Sixer Sidhu!!

Navjot Singh Sidhu (born 20 October, 1963) is an Indian cricket commentator and former cricket player (batsman). He is famous for his witticisms that have come to be known as "Sidhuisms."

Commentator and TV Personality: Sidhu started his career as a commentator for NIMBUS when India toured Sri Lanka in 2001. He however later became a commentator with ESPN-Star. He became famous for his funny quotes, which are now referred to as Sidhuisms.

Subsequent to his sacking, Sidhu took his act to commentate for Ten Sports. He also regularly appears as a "cricket analyst" on various local Indian channels. Of late, he also figures as a judge on a television program - "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge." He also appeared in some more similar programs like "Funjabi Chak De."

Cyrus Sahukar hosts a program on MTV - "Piddhu the Great" - where he is disguised as "Piddhu," a lookalike of Sidhu. The one-liners in the program, similar to "Sidhuisms," are called "Pidhuisms."

Sidhuisms: "Sidhuisms" are like chocolates.....one can never have too much of it!! There's hardly a moment that this "Badshah of Balderdash" cannot describe in a single line! While some are thought provoking, others simply make you double up with laughter.

Following are some samples from the inimitable Navjot Singh Sidhu - the "verbal laughing gas." Here you go:

1) "Money is like manure. It is not good until it is spread around!"

2) "The Indian Cricket Board is like a vessel that leaks from the top."

3) "Indian openers are like envelopes - they don’t take you anywhere."

4) "Experience is like a comb that life gives you when you are bald."

5) "Kenya in South Africa was like a mountain having labour pains."

6) "The batsman is as comfortable on this pitch as a bum would be on a porcupine."

7) "The Indian team without Sachin is like giving a kiss without a squeeze."

8) "Deep Dasgupta is not a wicket keeper, he is a goalkeeper. He must be given a free transfer to ManchesterUnited."

9) "When you are dining with a demon, you got to have a long spoon."

10) "One, who doesn't throw the dice, can never expect to score a six."

11) "He is a wily fox. But, if we make the fox run, the chicken will become hen."

12) "A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef."

13) "A revolutionary idea is usually one with its sleeves rolled up."

14) "If the heavens throw you dates, you got to keep your mouth open."

15) "You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg."

16) "When you have a hen laying eggs you should not mind the cackle."

17) "He is like a one-legged man in a bum kicking competition."

18) "The third umpires should be changed as often as nappies and for the same reason."

19) This quote was made after Eddie Nichols, the third umpire, ruled Shivnarine Chanderpaul 'NOT OUT' in the second test at Port of Spain, T&T - "Eddie Nichols is a man who cannot find his own buttocks with his two hands."

20) "Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt."

21) In the midst of a verbal duel with Martin Crowe, "Wickets are like wives - you never know which way they will turn!"

22) Commenting on Saurav Ganguly after he was out for a low score in the 2nd Test against Zimbabwe: ".....Looks like a brooding hen over a china egg."

23) In the midst of a verbal duel with Tony Greig, "If ifs and buts were pots and pans, there would be no tinkers!"

24) When Ganguly took a catch that had gone very high in the air, "That ball went so high it could have got an air hostess down with it!!"

25) "Statistics are like miniskirts, they reveal more than what they hide."

26) In India's last match against New Zealand, "New Zealanders are like bicycles in a cycle stand - one falls down and the complete row will be down!"

27) "Sri Lankan score is running like an Indian taxi meter."

28) "Taking the cake with a red cherry on top."

29) For Sri Lankan batsman Kaluwitharna, when he was wasting many balls, "He is like an Indian three-wheeler which will suck a lot of diesel but cannot go beyond 30!"

30) To Martin Crowe, "The Indians are going to beat the Kiwis! Let me tell you, my friend, that the Kiwi is the only bird in the whole world which does not have wings!"

31) Muralitharan bowling to the last Indian pair, "The wily fox is back. Its an ill omen when a fox licks its lambs."

32) Applauding Reetinder Singh Sodhi's fighting spirit, "Young Ricky will fight a rattlesnake and give him the first two bites!"

33) "The gap between bat and pad is so much that I would have driven a car through it.....!!"

34) This quote was made after Ganguly called Dravid for a run and midway sent him back and Dravid was runout in the third test against the West Indies at Barbados. "Ganguly has thrown a drowning man both ends of the rope."

35) "The ball whizzes past like a bumble bee and the Indians are in the sea."

36) "Nobody travels on the road to success without a puncture or two."

37) "The pitch is as dead as a dodo."

38) "You cannot make Omlets without breaking the eggs."

39) "The cat with gloves catches no mice."

40) "You got to choose between tightening your belt or losing your pants."

41) "There is light at the end of the tunnel for India, but it's that of an incoming train which will run them over."

42) "The Indians are finding the gaps like a pin in a haystack."

43) "Deep Dasgupta is as confused as a child is in a topless bar!"

44) "A hair on the head is worth two on the comb for you, my friend" (at Geoffery Boycott).

45) "Anybody can pilot a ship when the sea is calm."

46) "Age has been a perfect fire extinguisher for flaming youth."

47) Referring to Dinesh Mongia, who was like a reliable pony than Rahul Dravid who at that time, was more like an unreliable horse, on a television broadcast (11 July 2002), during a one day match with Sri Lanka in England. "It is better to ride a pony than a horse which throws you."

48) When Farooque Sheikh, host of the talk show "Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai," on Zee TV, (17 June, 2004) asked Sidhu what he thinks of those who criticize his style of commentary, he replied, "The world is all about mind and matter; I don't mind and you don't matter."

49) "If one-day cricket was pyjama cricket, then Twenty20 is underwear cricket."

50) On Twenty20 cricket.....again, "This cricket is like a burger, you can have it once a week but for a whole meal, you need to return to Test cricket. More than once a week, and it will give you a tummy ache."

There is a saying, "Never judge a book by its cover," continuing in the same vein, "Never judge a man by his oneliners." Navjot Singh Sidhu, for long hailed as a motor mouth (he was earlier called a "strokeless wonder") has shown that he can put his money where his mouth is...!

Photograph: A photograph of Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A blast from the past - a letter from 1909!!!

Here is a letter that has scored a century and has played its part in changing the course of history or rather the way the Indian Railways functioned.......in the good old days of the British Raj - the rule of India by the British Crown, which lasted from 1858 until 1947 (the rule of parts of the Indian subcontinent by the East India Company beginning after 1757 and ending in 1858 - Company rule in India).

Note: The British Indian Empire (contemporaneously, the Indian Empire), is referred to the British Raj after 1876, when Queen Victoria was proclaimed as the Empress of India.

The letter: Akhil Chandra Sen wrote this letter to the Sahibganj divisional railway office in 1909. It is on display at the "Railway Museum" in New Delhi. It was also reproduced under the caption "Travelers' Tales" in the "Far Eastern Economic Review."

Lets call it "Akhil Babu's letter" - "Babu" also spelled "Baboo" is a South Asian/Bengali term of respect towards men (read more on this, courtesy Wikipedia - Babu).

.......Following is the "classic" letter:

"I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand and dhoti in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on platform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station. This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honor to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers."

Any guesses why this letter was of historic value??................It apparently led to the introduction of toilets in trains!

Thank God for small mercies!

Photograph: A caricature of the Indian Railways.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Last Sunset.....photographed by the crew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia.

This photograph was taken by the crew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia during its last mission.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, with the loss of all seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.

Mission STS-107 was the 113th Space Shuttle launch. It was delayed 18 times over the two years from its original launch date of January 11, 2001 to its actual launch date of January 16, 2003. (It was preceded by STS-113.) A launch delay due to cracks in the shuttle's propellant distribution system occurred one month before a July 19, 2002 launch date. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) determined that this delay had nothing to do with the catastrophic failure six months later.

The loss of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during the launch when a piece of foam insulation, the size of a small briefcase broke off the Space Shuttle external tank (the main propellant tank) under the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system (TPS), which protects it from heat generated with the atmosphere during re-entry. While Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found.

NASA's Shuttle safety regulations stated that external tank foam shedding and subsequent debris strikes upon the Shuttle itself were safety issues that needed to be resolved before a launch was cleared, but launches were often given the go-ahead as engineers studied the foam shedding problem without a successful resolution. The majority of Shuttle launches recorded such foam strikes and thermal tile scarring in violation of safety regulations. During re-entry of STS-107, the damaged area allowed the hot gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, rapidly causing the in-flight breakup of the vehicle. A massive ground search in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas recovered crew remains and many vehicle fragments.

About the last Photograph: This photograph was taken via satellite, on a cloudless day.

The picture is of Europe and Africa when the Sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night (experiencing night-time). The bright dots you see are the city lights.

The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert.

Note that the lights are already on in Holland, Paris and Barcelona, and that's it's still daylight in London, Lisbon and Madrid.

The Sun is still shining on the Straight of Gibraltar.

The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands; below them to the right are the Madeira Islands; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further south, close to the farthest western point of Africa, are the Cape Verde Islands.

Note that the Sahara (desert) is huge and can be seen clearly both during daytime and night-time.

To the left, on the top, is Greenland, totally frozen.

Fantastic photograph, indeed! What an amazing sight to behold before one met one's maker......this makes it even more poignant. To quote a phrase from the website dedicated to the seven Astronauts on board Columbia: " Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and call them each by name."

Following is the link to the website that is dedicated to the seven Astronauts (who perished in this ill-fated mission) and their families:

Photographs: in clockwise order -

1) This photograph was taken by the crew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia during its last mission.

2) The crew of STS-107. L to R: Brown, Husband, Clark, Chawla, Anderson, McCool, and Ramon.

3) Columbia lifting off on its final mission. The light-colored triangle visible at the base of the strut near the nose of the orbiter is the Left Bipod Foam Ramp.

Note: Information used for this blog, courtesy Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"The Eye of God" - The Helix Nebula.

This is an authentic photograph - or rather, a composite of photos - taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA. The image was featured on NASA's Website as an "Astronomy Picture of the Day" in May 2003 and thereafter posted on a number of Websites under the title "The Eye of God" (though I have found no evidence that NASA has ever referred to it as such). The awe-inspiring image has also been featured on magazine covers and in articles about space imagery.

What it actually depicts is the so-called "Helix Nebula," described by astronomers as "a trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases." At its center is a dying star which has ejected masses of dust and gas to form tentacle-like filaments stretching toward an outer rim composed of the same material. Our own Sun may look like this in several billion years.

Will our Sun look like this one day?: The "Helix Nebula" is the closest example of a planetary nebula or 'planetary' formed/created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star (at the end of a star's evolution). Gases from the star in the surrounding space appear, from our vantage point, as if we are looking down a helix structure. The remnant central stellar core, known as a planetary nebula nucleus or PNN, is destined to become a white dwarf star. The observed glow of the central star is so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gases to brightly fluoresce.

The above picture is a composite of newly released images from the ACS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope and wide-angle images from the Mosaic Camera on the WIYN 0.9-m Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona. A close-up of the inner edge of the Helix Nebula shows complex gas knots of unknown origin.

The "Helix Nebula": Also known as "The Helix" or "NGC 7293," it is a large planetary nebula (PN) located in the constellation of Aquarius. Discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824, this object is one of the closest to the Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae. The estimated distance is about 215 parsecs or 700 light-years. It is similar in appearance to the "Ring Nebula," whose size, age, and physical characteristics are similar to the "Dumbbell Nebula," varying only in its relative proximity and the appearance from the equatorial viewing angle. The Helix has often been referred to as "the Eye of God" on the Internet, since about 2003.

Currently, the age is estimated to be 10,600+2,300−1,200 years, based solely upon a measured expansion rate of 31 km·s-1

Structure: The "Helix Nebula" is thought to be shaped like a prolate spheroid with strong density concentrations toward the filled disk along the equatorial plane, whose major axis is inclined about 21° to 37° from our vantage point. The size of the inner disk is 8×19 arcmin in diameter (0.52 pc); the outer torus is 12×22 arcmin in diameter (0.77 pc); and the outer-most ring is about 25 arcmin in diameter (1.76 pc). We see the outer-most ring as flattened on one side due to its colliding with the ambient interstellar medium.

Expansion of the whole planetary nebula structure is estimated to have occurred in the last 6,560 years, and 12,100 years for the inner disk. Spectroscopically, the outer ring's expansion rate is 40 km·s-1, and about 32 km·s-1 for the inner disk.

Knots: The "Helix Nebula" was the first planetary nebula discovered to contain knots. Its main ring contains knots of nebulosity, which have now been detected in many nearby planetaries. These knots are highly radially symmetric (from the PNN) and are described as "cometary", each containing bright cusps (local photoionization fronts) and tails. All extend away from the PNN in a radial direction. Excluding the tails, they are (very approximately) the size of the Solar system, while each of the cusp knots are optically thick due to Lyc photons from the (PNN). There are more than 20,000 cometary knots estimated to be in the "Helix Nebula."

The excitation temperature varies across the "Helix Nebula." The rotational-vibrational temperature ranges from 1800 K in a cometary knot located in the inner region of the nebula are about 2.5′ (arcmin) from the central PNN, calculated at about 900 K in the outer region at the distance of 5.6′.

General Information: While the image does indeed resemble a giant eye, there is no record of NASA actually referring to it as "The Eye of God". It is not clear who first called the image "The Eye of God", but the name appears to have "stuck" for obvious reasons. A number of non-NASA websites refer to the image by this name. In fact, other planetary nebulas have also been called "The Eye of God", including the "Hourglass Nebula, MyCn18."

The "Helix Nebula" is actually a vast tunnel of glowing gases a trillion kilometres long. Since Earth's position in relation to the nebula means we are looking more or less directly into the mouth of this tunnel, the Helix appears to us as an eye-like bubble rather than a cylinder.

The claim that this "event" only occurs once in 3,000 years is pure nonsense. The "Helix Nebula" is readily viewable by scientists all the time and can even be seen by amateur astronomers using telescopes or binoculars. Naturally, due to the composite nature of the image and the high-powered telescopes and photographic equipment used to create it, the nebula is unlikely to look as compelling or as "eye-like" from the ground as it does in the above image.

In spite of the inaccurate description, the picture is certainly a delight to behold, both for the scientists (Cosmologists, Astronomers, et al) as well as for the amateurs. Awesome, indeed! Gives anyone who views this picture - a feeling, that - "God loves you and watches over you every day." We bow before Mother Nature in all humility.....again and again and again......

Note: Image Credit - NASA, WIYN, NOAO, ESA, Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), & T. A. Rector (NRAO). Information gathered from Wikipedia.
Photograph: "The Helix Nebula" - also known as "The Helix" or "NGC 7293," now commonly referred to as "The Eye of God."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Swami Vivekananda: the 'Parivrâjaka' - the Wandering Monk from India - Quotes.

In this blog, I will share with you some sayings or quotations of Swami Vivekananda. They are profound words of wisdom, indeed.

Please visit my earlier blogs: "Swami Vivekananda - The Orange-Monk from India." and "Swami Vivekananda's Speech - The World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893" to read more about this Orange-Monk from India. Here is the link leading to a website that contains several photographs of this 'Parivrâjaka' - the Wandering Monk from India. Please click on the photographs in order to get an insight/read the background of each one of them: http://www.vivekananda.org/archivephotogallery.asp

Here is the link (to a website) that leads to the 'Complete Works of Vivekananda': http://geocities.com/completeworksofvivekananda/index.htm

To read some articles on this great Swamiji, please visit: http://www.sriramakrishnamath.org/Magazine/Archives.aspx

Following are some of the Swamiji's sayings:

1) “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.”

2) “We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act.”

3) “Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin to say that you are weak, or others are weak.”

4) “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”

5) “The goal of mankind is knowledge ... Now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside: it is all inside. What we say a man 'knows', should, in strict psychological language, be what he 'discovers' or 'unveils'; what man 'learns' is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.”

6) “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

7) “Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.”

8) “You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.”

9) “The first sign of your becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful.”

10) “The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.”

11) “In one word, this ideal is that you are divine.”

12) “The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.”

13) “The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.”

14) “All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.”

15) “God of truth, be Thou alone my guide.......”

16) “If you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.”

17) “The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves!”

18) “You know, I may have to be born again, you see, I have fallen in love with mankind.”

19) “By the study of different RELIGIONS we find that in essence they are one.”

20) “Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.”

21) “If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished.”

22) “My nature is love Him. And therefore I love. I do not pray for any-thing. I do not ask for anything. Let Him place me wherever He likes. I must love Him for love’s sake. I can not trade in love.”

23) “To devote your life to the good of all and to the happiness of all is religion. Whatever you do for your own sake is not religion.”

24) “Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.”

25) “The will is not free - it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect - but there is something behind the will which is free.”

26) “As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.”

27) “When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.”

28) “All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”

29) “Infinite power of the spirit, brought to bear upon matter evolves material development, made to act upon thought evolves intellectuality, and made to act upon itself makes of man a God. First, let us be Gods, and then help other to be Gods. 'Be and Make.' Let this be our motto.”

30) “Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.”

31) “It is good to love God for hope of reward, but it is better to love God for love’s sake; and the prayer goes: O Lord, I do not want wealth nor children nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth to birth. But grant me this, that I may love thee without the hope of reward - 'love' unselfishly for love’s sake.”

32) “To worship God even for the sake of salvation or any other reward is equally degenerate. Love knows no reward. Give your love unto to God, but do not ask anything in return even from Him through pray.”

33) “That man has reached immortality who is disturbed by nothing material.”

34) “External nature is only internal nature writ large.”

35) “Do not stand on a high pedestal and take 5 cents in your hand and say, "here, my poor man", but be grateful that the poor man is there, so by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself.It is not the reciever that is blessed, but it is the giver.Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect.”

36) “God is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life.”

37) “If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.”

38) “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.”

39) “It is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light. First, believe in this world, that.”

40) “The moment I have realized that God is sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him - that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.”

(More later)

Photograph: Swami Vivekananda.