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     Volume 5 Issue 99 | June 16, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   View from the Bottom
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
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The online encyclopaedia 'Wikipedia' is helping transform the Internet from a largely English-based medium into a global repository of knowledge in a multitude of languages, and its founder Jimmy Wales spends much of his time promoting freedom of speech around the world. "It does not take a lot of technology to foster open dialogue and debate," Mr.Wales said during a web chat. "What is needed mostly, I think, is more content in local languages, and support from people around the world to help others join in the global conversation." Wikipedia, a free multilingual Web-based encyclopaedia written by thousands of volunteers around the globe in many languages, was founded in 2001 and has grown, according to its Website, 'into the largest reference website on the Internet'. It is funded by donations from the general public. According to the Wikipedia Website, there are more than 200 language editions of Wikipedia, around 130 of which are active. The 'wiki' in Wikipedia comes from the Hawaiian phrase 'wiki wiki' meaning quick. In this case, a wiki is a type of website that allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration.

Household cleaner safety
Scientists say they've discovered indoor use of some common household cleaners and air fresheners may be hazardous to people's health. The researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say their study is the first to measure emissions and concentrations of toxic compounds produced by household cleaners under typical indoor use. We've focused a lot of effort in the last decades on controlling the big sources of air pollution and on the chemicals in consumer products that contribute to outdoor ozone formation, said William Nazaroff, a professor of environmental engineering and the study's lead author. However, now we've learned that we need to pay attention to other aspects of pollution sources that are right under our nose. The good news, the researchers said, is that when people use the products under most ordinary circumstances, their exposure to dangerous substances is below limits set by regulatory agencies.

But in some scenarios -- such as cleaning in small, moderately ventilated rooms -- tests showed people might be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of toxic pollutants.

Twist to generate power
Japanese electronics giant Sony employee Masayo Endo displays the new emergency radio "ICF-B01", equipped with spot and diffused LED lights and connectors for recharging batteries of mobile phones at the company's headquarters in Tokyo. Powered by dry batteries or a hand-powered generator, it takes one minute to generate a 60-minute autonomy for radio programme listening, a feature which can be used during emergency times leading to power cuts. Sony will put it on the market mid June with an estimated price of USD 55.

Top Off the Fun Tank With Cars
It's hard to imagine a more likable film than Cars, the latest inspired animated feature from Pixar Animation Studios. It'll appeal both to the NPR crowd (the Car Talk guys make a cameo) and the NASCAR demographic. Of course, kids will love it; the ones at the preview screening spent 116 minutes making happy squealing noises. And so will the retailers of America: With a huge cast of cute little vehicles, Cars is, in Hollywood parlance, highly "toyetic." The story starts on a race track, where a little red prodigy named Lightning McQueen hopes to beat two rivals, old-timer The King and the brash Chick Hicks. Winner takes the Piston Cup and a juicy endorsement deal. While other studios' computer animation usually feels antiseptic and mechanical, the vehicles in Cars seem quite comfortable obeying the laws of physics. Their tires hug the pavement, their bodies lean into the curves. And they have individuated personalities: little twitches and mannerisms subtle enough to register deep in our lizard brains. Previous Pixar films unfolded in enclosed spaces: a kid's bedroom, a monster-filled city, pockets of the ocean. Cars lives out in the open.

A Cool Way to Check the Temp of Your Tap
Anyone who has ever scalded themselves testing their tap water will appreciate the Light Delight series of taps from Equa Systems. These sink fixtures feature an integrated light that illuminates the water in different colours based on temperature: red for hot, violet for warm and blue for cold. Now if only they could make one for the shower.

Gigabyte Phone
Has Something
for Everybody

It's a pretty sure bet that you can't please everybody, but that's not stopping Gigabyte from trying. Its Windows 5.0-powered g-Smart i Pocket PC smartphone offers direct push e-mail, a 2.1-megapixel camera, WiFi connectivity, the ability to play audio and video files and a PAL/NTSC TV tuner for viewing television worldwide. If that's not enough, Bluetooth connectivity lets you sync to all manner of peripherals. Currently it's set for release only in Tawian.


Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN

Source: AFP, Wired and Webindia123


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