Thursday, February 28

Honda Civic,2008

Honda has revealed the details of the upcoming Civic Mugen Si Sedan, the closest we North Americans are going to get to a Civic Type R. First seen at the 2006 SEMA Show, the Mugen Si sports a unique Fuji Blue Pearl color, a suspension tuned on Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi Course, and an aerodynamic body kit consisting of a new grille, rear spoiler, side skirts, and rear diffuser.

Only 1000 cars will be available for the 2008 model year, with pricing expected to come in around 12 lakhs.

As a result of the track testing, the suspension has been lowered by 0.6 inch, with front and rear damping force increased by 8 and 24 percent, respectively. To further improve handling, Honda fitted the Mugen Si with lightweight 18-inch wheels that are 27 percent lighter than the 17-inchers on a standard Si and fitted them with a set of high-performance BF Goodrich g-Force tires.

Sad to say, engine mechanicals are largely unchanged. The Mugen’s output is the same as the regular Si’s at 197 horsepower and 139 pound-feet from its 2.0-liter four mated to a six-speed manual transmission, with the only difference being a sportier cat-back exhaust. The interior is largely untouched as well. The only changes are a Mugen limited-edition plaque on the center console and a new shift knob.

Sunday, February 24

Mukesh Ambani,the Indian Business Giant

Mukesh Ambani today became the richest person in the world, surpassing Bill Gates,Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and famous investment guru Warren Buffett, courtesy the current run in the stock market.

Following a strong share price rally on in his three group companies, India's most valued firm Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, the net worth of Mukesh Ambani rose to $63.2 billion (Rs 2,49,108 crore).

In comparison, the net worth of both Gates and Slim is estimated to be slightly lower at around $62.29 billion each, with Slim leading among the two by a narrow margin.

The five richest people in the world with their net worth

1. Mukesh Ambani ($63.2 billion)

2. Carlos Slim Helu ($62.2993 billion)

3. William (Bill) Gates ($62.29 billion)

4. Warren Buffett ($55.9 billion)

5. Lakshmi Mittal ($50.9 billion)

Ambani's wealth of about Rs 2,49,000 crore includes about Rs 2,10,000 crore from RIL (50.98% stake), Rs 37,500 crore from RPL (37.5%) and Rs 2,100 crore from RIIL (46.23%).

On September 26, Ambani had overtaken steel czar Lakshmi Mittal to become the richest Indian in the world.

Mittal currently ranks as the fifth richest in the world with a net worth of $50.9 billion through his 44.79% stake in world's biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal.

While most of Mittal's wealth comes from his steel empire, though he has also spread his wings into businesses like oil and real estate, those of Ambani and Gates are mostly through petrochemicals and software respectively. However, Buffett and Slim are making money from investments across a host of sectors.

Friday, February 22


Cheetahs,member of cat family, are the fastest mammals on earth, running at speeds of 60 to 75 miles per hour in the wild. About 100 years ago cheetahs were found in open habitats throughout Africa. Excessive hunting and habitat destruction have reduced the cheetah’s range to isolated parts of Africa,where around 10,000 cheetahs now live. Fewer than 100 cheetahs remain in remote areas of Iran.

Fossil evidence shows that cheetahs may have originated in North America as early as 3 million years ago and then spread into Eurasia and Africa. Scientists found that around 12,000 years ago a significant climate change caused a rapid decline in the cheetah population. Overhunting and habitat destruction place cheetahs at high risk for extinction. Farmers often kill cheetahs to prevent them from threatening their livestock.

Scientists study cheetahs in the wild by using radio tracking, in which a collar with a radio transmitter attached is placed around the neck of a cheetah. Scientists monitor the radio transmissions as the cheetah travels in order to track the cat’s whereabouts and learn about its life history and behaviors.

Cheetahs are well adapted to dry habitats such as savanna grasslands and semideserts. They can survive for long periods without water. Although their populations were greatly reduced during the 20th century, as the 21st century began cheetahs still inhabited a broad section of Africa, including areas of the Sahel, East Africa, and southern Africa. Namibia has the largest population of cheetahs, with about 2,500 of them.

The name cheetah comes from the Hindu word chita, meaning “spotted one”, a reference to the cheetah’s light brown to tawny yellow skin colour. The spots change into a band pattern on the end of the tail that is distinctive in each cat.

Adult cheetahs measure 112 to 140 cm (44 to 55 in) from head to rear end and stand 66 to 94 cm (26 to 37 in) at the shoulder. A long tail extends 61 to 79 cm (24 to 31 in) in length. Cheetahs usually weigh around 39 to 65 kg (86 to 143 lb). Male cheetahs are generally bigger than females.

All cats are speedy runners, but the physical features adapted for speed are developed to the extreme in cheetahs. The long tail acts as a rudder to maintain balance at high speeds. Enlarged nasal and sinus passages,lungs and oversized heart support the extensive oxygen exchange needed during fast runs.

The cheetah has a small skull with a short muzzle, and its jaw is weaker than the jaws of other big cats. Cheetahs have 30 teeth, 15 on each side of the mouth. Their teeth are relatively smaller than those of other cats, leaving more room for the expanded nasal passages that help cheetahs run at such faster speeds. Cheetahs have excellent vision. Cheetah uses its vision and its acute sense of hearing and smell to locate and track prey.

Cubs are blind and helpless at birth, weighing around 250 to 300 g (9 to 10 oz). Long gray hairs, appear on the neck, shoulders, and back soon after birth and disappear at about three months. The cubs stay hidden in a den for about eight weeks, and the mother is extremely careful to avoid attracting predators to the den. She must be away for up to 48 hours while hunting, and predators often prey on her cubs while she is absent. At about eight weeks, cubs begin to accompany their mother as she hunts, and they partake in eating the meat of her kills. Nursing ends when cubs are about 4 months of age. Very young cubs begin to practice hunting through play behavior. The cubs stalk, chase, and wrestle with one another, and they will even chase prey that they know they cannot catch. Cubs do not become proficient hunters until they are about 24 months old. Young leave their mother at 13 to 20 months of age.

Female cheetahs reach sexual maturity when they are about 24 months old, while males do not become sexually mature until they are around 30 to 36 months old. Once they reach adulthood, cheetahs may live up to 12 years in the wild and up to 16 years in zoos. Most wild cheetahs do not live as long as 12 years, because they are frequently preyed upon by lions, hyenas, wild dogs, and leopards. In Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, about 90 percent of all cubs die before they are three months old, and half of these deaths are due to predation. The period between leaving the mother and reaching adulthood is also dangerous, especially for males.

Thursday, February 21

India's Fastest Train

ndia's fastest train -- the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express from the New Delhi railway station by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav
(far left), and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal (at the microphone).

This new superfast train, which departs from New Delhi at 0600 hours, daily except Friday, will travel at a top speed of 150 kilometres per hour. The Delhi-Agra 198-km journey that usually takes 2.5 hours, will now be accomplished in less than two hours. But from Agra onwards, all the way to Bhopal, the train will continue at its usual top speed of 120 kilometres per hour.

To accommodate this high speed on India's tracks the railway ministry has taken a few precautions. Tracks that could handle a speed of maximum 120 km per hour, have been fortified to handle the Shatabdi's new momentum. Tall barriers will seal off the tracks to jaywalkers, stray dogs and livestock.

Brand new coaches for the train have been repeatedly tested and then brought in from Kapurthala, Punjab, to give passengers a smooth ride. The train will be pulled by a extrafast WAP-5 engine, which are high speed electric locomotives.

Wednesday, February 20

Birth Of The Universe

The universe went through a traumatic growth spurt before it was a billionth of a billionth of a second old, according to the latest data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). The WMAP team revealed the best map ever drawn of microwaves from the early universe, showing variations in the brightness of radiation from primordial matter. The pattern of these variations fits the predictions of a physical theory called Inflation. The variations in the density of matter that the microwave map shows up were created by quantum fluctuations during the expansion and those fluctuations provided the seeds for the gravitational growth of galaxies and stars .

Quantum giants

Astronomers thought that ionised gas created by the first generation of stars might be mimicking the imprint of inflation by scattering the microwaves on their way to us from distant parts of the universe.

Now the team say not. With three years of data instead of one, they have been able to map not just the brightness but also the polarisation of cosmic microwaves. The polarisation reveals just how much the waves have been modified by bouncing off ionised gas. After subtracting that effect from the temperature map, the team still find that inflation fits the pattern. It predicts that larger clumps in the background are brighter than smaller clumps, just as the data show. This is the strongest evidence so far in support of inflation. "Galaxies are nothing but quantum mechanics writ large across the sky," says ESA member Greene at Columbia University, New York, US.

Profound implications

So what force could actually have caused inflation? There have been hundreds of speculative physical models, postulating as yet unknown energy fields. But the new data are precise enough to rule out many of these ideas – especially some of the more complicated ones. "The simplest of the models fits the data well," says WMAP member David Spergel at Princeton University, New Jersey, US.

If either WMAP or ESA's upcoming Planck satellite can detect a gravitational-wave signal, physicists will begin to learn why inflation happened, and that could have profound implications for fundamental physics.

The WMAP data suggested that the first stars started ionising gas after only 200 million years, seemingly leaving too little time for gas to gather into clumps and make stars. The new data show it did not happen for 400 million years – a long age of darkness, and plenty of time for the first stars to form.

Tuesday, February 19

The 10th Planet

Pluto, the 9th planet was discovered in 1930. Since then, astronomers have searched for a 10th planet beyond the orbit of Pluto. Until recently, all that's resulted from this are number of unconfirmed reports.

The 10th planet has now (2006) been officially named Eris and nicknamed "Xena" by its discoverers on april 19,2006. It has an estimated diameter at 2700 km, larger than Pluto's 2320 km diameter. It's three times farther from the sun than Pluto is. New images from the Hubble Space Telescope show that the unofficial 10th planet measures 2,384 kilometers (1,490 miles) across. This makes it a little larger than Pluto, which is 1,422 miles wide. And it's surprisingly shiny. It also has a moon, Dysnomia and nicknamed "Gabrielle", discovered in 2005.


Xena reflects more light than any object in the solar system other than Saturn's moon Enceladus. It reflects 86 percent of the sunlight that hits it. Pluto reflects only 60 percent of the sunlight that hits it. Scientists have two theories why Xena reflects so much light. One idea is that the planet spews out methane gas, which freezes and keeps the surface covered with a blanket of fresh snow. For this theory to be true, something would have to be heating up the planet. So far, there's no obvious source of heat. The other idea is that Xena's atmosphere is full of methane. This atmosphere forms when the planet is closest to the sun during its 560-year-long orbit. As the planet gets farther away from the sun, the methane freezes. But scientists aren't sure whether the resulting frost would be bright enough to fully account for Xena's special sparkle.

Sunday, February 17

Hercules,The World's Biggest Dog

Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Record. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds.

The three-year-old dog is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200lb limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet:"I fed him normal food and he just grew"...and grew and grew and grew...