Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fritjof Capra-The Tao of Physics

It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human
thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place
at those points where two different lines of thought meet.
These lines may have their roots in quite different parts of
human culture, in different times or different cultural environments
or different religious traditions: hence if they actually
meet, that is, if they are at least so much related to each other
that a real interaction can take place, then one may hope that
new and interesting developments may follow.
Werner Heisenberg

Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, which promotes ecology and systems thinking in primary and secondary education. He is on the faculty of Schumacher College, an international center for ecological studies in England, and frequently gives management seminars for top executives. Dr. Capra is the author of five international bestsellers, The Tao of Physics (1975), The Turning Point (1982), Uncommon Wisdom (1988), The Web of Life (1996), and The Hidden Connections (2002). He coauthored Green Politics (1984), Belonging to the Universe (1991), and EcoManagement (1993), and coedited Steering Business Toward Sustainability (1995). His most recent book, The Science of Leonardo, was published in October, 2007.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī

born c. 780,
died c. 850
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī was a mathematician, an astronomer, an astrologer and a geographer.He was born around 780 in Khwārizm (now Khiva, Uzbekistan) and died around 850. He worked most of his life as a scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. His Algebra was the first book on the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. Consequently he is considered to be the father of algebra, a title he shares with Diophantus. Latin translations of his Arithmetic, on the Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world in the 12th century.He revised and updated Ptolemy's Geography as well as writing several works on astronomy and astrology. His contributions not only made a great impact on mathematics, but on language as well. The word algebra is derived from al-jabr, one of the two operations used to solve quadratic equations, as described in his book. The words algorism and algorithm stem from Algoritmi, the Latinization of his name.His name is also the origin of the Spanish word guarismo and of the Portuguese word algarismo, both meaning digit.

His major contributions to mathematics, astronomy, astrology, geography and cartography provided foundations for later and even more widespread innovation in algebra, trigonometry, and his other areas of interest. His systematic and logical approach to solving linear and quadratic equations gave shape to the discipline of algebra, a word that is derived from the name of his 830 book on the subject, al-Kitab al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa'l-muqabala (Arabic الكتاب المختصر في حساب الجبر والمقابلة) or: "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing". The book was first translated into Latin in the twelfth century. His book On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals written about 825, was principally responsible for the diffusion of the Indian system of numeration in the Middle-East and then Europe. This book also translated into Latin in the twelfth century, as Algoritmi de numero Indorum. From the name of the author, rendered in Latin as algoritmi, originated the term algorithm. Some of his contributions were based on earlier Persian and Babylonian Astronomy, Indian numbers, and Greek sources. Al-Khwārizmī systematized and corrected Ptolemy's data in geography as regards to Africa and the Middle east. Another major book was his Kitab surat al-ard ("The Image of the Earth"; translated as Geography), which presented the coordinates of localities in the known world based, ultimately, on those in the Geography of Ptolemy but with improved values for the length of the Mediterranean Sea and the location of cities in Asia and Africa. He also assisted in the construction of a world map for the caliph al-Ma'mun and participated in a project to determine the circumference of the Earth, supervising the work of 70 geographers to create the map of the then "known world".[9] When his work was copied and transferred to Europe through Latin translations, it had a profound impact on the advancement of basic mathematics in Europe. He also wrote on mechanical devices like the astrolabe and sundial.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ξ i r c - An open source irc client for Windows


Another irc client. What makes the difference in this implementation is the capability for file browsing in mirce powered file servers.It can be usefull to people who search their music in various channels in irc. Apart from this (escaping the initial motivation for its creation Ξirc has become a full featured irc client with various functions. A basic list of them is :

  • Channel list in mirc file format
  • Help option in different places in engilsh and greek. It also provides the ability for internationalization of help messages thru a simple file
  • (De)coding of color codes / text formating
  • Update program
  • More on the program itself...



    Monday, April 7, 2008


    The birth of the group Tinariwen in 1982 was intimately linked to exile and the consequent social upheaval experienced by the Touaregs. All the members of Tinariwen are natives of the Adrar of Iforas region in northeastern Mali. During the 1970s they sought refuge from drought and conflict in the southern Algerian town of Tamanrasset. Their lyrics call for the awakening of the politics of conscience and tackle the problems of exile, repression and territorial sovereignty. Arising from this painful period of exile, the group first took the name Taghreft Tinariwen which means ‘the enlightenment of the nation’ in Tamashek, the Touareg language. The original members slowly consolidated into a fully fledged group and added female backing vocalists to enhance their musical expression. Tinariwen performed in all kinds of settings….marriages, baptisms, gatherings and traditional feasts at encampments deep in the desert.

    Members of Tinariwen met Lo’Jo, the French group from Angers, in the Malian capital Bamako in 1997. These meetings lead to the first Festival in the Desert, which took place in January 2001 near the village of Tin Essako in the far northeastern corner of Mali, deep in the southern Sahara desert. In the weeks leading up to the festival Tinariwen recorded a set of songs in the studio of the Tamashek speaking Radio Tisdas in Kidal, the capital of northeastern Mali. The sessions were produced by English guitarist Justin Adams, now a member of the Robert Plant band, and Jean-Paul Romann, Lo’Jo’s sound engineer. Apart from the regular Tinariwen line-up (see below), the recordings also featured contributions from the legendary Kheddou and the poet guitarist Japonnais, key figures in the group’s history. ‘The Radio Tisdas Sessions’ CD was released on Wayward Records at the end of 2001 and with hardly any promotion went on to sell well in the UK and USA. Tinariwen then came over to Europe to tour extensively in 2001 and 2002, performing at the WOMAD and Roskilde Festivals and many other venues. In April 2003 they laid down the raw tracks for their forthcoming album ‘Amassakoul’ which is due out in Jan / Feb 2004 on Emma Productions in France, and different labels around the world.

    The music of Tinariwen

    Tinariwen are the creators of a new and contemporary style of Touareg music. This style is often simply referred to as ‘guitar’, because the instrument symbolizes the modernity of the group’s approach. Another name given to their style is Tishoumaren, or ‘of the ‘ishoumar’. It has played a determining role in the growing cultural awareness of the Touareg youth. The songs themselves are living, imaginative and often profoundly real evocations of the identity of the modern Touareg people. Exile and resistance were originally the major themes of the ishoumars but as time passed Tinariwen and their songs have expressed the wider struggles of daily life in the Tamashek speaking countries. Theirs is a song of love born in a time of conflict.

    Sunday, April 6, 2008


    Mel Brooks (born "Melvin Kaminsky" June 28, 1926) is a multi-award winning American director, writer, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer best known as a creator of broad film farces and comedy parodies. Brooks is a member of the short list of entertainers with the distinction of having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award.
    Brooks' career began in the forties in the military, while serving as a combat engineer in the US Army. He was known to respond to German propaganda broadcasts by doing an Al Jolson imitation of "Toot Toot Tootsie."

    After completing his military service, Brooks began working as a stand-up comedian in a string of resorts in the Catskills, and changed his name to avoid confusion with the musician Max Kaminsky. On the resort scene Brooks gained little income but earned great personal satisfaction. He was known for his odd antics, including performing on-the-spot monologues and routines, pretending to insult both his co-workers and the guests, and even ending one show by jumping fully clothed into a swimming pool.

    After years of stand-up comedy, Brooks decided it was time to try television. Applying for the writing staff of TV comedian Sid Caesar, Brooks literally fell to his knees and sang a song about himself. As a writer for Sid Caesar's classic television variety program "The Admiral Broadway Revue" which later became "Your Show of Shows," and much later "Caesar's Hour," Brooks worked with such greats as Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Carl Reiner. At this time he received his first major commendation - a Writing Emmy for "The Sid Caesar, Imogen Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special." Though the work was grueling and at times dangerous, Brooks saw it as the best formal education that any comedian could have.

    In the mid-fifties Brooks ended his stint with Caesar, and moved on to produce three plays throughout the fifties and sixties - New Faces of 1952 (1952), Shinbone Alley (1957), and All-American (1962). In the 1960's Brooks teamed up with Carl Reiner for their best-selling "2000 Year Old Man" routines, which graduated into a hit record and numerous TV appearances. Brooks received three Grammys for the 2000 Year Old Man role, which also earned him a reputation as a spontaneously funny comedian. Brooks then teamed up with Buck Henry to develop "Get Smart"- a satirical spy sitcom for comedian Don Adams, which ran successfully from 1965 through 1970.

    After doing everything from stand-up to television, Brooks decided to move into films. His first film was The Critic, which poked fun at abstract modern art, and won an Oscar. In 1968 his first major film, The Producers earned Brooks another Academy Award, for "Writing, Story and Screenplay." The Producers was a very low budget comedy, and a satire of the Broadway theatre world. The movie did poorly at the box office, but has since gained a reputation as one of the most funny comedies of all time, and one of Brooks' defining films, and Brooks' favorite. As a result of The Producers, Brooks discovered the talent of Gene Wilder, who would go on to star in future Brooks films.

    Brooks' next film, The Twelve Chairs (1970-71), was received with little acclaim, and was the story of a Russian family who discovers that their family jewels have been hidden in a set of twelve chairs, and their hunt to find the chairs. Brooks directed, co-wrote, and starred in the film.
    rapidshare links for his movies click here

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008


    Eunice Waymon was born in Tryon, North Carolina as the sixth of seven children in a poor family. The child prodigy played piano at the age of four. With the help of her music teacher, who set up the "Eunice Waymon Fund", she could continue her general and musical education. She studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York.
    Eunice made so much progress that in 1943, when she was 10, she gave her first piano recital at the town library. There she not only experienced her first applause, but also had her first encounter with racism: during the recital her parents were removed from the first row to accommodate some whites. This episode was a traumatic experience for her and may be the origin of her commitment to the fight for freedom and civil rights.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008


    Les Negresses Vertes, formed in 1987, are a French music group who are best described as a fusion of world music and some aspects of alternative rock. Their particular musical influences were Gypsy music, Punk Rock, Algerian raï, Mediterranean and South American music and French café music. Their tracks often feature acoustic guitar and accordion, as well as some tracks containing many other 'traditional' instruments such as piano and brass. Their style is fairly upbeat and energetic on the majority of their tracks, with unusual rhythms, vocals delivered with a generous dose of zeal and vibrant energy, and accompaniment melodies ranging from lilting and distant to eccentric and fast-paced. These two factors give many of their pieces a strong sense of direction.
    The original nine-member lineup--Helno, Braham, l'Ami Ro, the Mellinos, Paulus, Canavase, Gaby, and Ochowiak--created the band out of a friendship, making them a tight-knit unit. In addition, many were new to their instruments, resulting in unorthodox styles of playing. Underneath Les Négresses Vertes' dramatic punk-folk sound and energy existed the influences of blues, mambo, Latin, and various other forms of music, an incredible mix that immediately struck a chord with French audiences. In 1988, the group released their first single, the uncharacteristic hardcore punk protest song "200 Ans D'Hypocrisie."