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Monday, July 27, 2015

GOODBYE MISSILE MAN

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam former ISRO president who also headed India's missile programme and then former president of India who inspired millions of youngsters in India and across the world to dream,think big and do great things is no more. Today on 27th July 2015 Dr Kalam suffered a heart attack while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong, he was rushed to the hospital where he left for his heavenly abode.

He was not only a great scientist but also a great man who lived a very simple life. Millions of youngsters looked up to him as an inspiration. In recent times he was a man who could be regarded as people's president. 


Dr Kalam is a true Bharat Ratna. His loss is truely a great loss to the nation. Dr Kalam's life, even after his death will be an inspiration to millions of people across the nation and world. 


THANK YOU MISSILE MAN



Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ( 1931 - 2015)

Rest In Peace Kalam Sir.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Nuclear Fuel - Peaceful uses and its future

We know that when mass m is converted into energy E , the magnitude of the energy that would be produced would be huge. It is given by the mass energy relation:

The present day nuclear systems are huge and spanning millions of square metres. However just like other aspects of technology in the future we may have nuclear power plants as small as few cubic centimetres across, that maybe capabled of controlled nuclear fission reaction. The heat generated by such a system maybe used to power steam powered car, power generator or a steam powered machine. 

In case scientists are able to make such a small nuclear reactor that can be safely inserted into a a car and can provide thermal energy to convert water into steam, then we may well have steam powered vehicles and electric generators. A few grammes of nuclear fuel is enough for its operation. 

However this is currently a wild idea considering the dangers of radiations that is emitted during nuclear fission reaction. However we know that with science anything is possible. 100 years ago if you have discussed Internet , space travel and 3d printing with anyone he would have called you crazy. But all the three are reality today. 

Surely in the future when we go for deeper space explorations the propellant in deep space would be nuclear fuel , that would accelerate the spacecraft to high speeds, ideally achieving speeds that are close to the speed of light. Only then the magic of relativistic physics would come into prominence.

When the speed of travel closes on to the speed of light, we can slow down time inside the space craft. The nearest star to earth is Alpha Centauri which is 4.3 light years away from earth. So time taken by a beam of light to get there and then come back to earth is around 8.6  light years.

If by using nuclear fuel we are able to accelerate the spacecraft to speeds that would almost equal the speeds of light . The space craft then can go near the star and come back to earth in about 9 years while time spent by the astronauts in the craft would be a few months. 

Later on when there would be even deeper space explorations the astronauts may come back after doing their research, but the ones who were with them before they departed would have been dead because the mission would have taken over hundred earth years while on the space craft the time period of the space exploration would have been just around a few months or years.  

Probably nuclear fuel is indeed the fuel of distant future, but not anytime soon. 







Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Evolution -Nature's engineering

When a child is born, his entire body is delicate and the brain is at the starting phase of its development. The baby who was living cosily in the embryo of his/her mother is now shocked to see a different environment in front of him.

The natural reaction of the baby is to cry . Since babies are so delicate and frail they need lots of care and attention. That's why nature has made babies cute and there is some instinctive programmes installed in our mind that generates a wave of love and attraction towards babies.







In all mammals , the female that gives birth to the offspring or the mother has some special inbuilt love and attachment towards the baby. Its is this natural inbuilt instinct that is essential for the care and bringing up of the baby. 

Mammals have mammary glands that produce milk after the birth of the baby. This milk is for the nourishment of the baby. A newborn has to be given only one thing milk from the mother's breast. For a certain period of time the baby has to live on that , without it , it won't be possible for the baby to survive. 

This a wonderful engineering of nature that evolved over millions of years. It is believed that life on earth began with single cell creatures and kept evolving in more and more complex and intelligent creatures. 

One question does remain that why on earth life came into existence on earth and why does it keep evolving, getting better and better with passing time. 

There are of course many different kind of theories put forward by people across all times. Some say that we are the creation of some God , but if so where is Mr. God hiding. 

We know today that that across the Milky Way(our Galaxy) and billions of other galaxies across the universe there are trillions or quadrillions of planets that have earth like condition. So it is obvious that out there in the universe there surely is life. There must be intelligent life out there that is far more advanced than us. 

One wonders how do they looks like. How do they reproduce and  what different activities they do. Look how the system of reproduction has evolved on earth, first in case of micro-organisms there used to be asexual reproduction. Then in the plant kingdom we see different kinds of reproduction like in some plants the new offspring comes out of the roots of the existing plants like bamboo, banana etc. Some plants give flowers and fruits , inside the fruit we find the the seeds of the plants , which germinates in soil into new plants. 

Some plants instead of giving fruits directly gives its own seeds that is consumed by humans and animals as food like peas, pulses, coconut, betel nut etc. Its really fascinating to see the evolution of various plants and trees that has happened over millions of years on earth. 

Look in the animal kingdom from single cell organisms animals even a million years ago had evolved into huge dinosaurs and blue whales. Later on more and more intelligent creatures evolved and humans are the most intelligent creatures on the planet. 

Humans are so advanced as compared to other organisms when it comes to the level of intelligence that one is forced to think that humans are possibly a cross between some primate and an other worldly creature. Many a times a question rises in our mind , "Is evolution automatic in nature or is it directed and controlled by some external agency, which people call God".

Throughout the period of existence of humans on earth , this question has been perennially haunting human beings. Someday we will find the answer. 





Monday, July 20, 2015

Energy from Ocean waves

Recently I came across two videos on Inhabitat , that showed almost similar ways of energy generation. Both are tidal power based systems, generating electrical energy from the vertical displacement of water. One wonders why this technique of harnessing tidal power for electricity was developed so late, this could have been done and implemented years ago and it would have saved us from millions of tonnes of Carbon dioxide and SPM emissions.







I have already written a blog about Searaser. The other two videos mentioned above show a simple way of harnessing energy from the waves of sea/ocean. Water being 800 times denser than air contains 800 times more energy. Anyone who has been to the sea, bathed in it would have experienced the power of its waves. Great amount of energy can be produced from the power of tidal waves in the sea and Ocean . Surely its bound to become one of the biggest sources of energy to mankind.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Evolution Not Intelligent Design - GNU/LINUX

Whenever I start my computer and see the screen , I get to see a dream that has evolved over decades of work. It all started with one man Richard Matthew Stallman being unhappy with the state of affairs in the software space , where proprietary software was taking over. They were no longer able to share and modify software between friends and colleagues. The new device drivers that came did not have the source code available for improvement and modification. 

He started the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation(FSF). The target behind starting the GNU project was to come out with an Operating System in which user's will have the freedom to study, modify and distribute the original and modified versions of the software. 

For this purpose the FSF came out with the GNU General Public licence in 1989. The various components were made by contributions from programmers around the world , some of them hired by the FSF. Many did it for free. By 1989 most part of the operating system was ready except for the Kernal. Stallman went for an advanced Kernel design , name Hurd.

The Hurd project did not go according to plans and till today it is under development . However in 1991 and Finnish University student Linus Trovalds started a project to build a little operating system for personal use. He used lots of components made by FSF in this project. He was assisted by many programmers over the internet. The came out with a monolithic kernel and named it LINUX.  Linus released the kernal under the GNU General Public license in 1992 and thus the GNU/LINUX operating system was born. 

After this many organisations, businesses, individuals and univesities  provided many lines of codes to the operating system. Evolving it over a period of time.  Hundreads of distributions of different sizes and utilities came into existence. 

GNU/Linux is the most used server side operating system and 97% of all supercomputers in the world run on GNU/Linux. So the operating system is a beautiful machine that is created by contributions from thousands of people. 

GNU/Linux is used in machines of different shapes and sizes. Modified version of Linux Kernal is used in the Android Operating System, Firefox OS, Tizen etc. Linux is the OS of choice for single board computers like Parallella, Raspberry PI etc. 

Many people are now using GNU/Linux in their desktops and the numbers are going up. Its a powerful operating system that is rarely affected by any virus. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Energy using the power of tides in Brazil

Just today I came across a wave energy video today. This system is developed in Brazil. The technology is pretty simple but very effective. There is great amount of energy in ocean tides generating vertical displacement of water , the bouys attached to the arms would create a motion that would get the attached pump in action pumping water a high speed , this high speed water moves a turbine and  thus electricity is generated. 


Countries having long coastlines have a great advantage if this technology is used. Many gigawatts of electricity can be generated. 

Here is the video, its in Brazilian Portuguese , but it has English subtitles. The technology is pretty simple. Once installed, except for maintenance of the system , there is no other cost involved at all. It will provide green electricity of decades.


Earlier in this blog I have mentioned about the Davidson - Venturi Hill turbine and Searaser. These two systems also generate electricity harnessing the waves in the sea.

The waves of sea are caused due to the gravitational effects of Sun and Moon. 

 If administrators around the world have a good vision for the future of humanity they will adopt green technologies like this very soon.

Compressed Air Cars - A potential revolution.

One of the greatest contributors to urban air pollution is  the gaseous exhaust from passenger cars. Majority of cars in the world run on petrol or diesel and the combustion of these gases add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere along with other suspended particulate matter.

A french company - MDI based in Luxemborg has come out with a technology that makes cars run on compressed air. The piston in the engine is moved by the streams of high speed gases that is released from a tank that has air held at high pressure.

The company claims that a single filling of the tank will cost Euro 2 and for a single filling the car can run 125 miles or 200 kilometres before refuelling. This brings cost per kilometer to below Rs 0.75 per kilometre in Indian terms, much cheaper than petrol.

In India the technology has been licensed to Tata Motors. Earlier the company had said that it would launch a car on this technology in 2013, but till today no car has been launched. News reports now say that in this year Tata Airpod would be launched in Hawaii this year.

The YouTube video shown below shows how the compressed air car works and about the company MDI.


If the power for air compression is generated by a renewable source the car becomes a truly green car. The operational costs of petrol and diesel cars are much higher and maintenance is also relatively much more costly since fossil fuel is used, its combustion leads to accumulation of carbon in its tail pipe.

However in case of Compressed Air Vehicle, there is no combustion in the engine at all. So there is no question of the engine heating up too much except for the heat that maybe caused by friction between different parts.

The body of the engine would be light and it would be made of a composite of  Fibreglass and polyurethane sheets.

Sometime in 2009 Tata Motors launched the world's lowest cost car Tata Nano in India. It was meant for the Indian middle class customers, however it was launched at a time when oil prices were very very high. Also it is a petrol car and petrol is much more expensive than diesel in India. Along with it certain branding issues actually didn't help Tata Nano achieve a high level of sales.

If Tata is able to somehow make a compressed air version of Tata Nano , its sales will surely zoom ahead, if not for environmental reason , the fact that  its low operational costs will ensure good sales of the car in this country.

The Airpod as shown below looks very similar to Tata Nano.

Airpod



The tanks in which the compressed air is held is made up of carbon fibre.

If successful this compressed air cars from MDI will go a long way in reducing pollution in cities. 




















Instructors vs Teachers

Every person learns from his own experience.Another way in which he/she learns is by the thoughts, knowledge and the experience of others. The second process of learning by which a person learns from others can be categorized at 2 different levels:


  1. Instruction.
  2. Teaching
Instruction : - An instructor is a person who just describes the subject or the lesson to the student.  The student may ask questions to instructor regarding the doubts that he/she may have and the instructor tries his best to clear them. Most so called teachers in schools and collages can be categorised at that level today. 

Teaching :- A teacher is supposed to go much deeper than the instructor. Yes, like the instructor he too explains the topics related to his/her subject and clears all doubts of the student. But at an emotional level , a teacher is the one who first of all creates an interest about the subject matter in the minds of the students. He describes the various possibilities that the topic he is teaching or the subject has to offer. 

A teacher understands the strengths and weakness of every student and helps the students overcome his weaknesses , while tapping into his strength. A teacher also takes care that his students are morally and ethically sound.

A teacher's job goes beyond teaching he is also responsible for building a student's capacity to think,he is the one who makes the student socially responsible, he is the one who encourages his students to dream big and work hard to achieve his/her goals. 


An Instructor's job is merely a job, just meant for making money. But a teacher's job is way beyond a job, its an unselfish endeavour to build excellent citizens of the future. A teacher is a person who recognizes the potential of his wards and encourages them to become better in those areas. 

A teacher is also the one who recognizes the problems his students may face during their growing up years, the possible distractions that maybe affecting his students and he helps them cope with them and overcome them. 

While for becoming an Instructor a certain level of mastery of the subject matters. For becoming a teacher one has to have certain characteristics - like an unselfish heart, love for the students, willingness to help his students and the most important quality the teacher must posses is the ability to inspire along with good mastery over his subject. 

A good teacher can change lives. 


Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Nutritious SoyaMilk

I live in the city of Kolkata, in the state of West Bengal , India. The food products available across the country and in this state are doubtful in terms of purity and hygiene. I stopped consuming milk for the last few years because whenever I had milk , whether its of the brand Amul or Mother dairy , I would have a stomach upset.

This points out to the possibility that the milk sold in packets in India maybe adulterated and my stand has been vindicated by the findings of presence of detergents in many packaged milk samples recently. Since I live in a city and cowsheds are no longer allowed in cities, I can no longer go to a cowshed(khatal in local language) and buy milk. The only source of milk in cities of India is to buy it from shops in packets or bottles.

One interesting fact is that the demand of milk has gone up many fold since independence  because the population has gone up by more than four times. However the number of cattle has remained stagnant, as a matter of fact it has actually gone down by 3.33% between 2007 to 2012.

In spite of this reduction in the number of cattle, how has the dairy industry managed to maintain a steady supply of milk? This actually points to a strong possiblity that the milk sold in the market maybe adulterated. 

Now to tackle this situation the solution can be provided by introducing and increasing the consumption of  Soya milk. Soymilk is made from Soyabeans that are soaked in water for 12 to 16 hours and then ground and blended in water. From 1 kg of soyabeans we can get around 6 to 7 litres of soyamilk . In retail market soyabeans are sold for around Rs 65 a kilogram. So the cost of one litre of soyamilk comes to not more than Rs 10 per litre, the comparative price of cow's or buffalo's milk is between Rs 34 to Rs 42.


Soyamilk


If soyamilk is made at home then obviously there is no question about the purity of the milk at all. Soyamilk is highly nutritious and is comparable or even better than cow's milk when it comes to nutrition value. Most people in India are poor and cannot afford to drink milk. In India there are millions of poor families who are not able to provide milk to their children, milk is essential for their child's proper growth. For such people soyamilk provides an ideal solution.

 The cost of a glass of soyamilk is Rs 3 at the most. This can be brought down further if soyabean is sourced directly from the farmers or wholesalers. 

In this country where there is high level of adultery in food materials, soyamilk made at home provides an excellent solution of providing nutritious and pure milk to all the people. The process by which soyamilk can be made at home is given in the link below.