India woos West with education

The world turns; watch this space...

Long known for its outsourcing, India is now increasingly marketing itself as a destination for affordable education.

From his bedroom in Bangalore, biology teacher Vishal Bhatnagar uses an electronic pen to highlight the main parts of the human endocrine system on the laptop screen in front of him.

"What I'm trying to show you," he says, speaking into a headset, "is that most of the chemicals in the body are poured into the blood to be effective."

Eight thousand kilometres (5,000 miles) away in London, student Veenesh Halai follows along, making notes and asking questions.

[...]

For centuries, Indians have sent their own children to the best boarding schools, colleges and universities in the West. India is still one of the world's largest exporters of students. But India is now trying to reverse that trend.

The International School of Bangalore looks like a tropical resort. Its lush, manicured lawns are fringed by palm trees and fragrant, blooming vines. There are more than 400 foreign students enrolled at the school, which boasts an international GCSE curriculum, as well as a swimming pool, golf course, spacious residence halls and 24-hour medical staff.

On the football pitch, 14-year-old Josh and 13-year-old Will, both from the UK, kick a ball back and forth.

"I miss the food in the UK. I miss beans on toast," said Josh. "But here, I haven't seen any bullying. You don't have to be good at sport to be liked here. If you're a nice person, everyone likes you. And there's no messing about when it comes to studying."

"Here, the fee is about a quarter of a comparable British boarding school," said Dr Matthew Sullivan, the school's American principal.

"And all Indian schools are smoke-free, drink-free, drug-free environments. There are no mobile phones or iPods, so there are no distractions from learning."

Link: BBC News.

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An Unreasonable Man

I have to blog this - and thanks to David for the pointer.

Ralph Nader may be the most polarizing figure in American politics.

In 2000, he lost many allies and friends because of his decision to run for president. [His decision to run again] in 2004 cemented the hatred of many liberal Democrats while some Americans stood firm that he had the right to run, whatever the popular opinion.

However, Nader used to be one of the most loved figures in America. He fought for protections Americans now take for granted; airbags, seatbelts, even the air we breathe.

Who is this man that inspires such passion? Find out how the leader of the modern consumer movement and champion of American citizenship fell from grace.

Hero or villain? Crusader or spoiler? Right or wrong? You decide.

More about Ralph Nader at Wikipedia. And the film trailer is here.

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iRaq: 10,000 Volts in your pocket

"Forget about having 10,000 songs in your pocket. Forget the Apple iPod. The latest cultural fetish - if you believe what you see advertised - is the “iRaq,” which offers you '10,000 volts in your pocket, guilty or innocent.'”

This seamlessly deployed political statement was originally posted on Flickr by kwc

Further examples at The Political Rant

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Moore's Law continues... now Teraflops chip points to a faster future

Moore's Law suggests that computers double in power every 18 months or so.

But then the BBC report this:

A chip with 80 processing cores and capable of more than a trillion calculations per second (teraflops) has been unveiled by Intel.

The Teraflops chip is not a commercial release but could point the way to more powerful processors, said the firm. The chip achieves performance on a piece of silicon no bigger than a fingernail that 11 years ago required a machine with 10,000 chips inside it.

[...]

The first time teraflop performance was achieved was 11 years ago on the ASCI Red Supercomputer built by Intel for the Sandia National Laboratory. That machine took up more than 2,000 square feet, was powered by almost 10,000 Pentium Pro processors, and consumed more than 500 kilowatts of electricity.

The new Teraflops chip uses less electricity than many current high-end processors, making the design attractive for use in home computers. It consumes 62 watts, and the cores can power on and off independently, making it more energy efficient.

I'll leave you do the sums yourself - but Moore's Law suggests that computers improve by a factor of 10 every 5 years. In educational terms that is pretty significant because it tends to be the length of time that a student stays in each stage of their education...

So it should take approximately 20 years to get an improvement of 10,000 times baseline. Yet here are Intel suggesting that they have workable technology that is 10,000 times better than hardware they were producing 11 years ago.

Even allowing for a couple of years to get this off the workbench and into a workstation it looks as if technology is running ahead of Moore's Law.

Stand by for some seriously smart machines. And ask how your local school is even beginning to prepare for the implications...

Link: BBC Technology.

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Layout...

I've been trying to clean up the content of this WebLog. It won't come through to those who read the feed, but the site itself looks a little tidier - and now includes my del.icio.us links in readable format.

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Test Posting from IMified

I'm playing with IMified - a general purpose tool that leverages any IM client through the API of various other tools (eg 30Boxes, GoogleCalendar, TypePad, etc). What that actually means is that I can get lots of things done through a really simple interface - and one that is already open on my desktop. Neat.

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Human metabolism recreated in lab

Software models become more and more sophisticated. The significance of this development is not simply that "real" tissue is no longer required but that the computational techniques now available allow for very fast analysis (faster than "real" time) and also "Darwinian" approaches which home in on "best" solutions by using evolutionary methods.

US researchers say they have created a "virtual" model of all the biochemical reactions that occur in human cells.

They hope the computer model will allow scientists to tinker with metabolic processes to find new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol.

BBC NEWS | Health | Human metabolism recreated in lab.


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