How e-junk poses global hazard

12:00AM Friday April 11, 2003


Hazards from computer junk and other discarded electronic goods are of mounting concern globally and New Zealand has no national strategy to deal with the problem.

The deputy director at Auckland University’s International Centre for Sustainability Engineering and Research, Dr Carol Boyle, says that such a strategy is necessary to prevent the contamination of landfills.

“Although computers and other electronic goods are listed on the New Zealand Waste List, no measures have been put in place to identify how they are to be handled at the end of their useable life,” she said.
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Teen cellphone radiation risk

12:00AM Friday April 04, 2003


Mobile phone manufacturers should take seriously a Swedish finding that their products are dangerous for teenagers and work on developing safer phones, says scientist Dr Neil Cherry.

Cherry, an associate professor in environmental health at Lincoln University, Christchurch, said there were more than 50 patents for devices or methods to make phones safer that were not being used by manufacturers.

“My estimate is that it is practical to reduce users’ exposure by 100 to 1000 times,” he said.

“The primary methods are to manufacture the handset within a ‘Faraday cage’ shield,” he said. Read more

Indian IT professionals suffer global backlash

12:00AM Tuesday April 01, 2003


Indian IT professionals have been at the short end of the stick in recent weeks.

On March 9, the Malaysian police, apparently on a routine migrant raid, rounded up 191 IT professionals at a posh condominium in Kuala Lumpur.

The expatriates were allegedly handcuffed and detained, though they had legal work permits, for at least eight hours.

Most of the IT professionals held had been recruited from India to work at Malaysia’s high-tech hub, the Multimedia Super Corridor.

The rough treatment has prompted an exodus: “Some 40 of those who were raided have already left the country. A hundred more booked tickets to leave,” said software engineer Srinivasan Shanthi Muthu.

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Vinton Cerf: Interplanetary googler

By Julian Matthews

It is hard to imagine the always dapper Vinton Grey Cerf used to enjoy blowing up things.

At the age of 10, he got his first chemistry set and, together with a cohort, made match-head rockets and mixed chemicals to mimic volcanoes in his backyard in California.Vint Cerf

“I read a book called The Boy Scientist and knew I wanted to be one,” he says.

Today, half a century later, that incendiary boy is the acknowledged “father of the Internet”. And it comes as no surprise he’s still dabbling with rocket science. Cerf is currently a visiting scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The admitted sci-fi buff is laying the specs for mankind’s first extraterrestrial contact and taking the Internet to infinity and beyond; to boldly go where no modem has been before.

In this interview, the amiable co-inventor of TCP/IP — the data transmission protocols that formed the basis for the Internet on earth 30 years ago — reveals he is partial to fine wine, channel surfs for Star Trek re-runs and personally books his wife’s hotel rooms on trips.

Vint, as he prefers to be called, also talks about the shuttle tragedy and the implications for the Interplanetary Internet project and comments on the infernal menace of spam, blogging and the dire possibility of an Internet “takedown”.

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FamilyMart: A convenient success

By Anita Devasahayam

FAMILYMART opened its first 24-hour convenience store in 1998 in the eastern edge of Seoul at Songpa district. Within five years, the convenience chain that competed with big players such as 7-11 and LG-25, triumphed by adding another 1499 stores across the country. It emerged on top of the pile and remains profitable. FamilyMart

It can be argued that household goods and perishables are proven money-spinners for strategically placed stores as a FamilyMart typically location are populated suburbs filled with apartment blocks and housing complexes. FamilyMart remains a strong contender to other convenience store chain operators with its winning combination of wise business decisions, tech-savvy set-up and good relationship with franchisees.

FamilyMart believes that its franchise system became so successful because its owners nurtured relationships with its franchisees, says its Information Systems Department manager Sang Shin Park.

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Kalpana Chawla: Destined For The Stars

kalpana : any desire of the present or future, also refers to imagination or fantasy.

“I pretty much had my dreams, like anybody else and I followed them. People around me fortunately always encouraged and said ‘if that’s what you want to do carry on’.” Kalpana Chawla , just prior to leaving on her last mission.

Kalpana ChawlaIT IS EASY to spot Kalpana Chawla in pre-flight pictures of the ill-fated Columbia shuttle mission. While her crewmates looked snug in their lumpy orange suits, Kalpana looked like hers was two sizes too large.

Her smallish frame belied the credentials of a career astronaut who, until Saturday’s tragedy, seemed destined to reach greater heights in NASA’s male-dominated hierarchy.

At 41, Kalpana held a doctorate in aerospace engineering, a commercial pilot’s licence, a flight instructor’s licence, had racked up seven years of experience at the distinguished NASA Ames Research Center and as vice president of a private research company.

On her first shuttle mission in 1997, she had logged 376 hours and 34 minutes in space, exceeding even the celebrated first American woman in space — Sally Ride.

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AirAsia: Have Net will travel

By Anita Devasahayam

The region’s first budget, no-frills airlines AirAsia is flying high, raking in an estimate RM500,000 a month (US$132,000), thanks to the Internet. Chief executive officer Tony Fernandes tells C|Level why his e-ticketing strategy works.

AirAsia's Tony FernandesAIRASIA’s chief executive officer Tony Fernandes believes that anything is possible where there is a good enough deal. So when he sold 2,600 air tickets within six hours over the Internet at RM10 (US$2.60) a piece in December 2000 for his newly launched airline, he was verified.

“If the offer is good, people will find their way. The beauty of it – and I will tell this story till I the day I die – we had a family of 19 from a rubber estate, who got their brother-in-law with a credit card, find their way to the Internet and bought tickets,” he reveals.
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