Aerogel was first created by Steven Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid inside a jam (jelly) jar with gas without causing shrinkage.

Aerogel is a low-density solid-state material derived from gel in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with gas. The result is an extremely low density solid with several remarkable properties, most notably its effectiveness as a thermal insulator. It is nicknamed frozen smoke, solid smoke or blue smoke due to its semi-transparent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) to the touch .


A general view of the exterior of the National Aquatic Centre, also known as the Water Cube, lit up at night during the opening of the Good Luck Beijing 2008 Swimming China Open in Beijing, China, 31 January 2008. The National Aquatic Centre, located next to the National Stadium, is one of the main venues for the 2008 Olympics

The Water Cube was initially designed by PTW Architects , CSCEC International Design and Arup with structural Engineers Arup conceiving the structure. The structure was built by CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation). Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness, The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles).The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because the more complex Weaire-Phelan structure results in more irregular, organic patterns than slices through the regular Kelvin foam.The structure will have a capacity of 17,000during the games that will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres.

Barack Obama, the junior U. S. Senator from Illinois, is the first ever African–American to become the presumptive presidential nominee for a U. S. major political party. On June 3, 2008, he gained enough delegates to be nominated by the Democratic party at its national convention in August.

Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. He grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. Although reared among Muslims, Obama, Sr., became an atheist at some point.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he signed up for service in World War II and marched across Europe in Patton’s army. Dunham’s mother went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G. I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved to Hawaii.Meantime, Barack’s father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya pursue his dreams in Hawaii. At the time of his birth, Obama’s parents were students at the East–West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.Obama’s parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. Obama’s father went to Harvard to pursue Ph. D. studies and then returned to Kenya.His mother married Lolo Soetoro, another East–West Center student from Indonesia. In 1967, the family moved to Jakarta, where Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro–Ng was born. Obama attended schools in Jakarta, where classes were taught in the Indonesian language.

Four years later when Barack (commonly known throughout his early years as “Barry”) was ten, he returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, and later his mother (who died of ovarian cancer in 1995).He was enrolled in the fifth grade at the esteemed Punahou Academy, graduating with honors in 1979. He was only one of three black students at the school. This is where Obama first became conscious of racism and what it meant to be an African–American.In his memoir, Obama described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. He saw his biological father (who died in a 1982 car accident) only once (in 1971) after his parents divorced. And he admitted using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years.After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science.

Obama moved to Chicago in 1985. Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988. In February 1990, he was elected the first African–American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Obama graduated magna cum laude in 1991.Obama published an autobiography in 1995 Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. And he won a Grammy for the audio version of the book.

He was elected in 1996 from the south side neighborhood of Hyde Park.In 2000 .

The war with Iraq began in 2003 and Obama decided to run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. In the 2004 Democratic primary, he won 52 percent of the vote, defeating multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes.

In August 2004, diplomat and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who was also an African American, accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan. In three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers and tax cuts.

In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes’s 27%, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. Obama became only the third African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

Sworn into office January 4, 2005, Obama partnered with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia. Then with Republican Sen. Tom Corburn of Oklahoma, he created a website that tracks all federal spending.

Obama was also the first to raise the threat of avian flu on the Senate floor, spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans´ benefits. He also worked with Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin

His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006.

In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and current U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton until he became the presumptive nominee on June 3, 2008.

Obama met his wife, Michelle, in 1988 when he was a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. They were married in October 1992 and live in Kenwood on Chicago’s South Side with their daughters, Malia (born 1999) and Sasha (born 2001).

Barack Obama, the junior U. S. Senator from Illinois, is the first ever African–American to become the presumptive presidential nominee for a U. S. major political party On June 3, 2008, he gained enough delegates to be nominated by the Democratic party at its national convention in August to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress.

via biography

Udaipur, in the heart of Rajasthan, is a city of majestic palaces and beautiful lakes. Here, adorning the banks of Lake Pichola and standing witness to the historic City Palace, The Oberoi Udaivilas captures all the romance and splendour of a royal era.The grand setting combined with palatial architecture and a beautiful spa offers an experience created exclusively for those who know there is nothing like too much luxury.

The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur (India) is designed to resemble a minature domed palace said to be “painted to evoke heaven.” This 200-year-old hunting lodge is know for its large airy treatment suites. Guests wanting to experience the ultimate in the art of healing can take advantage of the Ayurvedic therapies (based on the ancient Indian art of healing), at one of the of the Oberoi Udaivilas spa’s private therapy suites, many of which overlook Lake Pichola. Other treatments range from aromatherapy to massage therapy.

The hotel is adorned with hand- painted murals, arches and fountains. Landscaped terraces and acres of white marble. The resort’s 20-acre wildlife conservatory, houses peacock and Indian spotted deer.

source –hotel-ratesl / udaivilas / tripadvisor

On the trail

barrack obama


source – barackobama

Ajantha Mendis the new spin sensation from Sri Lankan Cricket is tying batsman in knots with his spin variations and his dreaded “carrom ball”. Here is how you can learn to bowl the carrom bowl like Ajantha Mendis. Once you learn the basic concept you can create many spin variations.

Things You’ll Need

  1. A love for cricket and spinning
  2. Expertise at playing carroms
  3. A Strong Middle Finger!!
  4. Motivation to practice a lot!


1 The carrom ball is similar to the “Doosra” that Muthiah Muralitharan delivers. It is a delivery normally delivered by an off-break bowler but only it behaves like a leg-break ball. While Murali delivers it by turning the palm of his hand towards himself and by flicking his wrist, Ajantha Mendis delivers it differently.

The Grip To bowl the Carrom ball that behaves like a Doosra – Hold the ball as show in the picture with the seam facing gully. Place the index finger on the seam and the thumb below the ball. Essentially you’re gripping the ball between your thumb and index finger. Now place your middle finger folder underneath the seam of the ball (similar to how you get ready to srike a carrom with your middle finger), supporting the ball.


At the time of delivery Push your middle finger out (similar to the strike in caroms) by flicking it quickly. This causes the ball to not only spin like a regular leg-break but also provides it the additional lateral force to skid or shoot through causing further difficulty to the batsman.

4 Bowling other variations By using this concept of flicking your finger (or squeezing the ball out) with other grips you can get a similar spin/shoot combination on an off-break, leg-break, etc.

The Carrom Ball | Ajantha Mendis Vs Darren Sammy 2008


John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Arizona and presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.

Both McCain’s grandfather and father were admirals in the United States Navy. McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he nearly lost his life in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. Later that year while on a bombing mission over North Vietnam, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. He was held from 1967 to 1973, experiencing episodes of torture and refusing an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer; his war wounds would leave him with lifelong physical limitations.He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and, moving to Arizona, entered politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. After serving two terms, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004.

While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain has gained a media reputation as a “maverick” for disagreeing with his party on several key issues. After being investigated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s, as a member of the “Keating Five”, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. He is also known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, and for his belief that the war in Iraq should be fought to a successful conclusion in the 2000s. McCain has chaired the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, and has been a leader in seeking to rein in both pork barrel spending as well as Senate filibusters of judicial nominations.McCain lost the Republican nomination in the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. He ran again for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, and gained enough delegates to become the party’s presumptive nominee in March 2008.

source –johnmccain /wikipedia /chicagotribune