Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MSN News



The MBA who quit his job to earn $100,000 doing Excel blogging

Purnachandra Rao Duggirala, more popularly known in the cyber world as Chandoo has several illustrious achievements to his credit. Not only did the simple Vizag boy get into IIM Indore’s class of 2006, he wrote his story in a manner that it gained cult status over time.

Four years after getting a campus placement at TCS, Chandoo quit his job in April 2010 to run a Microsoft Excel-training startup he had built on the side doing what many of us do non-seriously -- blogging. Last month, Chandoo's lean two-member blog 'Chandoo.org' recorded revenues of $100,000, justifying his decision to quit and be completely on his own. In this interview, he speaks about this rather unique manner of earning a living, how he built it and what he plans to do with it in the future.

What have you been up to since you graduated from IIM Indore?

I graduated in 2006 then I joined Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) via a campus offer. Just like any other fresh MBA graduate, I was doing a lot of analysis and research based work in the first few months at TCS. That's when I ended up using Microsoft Excel a lot. This was my first serious interaction with Excel as such. I was doing a lot of interesting work that included analysing competitors, etc. It was a lot of theoretical work and nothing more than that. At the same time I was writing a personal blog about what I was doing and what was happening in my life, but nothing special or significant. Then while in TCS I had the opportunity to travel and work abroad. I moved to USA for a year in 2007 and that's when I had some good free time. As you know, the work culture in western countries is a bit relaxed, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It gives you time that you can spend with your hobbies and passions. It's unlike in India where you have to devote a lot of traveling time before and after work. So I had a lot of free time and started wondering how I could utilise it better. So I started writing about all that I was learning in office on my blog, and that included a lot of learnings about the advanced featured of Microsoft Excel. In 2008 February, I wrote an article about an Excel trick that was picked up by a lot of popular blogs on the Internet. That became a good traffic source and I started getting a lot of visitors. It was an exciting time for me and I started thinking what it would be like if I did something more substantial on the Internet in my free time. I then started writing about Excel more often and also started a couple of other websites with the hope that they could maybe help me make some money and eventually have me live on my own. None of those other websites succeeded but the Excel posts on my blog kept on receiving good response. I had built up a good following of people from across the world and I realised that I had a genuine passion for understanding data, analysing it and presenting it. The realisation led to a series of good articles which were received well within the community of my blog.

Since then, I kept blogging regularly and launched many products related to Excel that people had to pay to buy. The product sales continued to do well in the next two years and the money was good enough for me to consider quitting my job at TCS. I eventually did that in April 2010 and moved to my hometown Vizag with my wife, where we both now run Chandoo.org fulltime

What sort of products did you launch and how did the money you were earning grow over time?

For the first two years, most of the revenue came through Google Adsense advertisements. When the blog became a bit more popular in 2009, I started recommending third-party affiliate products. These were essentially products such as Microsoft Excel related books or software that its creators wanted to promote to my audience. I used to test these products myself and if I felt they had genuine value, I advertised them on the blog in return for a generous commission for each sale that originated from Chandoo.org. Since there was no middleman and I was in direct touch with both the customers and the sellers, they shared 30% of the revenue per sale with me. That itself used to be something like USD 200-300 per month, almost as much as I was making through Google Adwords.

In 2009, my traffic also went up. I used to have 100,000-150,000 visits every month. That was a good number created due to word-of-mouth, content sharing with other websites, or my article being featured on other blogs. That increased the revenue to USD 400-500 per month.

Then I released my first ebook on Excel priced at USD 5. This was a mistake I made. I call this a mistake because the content I produced was high quality, not just elementary Excel tips. But the perception of my site among people was that of one that produces high quality and high value content. But when I started selling the ebook at as low a price as USD 5, it did not align well with the perception of my site. So in the first month although some people did buy the ebook, the revenues were not a lot. That was February 2009. Then after some thought I increased the price to USD 10, added a few more pages and announced it on my blog. I thought people would not buy it. But to my surprise the sales increased and I started getting USD 200 per month from the book alone.

While this happened, I started getting offers to do consulting work related to Excel. This was in conflict with my day job at TCS so I didn't accept most requests. But if something very interesting came along, I did it for compensation in kind. It was challenging work, and I was making powerful Excel-based dashboards and reports.

Simultaneously, I was learning new things about Excel by doing them and then producing new articles based on those learnings.

During 2009-end I released my first Project Management Template for Excel. It was my first big product. I had gotten a huge response for my articles based on the template and it gave me some confidence that maybe I could sell Excel templates. So I started charging USD 30 for the template I had created. If people wanted the template for both Excel 2003 and 2007, they had to pay USD 45. It did appear costly and I did get emails from my audience complaining that the adprice was too high. But I sold around 50 templates in the first month itself. But then the sales started going down, and I realised that I had to keep reminding my readers of the existence of these templates in my articles continuously. I started linking the templates in my articles regularly and that brought the template sales back on track -- so much so that in September 2010 I sold about 100 templates and made about USD 3,000 from templates alone. But I think the sales will plateau here because there is only so much reach that my blog can have and the Excel template market has a lot of competition worldwide. Apart from that there are newer project management softwares coming up including those that are on the cloud.

The interesting thing here is that once people saw value in my templates, they wrote testimonials for me. Others made variations of my templates and became heroes in front of their bosses and colleagues by using these templates. I was also giving a 10% discount to people who were writing to me specifically asking for one.

At the same time as my customer base was growing, I was getting a lot of support requests for my products. I found that the time I was devoting to support was growing. I was planning to upgrade the templates and include some of the new features in Excel 2010. All this meant that I had to increase the price also include support in the package. I had to make these products be 'value for money' rather than speak about them as 'cheap' or 'costly'.

By 2010 both affiliate and Google Adsense revenues also went up. But the 'killer product' was my training program - Excel School. This is priced at USD 100 and includes 20 hours of Excel training and make people much more productive. This received a response beyond my wildest dreams. The first batch had 150 students and except for two who dropped out, everybody loved the program. They had glowing reviews throughout the program. In the second batch, I had 200 students and in the third one which I closed in September, I had 350 students. I'm still getting requests to open this batch again. Some corporates included their entire team of 20 people into the program. I gave group discounts to them and to repeat clients.

And that's how in the last 12 months, I crossed USD 100,000 in revenue.

Was it a concern that your making money on the side would conflict with your day job's policies? What would you advise others who might want to make some this way along with their corporate jobs?

Many companies have a 'moonlighting clause' in their employment contracts. I am not sure if my company had one, but the money I was making was too little while I was employed. Also, I knew a handful of people in my company who were also making money online, so I knew this it was not that wrong. Plus I had let my managers know that I had a website where I wrote and shared my knowledge. My Microsoft 'Most Valuable Professional' award status, blogger status and product details were kind of known to key colleagues and bosses through my Linkedin updates.

That said, if anyone is starting today, it would be better to check with your HR policies to avoid conflicts. In most cases you can get an exception easily just by talking to the right people.

What made you make the choice of quitting TCS and doing this fulltime?

I used to spend about two hours after work on Chandoo.org and was writing almost regularly. For me it was never really about 'work versus job'. My job at TCS was pretty exciting all along. I was working and interacting with new people everyday, traveling internationally and was quite satisfied.

The reason why I made a choice was more because of family. I was traveling a lot, living alone in far-off places and missing my family during the job.

Of course, I had the confidence that Chandoo.org would make enough for us to live a comfortable life. Since I run the operation from my home in Vizag with just me and my wife working on it, almost all the money less server costs and income tax is mine.

Starting in 2008 when your blog became a serious occupation for you, it has been 3 years. Do you think somebody else can avoid some of your mistakes and reach your revenue stage faster?

My advice to others wishing to do something similar would be that first you should start a blog. Whether or not you make money off it, you will learn how to express yourself to others. Many of us feel that we are great orators or writers and I felt the same when I graduated from MBA. But writing in a convincing language or explaining something in simple language is a tremendously difficult skill to learn. By having a blog you are reaching out to the world more each day. You may feel vulnerable, but you learn how to communicate better. You should start a blog no matter whether you have plans to make money off it or not.

Even though you may want to write for yourself, at some point you should ask yourself this question -- now that I have 25-30 people reading the blog, what do they want to read and how can I make my stories important or relevant for them to read? A mistake to avoid is to not write about too many things. If somebody wants to read general stuff about movies and sports, they will go to Rediff. So focus on one or two ideas that are close to your heart and stick to them. That way you will enjoy writing more and won't feel burdened to write about everything that comes your way. This was a mistake I did. I started writing about Excel initially but then I started assuming that people will want to learn from me about technology, marketing or business as well. So I wrote about those things even though I was not as good at them, though I was passionate about them. I didn't get a lot of following for such articles and I found it hard to produce quality content in those areas. So I decided to stick to Excel.

While writing I used to get distracted by wanting to write about latest events. While I was in the US, I started posting Excel data visualizations about the US presidential elections. Although it taught me a lot, it wasn't of value to my readers. So it would be nice to focus on what you are doing rather than getting diverted by what is going around.

Let's say you are writing about Microsoft Powerpoint. First scan the universe and see who else is writing about this. Of them, you will find that about 10-15 people are writing regularly. One's initial feeling would be that we should do something different from what they are doing and not encourage them by talking too much about them. This is our natural business instinct towards competitors. But I do not feel that is the right approach. You should rather think that "these are my competition and they are going to be around with me for the rest of my life or the rest of the life of my startup. So let us embrace them."

I do this every few week by sharing the articles they are writing on my blog via links, or commenting on their blog, or picking up a topic they have posted about and continuing the discussion. This way you develop a collaborative relationship with them. Together you can move along with them and prosper together. I feel this is a good way to look at competition in what I am doing, rather than thinking that I want to dominate this.

I can't really say if somebody can make enough money from a blog overnight. This is not a movie that you make and it either goes hit or flop. I would just suggest that people start off writing a blog and develop some skills on the way. Maybe some day you will derive some mileage. Once you have a following and you have a product that can make for value to people, don't shy from charging them for it, thinking that people will stop visiting your site.

What part of your IIM Indore experience has helped you with building up the business?

You do learn a lot of interesting stuff at b-school such as HRM and strategy, marketing, accounting, etc. Accounting did help as I learned how money is accounted and how cash flows work. But what you don't learn at b-school is what to do at ground level on day 1 or day 0 when you start a business. I am learning these things now. We were taught a course called Business Law at IIM Indore, but either it was not presented properly or I did not get it, but it taught nothing about what procedure to follow on the ground if you wanted to start a business. We used to write business plans for entrepreneurship competitions, but all of it did not teach me what is the first step I should be doing to start a business. All these things I learned outside. MBA helped me more in terms of communication. You might see a lot of MBAs communicating badly or disguising what they are saying with big jargon words. But MBA taught me how to keep my thoughts simple and clear, a little but of accounting and some marketing concepts.

Some b-schools abroad do focus on entrepreneurship, but most don't. Even I took up the entrepreneurship elective in the second year. But it was more about venture capital funding and how you can structure a merger and acquisition deal or how you can sell you company to somebody bigger. But those are big things. They will probably happen ten years later for someone like me or in my position and when they do, I will hire somebody else to do it for me. That knowledge might then be helpful at that time. But the ground level knowledge such as how to start up, how to register a proprietorship, how to prepare a non-disclosure agreement, were not taught. I learned them myself. I'm not saying that the error is on IIM Indore's part exactly, but the fact is that a lot of things taught to us in business law and entrepreneurship are too big to be of any use to someone who wants to start off something from scratch.

Where do you see your start-up going?

I want to do this for the next 3-4 years for sure. I see that there is a lot of scope. I have developed ideas based on customer feedback. At least until 2015 I'll grow it and make sure it does not shrink. At the same time I will learn a lot of new things such as spreadsheets and visualizations on the cloud, how touchscreens will affect spreadsheets, etc. Obviously, the money is good and I am living in a low cost city where my expenses are minimum.

I and my wife are thinking that at least for 5 years we will make enough money from this and not do a day job. But that may get too boring. Maybe I will take a job to keep me intellectually challenged or maybe I will take up teaching in b-schools or in engineering college.

But this space I'm working in, I see constantly new ideas to share and I don't see the inflow of ideas reducing at least.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010 17:15:02

Hearty congratulations Mr. Purnachandra Rao Duggirala.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP)

MSN Green
Science file: A back-up for memories
A back-up of your thoughts, a TV that gives off smell and memories, a hormone for life and more

Author and inventor Ray Kurzweil
A back-up memory for you!

London: Similar to the computer file back-up system, humans will also be able to back up of their brains and all memories contained in them within the next two decades, a leading scientist has claimed.
Speaking at a science conference, Raymond Kurzweil, the award-winning American inventor and futurist, said that the human brain backup was now already technically possible. The 62-year-old scientist, who has pioneered in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, said humans can achieve this feat within the next 20 years.
By that time, we will have thousands of nanobot computer machines in our blood that will heal our bodies, improve our performance, and even be able to back up all the contents of our brains, just as you backup your files on a computer, he told a gathering of 500 guests at a future talk event in Vienna, Austria.
That means they would back up every thought, every experience, everything that makes us an individual, he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. It may sound farfetched but in the early 1980s, people thought I was crazy for predicting the emergence of the 'World Wide Web' by the middle of the 1990s; but it happened, and on the schedule I predicted.
At the age of 15,Kurzweil created a programme that could recreate music in the style of the great composers. He also built the first machine that could read written speech for the blind for his friend Stevie Wonder for whom he also later made a revolutionary musical synthesiser capable of recreating real instruments.

Sense ambient smell while watching TV

London: Imagine a television that can emit evocative aroma of exotic food items shown in a cookery show. Well, your fantasy could soon be a reality. Japanese scientists have developed a Smell-O-Vision TV which they say could emit the exact smell of the picture on display.
The TV, according to scientists, will release a candy floss smell when the image shows a fairground and can even emit the briny scent of the seaside when people look at their holiday photos. The technology used in the television makes printers to spray small amounts of scent rather than ink, the Telegraph reported.
We are using the ink-jet printers ability to eject tiny pulses of material to achieve precise control, said lead researcher Kenichi Okada of Keio University, Tokyo. The Japanese team adapted a Canon printer to squirt four ingredient scents and managed to get hints of mint, grapefruit, cinnamon, lavender, apple and vanilla, for a fraction of a second.

A hormone for longer life

London: British scientists have identified a hormone which they claim helps you live longer but only if you are rich. Researchers at the University College London found that higher levels of the hormone, called DHEAS, help boost memory and ability to cope with stress, particularly in men aged over 50 years.
But the levels of DHEAS, secreted by the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys, are found to be higher among those who exercise more and have an active life with lots of pastimes, interests, friends and family all of which tend to come with wealth. The findings, according to the researchers, could pave the way for new class of drugs, patches or injections which will help boost the DHEAS level.
Michael Marmot, who led the study, said its too early to say higher level of DHEAS is a result of being rich. But, factors such as a better diet, greater control over life, less stress, more travel and involvement in the wider world through hobbies, sport or other interests which all are benefits of wealth seem to be encouraging the body to create DHEAS, he said.
Improving the level of the hormone is not a simple matter of popping a pill. In my view, it is a much bigger issue and involves the package of choices that wealth opens up, he said.
Production of DHEAS is greatest in childhood and teenage years, before gradually declining through adult life. By the age of 80 it could be just 10% of the peak teen level. The two hormones help control reactions to stress and regulate various body processes including digestion, the immune system, mood and energy, the experts said.

NELL Team - professor Tom Mitchell(R) and an Indian PhD Student (Language Technologies Institute) Jayant Krishnamurthy(L)
Research shows that NELL can read the web
Can computers learn to read? A Carneige Melon University research team, that includes an Indian PhD student believes so. The research project attempts to create a computer system that learns over time to read the web.
For the last ten months, the computer system called NELL (Never-Ending Language Learner) has been running continuously, attempting to perform two tasks each day.
First, the system attempts to "read", or extract facts from text found in hundreds of millions of web pages [for instance, plays Instrument (George Harrison, guitar)] and then, it attempts to improve its reading competence, so that it can extract more facts from the web, more accurately on the following day.
NELL runs 24x7 to perform two ongoing tasks. It has currently acquired a knowledge base of nearly 440,000 "beliefs" that it has read from various web pages.
'Read the Web', as it is called, aims at eventually building a never-ending language learner (hence, NELL) -- a computer agent that runs forever and extracts, or reads, information from the web daily to populate a growing structured knowledge base. Moreover, it must learn to perform a specific task better than what it had achieved on the previous day.
For the first six months, NELL was allowed to run without human supervision, learning to extract instances of a few hundred categories and relations, resulting in a knowledge base comprising approximately a third of a million extracted instances of these categories and relations.
The inputs to NELL include an initial ontology defining hundreds of categories (for example, person, sports team, fruit, emotion) and relations [like, plays on team (athlete, sports team), plays instrument(musician, instrument)] that NELL is expected to read about, and 10-15 seed examples of each category and relation. Given these inputs, plus a collection of 500 million web pages and access to remainder of the web through search engine application programming interfaces (APIs).
NELL extracts new instances of categories and relations. In other words, it finds noun phrases that represent new examples of the input categories (for example, "Barack Obama" is a person and politician), and finds pairs of noun phrases that correspond to instances of the input relations (for example, the pair "Jason Giambi" and "Yankees" is an instance of the plays on team relation). These new instances are added to the growing knowledge base of "beliefs".
NELL uses a variety of methods to extract "beliefs" from the web. Much of its current success is due to its algorithm for coupling the simultaneous training of many extraction methods. In July, a spot test showed the average precision of the knowledge base was approximately 87% across all categories and relations.
NELL, however, makes many mistakes too. For instance, for the category baked Good, it learns the pattern "X are enabled in" because of the believed instance "cookies." This leads it to extract "persistent cookies" as a candidate bakedGood. The probability for phrases that end in "cookies" is high and so "persistent cookies" is promoted as a believed instance of baked good.
When it comes to card games, the card game category seems to suffer from the abundance of web spam related to casino and card games, which results in parsing errors and other problems. As a result of this noise, NELL ends up extracting strings of adjectives and nouns like "deposit casino bonuses free online list" as incorrect.
The computer also finds it difficult to associate product names with more general nouns that are somehow related to the product but do not correctly indicate what type the product is, (for example, "Microsoft Office", "PC").
The research team is still trying to understand what causes it to become increasingly competent at reading some types of information, but less accurate over time for others. "It is not perfect, but NELL is learning..," said the research team on the project website.
The team includes professors Tom Mitchell and William Coehn and an Indian PhD Student (Language Technologies Institute) Jayant Krishnamurthy.
The computer also makes use of Yahoo!'s M45 computing cluster to efficiently extract statistics from the half billion web pages. Financial support for the research has been provided in part by DARPA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Google, and the Brazilian agency CNPq.
Incidentally, scientists at universities, government labs, and technology companies like Google, Microsoft and IBM have similar pursuits. While the online search giant has 'Google Squared, IBM's project is code-named 'Watson' after its founder Thomas J Watson. The IBM computing system, unveiled last year, is designed to rival the human mind's ability to understand the actual meaning behind words, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant content, and ultimately, demonstrate confidence to deliver precise final answers. Watson will not be connected to the Internet, or have any other outside assistance.
(The author, on a sabbatical from Business Standard, is an MIT Knight Science Journalism Research Fellow 2010-11)
Human brain backup - Amazing
Monday, 25 October 2010 09:24:32
Hearty congratulations Raymond Kurzweil for your amazing research on" Human Brain Backup".These developments show that human brain has no limits.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Building sustainable cities
India’s success in the 21st century is going to be defined by manner in which we address the revival of existing cities and the way we plan our new cities.According to the ‘United Nations World Urbanization Prospects’, the next few decades alone will see 600 million Indians moving into urban areas.
India's cities will have to deal with a massive influx of tens of millions of people at a speed unparalleled in history. This is clearly a challenge; but it can also be a huge opportunity to leapfrog into a society that is environmentally and socially sustainable; especially by learning from the successes and failures of the more urbanized / developed parts of the world.
Here we showcase some communities that have crossed over to the sustainable side of things.

A policeman walks past solar panels covering the roof of the Paul VI hall near the cupola of Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
The Vatican
The world's smallest country and the home of the Pope is hoping to become the first solar powered nation in the world! The Vatican intends to spend 660 million dollars to create what will effectively be Europe's largest solar power plant.
This massive 100 megawatt photovoltaic installation will provide enough energy to power all of its 40,000 households.

People walk in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
These aren't the only moves that the Vatican is taking to reduce its greenhouse emissions. It is contemplating using an electric popemobile, the Vatican cafeteria will soon be decked with a solar heating system to provide heating and cooling, and even the Pope's summer residence is being fitted out to get power from the methane generated by the horse stables.

Solar panels cover the roof of the Paul VI hall, as seen from the terrace of Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
The solar energy installation has been sited on the roof of one its few large modern buildings -- the roof of the Paul VI hall, the vast building where popes traditionally hold weekly public audiences in winter or whenever bad weather rules out St Peter's Square.
The roof of the hall which was designed by architect Pier Luigi Nervi and opend in 1971, is now covered in photo electric cells as a replacement for its original concrete plates. The system was inaugurated in November 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI's private apartment is seen lit in the evening at the Vatican
The solar rooftop garden is not the first environmental project the Vatican has undertaken. In 1999, as part of preparations for the jubilee year, the entire lighting system of St. Peter's Basilica was upgraded to be low-impact. Strategically placed energy-saving light bulbs were installed inside and out, cutting the basilica's energy consumption by an estimated 40 percent.

A vehicle drives past solar powered houses in Ota, 80km northwest of Tokyo
Ota, Japan
Caption: A vehicle drives past solar powered houses in Ota, 80km northwest of Tokyo
Solar panels shine across Ota City's tiny Pal Town neighborhood, nestled in one of Japan's sunniest spots, a witness to the charm of renewable energy in this resource-poor country.
The town has received free solar panels in 2002 through a 9.7 billion yen state-backed study.

Ota is testimony to the allure of renewable energy to the energy conscious in resource-poor Japan, but also its high cost to the debt-saddled nation. It is considered to be one of Japan's first Solar City. Three-quarters of the town's homes are covered by solar panels distributed for free.

Japanese housewife, Mika Hiroshima, turns on the lights at her solar powered house in Ota, 80km northwest of Tokyo.
Hiroshima says her electrical appliances are mostly powered by solar energy: when they have some unused electricity left, they can sell it back to a local power company.

Mika Hiroshima, dries a towel outside her solar powered house in Ota.

Bisbee, Arizona
An alternative lifestyle powered by solar panels and wind turbines has become more appealing to some. For architect Todd Bogatay, it has been reality for years. When Bogatay bought this breezy patch of scrub-covered mountaintop with views to Mexico more than two decades ago, he was one of only a few Americans with an interest in wind- and solar-powered homes.

A view of a greenhouse with a solar panel attached for heating water, which architect Todd Bogatay constructed from discarded windows found at the Phelps Dodge copper mine and rebuilt with dual pane glass.
Bogatay makes few sacrifices for his chosen lifestyle. He has a small, energy saving refrigerator, but otherwise his house is like any other, with satellite television and a computer with Internet service.

A television running on power generated from wind turbines and solar panels is seen in a home in the Binaziz community
The cost of building such a home is little different from that of building any other home, and with a range of energy sipping appliances such as refrigerators, hi-fis and even hairdryers now available, the forced austerity associated with off-grid living is also changing.

Bogatay and his neighbors at the 120-acre development are among a very small but fast-growing group of Americans opting to meet their own energy needs as power prices surge and home repossessions grow.
Once the domain of a few hardy pioneers, the dispersed movement is now attracting not just a few individuals and families, but institutions and developers building subdivisions that meet their own energy needs.

The Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) is seen in Wallington.
BedZed, London
Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED) is an environmentally-friendly Peabody housing development in Hackbridge, London, designed by the architect Bill Dunster to support a more sustainable lifestyle. Because of BedZED's low-energy-emission concept, cars are discouraged; the project encourages public transport, cycling, and walking, and has limited parking space.

The project is designed to use only energy from renewable sources generated on site. There are 777 m² of solar panels. Tree waste fuels the development's cogeneration plant (downdraft gasifier) to provide district heating and electricity. However, the gasifier is not being used, because of technical implementation problems, though the technology has been and is being used successfully at other sites.

The community is built on certian basic design principles namely: high quality - apartments are finished to a high standard to attract the urban professional; energy efficiency - the houses face south to take advantage of solar gain, are triple glazed, and have high thermal insulation; low-impact materials - building materials were selected from renewable or recycled sources within 35 miles of the site, to minimize the energy required for transportation; waste recycling; encourage eco-friendly transport.

Monitoring conducted in 2003 found that BedZED had achieved these reductions in comparison to UK averages:
* Space-heating requirements were 88% less
* Hot-water consumption was 57% less
* The electrical power used, at 3 kilowatt hours per person per day, was 25% less than the UK average
* Mains-water consumption has been reduced by at least 50%
* The residents' car mileage is 65% less
With places like this in the world encouraging a sustainable lifestyle, why should Indian cities be any different?
Source: India Syndicate
Images: Reuters
Monday, 25 October 2010 10:46:16
Sustainable Cities are the future.
Here are some definitions of SUSTAINABLE CITIES:

The term sustainable development goes beyond the boundaries of science and business development and trade to include human development, values, and differences in cultures. In fact, many organizations are referring to sustainable human development as opposed to sustainable development in order to emphasize issues such as the importance of gender equality, participation in decision-making processes, and access to education and health.
Cities have become the focal points of these components as major consumers and distributors of goods and services. However, many cities tend to be large consumers of goods and services, while draining resources out of external regions that they depend on. As a result of increasing consumption of resources, and growing dependencies on trade, the ecological impact of cities extends beyond their geographic locations. It has been recognized that the concept of sustainable development is an evolving, debatable term.

"Sustainable communities are defined as towns and cities that have taken steps to remain healthy over the long term. Sustainable communities have a strong sense of place. They have a vision that is embraced and actively promoted by all of the key sectors of society, including businesses, disadvantaged groups, environmentalists, civic associations, government agencies, and religious organizations. They are places that build on their assets and dare to be innovative. These communities value healthy ecosystems, use resources efficiently, and actively seek to retain and enhance a locally based economy. There is a pervasive volunteer spirit that is rewarded by concrete results. Partnerships between and among government, the business sector, and nonprofit organizations are common. Public debate in these communities is engaging, inclusive, and constructive. Unlike traditional community development approaches, sustainability strategies emphasize: the whole community (instead of just disadvantaged neighborhoods); ecosystem protection; meaningful and broad-based citizen participation; and economic self-reliance."
- Institute for Sustainable Communities
"Sustainable community development is the ability to make development choices which respect the relationship between the three "E's"-economy, ecology, and equity:
• Economy - Economic activity should serve the common good, be self-renewing, and build local assets and self-reliance.
• Ecology - Human are part of nature, nature has limits, and communities are responsible for protecting and building natural assets.
• Equity - The opportunity for full participation in all activities, benefits, and decision-making of a society."
- Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED): Hart Environmental Data
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
MSN News
Obama's presidential diet!
Ever wondered what constitutes Barack Obama's presidential diet? Here's a string of pictures capturing US President taking a bite off.

US President Barack Obama prepares to eat as he visits the Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans.

Obama's presidential diet!
Monday, 25 October 2010 10:20:28
I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln, President Obama.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India


  1. Nice blog, awesome images shared.
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