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Friends without faces

"We chat with each other, we type all our woes
Small groups we do form, and gang up on our foes.
We wait for somebody, to type out our name
We want recognition, but it is always the same.
We give kisses and hugs, and sometimes flirt
In Palace we chat deeply, and reveal why we hurt.
We do form friendships - but - why we don't know
But some of these friendships, will flourish and grow.
Why is it on screen, we can be so bold
Telling our secrets, that have never been told.
Why is it we share, the thoughts in our mind
With those we can't see, as though we were blind.
The answer is simple, it is as clear as a bell.
We all have our problems, and need someone to tell.
We can't tell real people, but tell someone we must
So we turn to the computer, and to those we can trust.
Even though it is crazy, the truth still remains
They are Friends Without Faces, and odd little names."

Internet chats are a new forum for people to hold discussions in this new age of computer technology. It is nothing but simultaneousÊtextÊcommunication between two or more people via computer.

Chat is synchronous one person types a message on their keyboard, and the people with whom they are chatting see the message appear on their monitors and can respond almost immediately. Chat requires each user to have a computer connected to an electronic network. The network might be a local area network within a business, or it might be the Internet. Users also need a chat system, software that controls the connection between the computers of the people who are chatting.
Many chat systems are free. Now a days voice chat and video chats are also very popular.It is most commonly used for social interaction. For example, people might use chat to discuss topics of shared interest or to meet other people with similar interests.

Businesses and educational institutions are increasingly using chat as well. Some companies hold large online chat meetings to tell employees about new business developments. In education, teachers use chat to help students practice language skills and to provide mentoring to students.

History students may chat with elders who lived through the period of history the students are studying. Science students may chat with professional scientists. We can know the culture, way of living and many other unknown things by chatting with different people of different countries.

Chat rooms are usually dedicated to a particular group of people, such as teens, or to discussions limited to a single subject area, such as politics. Some chat rooms cover technical topics (computer programming languages or Web site design, for example), and others focus on aspects of popular culture (the television show Star Trek, for example). Chat rooms dedicated to topics such as computer trouble-shooting can be useful sources of information, because many people with expert knowledge enjoy helping others online.

Above all the most interesting charm of chat is making ONLINE FRIENDSHIP. Internet friendship is friendship between people who have met online, and in some cases know each other only via Internet. It is, many people argue, very difficult - if not impossible - to establish a meaningful relationship with somebody if one can't see face to face. It is difficult to gauge a person's emotions and feelings, and there is a high possibility of deception - people lying about who they are. Supporters of online relationships, on the other hand, argue that not seeing the other person actually helps the relationship: we have fewer inhibitions, because we feel that the person we are speaking with doesn't have any expectations of us, and therefore it is easier to "be ourselves". Sometimes this friendship can be turned into a long distance relationship. Yes, I am talking about Cyber Love!!! Wow! Such a new and wonderful concept, that is until you see the person you're talking to in person!.
While chatting away you may come across someone who happens to have your same interests. And after talking with this person for some time you may become attracted to him / her and vice versa. It just might be what we call in cyberspace, cyber-love. A lot of people out there have met their significant others through the computers and why shouldn't you? There's just a few things to follow and to keep an eye on. People chatting cannot see one another, and they often do not know one another. As a result of this anonymity, some people are not always truthful while chatting. People on chat channels may lie about almost anything: their age, their sex, where they live, what they look like. Some people think this deception is acceptable and fun. They want to find out whether people will treat them differently if they pretend to be older or the opposite gender. Other people feel that this deception is unethical. Chat users should never assume that the people with whom they are chatting are who they say they are.

Most people who use chat are friendly and well meaning, but there are a small number of criminals who use chat to take advantage of others, particularly of teenagers. Because chat users often do not know the people they are talking to while chatting, it is important that users never tell anyone their full name, address, or other information that might allow another chat user to find them. Even giving out a phone number can be dangerous; some people who have given a phone number to seemingly friendly strangers online have later been forced to change their number or even get an unlisted one to prevent repeated harassing calls. Most importantly, people should be very careful about arranging to meet in person someone they do not know. Teenagers and children who wish to exchange personal information with someone they meet online should always do so under the supervision of a parent or guardian. So the best and wise decision is to limit this relationship just as a good friend. There's nothing wrong about being friendly. Who knows? Things can develop into wonderful stuff.

To be friendly in chat rooms there should be maintained some courtesies. Some of those courtesies are as follows. One, try not to spy on others in different chat rooms. If they mention that they will be engaged in private conversation with someone or another group, please respect their privacy. It's just like in real life when someone needs to talk to another or others in private. Two, be kind to chat room newcomers. These people usually are not sure of what to do and will be a bit unsure of what to say. Be friendly and welcome them into the chat room. Three, do not abuse your power if you are a chat room operator or a very well known regular. Just because you may know more than the others in the chat gives you no right to lord your intelligence or popularity over everyone else's heads. And four, try not to take up a lot of space for posting your messages.

A lot of chatters do not like scrolling down a lot just to see a few messages after yours. If you do have to type a long message to another person either send it private, if you can, or chop it up into bits. You have to be respectful of other chatters if you frequent in a chat room regularly.

Chats are fun to be in, especially if they involve a special topic you're interested in or you're just looking for a nice conversation without all the in-your-face hassle.

Just remember how to behave yourself while in them and you'll do just nicely. If you do so , You will find yourself in the heaven of friends.

By Rizwana Munmun


Some people are afraid of it, some abhor it and some 'just don't get it'. It is a part of most of our lives and thus everyone has a more or less good idea about how it feels. However, that does not mean everyone harbours the same ideas about it. I am talking about loneliness, the element which invariably comes attached to each of our lives.

Most of the times, we are engulfed by this feeling when barely anyone is around us. Being the daughter of working parents, I have had to face numerous such situations, so much so that it has become a part of my life. But that does not mean that I do not miss the company of my parents. That fact is quite the opposite but humans can get accustomed to nearly all kinds of circumstances.

When someone is lonely because of the lack of company, the underlying craving is the need to be looked at, talked to, noticed. This is a queer aspect of the human psyche, inconspicuous but indelible. Humans are social mortals and this inherent need to be with everyone else makes loneliness undesirable and sometimes even unbearable.

We also feel lonely when we are the sole individuals in possession of a certain theory or belief. The contrary also holds true, that is, we feel lonely when we do not do something everyone else does. In other words, we are lonely when we are different, when our colour clashes with the surrounding hue.

Undoubtedly Galileo Galilee felt lonely when he was the solitary believer of that fact that the Earth is not the centre of the Universe. And so did Dalton, being the sole person to know about molecules. And, also, so does a student who goes to a new school. All three of these individuals do not feel as if they are a part of the rest of the world.

In this case, loneliness becomes something quite suffocating for the soul. To elude it, one might try to convince others that what he/she thinks is true. Or otherwise, they can try to get enlightened with the knowledge everyone else possess.

However, if that is not possible, then I would say it is best to accept loneliness and learn to live with it. Being different is nothing to escape from, rather something to be proud of. Nevertheless, the path is difficult to traverse and not many people can last till the end.

I have a rather interesting anecdote emphasizing this phenomenon. A friend of mine once came to a gathering wearing her hair in a particular fashion. It consisted of colourful rings arranged in some type of a spiral. Needless to say, most of us did not think it was "in" and thus my friend received indirect discouragement. However, the next day, she wore another hairstyle with quite the same idea and also the day after the next. Gradually, we accepted her style partly because we could not make her change it and partly because it did not look that bad, if you look from a less conservative point of view. Soon enough some juniors were spotted falling into this trend and it became the latest fad.

This friend that I was talking about has a stubborn nature. But most of the people do not have such a strong will power. And so, they feel embarrassed of being different and quickly flick back to the general and accepted way of doing things.

From my own point of view, loneliness is something to be grateful for. In this hectic world of ours, it is rare and precious. Most of our times are taken pondering about our surrounding affairs and this is why psychologists say sometimes we should let ourselves get bored.

However, all the successful people in this world started out being different. Obviously, the pioneers who begin something new start out as being different. And it is a general fact that if you persevere, you are bound to succeed.

Loneliness is usually associated with the colour black which implies emptiness and coldness. However, from an optimist's point of view, it is a gift, and a precious one at that.

By Mahreen Hassan

The Goldilocks Zone

"This porridge is too hot," Goldilocks exclaimed.
So she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
"This porridge is too cold."
So she tasted the last bowl of porridge.
"Ahhh, this porridge is just right!" she said happily.
And she ate it all up.

["Goldilocks and the 3 Bears" children's story]

Scientists hunting for alien life can relate to Goldilocks. For many years they looked around the solar system. Mercury and Venus were too hot. Mars and the outer planets were too cold. Only Earth was just right for life, they thought. Our planet has liquid water, a breathable atmosphere, a suitable amount of sunshine. Perfect.

It didn't have to be that way. If Earth were a little closer to the sun it might be like hot choking Venus; a little farther, like cold arid Mars. Somehow, though, we ended up in just the right place with just the right ingredients for life to flourish. Researchers of the 1970s scratched their heads
and said we were in "the Goldilocks Zone."

The Goldilocks Zone seemed a remarkably small region of space. It didn't even include the whole Earth. All life known in those days was confined to certain limits: no colder than Antarctica (penguins), no hotter than scalding water (desert lizards), no higher than the clouds (eagles), no lower than a few mines (deep mine microbes).

In the past 30 years, however, our knowledge of life in extreme environments has exploded. Scientists have found microbes in nuclear reactors, microbes that love acid, microbes that swim in boiling-hot water. Whole ecosystems have been discovered around deep sea vents where sunlight never reaches and the emerging vent-water is hot enough to melt lead.

The Goldilocks Zone is bigger than we thought.
To find out how big, researchers are going deeper, climbing higher, and looking in the nooks and crannies of our own planet. Searching for life in the Universe is one of today's scientist's most important research activities. Finding extreme life here on Earth tells us what kind of conditions might suit life "out there."

This month scientists Richard Hoover and Elena Pikuta have announced a new species of extreme-loving microorganism, Tindallia californiensis, found in California's Mono Lake.

Mono Lake is an extremely salty and alkaline body of water. It is almost 3 times saltier than sea water and has a pH of 10, about the same as WindexTM, a household glass cleaner. (For comparison, a pH of 7 is neutral; 14 corresponds to pure lye.) Surprisingly, though, Mono Lake supports a wide array of life from microbes, to plankton, to small shrimp. T. californiensis is right at home there. It thrives in highly alkaline conditions (pH 8-10.5) and at salt concentrations near 20%.

Earlier this year Hoover and Pikuta announced another
strange microbe: Spirochaeta americana. They found it living with T. californiensis and perhaps hundreds of other microbial species in Mono Lake mud samples. Finding new species in this abundant collection of microbial life is a detective story worthy of Perry Mason.

"Collecting samples from the muddy bottom of this lake and keeping them alive can be tricky business," says Hoover. "These species are killed by the presence of oxygen, so great care must be taken to protect them."

Before a life form can be considered a valid new genus or species, it must be deposited in two separate International Collections of Microorganisms and a scientific paper describing all new features of the organism must be either published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology or, if published in another journal, it must be verified by the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP), the clearinghouse for bacterial species.

Once a microbe is finally accepted as a valid new species, the years of intense labwork and wallowing in smelly lake mud suddenly become worthwhile. The Goldilocks Zone gets a little bigger. And life "out there" seems more likely than ever.

By Farzana Yasmeen


The Hole

Let me be alone, in my very little hole.
Away from all the cruelty
and pain we see in this world.
Like an earthworm I will seek,
a place warm enough for me to inhabit.
The darkness, the silence; I will live on.
Just give me my peace.

Let me be alone, in my very little hole.
A place for me to pray and reflect.
A place for me to isolate myself,
from everyone and from everything.
A sanctuary where I can let my feelings
and thoughts free from its barb-wired cage.
I can now open up.
Release my burden from within
Here my memories linger
Till I no longer crawl out into the whole.

I am ready to come out now.
Fresh from within, free from everything.
But until such a day arrives again,
Let me be alone, in my very little hole.








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