Friday, July 27, 2007

Potter, at the Speed of Light


Laurence J. Kirshbaum, the former head of Warner Books, remembers publishing one of the biggest sensations of its time: Alexandra Ripley's "Scarlett," the authorized sequel to Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind."

Ripley's novel, with its answer to a decades-old tease - whether Scarlett and Rhett end up together - was a guaranteed, instant best seller, an object of fascination awaited by millions. And it deserved the fullest first printing that the market could handle, in 1991: 500,000 copies.

"It made sense at that level," says Kirshbaum, now a literary agent, who added that printing any more books right away would have been "unreasonable."

The rollout for the final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," makes the fuss for "Scarlett" look primitive. Potter's first printing was 12 million. Its sales after the first hour exceeded the first printing of "Scarlett." After 24 hours, worldwide sales had topped 10 million, with 8.3 million in the United States alone.

But the numbers do more than capture the special appeal of "Deathly Hallows": They reflect how the market has changed. Production and communication systems were far slower at the time of "Scarlett," did not exist, superstores were only getting started and price clubs weren't selling nearly as many books as they are now.

No book before "Deathly Hallows" sold so quickly. No book could have.

"With 'Potter,' you have almost a perfect storm of events," says Steve Ross, president and publisher of Collins, a division of News Corp.-owned HarperCollins. "You have changes in technology and capacity, the synergy that worked so effectively between the books and the movies, and, most importantly, ... they were books of startling quality."

"I surely would hesitate before trying to do something like 12 million copies for Dan Brown's next book, but thanks largely to 'Potter,' we can think about numbers we wouldn't have imagined before," says Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of the Broadway Doubleday Publishing Group, which released the mega-selling "The Da Vinci Code."

Creating Potter demand was easy; a brief announcement of the release date, July 21, immediately sent "Deathly Hallows" to the top of best seller lists. Supply was the challenge, coordinated in the United States by a trio at Scholastic Inc. who worked together on the last four Potter books: Ed Swart, director of operations and distribution; Andy Yablin, vice president of global logistics; and Francine Colaneri, vice president of manufacturing and corporate purchasing.

The release of "Deathly Hallows" was a timed worldwide gala, with the guest of honor embargoed until midnight. Scholastic's planning began at least a year ago, even before Rowling had finished the book, when Colaneri began consulting with printers about possible production dates, getting a sense of when they could handle such an unprecedented order.

Colaneri would not say exactly when Rowling turned in her manuscript - the publication date was announced in February. But she did say that thanks to digital scanning (instead of using film, under the old system), the time spent getting a template ready was cut in half from what it would have been a decade ago - "a matter of weeks," she says of the current pace.

Scholastic benefited from technology that didn't exist in the 1990s. E-mail meant that lengthy, complex documents could be transmitted instantly, and legibly, unlike a fax or letter. Satellite tracking allowed the publisher to know the exact location of every delivery truck.

"We could see that a trailer was stuck in traffic and running two hours late," Yablin says. "We could then ring up a store and tell them when to expect the delivery. In the old days, we had to wait to hear from the store."

Book production itself was accelerated, Colaneri says. Before Potter, lengthy hardcovers had to pass through binding equipment twice and then were joined together. Starting with the fifth Potter, the 600-plus-page "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," manufacturers altered their presses to allow the entire text through at one time.

"That's something that happened because of Potter," Colaneri says.

Since the first Potter book came out, in 1997, every aspect of the business - from shipments to retailing - has consolidated and expanded. and Barnes & Noble each received more than 1 million pre-orders, unimaginable a decade ago. There are fewer (but larger) printing companies, truck carriers and wholesalers.

"From strictly a distribution perspective, fewer distributors or distribution center delivery destinations at increased volumes per destination is clearly more efficient," says Swart, who added that "It should be remembered that the early Harry Potter books were first sold and embraced by the independents and the traditional bookstore chains, and only after they attained their eventual popularity were they picked up by the wider distribution network."

The numbers for "Deathly Hallows" were historic for any book, but especially for hardcovers. Random House, Inc. spokesman Stuart Applebaum was a publicist in the 1970s for Bantam Books, a leading paperback publisher, when it had enormous success with "The Exorcist" and "Jaws."

Helped by blockbuster movie adaptations, both books sold millions of copies, including at supermarkets and other nontraditional outlets. But paperbacks - smaller and cheaper - were distributed far more widely at the time than hardcovers. And they sold millions over a period of months, not hours.

"It wasn't conceivable for a hardcover book to have that kind of sales, even for a book as sought after as `Jaws,'" Applebaum says. "At that time, the mass market paperback was the format for multimillion sellers. But the mass merchandisers weren't selling as many books, and at the same velocity, as they do today."

A decade ago, the maximum first printing for a hardcover would have been about 1 million or 2 million, for a new John Grisham or Stephen King, says Laurie Brown, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Harcourt. Each new Potter effectively raised the roof - from 3.8 million copies for Book 4, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," to 10.8 million for Book 6, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," to 12 million for "Deathly Hallows."

"Everything has to be firing at full power, all the time, for something like Potter to work," Brown says. "We all wonder whether there will be a `next' Harry Potter, but one thing we learned from this is that each Harry that came out helped us practice for the next Harry."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam's Speech in Hyderabad

This is the speech India's outgoing president Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam gave in Hyderabad. It is very thought provoking and very much true. This too applies to our country Nepal. I request my fellow citizen to read this and take it by heart.



"I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others. That is why my first vision is that of freedom. I believe that India got its first vision of this in 1857, when we started the war of independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are not free, no one will respect us.

My second vision for India is development. For fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 percent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation, self- reliant and self-assured. Isn't this incorrect?

I have a third vision- India must stand up to the world. Because I believe that, unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand. My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr.Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.

I see four milestones in my career:

Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be the project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3. The one that launched Rohini. These years played a very important role in my life of Scientist. After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part of India's guided missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni met its mission requirements in 1994. The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous partnership in the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the third bliss. The joy of participating with my team in these nuclear tests and proving to the world that India can make it, that we are no longer a developing nation but one of them. It made me feel very proud as an Indian. The fact that we have now developed for Agni a re-entry structure, for which we have developed this new material. A Very light material called carbon-carbon. One day an orthopedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients.

There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic calipers weighing over three Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please remove the pain of my patients. In three weeks, we made these floor reaction Orthosis 300-gram calipers and took them to the orthopedic center. The children didn't believe their eyes. From dragging around a three kg. Load on their legs, they could now move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss! Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them.


We are the first in milk production.

We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.

We are the second largest producer of wheat.

We are the second largest producer of rice.

Look at Dr. Sudarshan; he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.

I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news. In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we so negative?

Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign TVs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance?

I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation. Do you have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance. Got 10 minutes for your country? If yes, then read;

Otherwise, choice is yours.

You say that our government is inefficient.

You say that our laws are too old.

You say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.

You say that the phones don't work; the railways are a joke, The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.

You say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

You say, say and say.

What do you do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - Yours. Give him a face - yours. You walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Peddler Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM.

You comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, Do you?

You wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai.

You would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.

You would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else."

You would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks and get lost."

You wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand.

Why don't you spit paan on the streets of Tokyo?

Why don't you use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston?

We are still talking of the same you.

You who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?

Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay, Mr.Tinaikar, had a point to make. "Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels?

In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.

We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues Like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? "It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forgo my sons' rights to a dowry." So Who's going to change the system?

What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and you. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money. Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am echoing J.F.Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians.....

"Ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and other western countries are today."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

NASA Selects SGI to Provide Largest Shared-Memory System in the World

SGI Altix 4700 with 4TB Memory To Power NAS Technology Refresh Program
July 23, 2007: 09:00 AM EST

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SGI and NASA today announced that the agency has selected a record-setting SGI(R) Altix(R) supercomputer in its evaluation of next-generation technology to meet future high-performance computing (HPC) requirements. The system was acquired as part of NAS Technology Refresh (NTR), a four-phase procurement process that eventually will replace the Columbia supercomputer system, powered by SGI Altix.

NASA's new SGI Altix system is expected to be installed in August at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The new system will be the first supercomputer to operate 2,048 processor cores and 4TB of memory under a single copy of Linux(R) -- creating the largest Linux single system image (SSI) in the world. A larger SSI can accelerate scientific research by making all of the system's processors and memory available to solve a single problem, or several problems at once.

Driven by 1,024 Dual-Core Intel(R) Itanium(R) 2 processors, the new system will generate 13.1 TFLOPs of compute power. The system's dual-core processors allow more computing power per square foot, enabling NASA to pack more computing power into its supercomputing center. NASA also acquired an ultra-dense 240TB SGI(R) InfiniteStorage 10000 system to efficiently handle the massive data storage requirements.

The multi-faceted NTR evaluation includes assessments of supercomputer performance on a broad set of NASA applications, programmability and usability, ease of administration, reliability, and the quality of the partnership with the vendor in solving problems and advancing technology. The NAS facility technology upgrade effort used a comprehensive benchmark suite to characterize system performance on NASA-relevant applications and to measure job throughput for a workload in a complex HPC environment.

"Supercomputers play a critical role in many NASA missions, including new space vehicle design, global climate studies and astrophysics research," said Dr. Piyush Mehrotra, who leads the NAS applications group and is steering the technology upgrade effort. "We look forward to evaluating SGI's latest HPC offerings as part of our long-term technology refresh effort."

The SGI Altix architecture accommodates the broad range of the projects pursued by NASA scientists, whose work demands both cluster and shared-memory computing architectures. NAS supports scientists and engineers throughout the United States who work on projects such as designing spacecraft, improving weather and hurricane models, and understanding the behavior of the sun. Many NASA projects require large, complex calculations and sophisticated mathematical models that can be efficiently handled only by a supercomputer.

"NASA scientists already rely on SGI Altix systems for a range of research, from designing safer, more advanced spacecraft to understanding the long-term effects of climate change," said Robert "Bo" Ewald, CEO, SGI. "These researchers pursue work that is essential not only to the United States, but to the world at large. SGI looks forward to continuing to work with NASA as it seeks leading-edge HPC compute and data management solutions to meet its evolving needs."

SGI | Innovation for Results(TM)

SGI is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI solutions help customers solve their computing challenges whether it's enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and can be found on the Web at

SGI, Altix, the SGI cube and the SGI logo are registered trademarks of SGI in the United States and/or other countries worldwide. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several countries. Intel and Itanium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding SGI technologies and third-party technologies that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely unduly on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future or current performance. Such risks and uncertainties include long-term program commitments, the performance of third parties, the sustained performance of current and future products, financing risks, the ability to integrate and support a complex technology solution involving multiple providers and users, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent SEC reports, including its reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

$100 Laptop Goes into Mass Production

Original link:

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) organisation has announced that its ruggedised laptop, the XO, is going into mass production.

The laptop will be manufactured in Shanghai by Quanta. The production line will be turned on in August for testing procedures, and the first mass-produced laptops for use in schools will be made in October.

The XO laptop, which OLPC plans to sell eventually for $100 per machine, is designed to improve the educational opportunities of children in the developing world. The costs of manufacture are currently estimated by OLPC at $175 per laptop.

OLPC's chief technology officer Mary Lou Jensen said: "Next year we should have a cost-reduced version. We're trying to take innovation in electronics, drive costs down and not use bloated software. This is the opposite of what the PC industry does traditionally."

The laptops have been designed to withstand extremes of heat and moisture, and to be energy efficient in harsh environments. The screen, which OLPC claims is bright enough to read in sunlight, stays on while the rest of the motherboard turns off, saving energy. Laptop batteries can be recharged using a rip cord, a crank, a pedal, a car battery, or solar panels - in fact, anything that can produce between 10 and 20 volts of electricity, Jensen said.

The organisation has no immediate plans to begin commercial production or licensing of its technologies, although it has been approached by major electronics manufacturers, according to Jensen.

OLPC said it has received orders for three million machines but refused to say which countries are involved.

The Sugar open source operating system used on the laptops still has some minor bugs, according to Jensen. "Firefox got better and better after it was released. There's always bugs in any operating system," she said, "but the software is running just fine."

OLPC last week added Intel to its board. The organisation plans to continue to use AMD processors in its laptops but it is currently "working with Intel to figure out how to create complementary product lines", Jensen said.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Solar House has sparked interest across Germany

I found this news in Mathaba. I think its quite interesting news.


Solar house has sparked interest across Germany

Posted: 2007/07/19
From: Source

With its focus on solar energy, Rolf Disch's house demonstrates the progress that can be made by promoting, developing and using renewable energy.

International Herald Tribune (AP)

FREIBURG, Germany — Solar architect Rolf Disch's house looks like an upside down Apollo spacecraft and serves as a testing ground for his design ideas. Its large windows look out on his projects realized throughout Freiburg.

The home slowly turns with the sun, to charge a billboard-sized solar panel on the roof, and the waterless toilet emits an occasional malodorous whiff. Hanna Lehmann, Disch's wife, said she does not mind these features but admitted she would like to have a freezer, which would eat up too much electricity for her husband.

"I miss my Campari on ice," she said.

Disch and Freiburg are pioneers in energy saving, and a growing number of eco-tourists flock here to admire his house, known as the Heliotrope, from the Greek words for "sun" and "turn." Across the city, solar panels are on everything from the soccer stadium to entire neighborhoods with homes that produce more energy than they use.

"Energy was too cheap for people to take it seriously, but with the rise in energy costs and the IPCC report people see that they have to look for other solutions now," Disch said, referring to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which documented scientific evidence for global warming.

With its focus on solar energy, Freiburg demonstrates the progress that can be made by promoting, developing and using renewable energy. But the city of more than 200,000 in the sunny southwestern corner of the country also is an example of how far technology in the solar sector has to go — it produces less than 1 percent of its electricity from the sun.

Residents boast that Freiburg's solar power roots go back to a protest in 1975 against plans for a nuclear plant.

"They didn't want nuclear power in their backyards and fields," said Thomas Dresel of the city's Environmental Protection Agency, noting that not only students but farmers demonstrated.

The protest also drew experts who helped develop alternative energy solutions, Dresel said. The region now has more than 900 solar installations and is home to leading research institutions and companies working to make renewable energy more practical.

In 1981, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems was founded in Freiburg, and a number of like facilities followed. Fraunhofer now employs some 500 people and is Europe's largest solar energy research institute.

Germany as a whole has followed Freiburg's lead in trying to save energy, encouraged by the environmentally friendly Green Party that was in former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's governing coalition. In 2000, Germany decided to phase out nuclear plants by 2020, and it has adopted legislation promoting the development and use of renewables.

Renewable energy made up more than 5 percent of the country's total primary energy supply in 2006, according to its Federal Environment Ministry. The government's goal is to increase the share of electric power sourced from renewables to 12.5 percent by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020.

Wind energy remains the country's leading renewable for electricity generation, but the use of solar has increased to approximately 750 megawatts installed in 2006, up from 83 megawatts in 2002, according to the German Solar Industry Association.

The solar industry is becoming a €5 billion ($6.9 billion) a year business that builds more than 50 percent of the world's installed solar panels. About 43,000 people work in the industry, according to the association.

The federal government has spent more than €1.3 billion (US$1.74 billion) in photovoltaic research since the late 1990s.

"Germany is technologically leading in solar technology, most solar plants are installed here and, what is even more important, are produced here," said Carsten Koernig, head of the German Solar Industry Association. "And this is the decisive factor, because other countries will follow and then we want to supply these huge growth markets with solar technology 'made in Germany.'"

In Freiburg, the city government started encouraging saving power as early as 1986 when it called for greater energy efficiency, new technology and more renewable sources. Karin Schneider, Fraunhofer's spokeswoman, said this decision was "a direct reaction" to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine the same year.

"The community here was very open to renewables," she said. "And there has always been a good collaboration between us, the city council and other institutes and facilities."

Freiburg's regular sunshine — over half the year is sunny — is better for the city's image as an innovator of solar energy than for increasing the electricity generated. Dresel said the level of sunshine gets significantly higher much farther south, "but it doesn't really matter if we're here or in the rest of Europe."

Although the vast majority of residents still live under traditional tile roof homes, those built in the renovated Vauban district have been required to follow low-energy standards.

Vauban includes passive houses — with triple-thick glass windows and walls of compressed natural materials — that help create all the energy they will need. These cost around 15 percent more than a conventional house, according to Disch.

The passive houses are located within a district with strict limits on car traffic, where families on bikes take up the streets, some pulling carts to carry goods and others leading their dogs on leashes.

Some critics ridicule the scene, joking that passive home residents make their own breakfast cereals, shunning store-bought brands. Others find irony shining from the solar panels mounted on a parking garage.

Despite the jokes, a renewable-minded culture has been developing among Freiburg's people.

"Plus energy" apartments designed by Disch atop the Solar Ship, a mixed residential and commercial building that contains an organic grocery and his architectural firm, each have solar panels that create four times more energy than the flats consume.

The headquarters building of solar panel maker Solar-Fabrik applies similar techniques for the workplace. It features a photovoltaic facade and a generator run on vegetable oil that together creates all the energy needed for the building.

The power company Badenova says about 10 percent of its customers now opt for a higher bill to support greater use of regional and renewable energy.

Another initiative combines solar technology and sport. The city's soccer team showers after games with water heated by solar panels on the stadium roof. The team gave season tickets to investors in the project.

Other panels on the stadium earn money by feeding electricity into the power grid and were financed by a partnership of local team SC Freiburg and Badenova, which offered public shares in the project.

For all Freiburg's efforts to use renewable energy, Dresel of the Environmental Protection Agency admits with a half-kidding reluctance that solar only comprises 0.74 percent of the city's electricity supply.

"For the time being, its still very small, but the qualitative aspect is very strong," Dresel said. "This creates momentum for the future."

Renewable energy in the Freiburg region makes up almost 4 percent of energy production. The city has set a target of 10 percent of renewable usage by 2010. Freiburg already has set some low energy requirements for home buyers.

It helped that Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act, passed in 2000, set a healthy price to be paid for renewable energy fed into the electricity grid, and that figure was revised upward in 2004.

But even in this pioneering city for renewable energy, Disch complains that he has to be as creative in getting money for his projects as he is in designing them.

"It's getting less difficult," he said, "but it's still hard."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Maoists to abstain from voting on budget

A monkey never makes his/her own house neither allows other to make their house. This is what maoists of Nepal are proving themselves to be. They are protesting the budget prepared by the govt. of which they are also the part.


Maoists to abstain from voting on budget

The CPN-Maoists have decided to refrain from the voting on the budget presented by the government of which it is a part. Analyzing that the coalition government of which the party is an important constituent ‘may fail if it votes against the budget’, the Maoists will ‘facilitate’ in ratifying it by abstaining from voting on the budget.

Chief Whip of the CPN-Maoist Dinanath Sharma had by calling a press meet Tuesday made public the party’s 16-point objection on the budget. “The budget is not in tune with the spirit of the people’s war and the people’s movement,” he said.

The coalition partners have expressed dissatisfaction over this decision of the Maoists and have termed it a dualistic nature of the Maoists. ag July 18 07

Monday, July 16, 2007

Use YCL to provide security for CA election, says Prachanda

I think Prachanda thinks himself as the only smart guy here in Nepal. That bullshit brag.


Use YCL to provide security for CA election, says Prachanda

Maoist chairman Prachanda has said that using only the Armed Police Force (APF) to provide security for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections would be 'suicidal.'

He said that Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) should also be mobilised alongside the APF for the purpose.

Talking to reporters in Butwal on Monday morning, Prachanda claimed that even former US president Jimmy Carter – during his visit to Nepal last month – had suggested using YCL and police together.

Prachanda conceded that his party's relation with UNMIN had soured a bit in recent weeks over the second stage verification of PLA. He said he suspects there is conspiracy not to integrate PLA into Nepali Army (NA).

Prachanda also slammed the government for allocating budget to the King. sd Jul 16 07