Friday, December 31, 2010

Absurdity of TV Censorship

Recently I was watching a movie on the TV, a movie that I had seen earlier. But then as I watched on there seemed to be scenes, dialogs and words missing from the movie. According to the new laws of censorship in cinema one cannot show cigarette being smoked on the screen and forget about liquor not to mention anything about strong language or nudity. Similar things have been adopted for the TV channels. Don't show this, don't talk about that.

I ask the question why?

 Why is that we need to censor things which according to some individuals is vile, corrupting? As a democracy Indians do have a right to elect whom they see fit to govern them, so aren't enlightened citizens good enough to select what they want to see? Because, if they are not, then even giving them voting rights would be dangerous, they might elect vile and corrupt politicians to power! And if at all the things such as cigarette and liquor, harsh language  with all the Effour letter words,love acts, nudity will corrupt the population, why not banish them from the society. One one hand the government is keen on taxing the industries which manufacture these products in the first place, on the other hand this thing happens! Also one of the arguments that is given is that closing of such industries will take away employment from a whole lot of people. So by censoring cigarettes and liquor is not the government doing exactly that? There is a contradiction which I think I will never be able to understand.

I remember there was a question raised in parliament about this some years back by somebody. It must be sometime in August the logo for a music channel had the Indian tricolor on it. At the same time late in the night [11ish] there used to be a program for dancers. PYTs used to dance on music wearing as you might have guessed a bit skimpy clothes. So some morally upright MP raised this question, that how could be such a thing allowed? In response somebody else pointed out what was the MP doing watching such a thing in the first place at such an unholy hour in the night. The story here reflects the typical attitude, they want all for themselves but when it comes to public, the public needs to be told what they should watch on media. This the Government is doing, controlling the media and trying to control your thoughts.

But fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the government, this is the age of Internet. The example of Wikileaks has shown us that even the mighty US Government cannot stop the flow of information on the Internet. But who can forget Indian Governments attempt to kill Savita Bhabhi? India's first own porn star was put to death by an Government by issuing the ISPs to not allow to access the said web site which hosted her. But that did not kill her, did it? Instead she became immortal.

Perhaps the Government should look at the implications and be practical when they are trying to implement the laws of morality over general public. Do not we see people smoking and drinking in public, isn't molesting of women and their brutal rapes a part of our daily lives, aren't children getting the worst of the things that we as a civilization have to offer to them? Then why make a facade of moral values to try to take control of the media? This is my take on it. The Government doesn't bother whether you or your children grow up as shitbags, but what it bothers about is the control, the thought control precisely.

Government wants the control.

Controlling media would also control what people think and see. And its not just about any Government, the politicians that we see are just the tip of the iceberg. The Government is a system which wants above everything else, the control. There was a time when the control was easy, but we still haven't got over the License Raj, have we? Now they want to introduce the UID, a solution for all the ills in this country. UID, at best, is a solution looking for a problem. The UID project is in place just because the industry has something to sell, and tax payers money has no guardians. They say they will monitor all the progress of an individual. And you know how safe are we when we give all the control to a central authority.

From what we have happening in India in the recent years it wont be long before we have our own version of Orwellian dystopia.

Big Brother Babu is watching you.

The UID will enter into all aspects of your life, birth, education, property, communications, death, travel. UID does not make your country safe, but makes it easier to target "the most dangerous man" as told by Spyder Jerusalem in the Vertigo comics series Transmetropolitan.

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to
 think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing
 superstitions or taboos. Almost inevitable he comes to the
 conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and
 intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. Even
 if he is not romantic personally he is apt to spread discontent among
 those who are.

 - H L Mencken

Till then beware of what decisions that you support, as they will be paid for by your own children...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turtle Art Galore...

Here is one for the Turtle Art!

The idea that the child should program the computer and not the other way round was initiated by Seymour Papert in his book Mindstorms. Papert calls the field constructionism instead of Piaget's constructvism. Will elaborate the detailed differnces in some other post. But we at lab  are tryingto bring that in India using Sugar as a learning platform and we are not exclusively using OLPCs for that. We conduct regular teacher training workshops throughour India. One of our basic guidelies in all this is the use of Free and Open Source Software in education.
One of the first things that we introduce to newcomes in Sugar is the Turtle Blocks.

How to define Turtle Art? Well it is a studio! It has components of mathematics. logic, and art embedded in it. Artemis Papert [related to Seymour Papert?] has a website on the art that can be created using Turtle Art here

Have a look at the amazing gallery with the source code also available in case you want to have a peek at how such lovely pictures can be made using Turtle Blocks!!

Here is mine, adopted from the cover of the Turtle Art Book 3 by Artemis Papert.

And this is how I did it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Open Letter to the Railway Minister

This is an open letter to The Railway Minister of India. Whoever it is. Though currently Mamta Banerjee aka Didi is the one who is holding the post. This post is related to the derailing and death of the Gyaneshwari Express:

The Gyaneshwari Express derailment occurred on 28 May 2010 in the West
Midnapore district of West Bengal, India. It was disputed as to
whether sabotage or a bomb caused damage on the railway track, which
in turn led to a train's derailment before an oncoming goods train hit
the loose carriages killing at least 141 passengers.[1]
Now the aftermath of this incidence is that instead of accepting that there is a problem of law and order as regards to the Maoists, the Government is steadily denying that there is a problem. As a result of that all the night running trains in the affected areas have been halted. Instead of trying to look for a solution to the problem, the Government is trying to hide it from the people. So as a result the common people are suffering. The media is supporting the Government in totally being oblivious to the delay in the trains caused by this. I don't know of any coverage, but if it is there, I have not seen it.

The trains get late everyday on an average by 8 - 10 hours! Can you believe this? Once in a while is okay, but everyday? And that too from last 7-8 months? Miss Banerjee what do you have to say for all this delay? If you and the Government is so scared of the Maoists that you cannot run trains in their dominated areas after sundown, at least admit it! You can at least change the train timings... But you are too clever to do that, as you have the state elections lined soon, so instead you will not do this, citing no reason whatsoever?

Think about the trouble it is causing to people, who have to catch trains at odd times, have to sleep on platforms, just because the trains are running late on a regular basis. The railways are there for the public, are the not? And if the public is being left out of the equation, there is something missing. Are you not ashamed as the railway minister, that trains are running regularly late? Or is it the chalta hai attitude that you want to show off? If you cannot solve the Maoist problem at least you can change the train timings so that the passengers are not left in turmoil at the railway station waiting 10 hours after the scheduled time of the arrival of their train...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Cameras...

A worthy quote from issue 1 of 4 part limited series comics Gangland from Vertigo Comics on cameras and photos..

   I've been always fascinated by cameras. Little boxes and inside
   each one, a tiny thief, ready to steal at touch of a button. To
   pocket a moment of time.

   What they steal can never be returned; what they take they keep

   Stealing moments in time with my invisible eye...
   As if I could replace what's missing in my heart with a few spare
   moments clipped from other people's lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sophie's World

I had heard about Sophie's World from quite a number of sources. Finally I got a worn out copy from Fort for 100 bucks. Finished it in the next couple of days. This was about two years back. It is one of the best bedside introductions to philosophy...
Embedded in mystery and weirdness.
The best part of the climax is a p"hilosophical party", which I also wish to have...


Who are you?

“You are me.”

“I am you.”

You can’t experience being alive without realizing that you have to die, she thought.

Where does the world come from?

How could it be “the easiest way”?

… the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder...

Why was it so difficult to be absorbed in the most vital and, in a way, the most natural of all questions?

So it is easier to ask philosophical questions than to answer them.

Actually, we are the white rabbit being pulled out of the hat.

and anyway it would be pointless to chase after someone who was determined to get away.

It all has to do with habit.

Do you think it can do what it does?

A philosopher never gets quite used to the world.

She understood that people had always felt a need to explain the processes of nature. Perhaps they could not live without such explanations. And that they made up all those myths in the time before there was anything called science.

… nothing can come from nothing …

Once we have determined what a particular philosopher’s project is, it is easier to follow his line of thought, since no one philosopher concerns himself with the whole of philosophy.

How can I “see” a flower, for example?

You probably wouldn’t admire a friend who was good at everything if it cost her no effort.

She decided that philosophy was not something you can learn; but perhaps you can learn to think philosophically.
 Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?

Why did people quit playing when they grew up?

“I’m not playing!” Sophie retorted indignantly, “I’m doing a very complicated philosophical experiment!”

Do you believe in Fate?
Is sickness the punishment of the gods?
What forces govern the course of history?

Who had the right to call other people’s belief superstition?

One day we will meet, but I shall be the one to decide when and where.

Thus the “fortune-teller” is trying to foresee something that is really quite unforeseeable.
This is characteristic of all forms of foreseeing. And precisely because what they “see” is so vague, it is hard to repudiate fortune-tellers’ claims.

Over the entrance to the temple at Delphi was a famous inscription: KNOW THYSELF! It
reminded visitors that man must never believe himself to be more than mortal—and that no man can escape his destiny.

…wisest is she who knows she does not know…

Is there such a thing as natural modesty? 
Wisest is she who knows she does not know... 
True insight comes from within. 
He who knows what is right will do right.

But today, most people think it is “natural,” even though
it is still strictly forbidden in lots of countries.

 But the more she did, the more clearly she saw that knowing what you don’t know is also a kind of knowledge.

But didn’t all knowledge come into people’s heads from the outside?

The history of ideas is like a drama in many acts.

In order for democracy to work, people had to be educated enough to take part in the
democratic process.

“The question is complex and life is short.”

Modesty—or the lack of it—is first and foremost a matter of social convention.

“You can seek him in the present, you can seek him in the past, but you will never find
his equal.”  on Socrates

So it is no easy matter to distinguish between the teachings of Socrates and the philosophy of Plato.

Socrates saw his task as helping people to “give birth” to the correct insight, since
real understanding must come from within. It cannot be imparted by someone else. And only
the understanding that comes from within can lead to true insight.

Something within him left him no choice.

A  “philosopher” really means “one who loves wisdom.”

A philosopher knows that in reality he knows very little. troubled him that he knew so little.

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.”

Any one question can be more explosive than a thousand answers.

All he knew was that he knew nothing—and it troubled him. So he became a
philosopher—someone who does not give up but tirelessly pursues his quest for truth.

Can you live a happy life if you continually do things you know deep down are wrong?

“We don’t learn anything there. The difference between schoolteachers and philosophers is that school-teachers think they know a lot of stuff that they try to force down our throats. Philosophers try to figure things out together with the pupils.”

“It’s not him who’s disturbed. But he likes to disturb others—to shake them out of their rut.”

... several tall buildings had risen from the ruins …

 We still speak of Socratic or Platonic philosophy, but actually being Plato or Socrates is quite another matter.”

 Plato's four tasks.
 First you must think over how a baker can bake fifty absolutely identical cookies.
 Then you can ask yourself why all horses are the same.
 Next you must decide whether you think that man has an immortal soul.
 And finally you must say whether men and women are equally sensible.

 … a longing to return to the realm of the soul…

Because even though some horses were as brown as bears and others
were as white as lambs, all horses had something in common.

All she knew was that dead bodies were either
cremated or buried, so there was no future for them.

Why are horses the same, Sophie? You probably don’t think they are at all. But there is
something that all horses have in common, something that enables us to identify them as
horses. A particular horse “flows,” naturally. It might be old and lame, and in time it will die. But
the “form” of the horse is eternal and immutable.

Because clearly, the mold itself must be utter perfection—and in a sense, more beautiful—in comparison with these crude copies.

... the girl in the mirror winked with both eyes…

Was it the path she had taken earlier?

How could a person who had never seen a live chicken or a picture of a chicken ever have any “idea” of a chicken?

What came first—the chicken or the “idea” chicken ?
Are we born with innate “ideas”? What is the difference between a plant, an animal, and a human? 
Why does it rain? 
What does it take to live a good life?

...a meticulous organizer who wanted to clarify our concepts …

You’ll have to content yourself with the fact that you are not the only one who can’t exceed your own limits.

Everybody is more or less peculiar. I am a person, so I am more or less peculiar. You have only one girl, so I am the most peculiar.

Common sense and conscience can both be compared to a muscle. If you don’t use a muscle, it gets weaker and weaker.”

The world is me, she thought.

And as you know, when a thing gets bigger and bigger it’s more difficult to keep it to yourself.

It is the only way to become more than a naked ape. It is the only way to avoid floating in a vacuum.

... going only part of the way is not the same as going the wrong way…

Sorry. My lips are sealed.”

But she had been nervous, and when you’re nervous its comforting to break all taboos.

“It’s easy to know better after the fact.”

We shall become better acquainted by and by

But philosophy is not a harmless party game.

One generation ages while another generation is brought forth.

Life is both sad and solemn. We are let into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other—and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived.

“It’s not a silly question if you can’t answer it.

“Does all this really matter?” “Does it matter? You bet it matters!

“Smart. But not so smart really.”

“Is it really as simple as that?”

For the wages of sin is death.

That was a serious slip of the tongue.”
“But a slip of the tongue is never wholly accidental.”

…such stuff as dreams are made on…

She knew her mother knew that Sophie knew her mother wouldn’t believe it either.

“No, there’s a lot I don’t know.”

“Well, nearly everything that’s important comes either from Greece or from Italy.”

That was actually quite a lot in the space of one second.

carpe diem’—‘seize the day.’

‘memento mori,’ which means ‘Remember that you must die.’

But any display of magnificence presupposes a display of power. It has often been said that the political situation in the Baroque period was not unlike its art and architec

... he wanted to clear all the rubble off the site…

“You begin to work out your own philosophy.”

‘How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?’

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Y - The Last Man

Recently read the comics series Y The Last Man.

 Tale of a single human male and his pet monkey, who survive an instant death to all the mammals that have the 'Y' chromosome; read males. All the mammal males, even the sperms die at the same time. This leads the world in chaos. Yorick the only male to survive this disaster is escorted by Agent 355 with Dr. Mann a scientist, who seems to be the only woman who is capable of doing anything about the catastrophe. So starts the adventure, with only one male remaining in the world



Who wants peace, when we have not yet begun to fight?

I am not afraid of the world.... I am afraid of the world without you.

# 5

When the game is over, the Queen and the Pawn go in the same box.

# 7

No price is too great for your opponents king.

# 8

There's a line I never thought I'd have to hear again.

# 09

Your imprisonment was also your emancipation.

# 12

Euphemisms are only for those who feel guilt about what they are

With little power comes little responsibility.

# 13

None of us is innocent.

# 14

... but sometimes you must do terrible things for peace.

# 15

This is what happens to friends when a man comes between them.

# 18

Ain't nothing worse than ladies in numbers.

Is this some kinda joke?
That's what I keep asking myself.

The Day of The Locust

# 20

It was like, they had crossed the finish line already, you know? But I
still had a million laps to run.

Everyone else just thinks I'm dumb and impulsive and .. well not that
I am not...

Endings have to be earned.

# 21

Isn't this the part where you do something stupid?

# 22

Good thing, our shit lawys goes according to plans...

Just because you can dance doesn't mean that you are a dancer...

# 25

I came here for forgiveness... but now I've just got more shit to be
sorry for.

The things we do make us what we are.

You fuck better than you preach.

# 27
 You, young man are wise beyond your years.

# 29

Karma is a fucking urban legend.

# 32

Waters won't be always this calm.

# 35

And I'm no more guilty than you are qualified to sit on that bench.

# 37

The future never shapes up like you figure it will...

# 38
Come on, we have a rumour to kill...
# 42

Love isn't an emotion it's an abstract construct mammals assign to a
biological imperative they don't fully understand.

# 43

Everybody needs somebody.

Sure, this will probably end up being another in a long line of
emotionally crippling misadventures.

No, real relationships can only be forged by hate.

The gangster of love knows how to simulate all passages great and

Yes, you are very beautiful when you cry.

# 44

Everybody has got something to hide.

Everybody's got something, right?

# 47

How is it wrong if no one ever knows about it?

We may be changing countries, but we will net let that country change

# 49

Mixed messages in my bane existence.

# 50

Faith and science can be friends, but they make for a disastrous

Answers to the unknown are all around us.

# 51

Our bodies tell us that we love so many, but there's room in our
hearts for so few.

# 52

Our sexes maybe equal, but they are not the same.

Because you confused your protective instincts with romantic

# 53

Still, you can take the girl out of htthe amazon, but you can't always
take the amazons out of the girl, right?

# 55

A good relationship isn't where one the other person makes you feel
better, but where they make you better.

# 57

So you would have said no to the man, but yes to the last man.

I have so many different ways to respond to that, I don't know even
where to begin.

# 60

We spend nine months trying to get out of a women and rest of our
lives trying to get back in.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gel'fand's Quote

This is taken from The Method of Coordinates by I. M. Gel'fand
E.G. Glagoleva A.A. Kirillov

Of course, it was not our intention that aIl these
students who studied from these books or even
completed the School should choose mathematics as
their future career. Nevertheless, no matter what they
would later choose, the results of this training re­
mained with them. For many, this had been their first
experience in being able to do something on their own
-- completely independently.

1 would like to make one comment here. Sorne of my
American colleagues have explained to me that
American students are not really accustomed to think­
ing and working hard, and for this reason we must
make the material as attractive as possible. Permit me
to not completely agree with this opinion. From my
long experience with young students aU over the
world 1 know that they are curious and inquisitive and
1 beIieve that if they have sorne clear mate rial pre­
sented in a simple form, they will prefer this to aIl
artificial means of attracting their attention -- much as
one ,buys books for their content and not for their
dazzling jacket designs that engage only for the

The most important thing a student can get from the
study of mathematics is the attainment of a higher
intellectualleveL In this light 1would like to point out
as an example the famous American physicist and
teacher Richard Feynman who succeeded in writing
both his popular books and scientific works in a
simple and attractive manner.

I. M. Gel'fand

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Woman's Snare...

They chatter with one man,
Look at another with amorous gestures;
And in their minds think of yet another,
Who then is loved by a woman?

From: Bhartrihari [7th Century]

When you read these lines, the immediate thing that you want to do is to find a woman in your memory lanes that fits the above bill. One will perhaps find not one, but many. But, perhaps this also applies to men, in fact I think they are more likely to do so, if you accept the explanations from evolutionary psychology and comparative psychology.

In evolutionary psychology they say that the males want to produce as many offspring as possible. So they try to mate with as many females as possible, many times the quality does not matter, only quantity does. This is so because the males do not have to invest [sic] a lot in mating. The analogy that is often given to the sperm production in males is to spam mails that hit your mailbox daily. Even if one in 10 million makes it, your job is done. But for the females the bodily investment is much larger. So females they say prefer quality over quantity. After the copulation it is the female who has to bear the child, and the responsibility of male becomes minimal. Imagine if a human male copulated daily with a fertile female, which I guess one can, how many children can he produce in a life time? Perhaps in thousands. Similarly if we think of human females producing children when they can, that is taking into consideration their biology; perhaps one child in a year, considering all other factors, the total number will be max at 2 dozen or so. So it is the males who would are more likely to be mating more than women to produce children and that too with many different ones, if they have the capabilities.

This particular observation is not general, and of course does not apply to all species. There are species of sea-horse in which the males rear the young ones, in almost all birds the rearing of offspring is the joint responsibility of the couple. In animals who have social structures, as in case of humans and monkeys, the young ones are raised socially.

But we being humans, do not copulate just for procreation, we do also copulate for recreation [of ourselves that is]. They say that dolphins and chimps are the only other creatures which do so, no wonder they are called intelligent. All other animals copulate when their natural cycle tells them to. So in this light of recreational copulation the above verses acquire a different meaning. There are women and men who copulate and want to copulate for recreation, it is perhaps their nature to do so, but perhaps they are bound too strongly by the social sanctions that surround them.

The next question to ask is that is it right for them to do so?

Well, the answer depends on what one thinks of such social norms. Are they to be followed in to to, or they have an interpretation dependent logic.

The answer is something that I do not know...

PS: Perhaps the essay might sound silly, it is; I have to expand on certain sections.

Why children hate maths...

          Today, because it is the 15th Monday of your 5th grade year,
          you have to do this sum irrespective of who you are or what
          you really want to do; do what you are told and do it the
          way you are told to do it.

 From: The Children's Machine by Seymour Papert

Thursday, September 9, 2010

मेरी दु‌आ...

 मेरी दु‌आ है तेरी आरजु बदल जा‌‌ए

तेरी दुआ से कजा तो बदल नही‌‌ सकती
मगर है ईससे ये मुमकीन की तु बदल जाए

तेरी खुदी मे अगर इनकलाब हो पैदा
अजब नही के ये चार सो बदल जाए

वही शराब वही हया अो हु रहे बाकी
तरीक-ए-सबिक अो रस‌मे कदो बदल जाए

 तेरी दु‌आ है की हो तेरी आरजु पुरी
मेरी दु‌आ है तेरी आरजु बदल जा‌‌ए

अलामा ईकबाल

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blossoms in Bangalore...

Well, Blossoms in Bangalore? I was in Bangalore during the spring and start of summer 2010, and have seen quite a lot of them. Here is a sample!

But it is not this blossom that I am talking about. But there is a special Blossoms in Bangalore. It is round the year blossom of books! With the bibliophile that I am, the book is like a three storied candy shop.

But anyways, I came to know about this "candy shop" from Tanu. She told me that you MUST VISIT this place.

Okay, then me and GN directly landed from the airport to the Blossoms Book House in Church Street. The store has a unique feature to store your bags, they have small lockers and you lock your bag and keep the key!

That apart the book store is one of the best that I have ever visited, no questions about that.
The lower floor has books on philosophy, nature, films, music, architecture, media. General reading etc.

The second floor is full of literature. This is a floor I have had not found time to visit in my two trips there.

The best is the third floor. It has books on science, mathematics, computers, psychology, history and biographies among others.

And the popular science section is amazing!
 They have all the titles arranged according to author names: like in a library and they maintain a computer catalog of these books. I got some really good titles here. Many of Mir books, Dover editions which were out of print. And that too at a reasonable if not cheap price always. The most commonly found book is Contact by Carl Sagan. I must have seen at least ~ 20 copies of this book in different editions in this store.

The best part is that along with new books they also have old and second hand books. Which really sets the day for you. Out of print and rare books to be found here!!

 Apart from that I met long forgotten volumes, it was like meeting old friends unexpectedly in a strange place. (Perhaps they were happy to meet me also ;)

We could not just finish in time, it was already their closing time. And I did not feel how the three hours went by. Me and GN were just collecting, filling basket after basket by books. Finally the time came to leave, and books amounted to two cartons! How were we supposed to carry? They suggested that they will send it by parcel to Mumbai! So were are done!

No matter what kind of books you read, you are sure to get them here!

The next time story was no different. And we were in till there closing time again!

I wanted to spend an entire day there, but could not. May
be will try next time.

But if you are in Bangalore its a MUST VISIT.

A paradise and candy shop for bibliophiles!!

Saurav is planning a visit to Bangalore just for Blossoms!!

[Blossoms photos by Tanu, please get some shots from the inside!!]

Other Candy shops:

For actual blossoms

Monday, August 30, 2010


I have coined a new term: cigol.
The term may have some meaning, google gives it as a surname for many.
But for me it is something, which I am suffering due to.
To guess the meaning read the term backwards.

And you will get it!

Now there is a term illogical which is already existent, but when I mean cigol, it is
not exactly illogical. There is a differnece. The difference is that
illogical would mean devoid of logic. But in case of cigol, the logic is
very much there, but is reversed. They are very much applicable to babus.
For example if something is supposed to help you, they make it in such a way
that it becomes unhelpful, deliberately.

I would love to cite a lot of examples, but alas I cannot for reasons known to all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some thing from this book needs no title...

 I love the artist or scholar whose activity is like the bee
pursuing the delicious nectar of the flowers. The bee has no
mind to become a renowned authority on which flowers
contain the best nectar; the bee simply loves nectar. In all
probability, the bee, through his actual experience will soon
have a fantastic knowledge of the flower geography of his
neighborhood-as good perhaps as any human scholar who
"studies" botany. And I say the bee really knows the flower
much better than the botanist. The botanist merely knows
about the flower; the bee knows the flower directly. The more
analytically minded reader might well ask, at this point, just
what I mean by "knowing about something" versus "knowing it
directly." I wish I could answer him! The distinction is so
difficult to explain rationally, and yet it is of such vital

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Humans as Fermions

Humans as Fermions

* The Fermions

  Fermions are one set of fundamental particles and the other one are
  bosons. The distinguishing factor between bosons and fermions is
  that the fermions have half integral spins, whereas the boson have
  integral spins. Their names suggest that the bosons were discovered
  by S N Bose, an Indian physicist and fermions by E Fermi. Now
  another this is that the fermions follow what is known as the Pauli
  exclusion principle. That is to say you cannot have two fermions
  which have all the quantum numbers same.

The Pauli exclusion principle is a quantum mechanical principle formulated by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1925. In its simplest form for electrons in a single atom, it states that no two electrons can have the same four quantum numbers; that is, if n, l, and ml are the same, ms must be different such that the electrons have opposite spins. More generally, no two identical fermions (particles with half-integer spin) may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. A more rigorous statement of this principle is that for two identical fermions, the total wave function is anti-symmetric.

And electrons are fermions It is this principle which decides the electronic
  configuration in atoms. The filling up principle or the aufbau
  principle works according to the exclusion principle. So when near
  to each other the electrons will tend to have different quantum
  numbers. If all the quantum numbers are same for a given pair of
  electrons, then they must have the spins opposite. But now if a
  third electron is to be arranged in the same orbit, it simple cannot
  be accommodate; it has to go in a different orbit. So that the
  electrons behave, as if they do not like the proximity of each

* Local trains
  Now when observing humans when they are in a crowded environment
  like a local train in Mumbai, I feel that the humans do behave
  exactly like fermions. That is to say that they do not like the
  proximity of each other, just like the electron do not like
  proximity of each other in the electronic orbits. I have observed
  this many a times in the local trains. Usually the trains are very
  crowded. Even to get a position to stand comfortably is a privilege,
  especially in the peak hours.

  When you board the train at the starting station like the VT, then
  what follows is closely analogous to filling up of the electronic
  orbitals in the atom. The seats that are usually taken first are the
  window seats. In the atom it would correspond to the first filling
  of the principal quantum number. In the window seats also the
  preference is to the seats for the windows which face the incoming
  air, that is facing towards the direction of travel.

  Then the seats are filled in the order of least occupancy. People
  want to sit at the seats which are least occupied. Normally the
  seats can take 3 people, and 4 with a bit of difficulty. But the
  norm is that 4 people are seated on a single seat. Once all the seats
  are filled up to 4 occupants, then people tend to stand in between
  the seats. The analogy does not extend to the people who are
  standing at the doors, there it is more like an ensemble of free
  particles, which are jumping in and out of the compartments.

  So coming back to the seating arrangements what I have observed is
  that once the seats are filled with 4 occupants. That is the maximum
  that our 'seat' orbital can take. The rest are occupied in between
  states. They are like virtual states, ready to jump into the empty
  seats as soon as one gets empty.

* The Law of 3 
  Lets assume that the people standing in between are like the
  electron sea in metals. Now lets assume a situation in which there
  are a few people who are standing in between seats and all the seats
  are seated by 4 people. Now lets see what happens when one of the
  person who is sitting stands up to get off the train. As soon as the
  seat gets empty, one of the persons who is standing goes to fill in
  the empty seat. As more and more people get off, the people who are
  standing take up their seats. Finally we reach a state when there
  are no more people who left are standing. Now all the seats have
  four seated occupants. Now if a single person gets up. There is one
  seat with just three people, but people don't tend to move to that
  seat. It just not worth the effort, by going from a 4 seated seat
  again to a 4 seated seat, you don't gain much. So you remain seated
  where ever you are. But if you are one of the people who are seated
  on the seat where the person just left from, you surely feel
  Now let us try to visualize the situation if 2 people from a single
  seat leave off. Two people leaving from 2 different seats will not
  help. It has to be 2 people who were seated on the same seat. After
  this what we have is that, there is a seat where only 2 people are
  seated and rest of the seats have 4 people seating on them. As soon
  as this happens, a person from a 4 seater, will try to get to the 2
  seater seat. This results in two 3 seater seats, whereas the rest
  are 4 seaters. Even more if 3 people from the same seat go away, the
  resulting changing of seats by people results in maximizing the
  number of 3 seater seats. This is the law of behavior of people in a
  local train ;). I call it the Law of 3. This just also touches on
  the idea of what is called in psychology as personal space. We
  are comfortable only within a certain distance from each other. And
  make it a point to bring this into existence we make the movements.

  Well this is just a vague analogy, to the actual behavior of the
  fermions is much more involved, but nonetheless the analogy is worth

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Mass charger for OLPC!

  I am currently working on deploying OLPCs [One Laptop Per Child] a.k.a.
  the $ 100 laptop a.k.a. XO in India. The Green colored laptop looks
  pretty with children being very happy to have one, and what is best
  is that the children or their parents do not pay for it, but the
  child gets to keep it, take it home and play with it!

More information at,

2 Khairat

  The first pilot was started in Khairat, sleepy tribal village about
  60 kms from Mumbai. This will be the third year in Khairat. So a
  generation of children are present who have been using the XO
  consistently. Though we got on to this project last year, the Sugar
  platform I already knew about. The parents tell us that the children
  have developed special affinity with their laptops, at times even
  not allowing their elder siblings to even touch it. Pedagogically
  the support at Khairat has not been so good. The teacher their
  Mr. Surve learned most of the activities with the Sugar on his
  own. Along with the new and some upgraded activities, but thats
  another story.

3 Charging Problems

  One of the consistent problems that was faced in Khairat is how do
  you charge the laptops. Though these laptops consume quite a less
  amount of power as compared to normal ones, the fact remains that
  they run on the battery and batteries tend to dicharged when
  used. There was some solution provided in terms of a rotating wheel,
  wherein a dynamo is used to charge the XOs. But this did not work
  out well. The Khairat school is not very large about 23 students
  across all the 4 grades of the primary. So to charge all the laptops
  at the school, we needed to have 23 plug points, to put the cute
  little green chargers in! If you scale it up, if you have to have lets say 100
  deployments then, 100 plug points! The OLPC design team came up with
  a charger which can charge upto 5 laptops, but then we need to
  import that too, with the XOs. What we wanted is to charge a large
  number of XO's at one go. The desiderata was that technology should
  be indegenious, cheap, and should be `open'. Open is used here in
  the sense of being transparent to anyone who wants to repair or know
  its workings. Also the problems of the charging at Khairat were
  compounded by the fact that many of the chargers had gone bad. The
  things were so bad that for the entire class of 23 students they had
  only 5 working  chargers, so that the students could not charge the
  laptops, the scheme that was implemented in this case is that the
  children would bring the laptops to the school, charge it there turn
  by turn. All this was further complicated the `load-shedding' of the
  Electricity Board. The schedule of the electricity board is such
  that it does not allow for continuous charging.

  The first option that we tried was to get a similar charger from
  Lamington Road. When we enquired we got one for about 200
  rupees. But even if we get 20 of those, we did not have enough plug
  points in the school. And even if they were there, the lenght of the
  wire on the chargers isn't much, so the students have to sit close
  to the extensions. This isn't by all means a very good idea, AC 230
  V all near kids, in primary. Many of the chargers had bare wires,
  and accidents can always happen. But this still doesn't solve our
  problem of mass charging. We needed a charging station. Since we did
  not have one, we had to design one.

3.1 So what was to be done?

  We tried to take a supply from a
  We found that the rating on the chargers required them to charged
  with above 6 V. What could give us a continuous supply of regulated
  power and was cheap?

4 The Solution

Jude had an excellent idea. We use the standard SMPS [Switched Mode
Power Supply] which powers the regular desktops to charge the XOs. The
main purpose of the SMPS is to provide a regulated DC supply from the
AC mains, to which it is connected. The standard SMPS comes with two
levels of DC voltage as the output; one is 5 V and the other is 12
V. To operate a computer and its various parts both are needed. The 12
V supply is given to parts like the motors which operate inside the
HDDs. Whereas the 5 V supply acts like the logic 1, 0 V being
logic 0 for the binary operations to be performed on the digital
devices, that is the transistors. The current capacity of the SMPS is
about Amps. This is more than sufficient to safely charge about 10
XOs. So from one SMPS we can safely charge 10 XOs.

4.1 Now, how exactly it was to be done?

So what we did was to get the SMPS about Rs. 440 at Lamington
Road. Derive a power cable from one of the many outputs given
there. Then from that one output we would need to draw 10 outlets for
charging the XOs. The number 10 seemed to be reasonable to be drawn
from a 400 W SMPS.

Anyways so the steps for the construction went as follows:

Draw the 12 V supply from the SMPS, that is, the yellow wire and the
ground, the black.

The first thing that we did was to cut the first main wire for about a
metre. This wire was of 25 guage, the gauge has to be high for the
main cable as it has to draw power for all the 10 XOs.

Now for connecting the main power cable to the SMPS, we needed the
female connectors and join this to the output of power supply. This is
the same thing which goes inside your IDE drives. But in this case we
wil be deriving the 12 V supply and not touching the 6 V
supply. Making this connection requires a bit of skill, as we
discovered later, the joints were shaky, even after all the crimping
that we did. They had to redone at Jude's office.

Now after the first metre of the main power cable, we attached 4 more
wires, 2 black and 2 red. One each black and red wires were braided
and ended in the DC jack for the XOs. So at the first `T' joint we had
two outputs for the XOs. For the joint itself, we had 8 wires coming
there. So we soldered the wires. Jude suggested that we could get what
are known as `shorting caps' for making the final product.

Now this step was repeated for the remaining 4 `T's. So at the end
voila we had a mass charger for the OLPC.

5 The Short

So we tested our creation with 10 XOs, being charged simultaneously by
the charger. But there was a problem, the joints started to heat
up. There was a short some where in the circuit. We did not test for
continuity. So we had to redo the entire thing again. :(

The short was finally found in one of the DC jacks, which when twisted
and pressed, had a protrusion which actually punctured the other wire
and thus shorted the entire circuit. Finally after almost re-doing the
entire circuit, we were on our way to test our charger.

With all the XOs attached. The light on the battery indicator of the
XOs was red and amber. Then slowly after almost an hour, slowly one by
one, the XOs were being charged, indicated by the indicator becoming
green. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laboratory of The Mind

 Having gone through the book Robert Browns Laboratory of Mind - Thought Experiments in Natural
Sciences, I have taken the following notes. Though the book starts with examples from a varied disciplines it culminates trying to interpret the EPR paradox in a way. Though an interesting book to read for a philosopher of science. I would have liked to see some detailed discussions on some of the thought experiments, the book could have been more aptly titled  Thought Experiments in [Quantum]  Sciences, though there is an entire chapter on Einstein, who is the master of such thought experiments, equaled only by Galileo.


  As I was sitting in my chair
  I knew the bottom wasn’t there,
  Nor legs nor back, but I just sat,
  Ignoring little things like that.

  Logic alone cannot give us great wealth of mathematical results.

   since abstract objects if they did exist would be unknowable.

    just as no experiment in physics is really crucial, so no argument
    in philosophy is really conclusive. 73

    In reality the very opposite happens. It is the theory which
    decides what we can observe…’ 106

    the crucial difference between Einstein and those who make the
    correspondence with experimental fact the chief deciding factor
    for or against a theory: even though the ‘experimental facts’ at
    that time very clearly seemed to favor the theory of his opponents
    rather than his own, he finds the ad hoc character of their
    theories more significant and objectionable than an apparent
    disagreement between his theory and their ‘facts’. 120

    As Heisenberg put it, This probability function represents a
    mixture of two things, partly a fact and partly our knowledge of a
    fact’ (1958, 45). 128

    What is even meant by ‘an interpretation of the QM formalism’ is
    somewhat vague. Logicians have a precise notion of
    ‘interpretation’ or ‘model of a formal system’, but that won’t do
    here. To start with, the formalism is already partially
    interpreted; it is hooked to observational input and output in a
    clear and unambiguous way.  This partial interpretation is called
    the minimal statistical interpretation. What it can do is handle
    everything observable. It is often favoured by those who advocate
    an instrumentalist outlook for scientific theories in general. But
    our interest is with how the world really works, not just with
    making successful observable predictions. Only those lacking a
    soul are content with the minimal statistical interpretation. 131

    In many (perhaps all) scientific theories, there are elements
    which are taken as just brute facts. For instance, in Newton’s
    physics, inertia is an unexplained explainer; it accounts for
    other phenomena, but is itself unaccounted for. Are EPR
    correlations like that? 146

* Questions
1. When we see one swan to be white we do not conclude immediately
   that all swans are white. But on the other hand we conclude that
   all gold atoms have the same atomic number 79. Why is there an
   asymmetry between the two modes of thought?

2. Why does 3>2 seems intuitively pretty obvious, whereas `proton is heavier than
   electron' does not?

3. Quine says, our conviction that 2+2=4 does not stem from laboratory
   observations, no matter how carefully performed or often
   repeated. Comment.

4. How would things be different if there were no abstract objects but
   everything else, including our ‘intuitions’, remained the same?

5. Is Newton's first law only vacuously true? Let me elaborate on
   this. The first law as known states the following:

   /A body will continue its state motion or rest, unless it is acted
   upon by a force./
   Now how do we do this experiment in real? Can we have /any/ test
   body which is far away from any other body, so that there are /no/
   forces acting on the test body? If not, then how can we be assured
   about the validity of the first law?

6. Though we often now make fun of theories like phlogiston, caloric
   or aether, they were actually successful to some degree in their
   day and were believed by reasonable people. (Maxwell once said that
   the aether theory was the best confirmed in all science.) The
   physical world somehow or other contributed to the production of
   these rational, but false, beliefs. How is it that a (physical)
   world that contains no phlogiston, caloric, or aether can somehow
   be responsible for bringing about the phlogiston, caloric, and
   aether theories?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Seeing Red

Recently I came across a book called Seeing Red by H. Arp.
The book questions the fundamental ideas in the Big Bang Cosmology.
The basic idea that is questioned is that the Distance-redshift relation; that
is the more redshift and object has more distant it is from us. This idea forms
the bedrock on which the Big Bang Theory rests. So questioning this idea is out
of question for the Big Bang theorists. But even when an observation occurs which
does not confirm these ideas, it is so to speak, swept under the carpet, literally. When
the data confirms the beliefs that they hold; namely the theory; then the instrument is
working fine, when it does not, it is noise; the instrument is faulty.

Also it points out in the red tapism in the scientific community, where one follows
the leader or gets isolated, as  is the case with Arp. The opaqueness in the `peer review'
process is higlighted by numerous examples which arp cites in his interactions with
editors and referees for the prestigious journals in Astronomy. The very value of democratic
process in science is under question, so are the naive ideas of Popper who thought that scientists
always try to falsify their own theories. Here it seems it is the opposite case, with scientists
trying to suppress the observations which contradict with their own pet theories, by all
possible means, most of them un-ethical for a scientist, at least in theory. Along with the
journals, the conferences are also exposed, in which only the already set theories are entertained
with no data which questions the popular theories are allowed to be shown, which is the very
spirit of science. When every thing else fails the integrity of the person is under question.

The last chapter is a must read for all students of science.
Here are some of the quotes from the text:

 Quotes from Seeing Red

  “No matter how conclusive the evidence, we have the power to
   minimize and suppress it.”

   Scientists, particularly at the most prestigious institutions, regularly suppress and ridicule findings
   which contradict their current theories and assumptions.
   The average astronomer, however, would look at them and start to
   argue that they must be accidental, because astronomers now feel
   compelled to fit the observations to the theory and not vice versa.
   But no matter how intimidatingly complex the calculation, no
   matter how small the probability of accident may be, the
   calculation does not tell you whether the result is true or not. In
   fact, no matter how significant the number is, scientists won’t
   believe if they don’t want to.
   A reasonable response would be to notice such a case and say,
   “If I see a few more cases like this I will have to believe it is
   real.” Most astronomers say, “This violates proven physics
   [i.e. their assumptions] and therefore must be invalid. After all,
   no matter how improbable, it is only one case.”

  The paper was also testimony to the fact that sensible analysis
  of observations was being blocked and ignored, while the high
  profile journals were submerged with a flood of elaborations of
  incorrect assumptions which prevented anyone from remembering
  anything important for more than a few years.


  The establishment always confuses data with theories.

  Clearly, the main purpose of these “review of the theory talks” was
  to fix firmly in everyone’s mind what the party line was so that all
  observations could be interpreted properly.


  Shortly thereafter, the Space Telescope Science Institute
  announced it was suspending the amateur program because it was “too
  great a strain on its expert personnel.”

  Professionals start out with a theory and only see those details
  which can be interpreted in terms of that theory.

  The reason the point is so sensitive is that the influential people
  in the field know what the observations portend, but they are too
  deeply committed to go back. The result will surely be to inexorably
  push academic science toward a position akin to that of the medieval
  church. But if that is the evolutionarily necessary solution, then
  perhaps we should hasten the process of replacing the present system
  with a more effective mode of doing science.


  “Well I know you can’t be right, but I will help you where I can.”


  Martin Elvis from the Cambridge Center for Astrophysics (CFA)
  jumped up and said, “That’s noise.” I argued that you could see that
  it was not noise.


  One thing has been accomplished, though. I now understand what
  should be called the statistics of nihilism. It can be reduced to a
  very simple axiom: “No matter how many times something new has been
  observed, it cannot be believed until it has been observed again.” I
  have also reduced my attitude toward this form of statistics to an
  axiom: “No matter how bad a thing you say about it, it is not bad


  “If you are wrong it doesn’t make any difference, if you are right it
  is enormously important.”


  I feel very strongly about what happened and I want to make my
  position clear: Astrophysical Journal Letters is the normal journal
  for publishing new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. The
  telescope cost billions of dollars of public funds. The vast
  majority of page charges which pay for the publication of the
  journal come from government supported contracts. The overriding,
  first directive of the editor is to communicate important new
  astronomical results. If the editorial process violates its primary
  responsibility, it misuses public funds.


  But the fatal flaw, it seems to me, is that people who are
  interested in power are spurred by emotions which interfere with
  their reason.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Azlan Shah Cup 2010

Well so far so good.
We are the defending champions in the Azlan Shah Hockey tournament for 2010.
Last year we won it, I wrote a post about that here.

This years things aren't looking bad either.

Our matches so far:

Thursday, May 6
China v India
India drew 1-1

Friday, May 7
Pakistan v India
India won 4-1

Sunday, May 9
South Korea v India
India won 3-2

Update 01:

Monday, May 10
Australia v India
India won 4-3

Yes! We did it!! Finally !!!

Wednesday, May 12
 India v Malaysia
India Lost 5 - 2

Saturday, May 15
India v Egypt
India won 7-1

Lets see how the results are and hope for the best.

From the official website:

Due to bad weather, the final between India and Korea was abandoned after 6 minutes and 14 seconds minutes of play. And after discussions and consultations beyween the Tournament Director Paul Richards, the Organising Committee, with the consent of His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah decided that India ad Korea will be joint champions for the 19th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Both teams will receive 11 champions medals and arrangements will be made to send another 11 champions medals to both countries by the Organising Committee.
This is the 5th title for India and 2nd for Korea. And since the inception of the Azlan Shah Cup, this is the first time that teams have been declared joint champions.
So this year also we are the champs!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Anonymous Stranger

Last month I has a strange experience with a anonymous stranger.
I call the person anonymous is because the identity of that person is not known to me. I received a SMS which has some riddle like lines..
This led to an exchange of SMS which I am reporting here.
This is a monologue, which some people in the past have accused me of doing, for the reason that `Save sent msgs' function is disabled on my phone. So feel free to fill in the in between SMS on my side, where you want to

It all started with these two messages from this number 902856xxxx
[The numbers at the beginning are YEAR:MONTH:DAY:HOURS:MINUTES]

2010:04:14:00:46: Yews over unwilling. Restless elated yet. Elated sumer amply relumes each..
2010:04:14:16:36: Each Not Chancing His Arrival Not To Ingenuity Not Green

I tried to call, then  all other SMS came from this number, when 909612xxxx

2010:04:14:20:31: Dont dont dont call.. Look what happens when you do.. Now i have to text you from this number..
2010:04:15:20:35: so i assume you could not decipher the first two text s code
2010:04:16:21:15: Ok lets take it this way.. If you dont want me to text give me a missed and if you want dont react.. I highly suspect we have the prevalence of the former here.. So please go ahead..
2010:04:16:22:05: You know you are like pepin but of course in only your stubborn and nonchalant ways..
2010:04:17:09:41: Finally.. Not that i know what s m means but still its porgress.. Did you decode?
2010:04:17:09:47: Attitude.. It like it.. Infact i think you should patent it.. For obvious  reasons you know..
2010:04:17:10:01: Ok now amit s again become pepin.. Tell me are my text so loathable or its just you..
2010:04:17:11:27: Ok so my texts are not good and you are intended upon talking in monosyllables.. At least we agree on one thing.. Its progress again..
2010:04:17:14:07: didnt intend upon disturbin bt i texted n it ws nt deleverin so i thought i hav troubled u 2 d extend of switchin off ur phone..wanted 2 ask if u really dont like.. I wont text.?
2010:04:17:14:11: Yea i know you want to say 'your wish'.. cos i started.. But seriously you can say bluntly..
2010:04:17:14:16: Oh regarding choice between texting or not texting or something more difficult..
2010:04:17:14:22: Ah.. Thats  what i meant by difficult.. No nothing.. Nothin at all infact.. Lets save us both some messages.. You : then why are you texting me. Me : nothing particular but i ll stop the moment you tell me to.. you: ..... Me : oks... Now you can complete..
2010:04:17:14:25: Flattered..
2010:04:17:14:25: At least pepin thinks i m worth hmmm s..
2010:04:17:14:28: Ok then.. Do think.. Do what you rmind says.. What is it saying now..
2010:04:17:14:36: Ok forget if you dont want to answer.. Or still wordless.?
2010:04:17:14:43: Come on pepin.. Ok dont try to know your mind. Its complex.. Ask me who has been trying to extract replys from you all week..
2010:04:17:14:45: Oh god.. Will you ever reply without me asking you a question..
2010:04:17:14:53: He was french dictator.. Reminds of you..
2010:04:17:14:59: Angry?
2010:04:17:15:02: Hmmm.. So you know him..
2010:04:17:15:13: Cute.. but dont know try to know him personaly.. not a nice guy..
2010:04:17:15:17: Why not.. I know all dictators personally..
2010:04:17:15:19: Ok.. Who s your ideal person.. O mean you admire the ideas of whom,, Somebody i would know..
2010:04:17:15:26: Lets see if i am a physicist if would like chandrashekhar or einstein or stephen hawking.. Read breif hostory of time? Its beautiful..
2010:04:17:15:30: Come on pepin... Say na..
2010:04:17:15:34: Khan
2010:04:17:15:38: ?
2010:04:17:15:44: Yeah y him.. He was worse than pepin.. Are you kidding..
2010:04:17:15:58: Please talk in more than one word.. Its difficult you know..
2010:04:17:16:30: Kay zhala..
2010:04:17:16:33: :-).. Am i very boring.. Yes you are interesting..
2010:04:17:16:55: That means yes?
2010:04:17:17:02: That is because you.. No first answer.. Am i really boring..
2010:04:17:17:03: Or moderately so..
2010:04:17:17:19: At least yes or no..
2010:04:17:17:24: Can you know if you ll talk to me..
2010:04:17:17:25: Did you realise this was your longest sentence
2010:04:17:17:26: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..
2010:04:17:17:27: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:31: No.. I m otherwise very boring.. Its better on text..        
2010:04:17:17:32: Yup.. Your highness is gettin better..
2010:04:17:17:35: You feelin it.? Because for me its like.. Come on girl.. Come up with something cool..
2010:04:17:17:48: The signal is bad here.. Airtel sucks.. And what else s going on..
2010:04:17:17:50: Ok mr pepin but please say more that two words..
2010:04:17:17:51: Okay chose one.. Sea or moutain.. Orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:17:54: Afraid? Of what :) I have given up on studies.. How s your ph d going..
2010:04:17:17:59: No silly.. Given up means going okay okay..
2010:04:17:18:00: Y u got married..
2010:04:17:18:00: Sounding so sad like hmmm..
2010:04:17:18:02: Okay chose one.. Sea or mountain.. orange or red.. Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:04: Sea or moutain..
2010:04:17:18:05: Cat or dog..
2010:04:17:18:05: Yaar amit i dont know.. Y would otherwise i ask you..
2010:04:17:18:10: Ok.. You are somebosy who gets angry unexpectedly, likes travelling, loyal to very very limited people and.. Okay select one.. Eyes or nose..
2010:04:17:18:12: And think what people are from inside is more mp that what people look..
2010:04:17:18:13: .Am i correct or wrong. What percent
2010:04:17:18:24: You know this is what is unexpected.. The moment i think you are ok you become cold again.. Ok you only say since my talks are vague apparently
2010:04:17:18:27: Your game.?
2010:04:17:18:30: Cute but.. Anyways..
2010:04:17:18:32: Its just too early... And by the way mr pepin my knowing your identity is default.. And playing games.. Not my cup of tea
2010:04:17:18:33: Well you r naive.. Lets assume for the moment what you said was cute..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok then it is.. Do you realise.. One sms includes more than sixty char nad you use just two of them.. National wastage..
2010:04:17:18:35: Ok fav author..?
2010:04:17:18:36: Coffee.?
2010:04:17:18:38: Amit say na..
2010:04:17:18:40: Say one.. You are such a spoilsport..
2010:04:17:18:45: Yeah since i am an expert on abbreviations that one beats me..
2010:04:17:18:47: Ok..
2010:04:17:18:51: Kay zhala again?
2010:04:17:19:10: So what does sm really mean
2010:04:17:19:11: No say na..
2010:04:17:19:12: Come on say na
2010:04:17:19:14: I understood that pepin.. But justified enough.. I m keeping my share of identity so you can keep your sm to yourself..
2010:04:17:19:16: No my initials are not that.. But whats that.. Where did you get it from..
2010:04:17:19:17: No ad they are not my initials..
2010:04:17:19:19: No.. Come on.. I m hidin.. Will not lie..
2010:04:17:19:21: Yeah.. I really dont know where you are getting that from but do tell me..
2010:04:17:19:21: Say na whats sm
2010:04:17:19:24: And you have appeal for..?
2010:04:17:19:25: Seriously..
2010:04:17:19:27: No not why not at all.. Cool..
2010:04:17:19:33: Kay zhaka again?
2010:04:17:19:38: Ok.. Will text you once i am in a position to disclose my identity.. Take care..

I really don't know what sense to make out of all this...

Monday, April 5, 2010

A long due rant...

Writing after a long time...

A long overdue rant...
Now a days I find a lot of hoo-halah going on about saving energy for a greener future and all that. They say it is the need of the hour. I don't disagree with them. But there are somethings which are basically wrong in implementing the saving electricity in the current norms. Saving electricity would also mean, not to use it when it is not really needed. I will elaborate a bit on what I mean.

Rich get to eat, the [little bit] less rich do not...

I live in Mumbai, the erstwhile Bombay. Maharashtra is facing an acute shortage of power, they tell us. But Mumbai, being the financial capital of the country, needs to be lighted up, 24x7, 365 times in a year. I am told that people here can pay for the electricity that they use, it is much more needed here. Do they mean people elsewhere in the state cannot pay and they do not need energy? They do pay, and they do need energy too. Then why this bias, against the people who are not in Mumbai. Whereas Mumbai gets an UPS, the Un-interrupted Power Supply, the other cities are getting the IPS, not the Indian Police Service, but the Interrupted Power Supply. Ok. Granted that Mumbai is the financial hub and needs to be powered 24x7, but are people in Mumbai even bothered about the kind of power that they waste. Compare this with 12 and 14 hrs of load shedding in the villages. The entire life cycle of people there is now regulated by the cycle of load shedding. They need to water their farms in the night, as during day time there is no electricity for them to use.

Power in Mumbai is wasted because, they can afford to waste it, they know it has an UPS. In similar logic none of the metros should suffer, but this does not happen. All others except Mumbai suffer.

And what happens in Mumbai, huge billboards, flashing the products of corporate houses are lighted through the night. Why the hell should other common people suffer, in distant lands, so that the corporates can show off their products in the night time. Having the billboards itself is an eyesore across the city. A billboard bathing in flood lights is like poking the eyesore. Just shut the lights off the billboards. This is sheer lavish way of spending the sparse energy way we have. Another similar phenomena is the lighting that is put up on the hotels and shops and the neon signs on the building. Needless to say are the customers moths, who go to neon-lighted stores? And during Diwali and New Year times this particular phenomena reaches the peak. Just get over it.

And the ACs. They say 40% of the total power is consumed by the ACs. Most of the office buildings are dotted with ACs. The more you have better it is supposed to be. Are they must? Throughout the year? Maybe sometimes the heat is unbearable but isn't weather in Mumbai ever good enough that we can just survive on humble old ceiling fan? Many of the so called modern constructions, especially buildings with glass faces are worst of the lot. They just lock the heat, making it a green house, which makes it harder to cool adding to the energy woes. This might be a good design for the Europeans and Americans but for us is it? Since the Europeans were tie and coat, we also do, and it is considered to be elite. Whether it suits our weather conditions or not is another issue altogether, about which few bother...

The centralized AC does not provide any flexibility to the end users, whether they want such conditioned air or not. It is just imposed upon them. The temperature is kept less than what you would find comfortable at 17 or 18 C. Then people who are working inside wear warm clothes; sweaters, jackets, caps and all the woollens. Is this rational? First you cool the place, so much that it becomes unbearably cold, then you put on clothes to get warm again! I was told that at an elite academic institute, the temperatures are so low, that users had to put electrical heaters, below their chairs, in order to be able to work, apart from the woollens and jackets!!

Mighty Magnificent Malls...

They say that so-so mall is the largest in Asia. This one has so-so features, this one has so many stores blah blah blah... To tell you the truth, all the malls I have visited across the country look the same to me. I mean from outside they may have varied designs, but from inside they are all the same. And why shouldn't they be, they all serve just one purpose. Selling. And selling to you. In this case the form differs [at least externally], but the function remains the same. And what do these offer. Well almost all the malls offer the same things. They are statistically similar objects. I mean here and there, there will be variations, but on an average, they are all the same. They are also same for another reason, they are the most obscene wastage of scanty electrical power that we have. The entire mall is air-conditioned, they tell you! What the efff? Just think about how much power must be fed to the AC plant to cool such a huge place. And that too for what? So that some shopkeepers [mostly corporates] can sell their stuff to you! And you are paying the price, by purchasing the items in the mall. Why can't they just keep the shops, air conditioned, that will surely save a lot of energy. Why the hell do you need the corridors, open spaces and the toilets air conditioned? Then they have escalators too. Are all of us too old to climb a few stairs? The normal stairs are hidden somewhere in the huge complex of the magnificent mall. So that they make it a point that you have to use the escalators!
One of the ways in which this can be salvaged somehow is that, each mall must keep one day in a week off. This will surely take some load off the main line.

Another point that I want to make is the sports matches. Why cannot we have all the matches in broad daylight? I think daylight, on a normal cloudless day is good enough for any sport. Are the players afraid of getting sun tan? I don't think so. Just to fill coffers of a few, we are again spending our precious electrical energy on these activities, which can be easily avoided.

Smarter buildings and homes...

We now live in a digital society. By that I mean almost all of us are surrounded by electronic devices. Even if you think you are not a tech freak, which I am, just count the number of electronic devices you use daily. It can be cell phone, a music player, a digital camera, a handy cam, a computer, a laptop. The list will be different for you, but the same story is repeated almost with everyone. Now when you have so many devices, they need power to work. Alright most of them have a rechargeable set of batteries, which you can charge and use. And then for each of these devices, you have an adapter, which you have to put in the mains to use. The mains in India is at 230 V AC, most of the devices, that I use at least, are working at much lower DC voltages 3, 5, 9 and 12 V being the common ones. The adapters covert the AC of the mains line to DC. This is basically a step down transformer with a bridge rectifier. Now what happens to the excess power from the mains? This is just lost as heat to the ambient! How hot does your charger get at times? Now that we have so many devices which require DC power supply, won't it be a logical solution to provide for a DC power line also. This will save so much power from the mains, being just used to heat the adapter. The power requirement [read wattage] of the DC line won't be high. So this need not be even provided by the state. One can have independent inputs for each building. Fixing solar panelson the terrace, and then driving the DC line through these panels will an effective way. The new buildings that are coming up, can be made mandatory to have this structure. This will achieve two goals, as I see it. First one, it will make the load on the main line, by at least some amount. If you just take the cell phones, they say there are more than 10 crore of them in India. Each one of them charges the other day, and this continues throughout the year. Even with a small wattage requirement for charging of just one cell phone, when scaled to a national level, the number is rather large. And then we say we don't have enough power. The second one is that it will make the users independent producers of their own power. The initial cost maybe high, but in the long run, this will certainly pay off.
 Some of the chargers, adapters that I have.

Apart from devices mentioned above, don't think that your regular desktop computer is not wasting any power. Any regular desktop has a SMPS [Switched Mode Power Supply]. These are really devices which are the adapters for your desktop. They take in 230 V AC and convert it to 12 and 5 V DC supply. With CRT monitors it was almost impossible to have a complete DC system for desktop computers. But now with LCD and LED monitors, we can have a complete DC machine architecture. When you are using the normal UPS on a desktop machine, you are triply wasting power. First when you are converting 230 V AC to the 12 V DC in the battery [most of the UPS that I have seen have a12 V DC battery] in the UPS batteries. Secondly when the mains is off you are coverting 12 V DC  into 230 V AC. Thirdly then you again convert this 230 V AC, which you have just now converted from a 12 V DC, to 5 and 12 V DC. Great! And this is how you want to achieve efficiency. Simple solutions to basic problems like these can cause a lot of energy to be saved...

Now I will divulge a bit from what I have said till now. Now the theme is a bit different...

The Problem of Vidharbha...

I come from Vidharbha, the land in the central part of India. The Eastern part of Maharastra. And also the powerhouse for the state. Most of the thermal power plants are in Vidharbha. The plight of people here is the worst. With so many power plants around, the region still faces acute shortage of power. The reason, the rest of the state has to be supplied the power. And mind you most of the ministers of the state are not from Vidharbha, so the people here are in the bottom of the priority list. Just remember the suicide of the farmers and what the state has done about it.
In my last visit I could see a paradoxical situation, which has been etched on my mind. I saw a thermal power plant, burning all its coal, giving out all its steam, producing all its electricity and transfering it all to the main power lines. But... But from where I was standing and watching this huge power plant fully in operation, there was no power. The load shedding was ON. The irony was that one could watch the power being generated in the plant, but it was not for the people whose land, air and water were polluted, it was for the elite people in the West...