Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Austenite (γ-iron; hard) Bainite Martensite Cementite (iron carbide; Fe3C) Ledeburite (ferrite - cementite eutectic, 4.3% carbon) Ferrite (α-iron, δ-iron; soft) Pearlite (88% ferrite, 12% cementite) Spheroidite
Plain-carbon steel (up to 2.1% carbon) Stainless steel (alloy with chromium) HSLA steel (high strength low alloy) Tool steel (very hard; heat-treated) Cast iron (>2.1% carbon)Wrought iron Wrought iron (almost no carbon) Ductile iron Wrought iron is commercially pure iron, having a very small carbon content (not more than 0.15 percent), but usually containing some slag. It is tough, malleable, and ductile and is easily welded. However, it is too soft for blades.

Wrought iron has been used for thousands of years, and represents the "iron" that is referred to throughout western history. It is a fibrous material with many strands of slag mixed into the metal. These slag inclusions give it a "grain" resembling wood, with distinct appearance when etched or bent to the point of failure.
Wrought iron has been almost totally replaced by mild steel. It is not produced at all today for commercial use, although one company in the U.K. is known to reprocess scrap, antique wrought iron into stock for commercial sale. It was used when a tough material was required, in applications such as rivets, chains, railway couplings, water and steam pipes, raw material for manufacturing of steel, bolts and nuts, horse shoe bars, handrails, straps for timber roof trusses, boiler tubes, etc. References relating to wrought iron may occasionally still be found in engineering literature.
Ornamental ironwork utilises the great malleability of wrought iron, and is still often referred to as "wrought iron work" even though today it is more likely to be made from mild steel.


Wrought iron was originally produced by a variety of smelters, described today as bloomeries. A number of different forms of bloomery were used at different places and times. The bloomery would be charged with charcoal and iron ore (an oxide or carbonate) and lit. Air was blown in through a tuyere to heat the bloomery to a temperature somewhat below the melting point of iron. In the course of the smelt, slag would melt and run out, and carbon monoxide from the charcoal would reduce the ore to iron, which formed a spongy mass. The iron remained in the solid state. If the bloomery was allowed to become hot enough to melt the iron, carbon would dissolve into it and form "pig" or "cast" iron, but that was not the intention.
After smelting was complete, the bloom was removed, and the process can be started again. It is thus a batch process, rather than a continuous one. The spongy mass contains iron and also silicate (slag) from the ore; this is iron bloom from which the technique gets its name. The bloom then has to be forged mechanically to consolidate it and shape it into a bar, expelling slag in the process.
During the Middle Ages, water-power was applied to the process, probably initially for powering bellows, and only later to hammers for forging the blooms. However, while it is certain that water-power was used, the details of this remain uncertain. This was the culmination of the direct process of ironmaking. It survived in Spain and southern France as Catalan Forges to the mid 19th century, in Austria as the stuckofen to 1775; near Garstang in England until about 1770; and was still in use with hot blast in New York State in the 1880s.

Bloomery process
The direct process was largely replaced during the Middle Ages with an indirect smelting process, involving a blast furnace and then one of a succession of further processes, including the finery forge, and later the puddling furnace.
Examples of the blast furnace have been discovered from the Middle Ages at Lapphyttan, Sweden and in Germany. This was combined with a further process making osmond iron, balls of wrought iron.
In the 15th century, the blast furnace spread into what is now Belgium and was improved. From there, it spread via the pays de Bray on the boundary of Normandy and then to the Weald in England. The product of a blast furnace, pig iron, had a high carbon content and was brittle. In order to use it in ironmongery, this had to be converted to wrought iron. This was the function of the finery forge and successor processes. These remelted the pig iron and (in effect) burnt out the carbon, producing a bloom, which was then forged into a bar. If rod iron was required a slitting mill was used.
The introduction of coke for use in the blast furnace by Abraham Darby in 1709 (or perhaps others a littler earlier) changed ironmaking and eventually replaced charcoal. Not only was the fuel much cheaper, but it is also less friable, allowing the furnaces to be much larger. However, charcoal continued to be the fuel for the finery.

Indirect processes
A number of processes for making wrought iron without charcoal were devised as the Industrial Revolution began during the latter half of the 18th century. The most successful of these was the puddling furnace invented by Henry Cort in 1784. The fully developed process involved a series of stages. First the iron was melted in a "refinery" or "running out fire". The iron was run out into a trough whose dam was lowered enough to run off the slag, thus reducing the silicon content. This produced a brittle white metal ("finers metal"), which was charged to the puddling furnace, where it was melted and stirred. The resultant puddled ball was "shingled" with a hammer and then rolled in a rolling mill to produce "muck bar". This would be broken up and faggotted. Wrought iron which had been faggoted twice was referred to as "Best"; if faggoted again it would become "Best Best", then "Treble best", etc.
Faggoting resulted in impurities within the metal ending up as long thin inclusions, creating a grain within the metal. "Best" bars would have a tensile strength along the grain of about 23 short tons-force per square inch (317 MPa). "Treble best" could reach 28 short tons-force per square inch (386 MPa). The strengths across the grain would be about 15% lower. This grain makes wrought iron especially tricky to smith, as it behaves much like wood grain—prone to spontaneous splitting along the grain. In old, very rusted pieces of wrought iron, the grain is revealed, making the iron bear a striking resemblance to reddish-brown wood.

Puddling and faggoting
In 1925, James Aston of the United States developed a wholly mechanical process for manufacturing wrought iron quickly and economically. It is carried out as follows:

Molten steel from a Bessemer converter is poured into cooler liquid slag. Temperature of molten steel is about 1500 °C and that of liquid slag is about 1200 °C.
Molten steel contains large amounts of dissolved gases. These gases are liberated when it strikes the slag.
Molten steel freezes to yield a spongy mass having a temperature of about 1370 °C.
This spongy mass is then shingled and rolled as described below. Aston's process
Wrought iron is relatively pure, and normally contains less than .15% carbon and other impurities. But the process of its manufacture is laborious and tedious. Following are the four distinct operations involved in its manufacture:

Rolling Modern production
Pig iron is melted and a strong current of air is directed over it. It is being well agitated or stirred when the current of air is passing over. It is thus thoroughly oxidized. It is then cast into moulds. It is cooled suddenly so as to make it brittle. This is known as "refined pig iron". It has also been known as finers metal and as refined iron.


Main article: Puddling (metallurgy) Puddling

Main article: Shingling (metallurgy) Shingling

Main article: Rolling mill Rolling
The fibers in wrought iron give it properties not found in other forms of ferrous metal. Hammering a piece of wrought iron cold causes the fibers to become packed tighter, which makes the iron both brittle and hard. Wrought iron lacks the carbon content necessary for hardening through heat treatment, but in areas where steel was uncommon or unknown, tools were sometimes cold-worked (hence "cold iron") in order to harden them. Furthermore, wrought iron cannot be bent as sharply as steel, for the fibers can spread and weaken the finished work.
Other properties of wrought iron include the following:

It becomes soft at white heat and it can be easily forged and welded.
It can be used to form temporary magnets, but cannot be magnetized permanently.
It fuses with difficulty. It cannot, therefore, be adopted for making castings.
It is ductile, malleable and tough.
It is moderately elastic.
It is less affected by saline water than steel, and resists corrosion better.
Its fresh fracture shows clear bluish colour with a high silky luster and fibrous appearance.
Its melting point is about 1500 °C.
Its specific gravity is about 7.8.
Its ultimate compressive strength is about 2000 kgf/cm² (200 MPa).
Its ultimate tensile strength is about 4000 kgf/cm² (400 MPa). Properties
Wrought iron is defective in quality if it is either coldshort or redshort.

Coldshort (or "bloodshot") wrought iron occurs when phosphorus is present in excess quantity and is very brittle when it is cold. It cracks if bent. It may, however, be worked at high temperature. Historically, coldshort iron was considered good enough for nails.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Skittles are small, round fruit chews that come in hard, sugar shells with the letter "s" printed on them, representing the sweet's name. They are similar in outward appearance to the plain variety of the chocolate M&M's, which, like Skittles, are produced by Masterfoods, a division of Mars, Incorporated.
Skittles Bite Size sweets, originally made by a company in England, were first introduced in the United States in 1974. Around 1981-1982, the production of Skittles began in the United States. Skittles sold in the United Kingdom are made in the Czech Republic, where Mars Incorporated makes them for export to many European Union markets. The company also produces the product in Victoria, Australia, for distribution in the New Zealand market.
Skittles are a non-kosher food and not vegetarian in the USA. However in Europe they are kosher and vegetarian because they do not contain any gelatin. However, they are not suitable for vegans as they contain shellac.


The flavors are:
In the South Korean, Taiwanese, and Australian versions of Original Fruit Skittles, Apple (green) replaces Lime, and outside the United States and Canada Purple is flavored black currant.

Grape (purple)
Lemon (yellow)
Strawberry (red)
Lime (green)
Orange (orange) Skittles (candy) Original Fruit Skittles (Red Package)
In 1990, Wild Berry Skittles were introduced. Wild Berry is a mix of exotic berry flavoring, and the product is sold in purple bags or boxes.
The flavors are:

Raspberry (blue)
Wild Cherry (red)
Strawberry (magenta)
Berry Punch (purple)
Melon Berry (green) Wild Berry Skittles (Purple Package)
In 1990, Tropical Skittles were introduced. Tropical is a mix of exotic tropical flavoring, and the product is sold in either light blue bags or boxes.
The flavors are:
There are now three new flavors of Tropical Skittles, apparently replacing the Strawberry Watermelon, Mango Peach, and Passion Punch flavors. They are:
The new packaging of Tropical Skittles mentions nothing of them being a limited edition.

Banana Berry (yellow)
Kiwi Lime (green)
Strawberry Watermelon (pink)
Mango Peach (orange)
Passion Punch (blue)
Pineapple Passionfruit (blue)
Strawberry Starfruit (pink)
Mango Tangelo (orange) Tropical Skittles (Light Blue Package)
In 2000, Sour Skittles were introduced. These types of Skittles are coated with very sour citric acid crystals, and the product is sold in either bright green bags or boxes.
The flavors are:
There used to be a sour Green Apple flavor, but it has been replaced by sour Blue Raspberry.
As part of the Shrek The Third promotion, a pink Wizard Watermelon, replacing Grape, and a green Apple-y Ever After skittle was added to the variety of Sour Skittles.

Sour Blue Raspberry (blue)
Sour Lemon (yellow)
Sour Strawberry (red)
Sour Orange (orange)
Sour Grape (purple) Sour Skittles (Green Package)
In 2007, Double Sour Skittles were introduced. These types of Skittles are, as the name suggests, coated with a double portion of very sour citric acid crystals. Like Sour Skittles, the product is sold in either bright green bags or boxes.
The flavors are:
It is not clear whether Double Sour Skittles will be available only on a limited time basis.

Sour Blue Raspberry (blue)
Sour Lemon (yellow)
Sour Strawberry (red)
Sour Watermelon (pink)
Sour Green Apple (green) Double Sour Skittles (Green Package)
Every year around Easter time, Limited Edition Easter Skittles fill the shelves of stores across the country.

Easter Skittles (Yellow Package)
In 2005, Smoothie Mix Skittles were introduced. The name comes from a smoothie, which is a fruit mix drink, and the product is sold in either orange bags or boxes.
The flavors are:

Peach Pear (light green)
Mixed Berry (pastel purple)
Lemon Berry (light yellow)
Strawberry Banana (light peach)
Orange Mango (faded orange) Smoothie Mix Skittles (Orange Package)
In March 2006 Skittles released a 'Limited Edition' Ice Cream Skittles variety. This also went along with their "Chillin' for a Million" campaign. By late 2006 they were very difficult to find. They have discontinued.
There were also flavors in the packages of regular Skittles. In the Original there was Strawberry, in the Wild Berry there was Cherry Vanilla Swirl (deep red), In the Sour there was Lemon Sorbet (yellow with white powder), and in the smoothie Mix there was Orange Vanilla Swirl.

Vanilla (light yellow)
Strawberry (deep pink)
Chocolate (dark brown)
Caramel Ripple (light brown)
Orange Vanilla Swirl (orange) Ice Cream Skittles (Whitish Package)
In October 2006 Limited Edition Carnival Skittles (also known as Unlimited Skittles) began circulating. It is unknown when the first production of this variety began. References to this variety have also been difficult to obtain. In 2007, flavors of Carnival Skittles were made available in regular packs of Skittles (Green Slushy in Original Fruit packs, Candy Apple in Wild Berry packs, Cotton Candy in Smoothie Mix packs, and Bubble Gum in Tropical packs) to help coincide with the Text Thru Time promotion.
In 2007 these Skittles were re-released as 'Skittles Unlimited' for a limited time in Canada and are sold in black packages.
This variety of Skittles contains very sweet and accurate flavors causing some to liken them to Jelly Belly flavors.
In June 2007 Carnival Skittles became available in Australia, known as Showtime flavours. The flavours are

Cotton Candy (baby blue)
Bubble Gum (pink)
Candy Apple (light yellow)
Red Licorice (red)
Green Slushy (green)
Popcorn (light yellow)
Jam Donut (brown red)
Toffee Apple (green)
Fairy Floss (pink)
Bubblegum (baby blue) Carnival Skittles (Yellow Package)
Xtreme Fruit Skittles will be introduced in 2007, and will have the same flavors as Xtreme Fruit Skittles Bubble Gum. Xtreme Fruit is a mix of exotic extreme fruit flavoring, and the product will be sold in either black bags or boxes.
The flavors are:

Wild Cherry (red)
Tangerine (orange)
Watermelon (pink)
Blue Raspberry (blue)
Green Apple (green) Xtreme Fruit Skittles (Black Package)
Mint Skittles were made in 2000. They came in spearmint and wintergreen. Unlike ordinary Skittles, they came in plastic containers instead of bags. They are hard to find, as they have been discontinued.

Skittles Mints (Green Package)
Chocolate Skittles were released in 1998. They have now discontinued as of 2001. They were sold in 55g bags just like M&M's.
The flavors were:

Milk Chocolate (brown)
Wild Chocolate (blue)
Hot Chocolate (white, later red)
Nutty Chocolate (tan)
Mocha Chocolate (green) Chocolate Skittles (Brown Package)
Liquorice Skittles were made in 1982. They are hard to find because they have discontinued. They were sold in Europe in 55g boxes rather than the usual bag.
The flavors were:

Black Liquorice (black)
Liquorice Aniseed (green)
Liquorice Spice (red)
Liquorice Vanilla (orange)
Liquorice Mint (white) Liquorice Skittles (Black Package)
Fresh Mint Skittles was the very first type of different Skittles made. They released in 1977 and ended them in 2005.

Skittles Bubble Gum (Black Package)and other products
Advertising agency TBWAChiatDay won Gold Clio Awards in 2007 for their Skittles candy advertisements "Beard", "Trade" and "Leak".

Monday, October 29, 2007

The GNU build system, also known as the Autotools, is a suite of tools produced by the GNU project. These tools are designed to assist in making various source code packages portable to many Unix-like systems. The GNU build system is part of the GNU toolchain and is widely used in many free software and open source packages. While the tools comprising the GNU build system themselves are GPL-ed free software, there are no restrictions in using them in making non-free software portable.

Tools included in the GNU build system
Autoconf processes files ( or, though is generally preferred) to generate a configure script.
When running the generated configure script, other template files, customarily ending in ".in", such as, are processed to create their final output, in this case a Makefile.
Autoconf is used to attempt to work around the quirks found in various Unix-like operating systems. For example, some Unix-like systems may have certain facilities that are known to be broken or missing entirely. Autoconf creates a shell script which can detect these, and the program can work around them. The final output of the Autoconf utility is the configure script.
Autoconf comes with several auxiliary programs designed to ease the creation of, such as the Autoheader tool, which is used to help manage C header files, autoscan, which can create an initial input file for Autoconf and ifnames, which can list C pre-processor identifiers used in the program.

GNU Autoconf
Automake helps to create portable Makefiles, which are in turn processed with the make utility. It takes its input as, and turns it into, which is used by Autoconf to generate the file Makefile output.

GNU Automake
Libtool helps manage the creation of static and dynamic libraries on various Unix-like operating systems. Libtool accomplishes this by abstracting the library creation process, hiding differences between various systems (e.g., GNU/Linux systems vs. Solaris).

GNU Libtool
Gnulib simplifies the process of making software that uses Autoconf and Automake portable to a wide range of systems.

GNU build systemGNU build system Gnulib
The GNU build system provides an environment to a computer programmer which allows them to write cross-platform software (at least running on multiple Unix-like operating systems). It also makes the build process easier on the user, allowing the user to usually just run a small set of commands to build the program from its source code and install it.
The utilities used by the GNU build system are only required to be on the developer's workstation, as well. Users do not need to have Autoconf, Automake, or Libtool in order to build or install software which was developed using them. This makes the GNU build system self-contained, requiring only standard Unix-like tools to build. This is accomplished by using shell scripts which help to configure the software for a given person's operating system.
The utilities used in the GNU build system can also be used alone or together—a software project can use Autoconf, for example, without using Automake as well. However, the GNU build system's components can interact with each other.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This article is specific to small loans. For financial services to the poor see Microfinance. For small payments see Micropayment.
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans (microloans) to the unemployed, to poor entrepreneurs and to others living in poverty who are not considered bankable. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit. Microcredit is a part of microfinance, which is the provision of financial services to the very poor; apart from loans, it includes savings, microinsurance and other financial innovations.
Microcredit is a financial innovation which originated in developing countries where it has successfully enabled extremely impoverished people to engage in self-employment projects that allow them to generate an income and, in many cases, begin to build wealth and exit poverty. Due to the success of microcredit, many in the traditional banking industry have begun to realize that these microcredit borrowers should more correctly be categorized as pre-bankable; thus, microcredit is increasingly gaining credibility in the mainstream finance industry and many traditional large finance organizations are contemplating microcredit projects as a source of future growth. Although almost everyone in larger development organizations discounted the likelihood of success of microcredit when it was begun in its modern incarnation as pilot projects with ACCION and Muhammad Yunus in the mid-1970s, the United Nations declared 2005 the International Year of Microcredit.

Focus on Women
The concept of microcredit can be traced back to portions of the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II in the middle of the 20th century or even back to the mid-1800s and the writings [3] of abolitionist/legal theorist Lysander Spooner who wrote concerning the benefits of numerous small loans for entrepreneurial activities to the poor as a way to alleviate poverty. It is also tied to New York's Providence Fund. However, in its most recent incarnation it can be linked to several organizations starting in the 1970s and onward.

In 1959, Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan as the founder of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) Academy for Rural Development introduced the idea of microcredit (microfinance. His Comilla Cooperative Pilot Project is considered an early example of microcredit and rural development initiatives in developing countries.

Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) Academy for Rural Development
In 1971, Al Whittaker resigned as president of Bristol Myers and established Opportunity International's first US office in Washington DC. The first loan was made to Carlos Moreno in Colombia to expand his one-man spice and tea business. About the same time Australian philanthropist, David Bussau, began making microloans in Indonesia. The two men met and formed Opportunity International, which provides opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives by creating jobs, stimulating small businesses, and strengthening communities. Small loans ranging from USD 25 to USD 500 helped poor families lift themselves out of poverty. Other Opportunity International offices are in Australia, Great Britain and Canada, each targeting countries within their region.

Opportunity International
In 1973 Accion International, a Peace Corps-like group, started to switch their focus toward providing economic opportunity to poor people instead of working on construction/infrastructure projects in order to create lasting improvements in the lives of those they were helping. Their plan first appeared in Recife, Brazil in 1973 when ACCION staff began to offer microloans to poor people eager to start small businesses. ACCION offered an alternative to the under-served population that were ineligible for traditional loans and wanted to avoid the exploitive lending practices of loan sharks.
Within four years, the experiment had shown its success in having provided 885 loans with a repayment rate of over 90%. The loans also helped to create or stabilize 1,386 new jobs. This success in making a lasting impact in peoples lives, as contrasted with the previous projects they had done seemingly steered ACCION firmly in the direction of being a microfinance organization. Since this beginning ACCION has expanded its microlending operation to countries throughout South and Central America, the United States, Africa and India.
ACCION claims that these loans were the first modern pioneers of microcredit.

ACCION International

Main article: Grameen BankMicrocredit Grameen Bank
In 1976, Women's World Banking was founded in New York by Ela Bhatt (India), Esther Ocloo (Ghana) and Michaela Walsh, an American investment banker. Bhatt had earlier founded the Mahila SEWA Cooperative Bank in 1974, and she served as WWB's chair from 1980 until 1998. The WWB president was reported in 2002 as claiming that of half the microcredit loans made worldwide to 25 million people, three-quarters of them were made to women, and had been made by WWB.

Women's World Banking
In the 1980s FINCA International continued the successful trend of microcredit in Bolivia. John Hatch, founder of FINCA, had worked on other international credit programs and started doing microcredit on his own in Bolivia, stressing local autonomy and putting the poor in charge of the programs. "Give poor communities the opportunity, and then get out of the way!" he said. He called his approach village banking.
After Hatch had had assembled a team, within four weeks, they had created 280 village banks serving 14,000 families with loans worth $630,000. While the original program was shut down, it was not because of a lack of success, but because its backers felt uncollateralized lending was too risky.
Despite this setback, Hatch continued to pursue his work and incorporated FINCA in 1985, this time working in El Salvador. In El Salvador the program focused on women, as many of the other micro credit programs have.
The mission of FINCA International is to provide financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets, and improve their standard of living. In 2005, FINCA reached more than 400,000 clients, providing in excess of $100 million in small loans averaging $360. FINCA currently operates programs in 21 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Women comprise 80 percent of its small loan clients, and the organization has a loan repayment rate of 97 percent.

Microcredit FINCA International
Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha (TMSS) is an NGO from Bangladesh. It was established in 1964 in Bogra District of Bangladesh. TMSS is a Women-oriented Leading Bangladeshi National Non-government Organization. The history says a lady with the lamp who was a day laborer formed along with other poor women in Thengamara village of Bogra. In 1980, a botany professor Dr. Hosne-Ara Begum came forward to redirect the NGOs social activty. She engaged herself as the Founder Executive Director of TMSS.
With the main patronizer Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF),TMSS is engaged in uplifting the living condition of the most distressed poor people particularly women and children of both urban and rural areas. TMSS believes in self-help sustainable development of the targeted beneficiaries through their own efforts and resources. Main objective of TMSS is to alleviate poverty and upgrade the living standard of the most degraded poor to a dignified level through diversified ways. Over the years, TMSS has emerged as one of the most efficient and dynamic NGOs in the country. It has extensive network almost all over the country. TMSS has a large contingent of well-trained and skilled manpower, including 9000 regular staffs, 7,000 voluntary and part-time staffs. The number of target beneficiaries increased from 126 in 1980 to more than 1.8 million in 2005. The microcredit loan disbursement increased from US $ 8,000 to US $ 125 million during the same period with a recovery rate of 99%.

Vikram Akula founded SKS Microfinance in 1998, "to empower the poor to become economically self-reliant by providing financial services in a sustainable way", in the process pioneering the Microcredit and Microfinance movements in India.
According to its website, SKS Microfinance is one of the fastest growing microfinance organizations in the world, having provided over $ 180 million (Rs 740 crores) and has maintained loans outstanding of $68 million (280 crores) in loans to nearly 632,000 women clients in poor regions (spread across 11 states) of India. Borrowers take loans for a range of income-generating activities, including livestock, agriculture, trade (such as vegetable vending), and production (from basket weaving to pottery). SKS also offers interest-free loans for emergencies as well as life insurance to borrowers. Its affiliate, SKS Education, provides education services to poor children, including running a government-funded school for girls who have dropped out of school. SKS India aims to reach 5 Million clients by 2010. "Last year alone SKS Microfinance achieved 161% growth" (2006-07?).
In May 2006, Vikram Akula was named to TIME Magazine's Top 100 List of Most Influential People for the year 2006, wherein he was highlighted for his work as a pioneer in the microfinance industry and dedication to improving the lives of the poor in India.
In 2006, SKS Microfinance attracted the attention of Venture Capitalists such as Vinod Khosla, Small Industries Development Bank of India, Unitus Equity Fund, Sequoia Capital and they have invested in SKS India.

SKS India
The Governement of India is mulling some regulation for the Microfinance / Microcredit industry in India and in his budget speech on 28 February 2006, the Finance Minister P Chidambaram said "I had proposed major initiatives in respect of micro finance in the last Budget. RBI has since issued guidelines to enable banks to appoint banking correspondents and banking agents. A window to access ECB funds has also been opened. A Bill to provide a formal statutory framework for the promotion, development and regulation of the micro finance sector will be introduced in this session".
At a seminar on microfinance organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in Delhi, in September 2006, the Chairman & Managing Director of the Indian Bank, K C Chakrabarty, said "Micro Finance Institutions are limited in their delivery - most are simply engaged in lending. Micro finance is also about saving, insurance, and investment. Sadly, these products are not being delivered. So far, micro finance initiatives have failed to link the beneficiaries to the capital market, and have met with little success when it comes to developing micro-entrepreneurship. In most of rural India, people still borrow to meet their daily consumption, not to fund an income generating enterprise".

Some recent developments in India
The World Bank estimates that there are now more than 7,000 microfinance institutions, serving some 16 million poor people in developing countries. CGAP experts estimate that 500 million households benefit from these small loans. Cambodia and Kenya were put forward as examples. Asia and the Pacific region represent 83% of the opened accounts in developing countries, which is equivalent to 17 accounts for 100 persons . In November 1997, more than 2000 delegates from 100 countries gathered at a Microcredit Summit in Washington, DC, with the goal of reaching 100 million of the world's poorest families, with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005. Support for these goals has come from prominent world leaders and major financial institutions.
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations proclaimed the year 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit to call for building inclusive financial sectors and strengthening the powerful, but often untapped, entrepreneurial spirit existing in communities around the world. There are five goals associated with "The Year" which are:

Assess and promote the contribution of microfinance and microcredit to the MDGs;
Increase public awareness and understanding of microfinance and microcredit as vital parts of the development equation;
Promote inclusive financial sectors;
Support sustainable access to financial services, and
Encourage innovation and new partnerships by promoting and supporting strategic partnerships to build and expand the outreach and success of microcredit and microfinance for all. Today
Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006. The press release states:
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights. Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty. Grameen Bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world. Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development. Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male. Yunus's long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision can not be realised by means of micro-credit alone. But Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that, in the continuing efforts to achieve it, micro-credit must play a major part."

2006: Microcredit awarded Nobel Peace Prize
An increasingly large body of published literature and conference proceedings has begun to seriously study the implications and debate the relative significance of different aspects of this important financial innovation. For those who are interested in a reading more detailed, theoretical studies of this field of economics and finance, a separate ESR Review has existed since the fall of 1999. From published literature and conference proceedings, it is possible to summarize several fundamental lessons from the microcredit success and failures over the last three decades.
A savings|investment as preferable aid: Independent borrowers earn the dignity and lasting self-confidence associated with responsible loan repayment. Institutional managers are more careful to ensure borrower success and generally perform better when there are risks involved.
Entrepreneurial talent and energy are scarce invaluable resources for economic growth: Our economies cannot afford not to find and develop independently responsible entrepreneurs and public bankers who are financial critical thinkers. These individuals can be attracted to the microcredit industry, but they are individuals with options – they will not risk their future on short-term or unpredictable bureaucratic support.
Traditional private banks should not be expected to offer microcredit: Existing banks with a traditional operating philosophy typically have significant investments in facilities and costly operating structures. Because of the significant overhead of such banking operations, these bank operations naturally gravitate to large, profitable transactions with affluent borrowers.
A new generation of banking institutions [and the banking professionals to run them] is arising: Banking institutions motivated by a less myopic vision of profitably serving the common good can be capitalized for the primary purpose of entry-level economic development. By lowering the transaction costs through institutional specialization and innovation in delivery systems, they will be able to operate profitably in markets characterized by very small transaction sizes and less affluent clients.
Poor entrepreneurs possess the same survival skills as the toughest, most affluent business operators: Poor entrepreneurs save money, carefully apply their entrepreneurial energy and repay debts as scheduled to maintain access to future loans. In other words, poor entrepreneurs are not only prebankable, they represent the population of those individuals who will be aggressively pursued as successful, very affluent captains of enterprise in 10, 25 or 50 years from now.
A radically efficient, large-scale, NEW banking operating infrastructure required: Simply modifying old methods will not successfully expand poor people's participation in their country's economy. Investment in self sustaining institutions that finance poor residents is a comparatively cost-effective use of scarce subsidies for economic development. The costs of doing research in the microcredit and microenterprise areas are extremely low compared to other strategies to stimulate economic development such as tax abatement or continued support for welfare programs.
Beyond enterprise lending and savings: Increasingly, microfinance is expanding beyond its roots in savings and business lending and now offers other forms of financial services, including most notably insurance and housing microfinance. In many ways, microfinance offers the promise that it could eventually evolve into a specialized form of banking catering to economically active poor people who currently happen to be unbanked. Some new microfinance focused-organizations, see for instance the Development Innovations Group (DIG),have embraced this more expanded vision of microfinance and speak of financial services for the poor or of development finance, rather than of microfinance.

Fundamental Principles
In the past few years, savings-led microfinance has gained recognition as an effective way to bring very poor families low-cost financial services. For example, in India the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) finances more than 500 banks that on-lend funds to self-help groups (SHGs). SHGs comprise twenty or fewer members, of whom the majority are women from the poorest castes and tribes. Members save small amounts of money, as little as a few rupees a month in a group fund. Members may borrow from the group fund for a variety of purposes ranging from household emergencies to school fees. As SHGs prove capable of managing their funds well, they may borrow from a local bank to invest in small business or farm activities. Banks typically lend up to four rupees for every rupee in the group fund. Groups pay a reasonable 11-12% annual rate of interest. Nearly 1.4 million SHGs comprising approximately 20 million women now borrow from banks, which makes the Indian SHG-Bank Linkage model the largest microfinance program in the world. Similar programs are evolving in Africa and Southeast Asia with the assistance of organizations like Opportunity International, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, APMAS and Oxfam. Also helps in the development of an economy by giving everyday people the chance to establish a sustainable means of income. Eventual increases in disposable income will lead to economic development and growth.

Gina Neff of the Left Business Observer has described the microcredit movement as a privatization of public safety-net programs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Coca-Cola Enterprises NYSECCE is the largest bottler by volume in the Coca-Cola System. It is the anchor bottler for North America and parts of Europe.
The company is the bottler of Coca-Cola and its other soft drink products, and in some areas a few other soft drink products, often Dr Pepper, in about 90% of Canada, 75% of the United States, all of the United Kingdom, except Northern Ireland, and all of France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. The primary areas under the control of other bottlers include most of the mountain west, most parts of the south, northern New England, Alaska, and the Canadian arctic.
The company was founded in 1986 with the purpose of consolidation of bottling in the Coca-Cola System. Previously independent businesses in small geographic areas, generally a central city or town and its hinterland, bottled Coca-Cola products and distributed these to stores. The Coca-Cola Company began to buy up these bottlers in 1980 and then spun this function off to anchor bottlers in various parts of the world.
Today the company is 36% owned by the Coca-Cola Company, while the remaining interest is floated on the stock market. Coca-Cola Enterprises is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia but is separate from The Coca-Cola Company.
The company produced in 2002 the equivalent of 4.4 billion unit cases of soft drinks. A unit case is 192 ounces, or 24 standard servings. This represents about 21% of the total Coca-Cola production of Coca-Cola worldwide.
Production facilities are located in The Netherlands (Dongen), Belgium (Antwerp, Ghent and Chaudfontaine (mineral water only)), France (Socx, Grigny, Clamart, Les Pennes-Mirabeau and Castanet-Tolosan), and the UK (Wakefield, Sidcup, Milton Keynes, Edmonton, East Kilbride and Colwall).
Similar anchor bottlers are the south Pacific area's Coca-Cola Amatil, eastern Europe's Coca-Cola Hellenic, and Latin America's Coca-Cola FEMSA.

Coca-Cola EnterprisesCoca-Cola Enterprises Coca Cola Enterprises: Wakefield (England)
Coca Cola Enterprises, Wakefield, consists of 9 lines of production (1 line for the sole purpose to bottle the Oasis bottles.) A new line is currently being built, also for the sole purpose to fill Oasis bottles, as the demand for that product is greatly rising. 7 Million liters of water daily is needed to supply the largest bottling plant in England.

Friday, October 26, 2007


List of World War II ship classes
List of World War II ships List of World War II military equipment Ships

List of armoured fighting vehicles of World War II
List of World War II military vehicles by country
List of limited service World War II combat vehicles Vehicles

List of common World War II infantry weapons
List of secondary and special-issue World War II infantry weapons
List of World War II firearms of Germany List of World War II military equipment Personal equipment and uniforms

List of World War II electronic warfare equipment

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Vanity domain
In the Domain Name System (DNS), a vanity domain is a domain name, often a subdomain, whose purpose is to express the individuality of the person on whose behalf it is registered. This contrasts with domain names which resolve to an organisation (e.g. a company) or a service that organisation offers. Vanity domains may be compared with vanity car registration plates, which similarly identify their owner as an individual and not just someone relying on another organisation's services.
A subdomain is sometimes termed a vanity domain, especially when it is a subdomain of an ISP's own domain aliased to an individual user account. Other shades of meaning are:
These uses apply primarily to regular domain names registered at the highest allowed level rather than subdomains (although, technically speaking, a second-level domain is actually a subdomain of its top-level domain).
Because vanity domains are operated for or on behalf of individuals, they typically will not offer the full complement of services an organisational domain name (or rather, the host that it points to) would be expected to honour; for example, the DNS record may contain only an MX record identifying a mail server accepting e-mail for that domain (which may itself be an e-mail forwarding server) and an A record identifying a shared web hosting service only offering HTTP (which may itself be a URL redirection service).
As well as being easily remembered, vanity domains (especially when registered at the highest level allowed by the registrar) offer the advantage of personal mobility; they continue to be associated with a person even when that person switches service provider.
the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing defines it as "A domain you register for the sole purpose of having your own domain so you can have an easily remembered URL and e-mail address" [1],
while the Jargon File defines it as "An Internet domain, particularly in the .com or .org top-level domains, apparently created for no reason other than boosting the creator's ego." [2]
Everything2 defines it as an "abuse of the DNS system to spell out sentences or messages" [3] also referred to as a domain hack.
The Sun iPlanet Messaging Server uses msgVanityDomain to set up a domain name for e-mail use which is not fully hosted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Between the Acts
Between the Acts is the final novel by Virginia Woolf, published in 1941 shortly after her suicide. It describes the mounting, performance, and audience of a festival play (hence the title) in a small English village just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The entertainment industry (much of which is informally known as show business or show biz) consists of a large number of sub-industries devoted to entertainment. However, the term is often used in the mass media to describe the mass media companies that control the distribution and manufacture of mass media entertainment. In the popular parlance, the term show biz in particular connotes the commercially popular performing arts, especially musical theatre, vaudeville, comedy, film, and music.
Modern free radical thinkers of the 20th century predict a massive reform in the entertainment industry with the emergence of a new social conscience. This theory is labeled as the Death of Hollywood.

Entertainment industryEntertainment industry The Present-Day mass media industry

Computer games
Video games
SMS content

Monday, October 22, 2007

Alexander Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany (c. 14547 August 1485) was the second son of King James II of Scotland, and his Queen consort Mary of Gueldres, daughter of Arnold, Duke of Gelderland.
Created Duke of Albany before 1458, he also received the earldom of March, and lordships of Annandale and the Isle of Man. In 1460 he traveled to the continent, and to Gueldres, the land of his maternal family. On his return in 1464 he was captured by the English.

Alexander Stewart, Duke of AlbanyAlexander Stewart, Duke of Albany Family and children
Albany's first wife was Catherine, daughter of William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney, who bore him three sons and a daughter. This marriage was dissolved in 1478, and as its issue was regarded as illegitimate the title of duke of Albany descended to John (1484-1536, see below), his only son by his second wife, Anne de la Tour d'Auvergne, daughter of Bertrand VI, count of Auvergne and of Boulogne, whom he married in 1480. Alexander and Anne also had a daughter, Maud Stewart, who died young. A son of his first marriage, another Alexander Stewart (before 1477 - 9 December 1537), became bishop of Moray and left lots of illegitimate issue. There was also another son, Andrew Stewart, from the first marriage. The surviving daughter of Alexander, called Margaret Catherine Stewart, was reportedly a bastard and not born of either of his wives. She married Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil (who died 30.4.1520).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This article relates to the manga by Yukito Kishiro, not the upcoming film by James Cameron.
Battle Angel Alita, called GUNNM (銃夢 lit. juu (gun) mu (dream), creatively read as ガンム ganmu) in Japan and Europe, is a manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1991 and published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine. The title translates to "Gun Dream", and two of the nine-volume comics were adapted into two anime original video animation episodes titled Battle Angel for North American release by ADV Films. The manga series is continued in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.

Gunnm Story

Main article: List of Characters in Battle Angel AlitaGunnm Characters
Battle Angel Alita takes place in a highly futuristic dystopian world, reflected in its full Japanese title GUNNM: Hyper Future Vision. Besides renaming Gally to Alita, the North American version of the manga also changed the city of Salem to Tiphares, after Tiferet. Since Kishiro also used the name Jeru for the facility atop Salem, Jeru was renamed Ketheres in the translation, after Keter. To further develop the Biblical theme in the original series, Salem's main computer was named Melchizedek, "the king of Salem" and "priest to the Most High God" .

The Scrapyard is a sprawling expanse of buildings and other structures centered around a massive scrap heap directly below Tiphares. The mountain of garbage was once the tower that connected to Tiphares. Now, the heap consists of garbage ejected from the floating city of Tiphares. Outside the Scrapyard is desert, with some oasis-like locations called Farm Factories for resource production.
The Scrapyard reflects the cyberpunk ethos, as well as Kishiro's portrayal of a society without values. Many inhabitants became cyborgs working for the factories, some are victims of involuntary street surgery, while others use cybernetics to enhance their physical abilities. Firearms are outlawed; non-projectile weapons are permitted, and exist in great variety. Fights erupt spontaneously on the streets. Violent criminals lurk in shadowy alleyways and through the tremendous extent of the sewers. Public entertainment is of a violent nature; Motorball's fusion of racing gladiatorial combat is a prime example. These are condoned by the factory to pacify and distract the denizens of the Scrapyard. Interestingly, these are broadcast to Tiphares as well suggesting a darker nature to the Tiphareans. This becomes more evident in Last Order during the violence that follows Nova's public announcement of the secret of the Tiphareans. At that point, Casey Roscoe's men even talk of killing children for sport.
The only law is Factory Law: rules contrived to protect Tipharean interests in food and basic resources that are supplied from the factories below. For example, air travel within close proximity to Tiphares (this includes both man made objects and animal life) is prohibited. Anything that breaches this particular law is shot down by the city's defense system. For this reason, there are no birds in the Scrapyard. Bounty hunters called "hunter-warriors" are the enforcers of Factory Law in the Scrapyard, since there is no actual police force.

The Scrapyard
The setting of the series appears to take place in the United States. In the map presented in the eighth volume, the locations and geological formations closely correlate to particular cities. According to this map, the site of the Scrapyard/Tiphares is at Kansas City, Missouri, and the Necropolis is Colorado Springs, Colorado. The surrounding Farm Factories that support Tiphares also correspond to real cities; Farm 21 and Farm 22 are Sweetwater, Texas and Garden City, Kansas respectively. Radio KAOS is at the site of Dallas/Fort Worth. Figure's coastal hometown, Alhambra, is a real place in Southern California, and Desty Nova's Granite Inn is said to have been built out of a military base--assumedly the NORAD main technical facility at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.

Geographical setting
Although for the longest time the exact time period of when Battle Angel Alita takes place was a total mystery, it was later revealed that the latest events take place 591 years after the launch of Sputnik 1, which was in 1957. In fact, that is the dating convention used by the characters in the story; years are given as ES (Era Sputnik). Given that it has been about fourteen years since Daisuke Ido discovered Alita in the first graphic novel, that means the entire Battle Angel Alita manga takes place mostly between ES 577 and ES 591, or 2533 and 2547.

Time period
The manga was first published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine. It was then serialized from 1990 to 1995 in nine tankōbons. In the US, Viz originally released the story in a 25 page comic book, it then followed the same volume format as its Japanese counterpart.

On April 4, 1997 Gunnm the novel was released by JUMP j-BOOKS, a part of the Japanese publisher Shueisha.
On December 23, 1998 GUNNM Complete Collection, a Japanese special edition, was released in six volumes in a larger B5 format. They contain the original story, but with a different ending accommodating for the continuation of the story in GUNNM: Last Order. Included are also rough sketches, a timeline and the three short stories published earlier as GUNNM: Gaiden. Manga

Main article: Battle Angel OVA OVA
James Cameron is directing and producing Battle Angel, a live-action adaption of the first three volumes of the manga series. Cameron has plans to make a trilogy if the first film is successful. Alita will be a CG character performed by an actress. Filming will be made with the new digital 3D system Cameron has developed for Avatar, and will also include new devices for interacting between actors, director and the digital characters and environments, such as a real time virtual camera and virtual retinal display technology (VRD).
Battle Angel is currently in pre-production and is set for a 2009 release.


GUNNM: Memories of Mars, an action RPG video game for the PlayStation by Banpresto. Related works

Above the entrance to Ido's workshop, there's a "Max Headroom" sign not unlike those shown on the Max Headroom series.
There are a few references to Judas Priest in Battle Angel Alita and Last Order.

  • The support character Sechs has the words "Blood Red Skies" and "You won't break me" written on the undersides of his new boots during the ZOTT tournament. This appears to be a clear reference to the song "Blood Red Skies", which seems to mirror themes of struggle in a torn world.
    There are also several references to another rock band, Blue Öyster Cult, scattered throughout the series.

    • The name Desty Nova is quite similar to "Desdinova", a character from Blue Öyster Cult songs.
      The new body presented to Alita by Nova late in the manga is called the Imaginos, which is also the title track of a Blue Öyster Cult concept album.
      The character Zapan bears the Blue Öyster Cult logo on his forehead.
      In volume 1, a bottle of liquor named after heavy metal band Heaven's Gate can be seen, same logo and all.
      Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie appears in the first volume among the cyborgs seats in Bar Kansas in the original series.
      "Running Wild", a German heavy metal band, is spray painted in the wall in the Motorball arc of the original series.
      The character Kaos seems to have been inspired by the protagonist of the concept album Radio K.A.O.S., by Roger Waters. Both are sickly young men with the ability to communicate via radio waves.
      Megadeth's mascot Vic Rattlehead appears in the cyborg audience of the motorball competition.
      In Angel of Victory, the band logos for the Scorpions and Megadeth can be seen on billboards at the beginning of the race in the chapter titled Headbangers Ball.