Monday, May 16, 2011

The killing of Osama bin Laden, though it brings jubilation to the civilised world, also fascinates us with the technology used in carrying out the operation. The operation codenamed Geronimo, christened after the Apache warrior was swift and used technology as it's best. Two things impress me the most-

1. Stealth operation. The intrusion of the American attack helicopters into the Pakistani airspace could not be detected by the Pakistani radar screens. This impresses me a lot with the use of Remote Sensing technology by the Americans. The choppers traversed through the mountains to reach their destination in the Abbotabad. The way was guarded by the radar screens. The Americans knowing the position of the Pakistani radars and the topology of the terrain mapped out the areas which were out of the reach of the Radars and took their choppers through those holes in the radar shield. The photography techniques used include the spectrograph which gives 3D images of the areas mapped. This is the very same technique which was used by the English to locate the German missile positions and destroy them subsequently. The extremely simple technique made use of a 3D lens not very different from the one used in the goggles used to view the 3D movies.
2. How NSA determined that there is no telephone or internet access on the compound housing Osama??????
I will definitely like to learn.......for my country needs it............badly!!!!!!!
Kudos for science...............and SEAL Team 6

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Logic of the Jatt- The Origin of the Truck Graffiti in India.

My land is Punjab. The proud land of multiple cultures dominated by the prouder Sikh community. It is very famous for some more things. Food is one of them. On the highways cutting across the length and breadth of Punjab the Punjabi Dhabas line the way. Offering Makhan ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag they offer mouthwatering food. The economic mainstay of these Dhabas is the transportation industry of the state. It's industrious and hardworking people venture into lands far away and unknown. 
The transporters(some of them claim to feel like Jason Statham of the Transporter series), pronounced draaver in the Pinglish, love their their vehicles as their mistresses( the hardworkers don't feel shy to overload their mistresses though). And they decorate them as a mistress. The nice graffiti that adorns these vehicles speaks volumes about it. PHIR MILENGE, TATA and BABE DI GADDI share space with the NATIONAL PERMIT.
There is more than that seems to be.The reason behind some of the graffiti, it's origins( it's not just a decorative expression) is mostly the chivalry and good sense of the people. But time has left some marks. The expression HORN OK PLEASE is ubiquitous on the tucks and transportation vehicles plying in India. They seldom get a peer. They are generally dismissed as good manners calling for more order on the roads.One theory says that the term bears its roots in the second world war where the trucks were run on kerosene engines. Kerosene, being highly unstable in nature, would cause the trucks to explode at the slightest accident. Hence a warning would be painted on the back saying 'Horn Please,OKerosene'. Gradually this became a norm and is still seen on most trucks even today. Another theory goes, that The Tata Oil Mills co.Ltd.(TOMCO), unveiled an economy detergent powder called OK. This brand had a symbol in a shape of a lotus flower. To market this detergent better, it is believed that the symbols were painted on trucks and lorries. Since the trucks had HORN PLEASE already painted on the left and right edges of the back flap, the lotus flower symbol and OK were painted in the center of the flap. That's what got OK in between HORN PLEASE, making it HORN OK PLEASE. Moving with time, it became a tradition for truck drivers and owners to paint their trucks in such a fashion.
In India, when wishing someone goodbye, one commonly says, "OK TATA!", where TATA means goodbye. Since most trucks had the TATA logo on them, truck owners often painted the word OK above it. The HORN PLEASE phrase surrounds the OK TATA vertical combination. Thus, a person reading just the first line would read, "HORN OK PLEASE".
Albert Einstein once said that one of the most incomprehensible things about this world is that it is comprehensible. It's our time to comprehend the beauty of our trucks, the love and work horses of our desi Jason Stathams.
File:Horn ok-1.jpg

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bandwagon Effect- The strongest working force in the Social World.

Suppose you are going to buy a phone. You are excited about it. You are confident that the new phone will add a new dimension to your life, making it more productive,efficient and stylish. Which phone will you prefer? A Blackberry will be the first choice if i were you( provided i have had a hefty purse). You judge that the Blackberry is a great phone and decide to spend 20k bucks on it.
But how do you know that Blackberry is a cool device? Have you tested it? Or is your dad the R&D chief of RIM(Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry). Actually, you don't. Yeah, admit it. You only perceive it to be a good workhorse and your perception may be wrong. And why you perceive it to be so? Because it is the perception of most of the people around you. It is not your opinion. It is the opinion of those around you, which becomes the opinion of yours. The opinion of yours is the opinion of others. And thus others have the power to make decisions for you and they,in turn hold a particular opinion because someone else holds it, and so on. That is how the influence travels from one corner to the other. 
The opinion of most of the individuals becomes the opinion of others. You may be wronged by the public opinion if you don't test it, or if your is dad is not the R&D chief of Blackberry. Most people in the world are incapable or unwilling to do the testing. This causes the lies to propagate on and on. And then you imbibe these lies. The lies lead to failure. The failure leads to misery and misery leads to more misery. 
I guess most of our miseries are self inflicted because neither our dad is the R&D chief of Blackberry and nor are we good testers of the beliefs and opinions. 
Do we have any hope? Yes. Actually, we have twin hopes. One, knowledge and other your discretion. 

The Bandwagon Effect is the main force behind the advertising world. The goal of the advertisers is to make more and more people believe in the merit of their product. And in order to do that they must make more and more people believe in that, for we trust our peers. 

Thus,we can think of beliefs in the terms of groups, the groups of thought(in turn, action). The thoughts exist at the level of a group. What of the independence of an individual? nothing? The independence of thought exists only for those who have the ability to test and judge, or whose dad is the R&D chief of Blackberry........ 

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Star of India

India, a vast country, spanning and influencing vast space and time. As any great civilisation, it bears wintess to changes, far and vast,the rise and demise of kings and empires ,to the hope of man in his future, his brave acts, his bereavement and his suffering. We, the people of India are the torchbearers of this stream of civilization which flows into the present moment, drawing with itself the treasures of the mind and material.
As always, i have a lot to say and am confused about what to. Without any more bickering, i must get started with what this post is about.
The British were our masters, before we became the makers of our own destiny. The involvement of the British began with trade and factories, the first being in Surat. British began their conquest with the Battle of Plassey and their hold became even more firm with the Battle of Buxar. They never looked back afterwards conquering all across, becoming masters of the land from Burma to Aden,giving titbits here and there to the puppet monarchs.
India was their most proud possession, with it's rich past, huge market and population which had not been touched by the magic of the mechanical revolution. England was obsessed with India. Holding on to India and strengthening it's hold over it became the sole foreign policy prerogative of the British. They became masters of Egypt and bought the rights of Suez Canal with the sole motive of securing the shipping lanes to India.
British India was always given the opportunity to reperesent itsef on the international fora. It participated in the Olympic Games as a dominion of the British. The flag of British India, had the Star of India emblazoned on it. The Star represented the glory of India.
The Star of India refers to a group of flags used during the period of British rule in India. British India (officially known as the Indian Empire) had a range of flags for different purposes during its existence. The flags included the Union Flag with the insignia of the Order of the Star of India superimposed, or the Red or Blue Ensign with the Star of India superimposed. The official state flag for use on land was the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and it was this flag that was lowered on Independence Day in 1947.
While the Blue Ensign was used for military and naval purposes the Red Ensign was used for representing India in most international Events. The Star of India had a star with the words Heaven's light our guide around them, and was the badge of the Order of the Star of India, a chivalric order of knighthood. A blue state (government) ensign also existed, was defaced with a lion holding a Tudor Crown.
This very Star of India is represented on the Jaipur Column of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Jaipur Column is called so because King of Jaipur gave all the money required for erecting it. The celebrated Jaipur Column is a prominent feature of the facade of Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Jaipur Column bearing the Star of India
 File:British Raj Red Ensign.svg
The Flag of British India containing THE STAR OF INDIA

Friday, February 11, 2011

The War of Currents- The story of great battle battle between Alternating Current and Direct Current

This is a tale i am dying to share...................
Today is the birthday of Thomas Elva Edison, the great man  who discovered the commercially viable incandescent electric bulb, the phonograph( the gramophone) and the moving picture camera. He was the first man to employ the model of a modern R&D enterprise, having a huge pool of talented technicians working in close co-ordination to revolutionize the world, which they eventually did. One of the most marvelous things i find about him is that the man never got any formal education, and founded one of the pillars of the modern industry, General Electric.
This remarkable man had an equally remarkable assistant, Nikolas Tesla( This is the same man after whom the unit of the magnetic filed Tesla). Working at a small pay was this genius, called Tesla,who would later go on to make a great name and inspire stories of passion, science and mystery for generations to come. This man working as assistant of Edison was asked by Edison to improve upon the design of a DC generators.Tesla claimed that Edison promised him $50,000 if he succeeded in making improvements to his DC generation plants. Several months later, when Tesla had finished the work and asked to be paid, he said that Edison replied, "When you become a full-fledged American you will appreciate an American joke." Tesla immediately resigned. And this was the beginning of a great  rivalry between the two geniuses and the battle which which decided the way of the future.
Tesla was a pioneer of the Alternating Current. Developer of current systems that promised to revolutionize much of the world. The technology was mainly based on the Alternating Current. He was backed by George Westinghouse, the American enterprenur   who pioneered the railway air brakes.
This development opened a new front in the battle of the giants, as Thomas Edison favored the Direct Current. The AC had obvious advantages. It could be stepped up and transferred over long distances upon thinner wires and transported over long distances. It could then be stepped down and distributed to the customers.
When the limitations of the DC were discussed in the open by the public, Edison launched a propaganda campaign to promote the use of the Direct Current. At it's best the DC could be economically transported to distances of not more than 1.5 miles from the generating station.  It was suitable only for central business districts.  When George Westinghouse suggested using high-voltage AC instead, as it could carry electricity hundreds of miles with marginal loss of power, Edison waged a "War of Currents" to prevent AC from being adopted.
Strange consequences ensued. Thomas Edison was against the capital punishment. But his war against the AC led him to promote the development and use of the Electric Chair( using AC) in attempt to portray AC as having greater lethal potential than DC. Edison carried out a brief campaign to ban the use of the AC or to limit it's potential portraying it as dangerous. In a disgusting move, but which was able to garner some public opinion against the DC, the agents of Edison publicly electrocuted the animals in order to show the dangerous potential of the Alternating Current. The Alternating Currents are slightly more dangerous in that the frequencies near the 60Hz  have a greater capacity of causing cardiac fibrillation that the direct current.  In 1903, Edison's workers electrocuted Topsy the Elephant at Luna Park, near Coney Island, after she had killed several men and her owners wanted her put to death. His company filmed the electrocution.
AC replaced DC in most instances of generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and improving the efficiency of power distribution. Though widespread use of DC ultimately lost favor for distribution, it exists today primarily in long-distance High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission systems. Low voltage DC distribution continued to be used in high-density downtown areas for many years but was eventually replaced by AC low-voltage network distribution in many of them. DC had the advantage that large battery banks could maintain continuous power through brief interruptions of the electric supply from generators and the transmission system. Now-a-days, the Direct Current is used in most the subways around the world.
A fight ultimately won by Tesla, the rightful assistant, and the genius one........................Will you not like to have such a friend?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Real Saint and Devil - 1

People have a way with their icons-positive or otherwise. They tend to give them credit,or blame them for much that happens in the world- good or evil. Philosophers reckon them as men who defy the elements and they assume the aura of a superhuman. They alter the destinies of men across the mountains and deserts that straddle our planet, either through their direct action or through their ideas which break the barriers of time and influence the people separated temporally by centuries. Sometimes they are even deified, worshiped as gods during their lifetime. Others are considered tyrants, devils and their souls are not allowed to rest long after their bodies have been interred deep( perhaps not,for unlucky ones), by the poor chaps who were the focus of their tyrannies(think Adolf Hitler) .
I disagree with the people who consider any person extraordinary, or a superhuman, or a god, or a devil, or is seemed to wield extraordinary influence. What i mean to say is that all the virtue in the world is not due to the likes of Mahatma Gandhi( though i am a die hard fan of Bapu), Jesus, Buddha and Mahavira(The so called "superhumans" or "gods"). Neither can all the vices be attributed to Dawood Ibrahim, Osama Bin Laden, our corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and their ilk.Then who is responsible? What is the driving force behind all these actions? Who drives the world? The answer is the collective actions and decisions of ours,each and every one of us, the force that drives us as an individual. Extra-ordinary men are all representatives of the forces that lie deep inside the mind of every human. They call upon those forces and are poster boys for them.  

I will comment first on how we drive the evil. How as a group we are responsible for everything that happens. Comment on the other aspect will follow.
Many people loathe the underworld, terrorists and their actions. But, they and their greed, knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate the underworld and terrorist financing.How?

Next post will tell u how??