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Submission + - Indian Supreme Court strikes down Sec 66A of IT Act (

CalcuttaWala writes: The Supreme Court of India, struck down as illegal, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that was used by many government agencies to arrest people who used social media to voice opinions against powerful politicians and business leaders. This will allow many people to exercise their freedom of expression on the Internet

Submission + - WHO declares escalating Ebola outbreak an international emergency ( 2

mdsolar writes: With cases rapidly mounting in four West African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that allows the agency to issue recommendations for travel restrictions but also sends a strong message that more resources need to be mobilized to bring the viral disease under control.

"The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it," WHO director-general Margaret Chan said at a press conference in Geneva this morning. Chan said the declaration of a PHEIC serves as "an urgent call for international solidarity." The affected countries don't have the resources to battle the disease alone, and neither does her agency. With three major humanitarian crises on its hands--in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic--as well as three important disease outbreaks--Ebola, the H7N9 influenza virus, and MERS--WHO is "extremely stretched," she said. So are organizations such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), which do much of the control work on the ground.

This is only the third time the health agency has issued a PHEIC declaration since the new International Health Regulations (IHR), a global agreement on the control of diseases, were adopted in 2005. The previous two instances were in 2009, for the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and in May for the resurgence of polio.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot : Enterprise Applications on Intranet based Social Media Platform

CalcuttaWala writes: Social media constructs, like groups, posts, comments can reflect the departmental heirarchy found in a corporate organisation and we are exploring the possibility of a creating a private, Orkut or Facebook style application to model a company. RDBMS based enterprise applications like financial accounting, inventory etc will be available as "apps" or "games" like Farmville that individuals can install depending on their need. Finally we would need workflow that these enterprise "apps" will trigger through through messages to specific inboxes. Can slashdotters suggest any platform that we can use that will minimise coding ? What could be an appropriate architecture for creating such a platform ?

Submission + - Sharing intelligence across multiple robots (

CalcuttaWala writes: Each robotic brain needs to incorporate information about the real world and the means to process it meaningfully if it has to exhibit some degree of intelligence. Pooling this information from multiple robots and processing them centrally is something can greatly improve the capabilities of each robot. This has been attempted by a group of European scientists in "Rapyuta, the online "brain" describes objects robots have met and can also carry out complicated computation on behalf of a robot."

Comment So what if it does not mimic the human mind (Score 1) 354

Birds were the first heavier than air bodies to fly in the sky BUT the principles of bird flight were inadequate to make real aeroplanes fly. Modern aeroplane technology is NOT based on the principles of bird flight but that does not make them any less efficient. In fact modern aeroplanes are far bigger, faster, more effective than birds or anything that resembles them. One need not ALWAYS mimic nature to surpass it ... though it could be a starting point.

Submission + - Blogger parodies Shakespeare to ridicule Governmen (

CalcuttaWala writes: One of the most important ministers in the Government of India has come out with a controversial plan to censor content on social media sites. This ultra accurate parody of the speech made by Mark Anthony at Caesar's funeral, as written by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar, is a brilliant riposte to this unfortunate development.

Comment Re:The real purpose (Score 1) 203

God Forbid that NPTEL be the kind of content that is dished out through these tablets! The farmers -- if at all they were the target for this product -- would immediately throw away the tablets in desperation and frustration if they are forced to watch the kind of utterly boring and worthless trash that is dished out through these "IIT lectures". On the other hand, if the product is reliable and stable, then it can be a real force multiplier to the humble mobile phone that has changed the commercial and personal communication landscape of a large yet poor country and introduce a whole new category of users to the information and entertainment that is currently available to a small part of the population.

Comment Re:Microsoft cleans up the mess it created .. (Score 0) 83

"Microsoft is participating in the fight against the very criminal element that Microsoft allowed to blossom." Just as the United States is now fighting against the Taliban and the Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan whom it once allowed, encouraged and paid money to, to blossom !

Comment Re:touch typing classes and PC using proficiency (Score 2) 249

When I was finishing high school in Calcutta, India, my father insisted that i take a course in typing as being a typist was one of the few viable employment opportunities that existed. Glad to state that India has moved out of that zone of darkness but my touch typing skills are still a source of wonder to many of my younger "digit"-ally challenged colleagues !

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