Monthly Archives: December 2015

They are dreaming a free world

Kochi :

At a time when the Malayalis are reveling in obscurantism of all sorts, ranging from vasthu to alternative medicine and vedic mathematics to astrology, a small group of dedicated and committed volunteers have taken up an ambitious task of bringing back the scientific temper to the society.

`Swathanthra Lokam’, is a Facebook community of people from different backgrounds such as doctors, journalists, teachers and IT professionals, who are united for a cause.Some of them are former members of the Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham, who parted ways with the organization on some fundamental issues.Others are activists of Kerala Free Thinkers Forum and Science Trust, Kozhikode. “Our primary aim is to carry forward the rational thought process started by people like Sahodaran Ayyapan. Somehow, it was was stalled midway in Kerala, unlike in the West where it was allowed to bloom completely ,” said Dr C Viswanathan editor of Yukthi Yugam, the organ of the collective and a specialist in orthopaedics.

For the Swathanthra Lokam activists, the Western society is a model in many respects. “They are an open and a post-religious society but we still carry many traces of a tribal life. We seek to demolish the clan mentality and modernize the socie ty,” Viswanathan said.

Naturally fundamentalists of all hues view Swathanthra Lokam community as their opponents. They are in an open confrontation with practitioners of naturopathy and homeopathy , which they believe have no scientific basis. “We were actively involved in debunking cheating in the name of mid-brain activation. We oppose everything that is against sci ence and reason. We resist all regressions happening in our society be it the reversal from Sree Narayana Guru to Vellappally Natesan or Nehru to Modi,” said Anu Vinod, an IT professional and an active worker of the group.

The activists of Swathanthra Lokam also take on religious dogmas fearlessly in their endeavour for a free society. E A Jabbar, a teacher from Malappuram, relentlessly fight against the dogmas in Islam and questions the very basis of the religion. Viswanathan has delivered talks against futility of rituals such as yagas and yagnas.

The reactions from the other side had come in many forms including mass reporting to suspend Facebook account to open abuse in social media and even physical attacks. “I was assaulted several times in the past.Once a mob had barged into my house and threatened me. On another occasion I was attacked with iron rods. But nothing stopped me from campaigning against the Islamic fundamentalists,” said Jabbar.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> city> Kochi  / by M.P. Prashanth, TNN / December 31st, 2015

Safety Device for KSEB Workers Wins Prize

Kochi :

An engineering student, who developed a device which ensures safety of KSEB workers engaged in hazardous tasks, has won the first prize at a project contest based on the theme ‘IoT With Open Source Hardware’.

The contest was held as part of the FOSS Young Professional Meet. The meet was organised by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) here the other day.

The device called iPost or Intelligent Electric Post was developed by Shyam Pradeep of Government Engineering College, Thrissur. He won a cash prize of Rs 50,000.

iPost has an in-built facility to control the power line with a simple circuit fixed on the safety gloves of the worker. iPost can also be used by KSEB is the functioning of streetlights. It informs KSEB office whenever a streetlight malfunctions and this could help in rectifying the defective streetlights quickly.

KSEBprizeKERALA 28dec2015

The first runner-up prize of Rs 25,000 each was shared by two teams – National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, Calicut, for their project ‘Citywide Water Quality Monitoring’ and TCS team which developed the product ‘iBot’, a social cognitive robot.

Kerala State IT Mission director K Mohammed Y Safirulla presented the prizes to the winners at a function held at Mascot Hotel in the presence of ICFOSS director Jayasankar Prasad.

Delivering the valedictory address, Safirulla said that Kerala was a frontrunner in the use of Open Source software. ‘’Those who had participated in the meet should use their expertise in creating new devices using free software,’’ he said.

Earlier, during the day, experts in the domain of open source computing spoke on the topics related to open software.  Christy Jacob, data scientist, TCS, spoke on the topic ‘IoT Data Analytics’. He said that the Internet of Things had brought about revolutionary changes in the way business is conducted.

Amit Dev, senior, Principal Applications engineer, Oracle, spoke on the topic ‘IoT protocol’.The challenges and opportunities of using Internet of Things in various sectors were explained. Mathan Raj of SECO and Shahim Baker of Grey Technologies spoke on the topic of ‘Open Source Hardware’.

Contest held for projects

using open source hardware

Safety device for KSEB

workers wins 1st prize

Device developed by engineering college student

Device can also control functioning of streetlights

source: / The New Indian Express / News> Cities> Kochi / by Express News Service / December 28th, 2015