Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Panoramas of Seven Wonders

What a wonder-full world

CIA leaves plutonium on holy Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi and the Nuclear Genie

Nanda Devi - India's second-highest peak, at 25,645 feet (7816m), sits in a "sanctuary," surrounded by 21,000-foot+ lesser mountains. This has made it even more of a challenge to climb. Among those who took up the challenge were a 1965 CIA team trying to set up a plutonium-powered device to spy on China's nuclear testing program. That expedition retreated in the face of bad weather, leaving the device on the mountain. When they returned the next spring, it was gone. The Nanda Devi Sanctuary supplies water to the Ganges River, and there were fears that the four pounds of plutonium in the device could escape into the watershed. Those fears have been confirmed.

CD: Jai Uttal - Dial M for Mantra

Uttal for the Club Scene

Jai Uttal

Dial M for Mantra (True Sounds, 2007)

World music veteran Jai Uttal was one of the American pioneers in fusing Indian music with world beat. In recent years he has been involved in albums that are less adventurous, which focus on the kirtan and new age market.

On Dial M for Mantra, remixer Rara Avis (of Shaman's Dream) has taken pieces from some of Uttal's latest CDs and reworked...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Indian Cooking 101 Blog

Indian Cooking 101

from MetaFilter by jonson
Hooked On Heat is the two year old foodblog of Meena, daughter of a Malaysian mom & Indian father, with tons of recipes & food stories for those who love spice in their food; her recent series of posts, Indian Cooking 101 is a must read for those who love to eat Indian food and want to try it out at home.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Who's Minding the Mind? (Studies on subconscious decision-making)

July 31, 2007
Who's Minding the Mind?


In a recent experiment, psychologists at Yale altered people's judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee.

The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup.

That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java.

Findings like this one, as improbable as they seem, have poured forth in psychological research over the last few years. New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there's a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there's a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like "dependable" and "support" — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.

Psychologists say that "priming" people in this way is not some form of hypnotism, or even subliminal seduction; rather, it's a demonstration of how everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have.

More fundamentally, the new studies reveal a subconscious brain that is far more active, purposeful and independent than previously known. Goals, whether to eat, mate or devour an iced latte, are like neural software programs that can only be run one at a time, and the unconscious is perfectly capable of running the program it chooses.

The give and take between these unconscious choices and our rational, conscious aims can help explain some of the more mystifying realities of behavior, like how we can be generous one moment and petty the next, or act rudely at a dinner party when convinced we are emanating charm.

Friday, 10 August 2007

CD: Kaushiki Chakraborty

My favourite upcoming young Indian classical singer...

Sublime Music from the Subcontinent

Kaushiki Chakrabarty

Kaushiki (Sense World Music, 2007)

Classical Indian vocalist Kaushiki (prodigious daughter of vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty), marries power, grace and beauty with mature vocals that belie her youth. On her second (self-titled) Sense World Music album, Kaushiki's vocals are featured in both a studio setting (Disc 1), and a recital captured at the Saptak Festival in India. The hearty vocals that appear on the live discs certainly command the attention of our ears. Kaushiki's flawless vocals sail seemingly effortlessly through Raga Rageshri (Disc 2), and the Thumri Misra Pilu Jiya Mora Na Lage (Disc 3), and backed by Yogesh Samsi's tabla beats. Listeners do not need to be experts on Indian classical music to thoroughly enjoy listening to these live discs.

The studio recording, which ...

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

52 Most Influential Photographs

The 52 Most Influential Photographs

52 Influential Photographs: From the oldest survivng photograph, to images of revolution, misery, beauty and humility, to...goatse and LOLCAT? You win some, you lose some, I guess.

New Planet Drum CD with Zakir Hussain & Mickey Hart

The original Planet Drum CD was great - can't wait to hear this new one!

Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussain Reunite 15 Years after The Grammy-Winning Planet Drum for Global Drum Project

Four international master percussionists have joined forces for a new recording and tour. The Global Drum Project includes Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo.

Over three decades as the innovative percussion engine of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart's ear for global sounds brought numerous unpredictable guests to the Dead's stage performances.

Hart's 1991 release Planet Drum was the natural outgrowth o...

Blackle: Power-friendly Google


In a nutshell: Google in white uses more power than Google in Black. "The energy saving would be 750 Megawatt hours per year if Google had a black screen." Enter Blackle.