Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Volunteers to help plant the grasses are most welcome

Matrimandir Update
Written by Marlenka Friday, 08 December 2006
Narad talks about his experiences with the Mother and how the Matrimandir Gardens came into being, from the first time She talked about the concept up to the present time. Narad first came in 1961, to the Ashram. He was in close contact with Mother. Her vision of creating a beautiful garden for the Matrimandir, which would be as important as the Matrimandir itself, she entrusted to Narad to manifest. Presently, with the completion of Matrimandir just around the corner, Narad wants to see the many and varied grasses get planted at its base that he has brought from America. Compost making is in processs, weeding is going on and volunteers to help plant the grasses are most welcome. You can download the recording here.

Ecocities – Small is Prosperous
Written by Radio Team Saturday, 09 December 2006
This event has been recorded. An interactive presentation given by Richard Register Saturday December 9 at 5:30 PM in the Conference Hall at Town Hall.Richard Register is a well known leader and practicing professional of ‘Ecocity Movement’ worldwide. His organization is known as ‘Ecocity Builders.’He arrives in Auroville after taking part in the 6th International Ecocity Conference in Bangalore. Many books and articles have been published on this theme; the latest is ‘Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature.’For further information contact www.ecocitybuilders.org © 2008 AurovilleRadio AurovilleRadio

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hume was right: machines are simply not good metaphors for organisms

Massimo Pigliucci's Amazon Blog « Go to Massimo Pigliucci's full Amazon Blog
The demise of the genetic blueprint metaphor 2:44 PM PST, December 18, 2008

Metaphors are dangerous things. On the one hand, it seems pretty much impossible to avoid using them, especially in rather abstract fields like philosophy and science. On the other hand, they are well known to trick one’s mind into taking the metaphor too literally, thereby creating problems that are not actually reflective of the reality of the natural world, but are only perverse constructs of our own warped understanding of it.

Take the metaphor of living organisms as analogous to complex artifacts, which led William Paley to articulate the most famous argument in favor of Intelligent Design -- an argument that, incidentally, has not changed in its broad philosophical outline since the early 18th century. David Hume -- rather presciently, since he wrote before Paley -- pointed out that the metaphor is flawed. Hume argued that living organisms are not like watches, to use Paley’s analogy. They are not machines that are assembled, but organic beings that develop gradually over time. [...]

Hume was right: machines are simply not good metaphors for organisms, and it is time for stubbornly reductionist biologists to move on and search for better metaphors.

Pick pickles from Auroville

Auroville's very own online store has been officially launched this December 2008 THE AUROVILLE STORE » FOOD » NATURAL FOODS » PICKLES
Producer Title+ Price Buy Now
Naturellement Garlic Pickles Rs.169.00
Prepared in the home-made traditional way with choice ingredients. They are hand made in small batches, using abslolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Our garlic pickle is so delicious that it is dangerously addictive! 300g. 6 months shelf life.
Naturellement Lemon Pickles Rs.139.00
Prepared in the home-made traditional way with choice ingredients. They are hand made in small batches, using abslolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. From organic lemons, our lemon pickle is made the traditional way under the sun. 300g. 12 months shelf life.
Mango Pickles Rs.139.00
Prepared in the home-made traditional way with choice ingredients. They are hand made in small batches, using abslolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Made from organic local varieties of mangoes, this product is a must for every mango pickle lover. 300g. 12 months shelf life.
French Mustard Rs.179.00
Prepared in the home-made traditional way with choice ingredients. They are hand made in small batches, using abslolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. From organic mustard seed made after a french recipe. 300g. 12 months shelf life.
Mango Chutney Rs.139.00
Prepared in the home-made traditional way with choice ingredients. They are hand made in small batches, using abslolutely no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Of Anglo-Indian origin, our sweet and sour chutney is the perfect blend of two cultures. 375g. 24months shelf life.

LAUNCH OF THE AUROVILLE STORE Dear world family. Auroville's very own online store has been officially launched this December 2008 during the Deepam festival, a festival of light, as our small offering to bringing a little more light in the world. Now the beautiful products of the Auroville community are just a click away. We ship worldwide and accept various forms of payments including Paypal, major credit cards and bank deposits for those in India.Products made in Auroville are unique and carry the very essence of our prayer for a world of brotherhood and harmony. Take some time to peruse the creations by our various units and many more are coming soon. 8:17 AM 9:59 AM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Aurovillians are innovating in applications of solar technology, design of handicrafts and architecture

Auroville : where material and spiritual innovations flourish
Posted on December 23rd, 2008 by avikroy

This weekend the road trip in southern India was particularly rejuvenating. This trips are part of my practice to immerse myself in the realities of the aspirations , challenges and progress of the people in the Indian countryside. I reached Pondicherry from Bangalore by road on Sunday night . I decided to spend Monday in Auroville , a global city in making whose purpose is to realise human unity.

Auroville never fails to inspire me . It rests deeply on spiritual foundation of creating an environment where citizens of the world live to pursue the truth and give free expression to their inner calling and at the same time be of value to the community of Aurovillian . It balances the call for spiritual seeking and care for progress. This care for progress gets reflected in the material innovations they are supporting and trying to find practical applications. I had stimulating discussions with Aurovillians who are innovating in applications of solar technology, design of handicrafts and architecture. A day well spent in a place which vibrates with a creative and spiritual energy , in the evening i again hit the road to go to the temple town of Madurai. Filed under: Asia, India Avik Roy’s expertise includes business strategy, business modeling, process design and operations management.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The universe isn't chaotic but is full of patterns and structures, coherences and relationships

To Applaud the Large Hadron Collider
by RY Deshpande on Mon 08 Dec 2008 11:14 PM IST Permanent Link Cosmos

And today! Wednesday 10 September 2008! It is a golden day in the annals of physics. It marks the beginning of a new set of experiments planned on a scale that never happened in the long and troubled days of mankind. Their findings are expected to throw light on the commencement and evolution of the universe in which we live. If matter is the foundation of this vast enterprise, then it becomes our natural curiosity also to know what really is there in matter that makes it so attractive, so potentially rich to give rise to this marvel of creation. That also means, possibly, the wonders that are locked in its bosom will be slowly disclosed to us, in the unfolding course of time. Could matter give away its secrets to us? Would it? Perhaps the Large Hadron Collider is but one small step in that mighty direction. It is built into the spirit of man that looks at its own depths and wonders how he arrived on the scene when nothing of the kind exists anywhere else.

The Collider is a huge circular machine, of 9 kilometer diameter, and is housed in a 100-meter deep underground tunnel. Located at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, it straddles France and Switzerland.

The building of the Collider spread over a period of 14 years with its cost building into $8 billion. At its full power trillions of protons will whiz around the 27 kilometer circumference, 11 245 times a second. The machine will have superconducting magnets operated at 2 K; it will need 10 000 tons of liquid nitrogen and 60 tons of liquid helium. The beams of protons will travel through ultra-high vacuum, emptier than the interplanetary space. The collision of the two proton beams coming from opposite directions will produce temperatures of the order of 100 000 times larger than the temperature in the interior of the sun. Four eyes suitably located will observe the products of the collision. 15 million gigabytes of data will be generated every year. 80,000 computers set all over the world will get busy in processing them. Some 10,000 physicists and engineers from 100 countries are occupied in this super-massive enterprise. It is expected to mark the beginning of a new era of discovery in physics, with the full power of the machine coming into play probably less than a year away.

Collision of the two proton beams will recreate conditions that existed a trillionth of a second after the big bang moment. It is thus hoped to provide clues about the factors that dominated at the time of the birth of the universe. The machine has captured public imagination,—and rightly so. This is wonderful; yet there are quite a few also who are worried about “The X Factor”.

There are others who naively ask in what way the information coming from the scientific investigations is going to serve the cause of humanity. Using so many scientists and putting so much of material into the experiment is a waste—they think. The money spent on it could be used to alleviate the poverty of fellow human beings. The $8 billion spent on the LHC could have been used on feeding or sheltering the people in poor countries. Luckily this instant emotionalism does not touch us in the larger perspective of things. Such statements are not at all new to science, and one just moves on. Science demands experimentation—and the prince is willing to open the treasury. That itself is the great march of civilization, perhaps happening for the first time after the House of Wisdom established by the Abbasids about 1200 years ago. But the sheer magnitude and concentration of effort that are present in our age are absolutely phenomenal. We owe all this greatly to the liberal atmosphere and the free spirit of inquiry that is prevalent today.

Two things that bolster our faith in science are the comprehensibility of the universe and the well-understood laws of nature that will not dupe us on the way, will not betray us mid-stream. Einstein famously said that "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible". The universe isn't chaotic but is full of patterns and structures, coherences and relationships. It is to discover these patterns and structures, these coherences and relationships that we are willing to hold out a mighty bit of us. That is the search for truth prompting the scientist as a truth-seeker; that is the search for beauty persuading the scientist as a beauty-admirer. And the beautiful truth is, society is willing to give him that exceptional privilege—and that indeed is the truthful beauty of man.

Yet one could be screaming about the kind of costs involved in these truth-beauty pursuits which can no longer be private, not even single or national pursuits. But there is really no paradox. The inherent fuzziness of the Quantum world governed by the Uncertainty Principle means that to the finer and more subtle depths you go the more you pay for things. We have to sharpen our tools. But these are fructuous in more than one way. Witness for instance the Internet that came from such occupations. CERN itself had the privilege of giving us the World Wide Web.

But what are the scientific issues that are associated with the Large Hadron Collider? Could it be that we live in a world other than the simple four dimensional space-time configuration glorified by Relativity? The 10-dimensional manifold as suggested by some theories is summoning us to look into the future. And then are there universes apart from our own universe? that we are not the only in this creation? But more intriguing, and of direct consequence, is the question about the substantiality of matter. The question is: What is it that gives mass to particles? The theory answers it in terms of what is called Higgs boson. It is the Higgs boson that gives mass to particles. This demands not Aristotelian logic but experimental verification. Therefore it is the Hadron Collider that must pass the verdict. The machine has been designed and built, the startup operations have begun and within a few months answers should be forthcoming. We await them with bated breath. There are a few more things also to be settled. In this complexity of the universe what we see is only a small fraction of its totality, the remaining being hidden from our view. The mystery of the dark matter will always keep us ill at ease, lest we get gobbled up by it. The so-called Standard Model that is there with us over the last several years has kept many of these questions open and the experiment has become imperative. So there is that entire anxiety about the results coming from the Large Hadron Collider.

But connected with this praiseworthy gigantic effort there are also a few spurious and dubious aspects and these aspects must be at once dismissed from our minds. We must first realize that the beginning of the universe from the big bang is a scientific theory and it is science which is going to judge it in terms of scientific criteria and parameters. Whether it is going to be upheld or is going to collapse,—well, it is science which will have the say in the matter and nothing else.

There is a hurried tendency of the Vedantic mind connecting the big bang with the bursting of the cosmic egg, brahmāņda. But they are not on a par in several respects. For instance, brahmāņda is not going to collapse if Hadron Collider is going to dismiss the big bang. And then, and more importantly, one is a theory and the other an occult-spiritual experience. They belong to different categories and we must not mix them up. But this mixing-up game was started in a rather bad manner some thirty years ago by Fritjof Capra when his Tao of Physics intriguingly mesmerized both communities, the scientific and the Vedantic...

This is good,—as far as it goes. But never should either of them lose sight of the fundamentals, their fundamentals, of the spiritual and the material. If one is the breathing in and breathing out of the physical in the cosmic process of objectification, the other is the rhythm of the timeless set into the great movements of time. One is mental conceptualization and the other the truth-dynamism set into motion by the Spirit itself. Here our interest is not in mysticism but in physics proper, professional physics. So, as far as the Large Hadron Collider is concerned, let us applaud the startup operation and eagerly wait for the arrival of the Higgs Boson. It is a definite pointer towards what will give materiality to matter, substantiality to substance.
RY Deshpande
Refer also the article Higgs Boson—A Matter of Physics Posted to: Main Page

Friday, December 12, 2008

The core and its connections

About the Earth's Core
By Andrew Alden, See More About: structure of the earth core of the earth geomagnetism

A century ago, science barely knew that the Earth even has a core. Today we are tantalized by the core and its connections with the rest of the planet. Indeed, we're at the start of a golden age of core studies... Our main tool for core research has been earthquake waves, especially those from large events like the 2004 Sumatra quake. The ringing "normal modes," which make the planet pulsate with the sort of motions you see in a large soap bubble, are useful for examining large-scale deep structure.

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Inner core
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Earth's core)

The inner core of the Earth, its innermost layer as detected by seismological studies, is a primarily solid sphere about 1,220 km (758 mi) in radius, only about 70% that of the Moon. It is believed to consist of an iron-nickel alloy, and it may be hotter than the Sun's surface[1].