June 18, 2009

Change Please!

Hunting for change is not a very happy thing especially at a parking lot. A non cooperative sulking security guard makes the experience even worse. A change machine offers you the solution. Below is a change machine aka coin dispenser installed on Brigade Road, one of the busiest streets in Bangalore. It's been there for a couple of years now but I never noticed. It isn't very conspicuous. If not for the noise of the coins dropping into the disbursement pan, I would not have taken notice today too.

You can feed in currencies in denomination of Rs 10, 50 and 100 and get your change in coins of 5 /- How cool is that? The automated parking system installed in Brigade Road accepts only coins of 5/-. While I clicked the machine away, a proud guard apprises me that the RBI is the only other place which has this vending machine in Bangalore.

June 10, 2009

Helping the environment through its ordeal

I guess 2009 is the year of awareness, a year committed to evoke thought and action! I found this card at Ambara* on one of my routine visits to grab the complimentary issue of At a glance - Understanding India. The front side is a profound painting on climate change by artist Naresh Kapuria. The reverse has a list of things UN advocates one should do to counter the climate change. It must have been printed for distribution on the World Environment Day, after all melting ice is the hottest issue now. But then it turns out that UN had chosen Naresh Kapuria to highlight the impact of climate change in India, on the occasion of UN Day, last year.

actnow   climate change

Though the issue of global warming for long is being dealt with, there is a noticeable change in its momentum. At the first instance, I thought climate change must be a new term coined to represent the much over used ‘global warming’. There seems to be a difference. While the former refers to the increasing global temperatures, the latter refers to regional conditions.

BoilingOverIn 2008, Kapuria did a light and sound show 'Badalta Mausam' at UN Information Centre in New Delhi, in order to raise awareness on the issue. He used ordinary objects like brightly coloured kettles in different shapes and sizes hung on the trees along with pots and pans, various figurines and sculptures to bring to life the experience of climate change. A poignant imagery of rising temperature titled boiling over from his show.
Alarming to know our country is one of the top polluters in the world. We contribute around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions as its consumption of fossil fuels gathers pace. But as a developing nation, India is not yet required to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

Every individual leaves a considerably good carbon footprint and here are some low-carbon lifestyle choices at home, in the office and when travelling
(Text courtesy of unep.org)
  • Waking up with a traditional wind-up alarm clock rather than the beep of an electronic one - this can save almost 48g of CO2 each time;
  • Choosing to dry clothes on a washing line versus a tumble dryer – this can save 2.3 Kg of CO2 each time;
  • Replacing a 45-minute workout on a treadmill with a jog in a nearby park - this can save nearly 1 Kg of CO2 each time;
  • Opting for non-electric toothbrush – this can save nearly 48g of CO2 each time;
  • Heating bread rolls in a toaster versus an oven for 15 minutes – this can save nearly 170g of CO2 each time;
  • Switching from regular 60-Watt light bulbs to energy-saving light bulbs – this will produce four times less CO2 emissions;
  • Taking the train rather than the car for a daily office commute of as little as 8 km – this can save 1.7 Kg of CO2 each time;
  • Shutting down your computer and flat screen both during lunch break and after working hours – this will cut CO2 emissions generated by these appliances by one-third;
  • Investing in a water-saving shower head – this will save 10 liters of water per minute and cut CO2 emissions in half (from a three-minute hot shower);
  • Reducing the weight of goods and items carried onboard by airline passengers to below 20Kg – this can cut global GHG emissions by two million tonnes of CO2 a year.

* Ambara is a life style store located near the Ulsoor lake. They have nice traditional & contemporary art & artefacts. It also houses a nursery, OMO an indo-western casual wear, Utsav handlooms, Rouge Elephant a garden café. (Of course we lunched here one of those Fridays, the food is very appetising but slightly over priced.)

June 7, 2009

Our green turn!

It was World Environment Day, last Friday. So what! It's just another day for me. I have always been this environment friendly person. It was Friday and that means our customary lunch day. We were in mood for some continental food. We knew 'the only place' was the place. They serve awesome food. Their steaks, easily the best in Bangalore. Pretty pungent, their mustard sauce will give you the kick. The place is a huge hit among the foreigners too. Before it starts to sound like a restaurant review let me get to the point.

Call it kismet or karma, it was one of the places in Bangalore, Zee Cafe had chosen to run their 'Green Turn' campaign. The initiative welcomes people to take home a sapling (it's a gift) and care for it. Their motto is "Adopt a sapling. Take the oath. Be a potster! "

“I, from this day forward, promise to care for this sapling, to water it and protect it from all harm. I am taking a green turn. This is my contribution for a greener earth.”

That’s the Green Oath we took to take our saplings home. It was nice to see Prathima and Bala too venturing out to be potsters.

My healthy little sapling (it's actually a small sized indoor plant, an absolutely maintenance free Syngonium) is sitting pretty in a corner in my living room. The day was special in a totally unanticipated way.

June 6, 2009

Annoying Captchas!

When I first heard captcha I thought it is some relaxed pronunciation like gotcha. Hey! I caught you! Some sort of an exclamation over an unexpected capture. My vocabulary of jargons definitely needs to be worked up. Well, a Captcha is nothing but one of those word verification processes where you are given a distorted image and asked to type in what you make out of it. It aims to differentiate human beings from bots. Entering the correct answer strengthens the user's probability of being a human.

(Picture courtesy of geekandpoke.typepad.com)

Captcha stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. The first captcha was developed to be used by Yahoo. Though the whole idea is security, sometimes it can get extremely annoying. I don't really like them. In fact I hate them. (A hate post immediately after a love post is just not intentional at all.) The other day it took me three attempts to get convinced I'm not a human. Calling off the registration seemed easier. 20% of the time, I just can't decode them. With captchas like these can you ever prove your existence?