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Monday, December 28, 2015

DNA - Superstorage

DNA the fundamental building blocks of life comprised of the following four nucleotides Adenine(A),Guanine(G),Cytosine(C) and Thiamine(T). As shown in the figure below DNA's structure is like a spiral staircase. One vertical end of the staircase is a sequence of the above four nucleotides.

Each step of this spiral staircase comprises of a bond between A-T or G-C. Hence the other vertical end of the DNA comprises of the corresponding nucleotides. So if there is A in one end of the step, there would be T at other end of the step. If there is G at one end of the step, there would be C at the other end of the step.

The structure is pretty simple to understand.

Now digital data comprises of a sequence of 0s and 1s. It exists like 01001100001011100.... . Now in places of 0s and 1s if we replace the digital data with with the above nucleotides by coding A=00,C=01,G=10,T=11 ; then we get a sequence of DNA. Of course we can produce the other helix by associating A to C (vice - versa) and G to T(vice versa).

Now a recent research has shown that a gram of DNA can store 455 exabytes of data.
(1exabyte =270 bytes). All the data that is there in the internet is much less than 455 exabytes. So we can actually store all the data of the world in a small test tube containing around one gram of DNA. 

The researchers have also come out with a a way to preserve the data for a long period of time taking inspiration from the way nature preserved dinosaur's DNA information for millions of years.

From this research it is clear that in the future DNA can be a potential supercompact storage medium(although it is not clear how fast we will be able to access the data.) . We have many grammes of DNA in our bodies, this shows that the amount of data in our bodies exceeds the amount of data we have in the world. 

More information about this research can be found from the following link

Friday, December 18, 2015

Green Energy Awareness

One of the most wonderful thing to see around is the public awareness regarding ecology today as compared to the past. Most educated people are excited with the prospect of what solar energy and other green energies have to offer.

The city of Delhi, where the number of private vehicles has increased exponentially is going through a huge air pollution problem. Delhi now is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Living in Delhi has become a health hazard for many because of this. To counter the pollution problem the Delhi Government has decided to halve the number of private cars on the road.

Delhi Government plans to allow only odd numbered vehicles on one day and even number vehicles on the other, for six days a week. An exception has been made for single women driving cars. On Sunday all vehicles are allowed to ply on the road. Most people in Delhi believe that this move by the Delhi Government will cause problems in transportation. But majority of Delhites agree that this move is absolutely necessary for their and their family's health.

The major pollutant in Delhi is vehicular pollution hence halving the number of cars on the roads will reduce air pollution to a certain extent. This ruling gives an opportunity to many car pooling companies and they are now offering car pooling services. There are people who have decided to share their cars while commuting to office.

Delhi air pollution statistics are so alarming that the Supreme Court of India has taken note and has passed an order to stop registration of diesel cars in Delhi. The Delhi government is also planning to run extra buses during the period when the odd even formula is in place. Also vehicles going to other states will be diverted from Delhi.

The ultimate solution of car pollution is to avoid the use of fossil fuels. In India we already have battery operated e-rickshaws plying on the roads. They emit zero pollutants as compared to auto-rickshaws that run on petrol or diesel. Again petrol or diesel auto rickshaws are doped with kerosene which produces a big amount of harmful smoke. 

In India, Mahindra Reva produces electric car, it has recently launched the four-seater version of the car. The four seater version of the car is a hybrid version that gives a mileage of 116 kmpl. Such hybrid cars and electric cars like the ones produced by Tesla motors are surely the future of cars. We need cars like that badly. They would not only help cut down emissions but also save India a lot of money, when it comes to importing oil from Gulf countries. 

As I have mentioned earlier in this blog, the global renewable energy innovation is at its peak. It has forced the prices of oil to come down. Solar, Wind and Tidal energy are so promising that in the future the cost of energy produced from these sources can be potentially cheaper than the price we pay today for fossil fuel energy. The greatest advantage will be that we will get energy without any pollution whatsoever. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Low Oil Prices Globall - the reason

Around two years ago, the price of Crude Oil Globally was well above $114. However in the last 18 months or so the global oil prices have come down significantly and for the last many months the price of oil has been hovering around $40. Although, if you live in India you won't have felt the impact since the Indian government did not reduce the prices of petrol(gasoline) and diesel proportionately.

Now the question obviously rises, What is the cause of the drop in oil prices? Many say Russia started attacking Ukraine, so the western economies wanted to bring Russia down and convinced OPEC to boost production of oil that brought down the prices of oil. 

Russia has been severely affected due to the drop in oil prices. Rouble has lost lot of value, at the moment it is half of its peak value. Russian economy does depend a lot on crude oil exports. Russia has some of the largest reserves of crude oil in the world. 

However there is one more significant factor that has to be taken into consideration. Globally renewable and green energy technology is developing fast. The prices of solar power is almost at par with conventional energy and tremendous amount of research is being done globally on harnessing the power of the sun. Solar cells are getting cheaper and more efficient. Even cloudy nations like Germany are leaders when it comes to utilization of solar power. 

Secondly, researchers are also working on technologies to create petroleum from coal at a low price. The technology already exists for decades but it is becoming more and more economical now. 

Cars run on petrol(gasoline) or diesel. Research on electric cars have been done since the time of Thomas Alva Edison. However only now the electric cars manufactured by Tesla motors has become a rage in West. Even in countries like India, we have Mahindra Reva manufacturing electric cars. Again the running cost of electric cars, both Tesla and Mahindra Reva is very low as compared to conventional fuel cars. The maintenance cost of electric vehicles is also comparatively low. 

All the above mentioned facts are serious threat to the future demand of crude oil. Add to that USA which once was an oil importing nation, today exports oil. Hence globally the oil prices have come down and as long as the world focuses on green energy, the oil prices will stay down. 

The burning of fossil fuel is responsible for global warming and pollution in cities, rivers and seas. So the consumption of fossil fuel has to minimized for the sake of humanity. There is enough green energy that nature provides us, we just have to tap into them, to live a cleaner, greener, happier and healthier life. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Urban Farm

I recently came across this video on the Internet that shows how a family of four is growing not only its own food but also is selling it. Their farm is just one tenth of an acre but using their knowledge they are able to organically grow 6000 lbs of food every year. 

Not only do they produce food for themselves but they produce enough to make a profit of $20,000 each year with which they are able to by stuff that they are not able to produce. Its a wonderful example of how people can become self reliant in terms of food even in modern times. 

Their farm is in California where water is in short supply so they are using ancient methods of irrigation. Their home is green they mostly use electricity from solar cells. Then they get free supply of used oils from local restaurants to whom they supply their produce. With that used oil they make bio diesel which they use in their cars. 

Watching this video I can't help thinking that the farmers in India can learn a lot from this family. 

Do watch the video. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


First of all lets consider the example of matchstick or a lighter. You rub your matchstick against the rough surface of the matchbox to ignite it. The head of a matchstick comprises of chemicals that catches fire when subject to high amount of heat. The heat is generated because of the friction originating due to the rubbing of the match head over the rough surface of the matchbox. The surface is purposefully made rough so as to maximise friction. 

Similarly in case of a cigarette lighter, friction of the roller with a piece of metal results in sparks that ignite the fuel.

A wheel rolls on the surface of the road because of friction. Although it must be noted that a wheel is actually designed to minimise friction. It is very difficult to move a body with a flat surface because as the surface area in contact with the road increases, the amount of friction encountered by a body on its motion also increases.

It won't be possible for us to walk without friction. It is because of the friction between our feet and the surface of the road that we are able to stand steadily on a road.

Before the invention of matches the ancient humans used to light fire by rubbing two flint stones against each other. In America, which back then was cutoff from the civilized world, the American natives used to light fire using a bow and a wooden spindle by making it spin against a wooden surface. Again friction played a major part in lighting fire. 

Friction has negative effect as well. Friction between different parts of a machine increases the temperature of the machine and because of that there is wear and tear in different parts of the machine. To overcome this different parts of the machines are oiled from time to time.

In vehicles grease is used to minimise friction between different components. At high temperatures graphite is used as a lubricant and it does the function of minimizing friction between moving parts. The major reason of using graphite in place of oil at height temperatures is that at high temperatures oil may catch fire, but graphite wont. 

Writing on paper is possible because of friction. It is the friction between the paper and pencil that leads to deposition of a layer of graphite over the area from which the pencil passes. If you pour oil over a piece of paper and then if you try to write on it you won't be able to do so since oil would significantly reduce the amount of friction between the paper and pencil/pen.

Mountain climbers when they climb on mountains with lots of snow wear shoes with metal spikes. The metal spikes help them to get a better grip over the surface, since a surface with lot of snow will offer very little friction because of which a person climbing a mountain may slide.

Thus the phenomena of friction is very important and we must use our intelligence to make best use of it. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mind, Brain, Perception and Illusion

The brain is the hardware, the mind is the real software. Now the brain is connected to different organs like eyes, ears, nose, tongue and also neurons from the brain are spread across the entire body, right up to the tip of the skin.

Now lets take the example of eye, the structure of eye is interesting. It comprises of lens and a focusing screen called the retina, the eye also has pupil that controls the amount of light entering the eye. 

The lens of our eye is a convex lens, if you have ever used a convex lens to focus light coming from a great distance on a wall, you would have seen the image that forms on the wall would be upside down. 

The same happens with the human eye. The retina is directly connected to a part of the brain that sends the signals of the image to the part of the brain that processes this signals and creates the image in our mind. This also implies that by altering the light entering the brain we can actually create a false impression of reality. The world that we see in front of us is in our mind. 

Similarly ear, our eardrums vibrate to the various frequencies that reaches it(the medium of sound waves being air) and within a certain range our brain is able to perceive the sound. What reaches the brain is the nerve signal generated due tot he the vibration of the eardrum and it is processed in the brain and then we realize that we are hearing a sound. 

Similar phenomenon happens with the nose and tongue as well which leads to the sense of smell and taste respectively. The system is similar to your computer. 

The camera is essentially the input device that sends the the data, it is converted to digital form and the corresponding image or sound is generated and then displayed on the monitor. 

Now imagine someone puts a colored glass in front of the camera. What you will see is that the images that are shown on the monitor are of different color as compared to the original. 

If someone uses a monocular in front of the camera. The image that we will get will give wrong information about the depth of the object from the camera. They would appear way more closer than they actually are. We see the example of this in cricket broadcasts, don't we, we can even see the gum a batsman is chewing even the the camera is over a 120 metres away. 

Light bends around a massive body this is well known and established fact, since we know by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity that the mass wraps the space around itself so space around a mass is curved. So the stars that we see in the may well be located in a different position. The light waves coming from them might have bent around a black hole.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Electronics development

Something very commonly observed with electronics manufacturing is that when it is done on a large scale, the price per product comes down drastically. In 2002 a mobile phone with a monophonic ringtone and black screen, that can only be used for sending sms and making calls would have costs someone Rs 5000 or more. Those phones are completely obsolete now, today even camera phones are available at below Rs 1000. 

The reason is that electronics equipments are all about some well fabricated silicon chips, metals, glass and plastics. The machines and the processes to build them are expensive. However when the manufacturing is done on a large scale the price per product comes down. That is why you find electronic equipments getting cheaper and cheaper. 

You can look at the examples of micro SD cards, in 2006 a 250 Mb micro SD card would have cost you Rs 500, but today a 16 Gigabyte micro SD card will cost you around Rs 325. 

Electronics gadgets are all about human intelligence applied to materials. Particularly semiconductors like silicon, germanium and in the future we will have electronics made out of carbon nanotubes . The major cost component of the electronic devices is the Research and Development involved in developing the product. That is why the microprocessors of computers are so expensive in spite of the fact the material in the microprocessors are nothing but plastics,silicon, germanium and metals.  

When it comes to electronics it is not about the materials but the function of the device, like incase of microprocessors what matters is  how many floating point operations(flops) it execute in one second. 

One more thing observable in case of electronic devices is that the initial products are invariably bigger in size than the later products. As time goes on the products become smaller and more affordable.
We have all seen that in case of computers, radio sets and music players.   

Once upon a time computers were so big that they would fill the entire room, require huge amounts of electricity but as technology developed, computers became exponentially faster, smaller, cheaper and today it consumes a fraction of the amount of energy as compared to the computers of the 50s or 60s.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

ISROs Aditya L1

To study the Sun , ISRO planned an expedition called Aditya 1, but after the success of Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO upgraded the mission, the mission will now be called Aditya L1.

This will be a multiple payload mission instead of the previously planned single payload mission. 

This are the objectives and expected payloads of the mission taken from a reliable link :-
Objectives ::

1. To study the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)
CME is a massive burst of gas and magnetic field arising from the solar corona and being released into the solar wind.

2. To study the crucial physical parameters for space weather such as the coronal magnetic field structures, evolution of the coronal magnetic field etc.

Payloads ::
Similar to MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) it will carry multiple payloads for better solar data collection. Expected payloads in Aditya-L1 mission:

1. Solar Ultraviolet Image Telescope (SUIT): 
To observe the whole solar disc for solar storms which impact atmosphere on the earth.

2. Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC):
To study the diagnostic parameters of solar corona dynamics and origin of CMEs.

3. Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS):
To monitor the X-ray flares for studying the heating mechanism of the solar corona.

4. High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): 
To study explosive energy release, acceleration and transport of electrons using fast timing measurements and high resolution spectral studies.

5. Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX):
To study the variation of solar wind properties as well as its distribution and spectral characteristics.

6. Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA)
To understand the composition of solar wind and its energy distribution.

 In the original mission the plan was to place the satellite in a Low Earth Orbit(LEO), however in the upgraded mission, the satellite is supposed to be placed at Lagrangian point L1. 

Now comes the question what is Lagrangian L1 point. For the system of Earth and the Sun, the Lagrangian point will be 1.5 million kilometers away from the earth, towards the sun(in such a way that the sun, L1 point and the earth will be in one straight line.), at L1 point the orbital period of the object around the sun will be equal to the orbital period of the earth. 

Originally the mission was scheduled to be launched in 2015-2016 period. However the upgraded mission will be launched in 2017-2018.

The original cost of the mission was supposed to be ₹500 million. However the upgraded mission will cost around ₹1000 million or a little more. That's less than ₹1 per Indian.

An update:- 21/12/2015

Aditya L1's launch has been deferred to  2019-2020, the budget has been increased to ₹3780 million. It will be carrying 7 payloads.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Books and E-books

Reading is said to be the best hobby a man can have. Books are an excellent source of information and knowledge. After the invention of printing press, paper books became cheaper and more accessible to the people of Europe, as a result many of them were able to read The Bible and other works of Aristotle, Socrates and many other scholars directly and that started the Renaissance over there. It must have kicked off the scientific curiosity among young students since they now had access to all known scientific principles and know how of the time. So books have had great influence in the advancement of mankind. 

Now how is a book made? It is made from paper. How do we make paper? What is required to make paper? Wood pulp. To get wood pulp we have to cut down trees and that's where the problem starts. Current population of the world is 6 billion plus. To manage the paper requirement of the entire world, one has to cut down millions of trees. For a world that is already going through a grave problem of deforestation and global warming, this is bad. 

But in technology we find solutions to our problems and also get lots of extra advantages as well. Today people have access to tablets, smart phones, laptops and desktop computers. Digital versions of books, better known as e-books can easily be read through any of the four mediums. Desktop screen maybe uncomfortable for reading books, since one has to look forward instead of looking down. However with tablets and smart phones, one easily keep them in any position and read the content. 

E-books gives plenty of advantages. With traditional paper books one has go through an entire process of printing the books and then getting them transported to the desired location, with e-books just creating one digital copy is more than enough. Just upload a digital copy of your book in pdf, epub or any other format and it can be downloaded by anyone, living in any part of the world, through the Internet. 

Earlier people had to visit libraries to read books. Now they can simply download the books at the click of a button. School and collage libraries had to stack multiple copies of essential books, this takes up lots of space, however with digital books there is virtually no space requirement. 

Another advantage with digital books is that one can adjust the size of the letters(fonts) depending on the eyesight of the reader. Again if one wants, he/she can use a text to speech software to hear the books. So people without vision can actually hear a book being read with the help of a speech to text software. 

Since cost of paper,printing, transportation and storing books are eliminated, ebooks are normally much cheaper than paper books. With ebooks now no one has to wait in library for days to get a copy of their favourite book for reading. 

Many times people have complained that kids are turning away from reading because of computers, cable television and other digital gadgets. The problem that is created by technology has its solution in technology itself. With Ebooks one can carry a library, in fact many libraries in just one single micro SD card. Today people no longer have to depend on libraries for books. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Israel and Japan are examples of two prosperous countries that have very little in terms of natural resources, but in spite of that they have progressed tremendously in the fields of science and technology. Israel in particular, Israel is essentially a desert with a population of mere 8.3 million people, half the population of Delhi.

However its achievements in the fields of Science and Technology is really impressive, it has a high concentration of scientists and engineers as compared to the population. The percentage of scientific articles published out of Israel is 10 times higher than global average, when you take the population into consideration.

Israel is essentially a man made oasis in the middle of a desert. The country gets very little rain, but lots of sunlight. Israel has intelligently tapped into this resource. Israel leads the Global Cleantech Innovation Index. Israel is the world's largest per capita user of solar water heaters at home.

The Drip Irrigation System was developed by Simcha Blass and his son Yesayahu in Israel. The drip irrigation system has been vital for Israel since it gets very little rain. By using technologies like drip irrigation, green house shading, climate control, irrigation, fertigation, greenhouse water recycling and biological control of plant disease and insects. Israel has been able to achieve excellent production of food, it is not only self sufficient in food but it also exports agricultural products to other countries.

Israels are world leaders in arms research and produce some of the most advanced military equipments in the world. India imports the Heron Military Drones and many other military equipments from Israel. Israel is advanced in medicine and pharma sectors as well. For a small nation Israel has produced quite a few Nobel laureates in the fields of science.

In spite of being a very small nation devoid of any real natural resources, Israel has come a long way and it has become an example of excellence in the fields of science and technology. A tiny nation surrounded by hostile neighbourhood, but by the power of its know how in science it is able to beat them down. India and other nations should learn from Israel. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Laughter - a natural medicine and energy booster.

Laughter is said to be the best medicine, indeed it is. We know very well that laughter keeps us healthy and happy. There are studies after studies done that show this. Laughter releases  endorphins that gives an overall sense of well being and it even relives pain temporarily.

Laughter is a an excellent medicine for the heart, which keeps it healthy by improving the function of the blood vessels, blood flows more freely thus preventing heart attacks and heart failures. It is a well known fact that laughter helps to eliminate stress, anxiety, even pain.

Being in a happy state of mind is very important to stay healthy. Having a good sense of humor helps a person to be in very good state of physical and mental health. One thinks better and does his work well.

A good sense of humor helps in making friends and having good camaraderie at workplace. Millions of people go to laughter clubs just to have a hale and hearty laugh so that it keeps them happy and healthy. 

In today's world huge number of people suffer from stress and stress related illness. Stress leads to production of Cortisol in the body it is a chemical that leads to heart disease. Research has shown that laughter reduces cortisol levels in the body, thus reducing the chances of heart attacks, heart failures and other heart illnesses. 

Laughter increases the production of antibodies in bloodstream and saliva thus boosting the immune system. This antibodies would kill harmful bacterias and other parasites. Research has shown that laughter also helps in reducing skin ailments, people suffering from eczema have reported better complexions when they had been constantly shown funny movies for a long period of time. 

We all know from our personal experience that laughter is a natural energy booster. Many cancer treatment centres have incorporated laughter therapy to keep their patients in a positive frame of mind. Being in a positive frame of mind is important for success in every sphere of life. 

So make it a point to laugh a lot, share jokes with your family,friends and colleagues and watch funny movies. 

Low Cost Internet Access

In today's world it is very important for people to have access to the Internet. Unfortunately today 2/3rd of the world or more than 4 billion people don't have access to Internet. A major portion of the population of the developing world does not have access to the Internet. Even people living in many cities of the developing world don't have access to the Internet, the reason is that they can't afford to have a connection.

Internet should be considered a basic human right and it should be provided freely by the governments. As we all know that Google Loons will soon launch its loons Internet project in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Google Loons has improved its processes and technology since  it first started, the speed has also gone up to 4G levels of 10 Mbps.

Another way of providing cheap Internet service to the people is by using light itself. We already have the Li-Fi technology to transmit wireless data by simply using an LED light. But this idea is no expanded over a wide area. In the below video it is shown how data can be sent by using an off the shelf LED lamp and an off the shelf small solar panel.

The solar panel itself acts as the receiver of data. The Light from the LED lamp lead to a generation of current in the circuit made with the solar panel. As we know digital data is all about 0s and 1s, so there would be a constant variance in the intensity of light, which would result in variance in the voltage of the solar panel circuit. This lower and higher data would encode for 0 and 1 respectively.

The change in the intensity of light would vary depending on the input data. This change would be very very fast for the human eye to realize. Speeds up to 50 Mbps have been already achieved. In the very near future, using this technology, LED streetlights can be used to transmit free wireless Internet data.

In this TED video, a particle demonstration of this technology has been shown with a live demonstration to the audience. This light based wireless Internet system would considerably reduce the cost of Internet access. Thus it would make it possible for governments to provide unlimited and fast Internet across to all their citizens. 

Access to Internet will change lives of billions of people across the world and researchers are constantly working on technologies that make Internet access cheaper, faster and better. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

A set of TED videos on inventions that made expensive things very very cheap.

One of the main targets of technological innovation is to make unaffordable things affordable. Here are certain innovations that made products significantly cheaper do find some time to watch them. 

I decided to share them since in case I post it on social media, the links are likely to be lost.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How to make children(and adults) love Science

What is science? It is search of man about the physical world. How everything in nature works? What are the various laws that govern various physical phenomenon like motion, gravity etc. As human beings one thing is common among all of us "curiosity". It is our curiosity to know and understand nature that helps us learn. This inbuilt curiosity in humans have led to the development of science. Scientific knowledge in humans has gone up manifold since humans first discovered fire and the rate of increase in this knowledge is also going up. 

It is science that has propelled the growth of technology. After all technology is implementation of various scientific principles in physical systems. Without science you won't have any technology. When invented the wheel and understood that a circular object like the one shown in the picture below will move the fastest. He built carts, the later on he built chariots. He was able to harness the circular motion of the wheel to create pottery. Chariots and carts made his life easier, carts made transportation and travel faster and pots helped him to store water. Hence he did not have to visit the river, pond or any other source of water when he was thirsty. 

The simple examples given in the above two paragraphs show how important science and technology are to our lives today. However a big number of people in the world stay away from science in general and mathematics in particular. It is all because of the way in which this subjects are taught in schools and collages. 

In schools normally when the fear of maths is encountered when algebra is taught to the kids and in high schools a good proportion of students develop some hatred or fear towards physics. However the reality is both maths and physics are beautiful subjects once you begin to understand them. The real culprit of this fear psychosis is the methodology of teaching this subjects, forced homework and so on. 

Children are gifted with natural imagination and all of us know that children love to play. Now the way in which science and even maths should be taught to children, should be in form of some play or game, that would help to create interest towards science in the minds of kids. 

Recently I have come across this beautiful TED video, that shows how one can make  kids fall in love with science and not only that, you will see in this video how kids' imagination is being harnessed to create useful products. Do watch this video you will definitely love it.

The more we are able to make kids love science and technology, the more scientists and inventors we will get in the future. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The future of Agriculture

Inventions in science and technology has always changed the way in which we lived our lives. In ancient times if someone has to travel a thousand miles he would do it on foot, it would take months for him to reach his destination. After that of course man learnt how to tame animals and make them his pets. So humans tamed horses and started using it for travelling. In time humans learnt to built carriages to which he can tie more than one horse and use horse carts and chariots. As his skills improved he built bicycles, motorcycles, cars, aeroplanes and ultimately spacecrafts that left the gravitational of earth. 

We see the influence of technology in every sphere of our lives. Can farming stay away from it? Farming is perhaps the most vital among all occupations. It is only because of farming that we are able to get food otherwise life would have been very very difficult for us the humans, most of us would die starving. 

Now lets see how farming is done. You have a piece of land first of all you dig it up to make it nice and loose and then put natural and artificial manure over it in proper amounts. Then you have to plant the seeds of the desired crops in a recommended way so as to get maximum crop yield. The seeds have to be supplied with a proper amount of water and when the plants come out, it has to be protected against pests, diseases and other natural factors. 

Now most of the above mentioned activities can be done by machines that can be controlled remotely using a remote control or better artificially intelligent machines can be used to do the above mentioned activities in a pre programmed fashion. So very little human effort is required to farm over a large area of land. What's required more is human intelligence. 

So with constant improvements in biotechnology and genetic engineering we will have higher yields from the fields with less and less human effort. Now that implies for countries like India, where 50% to 60% of the population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture as a source of their livelihood, physical labour of most farmers won't be needed. 

So what will happen to major portion of the population that is involved in agriculture. Well they must be supplied their basic needs free of cost since they are the ones who own land. In the future it will surely be possible to grow amounts of food items the would surpass the need of humankind many times over, but with this here comes a problem - having free access to basic needs will make people lazy. 

We see that in affluent families where people have access to so much that they don't need to work for the rest of their lives. Yet they work hard some of them start their own business and many get into social work. A man normally is not able do his best work when he has to work, a man does his best work when he loves to do his work. 

Free access to basic resources like food, water, health and residence will give people to practice the profession of their choice, do what the want to do without worrying too much about money. Many people in the world have to give up on their dreams and do what they don't like just for the sake of money. So many potential researchers end up in the corporate boardrooms selling lipsticks, liquor or underwear. 

Returning back to the main subject of this blog, in the future we will see more and more usage of technology in farming. You will definitely see robots of all shapes and sizes tilling vast areas of land, seeding the land , controlling the flow of water and controlling pests as well. The cost of farming will come down drastically and so will the cost of farm products. 

Technology can be a great boon for people if implemented intelligently. 

Friday, October 2, 2015


Hinduism and Buddhism have strong beliefs in the concepts of rebirth. According to the ancient religious texts of Hinduism, the body is not the real man, but it is the soul, the body is just like a cloth that the soul changes and that the soul moves from one birth to another.

The concept of rebirth is closely related to the concept of Karma and Soul. Now Karma is any action that is done which produces a result. Every Karma has good and bad results, but basically there is good Karma and there is bad Karma. The examples of good karma are speaking truth, donating food and clothes to the poor, helping others etc. The examples of bad karma are lying, treachery, cheating, killing others etc.

However one must understand that no Karma is 100% good or 100% bad. For example, while donating food and clothes to the needy is an excellent act of kindness, when done too much may make people lazy or donating money to people who would misuse them becomes bad Karma.

Similarly some bad actions can have good results. For example, speaking a lie for a good purpose is better than a thousand truths. A real life example is I know about a kid who once stole money from his mother's wallet, to give it to his friend who actually used the money to pay his exam fees and was only then able to give the exam and pass it.

The boy who stole the money was badly beaten up and punished by his mother. After passing the exam the other boy got a job and he came to this boy's home with a box of sweets and returned the money that he borrowed.

The boy who stole the money actually had lied to his mother that he spent all the money. Had he not lied to his mother and stole the money, his friend won't have been able to give the exam and he would have never got the job. The lie that the boy told his mother changed his friend's life. Such a lie that is told for good purpose is worth more than a thousand truths.

So basically in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies it was believed that every man/woman had a rebirth depending on the Karma that he has done. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth continued till the person attained moksha or nirvana by the effect of his/her virtuous Karma.

We do observe in nature that each and every action produces a reaction. There are thousands of examples of people recalling their past lives like this news report News Of Rebirth
. There are many great spiritual giants like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna who have confirmed the theory of rebirth.

In our lives we see examples of kids 3 or 4 years old born with exceptional talents. Some are excellent painters, some can sing and play musical instruments wonderfully well. In fact so well that even adults cannot match their levels of excellence.

Here is example of six year old Niharika Nath, just listen to the song,  very few adults can match her (Niharika song ). 

So the question is from where do this kids get this talents? Talent really is a mere word or excuse to run away from an explanation of the phenomenon. Definitely it is their past life work or actions that they have done, that has resulted in their present talents.

All the monks and spiritual masters of India worked with one target in mind, liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. They believed that their meditations, prayers etc. would ultimately result in them attaining the state of moksha(or nirvana), if not in this birth then in the next birth. Till today there are millions who follow this theory and carry out their spiritual practices.

According to Swami Vivekananda the memory of our previous birth is stored in our subconscious mind which the Yogi(a high end Rajyoga practitioner) can realize by constant practice and celibacy. Although knowledge of past birth may not always be that good.

One day surely science will discover the phenomenon and mechanism of rebirth. I just hope that day comes soon and it happens in my lifetime. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Lets begin with an example, in most Indian homes cooking gas is delivered not via pipelines but through LPG cylinders, which basically contains butane gas with a little mercaptain added to it ( Mercaptain is added so that in case of a cylinder leakage, the user gets some odor and takes steps to prevent a fire). Now Butane is a highly inflammable gas. Suppose the entire cylinder leaks and matchstick or a lighter is struck then it can result is a devastating explosion and fire. The gas is the source of energy, when energy is uncontrolled and in huge amounts it can cause havoc.

Now if the same gas is in the cylinder and we put a regulator that controls the flow of the gas to the oven. When you light up the oven, you have a controlled amount of fire on which you can cook.

The above example shows us the importance of control and regulation. It is important in every sphere of life.
Control is vital and important in every activity. Without proper controls no system can be built. The human body has control systems in form of hormones that control the rate at which we are going to grow and the extent to which we are going to grow. When the cell division of our body goes beyond control is results in cancer.

The heart pumps blood to every organ of our body. The amount of blood that is pumped is in a regulated amount. If this control is not there and the heart beats in a haphazard fashion, the blood flow to different organs may go too high or too low at times which may damage the organ.

The electronics that you use Televisions ,Refrigerators , air-conditioners , fans etc all have control systems that controls the amount of power that is drawn from the power source. If there is too much power the device maybe damaged, if there is very little power the device will not work. Again appliances like refrigerator , aircontioners have control systems that controls the temperature of each part of the appliance. Without it the appliance will not achieve the target for which it was made.

The above examples gives us an idea that every system, whether it is man made or natural has to have good control systems otherwise the existence of a system is not possible.

In the yogic practice of Pranayama the yogi first tries to control the vital force of life(Prana) by controlling his breath. The breath is like the fly wheel of body, it is not exactly the breath but the lung motion that is first of all controlled, as a result the nerve impulses that control the lung motion are brought under control, from this the brain and various nerve currents running across the body are brought under control after that , thoughts are brought under control and then, the cause of energy the vital force or Prana' is brought under control.

We see the concept of control everywhere but it is so common that we tend to give very little importance to it. There is so much to learn if we again start questioning,observing and analysing every little event happening around us like a child.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Knowledge and Superstitions

One trait common among all individuals is curiosity. As man evolved into more and more intelligent species his curiosity levels kept going up. While others animals were content with eating, drinking, sleeping and having sex, man went a step further. Humans wanted to know, who they are and how did their existence, the existence of everything came into being.

Why did the sun exist, why after sunset there were stars and what did the stars really show. What is the moon and why did the moon exist. Then came the theory of God, someone must have created us and that's God. So humans started praying, sacrificing, worshipping etc to please god. Humans started regarding the Sun, Water and other stars and planets as gods.

Thousands of stories and blind beliefs came into existence that some demon was responsible for the solar and lunar eclipse. The demon gulped up the sun or the moon for some time and then released it. When people got frightened they started remembering their creator, about which they had heard stories from others and about whom, a lot was written by their ancestors.

Conditions got so worse that anyone questioning the things written in ancient texts was persecuted. Copernicus, when he proposed that the Sun was at the centre of the solar system and other planets including the earth revolved around it was burned to death by the Catholic Church. Galileo was jailed and not released until he apologised.

But ultimately with development in science and technology we knew that most of things that were written in old books had no basis in terms of reality. The sun was no god but a massive sphere of hydrogen nuclei in plasma state of matter, this hydrogen nuclei are constantly undergoing nuclear fusion reaction.

So this is how various superstitions regarding the universe finally disappeared. Superstitions exists in every culture , everywhere around the world. However all the superstitions are dispelled by scientific discoveries.

Superstition hold people back and instill unnecessary fears. Till today there are people who believe in astrology, now astrology was based on the relative positions of the stars that could be seen by the naked eye. Trillions of other stars exist that cannot be seen through the naked eye. Again isn't it hilarious that the universe can actually tell what is gonna happen to us in the future. But being fearful about the feature makes them belive in all the junk that astrologers tell people. 

The priests, astrologers, babas all tap into people's fears and run their business, where there is ignorance there is superstition. Such superstitions were responsible for degradation of India, from a strong and rich nation to a weak and poor nation. Till today the nation suffers because of ignorance and blind beliefs. 

The biggest detriment to India's progress has been population explosion since Independence. A simple operation could have stopped many people from having large families, but false beliefs like it may lead to loss of manhood and muscle power prevented millions from undergoing the operation and thus they kept adding kids to their family. The resources of the family was divided, the kids could not be taken care of well because of economic constraints. The result - millions of unhappy, uneducated families and poor families and they live a really pitiable life. 

Knowledge is power, the cause of all unhappiness is ignorance and the cause of contentment and joy is knowledge. Learning is not a one day phenomenon, neither it is done only during formal education. Learning and knowledge acquisition is a life long process.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

India - Future development

In India most of the people are dependent on agriculture as a means of their livelihood. However looking into the future one can clearly see that agriculture would be even more mechanised in the future.Futuristically speaking one can see robots doing the routine tasks with humans guiding them. So one man is enough for hundreds of hectares of land, the challenge of pests can be met through artificial intelligence controlled pest control systems. Biotechnology and genetic engineering will give us higher yielding variety of seeds.

Already there is huge scope of increase of farm productivity in India, advancements in technology will make the farms more productive. Since a huge tract of land can be taken care of by one man, manual labour of hundreds of millions of farmers will not be needed. So how are they going to feed themselves. Well, since the farms productivity will be many times more than what it is today. The government has to make sure that ample resources reach this people. They must have access to food, clothing, medication,education and all the other basic necessities of life. 

It would be interesting to see how this people are deployed in other sectors of the economy. As farmers they are entrepreneurs, the best employment that anyone can have. They have their own land where they can grow the crop of their choice, sell their product in the market. However since a huge section of Indians are involved in farming and area of land per farmer is low, most of the farmers in India are poor. 

Also Indian farming lack lots of basic facilities like availability of 24 hour steady electricity, access to irrigation facilities, pest control. Also remote villages in India lack medical facilities, good roads and lack in terms of quality educational facilities. The answer to all these problems is technology. Education levels must go up among Indians. If that happens they will be able to solve lot of their problems themselves.

Good Education would lead to :-

  • Choosing the correct leaders who will work for them, rather than robbing them.
  • They will understand the value of family planning and keeping their families small by bearing less children.
  • Accessing the Internet and other modes of information and knowledge to maximise their farm productivity and exploring other areas of opportunity. 
In the above point the first point is very important since choosing right leaders is vital for economic prosperity and good law and order in the region. Its because of ignorance that people get fooled by selfish politicians and they in turn loot the masses. 

Consider this fact in the last 10 years along India has added an extra Brazil to its population. Providing good education, medical and other facilities to this rapidly growing population is a big challenge. Had India been able to contain this population growth we would have been a developed nation long ago. This again takes us back to our first point, the importance of good leaders. 

While they are brilliant at campaigning during the elections .Immediately after they get their seats, they forget about the people and are busy filling up their pockets at the cost of ordinary people. They never focused hard on controlling the growth of population and that's why we have come to such a situation today. 

One thing is for sure the cure of almost all of India's problems lies in political will, good education and scientific and technological advancements. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Studying the Universe.

Before we knew that the sun was a gigantic mass of hydrogen atoms in plasma state in which thermonuclear fusion is going on, that is generating lot of energy. The sun was thought to be a God, there were people across the world who thought that they were the descendants of sun. 

In India millions of people practice a set of postures saluting the sun, the practice is known as suryanamaskar. You will find people offering water to sun every morning in India. Many festivals are timed depending on the position of the sun in the sky. Again when solar eclipse used to happen, people were frightened, many thought that some demon was trying to eat the sun. 

The sun, the wind, water , earth were all considered to be gods. So many myths and stories used to exist about the sun god. In Hindu mythology he is considered to be an important god, the ancient sages used to practice yagyas to appease the sun. A yagya is a ritual in which a bunch on sages would sit around a fire, then chant some mantras in Sanskrit while keeping the fire lit up by pouring ghee in it at the end or even in the middle they would sacrifice an animal and thought that it pleased the God. Similar practices existed to appease the rain god(Indra) and other gods. 

So look what ignorance can do, people end up doing all kinds of stupid things. 

Ultimately it was discovered that the sun was but a gigantic mass of hydrogen atoms in plasma state of matter , that is continuously undergoing nuclear fusion reaction, which is generating tremendous amount of energy. A microcosmic fraction of the energy reaches the earth in form of electromagnetic radiation. However this energy is enough for the all the living being on earth. The radiation from the sun has played a vital role in generation, sustenance and continuation of life on earth. 

The sun has no consciousness of its own, so its no god. The sun is just one of the quadrillions of stars that exists in the universe. The study of astronomy has been exciting and it has revealed this truths about the universe. There may huge amount of things about which we are yet not aware of. 

The study of universe is absolutely essential, for the study of  the cosmos is closely linked to our consciousness.  What are we? Aren't we made of the same stuff that blurted out during the big bang. Our bodies comprise of the same matter that constitutes the rest of the universe. We are not different from the universe but we are a part of it and in studying the universe, we are actually on a path of self discovery, about ourselves and our creation. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015


As I mentioned in the earlier blog post matter has a wave like nature along with a particle like nature. However it is only apparent in case of subatomic particles since they have very little mass.  Now because of the wave like nature there is fundamental uncertainty in determining the position of  a subatomic particle. An electron's mass is 9.1X10-31while the mass of a proton is 1.673X10-27kg.

Mathematical calculations for fundamental uncertainty to determine the position of electron actually exceeds the radius of the nucleus of an atom and hence you never find electron inside the nucleus of an atom. 

This fundamental uncertainty is the reason why one cannot plot an exact circular path of the rotation of the electron around the nucleus. One can only plot a probability region where the electron is most likely to be found around the nucleus. Also the wavelike nature of a very light particle like the electron makes its orbit spherical rather than circular.

Electrons are very important because the electricity that is produced is due to the flow of electrons. All electrons carry a negative charge. If you are using a solar cell, the phenomenon by which the electricity if generated is called PhotoElectricity. It works this way:-

The electrons in the outermost shell of the atom are least strongly bound to the nucleus. When this atom absorbs a photon, the photon's energy is transmitted to the atom. If this energy exceeds the binding energy of nucleus and the electron then the electron is release from the atom and it is now a free electron. When this electron is in an electric field, it will travel across the circuit thus generating electricity. The solar panels are made from silicon or germanium and this materials have the property of generating photoelectricity absorbing photoelectrons from visible light. Charge of an electron is about 1.602X10-19 coulomb

Proton carries an equivalent amount of opposite charge but it much heavier than electron, hence it resides inside the nucleus and it is more strongly bound to the nucleus

Wave Magic

Waves or vibrations are an integral part of the universe.

De Broglie showed that matter not only has a particle like nature it also has a wave like nature, only that the wave like nature of matter is not observable to the human eye. The main reason for this is that human eye cannot detect microscopic or subatomic particles. In case of of larger objects the wave lengths is so long that the wave like nature is not apparent.

What are waves. Waves are but regular disturbances in a medium. Sound waves are disturbances in air, while visible light is disturbances in electromagnetic field. The particle of light is known as photon. The energy of a photon is directly proportion to its frequency. Plants absorb this photons from sunlight during the process of photosynthesis. They manufacture their own food by absorbing this photon.

Music is rhythmic sound that tends to have some effect on the mind. Now why does this effect happen? Why do we like certain forms of music or sound like the song of a cuckoo but don't like the unrythmic sound made by a crow. Certain people have the ability generate soul stirring music, how do they have this ability? and why we are so much attracted towards their music? 

We don't realize how much we are surrounded by such waves. The AC electricity that we receive, when its magnitude and direction are plotted in a graph, it would generate a wavelike profile. Our heart that pumps blood to all the parts of the body beats rhythmically. 

The phenomenon of resonance has a very vital importance in tuning musical instruments to the right frequency. This phenomenon is very important and its knowledge is also very important to engineers and scientists. Take the example of Tacoma Bridge disaster , the entire bridge was destroyed because of the phenomenon of resonance, when the natural frequency of the bridge was matched by the frequency produced due to 40 mph winds.

Nicola Tesla once said " If you want to understand the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration". Tesla is one of the greatest scientist of all times and this shows that the study of waves i.e. frequency, vibration, wavelength, resonance etc is very vital. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Ordinary matter can exist in four states, three are most commonly observable to us. The three states that we commonly observe are solid, liquid and gas.

However there exists a fourth state of matter and it happens to be the most common state of ordinary matter in the entire universe, but it is not commonly observed by us on earth. That state of matter is called plasma. 99% of the ordinary matter in the universe is in plasma state. So on earth's surface we are essentially living in an island that is free from matter that is in plasma state. 

In the plasma state of matter is a combination of highly ionised atoms and free electrons. The sun and other stars comprises of hydrogen atoms in plasma state of matter i.e. there is no electrons moving around the nucleus of those atoms they are all positively charged.

High temperatures in the core of the sun, more than 1 million degree Kelvin, results in combining of two Hydrogen nuclei into a Helium nucleus. The mass of the Helium nucleus is slightly less than that of the combined mass of the two Hydrogen atoms, the mass that is disappeared is converted into energy. The magnitude of this energy is equal to 

      Energy = (change in mass)X(velocity of light in vacuum)X(velocity of light in vacuum)

This reaction is called nuclear fusion reaction and the entire energy of the sun and other stars are produced in this way. So although matter in plasma state is not available on the surface of the earth it is important to us. Actually high temperatures at the core of the sun is the reason because of which matter goes into plasma state. Even the thunderbolt of lightening is plasma. 

On earth a small amount of plasma matter can be created by subjecting gases to high magnetic or electric field. Scientists are highly interested in plasma state of matter and lot of research is being done in this direction. 

What we see is not exactly what we get, if you are watching stuff on earth you will be deluded to thinking that matter has only 3 states solid , liquid and gas. But once we searched the universe we found , no that's not correct most of the matter is in plasma state. We don't know how many more secrets that the universe has that we are yet to discover. This search will be an exciting journey for humankind.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The machines of Future and 3D printing

Amazing things are possible in the world of science and technology. Albert Einstein rightly said "Facts can be stranger than fiction". Consider the first computer or the Babbage's analytical engine and compare it to the fastest computer today, or even your desktop/laptop or mobile phone for that matter. Your mobile phone is way more powerful than than the first computer or even computers that were used around 20 years ago.

3D printing is only now catching up, people are mesmerised by the power of 3d printing. The 3D printing machines are getting cheaper, better and faster. Engineers are working on technologies to 3D print houses, already some residential structures are made by 3D printing and that too in a very short amount of time.

Looking forward, with 3D printing technology, in the future we may have 3D printer that can print out other 3D printing machines. Only the raw materials have to be provided to the 3D printers for that purpose.

Now consider the example of a tree. A tree normally germinates out of the seed. It absorbs the nutrients from the soil along with water and with the help of sunlight it carries out the process of photosynthesis and produces its own food. Almost every part of a plant or tree is edible to some animal or other.

Micro-organisms and termites eat the wood; ants, cattle etc eat the leaves and other animals as well as humans can consume the fruits. The fruits themselves contain the seeds that can again give birth to a new plant. This is a beautiful self controlled food generation system of nature.

Now as humans can we intervene and make a 3D printer that can mimic this process. Just as the plants, trees etc absorb nutrients and water from the soil, in a similar way we can provide soil and water as the raw materials to the machine and the machine then converts the soil and water into more basic substances and then produce the stuff that we want be it food, wood or any other organic material. In theory this is possible.

3D printing has achieved the above mentioned dream to some extent. NASA is planning to make 3D printers for astronauts to give them 3d printed food in space. There are already 3D printed artificial animal tissues being made. So it is technologically possible to have 3D printed meat, hence a 3D printed artificial hamburger is a possibility that one cannot deny.

The problems that technology created in the past like air, water and noise pollution have their solutions in technology as well. The air pollution caused by cars and coal fired power plants can be sorted out by utilization of wind, tidal and solar power.

The technology of 3D printing is most promising. In the future our houses, cars and almost everything maybe 3d printed. 3D printed items are also cheaper, there have been prosthetic limbs made for amputees that are customised for their needs and they are cheaper than the traditionally manufactured prosthetics.

 An example is given in the video below.

You can see how this 3D printed prosthetic arm not only costs less but also it is better in terms of functionality since it is customised for the amputee, depending on the structure and functionality of the portion of the body that is incomplete. 

Note that the above video is an example of the current state of technology, this technology will advance in the future and amazing things will be possible.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Carbon is an amazing element, it is an element that has a complete branch of chemistry dedicated it to it Organic Chemistry. Plastic is a kind of hydrocarbon. 

Since its invention plastics have been very popular. First of all Plastics are tough,durable, cheap material ideal for making all kinds of stuff. Plastics helped in reduction of use of wood, thereby saving lots of trees. Almost every stuff that was made of metals or wood began to be replaced by plastics.

Plastics not only helped to reduce the utilization of wood it also reduced the utilization of leather. Today most shoes or any other footwear that are made globally are more often that not made of some kind of synthetic plastic. Although leather has not gone totally out of use but its demand has reduced significantly. Leather is comparatively more expensive than plastic. 

Plastics are used almost everywhere. An advantage plastics have over metal is that plastics are bad conductors of heat and electricity. Again they are cheaper than metals. Today 3D printing technology is gaining prominence and most stuff that is 3d printed is made of ABS plastic. 

The use of plastics is bound to increase, it is predicted that in the future our homes would be made of plastic. Another beautiful compound made from carbon atoms is carbon nanotubes. This carbon nanotubes are 100 times stronger than steel. At the moment carbon nanotubes are expensive but the prices have come down significantly since they were first invented. In future if this carbon nanotubes can be even more cheaper, then we may have all kinds of solid structures built out of them, even cars, bridges and spaceships.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Universe and Life

A great scientist of our times Sir Stephan Hawkings and Russian millionaire Yuri Milner has launched a $100 million project for search of alien species. Now consider this fact that universe in unbelievably vast and there are millions of earth like planets with conditions favourable for existence and evolution of life. 

Now the question is why should living beings be like us, they can be different from us. Intelligent life might have evolved in a different way somewhere else in the universe. Maybe they are gigantic or maybe they are microscopic. Their might be existence of alien life that may not require oxygen at all for their existence. 

Here on earth we can't live at temperatures that are beyond  60 degree Celsius. However there might be existence of living beings somewhere in the universe that maybe tolerant to very high temperatures.

Earth beings can't survive in vacuum because of the internal pressure of the fluids exerted on the cell walls. The cells would burst as soon as they are in vacuum. There maybe existence of intelligent beings that may not be planet based but are free floating space entities. 

In every galaxy there is a massive black hole at the centre around which other bodies or systems rotate, like the sun is rotating around the black hole that is at the centre of the Milky Way. There are galaxies that have a more massive black hole, the velocities of the other planets and stars have to be high enough to prevent them from falling into the black hole. 

Life that might have come into existence on the planets in this galaxies maybe different from us. Living beings evolve generation after generation depending on conditions of the place where they exist. 

"Facts can be stranger than fiction", there might be a massive lot about life in the universe that's waiting to be explored. Just because a planet does not have earth like conditions is no reason why it should not have life,after all what are living beings? A set of entities that survives, reproduces, adapts, evolves becoming higher organisms. 

It is of course a mystery, why life should exist on earth or anywhere else in the universe at all? 

There is so much that remains to be explored about the universe, it would take many Milena to explore it. Its bound to be an exciting journey of discoveries. In every step we will find something new. Maybe someday in this process of discovery we will find God.