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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wishing You all "Happy Holi" - Festival of Victory of Good Over Evil

The festival of Holi is celebrated in India with a lot of enthusiasm as it marks a change. A change of season from the cold harsh winter to the colorful spring that melts the ice on the ground, and brings out the green grass and colors of the soil, the trees look radiant once again with their fresh green leaves and colorful flowers as also the colorful flowering plants in all the gardens. The days are longer once again and the sun shines it's brilliance over the mother earth bringing with it its much needed warmth so that people can shed their heavy winter garments and come out in the light summer shades of cotton fabric to enjoy the spring.

Holi is a festival that marks "Victory of Good over Evil". Since there is warmth in the air and sunshine once again, it gets reflected in the mood of the people as they express their happiness with song and dance, music, laughter, sweets, drinks and colors that considersbly cheer up everyone. This day is called Holi. What a wonderful way to begin a year, isn't it. If only this "feeling of goodness" would last till the end of the year...!

Do you know the mythological story behind why Holi is celebrated? Well for those who don't know it yet, read it here: This is how it goes..(quoted below)

"There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana a...nd refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion. Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee. As the legend depicts that anybody, howsoever strong, cannot harm a true devotee. And, those who dare torture a true devotee of god shall be reduced to ashes."

I think that it is very important to revive stories like these to our children, for in modern times, there is all the more a very urgent need to fight for "goodness" and overcome the "bad" or "evil"  that threatens to overtake the world at large...!

When I look all around me, I see a world that has changed completely and there seems to be nothing but "chaos" all around. People are confused. There is tyranny everywhere, governing systems are failing miserably leading to a very insecure and unstable environment. I feel very concerned and sad with the state of affairs in the world at large, as it is becoming more and more selfish and inhuman in nature, largely due to commercialism.

I posted this story on my Facebook wall and one of my friends from Xomba said, "thanks for posting this". I was happy to see that it was still important to some people. I strongly feel that we are severly lacking this input of traditional values, stories and culture to our younger generation in the passage of time and soon a time will come when there won't remain any "cultural" differences anymore. Due to this lack in our teachings or preachings to our children they are not able to have a smooth transition from "childhood" to "adulthood".  This may also be largely due to time constraints and parents get busy in their quest for money and trying to run the home, that they don't find any time to tell stories to their kids or even guide them with interesting anecdotes. In fact, people have even stopped writing such stories for kids now and I feel sorry for today's generation in many ways.

Children today (can't really blame them) are becoming more and more materialistic (thanks to commercialism) and learning to measure and value everything according to it...Lines have vanished, that demarcated good from bad, moral from immoral, right from wrong, legal from illegal, truth from lies, good manners and bad manners....The world at large has changed..So, what do we teach our kids today and how? Where are the role models?

How can we fight "evil" when the thin line between "good" and "evil" itself have diminished! Where are the true "devotees" today? Will there be a saviour to bring "Victory of Good Over Evil?"
I certainly hope so, for without hope, one would not be able to survive. So it is with this hope in my heart that I wish all the readers and the Xomba community a very "Happy Holi" and hope that the "warmth" this year should last through the year and bring out the goodness and also peace back on this earth.



 

Originally posted on Xomba

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watch Video Highlights - Sachin Tendulkar Hits First ODI Double Century

Mumbai's Shiv Sena should have enough reason to celebrate and be happy for their "Marathi manoos" has gone and done it again...Their golden boy...Sachin Tendulkar has hit a whopping "double century" and created a record as the highest ever runs to be scored in an ODI.

Sachin from India was playing against South Africa and brought the score to 401/3...With this " Sachin Tendulkar has become the first man to score a double ton in a One Day International Match against South Africa. The Master Blaster has proven once again that he is a force to reckon with when it comes to batting."

You can watch the video highlights on you tube videos on this site at the link provided...Or visit You tube...








"Sachin Tendulkar creates a historical record, with a stunning 200 in the final over of the India Vs South Africa, Micromobile Cup February 24 2010." Sachin remained Not Out and managed this record breaking score in just 147 deliveries which were divided into 25 boundaries and 3 huge sixes. 

With the score of 200 not out on Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar beat the previous highest score of 194, made by Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry against Bangladesh in Bulawayo last August and Sayed Anwar of Pakistan against India at Chennai in May 1997.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Land Scams - Sukna Is Just One Of Them

The Sukna land scam is in the news for the last couple of weeks with lots of flip-flops amongst Generals, politicians et al. However this is not the first time such an issue has come to light. And like in the other cases, after a lot of talk, allegations, clarifications the issue will die down and those involved in the scam will laugh all the way to the bank.

While I was surfing the net for news on the Sukna scam, I came across a report in the Indian Express about the shady deals in the "Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society" in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai. Apparently the land which was known as Eco park was transferred to the society formed for the welfare of Kargil Heroes. The land was transferred to the society at hugely concessional rates. At the time of the article which is dated 2003 their was a lone subedar in the list of members. The deposit amount at that time was Rs 6 Lakhs. Considering the amount to be twenty percent as is the norm, the flat was valued at 30 Lakhs in 2003, A huge amount by any standard and no army jawan or for that matter an officer would have been able to cough out that kind of money in 2003 unless they were having some other source of income.

Kargil, must have been a reason for the discounted rate. Since the rest are heavily connected Babus, senior officers and politicians. The more famous ones among these are • Admiral Madhavendra Singh Bhagwat Singh, Chief of Naval Staff uRear Admiral Raman Prem Suthan, Fleet Commander, Eastern Fleet • Lt Gen Gurbaksh Singh Shiv Singh Sihota, GOC, Southern Command • Major General T K Kaul, GOC, Maharastra and Gujarat Area • Maj Gen Varinder Singh, former GOC, Maharashtra and Gujarat Area • Ramchandra Sonelal Thakur, Subdivisional officer, Defence Estates • Subedar Ramnarain Achelal Thakur, ‘‘Kargil Hero’’ • Major Rajiv Kumar Hitnarain Singh, ‘‘Kargil Hero’’ • Kanhaiyalal V Gidwani, MLC, Shiv Sena, Mamta Kanade, wife of senior IAS officer Ramesh Kanade • P V Deshmukh, deputy secretary, urban development department,

Read the full Indian Express story at the link below

http://www.indianexpress.com/oldStory/28841/

That was 2003. Seven years later the building continues to be built and is nearing completion. However nothing is being done about it. No investigations, no questions. The media itself has forgotten about it, though it finds mention, along with other prime land scams, in a recent article in Times of India at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/State-gifts-prime-plot-in-city-to-babus/articleshow/4988486.cms


A 2 bedroom flat in cuffe parade would cost more than 3-4 crores today. Compare this with the Rs 30 lakhs, the members would have paid at that time and you can see the enormity of the scam. Surprisingly none of the news papers are following up what was a "Breaking News". Maybe they have been "taken care of".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My First Blog Camp Experience in Mumbai

Let me be very frank and say that I have never before attended any Blog Camp of any sort. In fact the thought to do, so never even entered my mind. I came to know about this particular Blog Camp event that was held in Mumbai, Vile Parle yesterday from my husband. I agreed to attend the function as it was a weekend and second because I thought it would be a good experience, a place to meet other fellow bloggers like ourselves and share our thoughts and tips with all and maybe even learn something.

The event was held at the Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering (MPSTME) college, Vile Parle, on the 20th February from morning to evening. We managed to reach the venue in the afternoon, just before the lunch session. However, we were just in time to attend two sessions, which was interesting. Lunch was free, and plenty to go around...which happened to be Pav Bhaji and was very delicious and apparently sponsored by Microsoft.

I had expected there to be a huge crowd and response from the Bloggers in Mumbai, but was surprised to find that they all managed to fit into one classroom. Anyway, they were a mix from all age groups, which was a good thing to see. Amongst the youngest of the Bloggers, there was a 9th standard student, Monik who spoke about his blog and blogging experiences. I was also amazed by the fact that he had managed to get his blog in the front page of Digg. 


The youngest was my own son, Raj, who is 11 years old. He turned out to be the highlight of the evening when he told them all about the two blogs that he had; A Free Indian Cooking Recipes Blog, and a Game Blog. Everybody asked him a few questions and he managed to answer them satisfactorily..Of course, I was getting nervous on his behalf...But he has come away from the experience, a very proud Blogger. Thanks to Blog Camp!! I am sure that he is encouraged enough to continue his blogging and may be adding some more new blogs..Watch out!!


 There were a few other speakers who shared about their own blogging experiences and it was also enlightening to know how some people used the blogging platform and social media to help further other causes. One woman told a story of another woman who had suffered from Breast cancer and how she took to a driving campaign all over India just to spread awareness about the disease and ways to detect breast cancer. She is now looking for help to do more in this regard, and some Bloggers offered to help in the different ways that they could. That included making a website, talking to sponsor companies, tweeting, writing blog posts etc...

During the break, we got to interact with a few youngsters who were either still doing their graduation or had just finished college. We had some great exchanges of ideas, views and tips about Blogging and we also managed to introduce them to our newly released book about Blogging.."A Beginner's Guide to Blogging & Making Money Online". 

We had hoped that we would be able to speak about our experiences and let them know a few things about making money from their blogging, but they did not allow us to speak, saying that they did not want "technical" talk...Anyway, not a cause for worry, because we managed to get the exposure that we were hoping for anyway!! 


It was a good experience, and will definitely look forward to the next one..


Other fellow Bloggers have also written about the Blog Camp in great detail:

Satish: @BlogCamp Mumbai  

Anu: BlogCamp Mumbai – Experience 

Moksh: BlogCamp Mumbai – January 2010 

Kalyan Karmakar: "This one time at Band camp"... BlogCamp Mumbai, Mumbai College Eats"

IdeaSmithy : Food & Fiction, Housewives & Health, Causes & Gripes, All At BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

Jaya: Blogcamp Mumbai-Mukesh Patel School of Tech.Mgmt & Eng


Only Gizmos: Mumbai Blogcamp! Bloggers Day Out



See Photos of the event at these links:

http://picasaweb.google.com/kjace555/BlogCampMumbai#


http://www.flickr.com/photos/preshit/sets/72157623349730423/

Strawberries – The Fruit and Flavour of Spring


The month of February comes to an end, marking the end of winter season and the coming of spring. India celebrates this season change with the very colourful festival of Holi, wherein all the people irrespective of their caste, religion or region come out in the streets in good spirits and play holi by throwing dry or wet colours on one another. The festival reflects the spring season through its rich colours. Spring season is a gardener’s delight and strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in this season.

More and more local farmers are taking to growing strawberries in their farms every year and the maximum contribution (85% of India’s total production) comes from a hill station called Mahabaleshwar in Maharastra. Strawberries are easy to grow and can even be grown in a “container garden” in your own home.
Strawberries in white bowl.jpg

But what’s so great about these “berries”? Well, strawberries can be both good and bad depending on how it affects each individual. It can be a boon to some by providing extra nutritional value due to its abundance in antioxidants like anthocyanins on the one hand or be a curse to those who are allergic to strawberries. In history, some cultures believed that strawberries could prolong life and has also been used as symbols of purity, perfection and love.

Health Benefits of Strawberries:

  • There is ample evidence of the health benefits of strawberries. The benefits include, eye care, whitening teeth, relief from high blood pressure, arthritis and gout, heart diseases, skin care and beauty treatment and even in proper brain function.

  • The anti oxidants such as phenolic phytochemicals, vitamin-C, flavonoids and elagic acid, present in strawberries prevent the harmful oxidants or free radicals from causing damage to the eyes. It also helps to maintain the right ocular pressure due to the presence of potassium.

  • The acids that are present in strawberries helps to remove stains from teeth, thereby making them appear whiter. Cut a strawberry in half and rub it on the teeth and gums to remove the tartar, which will strengthen and heal the gums. You should let the juice remain on the teeth for a while longer before gargling with warm water.

  • The anti oxidants and detoxifiers in strawberries will prevent the degenerative effects of the free radicals on muscles and joints in the body that causes arthritis and gout.

  • Vitamin-C, folate and anthocyanin, quercetin and kaempferol are some of the flavonoids that are present in strawberries that possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties, which helps to fight cancer and tumor. Therefore, a daily intake of strawberries can bring down the cancerous growth of cells, drastically.

  • Strawberries are rich in iodine content and therefore are very helpful in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

  • Strawberries are very effective in lowering the high blood pressure caused due to sodium, as it is rich in potassium and magnesium content, which helps to maintain the electrolyte balance.

  • Strawberries can also help to reduce the cholesterol levels by virtue of its high fibre, folate, no fats and high anti oxidants properties, thereby reducing heart diseases. Strawberries also help to strengthen the cardiac muscles due to the presence of vitamin B, which helps the heart to function properly.

  • Strawberries are also very good for the skin and can be used for beauty treatments as it helps in softening the skin and clearing away dead skin cells. It then hydrates the skin by allowing moisture to enter the skin's surface. The antioxidants, phyto-nutrients and vitamin C provide the skin a healthy nourishing nutritional mixture.

  • Strawberries are very good for the immune system due to all of the above-mentioned properties, and can help to prevent mild infections like the cold, flu and fever. Apart from this, it also has a very good anti-inflammatory property.

Some Interesting Facts About Strawberries

Chandler strawberries.jpg


It may come as a surprise to you to know that strawberries belong to the family of the rose flower (Rosaceae) and the fact that they are really not considered a fruit at all. The strawberries that we find commonly in the market these days are a hybrid of different species, specifically selected by breeders to yield more crop that have a better taste and a more nutritious profile.

Strawberries are used extensively in foodstuffs like ice creams, jams, jellies, squashes, syrups, confectionaries, bakeries, chocolates and even medicines for their extraordinarily rich flavor, taste and color. Of course, one can also eat them fresh. There are many delicious recipes that can be made using strawberries. Visit this website for some easy strawberry recipes that you can make at home. http://www.easy-strawberry-recipes.com/

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Strawberry_ice_cream_dessert.jpg

As you can see, strawberries are the flavour and fruit of the month with plenty of health benefits, so make the most of them this season. Grow them in your backyard or home in a container and use them in as many delicious mouth-watering recipes that you can. Store them in the form of jams, jellies, squashes, juices, syrups or whatever way you like them best and see your skin glow this Spring!!


Original article posted on Xomba.

Dental Drills – Rewind and Fast Forward to Future Painless Plasma Jets


Most dental phobias stem from the pain associated with the “Dental Drills” that are commonly used by dentists to remove dental decay. This is a small high-speed rotating drill used to clean the decayed portion of the tooth and prepare it for a filling material.

The history of this fascinating piece of dental equipment goes way back to the “Bow Drill Era” in the 7000BC that originated in the Indus valley of India and Pakistan. Can you imagine how excruciatingly painful the dental procedures must have been then. Since then the dental drill has been modified several times in shape, size and speed over the centuries to make it more effective.

In 1790, the First Dental Foot Engine evolved as the earliest form that was built by John Greenwood and one of George Washington’s dentists. See Picture below.
                            footpeddle

Convential Dental drill.jpg

As the dental technology advanced further, the speed of the dental drills (Dental Hand Piece) increased with time, thereby considerably decreasing the pain that was associated with the drilling procedures. I remember starting my dental training with the conventional dental drill that was a motor attached to the dental chair as seen in the picture.

 Conventional Dental Drills:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fotothek_df_roe-neg_0002315_001_Zahn%C3%A4rztliche_Ma%C3%9Fnahmen_bei_einem_Kind.jpg#filelinks

800px-Grünes_Winkelstück_38.JPG

These conventional drills produced a lot of heat and friction while cutting the cavity, thereby causing a lot of pain and sensitivity. There was always a perpetual fear of damaging the pulp and nerve tissues in deep cavities, due to the heat generated, causing pulpitis. To overcome these problems, a new concept of the water jet attached to the dental drills evolved with faster speeds of the air rotor (using compressed air). It was during my Internship, in 1991, that I got to use the air rotor hand piece that seemed to work like a dream. The patients were definitely more comfortable; the chair time was reduced drastically and cavity cutting became much easier and refined.

Plasma Jets to replace the Dental Drill

For all those people who fear visiting the dentist and the dental drill, there is good news. A new plasma technology has opened up new horizons for painless dental care procedures and may eliminate the need for the Dental Drill. Yes, you heard right!

According to latest news reports, “Plasma jets that remove tooth decay-causing bacteria could be an effective and less painful alternative to the dentist’s drill, German researchers said.”

A blowtorch-like device fires low temperature plasma beams at the dentin to remove the decayed tooth structure and to decrease the bacteria content by up to 10,000 times. The study finds this to be a less invasive way to treat cavities in the future.

“For the study (February issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology), the researchers infected dentin from extracted human molars with four strains of bacteria and then exposed the dentin to plasma jets for 6, 12 or 18 seconds. Apparently, the longer the dentin is exposed to the plasma, the more bacteria got eliminated.”

Normally, plaque-forming bacteria cling to the surface of the enamel thereby eroding it to infect the dentin and the pulp tissue, which causes dental decay. This, if left untreated can cause further gum infection and spread to other teeth rapidly to cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate the bacteria from the surface of the teeth as soon as possible, by correct hygienic measures. However, once a tooth gets decayed resulting in a cavity formation then the only way to remove the bacteria is by drilling.

“Drilling is a very uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience. Cold plasma, in contrast, is a completely contact-free method that is highly effective.”

According to the latest news reports, plasma dentistry may be available within three to five years.

Incidentally, plasma can also be used effectively to sterilize other dental surgical instruments, particularly the endodontic files used for root canal procedures.

Original article posted on Xomba.

VOGUE PRO DENTAL DRILL WITH FOOT PEDAL

Raj happened to be star blogger at the Mumbai Blog Camp

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging and Making Money Online

“A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging and Making Money Online”. That's the title of my first non fiction book which I have co-authored with my wife. After having spent close to three years blogging and working on the other sites on the Internet, We decide to share our knowledge with the public. And hence came the idea of writing the book.

I have seen many people who are spending a lot of time on the Internet and not getting back anything other than maybe satisfaction of sharing their thoughts with the others. This is a sheer waste of time, mostly, especially when you can earn money while doing the same.

This book teaches people how to start blogging and earning money on the Internet. The book will be helpful for those who have not yet started using the Internet as a medium of expression through blogging and social networking and also those who have been blogging but not leveraging their efforts to earn money.
The book will help a layman to
• Start using Email
• Open and maintain a Blog
• Blogging Etiquette and Writing Tips
• Earn Revenue from your blog
• Handy tools to review your performance
• Use Revenue sharing websites to make money online
• Use Social Networking Sites to expand your reach
• Promote your blog and content online
• Use Affiliate Networks And Programs to generate money
The book will help homemakers, unemployed youth, students, retired personnel and anyone else wanting to make extra money.
The book has 240 pages and costs Rs 150/-. The ISBN of the book is ISBN 10: 81-223-1110-5 , ISBN 978-81-223-1110-5

The book is available at the following links for buying online

http://www.pustakmahal.com/book/book/bid,,9439C/isbn:9788122311105/index.html

http://books.rediff.com/book/priya-kanwar-and-varinder-taprial/a-beginners-guide-to-blogging-and-making-money-online/ISBN:9788122311105/85459776

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2080277206&searchurl=sts=t&tn=A+Beginner%27s+Guide+To+Blogging+%26+Making+Money+Online&x=17&y=16

http://www.bookshopofindia.com/search.asp?action1=default&bookid=9068047

http://www.flipkart.com/beginner-guide-blogging-making-money/8122311105-ku23fnjtnb

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/varinder-taprial/beginner-s-guide-blogging-making-money-online/9788122311105.html

http://www.amazingindianbooks.com/amazingindianbooks/searchdetails.asp?s1=9068047

The book should be available in bookstores by next week. Enjoy reading and learn ho to make money online
About the Authors
Varinder Taprial is a retired naval officer and an Electrical engineer with a passion for computers and Internet. He loves to write, has a blog of his own and has authored a fiction book “Enemy in the Ranks” published by Pustak Mahal. He is currently living in Mumbai with his wife and son.

Priya Kanwar is a dentist and an avid blogger who has been writing and earning on the Internet for the last three years. She has a few Blogs of her own and is a featured writer on Xomba.com where she uses the moniker “Rawnak”. She has written this book to share her acquired knowledge and experience with others. She is married to Varinder Taprial and likes to write in her maiden name.

Friday, February 12, 2010

“A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging & Making Money Online” - Book Release

The book “A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging & Making Money Online”  co-authored by Varinder Taprial and Priya Kanwar published by Pustak Mahal, New Delhi, India has been released and is now available to buy online.


A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging & Making Money Online” teaches people how to start blogging and earning money on the Internet. The book will be helpful for those who have not yet started using the Internet as a medium of expression through blogging and social networking and also those who have been blogging but not leveraging their efforts to earn money.

The book will help a layman to
•   Start using Email
•   Open and maintain a Blog
•   Blogging Etiquette and Writing Tips
•   Earn Revenue from your blog

Handy tools to review your performance
•   Use Revenue sharing websites to make money online
•   Use Social Networking Sites to expand your reach
•   Promote your blog and content online
•   Use Affiliate Networks And Programs to generate money

“A Beginner’s Guide To Blogging & Making Money Online”will help homemakers, unemployed youth, students, retired personnel and anyone else wanting to make extra money.

The book has 240 pages and costs Rs 150/-. The ISBN of the book is ISBN 10: 81-223-1110-
5 , ISBN 978-81-223-1110-5

The book is available at the following links for buying online:
 

About the Authors 

Varinder Taprial is a retired naval officer and an Electrical engineer with a passion for computers and Internet. He loves to write, has a blog of his own and has authored a fiction book “Enemy in the Ranks” published by Pustak Mahal. He is currently living in Mumbai with his wife and son.
Priya Kanwar is a dentist and an avid blogger who has been writing and earning on the Internet for the last three years. She has a few Blogs of her own and is a featured writer on Xomba.com where she uses the moniker “Rawnak”. She has written this book to share her acquired knowledge and experience with others. She is married to Varinder Taprial and likes to write in her maiden name.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Astronaut Tweets Beautiful Earth Images From Space

Astronaut Tweets Beautiful Earth Images From Space

"One of the astronauts currently in residence on the International Space Station is using Twitpic to send some spectacular imagery of our home planet back down to us Earthlings (that’s Mt. Kilimanjaro as seen from space at right)."

The advantages of the networking features of twitter can be seen very clearly. Now astronauts can tweet from space and send beautiful pictures using the Twitpic services, as can be seen with these first set of breathtaking beautiful photos. This opens out a whole new era of photography from space. One need not go into space to see what Earth looks like from up there....

"Astronaut Jose Hernandez, who flew on the Shuttle Discovery mission STS-128, has also posted some imagery from his mission to Twitpic as well."

Take a look at these amazing pictures at the link given:

http://mashable.com/2010/02/05/astronaut-twitpics-from-space/