Thursday, January 14, 2016

Japan Railways Broad-Minded Nature for a Only Train Passenger

There is only one high school girl who uses the remote Kami-Shirataki Station in Hokkaido, Japan, but the station has been kept open for her till she graduates, goes a Facebook post by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Friday (Jan 8) which has gone viral.

“The Kyu-Shirataki-Shirataki train station is located in Japan’s north island of Hokkaido,” the post read. “Three years ago, due to its remote location and ending of freight trains, the Japan Railway (JR) decided to close it down. However, they changed their minds after they discovered a young girl used the station to go to high school every day.”
According to the report, the only two trains that stop at the station now are just for this girl, with a “unique timetable depending on when the girl needs to go to school and back.” Japan Railway apparently intends to keep the station open until March this year, when she will finally graduate.

The touching tale naturally gathered thousands of likes, going viral on Japanese social media in just one.The story was shared several times over, and eventually covered by other media outlets as well. Lots of people left comments commending the empathy displayed by Japan Railway in supporting the girl’s education.

“Why should I not want to die for a country like this when the government is ready to go an extra mile just for me,” one person commented on CCTV’s post. “This is the meaning of good governance penetrating right to the grassroot level. Every citizen matters. No child left behind!”

Earlier, the same story was widely circulated in Japanese social media. But there is a little more to the story than that.

CCTV's Facebook post, recounting the poignant tale, was shared more than 5,700 times and liked by more than 22,000 people by Saturday.

The story goes that Japan Railway wanted to close the remote station in Hokkaido three years ago, but changed its mind when they discovered that a girl uses it to go to school. For years now trains have stopped at the station just for her. Japan Railway will keep the train station open until she leaves school.

She is expected to graduate on March 26, 2016,which is when the station is expected to close.

The post said: "Every day only two trains stop at the Kami-Shirataki station with a unique timetable depending on when the girl needs to go to school and back."

Many expressed their admiration for Japan Railways in the comments thread following the post. However, the situation may have been romanticised.

A Taiwan Apple Daily report said that the girl featured in the story does take the train every day, but the year-three student takes it from Kyu-Shirataki Station, instead of the Kami-Shirataki Station, along with more than 10 schoolmates at 7.15am. That is the only train in the morning.

On their way home, they have a choice of three trains, with one as late as 7.25pm.

Apple Daily also confirmed that Japan Railways, as part of an effort to rationalise its operations, will close three underused stations - Kami-Shirataki, Kyu-Shirataki and Shimo-Shirataki stations - by March 2016.

But this may not have anything to do with the schoolgirl's graduation.

It is not clear how the story started, but nostalgia for Japan's vanishing rural villages and the heartwarming details, which many say are akin to a Hayao Miyazaki film, probably helped it spread online.

Hayao Miyazaki is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, known for anime films like My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away.

Others took the opportunity to lament about the dwindling population in rural Japan, resulting in the slow extinction of railway services in these areas.

But it looks like people might be getting emotional over nothing. According to a report in the Taiwan edition of Apple Daily, the tale is most likely a romanticized exaggeration. The girl actually boards the train from an entirely different station every morning, along with 10 other schoolmates. In the evening, she has a choice of three trains to get back home.

World's first complete granite temple in India !

The Brihadeshwara Temple (Tamil:Peruvudaiyar Kovil) a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom.It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I.

It remains as one of the greatest glories of Indian architecture. The temple is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples", with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

It is also known as Periya Kovil, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram. Brihadeeshwar temple is the best example of excellent workmanship, grandeur and it has stood the testimony of time with its magnificent central dome which is a great attraction for one and all.

It is one of the largest temples in India and and one of the India’s most prized architectural sites of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I in time span of just five years, that is between 1004 AD and 1009 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010.

The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 216 ft (66 m) high and is the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single rock 80-ton piece of granite. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance. The entire temple structure is made out of hard granite stones, a material sparsely available currently in Thanjavur area where the temple is located.

The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are about 60 km to the west of temple. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

The temple is most famous due to its unique architecture. The temple is said to be made up of about 1,30,000 tons of granite. Granite is not found in the surrounding areas. It is not known where this massive granite was brought from. The absence of a granite quarry within a 100 km radius of the temple requires logistics of epic proportions to get the stone to the construction site. As hard as it was to find, Granite is harder to carve. Yet the great Chola wanted a temple to be covered with the most intricate designs.

On 1st April 1954, Reserve Bank of India releases a 1000 Rupees currency note, which features Brihadeeshwar temple’s panoramic view marking its cultural significance and heritage.  Now, these currency notes are popular among collectors.

However, as part of the millennium celebrations, a commemorative coin of 1000 Rupees was issued by the Government of India. The coin, weighing 35 gm, has 80 per cent silver and 20 per cent copper. On the obverse side, the coin bears the emblem of the Lion Pillar with the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in Hindi below it.The name of the country and denomination are spelt out in Hindi and English.

On the reverse side, figure of Raja Raja Chola-1 in a standing posture with folded hands with a figure of the temple and the words depicting the 1,000 years of the temple is written in Hindi and English.

The temple has Chola frescoes on the walls around the sanctum sanctorum portraying Shiva in action, destroying demonic forts, dancing and sending a white elephant to transport a devotee to heaven. The Archaeological Survey of India, for the first time in the world, used its unique de-stucco process to restore 16 Nayak paintings, which were superimposed on 1000-year-old Chola frescoes. Other significant feature is that the shadow of the gopuram (pyramidal tower usually over the gateway of a temple) never falls on the ground.

Having the world’s tallest temple tower, 1,30,000 tonnes of granite in the structure and being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brihadeeshwar temple is a Marvel and a tribute to the South Indian Architecture.

Every month, the day on which the ruling star is Satabhisham is celebrated as a festival, as that was the birth star at the time of Raja Raja. The other festival is Krittika day in the month of Kartika. The annual festival for 9 days is celebrated in the month of Visakha (May), during which a drama on Raja Rajeswara is also enacted.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mobile Phone Networks - Known to all

What are 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G networks ?   


Many things are taken into consideration while defining wireless generation, the techniques they use, service they provide, capacity, power, accessibility etc. Mobile generation is the result of improvement in all these factor. So what made the difference and how they were evolved ?   

The "G" in wireless networks refers to the "generation" of the underlying wireless network technology. Technically generations are defined as follows:

Today, mobile operators have started offering 4G services in the  country. A higher number before the ‘G’ means more power to send out and  receive more information and therefore the ability to achieve a higher efficiency through the wireless network.

Firstly, when wireless generation started, it was analog communication. That generation is 1G.

1G Networks (NMT, C-Nets, AMPS, TACS)

This was considered to be the first analog cellular systems, which started early 1980s. As  the name would suggest, 1G was the first generation of mobile networks.  There were radio telephone systems even before that. 1G networks were conceived and designed purely for voice calls with almost no consideration of data services (with the possible exception of built-in modems in some headsets).

Here basically, radio signals were transmitted in ‘Analogue’ form and  expectedly, one was not able to do much other than sending text  messaging and making calls. But the biggest disadvantage, however came  in the form of limited network availability, as in the network was available only within the country.

They used various analog modulation for data transfer. Now when the communication migrated from analog to digital, the foundation of latest communication were led. Hence came 2G.

2G Networks (GSM, CDMAOne, D-AMPS ), ( Voice + SMS / MMS )

It was the first digital cellular systems launched early 1990s, offering improved sound quality, better security and higher total capacity.

It marked the start of digital voice communication era. Main motive of this generation was to provide secure and reliable communication channel. It implemented the concept of CDMA and GSM.

GSM supports circuit-switched data (CSD), allowing users to place dial-up data calls digitally, so that the network's switching station receives actual ones and zeroes rather than the screech of an analog modem. Provided small data service like sms and mms. Note that 2G internet services came after the 3G establishment.

2G networks on the  other hand, were based on narrow band digital networks. Signals were transmitted in the digital format and this dramatically improved the  quality of calls and also reduced the complexity of data transmission.  The other advantage of the 2G network came in the form of Semi Global  Roaming System, which enabled the connectivity all over the world.

Between 2G and 3G there was a short phase in between where mobile phones became sleeker and more ‘pocketable’ if  we can call it that.  This is popularly referred to as 2.5G where the  quantity of radio waves to be transmitted was much lower. This in turn  had an effect on the shape and structure of mobile phones. But most of  all, 2.5G helped in the ushering of GPRS (General Pocket Radio Service).
3G Networks ( UMTS FDD and TDD, CDMA2000 1x EVDO, CDMA2000 3x, TD-SCDMA, Arib WCDMA, EDGE, IMT-2000 DECT ), (Voice + Data)

Then came the time of some decent speed internet connection and awesome voice channel. They exploited area of Wideband-CDMA(W-CDMA), provided better bandwidth and better connectivity even during motion(like in vehicle, train).

The  3rd generation of mobile networks has become popular largely thanks to  the ability of users to access the Internet over devices like mobiles  and tablets. These are newer cellular networks that have data rates of 384kbit/s and more.

The UN's International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard requires stationary speeds of 2Mbps and mobile speeds of 384kbps for a "true" 3G.

The speed of data transmission on a 3G network ranges  between 384KBPS to 2MBPS. This means a 3G network actually allows for  more data transmission and therefore the network enables voice and video  calling, file transmission, internet surfing, online TV, view high  definition videos, play games and much more.  3G is the best option for  users who need to always stay connected to Internet.

There was some technical shift towards HSPA for better data communication and to maintain 4G compatibility.

4G: (Only DATA and Voice over data)

Era of broadband wireless. 4G technology refers to the fourth generation of mobile phone communication standards.

This in the making and have been successfully deployed in only some part of the world. Best aspect of 4G is the use of data services for everything. 4th Generation mobile networks are believed to provide many value added features. Internet is the back bone and even voice call is done over internet. There is no separate voice channel. This allows usage of wider bandwidth in the communication channel for data.

In addition to all the 3G facilities, data transmission is  believed to go through the roof with speeds ranging between 100MBPs to  1GBPS. Happy talking, surfing, conferencing, chatting, networking, partying, or whatever you want to do on your mobile phone.

LTE and WiMAX are marketed as parts of this generation, even though they fall short of the actual standard.

The ITI has taken ownership of 4G, bundling into a specification known as IMT-Advanced. The document calls for 4G technologies to deliver downlink speeds of 1Gbps when stationary and 100Mbps when mobile, roughly 500-fold and 250-fold increase over IMT-2000 respectively. Unfortunately, those specs are so aggressive that no commercialized standard currently meets them.
Historically, WiMAX and Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the standard generally accepted to succeed both CDMA2000 and GSM, have been marketed and labeled as "4G technologies," but that's only partially true: they both make use of a newer, extremely efficient multiplexing scheme (OFDMA, as opposed to the older CDMA or TDMA), however, WiMAX tops at around 40Mbps and LTE at around 100Mbps theoretical speed. Practical, real-world commercial networks using WiMAX and LTE range between 4Mbps and 30Mbps. Even though the speeed of WiMAX and LTE is well short of IMT-Advanced's standard, they're very different than 3G networks and carriers around the world refer to them as "4G". Updates to these standards -- WiMAX 2 and LTE-Advanced, respectively -- will increase througput further, but neither has been finalized yet.

5G = not yet defined
Much faster. Likely to be real ~2020

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Cleanest Village in India - Asia too

Mawlynnong is a village located 90 km from Shillong, along the India-Bangladesh border in the East Khasi Hills district of the Meghalaya state, India. Mawlynnong is famous for its matrilineal society as well as having been dubbed Asia's cleanest village.

It comes under the Pynursla community development block and Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) constituency.

As of June 2015 it had 500 residents.As of 2011, there are about 82 households. As of 2014, there are about 95 households in Mawlynnong.The literacy rate is 100%. Agriculture is the chief occupation of the local population, with betel nut being the main crop. The people residing in the community are Khasi people.

As is the tradition of the Khasi people, in Mawlynnong property and wealth are passed from the mother to the youngest of her daughters, who also keeps the mother's surname.
Mawlynnong is known for its cleanliness. The waste is collected in the dustbins made of bamboo, directed to a pit and then used as manure. The travel magazine Discover India declared the village as the cleanest in Asia in 2003, and the cleanest in India in 2005. The phrase has since caught on. Moasunep Kichu's documentary on the village, for instance, is called Asia's Cleanest Village.

It has a toilet in every house. There are bamboo waste baskets on each road to ensure that there is no littering. Children as young as four learn at school to keep their surroundings clean.

Cleanliness as a way of life came to Mawlynnong, a village of 503, long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his Swachh Bharat or clean India campaign. The village cherishes the title of "Asia's cleanest village" given to it by India Discovery Magazine in 2003.
By 2007, the village had eradicated the practice of open defecation, with toilets built for each of its 91 households under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
"This village is clean from my childhood. We heard it was so even during our grandmother's days. Keeping it clean is the responsibility of each and every one," says Remdor Khongphosrem, a resident.
Littering even by the very young is frowned upon and if any among the 200-odd tourists who visit the village every day are found to throw things on the streets, they are issued stern warnings. The number of tourists that visit Mawlynnong has gone up after the India Discovery report.

Another resident Sumar says proudly, "All over the world people know us as the cleanest village so people come here."

One of them, Karlin from Germany, has been camping in the village for the last 11 weeks. She is here on a photography assignment after discovering Mawlynnong on the internet.

"I have met lots of friends in Mawlynnong. I have seen so many Indian villages, but compared to others, it is very clean and the gardens are unique. Everyone takes care of nature, that is the main thing about Mawlynnong. It is a paradise for me," Karlin says.

The villagers are confident that Mawlynnong will continue to live up to its pristine reputation. In the village's three schools, the next generation is already learning how to keep it in the record books for the right reasons.

All the credit for this cleanliness goes too the fellow villagers and their community. They are not dependent on anyone for aid. They feel responsible and do their duties with full dedication and determination. And you can see the results. All walkways are decorated with flower vines. Beautiful orchid are everywhere on trees adding colors. You literally have to re-think if its a village or a botanical garden you are in.

Mawlynnong, located about 90 km from Shillong and 92 kms from Cherrapunjee, can be reached by road The nearest airport is the Shillong Airport in Meghalaya. The best way to reach Mawlynnong is by road.

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