Friday, December 25, 2015

Beijing's Sanyuan Bridge Recontructed in 36 Hours first time in the World

The refurbishment of Beijing's Sanyuan Bridge, or Sanyuanqiao started at 11p.m. on Nov. 13, 2015. The whole reconstruction process completed within 43 hours.

The most challenging part of the overhaul, the replacement of the 1300 tons of new surfacing for the bridge have been transported to the construction site to replace the old surface.

Sanyuan Bridge is a major overpass on the northeastern stretch of the 3rd Ring Road of Beijing. The Airport Expressway, Jingshun Road (China National Highway 101) and the 3rd Ring Road are interlinked by the vital overpass.

New bridge sections are moved slowly into position at Beijing's Sanyuanqiao junction on the 3rd Ring Road on Sunday. Replacement of the decaying bridge took only about 36 hours.

Workers used global positioning systems, lasers and robots to replace old sections with reinforcing an old pivotal cloverleaf junction in a downtown Beijing commercial zone using a new prefabricated steel structure. Traffic flow resumed late on Sunday afternoon.

Replacement of the bridge structure cost 39 million yuan ($6.1 million  dollars), according to Xinhua.

The Sanyuanqiao cloverleaf junction is a major congestion point on a tollway to the airport. It also links two pivotal highways: the Third Ring Road and the highway linking downtown Beijing with the outlying Shunyi District.

Built in 1984, the bridge was in poor shape and needed reinforcement for safety reasons. You can watch this video too here.

India's first and only Paraplegic Confident Woman

Deepa Malik :-

"Life is a festival, celebrate it every day"

“If you felt things stopped you, try a wheel chair’ We have heard stories of individuals who have triumphed against all odds but Deepa is a cut above the rest.

She is the first paraplegic, Indian woman biker, swimmer, car rallyist, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and a restaurateur. Her three spinal tumour surgeries and the 183 stitches between shoulder blades sound insignificant compared to her achievements - national and international awards and a mention in record books.

Deepa Malik (born 30 September 1970) ,has won numerous accolades for her participation in various adventure sports. Whether it is swimming against the strong Yamuna current, or riding a special bike or even taking a shot at the Paralympic Games, she has done it all. She has won bronze medal in Women's Javelin Throw. She has got nominated in Limca Book of Records for her swimming records.

Malik is not an ordinary person. She is a paraplegic, paralysed from waist down, but that has not stopped the 41-year-old from taking up challenges. Wife of a retired Cavalier Col, Mother of two adult daughters, an international sports person & medalist, first paraplegic woman biker and a car rallyist with a difference and FIRST sportswoman to represent the country at international level in her category of disability { F-53 }. in fact, turned adversities into opportunity and success.

Deepa Malik was diagnosed with spinal tumor 12 years ago and in August 2012, she received the Arjuna award from the president of India for her achievements in track and field. It was a tough time for Malik family. Her husband Bikram Singh Malik was fighting the Kargil war and at home Deepa was struggling with her tumors. Finally the family won both the war. India won Kargil.

But the journey till here wasn’t easy. It never is. But she did it.

Braving her life with chest below paralysis, she had to undergo  three spinal tumor surgeries which required 183 stitches between her shoulder blades for past 14 yrs. She survived the tumor but was left paralyzed from waist down. Like all of us she had two choices – one to lead a life indulged in self pity and the other to turn adversities into opportunities. She chose the latter.

Deepa also runs a successful restaurant by the name Dee’s Place in Ahmed Nagar, where the family is settled. She is very active in adventures sports. She is associated with Himalayan Motorsports Association (H.M.A.) and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (F.M.S.C.I.). A lesson for all able and disables, she has done 8 days 1700 k.m. drive in minus degree temperatures. Even on an altitude of 18000 feet with oxygen shortage, she was able to sustain it all. It was - Raid De Himalaya. This journey covers many difficult paths including remote Himalayas, Leh, Shimla and Jammu.

She took to sports at the age of 36. She ran a catering and restaurant business for seven years but had to close it down after she decided to train for the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2010.

Deepa battled the odds to win laurels in para-athletics. She won two gold medals (javelin and discus) at the Malaysian Open athletics championship in April and achieved a world ranking of No.3.

Her name is registered twice in the Limca Book of Records: for crossing a 1-km stretch of the Yamuna River against the current in 2008 and covering 58 kms by riding a special bike this year.
Her tally of medals is impressive – two new Asian records at the World Games at Sharjah in December last year and two bronze medals including a silver medal at the World athletics championship at Christchurch, New Zealand, apart from a bronze medal at the Para – Asian games held in China earlier. At the national and state level, Deepa has notched 39 golds, four silver and two bronze medals.

In an interview to DNIS, she talked about her life after the disability. Here are a few excerpts :
“When I started life afresh on a wheelchair after spinal cord damage, I had to undergo serious physiotherapy. When I interacted with people like myself, I realized they all felt a lack of direction. Most people think that life is restricted due to paralysis. For women, it is worse! Lucky to have full family back up and education on my side, I decided to give hope to those who were paralyzed.

I started doing various outdoor activities. I call myself to be on this mission – ‘Ability beyond Disability’. My aim is to change the stereotypical image of wheelchair users that people generally have and sensitize society toward my type of disability. The media is the best way to reach out to maximum people. Coverage of the activities I do help in convincing paraplegics at motivational workshops that a ‘normal’ life is possible even on a wheelchair!

It was pretty depressing in the beginning but the love and support of my family made the process easy for me. The acceptance of your disability by your near and dear ones can make a lot of contribution to ones confidence.

It made me look at life from a new window. I learned everything all over again, right from turning into a bed to sit, from having a bath to changing clothes. But the biggest challenge I faced was timing my bladder and water intake.

The things which I had taken for granted when I was not disabled, now seemed like big hurdles. A step just six inches high could actually restrict my accessibility, the same step that I possibly never ever noticed before! Disability brought my life into focus. I started a restaurant supporting the education of a few children, set out on a mission to motivate people like me with the help of my activities. In short I learnt to give back to society and realized the true sense of living. “

It is very rightly said that disability is only in our thoughts.People like Deepa make us realize that we are restricted only by our notion of our capabilities and limits. Hope she is successful in her mission. Hats off to her!

Member of the working group in the formulation twelfth five year plan {2012-2017} on sports and physical education as nominated by the planning commision hrd division on behalf of sports ministry.

  • Holds An Official IPC Asian Record In Javelin F-53 Category
  • Holds All Three National Records In Throws {Discuss, Javelin, Shot-put} In F-53 Category
  • Holds All Three National Records In S-1 Swimming Category {Back Stroke, Breast Stroke, Free Style }
  • World Ranking 2010-12 – 2nd Shot-put, 3rd -Discus, 3rd Javelin
  • Asian Ranking 2010-12 – 1st In All Three Throws


- Inspiration
- Self belief
- Persistance
- Courage
- Motivation
- Adventure
- Change

On August 29, 2012 she was presented with the prestigious Arjuna Award at the age of 42 years (oldest athlete to ever receive the award for active sports) by Honorable President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. This award represents in a nutshell, all the laurels won by her in her illustrious sports career so far. These achievements are detailed as follows-

Total no of medals at various games 



Friday, December 18, 2015

Addressing the World - Universally

The world is poorly addressed. This is frustrating and costly in developed nations; and in developing nations this is life-threatening and growth limiting.

what3words is a unique combination of just 3 words that identifies a 3mx3m square, anywhere on the planet.

It’s far more accurate than a postal address and it’s much easier to remember, use and share than a set of coordinates.

Better addressing improves customer experience, delivers business efficiencies, drives growth and helps the social & economic development of countries.

How does it work ?

Download the technical report

what3words is a universal addressing system based on a 3mx3m global grid.

Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been pre-allocated a fixed & unique 3 word address.

Our geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa.

As it is an algorithm our solution takes up less than 10MB, small enough to install on almost all smartphones and works across platforms and devices.

what3words is a plug-in for businesses and individuals, via an API, to enhance their own products and services with simple and precise addressing.

Why is it important ?

Around 75% of the world (135 countries) suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.

This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

For example, it means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed.

Even in countries with advanced address systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered, and businesses and tourist attractions don’t get found.

Poor addressing might seem no more than annoying in some countries, but around the world it hampers the growth and development of nations, ultimately costing lives.

We want to give everyone in the world the ability to talk about a precise location as easily as possible.

Everyone and everywhere now has an address.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

India's first Transgender Police Official from Tamilnadu

K Prithika Yashini, aged around 25 years, is the first transgender person to become a police official in India.


Prithika Yashini, born and brought up as Pradeep Kumar (a Hindu male name), has applied for recruitment as a sub-inspector of police to the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) to fill vacancies for 1087 posts. However, her application was rejected as being a transgender she did not belong to any of the two specified categories, namely, male or female. Subsequently, she challenged the decision of the TNUSRB in different courts including the High Court of Madras.

Accordingly, the High Court of Madras ordered for conducting a written test for her. The test for the recruitment comprises written test, physical endurance test and a viva-voce. With legal recourse in a competent court, she was able to lowering the minimum cut-off marks for written test for such a recruitment from 28.5 to 25.00. She could clear all physical endurance tests except missing 100 meter dash by one second. However, she was "testified" successful in the physical endurance test. In an interview, Prithika Yashini told, "I'm excited. It's a new beginning for the entire transgender community." She aspires to become an officer of Indian Police Service over a period of time.

Growing up as a boy in Salem in Tamil Nadu, K Prithika Yashini, who was then Pradeep Kumar, recalls her teenage days with horror. "I was confused and could not focus on my studies. I was even scared of telling my parents about what I was going through and it didn't help that everyone in school started teasing me." This was precipitated by the clear demarcation of gender in school toilets, particularly for a boy who was beginning to identify himself as a woman. Today, the 25-year-old beams with confidence and is all set to be Tamil Nadu and India's first transgender sub-inspector of the police.

It is also a personal victory for Yashini whose humble family origins did not make her transition easy. Her father, who was once a farmer in Salem, now works as a cab driver and her mother is a tailor. She feared that her conservative parents would not accept her desire to change her gender easily. Though she says her style and speech were more "feminine" since she was a child, her desire to undergo sexual reassignment surgery came as a shock to them. "They tried everything from 'medicines' to taking me to temples and astrologers, but I was determined." The reassignment process that began in 2011 is now complete and she formally holds a card that identifies her as a transgender woman.

She decided to move out of her parents' home during her third semester during her graduation and go 300 kilometres away to Chennai. Here, she faced harsh discrimination, especially from landlords who refused to give her a place to rent. "I still remember the first night I came to Chennai and had to spend the entire night at the Koyambedu Bus Stand," recalls Yashini, with tears in her eyes.

Her will was beginning to break, but a part of her strongly believed that she could survive this and remain true to her identity. "Wherever I went for an interview, I was literally thrown out. I had almost stopped dreaming about leading my life on my terms," she says. It took her close to six years to revive her childhood dream of becoming a police officer, during which time she worked as a women's hostel warden, in a counselling company and at a private hospital. In February this year, she applied for the post of a sub-inspector, but was rejected on the grounds that Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board doesn't have a third-gender category.

Not willing to let up, she moved the petition in the Madras High Court, which has led to her recruitment as a police officer through an interim order. But even a Court order was not enough to convince the recruitment board, which kept rejecting her application citing various "flimsy" reasons, including one where it said that her name did not tally with original certificates. It took another round of litigation before she was allowed to participate in field trials in August. Here, too, she was disqualified by 1.1 seconds in a 100-metre race. She and her lawyer, Bhavani Subbarayan, who is believed to have taken her case pro bono, persisted till Yashini was recruited.

A landmark Madras High Court judgment last week has directed the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board to include members from the transgender community under a "third category" by the time the next recruitment process begins. For Yashini, this comes as a joyful relief from her long-drawn personal and legal battle, besides, of course, giving a new sense of identity and confidence to the transgender community in the state.

Yashini, who is now anxiously waiting to begin her career as a police officer, says that she will continue to work for the cause of the transgender community and help them gain the respect that is so often denied to them. Though she has reconciled with her family, Yashini believes that there are several young children whose parents abandon them once they begin to realise that they are "different". To this end, she counsels children and their parents so that transgender men and women are not ostracised from their communities.
She talks in a measured tone, her voice revealing no emotion during the one-hour-long conversation. She has a well-framed answer to every question, probably due to her numerous media interactions over the last few weeks. But mention ‘khaki’ and her eyes light up; suddenly, she’s an excited 20-something on the cusp of a dream life.

“I can’t wait to wear the uniform,” she grins. “I will be the first transgender to don the khaki as a sub-inspector, imagine!” The 25-year-old is set to become the first trans-woman sub-inspector in Tamil Nadu and is probably the first transgender sub-inspector in India too.

Prithika’s life follows a pattern that’s similar to any transgender’s. But what makes her different, is her refusal to give up on life. She spent most part of this year in court, taking on a system that makes it a nightmare for someone like her to be treated like a normal person.

Seated in her shared, one-room home, her eyes frequently drawn to the mobile phone in her hand, Prithika remembers her teenage years as the son of a driver-tailor couple in Salem. “It was when I was in class XI that I felt different. I didn’t feel like a boy.”

Her parents, who were helpless, took her to temples, doctors and even astrologers to “set things right”. But Prithika knew what she wanted by then: friendship and a life in which she could be herself. She ran away to Chennai in 2011 and landed at Central Station, with nothing but a few phone numbers to start with.

Soon, Prithika realised transgenders accepted people into their community more readily than society; for most transgenders are quick to trust and give. “I made new friends… Banu, Selvi, Smiley, Glady, Swappna and Selvam and got a job as a warden in a ladies hostel.” She spent the next few years changing jobs and houses. “I’ve changed up to seven houses till date,” she says. “I now work for an app developer as a curator of stories about my community.”

Now that she’s in the spotlight, Prithika feels she’s in a responsible position. “I want to be an example for my community and do whatever I can for them,” she says. “I hope to become a respected sub-inspector; one who places her duty ahead of everything else.” Prithika aims to crack the UPSC exam and become an IPS officer. “There’s so much I want to do! I want to work towards reservation for transgenders in education and employment and for the cause of women and the lesser-privileged.”

But mostly, she hopes to sit quietly with a book and read. “I couldn’t read anything in peace over the last few months, let alone study for my exams. I spent most of the days I was supposed to be studying, in court. It was 10.30 at night when I got my hall ticket for the exam which was to happen the next day. I didn’t sleep a wink that night,” she says.

Those were difficult times — the unending travels to the High Court; the long hours of waiting in the premises to be called; the uncertainty — but in the end it was all worth it.

Butterfly Valley - Turkey

Faralya is a village in Lycia, Turkey.

About 15 km south of Ölüdeniz (and 30 km south of Fethiye), Faralya was known simply as the "village on the cliffs of the Butterfly Valley" (Turkish: Kelebekler Vadisi) is a valley in Fethiye district of Muğla Province, southwestern Turkey, which is home to diverse butterfly species.

Until recently, when travellers start to take a deeper look to the village. The village itself is quite a pleasant sight to see, with its houses and gardens cascading towards the cliffs of the Valley. 

The valley is situated at the foothill of Babadağ, a 1,975 m (6,480 ft)-high mountain nominated for preservation as world heritage. A wide-strip sand beach at a bay on the Turkish Riviera protrudes from the valley. In the form of a narrow canyon stretching over around 3–4 km (1.9–2.5 mi), the valley's steep walls are 350–400 m (1,150–1,310 ft) high. A trail in the valley leads to two small waterfalls dropping from 60 m (200 ft) all the year around. In the middle of the valley, a creek runs, carrying water from a spring in nearby Faralya village to the sea. A road from Ölüdeniz to Uzunyurt, which is part of the Lycian Way Ultramarathon route, runs atop the rocks around the valley.  

The valley, rich in flora and fauna, takes its name from the large number of butterfly species found here. Scientists recorded some 147 flora species belonging to 54 families and 105 butterfly species from 15 families native to the valley. The butterfly species include the Jersey tiger (Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis). Butterfies of many varieties in a wide range of colors can be observed in the valley between June and September.  

Faralya is officially a quarter (Hisar Mahallesi) of the village of Uzunyurt (literally "long country"), which is made up of seperate hamlets (from north to south: Kozağaç and Kirme on the Lycian Way to Ölüdeniz, Faralya/Hisar, Kızılcakaya, and Kabak) as these hamlets don't have enough population to make them officially declared to be villages. However, almost nobody but the officials use this name and the village is always referred to by its ancient name of Faralya whether it be by the minibus signs or travel agencies. And as Faralya is (relatively speaking) the biggest one of these hamlets, when someone speaks about Uzunyurt, you may assume he/she refers to Faralya.

There are minibuses (dolmuş) to the village from Ölüdeniz, continuing on to Kabak.

A narrow and winding, but tarmac (and sectionally potholed) road connects the village to Ölüdeniz, where it joins the main highway towards Fethiye near the Blue Lagoon. Though the distance is not that huge, it takes about 30 minutes to drive this road because of the conditions.

During high season (June-August) there are boats three times a day (11AM/2PM/4PM) from Ölüdeniz to the Butterfly Valley. They cost 15 TL pp return. Keep the ticket you'll be given upon getting on the boat in Ölüdeniz, it'll be asked for when getting on the boat that will take you back at the Butterfly Valley.

Hiking from Ovacık, 2 km north of Ölüdeniz, is also an option thanks to the Lycian Way which passes through the main road of the village. Most hikers do this 16-km section in one day, however two days combined with camping a night up in the mountains is much more comfortable, especially in summer.

Hitchhiking the road between Ölüdeniz and Faralya is super-easy, at least in summer when there are lots of holiday-makers travelling with their cars.

Butterfly Valley when approaching by boat. The village of Faralya is at the far top of the canyon, invisible in this angle. 

The village and the Butterfly Valley are connected by a very steep (dropping from the village's elevation of 350 mt to sea level at canyon bottom) and somewhat dangerous path, some sections of which require a little bit of mountaneering skills. It usually takes around 45 minutes to one hour to do the entire path—climbing up of which is unusually said to be easier than climbing down—but there are some fit travellers who are reported to do it in a little more than 20 minutes. The path starts from in front of the guesthouse George House up in the village and marked with red dots all along it.