Archive for November, 2003


IBM talks about its view of the Grid

Read about IBM’s vision about the future of grid computing and its myriad uses.


Al-Ahram Weekly | Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books

Interesting comparision of two of the most important means of information distribution and storage. And this reminds me of another interestin paradox of our times- that the bandwith of a truck carrying magnetic tapes is often more than the so called hi-speed internet services.


Gonzo Marketing – The Cluetrain Manifesto (Free ebook)

Read this masterpiece on how to manage in today’s turbulent times. This book sells itself as “The End of Business as Usual”.


Pass me the plate!

I found this interesting etymology of the word ‘plate’ :

plate is the Spanish word for silver. The Portuguese word for silver is also quite similar. dates back to when the Spanish conquistadores plundered the Inca / Maya empires / mined silver in south america, and shipped it back after beating even valuable antiques (mayan silver items etc) into plate form
for easier transport.

Quick google search says -

The Spanish plata, Portuguese prata and Italian piatta all mean
“flat”. Indeed, flat is also related, as is the Greek platus (“broad,
flat”), hence Plato, he of the broad chest. Silver was often used to make eating and drinking vessels because of its malleability. That is to say, it may be hammered into shape – from Latin malleus, “a hammer”. At one time, the English word plate referred to an object which had been hammered out of one piece of metal. Thus, when the Latin plattus, “flat” was used to mean “a flat vessel”, that flat vessel was often made of silver. This gave rise to two divergent streams of meaning. One stream gave us the English word plate while the other produced Spanish plata and Portuguese prata. The latter two words had their meanings extended even further when they came to mean “money”.

The Greek platus (“broad, flat”) reminds us that place is also
related, along with French place, Spanish plaza, Portuguese pra├ža, and Italian piazza. All these words signify a “broad, flat” area and come from the Latin platea, “a broad, open roadway”. Readers familiar with old-fashioned printing presses will also recognize the word platen (a flat metal sheet) as being one of this group.

We were somewhat surprised to discover that paten (the silver plate which holds the wafer during Mass) is not related. Rather, it comes from the Latin patina which was the name given to a wide shallow vessel. This name indicates its shape as it comes from the Indo-European root *pete- meaning “to spread out”. Some of these Roman patinas [patinae?] have come to light in archeological excavations, encrusted with the accumulations of millennia. Antique dealers allude to the surface of these vessels when they call a film of oxidation accumulated over time a patina. It may be found on silver, pewter and bronze but not platinum. At least, not for a good deal more than 2,500 years.

This post is adapted from a post by Suresh Ramasubramanian on the K Circle quizzing group.


Anu Garg of Wordsmith (the guy who start AWAD- A Word A Day) has a few things to say about words:

What do the words acme and acne have in common, besides being next to each
other in a dictionary? The word acne began its life as acme. As a result of
a misreading, it took on a new spelling. There are many more such words in
the English language. Buttonhole once was buttonhold. Shamefaced used to be
shamefast in the sense of restrained by shame. Cherry was originally cherise,
but as that seemed to be plural, people spoke of a cherry when referring to
a single fruit. The same happened with pease which was wrongly assumed to be
plural and became pea. The list goes on and on.

Next time you see someone misspelling the word “definitely” as “definately”
don’t snicker. Chances are the new spelling will find a way into the
dictionary just as “miniscule” did for the original word “minuscule” because
people thought the word had its origin in prefix mini-. It’s the usage that
determines the flow of language. This week we’ll see a few words that are in
their current incarnation because someone misread, misprinted, misheard, or
misunderstood the term.



EE Times – Questions swirl around India’s digital-TV road map

After the recent ruckus over CAS (Conditional Access System) the move to introduce digital-TV has become stuck. Still the broadcasters are slowly inching towards an all digital platform.


EE Times – Europe sees ‘biochips’ as long-term endeavor

While we are on the topic of interfacing biology with electronics (refer to my previous post) lets have a look at the plans of the European electronics heavyweights. All of them are apparently seeing biotronics as the writing on the wall. (biotronics- biology +electronics, well nice sounding word don’t you think? I coined it right now on the fly)

Update:Just found out that there is a company named Biotronics in Pittsburgh, USA.


New Scientist | Nano-transistor self-assembles using biology

Marriage of silicon and organic entities (neurons, muscle cells, etc) is proving to be difficult maybe silicon is not suitable for this task and carbon nanotubes are better suited.


BBC NEWS | Sun ‘sheds its skin like a snake’

Researchers seem to be getting ever closer to solving the mysteries of our own star. This article sheds some light on how skin shedding by our Sun maybe the secret behind the recent solar activity.


Deja Vu: (re-)creating web history

Have wondered how the Internet was 5 years ago or 10 years ago? Well, I certainly had almost forgotten the nightmares of dialing up a TCP/IP shell as late as 1997. When I joined IMT in 2000 they were upgrading the Internet service so the only connection I could lay my hands on for a few months was an 1:zillion shared ISDN line- the only thing which would half run was lynx and I used to happy if I could manage anything over 100bps and now I shout at my cable guy if the speed drops below 50Kbps (How times have changed)

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