Monday, January 07, 2008

StrikeAlert Personal Lightning Detector

only $69 each or 2 for $135.00
The world's first convenient, dependable and easy-to-use personal lightning detector. Detects lightning in ranges as close as 6 miles or as far as 40 miles away.

StrikeAlert is a small (about the size of a pager) and affordable lightning detector that provides an early warning of approaching lightning strikes from as far away as 40 miles and lets you know if the storm is coming your way. Its designed for personal and portable use.

An audible alarm sounds when there's a strike and a corresponding LED light illuminates accordingly at lightning distances of 20-40 miles, 12-24 miles, 6-12 miles and within 6 miles.
The detector is housed in a small pager-like casing that can be clipped on a belt loop and runs on two AAA battery up to 100 hours. It's perfect for outdoor sporting events and activities.

Who uses it? Television Live Van News Crews
Electric, Cable TV, and Telephone Utility crews
Coaches in charge of sporting events
Golf courses and golfers
Hikers, campers, boaters
Forest Fire crews and smokejumpers
School administrators

North India shivers, south offers linen

As a cold wave sweeps through northern India, faraway in the south a few villages are working overtime to supply thick linen that promises warmth and comfort.
With January temperatures touching one degree Celsius in some northern and central Indian states and dipping below the freezing point in the Himalayan fringe, the demand for cosy, low-cost, jacquard-designed bed sheets made by weavers of Erode in western Tamil Nadu has hit a new high.
This winter, buyers came from Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, where the cold wave has claimed scores of lives, besides Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bhopal.

They travelled over 1,000 km all the way down to this south Indian town to buy woven bed linen for two reasons. "These bed sheets are cheap, good and very thick. I have been buying them for several years now," says Anand Sharma, a trader from Delhi.

A double-spread bed sheet weighing 1,100 grams costs just about Rs. 250. The lesser the weight, the lower the price. A 300 gm sheet in Dobby design would cost around Rs.90 apiece.

Weavers rue that they get only 20 per cent of the prevailing market price. "The prices range between Rs. 20 and Rs. 50 for a bed sheet," says 60-year-old K. Kuppusamy, who has been weaving bed sheets for the past 30 years at Chennimalai, one of the key weaving clusters in Erode district.

In Chennimalai alone, there are about 1,700 power looms with 5,100 weavers, weaving over 17,000 sheets worth at least Rs. 2.5 million.

Besides, the 7,000 handloom weavers produce at least 15,000 sheets daily.

Each power loom produces about 10 jacquard bed sheets or 20 ordinary Dobby-designed bed sheets every day and the handloom weavers just about manage two sheets daily.

Even the state-owned Erotex, a marketing unit of the weavers' cooperatives in Erode, which sold bed sheets worth over Rs. 35 million last winter, has run out of stock this year.

"There has been a steep increase in the demand for our bed sheets," says Erotex Manager, Shanmugham.

Indeed, Erode bed sheets have a long history spanning more than 250 years, when the traditional Tamil weaving community of Mudaliars created weavers' villages at Chennimalai, Vellakoil and Nathakadaiyur, besides in the neighbouring district of Karur.

The weavers began to specialise in what they initially called the 'aettu'. As Erode bed sheets caught the attention of north Indians, 'aettu' became 'dupatta' and now it is the Westernised 'jacquard sheet'.

Dobby and jacquard designs usually have a single-coloured background with stripes and "raised corded waffles" as the surface highlights. Some of them even have a metallic lustre.

However, weavers claim that the future of Erode bed sheets, despite its growing demand, is not bright and the jacquard may lose its sheen. The reason? "Rising yarn prices - from Rs. 280 per 5 kg, it has grown to Rs. 300 now. It will not allow us to retain the pricing edge.

"Besides, the weavers are also demanding a steep increase in wages from the present 20 percent of the selling price. This year, they went on a month-long strike affecting our production badly," says Chennimlai Handloom and Powerloom Manufacturers Association president V.N.Swaminathan.

But, as of now, most looms in Erode are frenetically working day and night, making bed sheets to beat the plummeting mercury in up north. (IANS)

A usual winter day

A normal dry wintery day for Chennai.
Today's low temp was 23.0°C @ 5:14am
In recent days the humidity has gone down and going down...
take a look at this.