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Sriram Karra
Product Manager by day; Programmer by night.
Product Manager by day; Programmer by night.

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Checking Google+ after a really long time. Interesting to find a few friends still posting here regularly. Interesting. +Thaths +Udhay Shankar  Anything specific about Google+ that keeps your loyalty?

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I read yesterday that Turkish academics are being hounded by the government. I wrote to a Turkish academic friend, who confirmed these issues. Most/all deans in universities have been required to resign, at many universities leaves have been cancelled, etc.

Irrespective of your views on coups (and especially if you agree that reasonably free and fair democratic processes always trump military intervention), this puts the academic freedoms that people like me take for granted into sharp focus. While some show of force was inevitable in the aftermath of the coup events, pretty soon it crosses over a line and starts to have a different interpretation.

My colleague requested that I share this link and a petition [] (for what that's worth). He would appreciate getting the word out about the academic situation. So, if you're concerned by this, please consider re-sharing this post.

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Amazing sidewalk succulent on a street in Oakland.

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The strange ways of Microsoft Developer Land

Over the past few weeks I developed an open source wrapper for Microsoft Exchange Web Services API - pyews. I developed this so ASynK ( can now talk directly to MS Exchange 

Yesterday I announced it on a MSDN forum related to Exchange Tools & Extensions. I asked the community to take a look and contribute to it.

This morning my account was locked and all my posts were deleted, including older questions that were strictly technical and about specific API issues.

I went through the guidelines and there is nothing against posting about open source or anything of that sort. Talk of iron handed clamp down. Why, MS, why?

Here is -
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Hah. I'd say more like 20 years back :) I remember when we first installed linux in our shared hostel PC and introduced to the wonders of electronic mail (even if it was not connected ... to anything), we'd send each other email and go hunt them down in the Mess and tell them "I sent you an email; go check!"

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"Qn: Who is the greatest hero?
Ans: He who is not terror stricken by the arrows which shoot from the eyes of a beautiful girl"

Now, as insightful as that quote is, what is absolutely intriguing is its source. This quote is from a section called "Prasna-Uttara-Malika" of Sankara's Viveka Chudamani, widely considered as one of the most influential books on Vedanta.

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Few things are capable of putting our insignificant existence into perspective as "a view from above". Fascinating.
Broken World

If you look at Earth from a distance, two things stand out clearly.  The first is that Earth is a watery world.  Water covers the majority of its surface, and there is so much water vapor in its atmosphere that it collects into clouds.  The second is that it has a very, very large moon.  There are moons in our solar system larger than Earth’s, but no other planet has such a large moon in comparison to its size.  Both of these are likely due to the fact that Earth is a broken world.

None of the other rocky inner planets have sizable moons.  Mars has two small moons that are likely captured asteroids, and neither Mercury nor Venus have any moon at all.  Earth has a moon that rivals the moons of Jupiter in terms of size.

Just how the Earth got such a large moon is still debated, but the prevailing theory is that during the formation of the solar system proto-Earth collided with a Mars-sized planetoid sometimes named Theia.  Part of the mass of Theia was captured to become Earth, and the remains formed a debris ring around Earth, much of which coalesced to form the Moon.

There is actually a lot of evidence to support this model.  Analysis of lunar rocks from the Apollo missions have found that the Earth and Moon have the same chemical composition.  Oxygen isotopes from Lunar and terrestrial rocks are basically identical, for example.  Other solar system bodies such as Mars, and other asteroids have different oxygen isotopes.  This means that the Earth and Moon must have a common origin.  The Moon didn’t, for example, form elsewhere in the solar system to be later captured by Earth.

Another aspect is that the Moon has a density about 60% that of Earth.  This is exactly what is predicted by the collision model, where the lighter outer layers of Theia and proto-Earth are scattered to the debris disk, while the heavy core of proto-Earth remains.  If the Earth and Moon had formed in orbit as separate bodies, their densities should be much more similar.

The water of our world is also due to collisions with other bodies.  The infant Earth was hot, and had little atmosphere, so any water formed with the planet would have boiled off into space.  The wetting of our planet must have occurred after it had cooled.  This was likely due to bombardment by either comets or meteors.  Surprisingly, the primary contributor was likely meteors, not comets.  Comparison of hydrogen isotopes from certain meteors are actually a better fit to Earth’s hydrogen than those of comets.  Water was also deposited on the Moon, but with less mass and no atmosphere it simply couldn’t develop lakes or oceans.

The view of Earth from space often evokes thoughts of an Eden.  That pale blue dot that cradles humanity.  But our planet’s fragile beauty was born from violent collisions large and small.

Image: NASA

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I love that we do fairly sophisticated longitudinal studies about people and our workplaces in order to determine all kinds of interesting trends and to figure out ways to make people happier, healthier, and more productive. Two years into a hundred year study!

Nice writeup, +Laszlo Bock! I look forward to the final report in 2112.
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