- Rishikesh Dhakal
- A multimedia producer, keenly interested in the evolution of the Internet.Visual Production is my favourite pastime and a serious hobby, too. And I like to travel now and then, preferably with a camera.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Where were you in January of 1986?
I remember exactly where I was on January 28. I was driving a truck up the California coast, delivering pet supplies to pet shops. I had stopped briefly in Nipomo and was watching television with the store owner. We watched as Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral and exploded. My computer experience at the time was limited to programming assembly language on a Z80 and a Commodore 128. I didn't get a PC until I started an online research service in 1987.
1986 - Up from the ooze
In 1986, the first PC virus was created. It was the Brain virus from Pakistan. Brain was a boot sector virus and only infected 360k floppy disks. Interestingly, even though it was the first virus, it had full-stealth capability.
In December of 1986, a file infecting demo virus was introduced. It was called Virdem and was created in Germany.
Two other demo virus have 1986 copyright notices. These are the Burger virus (Program Virus ver. 1.1 by R. Burger) and the Rush Hour virus by B. Fix.
Click here for the rest of the timeline along with important historical events from 1985 to 1996.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Coastal/Marine: Home to 2 billion people, coastal areas play a vital economic role and also feel the full brunt of human impact. Two-thirds of all fish harvested depend at some point in their lives on coastal wetlands, sea-grasses or coral reefs, all of which are fast disappearing.
Freshwater: These are the most critical of ecosystems since all organisms need water to survive. Human water consumption rose six-fold in the past century, double the rate of population growth. People now use 54% of available freshwater, and additional demand will further jeopardize all other ecosystems.
Agricultural Lands: One-third of global land has been converted to food production, but three-quarters of this area has poor soil. So far, harvests outpace population growth, but the future is clouded by the loss of land to urban development, soil degradation and water scarcity.
Grasslands: This system, which covers 40% of the world’s land surface, includes savannas, shrub-lands and tundra. It supports the largest mammals, migrating birds, crops and livestock. All human food grains originated in grasslands, and wild strains of these staples help keep crops resistant to threats.
Forests: Home to two-thirds of all species, forests temper climate and capture and store water. Their timber has been a springboard for economic development. Forests store 40% of terrestrial carbon, and can slow the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- It is estimated that 20% of freshwater species have vanished or been driven toward extinction in recent decades.
- Humans already use 54% of the Earth’s rainfall, and 70% of that goes to agriculture.
- Deforestation, which releases carbon from trees, accounts for 20% of the human-caused carbon emissions that spur climate change.
- Based on new data analysis, 2.3 billion people face water shortages, 60% more than in previous estimates.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
"It's just a pencil, right? You write with it and rub it with an eraser."
You will agree with me, I know, but our colleague, an American volunteer was dissatisfied with my remark. He said, “It’s not just a pencil. You are holding a Muji pencil.” I was annoyed by his curt remark, and decided to take it a step further. I said, “What’s so special about Muji pencils? Aren’t they made of lead-rods enclosed within cylindrical wooden sticks?”
He must have sensed a satire, so he replied seriously, “Do you really know what Muji products are?” At this time I made a guess that Muji was the name of a brand but as I checked the pencil, nothing was written on it – no labels at all. In fact there was not even a marking of any sort – just a plain pencil. Later at night, I Googled to find that the name ‘Muji’ belonged to a company Ryohin Keikaku, a Japanese word meaning “No Brand Quality Goods”.
Japanese goods are obviously high quality – but Muji turned out to be extra nice because of their environment-friendly policy during manufacturing. According to their site, they use recycled materials to make a variety of goods; not just stationery but household items, kitchenware, clothing, travel, gifts, electric gadgets, etc., and all of them wrapped in the modest packaging ever. What I liked about them is that even without a name, they have made a presence on the market, which is of course part of the company philosophy.
Come to think of it, I used to have a pen-holder some years back which was made of bamboo, and it did not have a name or label of any kind. Could it have been a Muji holder? I will have to go through its shops in order to find a similar holder, in the meantime let’s hear what William Gibson has to say.
Our American volunteer was indeed right when he said he used to cross the Pacific to get his Muji supplies once every year; after all, simple is beautiful, isn’t it?